And Finally the Hounding Duck Can Rest

By Carl Zimmer | July 23, 2012 3:02 pm

[Note: This is the last of a four-part series:

Part One: The Mystery of the Missing Chromosome (With A Special Guest Appearance from Facebook Creationists)

Part Two: The Mystery of the Missing Chromosomes, Continued: An Update From Your Preening Blogger

Part Three: Four Days of Fusion Chromosome Freak-Out]

For the past five days, I’ve been trying to get an answer from creationists. Today, I finally got it. And it’s an instructive lesson in how creationism makes itself irrelevant to the progress of science. Plus, it’s a good opportunity to look at the delightfully sloppy way our chromosomes evolve.

I’ve been blogging this experience along the way, so I won’t go back over it all again. Consider this the final chapter in a strange saga.

I do have to recap a little, though, so that this post makes sense.

As I blogged on Thursday, there’s a growing pile of evidence for how one of our chromosomes (chromosome 2) evolved through a fusion of two other chromosomes. I focused in particular on a paper that came out in the journal Genome Research last month from Evan Eichler at the University of Washington and his colleagues. Among many other pieces of evidence are telomeres, bunches of repeating DNA that typically form caps at the ends of chromosomes. There is telomeric DNA right in the middle of chromosome two.

On July 6, a site that promotes intelligent design (a k a the progeny of creationism) published an article by David Klinghoffer, the site’s editor, questioning whether this actually happened. Klinghoffer stated that the telomeric DNA at the fusion site “appears in a ‘degenerate,’ ‘highly diverged’ form that should not be the case if the joining happened in the recent past, circa 6 million years ago, as the Darwinian interpretation holds.”

This passage stuck out for several reasons. Who was he quoting? Why was he calling six million years ago the recent past? Who ever said that if the fusion happened six million years ago, the DNA there should not be degenerate or diverged?

Unable to ask Klinghoffer directly at his site (no comments allowed), I did the next best thing and wrote my question on a Facebook page that’s also linked to the same outfit, and which posted his article. What, I asked, was the evidence for this particular claim?

I was told to read a book that expresses doubts about human evolution. I asked for scientific papers. I got silence, invitations to debate, and more distraction.

After five days of repeatedly asking my question–and of being accused of lies, misdemeanors, and being some kind of duck–I discovered this morning that Klinghoffer has at last provided the evidence for his claim.

Did he direct me to a passage from Eichler’s new 2012 paper?

No.

Did he point me to some other recent paper, such as the one unveiling the chimpanzee genome in 2005, which also provided additional evidence of chromosome fusion?

No.

Instead, he typed out a few paragraphs from the book in question, Science and Human Origins, recently published by the Discovery Institute Press, and written by three Discovery Institute-related people, Douglas Axe, Ann Gauger, and Casey Luskin. (Although the book is written by three people, Klinghoffer only refers to Luskin having written the fusion stuff. I have no idea why. Luskin himself has done no research on chromosomes, and is not a scientist.)

Here’s what it’s taken so long for Klinghoffer to divulge:

I repeat my contention that reasoned discussion of a book isn’t possible unless you grapple with the argument the book makes, as opposed to obsessively flogging one small point because you figure you may have an advantage there. Zimmer simply will not consider the larger case for skepticism about evolutionary explanations of human origins. He’ll only lecture us about human chromosome 2.

It would seem to be reasonable at this point to give up on Carl Zimmer. For readers who want to know what Casey said in his chapter, and what I had in mind when I wrote my own post, here are several paragraphs I highlighted in my copy of SHO [Science and Human Origins-cz]:

…[T]he evidence for chromosomal fusion isn’t nearly as clear-cut as evolutionists like [Kenneth] Miller claim.

Telomeric DNA at the ends of our chromosomes normally consists of thousands of repeats of the 6-base-pair sequence TTAGGG. But the alleged fusion point in human chromosome 2 contains far less telomeric DNA than it should if two chromosome were fused end-to-end: As evolutionary biologist Daniel Fairbanks admits, the location only has 158 repeats, and only “44 are perfect copies” of the sequence.46

Additionally, a paper in Genome Research found that the alleged telomeric sequences we do have are “degenerated significantly” and “highly diverged from the prototypic telomeric repeats.” The paper is surprised at this finding, because the fusion event supposedly happened recently — much too recent for such dramatic divergence of sequence. Thus the paper asks: “If the fusion occurred within the telomeric repeat arrays less than ∼6 mya [million years ago], why are the arrays at the fusion site so degenerate?”47 The conclusion is this: If two chromosomes were fused end-to-end in humans, then a huge amount of alleged telomeric DNA is missing or garbled.

Finally, the presence of telomeric DNA within a mammalian chromosome isn’t highly unusual, and does not necessarily indicate some ancient point of fusion of two chromosomes. Evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg points out that interstitial telomeric sequences (ITSs) are commonly found throughout mammalian genomes, but the telomeric sequences within human chromosome 2 are cherry-picked by evolutionists and cited as evidence for a fusion event….

To explain why this is such a massive evidence fail, I need to talk a bit about telomeres.

The ends of chromosomes are very vulnerable places. If they simply dangle loosely, DNA-cutting enzymes can nibble away at them, destroying the genes they encounter. The dangling end of one chromosome can also get attached to the dangling end of another, fusing chromosomes together. We are mostly protected from such changes thanks to special proteins called telomerases. They tack on little repeating bits of DNA, which form a loop–a telomere–so that chromosomes end as a hairpin curve, rather than dangling ends.

When cells divide, however, telomeres tend to get chewed up. To keep telomeres big enough to protect their chromosomes, telomerases keep adding more DNA to them. In a 1997 paper, Nobel-prize-winning biologist Carol Greider and her colleagues illustrated just how important this addition is by creating mutant mice that couldn’t produce telomerase–and could therefore not add extra DNA to their telomeres.

The mice were healthy enough to grow up and have babies. But from one generation to the next, their telomeres got shorter until they disappeared. After just four generations, the mice suffered an explosion of chromosome fusion. Their dangling DNA then began to get chewed away, damaging their genes until they became sterile.

This experiment and other studies indicate that defective telomeres with few repeats are vulnerable to chromosome fusion. So it would be no surprise to find that a fusion between two chromosome had a low number of repeating bits of DNA.

And once the chromosomes did fuse, the telomeres would now be stuck in the middle of the chromosomes, where telomerases would not be adding any extra DNA. You’d expect that over time, bits of the telomeres would get deleted and not replaced.

So the small quantity of telomere DNA does not, in fact, raise grievous doubts about the evolution of fused chromosomes. Nor does the fact that the repeating DNA in the fused chromsome has mutations in it. Telomere DNA is just prone to mutation. In fact, if you look at the telomere on a chromosome, you’ll typically find that the newest pieces of repeating DNA are correct, but the older segments further from the loop’s end are slightly garbled. These errors arise in your own body. If a chromosome’s telomeres are damaged, you might well expect the new ones to be gone, and the garbled ones remain.

You’d also expect that after the chromosomes fused, the telomere DNA would continue to mutate. Which brings us to Daniel Fairbanks, the geneticist quoted by Luskin and Klinghoffer. Quoted isn’t the right word: cherry-picked is. They select just four words out of a sentence, so as to distort Fairbanks’s words.

You can see for yourself. Luskin quotes Fairbanks from Relics of Eden, a very good popular book in which Fairbanks outlines the genetic evidence of human evolution. Here’s the page in Google Books where the quote comes from. Fairbanks is talking about the chromsome fusion. I’m going to quote the passage in full, italicizing the cherry-picked bit that Klinghoffer and Luskin pulled out.

Of the 158 repeats, 44 are perfect copies of TTAGG or CCTAA. In most cases, the remaining repeats differ from the standard sequence by no more than one or two base pairs.

This is precisely what we expect if the fusion happened long ago in the remote ancestry of humans. After the fusion event, the repeats no longer functioned as telomeres, so mutations (changes in the DNA sequence) in them had no harmful or beneficial effect. The ancient telomere at the fusion site is now a nonfunctioning relic of evolution embedded in the middle of the chromosome. The more generations humans are separated from the fusion event, the more mutations we expect to accumulate in the sequence. Because the majority of the repeated segments have mutations in them, the chromosomes must have fused a long time ago, probably tens of thousands of generations deep into our ancestry. Thus, the evidence clearly eliminates chromosome fission and independent origins as reasonable alternatives to fusion.

To push the idea that this telomere DNA is way too divergent to have evolved through fusion, Luskin quotes from this 2002 paper, which you can read for free. This research was carried out back before scientists had the chimpanzee genome at hand, and when the human genome was still only roughly mapped out. (Repeating chunks of DNA are particularly tough to sequence and map to their location in the human genome.)

Barbara Trask of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and her colleagues had to do the best they could, sequencing the region around the fusion site in humans and around chimpanzees. They found that all of the chunks around the fusion site in human chromosome two mapped to corresponding parts at the ends of two chimpanzee chromosomes. Again–this is exactly what you’d expect if fusion occurred in our distant ancestors. “When observed at the sequence level, the ancestral chromosomes appear to have undergone a straightforward fusion,” Trask and her co-authors write. (Funny that this is not the quote that Luskin or Klinghoffer choose to pull out.)

Subsequent research has supported this conclusion. Eichler’s 2012 paper, for example, shows how the genes across the entire fused chromosome still retain much of their original order in their unfused predecessors. See my post for pictures that illustrate this.
Again, Luskin doesn’t even try to address the large-scale similarity of these chromosomes.

One particularly neat piece of evidence for fusion has to do with the centers of chromosomes, called centromeres. Centromeres have a distinctive structure, and they play a crucial part in the replication of chromosomes. If human chromosome two had indeed evolved from the fusion of two older chromosomes, then it must have acquired two centromeres. As Trask and her colleagues note in their 2002 paper, human chromosome two does, indeed, have two centromeres. One is still working, while the other has been inactivated by mutations.

But you’d never know about this evidence from the Discovery Institute.

Being good scientists, however, Trask and her colleagues pointed out some intriguing results in their 2002 study. For example, the repeating DNA they sequence is very divergent. This is the sentence that Luskin quotes. But he then fails to mention the explanations that Trask and her colleagues start to consider in the very next sentence. By 2002, for example, scientists already knew that telomere DNA has a high mutation rate. And in 2005, when Trask got a chance to compare the human and chimpanzee genomes, she confirmed that, indeed, telomeres and nearby DNA undergo lots of mutations. In other words, you’d expect this kind of DNA to be divergent and degenerate.

The third piece of evidence Klinghoffer and Luskin offer comes, unquoted, from Richard Sternberg. There’s no footnote, so this is presumably just Sternberg telling Luskin this information. Sternberg, incidentally, is a fellow at the Discovery Institute–something Luskin fails to note. Sternberg claims that there’s telomere DNA in the middle of lots of mammal DNA, and so scientists must be cherry-picking the stuff in chromosome two to indoctrinate people about evolution.

As I hope is now clear, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that the telomere DNA in the middle of chromosome 2 is the result of fusion–evidence both from the fusion site, and across the entire chromosome. So this is the opposite of cherry-picking. It is true that there are hundreds of chunks of telomere DNA wedge in mammal chromosomes. But this fact in no way undermines the evidence for the fusion of human chromosome two.

To see why, check out this 2008 paper, “Telomeric repeats far from the ends: mechanisms of origin and role in evolution,”  which three Italian scientists published in the journal Cytogenetic and Genome Research. These scientists carefully examine telomeric repeats located in the interior of chromosomes in a number of mammal species. Lo and behold, they found evidence that these chunks of telomere DNA got moved from the ends of chromosomes to their interior, too. Their research shows that there are a number of ways that this has happened. Some of these moves started with a chromosome fusion. Later, these chromosomes broke, and one of the resulting chunks got swapped with a chunk of another chromosome. As a result, the telomere DNA was able to spread far from the ends of chromosomes.

Another opportunity to spread telomere DNA occurs when DNA breaks. To fix broken DNA, specialized proteins zoom in to stitch the loose ends back together. But these proteins can also grab onto the telomeres at the end of chromosomes. Thanks to this glitch in the repair system, cells will sometimes accidentally insert a bit of telomere DNA at a spot where they’re trying to repair a break. The Italian researchers support this hypothesis with comparisons of mammal genomes, which reveal the footprints of these events.

In other words, the presence of other pieces of telomere DNA away from the ends of chromosomes does not bring the fusion of chromosome two into question. Instead, they arose through other fusions and other mutations. In other words, more evolution.

And that’s it.

After five days of stonewalling and name-calling, Klinghoffer points us to a passage from a book published by his employer, the Discovery Institute, written by someone else at the Discovery Institute. The passage he points us to cherry-picks another book and a 2002 paper. Reading the original sources quickly reveals that Luskin’s interpretation of those quotes is wrong. Luskin also nods to another Discovery Institute fellow, who makes a comment that is clearly contradicted by peer-reviewed research. Luskin has nothing to say about any of the research that has come out in the past ten years. Klinghoffer has nothing to say, either.

For Klinghoffer to say that you have to read the entire book to appreciate the weight of the evidence about human chromosome two is absurd. Klinghoffer himself made a specific claim, and the evidence he offers actually shows that he’s wrong. Unless the rest of the book provides better evidence concerning human chromosome two, it’s irrelevant to my question.

And if the rest of the book is as wrong as this passage, then I hardly see why it’s worth reading.

And that is why I ask for evidence.

 

[Update: Fixed Fairbanks's first name. Daniel, not Douglas. Must be a swashbuckling oversight!]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution

Comments (417)

  1. The author of Relics of Eden may (or may not) be swashbuckling, but he’s Daniel J., not Douglas, Fairbanks.

    [CZ: Wow, what a slip! Thanks.]

  2. John Kwok

    Well said Carl, and thanks for emphasizing why chromosomal fusion is a likely outcome of having telomeres damaged or disappearing (or both).

  3. Nice analysis and detective work.
    Telomeric sequences … two questions … are these sequences (or parts of sequences) found within a single gene, and if so, how does the protein get formed? Is the telomeric sequence incorporated as part of that protein? (showing up as an external loop, for example) or is it ignored somehow?
    …What percentage of “junk DNA” which makes up about 97% of our genome, is represented by telomeric sequences?

    [CZ: Telomeric DNA is not in a gene, so there's no issue about proteins. It's at the end of the chromosome, so it never gets transcribed--as I understand it. I don't know the percentage off the top of my head. Update: Someone on Twitter pointed out that telomeres are sometimes transcribed into RNA]

  4. Y’know, if I’d written a science book, and someone had a question about some claim they’d heard I made in it, and that question could be answered by sending a few paragraphs from my book, I’d be like, “Sure! Here’s a PDF of that whole section with hyperlinks to the sources I cite in it.” And if the person asking were a prominent author with an (ahem) substantial web presence, I’d be asking my publisher, “Hey, shouldn’t this person get a review copy?”

  5. Christian Theilmann

    I’m glad you went the extra mile and completely dissected Klinghoffers “arguments” based purely on peer-reviewed and evidence based research. However I don’t think that Klinghoffer and his friends will accept this defeat, after all they’re making money with their pseudo-science and will simply throw around with rhetoric and semantics, twisted to hell and back, until they look like they won.

    [CZ: Maybe. But now you may have learned something interesting about chromosomes!]

  6. Dallas

    Bravo, Carl. Nice smackdown. I’m surprised you got into this fray in the first place, but you’ve definitely provided a good resource for any lay people interested in that tactics of intelligent design proponents.

    Just to add to your commentary about evidence of telomeres far from chromosomal ends in other mammals, not only have recent sequencing and genomic data provided direct support for their evolutionary heritage, but based on what we’ve known about mammalian chromosomes for the past half century, we should fully expect to see mammalian chromosomes riddled with telomeres in their interiors. Before modern sequencing technologies, mammalian karyotypes provided a lot of phylogenetic information about mammalian evolution. It wasn’t always simply morphology that systematists used before the days of PCR, but in fact studies of chromosomal evolution were pretty important, and there are is still a lot ongoing chromosomal research for phylogenetic purposes, particularly in those lineages that have really variable karyotypes, such as bats and rodents. Knowing all this, Casey’s comment about other mammals being riddled with telomeres in their chromosomal interiors as evidence against a human fusion made me chuckle a good deal. You’d think that after the lengths these guys go through to misrepresent the scientific data they’d come across enough evidence to convince themselves that they’re simply wrong.

  7. Ah, creationists. They would be hilariously funny if they weren’t so powerful.

  8. Pascale

    BAM! You’ve been Zimmered! How do you like them ducks?

  9. Brian R. Warren

    Fascinating read. And yes it’s completely ridiculous to say, “You must read my entire book and disprove its thesis instead of reviewing the evidence within that book for a specific claim that has little direct bearing on the overall premise of my book.”

  10. Despite the promise of ‘science’ in the title, the rest of the book is a great deal like this passage.

    In the last chapter, Ann Gauger uses a similar tactic (focusing on a single paper – Ayala [1992]) to ‘prove’ Adam and Eve could be real via population genetics, while ignoring all of the modern literature on the topic.

    Ironically, she accidentally disproves their could have been a human Adam and Eve in the process if her chapter is read alongside Luskin’s chapter on the fossil record (see my review of this chapter here: http://apomorph.blogspot.com/2012/06/science-and-human-origins-chapter-5.html).

  11. Mordy Ovits

    Excuse my ignorance, but does Klinghoffer not believe in common descent? I know at least some of the ID people accept it.

    [CZ: I don't know.]

  12. DC Metz

    “After five days of repeatedly asking my question–and of being accused of lies, misdemeanors, and being some kind of duck–”

    I got a good belly laugh out of this quick recap. It encapsulates the absurdity of this whole exchange quite nicely. I’ll jump in and offer my thanks for taking the fight to pseudoscience. As a former creationist and loyal accumulator of Discovery Institute literature (I’ve owned every DI book mentioned in your article), it was only through the combatative efforts of science communicators that I was able to compare the evidence for both sides and see “creation science” for the mockery of reason that it really is. Once you see real scientific work, it’s hard to go back to the pre-packaged Twinkie science favored by the Discovery Institute.

    Also, I found your blog! So you’ve got at least one more reader.

    Thanks again!

    [CZ: You're quite welcome.]

  13. Over? OVER!? It’s NEVER Over!

    They shall release the KLINGHOFFER!

    Hm, Dr. Cornelius Hunter, creationist, has already accused you of “doubling down” on your “Lies and Misdemeanors.” Now that you have made them look like, uh, creationists, where can they go from there? Down, sure. But how?

    If you were Klinghoffer, what hyperventilating ad hominem would YOU direct at Carl Zimmer?

    Let me guess.

    Zimmer is a Zealot! He has… MISREPRESENTED our book… MISUNDERSTOOD our genius… LIED… because uh … Zimmer is not intelligent enough… to understand creati— I mean cutting edge science…. blinded by atheism… religious bias against theists… academic terrorists suppressing dissent!

    And the REAL question you have to answer is: why does Zimmer believe blind chance can turn a LOBSTER into a beautiful BABY? It takes more faith to believe that than to believe the Bible!

    Howzat? Will Howard Ahmanson hire me to write copy for Evolution Snooze n Abuse?

  14. Thanks for pursuing this thing to the end.

    Aren’t those strictly speaking examples of quote-mining, rather than cherry-picking?

    [CZ: I've always considered them equivalent. Is there an important difference?]

  15. HS Science Teacher

    I have been following your posts with amused concern. Yes, I have learned much about chromosome fusion and additional sources of “junk” DNA- more than what is required be taught in the HS classroom to cover the National science “standards”. This learning can only serve to provide perspective as we cover units on DNA, Genetics, and Evolution. Thankfully, Evolution is in the standards and the courts have protected our responsibility to teach it. My concerns rest with the “if you don’t believe all of it, then why believe any of it” mindset of the evangelical minority. It twists a larger population’s emotions to the point where they become immune to their own, majority of denominations, acceptance of theistic evolution. These voters then elect governors in Louisiana, that start voucher systems where public tax dollars fund private, creationist schools. These governors then are looked at for cabinet positions (possibly in the Dept. of Ed.) in upcoming elections. I haven’t yet heard rumor that my district would require an anti-science stance in our science classrooms, but believe it is this level that prevents the Klinghoffers of the nation from degrading the scientific literacy of the next generation. Many HS Biology teachers have never even had undergrad coursework in evolution, so please spread support for any legislation or professional development efforts that would strengthen k-12 educators understanding of evolutionary Theory.

  16. EveryZig

    “being some kind of duck”
    It all makes sense now! Carl Zimmer acts like a duck, and is therefore a witch!

  17. Kees Engels

    Dear Carl, I must say I am impressed with the way you have held out until the ‘end’. It is both tiresome and sometimes unrewarding work to try and get through the tidal wave of red herrings and straw men. But in the end you got what you knew you’d find: a flawed base.

    I fear, however, that by doing this you have created a buzz that put them at the heart of the conversation again. And while most people with a decent education and a clear head can understand that the DI is mostly bollocks on a stick, the combination of these traits is exceedingly rare. It is entirely possible that people who find the material too challenging will go with the quick and easy path: the one which plugs every hole with a deity.

    That being said, I think you kicked some proverbial arse. Thank you :)

    [CZ: I've never been in favor of ignoring this stuff. Doing so doesn't make it go away. And exploring it always takes me (and my readers, too) to some interesting places. In these comments, on Twitter, and on Facebook people have been pointing me to some very interesting research on chromosomes, correcting my mistakes, and expanding my understanding.]

  18. Arj

    This is exactly why I ask people who make similar claims if they have a scientific background. Luskin is an advocate for crying out loud. It’s not an argument from authority or whatever to say some scientific training comes in handy…you wouldn’t ask a plumber how to do open heart surgery either. Luskin et al., you lose, you will always lose!

    And Carl, thanks for the great blogpost, really enjoyed it. Why aren’t you on freethoughtblogs like PZ? You would fit right in.

  19. Mike S.

    Carl,

    It’s been very interesting keeping up with this “epic battle” over the last few days. While I’m certainly not knowlegable enough on this topic to really understand the science (though familiar with the scientific method), your clearly reasoned analysis and thorough, dogged – ducked? – response shows just how empty the ID arguement is.

    Thank you for this bit of enlightenment and entertainment!

  20. shebardigan

    I love the smell of a good fisking in the morning. It smells like… the wonderful aroma that pervaded the Denver Museum of Science and History when I was a lad.

  21. Mike Elzinga

    Fantastic job, Carl!

    I have been following the shenanigans of ID/creationists since the 1970s, and I have known biology teachers who where harassed by Duane Gish when he would just show up in their classrooms back then.

    This crap never goes away. One of Gish’s favorite harassment topics was the second law of thermodynamics. That canard has been shot down so many times over a period of more than 40 years that I have long since lost count. Nevertheless Granville Sewell recently hauled it out again and extorted a $10,000 nuisance settlement with Elsevier when they realized what they had and pulled his paper. And we have extensively shot Sewell’s argument down yet again. The concepts of the second law and entropy are mangled beyond recognition by ID/creationists; as are nearly all important scientific concepts.

    Future generations of scientists, science journalists, and the interested public must remain on alert. The funding for this pseudoscience crap has continued to increase over the years despite the defeats of the ID/creationists in the courts.

    Studying and dismantling the misconceptions and misrepresentations of the ID/creationists can turn out to be a pretty good way to improve one’s own understanding of scientific concepts as well as for preparing one to give better instructional presentations to students and the general public. It also takes the annoying edge of having to always deal with these jokers year after year.

  22. Doc Bill

    Carl,

    Cherry picking is usually picking a piece of data or a quote that supports your position while ignoring everything else.

    Quote mining is a more egregious act of taking or modifying a quotation out of context. This is often done by the ellipsis or substituting a period for a comma. Luskin actually did both in a single act in an article ridiculing feathered dinosaurs, and documented in a rare comment thread on the Disco Tute site.

    Luskin is well known for his quote mining “disabilities” and whenever you see an ellipsis in his writing it’s a sure bet that the original quotation has been taken out of context or distorted away from its original meaning.

    However, since the Disco Tute is a propaganda organization dedicated to raising doubt about scientific research Luskin et. al. are just doing their jobs.

    Thanks, Carl, for your magnificent takedown of the Disco Tute. But don’t worry, they’ll return with the same argument, same hacked quotes as if nothing ever happened. Kitzmiller? Just a flesh wound!

  23. Excellent stuff, Carl. Science writers need to pay attention to the intelligent design community every once in a while – if only to demolish their arguments and demonstrate how empty their threats of intellectual revolution are.

    Then again, don’t spend too much time reading their stuff, otherwise you could end up like me.

  24. One may make a functional distinction between “cherry-picking” and “quote mining,” although they are mostly similar in enough respects to be swapped one for the other, so the distinctions may be irrelevant save to semantics.

    For example:
    Cherry-picking, “or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. It is a kind of fallacy of selective attention, the most common example of which is the confirmation bias. Cherry picking may be committed unintentionally.

    Quote-mining, or “‘contextomy’ or ‘quote mining’, is a logical fallacy and a type of false attribution in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.

    So, the results may seem similar, but the processes are distinct. BTW, “contextomy” literally means to “cut out” context. The latter is deliberative, rather than potentially accidental as is the former, though of course both can be deliberative. One can quote-mine multiple sources, but cherry-pick each source to create a web of commentary that supports things that each individual source, or even the totality of sources, do not intend. And that’s where we are with this book.

  25. Fred Juergens

    Great article. Do you think that any (I mean ANY) of the ID proponents will ever (I mean EVER) accept scientific evidence? Their irrational belief system would seem to reject all challenges to their work(?!), such as it is. And then you’ll get the 40 or % of Americans who simply can’t understand your arguments, since they’re written above 8th grade level, and probably do contradict the beliefs inculcated in them by their parents of similar intellect. (And that’s their right, according to the Texas GOP: they’re on record as being opposed to critical thinking.) It’s a national disease, confined mostly to America, fortunately. AT 74, I’m pretty bitter about the decline of rationality in my country. How did we get to be such fools?

  26. Jed

    As pointed out at http://sci-ence.org/red-flags2/, “Buy my book” is what they say when they *can’t* say “read my peer-reviewed journal article”.

  27. Having some little experience with quote mining:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/project.html

    I would say the cherry-picking and quote mining are very similar. Cherry-picking is, I believe, the preferred term in academic settings, where the practice is very dangerous to the student’s career. After all, the people evaluating the student’s work are likely to be familiar with the relevant literature and the chance of detection is high. Quote mining is, for the most part, aimed at those who have little knowledge of the subject. No competent university professor would be fooled by the Darwin quote mine “To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.” but it is still a staple of the quote miners. Klinghoffer, Luskin, et al are being a bit more sophisticated here, but he is still depending on the intended audience being all but ignorant of the subject and not particularly interested in pursuing the subject as long as they can come away with a conviction that evolution is false, scientists are liars and they are the special pets of god(s).

  28. zackoz

    Well done again, Carl!

    I’m grateful there’s someone ready and able to take on these idiots, who try to stop us from learning all this fascinating stuff.

    “[CZ: ...... now you may have learned something interesting about chromosomes!]”

    That sums it up for me.

    Oh, and thanks to Shrunk and David Wisker in the earlier thread for all the extra info.

  29. Poo on the declining rationality of the country. My high school biology textbook from about 1961 has no coverage of evolution. The word does not appear, nor does the concept. There is no mention of change over time, nor of common descent.

    It may be that creationists are more vocal now, but they cannot hide the concept. When I was in school they were quieter, but had absolute control of textbooks and curriculum.

  30. Carl: I congratulate you for the patience and solid put-down. Great work!

  31. @11: Mordy. None of the DI flacks accept common descent. They get cute about it, but they’re all basically creationists. Jonathan Wells, Casey Luskin, Klinghoffer, the whole pack of spin-meisters. I was at a religion/science conference recently at the Portsmouth Abbey school in Rhode Island, where William Dembski went to high school. He gave a presentation (unwillingly according to his later, two-faced post about it). I kid you not, during his talk he said, “I’m okay with common descent, but I don’t buy it.” Now, try and figure that one out. That’s they way the creationist mindset works.

  32. Translocations are nifty, but I prefer indels.

  33. Daniel J. Andrews

    Nicely done. I have a similar story to DC Metz (earlier comment here). For me, some of the most persuasive evidence that creationism was distorting science came when I was able to compare what they claimed a paper said with what the paper actually said. I came across numerous examples where the paper they cited didn’t say what they said it did, did say what they said it did but was in a completely different context, or the paper wasn’t actually a scientific paper but an essay. You’ve now added some more examples of their talent for misreading and misunderstanding a paper.

    Incidentally, finding out I’d been misled most of my life was a hard thing for me to accept. Even with the evidence staring me in the face, I still couldn’t accept it. But it nagged at me. I’d make excuses. Feel better.

    But upon more thought, it nagged at me again. Severe cognitive dissonance. It went on for a few years till the evidence reached critical mass. I started off my rejecting just small parts of creationism. The last bit to go was my thought that, “okay, everything evolved except humans” but within a short period of time, logic (and evidence) dictated that humans evolved as well.

    It was not a fun journey, and it annoys me that vastly unqualified people are setting up other young people to take the same fall. When you have spent your life within a certain framework, a certain philosophy, and then have that pulled out from under you, it can be a difficult readjustment. Very difficult at times depending on the investment into those particular beliefs.

    One important lesson I did learn was that I could follow the evidence no matter where it led me and no matter how painful. I wear that badge (or scar perhaps) with pride.

  34. John Farrell @32: I think Michael Behe has been consistent in defending the principle of common descent, but generally, yes, the Disco. ‘tute tends to dance around the matter.

    Carl: Casey is credited with the supposed argument at issue here because each of the three authors contributed chapters to the self-published booklet. Disco. ‘tute VP John West penned an introduction, but didn’t get author credit for whatever reason.

  35. Steve

    Fascinating stuff, Carl! You’re hired.

    It’s like you were dealing with a bunch of goofy children playing pranks — not scientists. As if they assumed you weren’t going to check their sources.

    Zimmer 1
    Creationists 0

  36. bz

    the word “likely” used by kwok is really awful … shows CZ is just guessing.

    CZ, if it isn’t a good idea to ignore those Folks then invite them here to explain their position. you are maintaining two opposing ideas at the same time.

  37. Sorry for picking nits, but this amde me double-take:
    So the small quantity of telomerase DNA does not, in fact, raise grievous doubts about the evolution of fused chromosomes.
    I assume you mean telomere DNA. I think telomerase DNA might raise a few questions.:-)

    Anyway, thanks for providing the fun and games, and the eddication.

    [CZ: Fixed. Thanks.]

  38. Again similarity is evidence for a common deign and/ or convergence. There still isn’t any genetic evidence that demonstrates a knuckle-walker can be transformed into an upright biped.

    BTW ID is not anti-evolution and you can have evolution without having a common ancestry with chimps. There still isn’t any evidence that the alleged fusion was a random event…

  39. MBI

    I would love for anyone to produce exactly what this supposed fusion of chromosomes changed or morph to introduce a new breed of “primate” that is called homo sapiens. How many functions could it have changed or what new functions did it generate to the effect of designing a different “primate”?

    Is it possible that humans had 24 pairs of chromosomes and one pair fused with another? If this isn’t possible please explain why. Anyone?

    [CZ: No one is claiming that the fusion was responsible for the emergence of Homo sapiens. What they're doing is observing something in nature--the difference between our number of chromosomes and that of other primates--and finding the explanation for it.]

  40. John Kwok

    bz,

    You are intellectually obtuse. Mike Elzinga (#21), Doc Bill (#22), Jack Scanlan (#23), and John Farrell (#32) have all given perfectly legitimate reasons as to why Carl shouldn’t have debated anyone over at the Disco Tute (a nickname some of us use to describe how they like to shift the goalposts as if they are dancing to some disco tune) or Dishonesty Institute (given their ongoing mendacity).

    Yesterday in reply to someone who is, in all likelihood, a DI fan, I posted a long comment (#23) here:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/2012/07/22/four-days-of-fusion-chromosome-freak-out

    I think this is especially worth repeating as a reminder to you:

    “….The Discovery Institute, along with its ‘research arm’, the Biologic Institute, does not produce any valid science period, in support of Intelligent Design creationism. Instead, it is interested merely in promoting its absurd Intelligent Design propaganda, replete in its mendacity, at a target audience comprised of both a predominantly science illiterate public, and especially, a much narrower target audience comprised of Fundamentalist Christians and Jews. (Of which, a notorious example is none other than DI Senior Fellow David Klinghoffer.) In seeking to engage in a ‘debate’ with Carl Zimmer – whom many, including yours truly, regard as our foremost science journalist reporting on biology and medicine – the Discovery Institute isn’t interested in having a meaningful ‘dialogue’, but instead, in scoring rhetorical points off him, as evidenced by David Klinghoffer’s bizarre screeds about Carl being posted over at ENV. Carl is wise to reject Klinghoffer’s offer, and the others he’s received at Uncommonly Dense (which is an apt summation of the posting behavior at the Uncommon Descent website) and elsewhere.”

    “On ‘Saturday Night Live’, William Shatner once advised ‘Star Trek’ fans attending a ‘Star Trek’ convention (a SNL skit of course) to ‘Get a life!’. IMHO that very advice should be heeded by Klinghoffer and his colleagues at both the Discovery Institute and the Biologic Institute.”

  41. John Kwok

    Joe G -

    As the “Godfather” of Intelligent Design creationism, retired Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson admitted publicly back in 2006, there is not yet a theory of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is not only “anti-evolution”, it is also “anti-science”, whose philosophical objective is, according to Johnson, replacing “methodological naturalism” (the centuries-old scientific method used successfully first by Western scientists, and now, by scientists around the world) with another, more expansive, definition of science that allows the study of supernatural phenomena, and one, which Michael Behe admitted under oath at the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District trial, could include as “science”, astrology. (Based on the absurd standards of proof used by Discovery Institute creationists and their supporters, there is far more evidence supporting the existence of Klingons than there will ever be for Intelligent Design. That is why I’ve invoked “Klingon Cosmology” for years and why Ken Miller believes Michael Behe should write the definitive textbook on Klingon biochemistry.) The Discovery Institute isn’t interested in conducting genuine scientific research, but instead, in promoting its pathetic and mendacious Intelligent Design creationist propaganda. For anyone who claims to be reasonable to think otherwise is absolutely ridiculous, as others, including Doc Bill, Mike Elzinga, John Farrell and Jack Scanlan, have noted here.

  42. xin

    Professing themselues to be wise, they became fooles

  43. John Kwok,

    There isn’t a “theory” of evolution, just a bunch of special pleading, as in Carl’s post above.

    How are you defining “evolution” that makes ID anti-evolution? ID is OK with a change in allele frequency over time, ie evolution. ID is OK with natural selection, ie evolution. ID is OK with descent with modification, ie evolution. IOW, John, you are ignorant.

    Methodological naturalism is a failed philosophy. Ya see natural processes only exist in nature and therefor can not account for its origin, which science says it had.

    You are correct- there is more evidence for Klingons then there is for your position.

  44. Shrunk

    @ bz

    I”m not sure why you keep harping on Carl discussing the issue further with representatives of the DI here. AFAIK, there is nothing preventing them from coming and offering their comments here. Am I mistaken about that? They are obviously aware of what is being written in this blog, and if they think further dialogue would be helpful, they can have it here. It’s just weird to accuse Carl of “hiding out” on a popular blog with an open comment policy (unlike other blogs I might mention).

    BTW, do you have any substantive counterarguments to offer to what Carl has written here? All you seem to be saying is “Well, gee, these people say one thing, and these other people say something else, and I don’t know anything about the subject so I can’t decide who to believe.” It’s this lack of critical thinking skills, or at least the reluctance to use those skills, that allows the continued existence of creationism.

    [CZ: There is indeed nothing preventing Klinghoffer, Luskin, or anyone else from leaving a comment on this blog. None of the people I mentioned in this series of posts has submitted one yet.]

  45. John Kwok

    Joe G,

    There’s no “theory of evolution”? Then explain this:

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/home.php

    (Many regard this as the best online resource on current evolutionary theory and the evidence in support of biological evolution.)

    Or this:

    http://ncse.com/evolution

    And of course, this excellent online resource prepared by AMNH curator of invertebrate paleontology Niles Eldredge, with ample assistance from historian of science David Kohn and writer Randal Keynes, a Darwin descendant:

    http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/darwin

    Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Carl’s website as another excellent resource:

    http://www.carlzimmer.com

    Now Joe G – or should I call you by your Panda’s Thumb moniker IBIG – were you saying something about no “theory” of evolution?

  46. Shrunk

    Joe G writes:

    “Methodological naturalism is a failed philosophy.”

    The irony of your writing this on your computer and instantly transmitting it to the world obviously escapes you.

    What philosophical postion other than methodological naturalism would have allowed that, Joe?

  47. JoeG,

    ID is anti-evolution (and anti-science) as was shown by the proponents of ID from our debate on the subject here: http://ogremk5.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/intelligent-design-is-anti-evolution-a-formal-debate/

    As far as “our position”, you have, in the last 3 years, been utterly unable to understand what “our position” actually is. You only create strawmen of “our position” and then claim that we cannot support your strawmen. Of course, it’s true that we can’t support your strawmen, because they are utterly meaningless.

    Carl, this is well done. Although, I might add that the sequencing of the human chromosome 2 and chimpanzee 2p and 2q indicate that the genes are almost identical after accounting for the fusion event.

    It’s not just that there are telomeres and a centromere in the middle, but also the genes align almost perfectly.

  48. => Joe “Ya see” G

    “Again similarity is evidence for a common deign [sic] and/ or convergence.”

    Notice here how Joe says the ID hypothesis is that humans and chimps have a “common design.” However, in the creationist book we’re dissecting here, Casey Luskin writes in Chapter 4, that the ID hypothesis is:

    “The human lineage was designed SEPARATELY from apes.” [emphasis added]

    So humans and apes were designed commonly, except they were designed separately. Perhaps Luskin and Joe G should get their mythologies lined up in a row.

    Of course what Luskin really means is that humans and apes were CREATED separately. But you can’t say created separately, because that’s creationism and you can’t teach it in US public schools. So to nullify the US Constitution, they use equivocation and replace the word “created” with “designed” and “creationism” with “designism.”

    Now Joe G says “similarity” is evidence for this “common design.”

    Ya see Joe, there’s this thing called the Scientific Method. The phrase “[data Y is] evidence for [theory X]” means that theory X must make a specific testable prediction about something observable data point that should have a value Y, hopefully.

    As for chromosome 2 here, the question is its genes whose similarity exceeds the constraints of biochemical function [homologous] being aligned IN THE SAME ORDER [synteny] in ape chromosomes 2a and 2b vs. the two parts of human chromosome 2.

    Common descent of humans and chimps, plus the observation the counts of their pairs of chromosomes differ by one, leads to the testable prediction that there should be

    1. synteny and homology in two halves of a human chromosome,
    2. evidence of a fusion event, including pseudo-telomeres and pseudo-centromeres.

    Done and done. In contrast, ID theory has never honestly produced a single testable prediction about any observable quantity.

    Joe G’s competing hypothesis is that the human and the ape were designed “commonly”; Luskin says they were designed “separately.” These two geniuses can clunk heads but cannot honestly make a testable prediction about *ANY* observable quantity.

    Their model is “magic puff of smoke –> human chromosomes”, which will never produce testable predictions. (Remember analogies on the SAT’s?
    Crucifix : vampires :: testable prediction : Intelligent Design.)

    Joe G:”Again similarity is evidence for a common deign [sic] and/ or convergence.”

    The phrase “similarity” is mindlessly vague and deliberately chosen by creationist authorities to keep their less educated audiences ignorant, or more precisely, to deliberately make them stupider. Ya see, Joe G doesn’t want ID’s less educated audience to know the truth about:

    1. phylogenetic analysis, 2. unique nested hierarchies, 3. the tree of life, 4. similarities that far exceed all known constraints of biochemical function [homology], and 5. patterns of similarity and difference. So instead he dumbs this down to “similarity.”

    Joe G: “There still isn’t any evidence that the alleged fusion was a random event…”

    Chromosomal fusion, karyotypic variation within species and between species are ongoing processes and are observable today. Scientists have observed karyotypic variation within species, which in many cases does NOT result in reduced fertility– e.g. in goats and in marsh rats. Or subspecies like domestic horses (2n= 64) and Przewalski’s horse (66) which interbreed.

    Scientists have observed karyotypic changes between species or sub-species known to be related in the historical era, like the house mouse on the island of Madeira which in 500 years diversified into six “chromosomal races”, two of which have different chromosome numbers. Bats apparently and rodents apparently have a lot of karyotypic variation.

    Scientists have observed karyotypic differences between species that everyone (even creationists) agree are related, like horses (64), donkeys (62), and Zebras (32 to 46); or cats– New World cats (n = 18), other cats (n = 19 or 18?); or racoon dogs (tanuki)– Chinese (2n= 56) and Japanese (2n= 42); or tapirs (Malayan (2n=52), Brazilian (80), Baird’s (80), and Mountain (76)).

    Did such events used to be intelligently designed by magic, and nowadays they’re due to natural forces? Should we assume that instances observed today or in the historical era are due to ongoing intelligent design? Is everything that is observed, designed?

  49. Joe G: “There still isn’t any genetic evidence that demonstrates a knuckle-walker can be transformed into an upright biped.”

    I don’t know if Joe G is describing Australopithecus. However, if he means that Australopithecus was a “knuckle walker”, then I demand to see his evidence for that.

    I don’t know of any evidence that our ancestors were knuckle-walkers. If Ardipithecus is the ancestor of Australopithecus, Ardi had the foot of a tree-dweller not a knuckle-walker.

    The only evidence for “knuckle-walker” that creationists have provided, is an authority quote from Leakey from when, 1971 or 1972? Pre-Lucy, which creationists lied about and said it applied to Lucy. And Leakey even took that back after he saw more evidence. Joe G gonna get us with his scary disco era technology.

    Joe G, please answer these questions:

    1. Did you mean that Australopithecus was a “knuckle walker”?

    2. If 1 is “yes”, then what physical evidence do you have for that?

    If you only have authority quotes, be sure to attach the relevant YEAR to each of your quotes.

  50. bz

    kwok,

    I see why you appeal to authority … like CZ you don’t understand what the three authors were saying … their book is the topic of this thread. Where CZ has admitted he really has learned a lot on the issue you act like you are an expert on everything and you aren’t. CZ just admits his training and background was shaky when he launched, which explains why he won’t permit an extended answer to his original question but in doing so CZ has undermined his own credibility with this admission.

    Ann gauger’s credentials look credible:
    Ann Gauger is a senior research scientist at Biologic Institute. Her work uses molecular genetics and genomic engineering to study the origin, organization and operation of metabolic pathways. She received a BS in biology from MIT, and a PhD in developmental biology from the University of Washington, where she studied cell adhesion molecules involved in Drosophila embryogenesis. As a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard she cloned and characterized the Drosophila kinesin light chain. Her research has been published in Nature, Development, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

    all I can tell about CZ is that he is on NPR and is also an ‘expert’ on climate change too. CZ needs to read what the late communist Alexander Cockburn said about man causing global warming.

    so Cz’s rationale for ducking. Ann Gauger rings hollow. I still can’t figure why people who get my tax dollars at NPR are all so left wing that Juan Williams was fired by them. politics posing as science is what I see here.

    the vast majority of posters here just preach to each other, the choir, and are too timid to actually listen to the answer to the question. if a person is actually interested in science then they are interested in evidence. clearly this place is all about selling materialism and a priori assumptions rather than inquiry into evidence.

  51. John Kwok

    bz,

    I don’t appeal to authority. I was trained in evolutionary biology and can “spot the difference” – with apologies to one of my favorite rock bands, Squeeze, who used that phrase on a recent album of theirs – between a credible scientist like Niles Eldredge and Ken Miller, for example, and an Intelligent Design creationist pseudoscientist like Michael Behe and Ann Gauger. (She’s only a credible scientist when she isn’t publishing on Intelligent Design, which accounts for her prior publication history with the scientific journals you cited, since none of that research pertains to Intelligent Design, period.) As for Carl, he’s taught himself more molecular biology and genetics than I know – and did so with only a BA degree in English – so he’s quite credible IMHO; an assessment shared by virtually everyone else who has been posting here. (An argument based on “majority”, not authority, bz.)

  52. Mike Elzinga

    bz asserts: “the vast majority of posters here just preach to each other, the choir, and are too timid to actually listen to the answer to the question. if a person is actually interested in science then they are interested in evidence. clearly this place is all about selling materialism and a priori assumptions rather than inquiry into evidence”

    There is a nearly 50 year history of deception, misrepresentations, and misconceptions about science manufactured by your ID/creationist heroes at the DI, AiG, and the ICR. You really need to dig into that history and learn what has been happening in those 50 years.

    You comments reveal your ignorance of that history and just make you look silly.

  53. Shrunk

    @ bz #51

    You accuse John Kwok of “appeal(ing) to authority”, then attempt to substantiate your position by simply rattling off Anne Gauger’s credentials, without offering a single scrap of evidence to counter the thorough demolition of the creationist claim that Carl Zimmer has provided here.

    Do you actually understand what an “appeal to authority” is? Because that’s a perfect example right there.

  54. Shrunk

    BTW, a rather obvious question just occurred to me: What did the creationists actually think they were trying to prove by claiming the chromosome fusion was older than 6 mya? IOW, that the fusion somehow occurred before the human genome even existed? Exactly how were they planning to explain that? Especially since they deny that humans evolved from earlier, non-human ancestors?

    I suspect they didn’t even think it thru that far. Rather, it’s just part of their usual tactic of reflexively denying any claim made by evolutionary biologists, without bothering to consider how it fits with their own “”theory.” (Which, of course, it can’t, since they don’t even have a theory to begin with.)

  55. Marko H

    I followed this chapter in the war of the worldviews (with one side being simply a wrong view) since day 1. I have to thank Mr. Zimmer for sharing his knowledge as well as his learning experience in the process of this episode against the mistakes of creationist. I thank him for insisting on asking for the evidence because I learned so much in the process.

    I also congratulate Mr. Zimmer for his (most) excellent writing skills that let someone like me (with no solid background in biology) learn, and most important understand topics such as chromosome fusion.

    As opposed to the creationists from the ID mentioned site that have such a condescending attitude. I tried reading their article with no luck of learning since they use very specific terms, without explaining them like Mr. Zimmer has done along the past blog posts.

    Thank you.

  56. John Kwok

    Diogenes,

    Sad, but true, yours (#56) is a most apt assessment of bz and, I might add, Joe G. (Who is really “Atheistoclast”, who was banned from posting over at PT.) In science it doesn’t matter where you went to school, but rather, whether you are capable of producing publishable scientific research. Based on bz’s assertions to “authority”, then the most credible Americans posting here must be those of us – including Carl Zimmer and myself – who have undergraduate degrees from Ivy League universities. Unfortunately, that ignores the fact that some of our most brilliant evolutionary biologists, like, for example, Michigan State University “microbial ecologist” – as he dubs himself – Richard Lenski, earned their doctoral degrees far from hallowed Ivy League halls. (His Ph. D. was from North Carolina; one of his former graduate students, Paul Turner, is now a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale.) Creationsts like bz love to tout the academic pedigrees of their “heroes”, of whom the most “notable” may be William Dembski with degrees in mathematics, statistics and divinity from Chicago, Illinois and Princeton Theological Seminary. But that, again is irrelevant, simply because Dembski hasn’t published anything noteworthy in mathematics or statistics since the late 1990s if not before. What bz doesn’t realize is that his fellow creationists resort to “appeals to authority” – bragging about their “academic” credentials – because, in the end, that is all they have to maintain any semblance of intellectual pretense, and that they’ve been doing this ever since Henry Morris founded his Institute for Creation Research, if not before.

  57. Dave Wisker

    John Kwok,

    “JoeG” and “Atheistoclast” are actually two different people.

  58. Shrunk

    One other point, bz: If you are so concerned about a person’s scientific credentials in terms of evaluating the validity of their arguments, you should perhaps recall that the chapter under discussion here was written by Casey Luskin. Whose scientific credentials are…?

  59. WheelsOC

    I’m still amused at their reaction to your request for a source to read yourself. The whole thing could be summed up like this:

    CZ: Hey, this thing you said doesn’t seem quite right to me. I’d like to know where you’re getting it, could you please give me something to look up?
    BI: OH, SO THAT’S HOW IT IS, EH MR. ZIMMER? HOW ABOUT WE TAKE THIS OUTSIDE? BY THAT I MEAN A PUBLIC DEBATE! ON OUR WEBSITE!
    CZ: What is there to debate? All I asked was for a source.
    BI: HEAR THAT, EVERYBODY? THE GREAT CARL ZIMMER IS TOO SCARED TO DEBATE US! WHAT A CHICKEN! (source)
    (days later)
    BI: Okay fine, here’s your source. It’s our own book. And we don’t give a straight reference for the claim, so have fun Googling it. Was it so hard for you to buy our book and read it yourself?
    CZ: This paper doesn’t say what you think it does. In fact it tells you why you’re wrong. Pretty plainly, too. Also, just about everything published before or since this paper says you’re wrong.

    Apparently their latest non-response is to yell “CHERRY PICKING!” (source) They must be immune to irony overdose.

  60. John Kwok

    Dave,

    Oops, my mistake. But Joe G sounds like “Atheistoclast” with regards to the latter’s bombastic prose! Thanks for the correction.

  61. John Kwok

    Shrunk,

    Unfortunately Casey Luskin has an undergraduate science degree; he majored in geology (or geophysics) at University of California, San Diego. However, that doesn’t mean that he really understands science at all, judging from his ongoing duties as the Dishonesty Institute Minister for Propaganda.

  62. Shrunk

    An undergrad degree in earth sciences does not qualify one in any way as an expert in biology. (It doesn’t even qualify one as an expert in earth sciences, for that matter.) I should have specified “RELEVANT scientific qualifications.”

  63. Alas John, it seems my comment (formerly #56) was deleted.

  64. John Kwok

    @ Diogenes,

    If Carl thinks you’re veering too closely to personal attack, he’ll delete your comment. (He’s done so with mine and he doesn’t allow me to use my favorite – and I believe, rather apt – term to describe Klinghoffer, Luskin, and their intellectually-challenged colleagues over at the Dishonesty Institute.) So don’t be offended. (I’m not when he does it to me, and, in fact, I sent him an appreciative e-mail thanking him for deleting one of mine since I realized just how foolish I was sounding.) At least Carl will allow Dishonesty Institute fans to post here; I wonder when, if ever, they will allow people like me, Doc Bill, Nick Matzke, Frank Pettit and Richard B. Hoppe to post our well-reasoned dissent against their mendacious pseudoscientific nonsense over at their websites with minimal risk of getting ours deleted. (We’re having a lively discussion of this over at Panda’s Thumb here, BTW, courtesy of RBH:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2012/07/fun-on-facebook.htm)

  65. An anonymous post at Evolution Snooze n Abuse is now attacking “Darwinist cherry pickers.” It actually quotes creationist Richard Sternberg at length– of course it’s precisely the same creationist Sternberg who is cited here by Luskin, making statements that are contradicted by published scientific data.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/its_cherry_pick_1062491.html

    The piece is anonymous but I suspect… they have released the Klinghoffer.

  66. John Kwok

    Seems like the same Richard Sternberg who was “EXPELLED” from the Smithsonian Institution for having published in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, a pro-ID “scientific” article on the “Cambrian Explosion” by one Stephen C. Meyer, now Director, Center for the Center for Science and Culture, Discovery Institute. (At least that’s what the DI Ministry of Propaganda would want you to believe. The truth, of course, is far stranger:

    http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/sternberg

    The bottom line is, of course, that Sternberg was never “EXPELLED”.)

    Since my “favorite” fellow Brunonian, David Klinghoffer, has dubbed Carl, “Darwinist Critic Carl Zimmer” and once referred to me, in third person, as an “obsessed Darwinist”, I wouldn’t be surprised if he, Luskin and Sternberg are still trying to “milk” this for all it is worth.

    P. S. There’s really nothing all that “special” about the Cambrian Explosion, especially when we know now that the rate of metazoan diversification during the Cambrian Period was substantially lower than the rapid burst of diversification in the succeeding Ordovician Period which has been dubbed the “Great Ordovician Diversification Event”, and is being studied by scores of paleobiologists and other biologists worldwide, including Yale University Peabody Museum of Natural History director Derek Briggs ( An invertebrate paleobiologist best known for his “Burgess Shale” research.), his students and post-docs. I agree with vertebrate paleobiologist Donald Prothero’s observation that the “explosion” should be described instead as a “slow fuse”, especially when the amount of time represented in the Cambrian is approximately the same as the entire Cenozoic Era (the last 66.4 million years – give or take a million – including the present). Prothero has discussed this in his book “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters”.

  67. bz

    kwok … messages repossess to the one right after mine …

    Ann has MIT and Harvard in her resume. your credentials don’t compare and my guess is that CZ’s don’t measure up to Ann’s either … why he can be an expert in both climate and chromosome biology.

    She is capable of teaching you and most of the folks here have their eyes and ears fully closed to a full and fair answer to the original question from CZ. so this covers elongate too. over on PT he totally misrepresents how entropy defines life … thermal and information. can’t discuss Shannon entropy or fuzzy entropy … doesn’t understand it.

    so what anyone can see is you all for the most part resist dealing in evidence. a good scientist like David Ussery engages Shapiro and Behe head on. running and hiding and name calling is politics of personal destruction,

  68. Just wanted to say that this series of posts/articles has really helped me learn something about chromosomes and primate evolution! Thanks so much…

  69. bz

    shrunk,

    I gave my reason for appealing to authority stating this is how kwok argues … lett the punishment fit the crime. I freely disclosed this is a poor way to address issues. happy to have you point it put but you missed my disclosure that usimg appeal to authority is improper. and elongate … I do not believe in ID or materialism. I have no clue how life came to be as it is … but then neither do you. the difference between the two of us is you pretend to know things you really don’t and the things you do know either don’t apply or you apply theory when you shouldn’t. I recall even PT correcting you in your wild exaggerations ther.

    try to stay focused … it is entirely appropriate for Ann to explain in depth here on this forum Cz’s question. now CZ has admitted that his knowledge was superficial when he asked the question and even kwok admits Ann’s credentials are fine then she should be allowed to answer the question of CZ.

  70. bz

    kwok,

    I checked the academic credentials of Sternberg. his graduate advisor was George Klir, one of the top mathematicians in the world. Sternberg understands math applied to biology at a profoundly deeper than you and elongate would have to stand ona ladder to tie Sternberg’s shoe laces. Sternberg and Ann are way over and beyond you. At least Carl has admitted his limits which in turn explains why heh won’t invite Ann here to give a comprehensive answer to his initial question.

  71. bz

    wheel,

    maybe the paper says what they say it says or maybe Carl lacks the capability to know one way or the other. if he is on NPR as an expert on climate chage when did he gain the time to be an eert in both fields? Carl has admitted he had still had a lot to learn when he asked the question so that is PROOF that he yet might need to learn even more. clearly Carl is a reluctant student and the real statement here is that you don’t want to be schooled by a middle aged woman. Sexism?

  72. Shrunk

    bz, you are completely losing it.

    First of all, you keep saying that Anne Gauger should be allowed to post her response here. Well, then, what’s stopping her? It’s her you should be pestering, not Carl. Carl has already made it clear that anyone from the DI is free to post comments here. Of course, they would then have to withstand the scrutiny of all the better-informed members here. That’s not really the creationists’ style, as we all know. They are only comfortable blustering on their own forums, where they can censor and ban anyone who disagrees w/ them. That is, if they allow feedback at all.

    Secondly, I can’t comprehend how you can continue your absurd argument on the basis of qualifications and credentials. If Carl Zimmer is unqualifed to comment on evolution and climate change, then Casey Luskin is doubly unqualified to comment on human genomics and any of the other evolution-related subjects he discusses. Not only has he no training in the field, but he has repeatedly shown himself incapable of understanding any of the relevant scientific issues, and more importantly, completely lacking in intellectual honesty and integrity.

    Thirdlly, if you doubt that Carl is presenting the content of the papers accurately, why not read them and judge for yourself? Could it be they are beyond your comprehension, and so you have to rely on being spoon fed ignorance by your creationist heroes rather than think for yourself? It’s hard to avoid that conclusion, given the complete lack of substance in your arguments.

    Finally, your accusation of sexism against Carl is beneath contempt. Way to keep it classy.

  73. Mike Elzinga

    bz says:

    “maybe the paper says what they say it says or maybe Carl lacks the capability to know one way or the other.”

    There is a crucial point you are not getting, bz. Nearly all the “dear leaders” of the ID/creationist political movement have advanced degrees that they make sure to waggle in front of their audiences. It’s called credential waving; and they have been doing this ever since Henry Morris and Duane Gish – both PhDs – formally started the Institute for Creation Research back in 1970.

    What you have not grasped in Carl’s exposé is the fact that this book he is discussing is carrying on a 50 year tradition of quote-mining and misrepresentations of scientific concepts and evidence. And every time that tactic is used by the ID/creationists, they are called out on it by experts in every scientific field that these ID/creationists have mangled over the years (that means all fields of science). There are experts looking on at this site at this very moment.

    And do you know what the history of this repeated pattern of misrepresentation and being exposed has been? It has ALWAYS been the ID/creationists turning right around and doing it again in every new venue and with every new audience that does not know about ID/creationist history and political tactics. And they do it with the very same material that has been debunked time after time, over and over and over again.

    Fifty years, bz; fifty years. Does that count for anything in your book? Do you know why they do it? Have you ever checked?

    Whether you like it or not, there are people in this universe with advanced degrees who do not hesitate to lie and deceive for sectarian political reasons. Until you understand that history – a history which is well documented in the literature and in the courts of the United States; and which you can find for yourself if you took the time to look – you will never understand what has just happened here.

  74. bz

    shrunk,

    can you and everyone here guarantee that Ann would be allowed to give a full answer to CZ’s question right here on CZ’s own forum? if so then I will personally offer her an invite from you and me both. but all people posting here have to agree the discussion is solely for Ann and then CZ can ask follow up questions to her answers. And CZ admits he lacked info when he started down this path so when the discussion passes his understanding he can copy and paste questions from everyone in the world. with CZ as the only person talking to Ann that stops the anticipated heckler’s veto to free speech from kwok et al. on climate change, the recently deceased communist Alexander Cockburn devasted whatever CZ might have said that would implicate man as a causal agent … connections CZ uses for mediam outlets indicates extreme leftist political bias and they didn’t come further left than Cockburn … so Alexander skewering CZ is grave irony.

    my focus is why not have Ann school CZ. seems like the topic. yet CZ resists further education. if all agree to allow Ann to school Carl then I will ask her for the entire forum as its rep. any intrusion will be scored as a 100% take down of Darwin by the Discovery Institute. this process would be solely between Ann and CZ.

  75. MAUCH

    Thank you for delivering a full frontal attack on the Discovery Institute. You have illustrated that states that advocate the teaching of the controversies of evolution are simply allowing the teaching of bad theology. Validated science can not be dismissed simply because it does not it does not agree with ones twisted personal faith.

  76. Doc Bill

    Alas, the Gerbil still squeaks claiming that he’s right and all of Science is rong.

    I guess you’d have to be a gerbil to understand it.

  77. bz

    elz,

    Ann’ degrees are from real schools, not pretend degrees. Trying to associate Ann with Gish and Morris is an old jtrickmused by Joe McCarthy. is your degree from MIT? my son had a 4.5 gpa and nearly 1600 on his SAT and MIT turned him down. maybe Ann got in by being a woman, don’t know but she did graduate. So stop with the silly line of objection to Ann schooling CZ.

    last time I checked NO ONE on earth understands how chemistry becomes biology. just wild guesses that can’t be reproduced in a lab under intelligent design. my bias is that random processes did not create life and maybe panspermia is the answer … of course that begs the question of the source of that starter kit to life. if there really is a designer clever enough to create life he is also smart enough to hide from us how he did it less we lose free will … the reason why he permits evil too.

  78. WheelsOC

    maybe the paper says what they say it says or maybe Carl lacks the capability to know one way or the other.

    bz, I’m afraid that’s not a realistic possibility. The papers and authors cited by the DI or the BI to push the argument that the chromosome isn’t a result of fusion says the opposite in plain English. Did you even check? Zimmer provided a link to several. Here’s one that Luskin uses to insist that telomeres are too degenerate to have been the produce of fusion: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC187548/ Unfortunately, this paper is quite explicit in detailing how the telomeric DNA is indicative of straightforward fusion. It says the opposite of what Luskin indicates. And it’s not the only source cited in their arguments to do this. Carl Zimmer is not the one bungling the published science here.

    They’re wrong. It really is that simple.
    Now, what does this mean for you?

  79. ophu

    LOL! Caught them picking the cherries. :) Caught them red-handed!

  80. bz

    Wheel,

    CZ has admitted lack of understanding when he asked the question. very honest admission. so why not have Ann clear the air instead of all the speculation? I will ask her if everyone agrees to be silent and just let CZ and Ann engage the issue. you all can coach CZ over on Pandas Thumb.

    and go recruit Jerry Coyne and Ken Miller to supply CZ the stuff to reply to Ann.

    Ann vs the entire Darwinist movement and only CZ can speak for your team. I don’t subscribe to ID but the big point is I think you guys can’t explain the origin of man and Ann can explain why your beliefs fail. Just because your belief will be shot down by Ann …IMHO … does not imply a designer to me. there may always be some other cause we don’t know about. but it would be cool to see you guys all rush off to church after Ann does a smack down of your faith in Darwin.

  81. Mike Elzinga

    bz taunts:

    I will ask her if everyone agrees to be silent and just let CZ and Ann engage the issue. you all can coach CZ over on Pandas Thumb.

    Are you nuts? Do you understand what you are doing? Do you think you smell blood in the water? Do you really think Carl is a rube without access to expertise?

    Do you really think no one here knows the game you are trying to set up? Henry Morris and Duane Gish started this tactic of taunting people into debates in order to get free publicity and free rides on the backs of legitimate scientists back in the 1970s. That tactic is central to ID/creationists attempting to gain illegitimate leverage for nothing.

    Carl has already said that the DI people can come over here at any time they wish. They can submit their “research” to peer reviewed journals if they like. But they will not escape having to deal directly with expertise. ID/creationists are notorious for wanting to tie the hands of their opponents in debates while they themselves are free to distort anything and everything. How naive are you anyway?

    Have you ever heard of the tactic called the “Gish Gallop?” What makes you think Carl is stupid enough to allow it here?

  82. steve proulx

    there goes Elzinga whining again. looks like his gish galloping gall stones are acting up again.

    OK, here’s a better deal. Forget Luskin and Zimmer since they are not scientists.

    Gauger and Axe take on McBride and Britain head on. All cards on the table. I know they won’t accept for the simple reason that for every point M & B make, G&A can effectively counter.

    It will at worst be a stalemate, at best G&A take the honors. Bad odds for M&B. I wouldn’t accept either. buts who knows. the tempation to show up teleologically inclined scientists is just so hard to resist.

    It might just happen.

    But lets all dissuade Elzinga from attending. don’t want his galloping gall stones to start sprinting home.

  83. WheelsOC

    bz, you didn’t answer my question. What does it mean to you than the BI and DI have been wrong about the papers invoked to make their case? You profess lack of belief in a “designer,” so what is it that has you clinging to demonstrably bad arguments? Carl isn’t a scientist, neither am I. But anyone who bothers to read the paper linked to can see that it’s saying the opposite of the DI/BI message. Shall I quote a few passages? From the abstract:

    Human chromosome 2 was formed by the head-to-head fusion of two ancestral chromosomes that remained separate in other primates.

    That’s not very ambiguous. It doesn’t allow for much uncertainty in interpretation. Here’s the first paragraph of the paper proper:

    Humans have 46 chromosomes, whereas chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan have 48. This major karyotypic difference was caused by the fusion of two ancestral chromosomes to form human chromosome 2 and subsequent inactivation of one of the two original centromeres (Yunis and Prakash 1982). As a result of this fusion, sequences that once resided near the ends of the ancestral chromosomes are now located in the middle of chromosome 2, near the borders of bands 2q13 and 2q14.1. For brevity, we refer henceforth to the region surrounding the fusion as 2qFus. Two head-to-head arrays of degenerate telomere repeats are found at this site; their head-to-head orientation indicates that chromosome 2 resulted from a telomere-to-telomere fusion (Ijdo et al. 1991). Furthermore, cross-hybridization between 2qFus and various subtelomeric regions has been observed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) (Ijdo et al. 1991; Trask et al. 1993; Hoglund et al. 1995; Martin-Gallardo et al. 1995; Ning et al. 1996; Lese et al. 1999; Ciccodicola et al. 2000; Park et al. 2000; Bailey et al. 2002; Martin et al. 2002). Thus, the fusion must have occurred after subtelomeric sequences present at the ends of the ancestral fusion partners had already duplicated to/from at least one other chromosome end.

    TL,DR; Human chromosome 2 is a fusion of two previously separate chromosomes and the area around the telomeric DNA tells you how it went.

    We confirmed the centromere–telomere orientation of the 2qFus contig by FISH analyses of constituent clones on chimpanzee chromosomes (Fig. ​(Fig.2).2). Chimpanzee chromosomes 12 and 13 are homologous to human 2p and 2q, respectively (Yunis and Prakash 1982; Wienberg et al. 1994). RP11–480C16, from one end of the 2qFus contig, hybridizes to chimpanzee 12, indicating that it maps to the centromere-proximal side of the fusion site. RP11–432G15, from the other end of the 2qFus contig, hybridizes to chimpanzee 13, indicating that it lies on the centromere-distal side of the fusion site in human. As expected, RP11–395L14, which contains the fusion site, generates signals on both chimpanzee chromosomes 12 and 13.

    TL,DR; Extremely strong confirmation for the fusion of two chromosomes (represented by chimp chromosomes 12 and 13) in human ancestors to make the modern human 2 chromosome. But as we’ll see, that broad conclusion is old news;

    The gross characteristics of the chromosomal fusion that gave rise to human chromosome 2 were apparent 20 years ago, when Yunis and Prakash aligned the high-resolution banding patterns of human, chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan chromosomes (Yunis and Prakash 1982). The identities of the fusion partners were confirmed 10 years later when human chromosome-2 specific DNA was observed to “paint” chimpanzee chromosomes 12 and 13 (Jauch et al. 1992; Wienberg et al. 1992). Because the fused chromosome is unique to humans and is fixed, the fusion must have occurred after the human–chimpanzee split, but before modern humans spread around the world, that is, between ∼6 and ∼1 million years ago (Mya; Chen and Li 2001; Yu et al. 2001) (Fig. ​(Fig.5).5).

    The basics were laid out decades ago (even back when this paper was written, which was a decade ago now). Their work confirms the previous studies and paints a more detailed picture of the specifics surrounding the fusion event.
    But to hear Luskin or Klinghoffer tell it, this paper is strong evidence against fusion. They uses it to say that the evidence for fusion is not so clean-cut. That could not be more false, and it could not be more clearly so. No amount of scientific novice can obscure this. So now that it’s clear they’re wrong, what does that mean for you?

  84. Mike Elzinga

    Steve Proulx taunts:

    OK, here’s a better deal.

    Here is an even better idea. No free rides by unproven and grasping scientist wannabes on the lab coattails of real, reputable scientists.

    Instead, let Axe, et. al. do what all real scientists have to do, demonstrate their credibility by publishing their ID/creationist “research” in real, peer-reviewed, scientific journals so that other research groups are able to verify their findings and actually build on their work with productive research programs that extend their findings and make real progress. That means being able to articulate research proposals and strategies, win funding, and actually carry out research programs that can pass muster in the crucible of scientific peer review. Now that would be a first for ID/creationists.

    Get serious. This silly, childish attempt to get debates going has always been the shtick of the ID/creationist community ever since Morris and Gish. It’s the lazy pseudoscientist’s way of attempting to appear to be a scientist by hitching a ride on the back of a real scientist, and preferably one who has high visibility and celebrity.

    Being able to win a high school debating contest with your opponents’ hands tied behind their backs is not the same as being able articulate a research proposal and strategies and conduct a productive research program that actually attracts serious attention from the scientific community.

    Real science is far more sophisticated and difficult than the camp followers of the ID/creationist movement have been taught to believe by their leaders. These followers would much rather be entertained and comforted instead of being required to learn something difficult and real.

    You characters are pathetic; and now you are the laughing stock of the entire internet watching you kvetch and grasp for fame and not even recognizing the pickle you are in.

  85. bz

    elzinga,

    are you an MIT graduate?

    just visited ENV and found this http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_the_litera_1062521.html
    … looks like an answer to Carl.

    so rather than inviting Ann to teach Carl it seems Casey Luskin stepped forward. my take after reading Casey and Carl’s stuff is I can’t conclude one way or the other from this dust up if chimps and man have a common ancestor. I don’t care for guessing (WA as in wag) and calling it science. your team should now tear apart Casey’s explanation and prove man and chimp have common ancestors. then Casey ought to respond to this forum’s best criticism of his statement. no Gish deal now. nothing for you and CZ to run from.

    Casey gave an explanation now show where he is wrong.

    one thing I think is important … this isn’t about religion but a priori assumptions may be in play by BOTH sides.

  86. bz

    wheel,

    is there something in http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_the_litera_1062521.html that you disagree with?

    where has Casey made a mistake? would like to see what he thinks of your claims of a mistake in what he wrote on his blog. just saying there is a mistake in this response is not the same thing as Casey actually making one. the chromosomes may or may not actually have joined … learn to spot a guess.

    I would say that Casey has answered Carl and now it is up to you and people on your side to demonstrate his error in what he just wrote. No guessing or appeal to authority. just prove that Casey is wrong so I don’t have to use faith or a guess to agree with you

  87. bz

    proulx,

    good suggestion. I would add one rule:

    if guesswork is included in the answer by either party then we don’t accept that as a valid comment. best actual evidence with the least reliance on guessing prevails. people in England long ago thought there was no such thing as a Black Swan. until one was found in Australia. a ton of money has been lost in American residential real estate because all the experts with all their wisdom didn’t believe the housing market could pop. same with the tulip market.

  88. bz

    wheel,

    do you believe correlation = causation?

  89. Mike Elzinga

    bz taunts:
    Casey gave an explanation now show where he is wrong.

    Can you point us to the peer-reviewed journal in which Luskin published his research; and can you show us the confirming follow-up research by other groups?

    You are looking at a defensive Luskin trying to get a debate going; that is what ID/creationists always do. Do you not get it?

    You have absolutely nothing in the way of solid research results produced by Luskin that have also been confirmed by others. In fact, all you have is Luskin telling you how to read a paper.

    There is a well-known name for this shtick; it’s called publication hijacking. Go to any ID/creationist website and you will find someone there telling you – as though they are experts – how to read someone else’s research paper. And they will be kvetching about the results and telling you it confirms their sectarian beliefs.

    Doesn’t that raise any red flags for you? Do you have any understanding whatsoever of how research is conducted and verified?

  90. Mike Elzinga

    bz says:
    my take after reading Casey and Carl’s stuff is I can’t conclude one way or the other from this dust up if chimps and man have a common ancestor.

    And the reason you can’t do this is the same reason you can be jerked around by endless word-gaming. You have never made the effort to learn real scientific concepts so that you can distinguish between pseudoscience and science. You can’t pick up on the misconceptions and misrepresentations that ID/creationists have devoted all their time to propagating for fifty years. Fifty years of sitting in plush offices, writing kvetching screeds about science and materialism, but never doing any research.

    But they will never hesitate to misrepresent the scientific concepts and the evidence produced and verified by others. They will tell you how to read someone else’s research paper and they will quote-mine and chop out sentences in order to make the paper appear to say something entirely different. They have been doing this for something like fifty years now; and many of us here have been witnessing this game for that entire time.

    There is little that can be done for you on an internet website where trolls and all sorts of word-gaming distractions can wander in and out of the discussion.

    You need to go over to the website of the National Center for Science Education and start looking at the legal cases. Start with Kitzmiller v. Dover, then the 1987 US Supreme Court case Edwards v Aguillard, then McLean v Arkansas. Look not only at Judge Jone’s decision in Kitzmiller, but look at the actual transcripts as well. Jones wasn’t kidding when he noted that these creationists lie; you will find it in the transcripts, raw and blatant.

    Before you get yourself all bollixed up and confused trying to distinguish between science and pseudoscience, learn directly from those court cases how ID/creationists behave and deceive, and how that has continued for five decades now.

    Then learn real science.

  91. Shrunk

    @ bz #87
    Luskin’s errors in that response are so blatant that I’m surprised you need help to identify them. Then again, I guess I shouldn’t be.

    First of all, Luskin continues to disingenuously chide Zimmer for not buying his book to find the answer to his question, and completely ignores the fact that he (Luskin), is only now providing the answer to Zimmer’s question because the blatant evasions of the BI and DI have become an internet-wide source of embarassment for them.

    Luskin finally, and much belatedly, confirms that the paper by Fan et al is in fact the source of his claim. (Of course by this point, Zimmer has already figured this out on his own and discussed the paper in this very blog, a fact which Luksin ignores.) However, Luskin now also acknowledges that the authors of this paper offered several explanations for the “degenerate” appearance of the telomeric sequence, and lists them here. An obvious question arises: Why did he not discuss these explanations in his book? If he was truly interested in discussing science and informing his readers, would you not expect him to do so? Of course, if his intention was not to inform but to mislead his gullible readers into believing there was no explanation, then the tactic makes perfect sense.

    Having now been forced, by Carl Zimmer’s “hounding”, to acknowledge these explanations, what is Luskin’s response? Nothing. Nothing, that is, rather than to simply handwave them away as unpersuasive, “weak” and “ad hoc.” What is his scientific argument to support these claims? Nothing. He just asserts them and assumes (correctly, as you demonstrate, bz) that his readership will simply take him at his word.

    I’m sorry, that’s not science. That’s propaganda. And you swallow it whole, bz.

    The best is yet to come: Luskin then goes on to make a startling about-face and says that, in fact, HE THINKS THE FUSION ACTUALLY OCCURRED, quoting himself as saying elsewhere: “We accept that there is good evidence that human chromosome 2 is composed of two fused chromosomes.” Well. I guess all that “weak, ad hoc” evidence was not so weak and ad hoc after all.

    But he then goes on to erect a strawman and says that, even if the fusion is present, that is not evidence of common descent. This is, again, blatant disingenuity. Luskin was schooled on this by PZ Myers as far back as 2006! Read the following article and note that Luskin is making the same claim once again, as if this explanation has never been offered him:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/09/15/luskins-ludicrous-genetics/

    The point is that it is not the fusion, per se, that demonstrates common ancestry. It is the gene sequences contained in the chromosomes involved, and the fact that these map perfectly between the human and chimpanzee genomes, including the residual telomeric and centromeric sequences.

    Once more: The significance of the finding of the chromosome 2 fusion is that this was predicted, on the basis of evolutionary theory, from the fact that humans have 1 fewer chromosome pair than chimpanzees. If the chromosomes had remained unfused, the gene sequences would still demonstrate common ancestry (as it does between chimps and gorillas). But the fact that the fusion was known to exist before the technology arose to confirm it is a demonstration of the predictive power of evolutionary theory, something which a religious ideology like ID creationism completely lacks.

    I must thank you, bz, for this demonstration of the creationist mindset. I must admit, I usually find it unfathomable how so many can be so easily duped by creationist propaganda. You are helping me to understand how easily this can occur when someone is not willing to exercise his own crticial thinking faculties, and instead blindly puts his trust in charlatans and demagogues.

  92. Shrunk

    My last post is pretty long. For those who don’t want to read the whole thing, here is the money quote from Casey Luskin himself:

    “We accept that there is good evidence that human chromosome 2 is composed of two fused chromosomes.”

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_the_litera_1062521.html

    Well, what do you know?

  93. John Kwok

    Mike,

    Bravo! This needed to be said (@85) (again):

    “Instead, let Axe, et. al. do what all real scientists have to do, demonstrate their credibility by publishing their ID/creationist ‘research’ in real, peer-reviewed, scientific journals so that other research groups are able to verify their findings and actually build on their work with productive research programs that extend their findings and make real progress. That means being able to articulate research proposals and strategies, win funding, and actually carry out research programs that can pass muster in the crucible of scientific peer review. Now that would be a first for ID/creationists.”

    And again, just for bz’s benefit and the other Dishonesty Institute sympathizers posting here:

    “In science it doesn’t matter where you went to school, but rather, whether you are capable of producing publishable scientific research. Based on bz’s assertions to ‘authority’, then the most credible Americans posting here must be those of us – including Carl Zimmer and myself – who have undergraduate degrees from Ivy League universities. Unfortunately, that ignores the fact that some of our most brilliant evolutionary biologists, like, for example, Michigan State University ‘microbial ecologist’ – as he dubs himself – Richard Lenski, earned their doctoral degrees far from hallowed Ivy League halls. (His Ph. D. was from North Carolina; one of his former graduate students, Paul Turner, is now a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale.) Creationsts like bz love to tout the academic pedigrees of their ‘heroes’, of whom the most ‘notable’ may be William Dembski with degrees in mathematics, statistics and divinity from Chicago, Illinois and Princeton Theological Seminary. But that, again is irrelevant, simply because Dembski hasn’t published anything noteworthy in mathematics or statistics since the late 1990s if not before. What bz doesn’t realize is that his fellow creationists resort to ‘appeals to authority’ – bragging about their ‘academic’ credentials – because, in the end, that is all they have to maintain any semblance of intellectual pretense…” and of course, I am not surprised that bz is still touting Sternberg and Gauger’s academic credentials.

    (MEMO to bz: If Sternberg is such a mathematical “genius”, then why is he working at the DI Ministry of Propaganda and not conducting state-of-the art mathematics research at notable mathematics programs such as those at Brown, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, NYU, Princeton, Yale, etc. or teaching mathematics at such notable elite mathematics, science and technology-oriented public high schools such as Fairfax County, VA’s Thomas Jefferson and New York City’s Bronx Science and Stuyvesant? Also, based on my comments regarding the “Cambrian Explosion”, can you surmise what my training in evolutionary biology was? As for vertebrate paleobiologist Donald Prothero, I heard him say that, in private life, he wishes to be known as Mr. Prothero, not Dr. Prothero, noting that only creationists tend to emphasize their academic credentials as though these were their only noteworthy traits. This was during a lecture he gave in New York City several years ago, while promoting his then most recent book, “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters”.)

  94. JMW

    Klinghoffer wrote in his reply to you:
    I repeat my contention that reasoned discussion of a book isn’t possible unless you grapple with the argument the book makes, as opposed to obsessively flogging one small point because you figure you may have an advantage there.

    My reply to him:
    Look in a mirror, pal. Look in a mirror.

  95. a

    hey people, tha main issue is that the fusion event can take plce in the human geanome and not in the apes.

    [CZ: I've already pointed to evidence that chromosomes have fused in lots of other species, which shows that your statement is not true.]

  96. Shrunk

    Of course, reading between the lines, all of these obfuscatory responses from the creationists amount to nothing less than an admission that they have suffered yet another abject defeat on this issue. Carl called them out to provide the evidence to support their claim, they failed to do so, and now are in full back-pedalling and damage control mode. (“Of course, the fusion exists. When did we ever say it didn’t?”)

    Naturally, their sycophants like JoeG and bz don’t notice and think their heroes are doing just fine. For the rest of us, there’s nothing left to do but point and laugh at the spectacle.

  97. John Kwok

    Shrunk,

    With regards to your last comment (96), there’s a term to describe JoeG and bz’s behavior (as well as the other DI sychophants lurking here): cognitive dissonance. I think no more needs to be said.

  98. haversham

    Don’t forget motivated reasoning, John.

  99. bz

    elzinga,

    I asked you if you graduated from MIT and you didn’t answer. using Cz’s standard answer that before you get answers from me. Did you graduate from MIT?

  100. John Kwok

    @ haversham -

    I haven’t. It is motivated reasoning replete in its gross mendacity and ample disdain for anything that is truly well-established mainstream scientific research of the kind that Carl has been reporting on for decades. As I noted in two comments over at the FB Biologic Institute page (since deleted and I can’t post there even if I “like” that page) that I addressed to David Klinghoffer, he should emulate three fellow Bruonians – all three of whom he had overlapped with in college – who are now respected journalists. That same advice I give to Luskin, Sternberg, and the others working at the Dishonesty Institute’s Ministry of Propaganda.

  101. John Kwok

    BZ,

    It’s irrelevant whether Mike Elzinga graduated from MIT or not. What is relevant is that he understands what is sound, mainstream science, especially with regards to biology; a distinction that is lost on you, Joe G and the other Dishonesty Institute sycophants who have been posting here.

  102. Shrunk

    bz,

    What possible relevance does the question of where Mike Elzinga graduated from have to the issue under discussion? It’s especially rich coming from someone who treats a lawyer with a proven track record of incompetence in understanding biology as an authority on human genomics.

  103. bz

    shrunk,

    with several possibilities that suggests these are all guesses. Casey answered Carl’s question so Carl got unfairly rewarded … he (CZ) got an answer and was able to avoid learning stuff that disagrees with his world view.

    as to not expanding on the point in the book what if Carl asked some other point elsewhere so the book expands to the size of the known database of biology?

    how about keeping things focused. you guys summarize ALL your complaints and let Casey and the other two authors answer them. … which would require the purchase of the book at least once and then you all pass it around to each other. the really bad thing that went down here is that CZ took a shot and did not read the book. “good” evidence is not the same thing as proof. does the FDA allow drugs to be sold into the market on that standard? and Casey goes on to say that the fusion is not proof of common origin.

    you guys. remind me of chief justice John Roberts ruling on Obamacare. roberts had an end result in mind so now Obamacare is legal under the law even though it isn’t. and your claiming victory for Carl … are you really JohnRoberts posting under the name shrunk?

    neither Casey or Carl have proven anything.

  104. bz

    kwok,

    what schools have you graduated from? who are your graduate advisors? Klir is as good as there is on earth in his area of math so he is careful in who he works with … objective “good evidence” that you are solely dealing in personal attack.

  105. bz

    shrunk,

    elzinga attacks the credibility of others. he has been corrected by Darwinists over on pandas thumb. if his own team doesn’t trust his opinion then why does his opinion matter on judging credibility or science questions? he appears to be an expert only in his own mind … and he is now cooking up a reply about entropy when he totally blew what schrodinger said … I watched a guy named cat school him over there a while back. bozo status in my books.

    let’s stay focused on creating a reply to Casey’s answer and even elzinga and kwok are welcome to participate. in the collective reply to Casey.

    don’t forget … I don’t buy Casey’s POV either. or yours. make Casey answer where your team feels he is wrong. see if Carl had a point in his initial question or not.

    you guys are all missing the huge point above all others … Carl says he has grown in understanding. the question is … is that far enough and is it actually real.

    I forget the source but trying to get the quote right … if. you only know one side of the argument then you don’t even know that side very well. kids who go through public schools where the teachers vote most,y for Obama and then go to college where their teachers mostly vote for Obama are going to have a diminished understanding of America and its history. same with biology … and there may be many possible ways that might explain life. look at how much money we waste trying to find life on Mars … and that wasted money is just an attempt to destroy religion here in the USA … and I don’t regularly go to church.

  106. John Kwok

    bz,

    Where I went to school is irrelevant to the issue, but I said already that I went to same Ivy League university as David Klinghoffer. (Thankfully I wasn’t a classmate of his.) I mentioned which high school I went to earlier, having noted that I was a student of the author of the memoir “Angela’s Ashes” in an earlier discussion thread. You should have concluded already that I have a background in paleobiology, given some of my recent comments.

    What is relevant is that Klinghoffer, Luskin, Sternberg and their fellows in the DI Ministry of Propaganda insist on promoting the religiously-inspired pseudoscientiifc rubbish known as Intelligent Design creationism and in attacking legitimate critics like Carl, yours truly, and others, who understand and reject their contemptible mendacity. Only a bombastic, ignorant fool would conclude that the Dishonesty Institute is genuinely interested in producing credible scientific research or in having a “meaningful dialogue” with critics like noted science journalist Carl Zimmer.

  107. Shrunk

    Try to keep up with the plot, bz, and not go off on tangents about conspiracies to destroy religion thru space exploration (Seriously, dude, WTF?), Obama’s health policy and irrelevant asides about people’s university education.

    Casey’s “response” had been refuted before he even wrote it: Here by Carl and SIX YEARS AGO by PZ Myers. You have read my dismantling of Luskin’s article above (#92), right? You have no response to the points raised therein? Just “Casey says so, so it must be true.”?

    And stop shilling for people to buy this worthless waste of trees that the DI is trying to sell. We already have objective, informed reviews confirming that reading it would be a waste of time and that it contains absolutely nothing of scientific value. Which is only what is to be expected, coming from the Discovery Institute,

  108. bz

    kwok,

    join in the collective response to Casey. you didnt go to MIT so your credentials don’t count on ID or DI. Ann’s credentials are superior to yours.

  109. The creationist critics here, BZ, JoeG and SteveP, will say anything and everything to distract attention and change the topic from the subject of this thread:

    The dishonesty of creationist authorities– in this case here, the dishonesty of Casey Luskin and (the apparent inaccuracy of) Richard Sternberg. That is the subject here. Let us focus on this subject.

    Carl Luskin wrote the chapter in this creationist book that dealt with the fusion of chromosome two. Luskin wrote it, not Ann Gauger. In that chapter he employed:

    1. small snippets of quotes from real scientific papers, which Luskin asserted were evidence AGAINST the fusion of chromosome 2, but which the authors presented as either evidence FOR it, or not relevant. An extreme example of taking quotes out of context so as to change their meaning. The authors of that paper, cited by Luskin, clearly believe the evidence is overwhelming that human chromosome 2 is the result of fusion.

    2. A “personal communication” from creationist Richard Sternberg to Luskin himself, not published in the scientific literature– because it was wildly inaccurate and did not represent the literature accurately. Sternberg’s statements would never have gotten published in peer-reviewed literature because they were grossly inaccurate.

    Both of these techniques employed by Luskin are far outside what is permitted in peer-reviewed literature. They are below the standards of even the lowest published research.

    However, I don’t and can’t blame Sternberg so much for what he says orally– people in ordinary conversation often shoot off their mouths and get the facts wrong (we all do that). Sternberg didn’t publish what he wrote, so if he got it wrong, it’s not the same level of error as publishing something false.

    Rather, the blame rests on Luskin for employing such a technique– he couldn’t find facts in the published literature to prove what he needed, so he got an oral quote from Sternberg that contradicted published data. Most of the blame for this must rest with Luskin.

    The upshot of all this is that the creationist critics here– BZ, SteveP and Joe G– should question their reliance on lying creationist authorities. Their authorities lie to them. Why do they continue to trust people who lie to them? That is the subject. Keep focus on that.

    BZ, SteveP, and Joe G: why do you continue to treat Casey Luskin as a trustworthy authority?

  110. bz

    shrunk,

    Roberts approached Obamacare with a result in mind, that is what you and the rest are showing as your modus operandi. same with Mars. Massive waste of taxpayers driven by similar attitudes as your team shows here.

    Stay focused. Carl got his answer and nothing has been settled one way or the other. no victory for either side. don’t be like John Roberts.

  111. billygutter01

    bz @ 104 “you guys. remind me of chief justice John Roberts ruling on Obamacare. roberts had an end result in mind so now Obamacare is legal under the law even though it isn’t.” …

    bz@ 105 ” kids who go through public schools where the teachers vote most,y for Obama and then go to college where their teachers mostly vote for Obama are going to have a diminished understanding of America and its history.” …

    If I may quote a classic space opera: “Stay on target!”

  112. Shrunk

    BTW, bz you keep saying that Carl said he did not understand this topic before it came up on the BI Facebook page. I don’t actually recall him saying that. In fact, it was because he already understands the topic that he was able to identify the false claim made by the creationists regarding the age of the chromosome fusion. Could you perhaps clarify where you believe Carl made such an admission?

    Another point you keep mistaking (because your creationist heroes keep wanting you to believe it, of course): When you write “Casey goes on to say that the fusion is not proof of common origin”, that’s just another strawman argument. As I, and others, have taken pains to explain, no one is claiming that the fusion, BY ITSELF, is evidence of common ancestry between chimps and humans. That is just Casey Luskin’s (deliberate?) misconstrual of the evidence. If you disagree, please provide a specific reference in which an evolutionary biologist makes such a claim.

    One more time: It is the GENETIC SEQUENCE of the chromosomes concerned that demonstrates common ancestry. The fusion just explains a specific discrepancy (i.e. chromosome number) between the human and chimp genomes.

    Get it now? If so, please explain it to your idol Casey Luskin. He’s been trying for at least six years, and still hasn’t a clue.

  113. Shrunk

    @ bz #111

    Wrong. Complete victory for the forces of science. Total, abject, humiliating defeat for creationism. Did you not notice how they have had to retreat from their original claim that no fusion had occured, to now saying, “We accept that there is good evidence that human chromosome 2 is composed of two fused chromosomes”?

    “Stay focussed”? This from a guy who keeps trying to inject Justice John Roberts and “Obamacare” into a discussion of evolutionary biology?

  114. Now BZ has stated that Luskin published a response which refutes criticisms of his quote mining and misrepresentation. It is here:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_the_litera_1062521.html.

    Let’s take a brief look. Here Luskin defends his quote mines of Yuxin Fan et. al. Gen. Res. 2002.

    Luskin: “Quote 3 [of Yuxin Fan et al.]: “If the fusion occurred within the telomeric repeat arrays less than ~6 mya, why are the arrays at the fusion site so degenerate?”:

    That question appears in the paper exactly as I quote it. The reason the authors ask it is quite rational: In 6 million years, this stretch of DNA should not have accumulated very many mutations.”

    FALSEHOOD #1. The conclusion Luskin draws, “this stretch of DNA should not have accumulated very many mutations”, is not what the authors said. They ask a rhetorical question. They do not state “this stretch of DNA should not have accumulated very many mutations.”

    Luskin is once again lying. Plain and simple: he is doubling down on his lies.

    Back to Luskin: “But if this was originally the site of the fusion of two telomeres, then it has experienced numerous mutational changes, including the loss of many telomeric repeats.”

    FALSEHOOD #2. The Yuxin Fan et al. paper does not say that. That is Luskin’s assumption: the telomeric repeats were all present initially when the chromosomes were fused.

    There is no reason to think that. As Zimmer and Dave Wisker have pointed out, chromosomes with full-length telomeric regions are not likely to fuse. Rather, if a mutation or break occurs that shortens their telomeric repeats, then fusion is much more likely.

    Thus, the shortening of the telomeric region would be pre-fusion, and a cause of fusion, rather than being due to random mutations that occur post-fusion, as Luskin assumes erroneously. Yuxin Fan et al. call this possibility (1).

    Back to Luskin, quoting from his book approvingly: “But the alleged fusion point in human chromosome 2 contains far less telomeric DNA than it should if two chromosomes were fused end-to-end: As evolutionary biologist Daniel Fairbanks admits, the location only has 158 repeats, and only “44 are perfect copies” of the sequence. (Science and Human Origins, pp. 95-96)”

    FALSEHOOD #3: this is Luskin’s *DISHONESTY.* In the paper he’s quoting, it does not say *only* “44 are perfect copies”. *The word “only” is Luskin’s invention.*

    By inserting the word “only”, Luskin is insinuating that evolutionary theory would predict far more perfect copies. But the sources he is citing do not say that evolutionary theory would predict far more than 44 perfect copies. That is Luskin’s invention. He has no evidence to back it up. Luskin can advance that as a hypothesis, but then he would have to admit there was no evidence for it in any of his sources.

    However, Luskin, does not admit that it is only his hypothesis, not backed up by any data in the sources he’s citing. Instead he dishonestly pretends as if the evidence in the paper backs up his statements in the opinions of the authors of that paper.

    In fact, it’s clear that the authors of the papers cited by Luskin either don’t say what he says they say, or else they actually say the opposite of what Luskin says they say.

    So Luskin is doubling down on his lies.

    Then Luskin proceeds to misrepresent what Yuxin Fan et al. wrote about their explanation (2) for the relative lack of repeats in the pseudotelomere.

    FALSEHOOD #4. What Luskin says that Yuxin Fan et. al say: “[possible explantion] (2) they arbitrarily invoke a “high rate of change” in that stretch of DNA”

    What Yuxin Fan et al. actually say: “[possible explantion] (2) The arrays were originally true terminal arrays that degenerated rapidly after the fusion. This high rate of change is plausible, given the remarkably high allelic variation observed at the fusion site. The arrays in the BAC and the sequence obtained by Ijdo et al. (1991) differ by 12%, which is high even if some differences are ascribed to experimental error.”

    There is nothing “arbitrary” about their invocation of high rate of change; they infer it from the high allelic variation at the fusion site. That is an inference from observed data, the opposite of arbitary.

    Moreover, Luskin disses their possible explanation (1) [chromosomes shortened before fusion] which is the most reasonable; Luskin has no counter-argument except that of incredulity.

    Luskin dismisses possible explantion (1): “The fact that they resort to the first explanation shows how wrong Kenneth Miller is to say that “[t]he forensic case of the missing chromosome is settled beyond any doubt.” The evidence isn’t nearly as perfect as he claims it is.”

    Again, chromosomes with full-length telomeric regions are less likely to fuse. Chromosomes with shortened telomeric regions are more likely to fuse. Thus, there is no reason to consider this evidence against chromosomal fusion.

    If Luskin & Ann Gauger disagree, let them do some experimental research showing that chromosomal fusion can just as easily occur between full-length chromosomes. Chromosomal fusion is not rare; it has occurred recently in many mammalian species: bats, mice, marsh rats, goats, horses, etc. etc.

    Back to Luskin: “The fact that they invoke explanations two and three shows how much the observed telomeric DNA diverges from what they expected to find if there was a fusion event.”

    Absolutely false. When Luskin claims, “the observed telomeric DNA diverges from what they expected to find if there was a fusion event”, he has no evidence in the cited papers to back that up. Luskin has no evidence that full-length telomeric regions fuse as easily as shortened telomeric regions.

    Back to Luskin: “And given that, as I explain in the book, and David Klinghoffer recently recounted here, it’s not unusual to find interstitial telomeric sequences that have nothing to do with fusion events…”

    FALSEHOOD #5. Luskin’s source provides no evidence for Luskin’s claim that “it’s not unusual to find interstitial telomeric sequences that have nothing to do with fusion events”.

    Luskin’s source, “Here”, is non-scientist attack dog David Klinghoffer, in an attack piece called, “It’s Cherry Picking Season”, at http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/its_cherry_pick_1062491.html.

    Klinghoffer’s source is dishonest creationist Richard Sternberg.

    Creationist Richard Sternberg’s source is: “Interstitial telomeric sequences (ITSs) are not located at the exact evolutionary breakpoints in primates,” Farré M, Ponsà M, Bosch M. (2009), Cytogenetic and Genome Research 124(2): 128-131.)

    But this paper does not assert that “it’s not unusual to find interstitial telomeric sequences that have nothing to do with fusion events.” This is Luskin’s invention.

    That’s 5 falsehoods, and I only read half of Luskin’s response.

    Here is the topic of this thread: creationist authorities lie to you. They make statements contradicted by the scientific sources they are themselves citing.

    BZ, Joe G, Steve P, why do you continue to treat Casey Luskin as an authority when he has been exposed as dishonestly quote mining and misrepresenting his sources again and again?

  115. John Kwok

    @ bz # 111

    Shrunk (#112) is correct. What Carl has done in exposing Klinghoffer et al. is indeed, “Complete victory for the forces of science. Total, abject, humiliating defeat for creationism.”

    And you have the chutzpah to demand that we “Stay focussed [sic]“? Why don’t you heed your own advice while you offer us nonstop disgressions regarding our academic credentials. (BTW, how could I attended MIT, since it hasn’t had paleobiologists on its faculty since the mid 1970s if not before?) Nor can I, a science literate Republican, understand your references to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and “Obamacare”. Whatever distinctions and parallels you are seeking to make are utterly irrelevant, period.

  116. @BZ: Let us indeed stay focussed.

    Focused on this: “Complete victory for the forces of science. Total, abject, humiliating defeat for creationism.”

  117. Shrunk

    Brilliant takedown, Diogenes (#114). Such a shame the DI does not allow comments on their website. I’m sure Luskin would have appreciated the constructive criticism, and modfied his article accordingly. :)

    One correction: While it is true, as you say in #5, that Luskin provides no evidence to support the assertion that interstitial telomeric sequences unrelated to fusion events are found in the genome, Carl has in fact provided that evidence in his article above. Which is of no help to the creationists, as the presence of a fusion is not confirmed just by the presence of such sequences. The fusion is demonstrated by the overall genetic sequence of the chromosome, in comparison to the unfused chimp chromosomes (including inactive centromeric sequences in the human chromosome). The claim that evolutionary biologists consider every single interstitial telomeric sequence to be the result of a fusion event is just another creationist strawman.

  118. Mike Elzinga

    bz asks:
    elzinga,
    I asked you if you graduated from MIT and you didn’t answer. using Cz’s standard answer that before you get answers from me. Did you graduate from MIT?

    Here is the problem you are having, bz. You live in and are operating within a community with an authoritarian mindset. In order to believe anything, you have to find the most impressive authority/father figure available and then take that authority’s word for it.

    The game of ID/creationism follows from the game of sectarian apologetics; namely pitting one “authority” against another “authority” and believing the one who most captures your emotional commitment. ID/creationism is sectarian religion seeking to dominate. Google “wedge document.”

    Science is not done by exegesis, hermeneutics, etymology, and generalized word-gaming by people who cover themselves with colorful vestments, who append their names with many titles and letters, and who look down their noses at you with the most intimidating glare. That is the province of authoritative and repressive sectarians.

    Nature doesn’t care how many letters one appends to his/her name. Nature doesn’t care how much plumage a human adorns himself with in order to intimidate and subdue other humans.

    You are a slave of authoritarianism; and you have become lazy and flaccid in your intellectual development. You want an impressive authority figure to bedazzle and entertain you and make you feel important in his presence. Then you will simply acquiesce to anything he tells you. I’m not going to give that to you.

    I might be a liar. Why should you believe me? Why do you care what colorful robes I wear or how many letters come after my name, or from which institution I may or may not have obtained those letters? How would you possibly know if I or anyone else did anything with those letters after we may or may not have left those prestigious or not prestigious institutions? And you will just try to pit one “authority figure” against another without ever checking out anything for yourself.

    The point is that you can check this stuff out for yourself. You don’t have to believe me or anyone else because they can bedazzle and enthrall you with robes and learned-sounding patter and “impressive credentials.”

    Go learn on your own. That is how one does science. It’s not a sectarian war game.

  119. @Shrunk: “Such a shame the DI does not allow comments on their website.”

    I went up against Luskin a couple of time during the brief periods when ENV was open to comments: on feathered dinosaurs and junk DNA. In both cases I was kicking his tail. Then they got in the last word, some snark, and closed all further comments.

    What’s that saying about how debating creationists is like playing chess with pigeons?

  120. Shrunk

    PZ Myers is considering using this affair as the subject of his next podcast:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/25/hey-gang-lets-put-on-another-podcast/

  121. bz

    shrunk,

    CZ says he has learned a lot since he first asked the question of Casey. this means he had less knowledge then than he had less knowledge then than he does now, supposing what he has learned is not just more guessing and speculation.

    and John Roberts is a perfect analogy. regardless of the evidence and rules, Roberts had his eye on outcomes. I spot that on both sides but Darwinist persist doing this. this forum is ripe with Darwinists showing that they refuse to consider evidence. I look at all evidence from both sides and have yet to be convinced either side is right.

    say my belief sends a person to the gas chamber if I either subscribe to ID or Darwinism. I would say there is reasonable doubt for both cases. but on style alone Casey is ahead and no one has created a concise rebuttal to his argument. you guys are all flailing around with zero focus. Casey’s style is totally focused.

    how about agreement on one single rebuttal and we forward that to Casey and tell him to deal with just this one rebuttal. of course kwok and anyone can contribute but make the rebuttal a consensus. or employ PZ to do the answer for you.

  122. bz

    elzinga,

    I am not in the ID camp. not a republican or democrat. I am tea party … small government, low tax ron Paul type person except he is nuts. I see Darwinists as vastly more authoritarian than the ID camp. waging billions trying to fin life on Mars or all those wasted computer cycles and electricity doing SETI. lenski is doing real science and thus far getting citrate to be eaten in an oxygen environment by his e Coli shows he wasted a lot of time and generated”good evidence” evolution is not real … but we need to give him more time and maybe he will create some results. in other words, keep an open mind.

    and I broke my own rule and wrote to you … pretty much clear to all you did not get into the front door at MIT. when you tried to post ideas about biology over on Pandas Thumb even your fellow Darwinists were appalled by your ignorance of basic principles. do try science on your own asnamself self help project.

    Diogenes, if you sign on to the official repudiation of Casey’s response then that will be you getting your say. when there is a final response all agree to Casey can not ignore it and we all start acting a little bit more like adults than third graders.

    the key is to get down to the essential issues and see how things shake out. my guess is that ID people like Casey may come to the table with a priori assumption (that God did it) but anticipating the Darwinist rebuttal pretty certain it will contain a priori assumptions as well … the butcher’s finger will be on the scale.

  123. John Kwok

    @ bz,

    Just quit while you’re ahead please. Do you honestly think I have time to write a rebuttal to Luskin? I don’t.

    We’re not” flailing”, bz. Only someone who seems out of touch with reality would arrive at such a conclusion. I believe you should heed Ken Miller’s advice with respect to this:

    “say my belief sends a person to the gas chamber if I either subscribe to ID or Darwinism. I would say there is reasonable doubt for both cases. but on style alone Casey is ahead and no one has created a concise rebuttal to his argument. you guys are all flailing around with zero focus. Casey’s style is totally focused.”

    He has said that those who belong to faiths hostile to science should reject them. Maybe it’s time you reject yours.

    P. S. Given his rock star looks, Casey Luskin should try another job, say, maybe as a backup guitarist in the Katy Perry band (which would make sense since her father is a Xian minister).

  124. John Kwok

    @ Diogenes,

    I am glad Steve Proulx opted to pay Carl a visit here. He’s been tormenting a lot of us for years over at Panda’s Thumb as “SteveP”, opting for infantile behavior instead of anything remotely resembling a rational discussion. If you check back at RBH’s thread, I finally figured out who SteveP is, based on his “drive by” visit here.

  125. John Kwok

    @ bz,

    This observation of yours about Ron Paul is the only lucid, intelligent observation you’ve posted here: “…..low tax ron Paul type person except he is nuts.” It’s because of people like you that I can’t bring myself to support the Tea Party Movement with enthusiasm, even though I have identified myself as a Conservative Republican with a very pronounced Libertarian bias.

    For someone not trained in the biological sciences, Mike Elzinga is far more reasonable and accurate than you are willing to give him credit for.

  126. Mike Elzinga

    bz complains:
    say my belief sends a person to the gas chamber if I either subscribe to ID or Darwinism.

    That’s a pretty lame excuse for having already given up on ever learning anything for the rest of your life.

    One can go online and find the curriculum requirements for 8th grade science in the science standards of many states, and they include more than you apparently are willing to learn. And then you have to grapple with high school science (chemistry, physics, and biology; oh my!). It appears from your comments here that you don’t stand a chance.

    Have you downloaded those court cases yet; especially the transcripts of the shenanigans that took place during the Kitzmiller case?

    I would say there is reasonable doubt for both cases. but on style alone Casey is ahead and no one has created a concise rebuttal to his argument.

    That’s a problem, you see. Luskin is writing fiction. Style trumps substance in fiction when one is trying to con an audience. It’s a well-practiced skill. Instead of learning science, your dear leaders in ID/creationism learn the art of demagoguery. It’s a very old art practiced by political animals everywhere. Lee Atwater had his protégé, Karl Rove, learned it by spending time among fundamentalists who foment against secular society and all the evils of other churches and other people. Perhaps you don’t know about it because you have trusted the wrong people for too long. You could learn a lot by learning the history of ID/creationism.

    Have you ever heard of science fiction? Do you have the tools and horsepower to detect the differences between science fiction, pseudoscience, and real science? Real science writing requires understanding real scientific concepts. Carl Zimmer has the understanding of real science. Luskin flunks; but then you have no way of knowing that. So the burden is on you to learn for yourself.

    We aren’t going to hold you hand while you continue to pee all over yourself. Go look at those court cases. They don’t require a PhD in science to understand what when on; especially if you actually read the transcripts as well as the judges findings. You can read I hope. (Hint: Read for comprehension.)

    and I broke my own rule and wrote to you … pretty much clear to all you did not get into the front door at MIT. when you tried to post ideas about biology over on Pandas Thumb even your fellow Darwinists were appalled by your ignorance of basic principles. do try science on your own asnamself self help project.

    This is a standard creationist taunt to tweak people’s egos; and it demonstrates very clearly that you have indeed studied and learned the tactics of the ID/creationists. Your cover is blown. Pretty clumsy of you; but what else could you do?

  127. Shrunk

    bz,

    Your idol Casey Luskin has been rebutted. Deal with it.

    How are we supposed to offer a response directly to Casey when he does not even allow comments on his blog? And why do you think that is, bz? Because he’s interested in open and honest debate?

  128. bz

    kwok,

    count how many posts you place here, ots of time for that. if you want to pass On the response I fully understand why.

    elzinga, you ignore the point where even pandas thumpers found your claims just plan silly. even those extremist … very authoritarian Darwinist see you can’t detect fact from fiction.

    figuring out MIT would not have you isn’t hard to do. my son didn’t get in either.

    shrunk,

    why not help in Carl in the response to Casey? rather than trying to change the subject by branding me a member of team ID the focus should be on creating a smack down on Casey based on the answer he just gave to Carl.

    Carl started the fight by taking a shot at Casey and then complained that he got no answer to his question. and then when Casey posts the answer that Carl asked for you guys all run away after whining Casey won’t answer.
    you aren’t happy when Casey hadn’t answered and you aren’t happy now and try to shift the focus. I was ready to ask Ann for an answer to Carl’s question and go the extra mile and now no one wants to point out the many errors in what casey wrote with the possible exception of Carl, now he has learned more and/or PZ.

    and you guys don’t see how silly you look?

  129. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    I never applied to MIT, though I had friends who did, especially since it is a popular choice for college for those applying from my high school alma mater. However, it was never on my radar screen of potential colleges and universities.

    Do me a favor and start acting your chronological age for once! Ann Gauger’s comments have been refuted in spectacular fashion by Carl and several others.

    Give it a rest please. You’re acting as silly as Steve Proulx has done for years as SteveP over at Panda’s Thumb.

  130. @BZ:

    “rather than trying to change the subject… the focus should be on creating a smack down on Casey based on the answer he just gave to Carl.”

    Which I wrote already, in comment #114. Smacked… down. Can you read plain English?

    “then when Casey posts the answer that Carl asked for you guys all run away”

    I already smacked down Casey Luskin, in comment #114. Smacked… down. Can you read plain English? How is that running away? I ran towards Casey, so I could smack…him… down. Done and done.

    “you aren’t happy when Casey hadn’t answered and you aren’t happy now”

    I’m very happy. I had a lot of fun smacking down Casey Luskin in comment #114. Can you read plain English?

    The subject of this thread is Casey Luskin’s dishonest quote mining and his dishonest paraphrases of the scientific sources he references (very indirectly) in his creationism book, which have been effectively exposed by Zimmer.

    BZ keeps trying to change the subject to bizarre topics, like Gauger and the fact that she used to work at MIT before she went full creationist; with her current aversion to the scientific method, she does not, and cannot, work there now. The janitors at MIT understand the scientific method better and have more intellectual integrity than Gauger.

    BZ is trying to switch to argument-from-fictional authority, because Luskin has been exposed as a liar.

    “and you guys don’t see how silly you look?”

    Casey Luskin is exposed as a dishonest quote miner who misrepresents his sources. BZ trusts an authority proven to be a liar. And he says we look silly.

    “this forum is ripe with Darwinists showing that they refuse to consider evidence.”

    Typical creationist attempt at changing the subject when his authorities are proven to be liars. BZ is attempting to interfere with any consideration of the evidence by constantly introducing new and increasingly bizarre ad hominem attacks.

    In this thread, Zimmer presented evidence showing that creationist Luskin quoted his sources out of context to reverse their meaning, and dishonestly paraphrased their conclusion. That is the evidence BZ must address.

    Instead of addressing that evidence, BZ wants to switch to endless ad hominems.

    “…but on style alone Casey is ahead”

    Here BZ informs us he cares about “style.” A moment ago he said he cared about “evidence.”

    “and no one has created a concise rebuttal to his [Luskin's] argument.”

    Luskin’s argument has been thoroughly rebutted by multiple authors, including Zimmer, McBride and myself.

    If you care about evidence, why would it matter if the rebuttal were concise? You have not addressed any of that evidence multiple authors presented, on the internet, for free. Unlike DI creationists, we don’t demand you buy our books.

    “elzinga, you ignore the point where even pandas thumpers found your claims just plan silly.”

    Of course this is irrelevant, and a lie. Elzinga comments often at PT and his comments are welcome.

    BZ is trying to switch to bizarre ad hominems because he trusts the authority Luskin who has been exposed as a liar.

    The reason why creationist like Luskin employ quote mining, and taking quotes out of context so as to reverse their meaning, is because he knows that there is no *concise* way to rebut a quote mine.

    Luskin also knows that the creationist audience [e.g. BZ, SteveP] have zero reading comprehension and must have everything repeated again and again and again.

    Fair enough. I shall repeat myself:

    The subject of this thread is Casey Luskin’s dishonest quote mining and his dishonest paraphrases of the scientific sources he references in his creationism book, which have been effectively exposed by Zimmer.

    BZ cannot handle that evidence, so like all creationists, he falls back on ad hominems. Without ad hominems, creationists have nothing.

  131. bz

    kwok,

    rather than claiming Ann was refuted you should back your self-serving declaration. your credentials can’t match hers and she published. I think it was a crooked analysis (in Ann’s view) by Ayala that put her over into the ID camp. Evidence based conversion. you have not demonstrated that you even understand Carl’s first question to Casey … much less Casey’s reply to Carl … both missives being the focus of this thread.

    Diogenes,

    I always search for truth when you post … still looking. where is creationism in Casey’s reply to Carl? it looks like an argument in evidence with a lot better style than I see here … sticks to a discussion of the topic … which we all should do, just as Carl instructed.

    a claim something has been disproven right after it was posted and with no discussion about what Casey said is either bizarre or weird, not sure which word is more apt. Just explain what you think Casey got wrong, histrionics are tiresome and not productive. you’ve shown zero evidence you understand what Casey might have gotten wrong. thus your ad nominee attack. like I read what you just wrote and it says not a word about what Casey got wrong. if you don’t believe me go back and read what you just took time to write.

    Carl is either in hiding or cooking up a reply. none of you guys are helping Carl and he already admitted a lack of depth of knowledge when he asked his question of Casey.

  132. BZ,

    “Just explain what you think Casey got wrong”

    I explained exactly what Casey got wrong, in great detail, when I smacked down his recent post, in my comment #114, where I showed he continued to misrepresent and dishonestly paraphrase his sources.

    “you’ve shown zero evidence you understand what Casey might have gotten wrong”

    I presented incontrovertible evidence about what Casey got wrong, when I smacked down his recent post, in my comment #114, where I showed he continued to misrepresent and dishonestly paraphrase his sources.

    “like I read what you just wrote and it says not a word about what Casey got wrong.”

    You did not read my comment #114, as your ignorant repetitious replies indicate. I showed exactly what Casey got wrong, when I smacked down his recent post, in my comment #114, where I proved he continued to misrepresent and dishonestly paraphrase his sources.

    “a claim something has been disproven right after it was posted and with no discussion about what Casey said is either bizarre or weird”

    I discussed what Casey said in detail when I smacked down his recent post, in my comment #114, where I showed he continued to misrepresent and dishonestly paraphrase his sources.

    “if you don’t believe me”

    I don’t believe you. I think you have an educational problem with a severe deficit in reading comprehension. Thus I must repeat and repeat. This is how I must talk to creationists. They have no reading comprehension. So we must repeat, repeat, repeat.

    The subject of this thread is Casey Luskin’s dishonest quote mining and his dishonest paraphrases of the scientific sources he references (very indirectly) in his creationism book, which have been effectively exposed by Zimmer. Creationist critics BZ, SteveP etc. cannot address this so they throw random garbage in random directions.

  133. Jess Tauber

    Given that the people who believe in Creationism or Intelligent Design tend to be either religious or conservative or both, my guess is that they prefer older published work rather than new, the latter tending to overwhelm their overly sensitive amygdalas. Perhaps they have a hard time integrating new findings into their belief systems. We could help them by re-writing new articles in ancient fonts on vellum and claiming they are recently rediscovered documents from the Library at Alexandria (or better yet found in old jars in caves in the Holy Land), and smuggled out by the faithful. Otherwise how will we ever know how many fused angel chromosomes can fit on the point of a pin?

  134. bz

    dogenenes,

    in 114 you appear to rehashing old issues so that is not responsive to his new response to Carl, tiresome to read old stuff. focus on what Casey just replied. try anyway. quote mining is a way way old complaint out of the past. Carl wanted an answer and got one, let stick to the present case. try to focus. like this -> Casey said x,y,z and x,y,z is clearly wrong because of a,b,c.

    quantity of letters absent quality of thought behind typing is not interesting. I am not sure if Carl is right or wrong but he makes points much more clearly than you do and so does Casey. not sure if he is right or wrong. even after reading 114 … which suggests you don’t either.

  135. @BZ: what are you talking about?

    “in 114 you appear to rehashing old issues so that is not responsive to his new response to Carl, tiresome to read old stuff. focus on what Casey just replied.”

    What do you think I just did? In my comment #114, I demolished Luskin’s latest post, here:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_the_litera_1062521.html

    That is as of now his latest post at ENV. Now if you call that “rehashing old issues”, then you must admit Luskin is just repeating himself.

    “quote mining is a way way old complaint out of the past.”

    Because creationists have been practicing dishonest methods and lying outright for 50 years. You know how many quote mines there are in “Genesis Flood” (1961)?

    The fact that it is an old complaint should embarrass you. You should be ashamed.

    We will never stop complaining about quote mining. We will not change the subject until Luskin apologizes.

    Without quote mining and ad hominem attacks, creationists have nothing. We demand an apology from Casey Luskin.

    “let stick to the present case. try to focus.”

    Who are “us” in “let’s”? We are sticking to the present case. The creationists here, BZ, SteveP, Joe G, keep trying to change the subject because they know their authorities were exposed.

    The subject of this thread is Casey Luskin’s dishonest quote mining and his dishonest paraphrases of the scientific sources he references (very indirectly) in his creationism book, which have been effectively exposed by Zimmer. Creationists got trounced, but cannot admit it so they keep trying to change the subject. We will not change the subject. The forces of science triumphed. The endarkelment got trounced.

  136. Shrunk

    I must thank you, bz, for your enlightening and informative posts here. Not that you have anything of the slightest value to offer on the topic of evolutionary biology. No, rather your writing here helps explain how creationism has managed to persist despite a 50 year history of failing to provide even the smallest scrap of scientific evidence to support it. (And, incidentally, you also provide an illustration of the mentality that has allowed the Tea Party to exist.)

    bz, you have shown yourself completely unable to engage in the scientific evidence on this issue, instead basing your appraisal on the “style” of someone’s writing, or the university from which they graduated. But such concerns are completely irrelevant to determining the validity of a scientific claim. It would be tempting to say you do so because you are too ignorant on matters of science to be able appraise the scientific worth of these articles, and too lazy to educate yourself so that you would be able to do so. But I think there is something else at play here.

    The most fundamental principle of science is that one’s conclusions must be based on objective, empirical EVIDENCE, not one’s ideological presuppostions. And what this means is that the pursuit of the evidence may compel one to question and even abandon beliefs that have been crucial in forming a person’s world view. So people deny the the science of climate change in order to avoid accepting that they must make changes in their lifestyle to address this problem. And creationists reject evolution in order to maintain their childish belief in God as their own personal wizard who created all animals and humans by magic. (It is, of course, perfectly possible to reconcile theism and evolution, but this requires a more nuanced and sophisticated theology than fundamentalists are willing to adopt.)

    In your case, bz, it seems the belief you refuse to abandon is one in a powerful conspiracy of Marxist, materialist scientists, politicians and judges (amongst whom you laughably
    include John Roberts!) who form their arguments in order to reach a predetermined conclusion. (In which case, your posts also offer a textbook illustration of the psychological mechanism of “projection.”) What you need to understand is that, even if such a conspiracy actually existed, it wouldn’t change the SCIENTIFICALLY DEMONSTRATED FACT that the human chromosome 2 is the result of the fusion of two chromosomes that stil exist in their separate, ancestral form in the chimpanzee. And that this is because we share common ancestry with the chimpanzee.

  137. Shrunk

    bz writes (#132)

    “none of you guys are helping Carl and he already admitted a lack of depth of knowledge when he asked his question of Casey.”

    I again ask you to substantiate this accusation that Carl has admitted to this alleged “lack of depth of knowledge” on this blog. Your previous attempt to answer the request (comment #121) was simply a vague, uncited claim that Carl said he had learned something by researching his response to this question. That is not at all the same thing as admitting to a “lack of knowledge.” Even the most knowledgeable person in the world on a topic can still learn more by doing more research.

    So please provide the SPECIFIC QUOTE in which Carl confirms your allegation. Otherwise, we will have to conclude that your are emulating your creationist heroes by practicing the art of lying.

  138. John Kwok

    @ Diogenes (# 114) -

    I finally got a chance to look at Luskin’s retort earlier this morning courtesy of Nota Bene, the Dishonesty Institute’s samizdat e-mail propaganda rag. Not surprisingly he concludes with this whopper:

    “So my main, or ‘key’ point on this topic is that Carl Zimmer and others can present all the evidence for human chromosomal fusion they wish, and it still doesn’t tell us whether we share a common ancestor with apes. Unfortunately, this crucial point has been lost in Zimmer’s clamor over a citation he could have found if he’d just read the book.”

    REALLY? Either the “Intelligent Designer” loves deception, or else, more probably, the fact that humans and chimpanzees share approximately 98% of their genomes does infer that humans, and therefore, the other Great Apes, share a common ancestry. The fact that we can now trace how those chromosomes have fused merely reinforces the shared common evolutionary history we have with chimpanzees and the other great apes.

    And of course, this is absolutely priceless coming from Luskin:

    “If Zimmer or anyone else would like to reply to my arguments in the chapter, they are most welcome to do so. But I suggest that in the future, they first consult the book.”

    No thanks. I’ll either read “Angela’s Ashes” again, or rather, more likely, finish reading Sean B. Carroll’s books.

  139. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    Well Luskin never had the author of “Angela’s Ashes” as his writing instructor. Maybe he ought to spend time in perfecting his writing, by having a seance with him……

    On a more serious note, what makes you think my credentials don’t match Gauger? Clearly I have a much better understanding of biological evolution and current evolutionary theory than she does. Both David Klinghoffer and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal are fellow alumni of my undergraduate Ivy League alma mater, but neither one really understands biology at all, and especially, in Jindal’s case, that is especially disappointing since he was a biology concentrator in college. (I believe Klinghoffer concentrated in religious studies.) Needless to say, my understanding of biological evolution and current evolutionary theory surpasses theirs too.

    I also welcome your additional commentary replete in its breathtaking inanity. You’re giving me more reasons why I am relieved that I never joined the Tea Party Movement, even if I endorse its goals for substantially lowering Federal taxes and reducing the size of the Federal Government. Since notable fellow Republicans like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney recognize the fact of biological evolution and that current evolutionary theory is the best scientific explanation for it, maybe you, as a Tea Party Movement member, should heed them by agreeing with them, not by imitating Ron Paul’s embrace of creationism and offering as “evidence” in support of your views, the mendacious Intelligent Design propaganda written by Klinghoffer, Luskin, and their colleagues at the Dishonesty Institute Ministry of Propaganda.

  140. Random Rambler

    bz said: “I see Darwinists as vastly more authoritarian than the ID camp. waging billions trying to fin life on Mars or all those wasted computer cycles and electricity doing SETI.”

    Darwinists (whatever that means) are authoritarian because they spend billions trying to find life on Mars and waste computer cycles and electricity doing SETI? I hope you can define what you mean by Darwinist here since I don’t think there is a logical connection here.

    And are you implying that Intelligent Design rules out the past or present possibility of life on Mars, nullifies the many other reasons for exploring Mars, and decides that extraterrestrial civilization cannot exist a priori? I thought the claim was that ID doesn’t have a position on who/what the designer is, just that biology requires intelligence on some level. Couldn’t an ID enthusiast be of the view that the “findings” of ID suggest the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence? Or why couldn’t the “designer” have seeded other worlds, including Mars? And why would ID rule out the possibility of biological transfer between Earth and Mars?
    Again, why are Darwinists (I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this term) required to support Mars exploration and SETI? I didn’t realize that SETI was so popular and dogmatic. I thought it generally struggled to stay afloat and did so via private donations.

    I don’t consider myself knowledgeable enough to declare who is or is not more dogmatic; the ID movement or that ambiguous group that you refer to as Darwinists. Perhaps it would be better to stick with data and facts than to play such a game anyway. Debates based on innuendo and character attacks are never constructive, in my experience.

  141. John Kwok

    @ Shrunk,

    I presume you’re being sarcastic (# 136) in your effusive praise of bz’s prose. It’s nearly as dreadful as Luskin’s. However, I do endorse all of your observations stated there, and I think this is a most apt assessement of bz’s behavior and intellect:

    “bz, you have shown yourself completely unable to engage in the scientific evidence on this issue, instead basing your appraisal on the ‘style’ of someone’s writing, or the university from which they graduated. But such concerns are completely irrelevant to determining the validity of a scientific claim. It would be tempting to say you do so because you are too ignorant on matters of science to be able appraise the scientific worth of these articles, and too lazy to educate yourself so that you would be able to do so. But I think there is something else at play here.”

  142. heleen

    @ bz #51
    You cite the Biologic Institute’s People page:
    Ann Gauger is a senior research scientist at Biologic Institute. Her work uses molecular genetics and genomic engineering to study the origin, organization and operation of metabolic pathways. She received a BS in biology from MIT, and a PhD in developmental biology from the University of Washington, where she studied cell adhesion molecules involved in Drosophila embryogenesis. As a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard she cloned and characterized the Drosophila kinesin light chain. Her research has been published in Nature, Development, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

    From this you conclude:
    Ann Gauger’s credentials look credible

    In fact, it is only possible to find the three mentioned publications for this A. Gauger: Nature 1985 (10 citations), Development 1987 (13 citations) and Journal of Biological Chemistry 1993 (80 cititations).

    That is one very marginal scientist.

  143. Shrunk

    @ John Kwok #139.

    You see, this is where Luskin shows how sneaky he can be. Taken just at face value, his statement is correct: The fusion of chromosome 2 is not evidence of common ancestry between humans and chimpanzees IF TAKEN BY ITSELF. That last phrase is the crucial bit, and demonstrates how Luskin is engaging in a straw man argument here.

    The fusion serves as evidence of common ancestry only when the human genome is compared to the chimpanzee genome, where it is found that the chromosome exists in its pre-fused state as two separate chromosomes. THAT is the evidence for common ancestry, and it is for all practical purposes irrefutable.

    Luskin, however, is pretending that the argument goes “Hey, look! We have a fused chromososome! That means we are descended from apes!” without any comparison between the two genomes. Of course, creationists readers with their ideological blinkers in place read his argument and take from it that there is no evidence for common descent, which is a blatant lie.

  144. John Kwok

    @ heleen,

    Indeed, yours is a most apt assessment. Typical creationists and their fans, like bz, tend to emphasize the academic credentials of their favorite “scientific” creationists – whether Young Earth, Old Earth or Intelligent Design – without going to the trouble of determining whether such “scientists” have had productive scientific careers. By any credible, reasonable, determination, Ann Gauger doesn’t have a productive, truly noteworthy, scientific career and should be viewed instead, as one “very marginal scientist”. Though bz insists on obsessing over the academic credentials of people like Mike Elzinga and myself, his focus should be instead on so-called “scientists” like Douglas Axe, Michael Behe, Ann Gauger, Scott Minnich, and Jonathan Wells; all of whom have had careers that should be described charitably as “marginal” at best, abysmal at worst.

  145. John Kwok

    @ Shrunk (# 144),

    What Luskin has done is a typical creationist “bait and switch” tactic. If he wants to be “right with GOD”, I think he needs a new vocation. Being a backup guitarist in the Katy Perry Band might be one that the Almighty might find worthy of HIS approval.

  146. Random Rambler

    Conveniently, the lack of a substantial scientific career is just evidence of a dogmatic Darwinian establishment that shuns skeptical thought and open inquiry.

  147. John Kwok

    @ Random Rambler,

    I have to conclude from your last comment (# 147) that you are an Intelligent Design creationist supporter. No credible person familiar with scientific peer review would make such an absurd observation. The “lack of a substantial scientific career” is not “just evidence of a dogmatic Darwinian establishment”. Behe and Minnich have had peer reviewed scientific papers published in notable scientific journals throughout their careers, but none of these had any implicit or explicit endorsement of Intelligent Design.

  148. John, do not jump to conclusions about Rambler. He might be satirizing ID propaganda.

  149. MAUCH

    I don’t know if comment #147 is talking about Carl Zimmer’s lack of scientific credentials but there is one huge difference. Zimmer is not asking us to believe him on his authority. What he is giving us is accurate detail from solid scientific research that we will then reference back to.

  150. David E. Levin

    Hi John,

    You wrote: “On a more serious note, what makes you think my credentials don’t match Gauger?”

    Gauger’s credentials are actually pretty weak as far as science goes. It looks to me that she got her Ph.D. about 25 years ago and then left science. That certainly does not make her an authority on anything.

  151. Mike Elzinga

    Shrunk says:
    Luskin, however, is pretending that the argument goes “Hey, look! We have a fused chromososome! That means we are descended from apes!” without any comparison between the two genomes. Of course, creationists readers with their ideological blinkers in place read his argument and take from it that there is no evidence for common descent, which is a blatant lie.

    It’s deliberate; they train for this.

    One of the main tactics of the ID/creationists is to use and abuse the rules of logic in attempting to “refute” science. Much of the formal and on-the-job training of an ID/creationist is to study logic and learn how to win debates. They don’t train for doing research.

    Thus many ID/creationists understand logic pretty well, but they accuse their opponents of abusing it and misapplying it. In this example in which Luskin wants to claim that fusion doesn’t prove common descent, Luskin is implicitly asserting that “Darwinists” are committing the error of “assuming the consequent,” i.e., that if P ⇒ Q, then Q ⇒ P. He knows it makes people angry. He is doing it on purpose.

    Furthermore, Luskin implies that “Darwinists” do this because of their prior commitment to “philosophical naturalism.” The gullible trolls who are taunting here are claiming essentially the same thing even though they have no clue about what any of it means.

    All these implications are projections on the part of ID/creationists. It’s is how they think science is done. Not only does it misrepresent the processes of science, it misrepresents how most people go about their daily lives receiving and learning from the input from the world around them. It misrepresents how we learn from studying not only the world around us but by studying the behavior of other people and how we learn just about anything.

    From this point on, it is an endless mud-wrestle of nit-picking over who understands reason and logic as they wallow into the quagmires of exegesis, hermeneutics, etymology, and word-gaming, arguing over the meanings of the meanings of the meanings of meanings. Just these alone reveal the sectarian roots and motivations of ID/creationists. The rest is stubborn ignorance and refusal to consider and weigh evidence.

    This is why getting hooked into a “debate” with an ID/creationist is useless. They are free to misrepresent and distort using the famous “Gish Gallop;” and their opponents are left with trying to cover vast swathes of subtle scientific concepts and processes in a time frame of roughly an hour. The ID/creationist finishes off by sneering, “Well, I see you haven’t been able to answer 99% of my arguments, therefore I win!”

    They know how to infuriate; and they work very hard at provoking their “enemies” in order to “prove” that “Darwinists” and scientists are mean-spirited God haters and persecutors of “God’s children.” These tactics are formally taught and practiced within the ID/creationist community. The Institute for Creation Research was one of the early pioneers of these tactics for attacking science and scientists. Duane Gish was a master at it; and he liked being referred to as a bulldog.

  152. Shrunk

    I’m pretty sure Random Rambler was joking in comment # 147, and just parodying the conspiracy theory creationists will typically use as an excuse for their complete failure to publish any evidence in the peer-reviewed literature.

  153. Mike,

    I wish you would write a book about your experiences with Gish and the ICR. The creationist argument that evolutionists are “thought police” who suppress dissent must be countered with the real history of YEC’s. In “The Creationists” Ronald Numbers does briefly touch upon the techniques used by YECs to drive OECs and theistic evolutionists out of religious schools, getting scholars fired and/or brought up on heresy charges before their church authorities (one such trial initiated by Gish.) Henry Morris in print cheered for the firing and expulsion of OECs and theistic evolutioists.

    But Numbers goes easy on the Anti-Darwinist thought police. We need to document this.

  154. John Kwok

    @ Diogenes -

    I believe Paul R. Gross and Barbara Forrest discuss at length, the intellectual chicanery being practiced by the Dishonesty Institute in their book “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design”. (I recommend the revised edition since it discusses the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial at some length, especially Barbara’s experience as a plaintiff witness.) As for Mike’s experience with Gish, ICR, etc. it’s been as a student of their mendacity, not as someone who has debated with them.

  155. @John,
    I know the dishonesty of the Discovery Institute and its political underpinnings have been documented.

    But we don’t have a central resource for YEC and ID activities as Thought Police, suppressing dissent, getting people fired, bringing them up on literal heresy charges, etc. This is especially true of the ICR. There is no neutral history of the ICR except for Numbers. There is no detailed history of their activities as bullies and Thought Police.

  156. John Kwok

    @ Diogenes -

    There are several online resources, including those at Panda’s Thumb, Talk Origins and the National Center for Science Education (http://www.ncse/com).

  157. John Kwok

    @ David E. Levin,

    Hi David, thanks for stopping by. I agree with what you said about Gauger, which is why I told bz that my credentials are better.

    MEMO TO ALL: David E. Levin has been the target of risible online nonsense from both Michael Behe and William Dembski, simply because he wrote to one, raising a legitimate question that, as a professional biochemist, he thought worthy to ask as one professional scientist to another. David is also the author of one of the best reviews of Michael Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits to Darwinism”.

  158. Where is this risible nonsense to which he has been subjected by Michael Behe and WIlliam Debmski?

    I recall that in a thread on Jonathan Sarfati’s creationist “Greatest Hoax on Earth”, Sarfati called Levin “Yeast sozzler” (drunk person) dozens of times, but could not answer scientific questions.

  159. David E. Levin

    Thanks John. In all honesty, I was not that charitable to Behe in my exchanges with him and called out his dishonesty early on. Dembski later threw our private communications up on Uncommon Descent here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/if-you-could-be-a-fly-on-the-wall-now-you-can/

  160. David E. Levin

    Diogenes,

    Yes, Sarfati is quite special in his childish behavior, even for a creationist. When he found himself trapped in an inescapable corner regarding the dual lines of evidence for uniformity in the formation of the Hawiian island chain over a period of 65 million years, he was reduced to name-calling. It’s one of my favorite examples for inducing creationist vapor-lock.

  161. John Kwok

    @ David,

    I know you weren’t charitable to Behe from the outset. I thought I’d mention it just to remind bz and others who think otherwise, that it is really a waste of time debating with creationists, period, even if they have – as does Behe – a Ph. D. in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. Had Carl opted to accept Klinghoffer’s “invitation”, I am certain he would have been subjected to more online character assassination from Klinghoffer, Luskin and Sternberg, and ad hominem attacks from them far worse than what they are dishing out now.

  162. David E. Levin

    It’s important to keep in mind that scientific truth is not decided in public debates. It is decided by the consensus of experts working in a particular field of study. As a consequence, folks who have not been active (i.e. publishing in the scientific literature) for many years, like Ann Gaugher, or Michael Behe, or Jonathan Sarfati, etc., or have never contributed to the scientific literature, have no standing and no ability to sway a scientific discipline through their work. The popular books and videos and debates are all about engaging and educating the public. But it’s purely a unidirectional flow of information (or disinformation, as the case may be).

  163. bz

    Diogenes,

    trim your claim and don’t express it as a generalization … focus. focus. focus

  164. bz

    David levin,

    Ann saw where Ayala was being dishonest in his claims for evolutiom. agree or disagree? try o contribute to science.

  165. bz

    kwok,

    your background does not appear to equip you to know if Behe is telling the truth or not. if Ayala was not telling the truth and levin did not point out his error then we have a parallel case to supreme court liberal justice making up fake law in defiance of the us constitution.

    Ann figures Ayala was less than candid and levin’s opinion appears conditioned by looking over his shoulder at the results required by his a priori assumptions.

    why not figure out if Ann’s rejection was based on evidence, let Levon be your guide since the science is way over your ability to deal with.

    your claim of superior credentials to Ann is one of. the most bizarre and silly things you have ever said.

    prove your claim.

    and levin correctly points out science is not subject to opinion polls … thus should rely solely on evidence then you point to the highly bigoted Barbara Forrest as an objective sourccenon DI. self referential as wel as relying on opinion from a prejudiced source says you have no case at all. And I am not a believer in ID. I do know how to spot propaganda … even Levin is engaging in it … which is beneath someone with his credentials.

  166. John Kwok

    @ David,

    Agreed, and your observations (@ 163) need to be restated all too often, merely to remind the likes of bz, Joe G, Steve Proulx, and others like them. Science is not a popularity contest, but instead, advances only by credible scientific research being conducted now. Those who have Ph. D. degrees but have not made any meaningful impact with regards to scientific research, should not be viewed as scientists, and that, especially, applies to the so-called “scientists” associated with the Dishonesty Institute and Biologic Institute.

  167. bz

    levin,

    funny how opinion is not supposed to matter and then look at the movie expelled to see how it did. the point I took away was not a belief in ID but how closed minded the Darwinists are. just the opposite of good science.

  168. David E. Levin

    BZ: “Ann saw where Ayala was being dishonest in his claims for evolutiom.”

    As I pointed out, Ann Gauger is not an authority and has not published in the scientific literature for nearly 20 years. Before that, she produced very little. Her ability to sway a scientific discipline from outside is zero. So your appeal to authority gets you nowhere.

    Now, I would be happy to consider Ayala’s specific claim and Gauger’s counterargument on their merits, if you wish to articulate them both.

  169. David E. Levin

    BZ: “the point I took away was not a belief in ID but how closed minded the Darwinists are.”

    Here again, you have missed my point. The movie Expelled was nothing more than creationist propaganda. It did not reflect reality in the world of science. It has no impact on the world of science. It was an appeal to people like you, who do not understand science.

    Something else you miss here is that there is no genuine scientific controversy with regard to the veracity of evolution. Common descent is a fact. Evolutionary biologists are still working to understand the multiple mechanisms that drive evolution, but the fact that it is responsible for the variety of life we see today is not in question. To assert otherwise is to be ignorant of the evidence.

  170. John Kwok

    @ bz,

    I received a review copy of Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism” and understood it immediately. In that book, Behe cites the Plasmodium malarial parasite as a perfect example of Intelligent Design, not understanding at all that its interaction with humanity should be viewed as an ongoing co-evolutionary arms race between it and ourselves. He displays woeful ignorance of the adaptive landscape in population genetics (which even I, as someone, who is barely cognizant of population genetics, recognized instantly as I was reading his “description”), evolutionary ecology, and probability theory. (Independently of me, Dave Wisker came to the same realization with regards to Behe’s ignorance of evolutionary ecology.) He dismisses the Red Queen, which is the fundamental principle explaining coevolution, and mocks the classic “Spandrels of San Marco” scientific paper written by the late Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, which was their well-reasoned critique of the “adaptationist program” then in vogue in evolutionary biology and led to Gould’s coining the term “aptation” as a more rigorous means of defining what a trait is. I don’t need to have as extensive a background in biochemistry as Behe and Levin have merely to understand, as I noted in the title of my Amazon review of Behe’s book, that all Behe did was to demonstrate quite persuasively that he has descended into an “abyss of reason” of his own making, by writing a book replete with scientific errors and indicating his profound ignorance of much of contemporary evolutionary biology.

  171. Shrunk

    Cripes, bz, now you’re citing “Expelled” as evidence? Is there no source of disinformation so mendacious and riddled with lies that you will not believe it?

    Oh, I forgot: You’re a Teabagger. Never mind, silly question.

  172. Shrunk

    Meanwhile, in the world of reality, as opposed to Creationist Fantasyland, who really gets unjustly “expelled” for their views on evolution?

    http://www.pe.com/local-news/topics/topics-education-headlines/20120510-riverside-la-sierra-professor-board-members-dismissed.ece

  173. David E. Levin

    These religious institutions that insist on staking a claim outside of our objective reality are finding themselves increasingly embattled. They fight a losing battle. Reality always wins.

  174. The Pale Scot

    The Biologic Institute? Isn’t that located in Helsinki? I understand their face creams are fabulous for removing laugh lines. Great business model, if you don’t die laughing from at them ya gotta go buy the cream to get that “youthful glow” back.

    And commenter Diogenes in an earlier thread said something about needing hash tags on twitter to designate intelligent design.

    My submission; #UmpaLumpaLogy

  175. John Kwok

    @ The Pale Scot -

    Don’t tell me that Casey Luskin really is Willy Wonka!

  176. Mike Elzinga

    Diogenes says:
    Mike,
    I wish you would write a book about your experiences with Gish and the ICR.

    Others are doing a fine job at this: and it is a great relief to those of us old geezers who used to deal with this crap on a local level all across the country. Nationally coordinated efforts finally came in the 1980s along with the formation of the National Center for Science Education. That organization has become a great source and clearing house of information; they monitor what is going on in the US and are beginning to coordinate with similar organizations in other countries.

    I never had any direct contact with Gish even though he lived in the same community as I did. Gish harassed teacher friends of mine who taught biology in that community.

    I, as did a number of my other colleagues, determined very early on that it would not be a good strategy to debate with any of those characters; they just seemed too weird and wacky. They still do.

    Back then it was rarely possible to win such a debate because the mere occurrence of the debate meant they already won by getting free publicity, a free ride on the back of a scientist, and money. None of the ID/creationist followers gave a damn about the science or scientific evidence. They just wanted to hoot and holler as they watched a scientist being skewered and roasted over the Flames of Hell by one of their slick heroes.

    At that time, many of the local scientists or university instructors who debated creationists did not understand the demagogic tactics being used in those debates. They made the often fatal error of trying to scurry around and explain the science while Gish, or those he and Morris trained, would do the old Gish Gallop. I witnessed a rather dramatic skewering and roasting of an instructor from a local university in upstate New York by creationist Walter T. Brown. But I got a good set of notes from watching Brown’s tactics.

    As John Kwok has already mentioned, I have been studying their misconceptions and misrepresentations of science as well as their socio/political tactics. I am certainly not the only one doing this. I also gave talks over a number of years informing people about what I and others have learned. I was not trying to attract the attention of ID/creationists; I was trying to educate the public, my coworkers, and my students. It was a local effort, before the internet and before the national coordination of information that resulted in the formation of the National Center for Science Education. We were seriously outgunned at the time; and we totally underestimated the national and political scope of the creationist movement.

    It is my contention that ID/creationists are most effectively taken down by knowledgeable “nobodies” coming out of nowhere and then disappearing back into nowhere. That deprives these sectarian demagogues of the stolen fame and celebrity they so crave. They don’t need to know anything about the people who take them down. A well informed public and a cadre of well informed and well prepared teachers can do that quite easily if those of us in the science community, along with our professional organizations, don’t remain aloof but instead are willing to help out by passing on what we have learned. We can do that locally much more easily now that we have the internet and the NCSE.

    Takedowns by excellent science journalists such as Carl Zimmer are also wonderful to behold; as are the kvetching and frantic subject changing going on amongst the ID/creationists. That fifty year old manure pile of ID/creationist dumping can now be loaded up and dumped right back on them. It’s their distinctive stench; and will stick to them from now on.

  177. bz

    levin,

    who gave you the authority to say Ann can’t judge Ayala (I think that is the person). I like to measure things rather than accept opinion … yours or Ann’s. are you familiar with the research that drove Ann out of the Darwinist camp?

    it would be instructive to how Darwinists, including our own Carl, create opinions if you gave your take on the same work. that would give everyone watching the ability to assess how you think vs how Ann thinks and for those of us just not at either your level of expertise a chance to get educated by both of you on a level playing field. hopefully Carl will permit that right here. up to him.

    prediction … you will balk at a side by side evaluation of the exact same scientific evidence. which in turn will confirm much belief about how Darwinists behave. …poorly and not connected to real science.

    also … I saw “Expelled” and the audience roared in laughter when Ben Stein asked Dawkins what caused life to happen. Simple question don’t you think? where was the propaganda in that question? the laughter happened after Dawkins tried to offer up an answer. Ben Stein did a take down and at the same time was in character as he was in Ferris Bueller, all that was missing is after Dawkins blowing the answer was to say “anyone? anyone?”. the movie didn’t persuade me to believe in ID but it did show that Darinism is on super shaky grounds.

  178. bz

    elzinga,

    unless Carl or the rest of you create a narrow focused response to Casey’s response to Carl then Casey just did a takedown of this entire forum including Carl and Lecin.

  179. bz

    kwok,

    while you claim you understand Behe’s ideas presented in “edge of evolution”, up you offer no evidence that you really do … just a self-serving declaration of your capacity. if you really do understand what he said about HIV and malaria then repeat his ideas here and then follow that up with why he is wrong.

    else there is no reason to trust your assertion.

    when YOU make an assertion, in this case YOUR claim that you understand Behe, then you need to provide evidence to back your claim or have your claim dismissed.

  180. Even if Klinghoffer’s scenario of more-ancient-fusion was true, I fail to see how that would make a case against evolution. Anyway, bless you that Klinghoffer gave up on you. Alas, some troll-bz never do.

  181. Shrunk

    A “narrow, focussed takedown” of Casey Luskin’s response:

    Carl Zimmer and others accuse him of misrepresenting this paper in his book, by claiming that the paper states that evidence contradicts the fusion of chromosome 2:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC187548/

    Luskin, in his response, admits that in fact the paper says not such thing. After offering a number of half-baked and unsupported excuses for why he does not accept the conclusion of the paper (detailed by Diogenes in #114 above), and spending paragraphs arguing that the fusion did not occur , he then completely contradicts and undermines himself by admitting “there is good evidence that human chromosome 2 is composed of two fused chromosomes.”

    Game over.

    Now, are you going offer the susbstantiation of the accusation you make against Carl Zimmer, which I requested up in #138? Or will we just have to conclude that this is another blatant creationist lie?

  182. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    One of the most ludicrous assertions by Behe regarding the Plasomodium malarial parasite in “The Edge” is that the point mutations he refers to had to occur simultaneously, when others have noted that they didn’t have to occur all at once, but gradually, as predicted by evolution. Not only did I critique Behe on his abysmal understanding of probability theory, but so too have Ken Miller (in his Nature review) and Richard Dawkins (in his The New York Times Book Review) and many, many others.

    The fact that both Dave Wisker and I arrived independently of each other with the sad, but true, conclusion that Behe displays a profound ignorance of evolutionary ecology in “The Edge” should have registered already in your intellectually-challenged mind, bz; in other words, many others have also realized this too without any prompting from either Dave or myself.

    What Shrunk has said regarding Luskin (@ 181) also applies to you:

    “Game over.”

    I endorse what he has said regarding your breathtaking inanity, bz, and also demand this from you too:

    “Now, are you going offer the susbstantiation of the accusation you make against Carl Zimmer, which I requested up in #138? Or will we just have to conclude that this is another blatant creationist lie?”

  183. John Kwok

    @ bz,

    What gives Dave Levin “the authority” to criticize Ann is that Dave is a professional biochemist with a longstanding track record of peer-reviewed published scientific papers, while Ann’s own record is virtually nonexistent. (Are you now going to suggest that Guillermo Gonzalez, the Intelligent Design creationist cosmologist, mentioned in “EXPELLED” has a scientific publication history worthy of comparison with noted Harvard University physicist Lisa Randall? If you do, then you need to embark on remedial science education, not only in biology, but in physics too.)

    “Darwinists” DO NOT “create opinions”. Science is not a popularity contest, as others, including Dave Levin, have noted already. It is based on rigorously conducted scientific research that passes peer review and is thten published in notable scientific journals like Nature, Science, Evolution, Genetics, Paleobiology, Ecology, American Naturalist, etc. etc. Again given the fact that Ann Gauger’s own scientific publication history is virtually nill, then Dave Levin has every right to regard her as a very mediocre scientist.

  184. Shrunk

    @ John Kwok #183.

    Another explanation of how Behe fails to understand basic probability is given here:

    http://sfmatheson.blogspot.ca/2008/08/behe-botches-basic-probabilityhow.html

    Remember, the entire thesis of his book is based on probability calculations, and yet he is manifestly unable to perform such calculations at even the level one would expect from a high school student. “Unable,” or perhaps unwilling. It beggars belief that someone could achieve a PhD in biochemistry with such a level of mathematical illiteracy. The more likely explanation, to my mind, is that he is fully aware of the errors he is making, but is counting on his audience consisting entirely of gullible sycophants like bz, who will swallow this propaganda whole without questioning its validity.

  185. Shrunk

    BTW, I have just sent an email to one of the authors of the Genome Research paper, informing her of how the DI has misused it. One would expect that Luskin, being a lawyer,would be aware of the potential ramifications of deliberately misrepresenting a person in print….

  186. John Kwok

    Shrunk (@ 185),

    I hadn’t seen Steve Matheson’s takedown of Behe’s woeful understanding of probability theory, but it is the most lucid I can think of. It’s even better than Mark Chu-Carroll’s takedown of Behe’s woeful understanding of the fitness (adaptive) landscape:

    http://scienceblogs.com/goodmath/2007/05/31/behes-dreadful-new-book-a-revi-1/

  187. David E. Levin

    BZ to John Kwok: “while you claim you understand Behe’s ideas presented in “edge of evolution”, up you offer no evidence that you really do”

    John has a very good understanding of Behe, as do I. The long and short of it is that Behe accepts most of what the science tells us, including common ancestry of species. His lone gripe against evolution is his perception that certain important evolutionary changes would have required multiple mutations before any selective advantage were to appear. These changes, he argues, based on the low frequency of chloroquine resistance in plasmodium (which requires two specific mutations), would require help from an intelligent agent. However, he gives us no reason to think that selection of chloroquine resistance is a suitable model for natural selection in the wild. The fact is that chloroquine resistance in plasmodium is the consequence of a deliberate and concerted effort by humans to cause the extinction of this species. Only 1 in 10^18 parasites can survive this drug, yet that 1 mutant has arisen several times independently. Why should anyone imagine that this is a good model for natural selection pressures, which typically select mutants with a very modest 1-10% reproductive advantage over the rest? We know that by relaxing selection pressures, we allow a larger constellation of mutations to answer a particular selection. So why set some arbitrary mark at such an extreme selection level that would never be approached in nature?

  188. Shrunk

    Behe makes a more basic error, which is related to your point, David.

    Behe’s position is this: If there is a trait that requires two mutations to occur, both of which are detrimental individually but when combined are beneficial, this cannot occur thru Darwinian evolution. His reasoning is that such a trait cannot arise thru step-wise mutations, because the individual mutations would be eliminated by natural selection. So such traits could only arise if both mutations occur simultaneously in the same individual. And this is so unlikely, that it could only occur thru the intervention of God – Oops! I mean the “Intelligent Designer.”

    That argument seems pretty persuasive, until you realize there is a fundamental error: Deleterious mutations are NOT invariablyly eliminated from the population. In fact, if a mutation is not immediately fatal, it is quite likely to persist in the population, and could even become fixed by genetic drift. It is then available to be combined at a later date with the second “deleterious” mutation, to produce the beneficial trait. (In sexually reproducing organisms, the odds of this happening increase even further, as both mutations could exist separately in the population, then be combined in a single individual thru recombination.)

    Behe’s calculations neglect this possibility and are, therefore, worthless. His argument is subtle, but no less wrong for that.

    Read more here:

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2012/01/understanding-mutation-rates-and.html#more

    The other point I have always “liked” about Behe’s argument is how he acknowledges its theological implications: Basically, he is saying that God is deliberately altering the genome of the malaria parasite so that it will be resistant to antibiotics and remain one of the world’s leading causes of death. Thank you, Jesus! Praise the Lord!

  189. @BZ: are you just a liar, or do you have serious trouble understanding plain English?

    You appear determined and resolute in your mendacity to promote the lie that Casey Luskin has “refuted” the evidence that he was quote mining, and that we have no response to Luskin’s “refutation.” Thus:

    BZ writes: “unless Carl or the rest of you create a narrow focused response to Casey’s response to Carl then Casey just did a takedown of this entire forum including Carl and Lecin.[sic]“

    BZ is lying, and he has made this same claim a dozen times. As I have repeated again, and again, and again, I *ALREADY* wrote a narrow, focused response to Luskin’s latest piece in my comment #115 (used to be #114, it changed.) I pointed out 5 falsehoods in Luskin’s latest piece here:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_the_litera_1062521.html

    BZ has made this accusation several times; I and others have refuted it several times, yet he persists. Who does he think he’s fooling?

    It is now a question not in evolution, but in abnormal psychology.

    What is BZ’s pathology? Is he a pathological liar, or does he have some kind of severe reading impairment?

    BZ, do not appear in this thread again unless you address the evidence I presented in comment #115 showing that Casey Luskin is a liar and hypocrite.

    In comment #115 I showed that Luskin has doubled down on his lies about the scientific literature. BZ: address the evidence I presented in comment #115. Address it or go away.

  190. bz

    Diogenes,

    “Thus, the shortening of the telomeric region would be pre-fusion, and a cause of fusion, rather than being due to random mutations that occur post-fusion, as Luskin assumes erroneously. Yuxin Fan et al. call this possibility (1).”

    this is not a take down of Casey, no need for him to consider a response to this. Clearly when they guessed they went into pure speculation and left science. Casey’s mistake was using them as a source in the first place. He got sucked in Darwinist thought that is mere guesswork so no one has established anything one way or the other about commonality. which may be what Casey said elsewhere.

  191. Shrunk

    You overlook one thing, bz: The mechanism proposed has been directly observed, and therefore is not “speculation” (Carl provides the relevant references just above. You did read that, right?) So your attempted rebuttal fails.

    That quote also appears half way down Diogenes’ post. So we can take it you have no rebuttal to offer to the preceding parts of the post, and it stands as a comprehensive takedown of Luskin’s pathetic lying screed.

    Are you not going to provide the quote I requested to substantiate your accusation against Carl Zimmer? If not, we can finally confirm you are a liar.

  192. John Kwok

    Shrunk,

    You’re not the first one to note this (# 189), but I also agree with Dave Levin’s assessment (# 188):

    “Behe makes a more basic error, which is related to your point, David.”

    “Behe’s position is this: If there is a trait that requires two mutations to occur, both of which are detrimental individually but when combined are beneficial, this cannot occur thru Darwinian evolution. His reasoning is that such a trait cannot arise thru step-wise mutations, because the individual mutations would be eliminated by natural selection. So such traits could only arise if both mutations occur simultaneously in the same individual. And this is so unlikely, that it could only occur thru the intervention of God – Oops! I mean the ‘Intelligent Designer.’”

    Your observation really emphasizes just how “ad hoc” Natural Selection can be as an evolutionary mechnanism, as evidenced by the thumb of the Panda or the presence of the sickle cell trait in Africans and Afro-Americans; whereas in the former, the sickle cell confers resistance against disease; in the latter, it becomes a serious health liability that may result in sickle cell anemia.

  193. @BZ:

    “this is not a take down of Casey, no need for him to consider a response to this. Clearly when they guessed they went into pure speculation and left science.”

    They were not “guessing”; there is experimental evidence showing that shortened telomeres lead to chromosomal fusion, as descibed by Zimmer in the OP. That is experimental evidence– something creationists cannot cite because it’s never on their side.

    Do creationists have any evidence that chromosomes with full-length telomeres fuse as easily as those with shortened telomeres? No? Then they’re the ones guessing. Unlike scientists, creationists have no evidence to base their statements on.

    (Am I the only one who has noticed that whenever a sentence begins with “Clearly” the rest of the sentence is a statement for which the author has no evidence?)

    BZ: “Casey’s mistake was using them as a source in the first place.”

    Not a mistake, a lie– because their results showed the opposite of what Casey said, and you are a liar if you cite a source and describe its results as being the opposite of what they wrote.

    If we e-mail the authors of the Yuxin Fan et al. 2002 paper, I want to see what happens when they weigh in on this.

  194. bz

    shrunk,

    Behe’s position is this: If there is a trait that requires two mutations to occur, both of which are detrimental individually but when combined are beneficial, this cannot occur thru Darwinian evolution. His reasoning is that such a trait cannot arise thru step-wise mutations, because the individual mutations would be eliminated by natural selection. So such traits could only arise if both mutations occur simultaneously in the same individual. And this is so unlikely, that it could only occur thru the intervention of God – Oops! I mean the “Intelligent Designer.”

    it has been years since I read Edge but here’s what I think your analysis is of his point … Behe goes deeply into the math of how often double mutations , thus a tool to MEASURE evolution. From the math on malaria et al he shows evolution only does small stuff and not unlikely events often enough for evolution to explain anything.

    this is exactly why lenski does his e Coli experiment and the Lenski results match Behe’s prediction … the sole result of note by Lenski’s e Coli is that they can metabolize citrate in an an O2 environment and this result happened from a loss of genetic information. and other e Coli strains already metabolized O2 in an oxygen environment .
    lenski has demonstrated stasis.

    go back and address the math of Behe to get your head into what he was saying.

    lenski has used a whole lot of imitations and gotten nowhere. and his experiment is rightly referred to as “time in a bottle”.

    consider how man humans there has been since the split and how many mutations might have happened where most went nowhere. humans have been a species around 300,000 years or less. my issue with Darwinism is when you try to measure it you can’t find evidence it actually happened.

    But this does not imply ID, does leave it open as a possibility.

    the takeaway point here is when you have a false idea of what a person is saying, in this case abehe, then you are dealing in strawmqn arguments. My take is that no one,including Carl and Casey, have established man does or does not have a common ancestor from what I’ve read here. of course I haven’t read the book and only have the Darwinist side of things and Casey on Carl’s POV so it may be the book has better arguments than this. Carl has established nothing as far as I can tell and neither has Casey.

  195. bz

    Diogenes,

    “They were not “guessing”; there is experimental evidence showing that shortened telomeres lead to chromosomal fusion, as descibed by Zimmer in the OP.”

    is it their opinion of the evidence? why not 50 reasons what MIGHT have happened? if they don’t establish an actual causal link then they are guessing. which is why Casey shou
    d not have used what they said. to a YEC I said: “if you never read or heard of the Bible would you believe the agrand Canyon formed in a few thousands years and would you reject radio metric dating? How tall do you think Goliath was … in a Dead Sea Scroll exhibit that does establish the Bible is amazingly consistent over time it also shows exactly when the error got inserted in his heighth, from memory he was like 6 2 or 6 4, tall for his time but hardly a giant.

    athe same test applies to Darwinism, nothing in this discussion establishes man has a common ancestor or doesn’t. just a lot of guessing. when people are uncertain they get emotional, humans love certainty, find which gene controls that. trying to claim chemistry became biology and biology created the iPad is one huge stretch, and like the YEC people you can only believe chemistry implies my iPad I am typing on right now requires a massive leap of faith. sorry if I don’t jump through that hoop along with you.

  196. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    You should have written this:

    “…it has been years since I read Edge but…” David E. Levin and John Kwok have a much better understanding of it than I do and they, like me, haven’t read it in years either. “Behe goes deeply into the math…” and it is so deep that Mark Chu-Carroll, Jeffrey Shallit, Steve Matheson and others have resoundingly condemned his understanding and application of probability theory. (NOTE: Mine isn’t an argument to authority, bz, but a reminder that mathematicians like Chu-Carroll and Shallit and even “typical” biochemists like Matheson have understood instantly, Behe’s lame “smoke and mirror” probability “calculations”. I also realzied just how absurd Behe’s probability estimate was, noting that in my own Amazon review of it.)

    Reading a book does not confer the reader any understanding of a subject, period, that would suggest to others, that person’s mastery of the subject. Nor does not reading a book replete in the ample lies and gross distortions abd omissions of valid, credible, science, like any of those written by Dishonesty Institute staff, mean that yours truly, Carl Zimmer, David E. Levin and others critical of the Dishonesty Institute and Intelligent Design creationism don’t understand either the DI or ID at all. We do understand both quite well, bz, while your persistent complaints here merely illustrate just how foolish and ignorant you are of the DI’s motives in promoting ID propaganda and what is – and isn’t – valid, well-established science.

  197. Shrunk

    Way to go bz. You’ve now gone off on another tangent to further reveal the depth of your ignorance.

    Lenski’s work utterly demolished Behe’s claim, which is that a beneficial trait requiring two mutations could not possibly arise, even in billions of years. Lenski’s work produced such a trait requiring THREE mutations in a tiny population of organisms within only a couple decades. Trying to dismiss this with meaningless blather about “information” cannot obscure the simple fact: Behe said something could not possibly happen, experimentation proved that this could actually happen, and quite easily. Reality proved Behe wrong.

    You do realize, also, that you did not even remotely address the point I made. I have demonstrated that Behe cannot even do probability calculations at a high school level, so I see no reason why I should “address his math.” Instead, Behe should enroll in a remedial math course.

    And we’re still waiting for you to verify the statement you claim Carl Zimmer made. Are we going to have to be “hounding ducks” on this, too?

  198. bz

    kwok,

    you claimed you understood Behe There is no evidence that you do and evidence that you don’t.

    would like to see Carl with his writer skills summarize the gripes against Casey’s response and put a ribbon on it and we all let Casey know this is the official Carl blog response to his response to Carl’s first question. no fault in Carl asking the question except for not reading the book and I don’t think Casey should have used the source he did.

  199. bz

    shrunk,

    keeping it simple, lenski has demonstrated zero evidence for evolution and he uses a lot of e Coli to basically back the point of Behe.

  200. Shrunk

    bz,

    keeping it simple: You are wrong.

    Where’s the quote, bz? Where’s the quote?

  201. bz

    David,

    “John has a very good understanding of Behe, as do I.”

    what is your evidence for your claim that John Kwok understand Behe?

    “However, he gives us no reason to think that selection of chloroquine resistance is a suitable model for natural selection in the wild,”

    why is lenski running his experiment? my take is that these e Coli in a test situation tell us how mutations over time produce genetic change. do you have evidence that e Coli in the wild have a different rate of mutation? you are placing speculation into the discussion of abehe’s ideas that somehow another faster mutation rate might exist thatmshowsmhe is wrong. Both lenski and Behe are about the idea of measuring. that is how we discover things in science like when we got better measuring devices the electron was discovered.

    “The fact is that chloroquine resistance in plasmodium is the consequence of a deliberate and concerted effort by humans to cause the extinction of this species. Only 1 in 10^18 parasites can survive this drug, yet that 1 mutant has arisen several times independently. Why should anyone imagine that this is a good model for natural selection pressures, which typically select mutants with a very modest 1-10% reproductive advantage over the rest? ”

    because the inability to stamp out plasmodium relates directly to the math Behe uses. And Lenski is all about measuring the engine of evolution as well. who doubts his results reflect actual mutation rates of e Coli in the general population?

    “We know that by relaxing selection pressures, we allow a larger constellation of mutations to answer a particular selection. So why set some arbitrary mark at such an extreme selection level that would never be approached in nature?”

    did Lenski stress his e Coli to goose evolution out of them? I wouldn’t want to wait either if I were lenski. even as you do address the numbers it appears that your a priori beliefs (faith) keeps you from accepting Behe’s point which in turn says you don’t understand what he was saying … but you are vastly closer to understanding than kwok. there may well be some valid reasons to reject Behe’s POV but you didn’t present it.

  202. bz

    shrunk,

    “Where’s the quote, bz? Where’s the quote?”

    not sure what you are referring to.

  203. Shrunk

    Don’t play dumb, bz.

  204. bz

    context shrunk, I replied to three messages and not sure what you are talking about now.

  205. David E. Levin

    Shrunk: “Basically, he is saying that God is deliberately altering the genome of the malaria parasite so that it will be resistant to antibiotics and remain one of the world’s leading causes of death.”

    Not to give anything to Behe (because he’s really got nothing but personel incredulity going for him), but he presented the chloroquine resistance business as (in his view) the limit of what random mutation coupled with natural selection could do.

    He really went off the rails with his claim that new protein-protein interactions could not evolve, because they often involve 5 or 6 amino acid contacts between the two and such interactions could not evolve step-wise without selective benefit at intermediate stages. This claim is nonsense if for no other reason than because protein-protein interactions can involve as few as two residues, and this can happen very easily. So, if there is a selective advantage for a stronger (more stable) interaction, this can certainly evolve stepwise from the looser association. He was quite dishonest about this in his presentation in Edge of Evolution.

  206. David E. Levin

    BZ: “what is your evidence for your claim that John Kwok understand Behe?”

    I have interacted with John for years on this very subject. You, on the other hand, have demonstrated a striking lack of understanding of the entire subject. That you would bring up Lenski’s enperiments with E. coli in this context tells me that you failed to understand my point about chloroquine selection being a terrible model for natural selection. It’s not at all related to what Lenski is doing.

    “do you have evidence that e Coli in the wild have a different rate of mutation? …you are placing speculation into the discussion of abehe’s ideas that somehow another faster mutation rate might exist thatmshowsmhe is wrong.”

    You don’t get it at all. This is not about mutation rates. You are hopelessly muddled.

  207. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    Just for your benefit, here’s portions of my review of Behe’s book written originally back in June, 2007, which is also posted at GOODREADS in addition to Amazon’s English language websites:

    “In the opening chapter ‘The Elements of Darwinism’, Behe presents a stereotypical portrait of ‘Darwinism’, or rather, the Modern Synthesis Theory of Evolution, hinting that he’s found excellent examples that refute it in his cursory examinations of the origins and transmittal of the diseases Malaria and HIV/AIDS. He also briefly alludes to the notion of an adaptive landscape that’s played such a crucial role in our understanding of population genetics and speciation, presented all too simplistically as if his intended audience was teenagers with limited attention spans, not presumably well-read, highly educated, adults. In the second chapter, ‘Arms Race or Trench Warfare?’, Behe ridicules the very notion of a co-evolutionary arms race between predators and prey, quickly dismissing the Red Queen hypothesis as a ‘silly statement’ from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ignoring the existence of a substantial body of supporting scientific literature (Like so many great ideas in science, it was proposed independently, almost simultaneously, by two scientists; evolutionary biologist and paleobiologist Leigh Van Valen – who coined the term ‘Red Queen’ – and evolutionary ecologist Michael Rosenzweig in the early 1970s. I should also note too that this was demonstrated clearly in the PBS ‘Evolution’ television miniseries episode which illustrated the Red Queen through an intricate biochemical ‘arms race’ between garter snakes and their highly toxic salamander prey.). In the chapter entitled ‘The Mathematical Limits of Darwinism’, Michael Behe offers some bizarre probability values (How did you compute them, Professor Behe, using which probability distribution? A Normal Distribution? A Binomial Distribution? A Poisson Distribution – that would make ample sense if the events described by him are indeed as rare as he states.) that purportedly support his contention of rare, random variation as something highly unlikely to produce anything other than the microevolution he does allude to, but never mentions explicitly (I am indebted to another Amazon.com customer reviewer, S. Allen, for pointing out the egregious error which Behe made in computing the probability of a malarial parasite producing a double mutation – and also erring in assuming that these mutations had to occur together, when the original scientific paper he cited from strongly implied that they did not (I’ll let the reader decide as to whether this was indeed wishful thinking on Behe’s part, or a gross distortion of the available published scientific evidence; I am inclined to believe the latter, because of other similar examples I have spotted elsewhere in this book.).).”

    “My most serious reservations about ‘The Edge of Evolution’ are not just limited to Behe’s failure to demonstrate convincingly, from a scientific perspective, that Intelligent Design is a better theory than the Modern Synthesis Theory of Evolution (which has the Darwin/Wallace Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection as its central core.). Repeatedly, Behe has resorted to simplistic logical reasoning in trying to persuade his audience of the merit of his ideas (For example, in the chapter, ‘Arms Race or Trench Warefare?’ he describes the co-evolutionary arms race between the ancestors of the modern cheetah and the gazelle in a literary style that’s more suited for Aesop’s Fables than a book that purportedly tries to present a viable scientific alternative to evolutionary theory.). He also misinterprets ‘The Spandrels of San Marco’, the classic scientific paper by paleobiologist Stephen Jay Gould and population geneticist Richard Lewontin, in the chapter entitled ‘The Cathedral And The Spandrels’, as a sterling example of Darwinism’s failure, when that was not the authors’ rationale for its writing nor how it is perceived today by many evolutionary biologists. While claiming to accept the reality of evolution as evidence for common descent, he ignores the fossil record, in instances like his terse dismissal of the Red Queen, and thus neglects the importance of appreciating the history of life in attempting to understand the origins of Planet Earth’s current biodiversity (For example, distinguished marine ecologist Geerat Vermeij has offered substantial evidence of a co-evolutionary arms race from his extensive studies of the marine fossil record; a most remarkable achievement since Vermeij has been blind almost from birth. Vermeij discusses this in admirable, eloquent prose in his book ‘Evolution and Escalation’.). Behe doesn’t appreciate the importance of the adaptive landscape – which he refers to as the ‘fitness landscape’ – towards our understanding of the processes responsible for speciation, wrongly attributing it to British population geneticist Ronald Fisher, when it was actually derived by his American counterpart, Sewall Wright (Both of whom made key contributions to the Modern Synthesis theory – which Behe refers to as the ‘Neo-Darwinian Synthesis’ – yet another incorrect usage of scientific terminology which appears too often in this book.). Last, but not least, Michael Behe lacks the literary eloquence of superb writers – and evolutionary biologists – Ernst Mayr, Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, Edward O. Wilson, and Richard Dawkins, to name but a few, and he has offered to us, his unsuspecting readers, the literary equivalent of the RMS Titantic’s ill-fated maiden voyage.”

    Speaking of the Red Queen, bz, I highly recommend Carl Zimmer’s “Evolution”, the companion volume to the PBS NOVA miniseries, since he has a superb chapter devoted to it and other aspects of coevolution.

    Did you say something about me not “understanding” Behe, bz? On the contrary, as David E. Levin has pointed out, I understand Behe all too well.

  208. Kelly

    bz,

    You are writing about the Lenski Long-term experiment with little understanding or knowledge of it. You are incorrect on a number of different points, including the purposes, methods, and findings of the experiment, as well as showing little understanding of what the citrate findings were. (You are also misspelling the abbreviation of the name of the organism he uses. It is E. coli, short for Escherichia coli, and not eColi.) I would like to suggest that, if you are interested in learning about the experiment, you should go to the list of publications on the experiment, with links to pdf’s for most of them, at Lenski’s website, here:

    http://myxo.css.msu.edu/PublicationSearchResults.php?group=aad

    If you want a general review of the experiments and the findings of its first 17 years, see this paper:

    http://myxo.css.msu.edu/lenski/pdf/2004,%20Plant%20Breeding%20Reviews,%20Lenski.pdf

    The citrate paper is here:

    http://myxo.css.msu.edu/lenski/pdf/2008,%20PNAS,%20Blount%20et%20al.pdf

    As it stands, your lack of knowledge is not serving you well in your arguments.

    Kelly

  209. Shrunk

    Still waiting for the quote, bz. Everyone else knows what I’m talking about. I’ve asked you several times and others have repeated the request. You can’t be unaware of it. Playing dumb won’t work, just like it didn’t work for the creationist brigade with Zimmer.

  210. bz

    Kelly,

    I write on my iPad and it decides how e Coli will be written … like just now. maybe I wrote it wrong in the past and it remembers?

    I didn’t see any facts where I was wrong. other e Coli, there it goes again, strains metabolize citrate in an oxygen rich environment so I have seen zero evidence of evolution from the lenski lab. evolution would be something dramatic, not just metabolizing citrate. all those mutation and about nothing happens. humans don’t make as many mutations every day as lenski does in his lab. so how can we expect much to have happened since we became a species less than 300,000 years ago?

    from rational wiki about lenski hiding possible errors from the public even as he uses public money:
    “Mr. Schlafly’s final comment about release of data is uncalled for. My understanding is that the authors have made the relevant materials available on their web site. This seems to me to meet the requirement that “data collected with public funds belong in the public domain.” If Mr. Schlafly believes that the disclosure is incomplete, that is an issue that needs to be argued with the original funding agency, not with the readers of PNAS.”

    I don’t subscribe to schafly’s POV or analysis but PNAS and lenski ought to be transparent and not support stonewalling.

    shrunk, explain what you are after, not going to jump through your hoops. Are all Darwinsts control freaks who insist everyone thinks like they do and that othersnhopmto their commands?

  211. bz

    kwok,
    thanks for reporting your 2007 comments. I don’t see any evidence that you understand Behe’s POV. Dr. Levin is somewhat more cognizant of what Behe is saying but falls short in his analysis too.

    it is instructive that such an expert as Levin remains a Darwinist only by missing what was said by Behe. I was in Israel two years back and a very prominent johns hopkins Researcher was on the same trip and got to know him. We hold very similar values.

  212. Kelly

    bz,

    You really need to do some reading. You clearly still don’t understand Lenski’s work or the findings in the citrate case. (Did you read either Lenski’s 2004 review or the citrate paper itself?) Moreover, it is becoming clear that you aren’t even quite clear on what evolution is. I would suggest that you read through the literature on the Lenski experiment, and at the same time, seek out a good introductory text on evolution to find out what evolutionary theory actually entails and claims. Carl’s “Tangled Bank” is a good one, as are those by Futuyama, and Ridley. As it stands, it seems you and those opposed to your position are talking past each other, largely because you don’t have a good grasp of evolutionary theory. This is sad, given how vociferous your criticism is. Indeed, perhaps once you learn a bit more about the theory and the evidence for it, you will see that there isn’t nearly as much to object to as you seem to think.

    Kelly

  213. bz

    levin,

    your trust in kwok is backed by nothing other than your opinion. YEC folks have opinions too. kwok even went back to amazon to post his analysis of the latest Behe book and kwok’s criticism that he just posted here is 100% factless and you at least did a very superficial look at the numbers … while not giving us any evidence at all that something in the wild has a HIGHER mutation rate than lab critters. lenski can’t get any evolution out of his e Coli even as he starves them all half to death to prod them towards the result he is seeking. maybe he should have resorted to epigenetics?

  214. bz

    levin,

    can you believe the following statement without the a prior assumption in the first place that evolution is real and actually happened (zero a priori assumptions = no guessing permitted)?

    “He really went off the rails with his claim that new protein-protein interactions could not evolve, because they often involve 5 or 6 amino acid contacts between the two and such interactions could not evolve step-wise without selective benefit at intermediate stages. This claim is nonsense if for no other reason than because protein-protein interactions can involve as few as two residues, and this can happen very easily. So, if there is a selective advantage for a stronger (more stable) interaction, this can certainly evolve stepwise from the looser association. He was quite dishonest about this in his presentation in Edge of Evolution.”

  215. David E. Levin

    BZ: “can you believe the following statement without the a prior assumption in the first place that evolution is real and actually happened ”

    All of the evidence tells us that evolution is true. So at this point, it is assumed by virtually all working biological scientists that it is true. This is simply not an issue.

    Let’s put your knowledge of Behe to the test. Are you familiar with the anti-freeze proteins of Antarctic Notothenioid fish? You should be, as Behe discussed them in Edge of Evolution. He was dishonest in his treatment of this subject.

  216. I have written a blog post narrating the history of this fiasco, including the complete triumph of the forces of science, and the exposure of the dishonesty of Casey Luskin and the creationists.

    See my blog post, “Discovery Institute Face-Plants at Facebook”:

    http://lamp-of-diogenes.blogspot.com/2012/07/discovery-institute-face-plants-at.html.

    I will blog more in response to Casey Luskin’s latest batch of dishonest quote mines.

  217. Kelly

    bz,

    In regard to your comment to levin, yes, that statement is entirely believable based on empirical data from work done on the evolution of protein-protein interactions in the course of experimental evolution studies. That statement has been verified. Again, you need to actually go through the scientific literature before you criticize.

    Kelly

  218. David E. Levin

    BZ: “nothing in this discussion establishes man has a common ancestor or doesn’t. just a lot of guessing.”

    This discussion is irrelevant to the fact that humans share a common ancestor with all other animals. The evidence on this subject is quite clear. You are imagining scientific controversy where none actually exists. Common ancestry of species is, quite simply, a closed issue. You may as well be arguing for an geocentric solar system. It’s a solved problem, an answered question that is no longer interesting to contemplate. It’s done. Get it?

  219. Fiver

    Mr. Luskin’s response to this here (http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_the_litera_1062521.html) seems to me to be a bit of a step back. How he can say “My Main Argument Isn’t to Question Chromosomal Fusion” while discussing an entire page whose purpose seems to be just that, and while Klinghoffer is saying “But the idea of such a [fusion] event having occurred at all is itself far from sure,” citing Luskin’s paper?

    It seems clear to me that Luskin is, in fact, questioning the chromosomal fusion, and using distinctly distorted quote mining to do so.

  220. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    David E. Levin’s substantial review of Behe’s book goes into detail with regards to the antifreeze proteins of those Antarctic fish and how Behe grossly distorts the scientific evidence, resulting in observations by Behe that are replete in their mendacity. (I’ll leave it up to David whether he wants to post a link to it.) I opted to devote my Amazon review to evolutionary ecology, and, in case you haven’t noticed, I was as explicit as David was in identifying where exactly Behe got it wrong, by noting how he dismissed the “Red Queen” and how he incorrectly attributed fitness (or adaptive) landscapes to Fisher when it was actually Wright who conceived of them. Only a delusional fool would conclude that I don’t understand those aspects of evolutionary biology I am familiar with, especially given the substantial details I have cited with regards to paleobiology, evolutionary ecology and even population genetics (which isn’t my strongest suit BTW).

    Kelly is absolutely right. You need to read first Carl’s “The Tangled Bank”, and then, if you wish to get more technical, look at Ridley and especially, Futuyma’s textbooks. Until then you are going to continue looking foolish in the eyes of those of us who are familiar with evolutionary biology.

    P. S. I am glad Kelly posted the links to Lenski’s work. While I am not a molecular biologist by training, I am familiar now – thanks to arguing with creationists for years – with the important details of his and his Michigan State University team’s decades-old lab experiment with the E. coli bacterium.

  221. David E. Levin

    John,

    BZ clearly does not understand the issues he is talking about, yet he comes across with a great deal of arrogance in his ignorance (a common creationist phenotype). I want to see if he is capable of engaging a line of evidence when presented in an accessible way, as Behe presented the evidence for the evolution of the anti-freeze protein. If he can understand Behe’s presentation, then he will be able to understand Behe’s dishonesty when it is pointed out. But I am testing him here. I want to know what he can grasp and what he cannot.

  222. John Kwok

    @ David,

    It’s clear that bz is exhibiting exactly the same creationist phenotype I have seen from creationists posting both here and elsewhere online. I could have also added that Behe’s book not only demonstrates his ignorance of evolutionary ecology, but even something as fundamental as fitness landscapes, he just doesn’t get it. In Behe’s case, I suspect that he’s been mendacious for years that for him to stop now would be impossible, so it’s impossible for him to admit when he’s made a mistake. (That’s another common creationist phenotype too, IMHO.)

  223. bz

    levin,

    you claim evolution is true without offering evidence for your claim. lenski tries to produce evolution and hasn’t . why not? you offer no analysis by the numbers of malaria issues raised by Behe. IOW, you believe evolution before considering the evidence.

    do you believe correlation = causation? why couldn’t a designer merely conserve design? I don’t jump to conclusions and like to see results duplicated instead of claiming something is true that we didn’t see happen.

  224. bz

    kwok,

    why haven’t you shown Behe’s numbers are wrong? all you offer is opinion.

  225. David E. Levin

    bz: “you claim evolution is true without offering evidence for your claim.”

    I do not need to present to you any evidence for the veracity of evolution. That you do not accept it is your failing. That you do not wish to learn from people who know far more than you is an even deeper failing.

    “do you believe correlation = causation? why couldn’t a designer merely conserve design?”

    Do you understand the concept of nested hierarchies? This is the foundational concept of phylogentic tree building. But the reason I bring it up is that the pattern of changes seen in DNA of different species (say human, chimp, gorilla, and orangutan) takes a specific form that is inconsistent with the mixing and matching that would characterize common design. The data are very clear. That you are unfamiliar with the real evidence is unfortunate for you. But you are irrelevant to the progress of science. So, if you don’t want to learn, it’s your loss.

  226. bz

    levin,

    waiting for a focused analysis of why you think Behe is wrong.
    and my pencil has carbon in it and so does the gasoline in the tank of my car and the tires on my car also share in the use of the carbon atom, the evidence is quite clear indeed.

    prove your case rather than asserting it. waiting.

  227. David E. Levin

    How about the Antarctic antifreeze protein? Are you able to discuss this? I am happy to explain Behe’s dishonesty here, if you are able to talk about that part of his book. I’ll give you a hint: It’s in the Frozen Fish section of his chapter on What Darwinism Can Do.

  228. bz

    Kelly,

    “In regard to your comment to levin, yes, that statement is entirely believable based on empirical data from work done on the evolution of protein-protein interactions in the course of experimental evolution studies”

    reproduced in vivo in a lab and that experiment disputes Behe? would he agree.?

    the typical tactic for Darwinists is to place one assumption on top of the other rather than building a case from the bottom up. that is why the work of Lenski is so novel and refreshing. and his results take too long for evolution to be real. look at all the mutations and look at the lack of change.

    science is about measuring things. why Behe’s edge was interesting even if it did not convince me to subscribe to ID. why are there only two explanations. epigenetics is yet another contributor. and some critter somewhere passed on genes that learned to count … if memory serves it was pulses of light. another model than Darwin’s. more like Lamarck.

  229. bz

    Diogenes,

    see if Carl will sign his name to your analysis. that would constitute the forum response I think is appropriate.

  230. David E. Levin

    bz,

    So, after all those claims directed at others about how little they know about what Behe has written in Edge of Evolution, your silence reveals that you know nothing about it. You just like to spew your ignorance across this thread.

    “reproduced in vivo in a lab and that experiment disputes Behe? would he agree.?”

    Would Behe agree with these results? Who cares? It’s not like Behe is contributing any science. He is irrelevant to the process. Don’t you get it? Science moves forward by the publication of peer-reviewed work that is then further vetted by the experts in the discipline. They will repeat the work, extend the work, or demonstrate that it is faulty. But the truth shakes out. Anyone not working in a field has no voice or influence over the direction of that field. That rules Behe out of all scientific disciplines, because he hasn’t done any science in 15 years.

  231. David E. Levin

    bz: “waiting for a focused analysis of why you think Behe is wrong.”

    Behe was right when he wrote this: “It’s hard to imagine how there could be stronger evidence for common ancestry of chimps and humans.” Ouch! That’s gotta hurt.

  232. bz

    all … note how your beliefs map in Andrew Lloyd webber’s

    Any Dream Will Do

    JOSEPH:
    I close my eyes, drew back the curtain
    To see for certain, what I thought I knew

    Far far away, someone was weeping
    But the world was sleeping
    Any dream will do

    JOSEPH & CHILDREN:
    I wore my coat (I wore my coat), with golden lining (Ahhh)
    Bright colors shining (Ahhhh), wonderful and new

    And in the east (and in the east), the dawn was breaking (Ahhh)
    And the world was waking (Ahhhh)
    Any dream will do

    JOSEPH:
    A crash of drums, a flash of light
    My golden coat flew out of sight
    The colors faded into darkness
    I was left alone

    JOSEPH & CHILDREN
    May I return (May I return) to the beginning (Ahhh)
    The light is dimming (Ahhhh), and the dream is too
    The world and I (The world and I), we are still waiting (Ahhh)
    Still hesitating (Ahhhh)
    Any dream will do

    JOSEPH:
    Oooohhh
    A crash of drums, a flash of light
    My golden coat flew out of sight
    The colors faded into darkness
    I was left alone

    JOSEPH & CHILDREN:
    May I return (May I return) to the beginning (Ahhh)
    The light is dimming (Ahhhh), and the dream is too
    The world and I (The world and I), we are still waiting (Ahhh)
    Still hesitating (Ahhhh)
    Any dream will do
    (Any dream, any dream)
    Any dream will do
    (Any dream, any dream)
    Any dream will do

  233. David E. Levin

    What a vacuous troll you are, completely incapable of engaging in a coherent discussion of the science. Why did I expect anything else?

  234. David E. Levin

    bz: “waiting for a focused analysis of why you think Behe is wrong.”

    http://ncse.com/rncse/27/1-2/review-edge-evolution

  235. John Kwok

    David,

    It’s because creationists tend to exhibit all too often bz’s ongoing display of infantile behavior that I coined the term “intellectually challenged”. When they demand proof and then you provide it, they opt to shift the goalposts. Anyway, a perfect theme song for him is the Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes”.

    Anyone who is reasonable will understand that I’ve taken down Behe with regards to his woeful understanding of evolutionary ecology and paleobiology, among other aspects of biology. Behe doesn’t understand the “Red Queen” nor coevolutionary arms races. Instead, in behavior that is remarkably akin to bz’s, he mocks the very notion of a coevolutionary arms race, claiming that we observe is “trench warfare”, also mocks the Gould and Lewontin “Spandrels of San Marco” paper, and trivializes the importance of fitness landscapes.

    As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

  236. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    In case you haven’t noticed, Carl has moved on by posting two more entries at The Loom. Maybe it’s time you did too. You should start heeding mine and Kelly’s advice to start reading introductory books on evolution, starting with Carl Zimmer’s “Evolution” and “The Tangled Bank”.

    I have to agree with David’s harsh, but accurate, assessment of you here (# 226):

    “I do not need to present to you any evidence for the veracity of evolution. That you do not accept it is your failing. That you do not wish to learn from people who know far more than you is an even deeper failing.”

    I also endorse what he said here (# 231):

    “So, after all those claims directed at others about how little they know about what Behe has written in Edge of Evolution, your silence reveals that you know nothing about it. You just like to spew your ignorance across this thread.”

    Evolution is a valid scientific fact and current evolutionary theory is the key unifying scientific theory of biology, even if there are those like Michael Behe, William Dembski, Cornelius Hunter, David Klinghoffer, Casey Luskin, Stephen Meyer, Jonathan Wells, and the rest of their pathetic ilk at the Discovery Institute and elsewhere who would dispute this. DEAL WITH IT. READ THE ONLINE LINKS I’VE POSTED. READ THOSE BOOKS KELLY AND I RECOMMENDED.

    If you refuse to heed the wisdom expressed by many of us posting here, then please refrain from exhibiting more of your petulant infantile behavior. You don’t win arguments by having online temper tantrums or displaying your profound ignorance of the very subject you are arguing against. Just heed our advice please and start educating yourself in biology, especially with regards to biological evolution.

  237. The whole truth

    bz said:

    “I am tea party… small government, low tax ron Paul type person except he is nuts.”

    After reading many of your comments, I’d say that you could accurately shorten that sentence to ‘I am tea party, and nuts.’

    In regard to some of your other comments, you said:

    “CZ just admits his training and background was shaky when he launched, which explains why he won’t permit an extended answer to his original question but in doing so CZ has undermined his own credibility with this admission.”

    Carl never admitted any such thing, and as has been pointed out to you numerous times, gauger, axe, luskin, klinghoffer, or any other intelligent design creationism pusher can comment here (and on many similar sites) whenever they like. The only thing stopping them is THEM.

    You also said:

    “shrunk,
    can you and everyone here guarantee that Ann would be allowed to give a full answer to CZ’s question right here on CZ’s own forum? if so then I will personally offer her an invite from you and me both. but all people posting here have to agree the discussion is solely for Ann and then CZ can ask follow up questions to her answers. And CZ admits he lacked info when he started down this path so when the discussion passes his understanding he can copy and paste questions from everyone in the world. with CZ as the only person talking to Ann that stops the anticipated heckler’s veto to free speech from kwok et al.”

    How old are you, 12? And do you really believe that gauger doesn’t know about this site and this thread and needs an “invite” from YOU or anyone else to comment here? And where does it say that gauger should get special treatment here by making the discussion “solely for” her? Since she’s obviously too much a coward to comment here or to open a thread elsewhere with comments allowed (including all dissenting ones) and is too much a coward to face the journal publication and peer review process regarding the claims that she and/or her co-authors made in the book (or at ENV or UD), she has clearly shown that she has no interest in supporting or facing challenges to her claims in open, honest discussion. She and her fellow creationist ID pushers are the ones who don’t understand the scientific process and who veto free speech and won’t participate in it.

    “my focus is why not have Ann school CZ. seems like the topic. yet CZ resists further education. if all agree to allow Ann to school Carl then I will ask her for the entire forum as its rep. any intrusion will be scored as a 100% take down of Darwin by the Discovery Institute. this process would be solely between Ann and CZ.”

    Okay, you’re not 12, you’re 9 years old, right?

    “Ann vs the entire Darwinist movement and only CZ can speak for your team.”

    Okay, how about 8 years old? I’m really thinking 6 but I’m trying to give you a break.

    “Casey answered Carl’s question so Carl got unfairly rewarded … he (CZ) got an answer and was able to avoid learning stuff that disagrees with his world view.”

    If anyone has been unfairly rewarded it’s you and the rest of the illiterate, uneducated science deniers. You’re getting free instruction from people who actually understand and/or work in science. Not that it will sink into your obstinate brain of course. It’s abundantly clear that you like to stubbornly argue just for the sake of stubborn arguing.

    “you didnt go to MIT so your credentials don’t count on ID or DI. Ann’s credentials are superior to yours.”

    Your repeated appeals to alleged authority are noted, and uselessly pathetic. Do you have a candle-lit shrine to gauger, luskin, and axe in your house by any chance, or just to gauger? Oh, and maybe you’d like to list your “credentials”? They had better be impressive. Otherwise, by your own standard, why should anyone listen to you or answer your questions?

    “Stay focused.”

    Look who’s talking!

    “but on style alone Casey is ahead and no one has created a concise rebuttal to his argument. you guys are all flailing around with zero focus. Casey’s style is totally focused.”

    luskin’s “style” (like that of his fellow creationist-IDiots) is to lie, distort, quote mine, cherry pick, ignore, obfuscate, pontificate, demand, falsely accuse, run, hide, make shit up, proselytize, brainwash suckers, destroy science, subvert or replace federal, state, and local laws, infiltrate public schools and other public entities and policies with forced religious dogma, and be a prominent player in a dishonest dominionist agenda called “ID”.

    And pushing impossible, antiquated, science-denying, reality-denying creationist fairy tales and dishonestly claiming that it’s science is as ‘behind’ as anyone can get.

  238. BZ has not made a single valid scientific point and makes clownish errors on every topic that he throws into the air, in the usual creationist attempt to change the subject when they’ve been caught lying.

    Creationist Luskin was shown by Zimmer to be dishonestly representing his sources. That is the topic of this thread.

    BZ is a creationist and they are as predictable as wind-up toys– when creationists are caught lying and making up “facts”, they don’t correct the error, they just throw dirt in the air. They change the subject in the hopes that the audience won’t notice they were proven to be liars.

    So BZ brings up Behe! Behe, who helped the evolution side win in the Dover case. Behe, whose ridiculous probability calculation was easily demolished by a half-dozen probability experts and was experimentally proven false when proteins went on evolving protein-protein binding sites.

    Now BZ wishes to accuse Lenski of scientific fraud– following creationist lawyer Andy Schlafly– OK BZ, go accuse Lenski of scientific fraud outright. But don’t use innuendo or insinuation– come right out about it. So he can sue you for libel.

    I wrote a detailed rebuttal of Luskin’s recent response to Zimmer, in my comment #115 above. BZ can’t rebut what I wrote.

    Luskin’s recent response to Zimmer thus stands as further evidence of creationist lying and quote mining, on top of what Zimmer wrote in the OP.

    Without ad hominems and quote mines, creationists have nothing.

    Lies. Quote Mines. Luskin. That is the topic, BZ.

  239. The whole truth

    steve proulx (steve p on Panda’s Thumb) said:

    “Gauger and Axe take on McBride and Britain head on. All cards on the table. I know they won’t accept for the simple reason that for every point M & B make, G&A can effectively counter.”

    All cards on the table, eh? Well steve, the “table” that matters is the open and honest presentation and explanation of scientific hypotheses, theories, inferences, research, discoveries, evidence, predictions, and conclusions, AND it’s the open and honest discussion/debate about all of that at all places at all times, so why don’t gauger, axe, luskin, and all the other IDiots lay all their cards on the open and honest science “table” and directly, openly, and honestly face questions and challenges to their assertions? Why are they so afraid? Why aren’t they eagerly submitting articles showing positive, verifiable evidence of ID to peer reviewed science journals? Why do they run from discussions, questions, and challenges and hide in their no comments allowed websites, especially if they can “effectively counter” every point that McBride, Britain, or anyone else makes? Don’t they have any confidence in their ‘position’?

  240. Shrunk

    So , another day dawns and still bz has not answered my very simple request that he verify, with a direct quotation, his accusation that Carl Zimmer has admitted on this blog that his depth of knowledge is lacking on this subject. Instead, bz just plays dumb and pretends he does not know what I am talking about, even though the question has been asked several times, by multiple posters (most recently by “the whole truth” in his/her post #238 just above.

    Not that this is the most important topic in this discussion. It is just illustrative of how deeply the habit of lying is engrained into the creationist mindset. And it perfectly parallels the the behaviour by Klinghoefer, Gauger, Luskin et al in this affair. When Ziimmer asked his very simple and straighforward question, all they needed to say was, “You know what? There actually is no evidence for our claim. We made an error. We apologize and will endeavour to correct this as soon as possible.” That is how an honest broker would respond, and it happens in scientific discourse all the time. No one is expected to be perfect.

    But, of course, if one has not made an honest error and has in fact been knowingly spreading lies, the response will be very different. The response will instead be to ignore the question, then try to evade it, then try any number of obfuscatory maneuvres to try to distract from the lie. That what Luskin et al have done here, and it is what bz is doing with my very simple request.

    Without exception, to a man (and woman), every single creationist is a habitual liar.

  241. David E. Levin

    I’m wondering if Luskin offered an alternative explanation for the presence of telomeric sequences in the middle of chromosome 2 that give the distinct impression from all of the evidence of being the result of an end-to-end fusion. One aspect of this sequence that may have been overlooked by many is its palindromic nature. It reads as the hexomeric telomere sequence (TTAGGG) over roughly half of the region and then abruptly changes to the reverse complement hexomeric sequecne (CCCTAA) for the second half, exactly as it would appear if two chromosomes had fused a their ends. This allows us to draw a line between two base pairs in chromosome 2 at the precise site of the fusion event.

    I don’t understand how anyone could read Luskin’s treatment and come away thinking that he had refuted anything. Even if you were not familiar with what the evidence actually says, the sequence still has the distinct appearance of a chromosome fusion event, even as Luskin describes it, and he does not deny this.

  242. John Kwok

    @ David,

    While Luskin does accept chromosomal fusion, he is denying that it points to common ancestry between humans and the Great Apes.

  243. David E. Levin

    Well, that’s only because no line of evidence, regardless of how strong it is (and this is about as strong as one could imagine) would point to common ancestry between humans and apes in Luskin’s blinkered mind.

    The chromosome 2 story is actually two quite independent lines of evidence in one. The suggestion that chromosome 2 was the result of an ancient fusion event was first suggested by Bob Wells in 1991 based only on the DNA sequence of that region. We knew very little at that time about the orgainization of human genome and even less about the chimp genome. Yet the available evidence clearly suggested this conclusion, as indicated by the title of that paper: Origin of human chromosome 2: an ancestral telomere-telomere fusion.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1924367

    The second line of evidence came from the recognition of synteny between the genes on human chromosome 2 and two small chromosomes in chimps. The conceptual alignment of those two chromosomes with human Ch. 2 was a striking confirmation of the original conclusion. This is a slam dunk to anyone who values evidence. Its beauty is unmistakable. As such, it is considered a settled issue among scientists and, frankly, anyone who is not a science denier.

  244. Shrunk

    @ John Kwok #244

    And, strictly speaking, Luskin is right: The fusion by itself is not evidence of common ancestry. Of course, that doesn’t help him at all, because no one is claiming that it is. It is the fact that the fused chromosomes exists in its unfused form in other primates that points to common ancestry.

    I don’t know if Luskin has ever practiced criminal law, but his argument is analogous to this: Suppose he is defending a client whose DNA matches that found at the crime scene. Luskin would argue, “So what if my client has DNA ? You have DNA, I have DNA, everybody has DNA. What does the fact that my client has DNA prove?” I suspect the jury would not be impressed. Unless it is made up of people like bz, of course.

  245. John Kwok

    @ Shrunk,

    Yours is an argument in legal semantics with regards to Luskin. (No, I don’t think he ever practiced criminal law.)

    @ David,

    Thanks for your link to Bob Wells’ paper. It adds some important history of science background with regards to the discovery of chromosomal fusion in humans.

  246. Shrunk

    Just to clarify: My intention with my last point was to point out precisely that: That Luskin’s argument is based on semantic games, which have no bearing whatsoever on the scientific evidence.

  247. Michael Cook

    Science vs Creationism….

    Who will win the Facebook “like” war?

  248. bz

    Levin,

    I’m traveling right now and it has been several years since I read Edge.

    So let’s start with your analysis of why you think Behe is wrong in his discussion of malaria.

  249. bz

    Shrunk,

    Reading a bit more from both sides and it appears to me that there is no proof of a fusion taking place … Just a lot of conjecture. Let’s say we were trying to establish if the Higgs boson is established or not. They don’t allow such loose conjecture as we see from darwinists here when they make a case for evolution.

  250. bz

    Shrunk

    From 246
    “It is the fact that the fused chromosomes exists in its unfused form in other primates that points to common ancestry.”

    This is exactly the correct way to present your belief. “points to common ancestry” is a whole lot more qualified than levin making outright assertions evolution in fact. Jumping to extreme conclusions is bad when outright guessing is really what is happening. Levin asks us to believe that his guesses are facts.

  251. bz

    Lecin,

    This is a guess …
    “The conceptual alignment of those two chromosomes with human Ch. 2 was a striking confirmation of the original conclusion. “

  252. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    We can say common ancestry of humans with the other Great Apes since we share approximately 98% of the same genome with bonobos, pygmy chimpanzees. This is well established science fact. But since science is based on relative “truth” that changes with scientific discoveries, we can say more precisely that we can infer common ancestry of humans and the other Great Apes. So both Shrunk and Levin are quite correct in their recent observations.

    As for the overwhelming scientific evidence in support of biological evolution, there is substantially far more proof for it than there is for string theory in physics.

  253. John Kwok

    @ Shrunk -

    I realize what you were trying to do in your comment (# 246), but I needed to state it merely to remind those who are evolution denialists like bz and others who have posted here recently.

  254. bz

    Sorry kwok,

    No can do on the 98 % claim. Count how many mutations that takes, include all the blind alleys and the human species is only 300,000 years old or less.

    Not enought time but thanks for playing the game.

    Shapiro:
    We need to demonstrate that evolution science is alive and well, as well as show how it is making remarkable progress through the application of molecular technologies — even though it does not have all the answers.
    To the thoughtful scientist whose job is to uncover natural processes, this is surely a better way of advocating the scientific method than dogmatically asserting that we found all the scientific principles we need in centuries past.

    In order to be truthful, we must acknowledge that certain questions, like the origins of the first living cells, currently have no credible scientific answer. However, given the historical record of science and technology in achieving the “impossible” (e.g., space flight, telecommunications, electronic computation and robotics), there is no reason to believe that unsolved problems will remain without naturalistic explanations indefinitely.

    IOW the absolutism of Levin is unwarranted.

  255. Randall

    Has ID figured out a way to test its predictions yet? Does it even have any? Why is ID still being discussed in scientific circles? I quit keeping tabs on those clowns about 12 years ago.

  256. bz

    Kwok,

    Re 254

    Explain why the universe is expanding at a faster rate.

  257. Dave

    Every single time I read an actual quotation from an actual biologist in an ID/creationist book/blog/etc, it turns out to be a quotation from a member of the organization that published said writing (and is not involved in any peer reviewed research relevant to the study of evolution), or turns out to be an outright intentional misquotation.
    When I read the quotation in Luskin’s cited work I suspected immediately that dishonest quotations and factual errors were afoot… and was not disappointed.
    ID advocates: Stop citing ID books as sources of evidence to be examined. If you are going to make claims in regards to the science of common descent, directly cite actual scientific literature in its full context.

  258. Rosemary Lyndall Wemm

    I wonder if you can clear up a problem I have with understanding how humans could evolve after those two chromosomes fused.

    My rudimentary biological knowledge suggests that the first human with the fusion would be unable to produce viable offspring as any potential mate would have a different number of chromosomes.

    Obviously it did happen somehow, or there would not be a record in our genome. I presume there is an expert explanation and I would love to have it explained to me in terms that take account of the limitations of my genomic knowledge.

  259. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    If you don’t accept the scientific reality of biological evolution (@ 257), then how do you know that Homo sapiens is 300,000 years old? (It isn’t; the oldest estimate I heard recently, from a physical anthropologist working with Richard Leakey’s Kobi Fora project in Kenya, is 200,000 years old.) Your abysmal logic escapes me. Maybe GOD has deceived us into thinking that humanity is 200,000 years old. It’s no mere accident or Divine deception that humanity shares 98 percent of the same genome with bonobos; instead, it is a clear cut sign of shared common ancestry with bonobos, other chimpanzees, and finally, with the rest of the Great Apes.

    As for your question about physics, pose it to Lawrence Krauss or Lisa Randall, who are physicists. I’m not a physicist, so anything I say might be wrong. (But at least I’m smart enough to admit my ignorance. You, on the other hand, have demonstrated consistently a profound ignorance of biology and yet, you refuse to listen to those of us like David E. Levin, yours truly, and others who possess substantially more knowledge than you do. It’s ignorance coupled with willfull arrogance.)

  260. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    I am not interested in derailing this thread into another critique of James A. Shapiro. However, his book has been subjected to harsh, but accurate, reviews from colleagues like University of Toronto biochemist Larry Moran. (I have yet to see one favorable review from any noteworthy scientist, philosopher or historian of science.) His is a lonely voice within the scientific community, and, as an aside, he couldn’t answer my most recent comment at his blog when I advised him to heed biologist Allen MacNeill’s recommendation – which MacNeill himself had posted months ago at Shpairo’s blog – that Shapiro consider seriously the implications of multilevel selection with regards to his thinking on “natural genetic engineering”, especially when MacNeill observed that multilevel selection may be the most important component of a new “Extended Synthesis” theory of evolution that will replace the current “Modern Synthesis” as advocated by Niles Eldredge, Stephen Jay Gould, Massimo Pigliucci and others.

    Only an ignorant fool would conclude that “….the absolutism of Levin is unwarranted”. On the contrary, Levin has addressed specifically, from the perspective of biochemistry, why substantial objections to Behe’s “The Edge of Evolution” are scientifically sound, and unfortunately, you are indeed both ignorant and foolish enough not to listen.

  261. Shrunk

    bz @ 251

    Both sides in this debate accept that the fusion took place. You seem to have missed the many times have quoted Luskin as saying this:

    “We accept that there is good evidence that human chromosome 2 is composed of two fused chromosomes.”

    So unless you can provide the evidence refuting the fusion that seems to have eluded everyone, including you’re main “authority” on the subject Casey Luskin, you are just going to have to accept the fusion as a fact.

  262. David E. Levin

    bz,

    There is no nice way to put this. You are an irrelevant troll who is not worth any more of my time. You have demonstrated quite convincingly your unwillingness to engage the evidence.

  263. BZ, in your relentless trolling you have with blithering repetition repeated the “argument from authority” endlessly reminding us that Gauger got her bachelor’s degree from MIT, and therefore, only someone from MIT can be trusted when pointing out her “evidence” was invented.

    Ann has MIT and Harvard in her resume. your credentials don’t compare and my guess is that CZ’s don’t measure up to Ann’s either

    is your degree from MIT? …maybe Ann got in by being a woman, don’t know but she did graduate. So stop with the silly line of objection to Ann schooling CZ.

    elzinga…
    are you an MIT graduate?

    elzinga…
    pretty much clear to all you did not get into the front door at MIT. when you tried to post ideas about biology over on Pandas Thumb even your fellow Darwinists were appalled by your ignorance of basic principles.

    kwok…
    figuring out MIT would not have you isn’t hard to do.

    kwok,
    …you didnt go to MIT so your credentials don’t count on ID or DI. Ann’s credentials are superior to yours.

    Now I got sick of BZ endlessly repeating the “argument from authority”, so I invited a real authority, a professor from Boston University, David Levin, to come here to shut up BZ. Prof. Levin was kind enough to show up here.

    But does BZ now shut up when confronted by a real authority? No, he just endless changes the subject, evades, changes his argument.

    Now we will use BZ’s own argument against him.

    BZ says none of us can prove Gauger wrong unless someone with superior credentials to a bachelor’s degree from MIT argues with her. Here you are disputing the plain statements of a professor from Boston University.

    BZ wrote:
    kwok,
    …you didnt go to MIT so your credentials don’t count on ID or DI. Ann’s credentials are superior to yours.

    So following your logic, we reply:
    BZ,
    …you are not a Boston University professor so your credentials don’t count on Intelligent Design or Evolution. Levin’s credentials are superior to yours.

    In other words, you invoke argument-from-credentials, but your credentials are laughable and pathetic. We are laughing at your pig-ignorant credentials, which you insist are the ultimate and only test of truth. Shut your lie-hole and go away.

  264. John Kwok

    @ Diogenes -

    Thanks for inviting David E. Levin to comment here, since he’s a credible Intelligent Design critic as a tenured Boston University professor of biochemistry. BZ loves to tout credentials, except his. I wonder why. Could it be he doesn’t have anything remotely comparable to mine, Carl Zimmer, yours and especially David Levin’s?

  265. Dear sweet Jebus ! I’m a complete layman when it comes to evolutionary biology but I can’t believe the garbage I’m hearing from Bz here.

    Leaving aside all the rebuttals that everyone here with an actual education in the biological sciences have laid out for him, and to which he has shown absolutely no real insight into the responses or what he himself throws on the table. I guess I’ll toss in a take or two of my own on the more lowly BS he’s regurgitated.

    Bz, if nothing else you are truly the thickest of thick and have an awesome talent for throwing chaff in the air. You could save us all a lot of pulling our own hair out by sticking you fingers in your ear and pronouncing LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA !!! and bowing out of the thread. (1) Everyone in this thread has tried to honestly comply with your requests for rebuttals and engagement with your statements only to be followed by nuh-uhhh followed by a repeat of your requests as though they haven’t been answered. Unbelieveable.

    Expelled ?? If you can’t see through that buttload of propoganda then why should even someone like myself think for one moment you have the insight to understand anything anyone has said to you that contains any real depth. Have you not been to http://www.expelledexposed.com ? More LA LA LA LA LA ? If that has absolutely has no effect on what you “learned” from expelled, then what I’m about to have you read will fall on ears plugged with unobtainium.

    You said previously @211 …

    “from rational wiki about lenski hiding possible errors from the public even as he uses public money:
    “Mr. Schlafly’s final comment about release of data is uncalled for. My understanding is that the authors have made the relevant materials available on their web site. This seems to me to meet the requirement that “data collected with public funds belong in the public domain.” If Mr. Schlafly believes that the disclosure is incomplete, that is an issue that needs to be argued with the original funding agency, not with the readers of PNAS.”

    I don’t subscribe to schafly’s POV or analysis but PNAS and lenski ought to be transparent and not support stonewalling.”

    As I understand it, Shlafly has merely ASSERTED that the disclosure has been incomplete with no evidence that this is the case at all and has been pointed in the appropiate direction to accquire the data if it does in fact actually exist.

    I’m wondering why you seem to be unaware or are ignoring Lenski’s final response on that very same page you are quoting from … “Second reply, June 23, 2008″ found here …. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lenski_affair. Ultimately he offers to HAND OVER THE BACTERIAL STRAINS. Why is it you left out that part Bz ? Why did you dishonestly represent Lenski’s ultimate position on the matter and leave that out. Sweet, sweet, cherry-picking there Bz. Why is it Bz that not one of your so called higher-ranking-scientists like BEHE haven’t stepped up to the plate, got in the damn lab with Lenski’s materials and data and did any work that would actually demonstrate their claims by attempting to replicate his work ? Even if Lenski hadn’t actually provided the so called data Schlafly asserts is being “hidden”, it’s not required if one actually has the BACTERIAL STRAINS to replicate the same data, complete data IN HAND OR NOT. The DI rakes in MILLIONS and has the money to fund the work. Do you see any one of them coming forward and doing one lick of actual science ? Can you point me to the ID labs that are hard at work actually doing science ? NOPE … just more and more “STYLE”. Not one of those cowards will get in the lab and produce a lick of scientific work. NONE. ZIP. ZERO. NADA. That’s science Bz, not combative armchair books full of INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY or hiding behind walls of censorship like the various bastions of ID or the latest EXPELLED FROM FACEBOOK FIASCO. The ultimate response to this ID/Creationism manufactroversy from the ID’ists has been not so much as a cricket chirp … because the crickets are hiding from fear of being crushed by the deafening silence from the ID camp.

    You also said “evolution would be something dramatic, not just metabolizing citrate” … Like what ??? Explain your hypothesis on this matter. Exactly what kind of dramatic result are you expecting to see and WHY ??? Otherwise this is the vaguest strawman I’ve ever seen propped up.

    Feel free to throw a few more sentences of “chaff” in the air in response. I’m not wasting a second more of my life on you. I only have one to life to live and you got more of my time from me than you deserve.

    (1) The reason this BS is tolerated, and I’m sure some here will agree, is that you are a perfect example of someone that has stonewalled his own mind. The show here on Carl’s blog continues not on your behalf, but for the fence-sitters and the people you attempt to defend that are no doubt watching this thread. ~~~waves at Luskin-Axe-Klinghoefer-Gauger~~~ You know damn well they are watching the various threads going on about this matter. It’s a near certainty they are because it’s required for them to maintain damage control. You can see it in their own posts where they hide behind the walls of “COMMENTS EXPELLED!” and reveal they know what’s being said. You know, the ones that are too cowardly to come forward and engage here in UNCENSORED & OPEN commentary that INTELLECTUALLY HONEST INDIVIDUALS permit. You’re hounding the wrong guys, go hound Luskin-Axe-Klinghoefer-Gauger and ask why they won’t come here and engage the genuine criticisms. Do it without the ridiculous “terms” you tried to set earlier in the thread. When you get an answer, please report back the replies because I know damn well not a one of them have the courage. Cowardly to the core, and you Bz ? You must be truly deluded if you believe that anyone here actually thinks they will change your mind. This isn’t about you, this is about EVERYONE ELSE THAT IS WATCHING. Unbelievable gall, go climb a flagpole and “othersnhopmto” yourself.

  266. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    GAME. SET. MATCH. It’s time to fold, bz.

    I endorse David Levin’s harsh, but accurate, assessment of you (# 262):

    “…..You are an irrelevant troll who is not worth any more of my time. You have demonstrated quite convincingly your unwillingness to engage the evidence.”

    I also endorse Diogenes’ observation (# 263):

    “BZ,

    …you are not a Boston University professor so your credentials don’t count on Intelligent Design or Evolution. Levin’s credentials are superior to yours.”

    Stop invoking Gauger, Behe, Klinghoffer, Luskin and Shapiro. Their observations are either wrong or irrelevant. Since you’re not interested in trying to understand the ample evidence for biological evolution as provided by quite a few of us here, then please bid us farewell and start learning some REAL SCIENCE for once. You should start by reading Carl Zimmer’s “Evolution” and “The Tangled Bank”.

  267. Sorry for that wall of text folks, the steam just had to be let off. As an apology, here’s another one ….

    By sheer coincidence, mentioned for the benefit of the honest individuals here, a ghost from the past comes a hauntin’. Bear with me while I work through it.

    (Pay attention Bz, I think you’ll find this incredibly relevant to your interests)

    This concerns none other than our currently infamous Ann Gauger, one Denyse O’Leary, and one Mr. Daniel Brooks, and an event that happened waaaaay back in 2007. But you ask yourself, why is this relevant oh Rikki Tikki ? Why do you resurrect this golden oldie up from the past ? Well, thanks to good ol’ Ceiling Cat (big ol’ hat tip) we have a breakdown of current events. You can find that breakdown here at ATBC …

    http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=14;t=7305;st=5460#entry208431

    For those who don’t wish to be bothered by clicking the linky linky, it seems that during the conference Ann Gauger revealed that during an experiment she discovered and admitted that a beneficial mutation had occurred. However, the real story here is that now in 2012 she has suddenly posted an article out of the blue putting her own spin on the event. I for one am puzzled why she would do so and at the moment I can only think of two reasons that she might do so. One is that this has come up in current conversations somewhere on the intertubes, or two that she suspects that it will eventually come up somewhere in the current kerfuffle and is making a pre-emptive strike, so to speak. One thing is certain is the definite spin that she’s tossing on the matter.

    ~~~”Gauger not only accuses Dan Brooks of violating a confidentiality agreement (which was nothing more than a request that was issued by email to attendees A FEW DAYS AFTER THE EVENT OCCURRED) that he never agreed to.”~~~

    Gauger’s presentation at the event was entitled, “Assessing the difficulty of pathway evolution: an experimental test.” Her presentation was remarkable in part because she performed experiments and reported original data.

    The interesting point here is that MUCH LIKE OUR BUDDY BZ HERE, Gauger is claiming that essentially this is much ado about nothing because the bacteria DID NOT EVOLVE IN THE WAY SHE WANTED THEM TO. To wit …

    ~~~”I explained this to the group, and one participant, biologist Günter Wagner of Yale, said, smiling, “So, a beneficial mutation happened right in your lab?” I said, “Yes,” also smiling, and everyone laughed. Then the session ended.

    Günter Wagner (and most of the other participants, I assume) knew that the mutant strain I found DID NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM I HAD POSED— namely, how new enzyme functions, or the ability to make biotin, arise in the first place. It was beneficial only in the sense that the mutant cells could scavenge biotin from the medium better than before, which allowed them to grow better.”~~~

    Sound familiar Bz ? However, as good ‘ol Ceiling Cat comments …

    ~~~”Well, that’s evolution in a nutshell right there. A mutation gave the cells the ability to scavenge a necessary vitamin better than before, thus allowing them to grow. Too bad if it didn’t happen exactly the way you were hoping, but the mutated cells still grow where the original cells died. That’s Evolution in Action.”~~~

    So, for the curious (and in particular the intellectually honest) follow the above link and get Ceiling Cats more nuanced take on the matter which is complete with links to Brooks original 2008 report, Gauger’s recent spin, and certainly don’t miss good ‘ol Denyse O’Leary’s personal hacked spin over on UD.

    (Also, ‘pologies for the CAPS in my last two posts for emphasis, my tag-fu is weak today)

  268. In the interest of being intellectually honest, this news of Gauger being in the lab some time ago, actually doing relatively recent lab work is news to me. So when I went NADA-ZIP-KERPOW I may have overstated the matter concerning Gauger (specifically) and her lab work. But from what I can see it’s been sparse and as shown recently, spun. I’m honest enough to back from my position, but ever so slightly.

  269. bz

    Ricky,

    I read somewhere Ann’s POV and supposedly there was an agreement for the meeting that go violated … silence being acceptance for a contract. Ann subsequently agreed that a favorable mutation did indeed happen.

    note in the lenski experiment he went all the way to claiming he got speciation in his e Coli (both my iPads spell it that way) when they started metabolizing citrate … a favorable mutation. the e Coli got that minor property by losing genetic information so more information became less information via so-called example of evolution.

  270. bz

    kwok,

    “Stop invoking Gauger, Behe, Klinghoffer, Luskin and Shapiro. Their observations are either wrong or irrelevant. Since you’re not interested in trying to understand the ample evidence for biological evolution as provided by quite a few of us here, then please bid us farewell and start learning some REAL SCIENCE for once. You should start by reading Carl Zimmer’s “Evolution” and “The Tangled Bank”.”

    sorry but when you offer no evidence to back a claim then you damage the credibility of Darwinism. you give us even less reason to believe a word you say every time you do it. you went back a reported your criticism pf Behe’s Edge and in all those words you didn’t refer to any numbers Behe used and your entire message was factless … useless.

  271. bz

    ricky,

    the PNAS people told schafly’ they were going to be transparent wenthey should. lenski too. Obama said he was for transparency and if taxpayers pay for the research then we all ought to get to see it.

    I don’t subscribe to either of their POVs but lenski made an error when he resorted to stonewalling and no evolution has taken place in his lab … quite a bit of mutations … no mutations. I guess that is what Behe’s Edge was all about. lack of evolution in the lenski experiment does not drive me to conclude one way or the other that evolution is real or fake. A Levin will ignore the lack of evolution because it shatters his world view. wonder what Carl thinks about no evolution emerging from all those mutation …mwould dispute all his wrings on evolution so is to be ignored. never let evidence get in the way of belief and book sales.

  272. @BS-

    sorry but when you offer no evidence to back a claim

    You told us evidence does not matter, that credentials matter. You told us none of our facts were relevant because we didn’t get a bachelor’s degree from MIT.

    You cannot now switch to pretending you care about evidence. Creationists never care about evidence; that is why they lie and quote mine and make up ad hominem attacks, like Ann Gauger’s.

    You’re arguing with a professor from Boston U here. His credentials are higher than yours. You told us only credentials matter.

    BS writes: the e Coli got that minor property by losing genetic information

    Shut your lie-hole. You have no equation with which to compute “information.” You cannot say whether the “information” in Lenski’s experiment went up, down, or sideways.

    You simply make up lies about Lenski’s experiment because you think non-scientists will be fooled by jargon such as “information.” You’re arguing with real scientists and we know you’re full of it.

    You’re lying; we caught you.

    Now if you politely ask Prof. Levin questions, he may find time to answer them if you’re polite.

    From here on in, you are only permitted to politely ask questions of the professor. If you can’t do that, shut your lie-hole.

  273. bz

    Diogenes,

    look how kwok argues, he wants one supposed “authority” substituted for another. as long as he repeats arguing by authority that is how to respond to him …like training an elephant … you keep repeating the lesson until he understands.

    kwok:
    “op invoking Gauger, Behe, Klinghoffer, Luskin and Shapiro. Their observations are either wrong or irrelevant. Since you’re not interested in trying to understand the ample evidence for biological evolution as provided by quite a few of us here, then please bid us farewell and start learning some REAL SCIENCE for once. You should start by reading Carl Zimmer’s “Evolution” and “The Tangled Bank”.”

    note that kwok offers no evidence for why I should stop invoking them, Shapiro seems pretty sharp to me and his posts are filled with evidence. just another argument from authority. elsewhere I’ve seen him use the Dover case as if it settled anything and also uses Barbara Forrest as if she is actually an experts rather than a partisan hack.

    happy to deal solely in evidence. no evidence shows man and chimp have a common ancestor, just a bunch of supposed authorities that claim there is on and can’t prove their case.

    no one would accept the existence of the Higgs boson the same way Darwinist guess chimp and man share a common ancestor.

    I don’t know one. way or the other but I do know that neither do any of the supposed experts regardless of which side of the argument that they are on.

  274. bz

    David levin,

    I asked you to go back your claim that Behe was wrong in his analyses in Edge, starting with malaria.

    evidence to back your many assertion.

    in return this factless comment is what I get in return:

    bz,
    There is no nice way to put this. You are an irrelevant troll who is not worth any more of my time. You have demonstrated quite convincingly your unwillingness to engage the evidence.”

    clearly you are the one running away from a discussion based on evidence. And I think Behe, at his blog (this is from memory) swatted away all the critics about the fish with anti-freeze in cold water conditions. maybe his blogg is sitting out there on Amazon. best place to correct your ideas is to start your search for wisdom right there.

    restate his points and then prove he is wrong, I remember the malaria numbers were understood by any darwinist, that likely includes you if you read that part of Edge and still believe in Darwinism.

  275. Odin

    I have a question which I hope an expert, preferably zimmerman himself, will address.

    I was under the impression that DNA occurs in codons or groups of three bases long. Telomeres are 5 bases long. Does this mean that codons apply only to protein transcription? And if yes, what about introns and transposons? Do they have specific lengths too?

    [CZ: The ribosome, the protein-building structure in the cell, reads three bases at a time--a codon--and selects a corresponding amino acid. Telomeres do not encode proteins. They're not unusual this way--over 98% of the human genome is non-coding.]

  276. Martha Bays

    Rosemary Lyndall Wemm @ 261–

    PZ Myers had a piece concerning your question a year or more ago at his Pharyngula site on Scienceblogs. (Sorry, I don’t have the link.)

    As I understood it, members of the same breeding population, but with different numbers of chromosomes are somewhat more likely to have miscarriages if they interbreed. If the fetus doesn’t miscarry entirely, however, it can be perfectly healthy and viable.

    In species like great apes which have a small number of highly developed offspring, a female could have repeated miscarriages, and still produce a number of children. A couple with mismatched chromosomes could happen to have some other genetic advantage– or just be lucky (random genetic drift.)

    If I didn’t get this right, please, someone in the field jump in and correct me.

  277. John Kwok

    @ Rikki,

    Thanks for the reminder about Daniel Brooks’ report on the Wistar Symposium. (BTW, Brooks is a highly regarded systematist who relies on cladistics.)

    I especially appreciate your take down of BS, oops, no, I mean bz. Alas it hasn’t stopped him from spouting more BS.

  278. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    What are your credentials? Where did you go to school? Obviously it wasn’t MIT since no one I know who’s either a student or alumnus of MIT has ever demonstrated your ongoing pathetic behavior here at The Loom. The only one I’ve seen in person who does act in a manner similar to yours (and Steve Proulx’s too, BTW) is the actor and writer Malachy McCourt, but Malachy is far more cogent in his blustering than what I have been reading from you (or Steve).

    No BS, I am not the one arguing from authority. It is you who have been invoking Behe, Gauger, Klinghoffer, Luskin and Shapiro as if they are demi-gods, not the mediocre scientists (or a declining great scientist in Shapiro’s case) or mendacious propagandists (Klinghoffer, Luskin) or both (Behe, Gauger) that they are. I have pointed out to you exactly where Behe got it wrong in “The Edge” but you refuse to accept it. David Levin goes into the nitty gritty with regards to Behe’s absurd understanding of biochemistry as demonstrated in “The Edge”, but you still insist on dismissing it.

    Diogenes (@ 275) has a most apt summation of your behavior.

    I agree with everything he wrote, but these observations are worth noting again:

    “You told us evidence does not matter, that credentials matter. You told us none of our facts were relevant because we didn’t get a bachelor’s degree from MIT.”

    “You cannot now switch to pretending you care about evidence. Creationists never care about evidence; that is why they lie and quote mine and make up ad hominem attacks, like Ann Gauger’s.”

    “You’re arguing with a professor from Boston U here. His credentials are higher than yours. You told us only credentials matter.”

    “You’re lying; we caught you.”

    “Now if you politely ask Prof. Levin questions, he may find time to answer them if you’re polite.”

    “From here on in, you are only permitted to politely ask questions of the professor. If you can’t do that, shut your lie-hole.”

  279. Shrunk

    Thanks from me, as well, to Rikki_Tikki_Taalik for the reminder of Gauger’s infamous gaffe, one of the most hilarious and revealing in the annals of creationism. I was wondering why her name was vaguely familiar.

    As I say, it is revealing that a creationist can observe a beneficial mutation occurring right before her eyes in the lab and still maintain that beneficial mutations do not occur.

    The claim that this was supposed to be a “private meeting” is also laughable. The purpose of a scientific meeting is to publicize new research findings to the world. Of course, if one is not a scientist but a propagandist for religion, then it makes perfect sense to try to suppress evidence that contradicts your beliefs. Further evidence that ID is not science, but religious propaganda.

  280. John Kwok

    Shrunk,

    It’s not the only instance of a “secret” meeting. Heard that there was one at Cornell recently featuring the likes of the notorious creationist – and adjunct Cornell University College of Agriculture professor – John C. Sanford, which wasn’t widely publicized at Cornell either. Both the Wistar Symposium and the recent Cornell meetings are examples of ongoing creationist chicanery, which, as you concluded, does provide “..[f]urther evidence that ID is not science, but religious propaganda.”

  281. bz

    kwok,

    injecting nonsense into the discussion shows you aren’t interested in evidence that disputes Darwinism, levin ran away when asked for evidence that Behe was wrong about malaria. that means that unless you, Carl, Diogenes or other Darwinists here prove Behes numbers (actual evidence) are wrong on malaria then Carl’s own forum now supports Behe and ID. thus ID is a proven fact because all Darwinists agree with Behe.

    example of your total nonsense referred to above:
    “What are your credentials? Where did you go to school? Obviously it wasn’t MIT since no one I know who’s either a student or alumnus of MIT has ever demonstrated your ongoing pathetic behavior here at The Loom. The only one I’ve seen in person who does act in a manner similar to yours (and Steve Proulx’s too, BTW) is the actor and writer Malachy McCourt, but Malachy is far more cogent in his blustering than what I have been reading from you (or Steve).”

    you are claiming you understand why Casey is wrong. yet you are the one that asserts something so you have to prove your claim. you argue from authority and you don’t have credentials even as levein claims you do. no evidence of your credentials. that in turn shows that Levin is totally biased and unworthy to trust on anything. Levin will not discuss evidence and he claims you are an expert when there is zero evidence that you are.

    just consider me a member of the jury who does not agree with either side but who can ask questions of a person who asserts something. when you assert something you need to supply evidence to back your opinion.

    I just posted a quote by you as evidence of what you are doing.

  282. bz

    shrunk,

    “The claim that this was supposed to be a “private meeting” is also laughable. The purpose of a scientific meeting is to publicize new research findings to the world. Of course, if one is not a scientist but a propagandist for religion, then it makes perfect sense to try to suppress evidence that contradicts your beliefs. Further evidence that ID is not science, but religious propaganda.”

    our very own CZ begged for a response from Casey and then when he got one he went private. that suggests Darwinism is somewhere between a cult and a religion because when levin was asked to supply evidence why Behe was wrong about malaria he went “private” too.

    Ann has an account of the meeting at ENV for all interested in branching away from the point of this thread so she is public with her account where Levin and our very own CZ won’t deal in evidence. maybe CZ is busy reading the book. I would hope that he would engage the entire Darwin community to take it apart, not just one tiny side note and then drop the issue altogether. like this book undermines all of what Carl writes, his entiren POV and is an entire take down of his writing.

    feuds are famous for stirring up interest so Carl by disputing the book and then going private seems to be uninterested in evidence but has aided their book sales. hard to predict the impact on his own book. I for one will buy Carl’s new book if Carl does a total analysis of Casey’s book and follows through on his initial idea.

    as it stands now … by going quiet …Carl is now in total agreement with Casey’s reply. the reply Carl requested.

  283. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    You’re utterly ridiculous (@ 283). You’re the one who is demanding credentials from everyone, so why not you start off by mentioning yours? What justifiable criteria do you have defending someone like Ann Gauger who has been exposed as a liar by a notable biologist like University of Toronto systematist Daniel Brooks.

    As for Behe:

    I demonstrated that he is wrong to assert that the interaction between the Plasmodium malarial parasite and humanity is “trench warfare”.

    I explained briefly that Behe doesn’t understand the concept of fitness or adapative landscapes and misattributes them to Fisher, when it was Wright who hsd conceived of them.

    I also explained why Behe is wrong to dismiss the Red Queen as an important indicator of his profound ignorance of evolutionary ecology.

    I also pointed out how wrong is Behe’s interpretation of the classic Gould and Lewontin “Spandrels of San Marco” paper.

    Elsewhere I have explained why the term “Cambrian Explosion” is misleading, especially in the context of comparing it with the subsequent Great Ordovician Diversification Event.

    If I didn’t understand what I am writing, do you think I would imitate you by citing “authorities” whom I clearly don’t understand, or misquote them out of context like you have? Or be intellectually honest in suggesting that you pose your question about cosmology to someone who is trained in that; in other words, a professional physicist like Lawrence Krauss or Lisa Randall (who did teach at MIT and Princeton, before assuming her current professorship at Harvard).

    Instead of mocking me, Shrunk, Carl Zimmer and David E. Levin, start learning about REAL science for once, not the absurd pseudoscientific mendacious propaganda being crafted by the likes of Axe, Behe, Dembski, Gauger, Klinghoffer, Luskin, Meyer and their fellow pathetic ilk. They’re not able to tell the truth, period, but instead, rely on lies, innuendo, omissions and gross distortions of fact in order to make their case. Even those who aren’t educated in the sciences who’ve been posting here are realizing just how spiteful, deceitful and infantile you are. Heed what Kelly and I have been saying. Learn something about biology for once, from credible scientists and journalists, not mendacious propagandists from the Dishonesty Institute.

  284. bz

    kwok,

    I recommend that you read message #285 for facts. please document for me all the facts that were presented in this message. the actual evidence needs to be in your messages you post than references elsewhere. else I can say Behe trumped your argument in Edge and leave it at that. Levin asked to deal in evidence and facts and when I said ok, show me where Behe Isi wrong about malaria using facts he has vanished . poof. no trace. same with Carl. he requested a response and then when he got one filled with evidence from Casey he went poof. vanished.

    Darwinists hide from evidence. I just offered evidence of my opinion of them, the behavior of Levin and Carl. we are all free to conclude your messages are just a compilation of “absurd pseudoscientific mendacious propaganda” because you offer no evidence to back your wild assertions.

    evidence please.

  285. BZ is trying to change the subject to Behe, whose latest crap was demolished when the book came out years ago, in order to change the subject from the fact that Casey Luskin was caught quote mining and misrepresenting his sources.

    Behe was destroyed on the witness stand at Dover because even the judge could see that he dishonestly described the scientific literature.

    As for responding to Behe, of course Levin himself wrote a review of Edge of Evolution. BZ has not responded to Levin’s criticisms.

    The fact that BZ keeps trying to change the subject appears to show that BZ approves of lying about and misrepresenting the scientific literature, as long as creationists do it.

    BZ: do you or do you not defend the quote mining and misrepresentation of Casey Luskin shown by Zimmer and myself above? Do you think it is OK to paraphrase one’s sources in such an inaccurate way that their meaning is reversed? Yes or no.

    BZ’s silence on this issue indicates BZ agrees that:
    1. Levin demolished Behe’s arguments in “Edge of Evolution”
    2. BZ approves of lying and quote mining such as was done by Casey Luskin, above.

  286. bz

    Diogenes,

    go back and see where levin discussed Behe and then ran away when asked for evidence Behe was wrong on malaria. this fact wants been tied to the fact Carl asked for a reply from Casey. then Carl got his reply and now Carl too has gone into hiding on his own blog. I prefer a full out take down of the whole book rather than mere sniping at the edges as we’ve only seen here. Casey’s book represents a total take down of everything Carl asserts so one wonders why Carl remains silent after he asked for a reply from Casey and then he got one. it would be one thing if Carl had simply ignored Casey. but Casey seems to be like the tar baby from then Uncle Remus story and Carl can’t get unstuck. all the Darwinsts here haven’t hidden that fact and right now Casey has to be considered king of Carl’s own forum.

  287. Shrunk

    @bz #284

    Your grasp of reality is growing more tenuous by the minute. Carl Zimmer has “gone private”? What they hell do you think is that blog post at the top of this page? It addresses every single point in Luskin’s article, in detail, and refutes them completely. That Zimmer wrote these even before Luskin’s latest post only shows how predictable creationists are. Zimmer’s said all that needs to be said on the topic and moved on. After all, there are more important and relevant things to be discussed on the blog besides the latest creationist lies.

    Never mind that Gauger had “gone private” for five years on her gaffe, hoping it would just disappear, and is only now trying (and failing) to correct it because she has a book to pimp.

    And you’ll note, no one is demanding that the creationists be forbidden from even discussing arguments against evolution. Whereas Gauger is claiming that Dan Brooks of behaving unethically by doing no more than correcting her egregious errors. And still the creationists have the temerity to accuse “Darwinists” of trying to stifle debate.

  288. Shrunk

    BTW, speaking of people “going quiet”, am I ever going to get that quote I requested from you, bz?

  289. Shrunk

    Yet more “evidence Behe was wrong on malaria”, since bz is not yet satisfied with the plethora of evidence presented so far. The link below, as it happens, is from a Christian website, and shows how real-life evidence shows that the entire basis of Behe’s probablistic argument in “The Edge of Evolution” is wrong (go to Chapter 3):

    http://biologos.org/blog/the-skeptical-biochemist-is-there-an-edge-to-evolution-part-ii

  290. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    I’m done with you. Levin, myself, and others have provided ample evidence demonstrating why Axe, Behe, Gauger, Hunter, Klinghoffer and Luskin are wrong. I explained to you in my post yesterday (# 285) what were Behe’s substantial errors, omissions and distortions. If I didn’t know them, do you think that Levin would point out that I understand Behe all too well? This is an observation from someone who has real credentials and has used them as the “building blocks” of his scientific career; unlike those whom you worship as “demi-gods” from the Dishonesty Institute. Again, what are your credentials that substantiate your refusal to listen to what Carl, David, myself and others have been saying for days now?

    Only a delusional ignorant fool would exhibit consistently, the bizarre and infantile behavior you’ve been demonstrating here at The Loom, refusing to accept the overwhelmining evidence presented by yours truly, Carl Zimmer, David E. Levin, and others that clearly demonstrates just how wrong those from the Dishonesty Institute are with regards to their understanding and appreciation of genuine, real science.

  291. John Kwok

    bz -

    You demonstrated just how out of touch you are from reality by posting the lyrics to that Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice song (# 233) as a “response” to the comments that were posted previously. I agree with Shrunk’s recent observations (# 289, 290 and 291). Carl doesn’t need to “communicate” further with Axe, Gauger, Hunter, Klinghoffer and Luskin; he’s done just that by posting this very blog post.

    As Shrunk himself has noted (# 289):

    “What… do you think is that blog post at the top of this page? It addresses every single point in Luskin’s article, in detail, and refutes them completely. That Zimmer wrote these even before Luskin’s latest post only shows how predictable creationists are. Zimmer’s said all that needs to be said on the topic and moved on. After all, there are more important and relevant things to be discussed on the blog besides the latest creationist lies.”

    I have no more time to discuss creationist lies with someone who is truly out of touch with reality and especially with one who is in need of some kind of mental health treatment for that.

  292. John Kwok

    @ Shrunk -

    Ironically (@ 291), that post over at BioLogos is from none other than David Ussery whom bz has been citing for days now as someone who is “respectful and pleasant” toward Intelligent Design creationists, acting in a manner that both bz and James A. Shapiro would approve of. However, I am willing to guess that bz will think that Ussery is both “rude and mean” in Ussery’s dismissal of several of Behe’s key points from “The Edge”.

  293. bz

    shrunk,

    @289. Carl has addressed only one tiny issue of the book. Have you read the book? I will read it after Carl does. by I seeing it’s scope the book totally takes down Carl’s world view and Carl has only one issue with it and Casey answered the issue? Ann posted her version at ENV which is more plausible than what you wrote. Darwinists seem to have zero purchase on reality.

    @290

    supply the context of your question … I’m not going digging to try to figure out what you wanted. and restate the argument of why Behe is wrong in your opinion.

  294. bz

    kwok,

    I have been patiently waiting for levin to back his opinion on why Behe is wrong malaria. Levin is hiding. similarly you don’t back your opinion with evidence, regardless of you protestations otherwise. Carl asked for Casey to deal with issues and Casey responded and Casey in turn has not gotten a response from Carl so all a person can conclude is that Casey got the better of Carl.

    silence from Carl equates to overwhelming evidence to you it appears.

  295. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    Your most recent comments (# 295, 296) offer further proof in support of what I said in the final paragraphs of my most recent comments (# 292, 293). Carl has addressed Luskin et al. here. Levin has addressed you, and in spectacular fashion, by disucssing the existence of the “antifreeze” molecules in Antarctic fish. You’re the only one posting who refuses to see that they’ve refuted them successfully. Maybe you need to seek some kind of counseling, and preferably, soon.

    If you didn’t attend high schools like Fairfax County, Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson, or New York City’s Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant or attend Ivy League colleges and universities or other notable institutions of higher learning like Berkeley, Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, or Stanford then you have no right to criticize mine, Carl Zimmer or David Levin’s credentials.

    What are your credentials, besides “quote mining” the very Dishonesty Institute demi-gods whom you “worship”?

  296. bz

    kwok,

    where you were done with me you in 292 you follow up with more messages. weird. the webber song was addressed to all Darwinists and appropriately titled “Any Dream will do”. Because Darwinism is a faith and not science if the fusion was somewhere else the Darwinists would claim it was evidence for evolution too. faith does not care about evidence. thus when Levin was asked to poke a hole in Behe’s malaria analysis he went silent rather than allowing his faith in Darwin to be destroyed. And unless Carl responds to Casey’s response the same can be said of Carl. it is ok to have a faith when the evidence goes against it but we should label a faith rather than calling it a part of science. and as I explained to you a number of times, evidence you can’t process information I am neither a creationist or a advocate of ID.

    your need to place a FALSE label on me shows you aren’t aware of facts and live in a world you invented that has no connection to reality.

  297. bz

    kwok,

    no Carl response and why can’t Carl answer for himself each point Casey said in the response. what were Carl’s points if you think Carl really did respond. offer some evidence for your claim, point by point. take your time. what was Casey’s response and then what did Carl say that disproves what Casey said. I’m guessing that you feel that wild assertions without proof work because you are surrounded by fellow believers, the same tactic used in high school biology classes to assert bogus nonsense and not have to prove the claim … like a bunch of chemicals got together and became life, chemistry becomes biology in every biology textbook and there is zero evidence that it does.

  298. John Kwok

    bz -

    Every creationist I have met in person or online has told me that “…Darwinism is a faith”. Since you have made that very statement (#298), then you are a creationist and one who suffers acute symptoms of the intellectually challenged.

    You’re merely deceiving yourself if you truly believe this:

    “…I am neither a creationist or a advocate of ID.”

    If that was true, then you’d recognize that Carl Zimmer, David E. Levin, Shrunk, Diogenes, and others posting here have been the ones demonstrating intellectual honesty and integrity, and you would have come to the realization that we know what we are talking about with respect to science. instead, you cite Axe, Behe, Dembski, Gauger, Hunter, Klinghoffer and Luskin as if they are credible sources of information with regards to the present state of knowledge concerning evolutionary biology. I’ve decided to ignore what I said (# 292) about not posting again merely to show others the difference between someone who is truly rational like myself and someone who is both delusional and ignorant with respect to science. However, I don’t have much more time to continue “debating” with someone who is delusional, incapable of reasoning, and shows repeatedly, infantile behavior.

    I don’t believe in evolution. I accept it as scientific fact. I also accept current evolutionary theory as the best scientific explanation for it that exists now. Evolution is a fact, bz. DEAL WITH IT. Deal with your mental health issues and get the therapy you need to make you well.

  299. Shrunk

    The ironic thing is that no reply is even needed to Luskin’s “response”. Like all creationists (and Teabaggers) , bz has trouble following a simple argument, so although I realize this will be futile, let me offer this concise summary of this affair for him:

    Casy Luskin was accused of claiming that there was no evidence to support the finding that the human chromosome 2 was the result of a fusion event, and of misrepresenting a research paper as supporting his claim.

    Luskin’s “response” admits that he did, in fact, misrepresent the paper and that it actually supports the existence of the fusion. Moreover, Luskin then goes on to admit that (stop me if you’ve heard this already) “we accept that there is good evidence that human chromosome 2 is composed of two fused chromosomes.”

    Now tell me: In the face of these two blatant admissions, why is any further response required from Zimmer, or anyone else?

    Oh, and you’re not fooling anyone by playing dumb, bz. You know very well what quote I’m asking for. Provide it, or admit to lying.

  300. bz

    kwok,

    every swan was supposedly white until they found a black one. classic mistake by Darwinists … extrapolate to far. I subscribe neither to Darwin, ID or creationism. I watch NFL on Sunday morning during the season. I see no evaluation by Levon of what Behe said about malaria and no response to Casey’s reply. so when Darwinists get info that they can’t deal with they run off and hide from the facts. waiting very patiently for you to have a fact based message.

  301. bz

    shrunk,

    this is rather remarkable -> “The ironic thing is that no reply is even needed to Luskin’s “response”.

    Carl demands a response and you say this. what if Casey acted that way? your side would go crazy just like they did before Casey MADE his response. Casey went on to say the fused chromosome is neither evidence for or against common ancestors. take the whole response and analyze instead of cherry picking it. what you did is called “quote mining” by your side.

    and since Carl is the one who demanded a response then he is the one whole should tear apart what Casey said in his response.

    and I really don’t know or care what you asked for but if you ask again with context so you can be understood I will be happy to supply you the best answer that I can give to your request.

    see how discussions should work?

  302. Shrunk

    Unreal, bz. You quote mine me, then accuse others of quote mining. Typical creationist Teabagger nonsense.

    If Carl Zimmer had said, “You know what? I now realize that evolution is a lie, and that intelligent design offers a much more plausible explanation for the origin of the diversity of life on earth”, would it be necessary for the creationists to refute that? Well, that’s the equivalent of what Luskin has done with his “response.” He was accused of lying about the paper he quoted in his book, and asked to defend his claim that the fusion never occurred. In response, he has admitted to lying about the paper he quoted in his book, and conceded that the chromosome fusion occurred. No further response needed. Nonetheless, comprehensive responses have been given by Zimmer and others here, which you continue to pretend don’t exist.

    I’ve given you the context for my request at least three times already, and others have repeated it as well. If you insist on continuing to pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, I see no point in repeating it yet again, so I can be ignored yet again. And if you honestly still don’t know what I’m talking about, that just confirms your inability to comprehend plain English. Let’s just take it as proven that you lied in your accusation against Carl Zimmer, and leave it at that. It was always obvious that you had, anyway.

  303. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    This statement of yours is definitely untrue (@ 302):

    “I subscribe neither to Darwin, ID or creationism.”

    Only a creationist – and that includes Intelligent Design creationists -make such ridiculous observations like yours which I have just cited. (The DI wants you and others to believe that ID isn’t creationism, but many others, starting with philosopher Barbara Forrest and biologist Paul R. Gross, and ending with Federal judge – and fellow Conservative – John Jones, have demonstrated that ID IS CREATIONISM.

    Only a creationist would dare write this nonsense:

    “I see no evaluation by Levon [sic] of what Behe said about malaria and no response to Casey’s reply. so when Darwinists get info that they can’t deal with they run off and hide from the facts. waiting very patiently for you to have a fact based message.”

    And bz, that’s Dr. David E. Levin, professor of biochemistry, Boston University, not the name of the character immortalized in the Elton John/Bernie Taupin song “Levon”.

    In your recent responses to me and Shrunk, you are merely confirming that yours is a most disturbed and troubled mind. Please stop posting here and seek appropriate psychological and psychiatric treatment.

  304. John Kwok

    Shrunk,

    I endorse your recent reponses to bz here. I especially endorse these observations of yours:

    “I’ve given you the context for my request at least three times already, and others have repeated it as well. If you insist on continuing to pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about, I see no point in repeating it yet again, so I can be ignored yet again. And if you honestly still don’t know what I’m talking about, that just confirms your inability to comprehend plain English. Let’s just take it as proven that you lied in your accusation against Carl Zimmer, and leave it at that. It was always obvious that you had, anyway.”

    For bz, truths and facts belong to an undiscovered country unknown only to him.

  305. bz

    shrunk,

    nice try deflecting away from the fact that Carl asked for a response from Casey and then has gone into hiding after getting the request he(Carl) asked for.

    as to. you saying this “Unreal, bz. You quote mine me, then accuse others of quote mining. Typical creationist Teabagger nonsense.” what about my quote of you caused a lack of context? was your question rhetorical and I missed it? feel free to amplify so as to draw attention away from Carl’s current gaffe of not responding to Casey.

    I could care less what you asked that you feel wasn’t answered. copy and paste the full context if you want an answer. as I said before … I am not going to make any effort in playing a guessing game.

    guessing games are what Darwinists do … that is why I posted the very apt lyrics of “Any Dream Will Do” … I love that song for how it captures the very fluid nature of what a person has to believe in order to have faith in evolution. I closed my eyes drew back the curtain … to see for certain … what I thought I knew. … absolutely nails Darwinist thought.

  306. bz

    kwok, shrunk won’t repeat again what he asked. since you claim to know his question so well go ahead and you ask it. game players … genetic predisposition of Darwinists.

  307. bz

    kwok,

    @305

    claiming I am a creationist does not make me one. I was talking to a YEC person only last week and asked the person … how tall was Goliath? the YEC person maintains the Bible is perfect or Jesus fails etc. I was at a Dead sea Scrolls exhibit where they showed exactly where the error got into the Bible, and hardly any ever have.

    so I corrected the YEC person, which in turn proves I am not a creationist. so I just proved your accusation to be false.

    as to why Levin won’t deal with Behe point abou malaria ((as our very own Carl won’t respond to Casey) … why not ask him why he is afraid to answer. like here is one of the top Darwinists in the world posting right to Carl’s forum and he hides. from a simple question. makes me want to enroll in one of his classes so I can embarrass him in front of all his students. and where levin figured he could nail Behe on the fish that adapts to icy water, Behe answered his critics on that one two … based on memory from when the issue arose. all the people in biology who were critical of Behe’s math simply didn’t understand it.

    lots of people like science but can’t do math … they are called biologists. when you know math you know how to measure things like size of the tails of sets of Gaussian curves to see if they represent Cauchy distribution. like how did a crayfish get programmed to use noise via stochastic resonance to more readily detect its prey? Carl likely knows that one since Darwin explained everything way back when.

  308. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    You are definitely unhinged. Mathematics, Probability and Statistics have been important to the biological sciences for decades. Noted ecologists like Robert MacArthur and E. O. Wilson have used differential equations to model fluctuations in taxonomic diversity in island biogeography and their important insights have been extended to conservation biology and paleobiology. I have to rely on a Gaussian (Normal) Distribution in computing parametric statistics.

    And no, I am not going to ask on Shrunk’s behalf, his question. You know what he is referring to, but you refuse to acknowledge it because of your infantile, delusional behavior. You need to seek mental health treatment soon, bz.

  309. David B. Benson

    That is alotta comments!

  310. bz

    kwok, the question was how a crayfish figured out how to perform real time stochastic reasonance calculations and then store the process in its DNA. Carl surely knows. if not Carl then Levin has to have THE EXPLANATION! this Levin guy has credentials and is an authority.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stochastic_resonance

    like Lenski can’t even get any of his E coli to evolve, they just lose information content to be able to metabolize citrate … front loaded on the info that was. better call that one devolution.

  311. Random Rambler

    Sorry for the ambiguity above. My post #147 was indeed satire. It was meant to immediately follow #145 but I suppose I posted at the same time as the author or #146 so the continuity was broken. I am certainly not an ID proponent.

  312. Shrunk

    bz,

    In addition to the previous false accusation you have made against Carl Zimmer, and which you have refused to substantiate, we can add the accusation that he has “gone into hiding.” He is continuing to write out in the open here on his blog, which allows full comments from people who disagree with him such as yourself. If Casey Luskin thinks the above post inadequately addresses his arguments, he is free to add to the comments here.

    I would gladly correct the errors in Luskin’s lousy article on his website but, being a creationist, he prefers to “go into hiding” there where he does not allow any comments. So my comments are here instead, and you have yet to even address them. In any event, my comments would only reiterate points that Luskin was informed of six years ago, and which he continues to ignore.

    If you are so concerned about people “going into hiding”, why don’t you call out your creationist hero Casey Luskin, and demand that he show some integrity and allow people to comment on his page?

    Your hypocrisy is stunning, but only par for the course for a creationist/Teabagger.

  313. John Kwok

    @ Random Rambler,

    My apologies for incorrectly referring to you as an Intelligent Design creationist. The one who IS an Intelligent Design creationist – even if he is so mentally disturbed that he can’t recognize this – is bz, who claims he isn’t one, but does a good job in voicing typical creationist rubbish I have read for decades, having become aware of such nonsense in college, while contending with creationist Fundamentalist Protestant Christian classmates who would be responsible for organizing a debate between a then young assistant professor of biology, Kenneth R. Miller and Institute for Creationist Research president Henry Morris. It’s unfortunate for bz that he doesn’t recognize that he is merely repeating each and every creationist talking point I have heard from them for decades, plus throwing in James A. Shapiro’s absurd contention that Richard Lenski and his Michigan State University lab did not have an artificial speciation event in creating an E. coli strain that subsists only on citrate from prior strains which couldn’t metabolize the substrate.

  314. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    In response to your latest comments replete with their breathtaking inanity (# 309, 312), you should retract your comments, especially this absurd comment of yours:

    “lots of people like science but can’t do math … they are called biologists. when you know math you know how to measure things like size of the tails of sets of Gaussian curves to see if they represent Cauchy distribution.”

    I told you that biologists have been using mathematics, probability theory and statistics and not only did you refuse to acknowledge my observation (# 310), you went ahead and repeated yet another absurd talking point about Lenski and his team that you’ve picked up from the Dishonesty Institute and their useful idiots like the once notable biologist James A. Shapiro.

    I apologized to Random Rambler (# 315) for inferring incorrectly that he was an Intelligent Design creationist. When are you going to start apologizing for all the lies, distortions and character assassinations that you’ve been stating here repeatedly? If you don’t then you are a delusional liar who is mentally unhinged and neeeds immediate psychiatric and psychological treatment.

  315. John Kwok

    Shrunk,

    I am in again in full agreement with your latest observation (# 314) about bz, the delusional Intelligent Design creationist who can’t admit to himself that he is one. Howver, I would ask him to contact my mendacious fellow Brunonian, David Klinghoffer, and make this very same demand of him, so that everyone can comment, withour any risk of censorship on his and the Biologic Institute’s FB blogs:

    “If you are so concerned about people ‘going into hiding’, why don’t you call out your creationist hero Casey Luskin, and demand that he show some integrity and allow people to comment on his page?”

  316. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    Only an Intelligent Design creationist would emphasize loss of information content as you’ve done (# 312):

    “like Lenski can’t even get any of his E coli to evolve, they just lose information content to be able to metabolize citrate … front loaded on the info that was. better call that one devolution.”

    You’re so out of touch with reality that you don’t realize just how much you sound like Axe, Behe, Dembski, Gauger, Hunter, Klinghoffer, Luskin and their fellow DI mendacious propagandists.

  317. bz

    shrunk

    @314

    you claim I am not telling the truth on Carl. Carl can either explain how a crayfish does stochastic reasonance or he can’t. I haven’t seen any evidence from Carl that says he understand how it happens. not from Levin either for that matter. if Carl can show the step by step process how the crayfish acquired the ability I am open to his opinion. Darwin already provided the case that evolution did it so Carl or anyone else is free to explain what Darwin knew to be fact.

    Carl begged Casey for a response and when Casey supplied the answer Carl has gone into hiding

  318. BZ writes:

    “like Lenski can’t even get any of his E coli to evolve, they just lose information content to be able to metabolize citrate … front loaded on the info that was. better call that one devolution.”

    We could demand from BZ that he copy-n-paste the equation he uses for “information.” He would weasel out. Creationists are as predictable as wind-up toys.

    Creationists like BZ insinuate that somewhere they’ve got an equation for “information.” This is dishonest because the equation doesn’t exist.

    Because they don’t really have an equation for “information”, they can’t honestly say that “information” has gone up, down or sideways. But they do say it dishonestly.

    This whole gambit is to distract attention and change the subject, which is:

    Another creationist, here Casey Luskin, has been exposed as a liar and quote miner. BZ can’t defend Luskin’s dishonest quote mining, except to say that it’s been refuted somewhere else. Yet BZ cannot even paraphrase or summarize that “refutation” without making a liar out of himself. Instead, BZ’s point is to copy-n-paste a hyperlink to Luskin’s “refutation”– a post in which Luskin engages in yet more lying and quote mining, as I demonstrated in my take-down of Luskin.

  319. bz

    kwok,
    “It’s unfortunate for bz that he doesn’t recognize that he is merely repeating each and every creationist talking point …”

    tell me which creationist talking point discusses stochastic reasonance. consider that most of not all creationists reject Darwin but others may too because Darwin’s science is silly and outdated.

    and Lenski’s E Coli are not a new species, other strains of E Coli metabolize citrate plus his ae Coli lost genetic information to generate a positive result. losing information means at some point it is all gone … explanation of why Darwinists may have been a product of natural selection ,,, all the intelligence went away so they believe in a myth.

  320. bz

    kwok,
    “I told you that biologists have been using mathematics, probability theory and statistics and not only did you refuse to acknowledge my observation (# 310), you went ahead and repeated yet another absurd talking point about Lenski and his team that you’ve picked up from the Dishonesty Institute and their useful idiots like the once notable biologist James A. Shapiro.”

    so how did the crayfish learn how to do stochastic reasonance in real time and then stuff that ability into its DNA? Lenski has seen ZERO evolution after giving his E coli lots of chances. same with origins. lots of efforts at originating life and nothing resulting. yet every biology asserts life arose from chemicals while offering the miller experiment as a guess how. then leaps to one conclusion after another.

  321. bz

    kwok,

    as to
    ““If you are so concerned about people ‘going into hiding’, why don’t you call out your creationist hero Casey Luskin, and demand that he show some integrity and allow people to comment on his page?””

    carl begged Casey for answer answer and then Casey responded. if Carl responds to that message then Casey should be called out if he does not respond to Carl. sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  322. bz

    kwok,

    “Only an Intelligent Design creationist would emphasize loss of information content as you’ve done (# 312):
    “like Lenski can’t even get any of his E coli to evolve, they just lose information content to be able to metabolize citrate … front loaded on the info that was. better call that one devolution.””

    was Claude Shannon a creationist? Andrey Kolmogorov?

  323. Shrunk

    bz is now pulling the “Bet you can’t tell me how the elbow joint of the lesser spotted weasel frog evolved by slow gradual degrees?” gambit, a time worn favourite of the creationists:

    http://jebin08.blogspot.ca/2005/05/telling-lies-for-god.html

    As well as conflating evolution and abiogenesis, another favoured creationist tactic.

    And you claim you’re not a creationist, bz?

  324. Shrunk

    @bz #324.

    Hey, that’s great. You’re throwing out the names of Shannon and Kolmogorov. So why don’t you use their theories to show how information content of a genome cannot be increased unless thru “intelligent design”? Please show your calculations.

    Be careful: Many creationists have claimed to be able to do this. All have failed.

  325. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    You merely confirm each and every time you post here that you’re out of touch with reality. This very blog post of Carl’s is Carl’s response to Axe, Gauger, Hunter, Klinghoffer and Luskin. Only someone as delusional as you would continue making the absurd comments about Carl “hiding” at (@ 324) and trying to assert that the mathematicians Shannon and Kolmogorov were creationists, while ignoring the sad, but true, fact, that you are imitating not only Bill Dembski and fellow ID creationist Robert Marks, but the others I have mentioned.

    I join with Shrunk (# 326) in demanding that you show the calculations, especially when you’re as “smart” as Gauger and have a MIT-quality education in mathematics. Please provide a rigorous proof demonstrating how Intelligent Design increases the “information content” of the genome. Since you seem to know mathematics, then this ought to be a trivial exercise, bz. Right?

  326. Shrunk

    @bz #323

    “sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

    So you would agree that Luskin should allow comments on his blog, as Carl does on his? Then why not pester Luskin to do so, and tell him to stop hiding out like a coward and blocking comments?

  327. Shrunk

    John Kwok,

    I”m not a gambler, but if I were I would bet anything that bz will ignore your challenge in #327, just as he has ignored all other questions and challenges put to him so far.

  328. John Kwok

    Shrunk,

    Absolutely, I am in full agreement (# 329). But if he thinks he can make demands upon us, then it is reasonable to respond accordingly, especially when he holds a mediocre MIT-educated scientist (Gauger) in very high esteem, even after a credible scientist like David E. Levin, has pointed out that her scientific career could be described charitably as “mediocre”. (I would go further and say that it is virtually nonexistent.)

  329. Kelly

    The only way one can honestly claim that Lenski hasn’t seen any evolution in his E. coli population is if one has either not read any of the 60 or so research papers he has published on the experiment, or if one is using an idiosyncratic definition of evolution that is way out of line with what evolutionary theory holds. (I gave bz links to Lenski’s papers, and suggestions on introductory texts to look at so that he can correct his lack of understanding about evolution, and yet he clearly has read neither the papers nor the texts while continuing to make claims. This calls into question his motivations in this discussion, as well as whether or not he is operating in good faith.) Moreover, I am curious as to how bz can claim that the citrate utilization came about by loss of information. I just checked the literature, and Lenski hasn’t published on the genetic basis of the evolved citrate utilization. So bz is clearly either making up his claim, or he knows something about Lenski’s unpublished work. I am curious to know which it is.

    Kelly

  330. John Kwok

    Kelly,

    University of Chicago microbiologist James A. Shapiro has told me over at his HuffPo blog that Lenski and his team did not create a new citrate metabolizing species, claiming that there are strains of E. coli that do metabolize citrate naturally. (Shapiro has become a useful idiot to the Dishonesty Institute since he thinks it is possible to have “irreducibly complex” biological structures and functions as “predicted” by Intelligent Design creationist Michael Behe. His Dishonesty Institute fans include William Dembski and David Klinghoffer.) But, as far as I know, Shapiro is the only “notable” biologist who has discounted greatly, the Lenski team’s decades-long experiment demonstrating Natural Selection as an evolutionary process.

  331. bz

    shrunk,

    “Creationists like BZ insinuate that somewhere they’ve got an equation for “information.” This is dishonest because the equation doesn’t exist.”

    have you ever heard of the word BIOINFORMATICS?

  332. Shrunk

    Hey, bz.

    Instead of throwing out big, impressive sounding words like “bioinformatics”, why not actually answer the question?

    What is the ID equation for “information” that shows it cannot arise thru natural processes?

    Or should we just add this to the pile of questions you’ll ignore?

  333. bz

    kwok,

    Shapiro tries to educate you and he sees how Lenski’s E coli came to be able to metabolize citrate in an atmosphere containing oxygen. those E coli that started growing are doing nothing new since other strains of E coli already could do the same thing. all those E coli being stressed by Lenski generation after generation and no speciation. no new body functional parts etc. Lenski has falsified evolution.

    Shapiro may offer some hope and even Behe critic and Darwinist David Ussery sees potential in Shapiro’s thinking.

    http://www.microbialinformaticsj.com/content/pdf/2042-5783-1-11.pdf

    is Ussery a creationist too … microbialinformaticsj is no doubt another creationist plot. hehehehe

  334. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    You asserted recently (@ 311) that biologists don’t understand or do mathematics, and still insist on repeating these lies, even after I pointed out some of the important insights obtained from using mathematics, probability and statistics. Now you cite the word “BIOINFORMATICS” (@ 335), not realizing that much of it depends on mathematics, probability and statistics.

    Can’t you be consistent at least in spewing forth your creationist lies?

  335. bz

    Kelly,

    in what way did Lenski’s E coli evolve? Other strains already metabolize citrate in an oxygen environment. the cool thing about lenski is that he tried to measure evolution … and for his effort he found it doesn’t exist.

  336. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    How can Shapiro educate me (@ 338) when he doesn’t know how Natural Selection developed, erroneously concluding that Darwin didn’t understand it until Wallace had sent him his 1858 manuscript in which Wallace had derived, independently of Darwin, Natural Selection? Or subscribe erroneously to the concept of “Irreducibly complex” biological structures and functions, or fails to appreciate the importance of population thinking and multilevel selection? Or refuses to understand why he erred in posting over at ENV?

    Shapiro is the classic example of a once great scientist who has become a pale reflection of himself. You will learn more about modern biology by reading Carl Zimmer’s articles and books, not Shapiro’s.

  337. Kelly

    bz,

    Have you read any of Lenski’s actual papers. He has documented a great deal of evolution, as measured by not only changes in fitness and metabolic capacity, but also by changes in the genomes of the organisms. All of this is in the literature, ready for you to explore. Have you at all? Or are you simply making claims without any attempt to ensure that you are correct?

    I would also like to know how you know that citrate utilization evolved by loss of information if Lenski hasn’t published on the genetic changes responsible for the capacity. Do you know for sure that what you are saying is correct? Are you just asserting? Do you have access to unpublished research? I really want to know how you can make such sweeping statements.

    Also, again, you seem to be using a definition of evolution that is not in line with that found in evolutionary biology. This is ignorant at best, and dishonest at worst. Which is it?

    Kelly

  338. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    Since you are a “mathematical genius”, both Shrunk and I are requesting that you develop a rigorous proof explaining how Intelligent Design accounts for an “increase” in the “information content” of the genome. Since yours is a MIT-quality mathematics education, then it should be a most trivial exercise. Hop to it, bz!

  339. Alvaro

    This is perfect timing. Over at the original facebook thread, the Biological Insitute asserted that “but you do come to the evidence with a pre-supposed point of view. And everything must be twisted to conform to that point of view. Even when the data contradicts it. Don’t believe me? Read the peer-reviewed literature.”

    When asked specifically to ” please, prove me wrong. Cite some examples of where peer-reviewed papers come to conclussions that contradict their data, and then haven’t been challenged by the rest of the scientific community.” Biological Institute came up with… Shapiro!

    Are they so deluded that they don’t see they pretty much just accepted that, so far, in order to argue for a guided or designed origin, they have to ignore all the evidence? Hilarious…

  340. bz

    Kelly,

    I quit reading lenski papers after his bogus claim that his E coli by metabolizing citrate in an O2 environment = speciation. lenski needs to use Spore if he ever wants to add functionality to his critters, as they sit now he has proven stasis.

    Spore:

    Returning a virtual character to the physical world therefore turns the traditional animation process on its head, in a sort of reverse rendering, as the image that’s on the screen must be adapted to accommodate real-world constraints.

    Bächer and his coauthors demonstrated their new method using characters from Spore, an evolution-simulation video game. Spore allows players to create a vast range of creatures with numerous limbs, eyes, and body segments in almost any configuration, using a technique called procedural animation to quickly and automatically animate whatever body plan it receives.

    As with most types of computer animation, the characters themselves are just “skins”—meshes of polygons—that are manipulated like marionettes by an invisible skeleton.

    “As an animator, you can move the skeletons and create weight relationships with the surface points,” says Bächer, “but the skeletons inside are non-physical with zero-dimensional joints; they’re not useful to our fabrication process at all. In fact, the skeleton frequently protrudes outside the body entirely.”

  341. bz

    kwok,

    as a person who neither subscribes to Darwin or ID I assert nothing about the origin of information. onlynthosenwho make assertions need to supply evidence of their beliefs. I have no clue how the universe began or how life did either. of course I know that you don’t know where information comes from either, origins of life or the universe as well.

    making bogus claims you can’t back with evidence is what both sides do. a failure of Darwin is not proof of ID.

  342. Kelly

    bz,

    Have you read any of Lenski’s actual papers? Where did he claim that Cit+ is a new species? In the citrate paper, he says that it might be a new species, and proposed experiments to test this. He hasn’t yet published on this work. Your claim is dishonest and libelous as a consequence.

    And you haven’t answered my question. On what basis do you claim that citrate utilization is due to loss of information if Lenski hasn’t published on the genetics of the trait? Are you making up your assertion? Please quite dodging and simply answer the question.

    And Spore is a game, not an experimental model system. There is a difference. Like your posting of song lyrics, such an interjection makes you appear to be very non-serious in what you are doing here.

    Kelly

  343. bz

    Alvaro,

    what did Shapiro get wrong?

  344. JPM

    I only got through about half to two-thirds of the comments and got bored, cuz I’ve actually read all four parts (and ALL of the comments on the previous three) this afternoon.

    This is actually the first I’ve heard of the chromosome 2 fusion, but I knew about fusions in other species so it was not all that surprising. Another reason it wasn’t so surprising, and what I was initally going to comment, is articulated quite well by Diogenes at #49:

    “Scientists have observed karyotypic differences between species that everyone (even creationists) agree are related, like horses (64), donkeys (62), and Zebras (32 to 46); or cats– New World cats (n = 18), other cats (n = 19 or 18?); or racoon dogs (tanuki)– Chinese (2n= 56) and Japanese (2n= 42); or tapirs (Malayan (2n=52), Brazilian (80), Baird’s (80), and Mountain (76)).”

    Carl (or anyone else), I would be really interested in reading more about such karyotypic differences in related species.

    Another point I’d like to address is in regards to Casey Luskin, and the fact that he is a lawyer. Although people lump silly stereotypes on lawyers, Luskin and the like seem to justify them. Lawyers are by nature in the business of persuasive language, and quote-mining and cherry-picking are quite normal when writing legal briefs.

    Before any accuse me of being insensitive to lawyers . . . I am one. I just also happen to have a BS in biochemistry and molecular biology too, and am well-versed in the art of citation checking :)

  345. bz

    Kelly,

    that is the point … Darwinism is a pretend game too. Just like Spore. When lenski tried to measure it, evolution wasn’t there. like how many Piltdown Man hoaxes does it take to get true believers in Darwin to come to grips with reality?
    http://www.genoscope.cns.fr/spip/Escherichia-coli-mechanisms-of.html

    All the versions of this article: [ English] [ français]
    Escherichia coli
    Mechanisms of diversification and speciation during 40.000 generations of experimental evolution in Escherichia coli

  346. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    This observation of yours is utterly bogus (@ 345):

    “as a person who neither subscribes to Darwin or ID I assert nothing about the origin of information. onlynthosenwho make assertions need to supply evidence of their beliefs. I have no clue how the universe began or how life did either. of course I know that you don’t know where information comes from either, origins of life or the universe as well.”

    If you can make claims about “information content” in the genome with regards to Behe and Lenski’s work, then you are an Intelligent Design creationist, since only Intelligent Design creationists like William Dembski, Robert Marks and Stephen Meyer make such claims. Denying that you are an Intelligent Design creationist isn’t going to change the facts that if you appreciate them, think like them, and spout nonsense like them, then you are one of them.

    Maybe a visit with your local psychologist or psychiatrist might help cure your all-too-obvious delusional mind from making more statements replete in their breathtaking inanity here at The Loom. I do wish you much success in getting the mental health care that you are obviously in dire need of.

  347. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    I think you should read all of Lenski’s papers. I have and I have no training in microbiology. Maybe if you did, you’d understand why his ongoing decades-long experiment with E. coli bacterial strains is among the most important experiments of Natural Selection ever conducted by biologists.

    Since you claim MIT-like expertise in mathematics and speak glowingly of the “information content” in the genome, then you are still required to provide the rigorous mathematical proof demanded by yours truly and Shrunk. If you can’t, then that will prove to many that you are a delusional liar and someone who isn’t knowledgeable about mathematics.

  348. Kelly

    bz,

    Again, Lenski has published 60 or so papers documenting evolution in the course of his experiment. To assert that Lenski has not observed evolution during his experiment is to either speak with ignorance of the work he has published, or to use a definition of evolution that is far out of line with that used in science. Which is it? What papers of Lenski’s have you actually read and understood? How many of them have you read? Have you read the citrate paper? The actual paper? Or just popular accounts?

    I don’t understand your link to the description of a research project at a lab that collaborates with Lenski. (It is a description of a research project, and not a publication of the research that project has produced. There is a difference.) That group hasn’t published on the genetics of the citrate-users. Lenski has not published on the genetics of citrate use. So where is your information coming from? Were you just lying and hoping not to get caught? Please be honest here so that you can salvage at least some integrity.

    Kelly

  349. bz

    kwok,

    you are starting to surpass yourself in silliness:
    “If you can make claims about “information content” in the genome with regards to Behe and Lenski’s work, then you are an Intelligent Design creationist, since only Intelligent Design creationists like William Dembski, Robert Marks and Stephen Meyer make such claims. Denying that you are an Intelligent Design creationist isn’t going to change the facts that if you appreciate them, think like them, and spout nonsense like them, then you are one of them.”

    if you don’t understand the order of GCTA IN DNA MATTERS THEN THERE IS NO HOPE YOU CAN UNDERSTAND ANYTHING!!!

  350. Shrunk

    bz,

    You seriously think John Kwok does not know that “the order of GCTA matters in DNA”? Let’s add this to the list of ludicrous accusations you love to throw out and, when asked to substantiate, you suddenly “go private”, to use your own words.

    Here is the creationist claim:

    The information content of a genome can be numerically quantified, and it can be shown that this quantity cannot be increased by natural processes, but only by God – oops,sorry! – by “Intelligent Design.”

    When asked to provide the math to actually substantiate this claim they, like you, inevitably “go private.”

    So maybe you can break that pattern, bz. Use those stunning MIT-level math skills of yours, and show how the creationist claim can be mathematically proven.

    This is the second time I’ve asked this, in case you’re not keeping count. The number of times you have answered it remains: Zero.

  351. Kelly

    I emailed with a member of the Lenski group. He verified that, while the lab is readying a manuscript for publication, they have not published anything on the genetic changes involved in the evolution of citrate utilization. So, it is obvious that bz was lying when he insinuated that he knew that citrate utilization involved a loss of information. He can thus be completely written off as dishonest and disingenuous. John, Shrunk, everyone else, just ignore him. He isn’t here to engage in any sort of good faith discussion. He is here, sadly, to just disrupt and get attention for himself. Just stop giving him what he wants.

    Kelly

  352. Alvaro

    @bz,

    not having read Shapiro’s book myself, and being intelectually honest enough not to spout off opinions baout things I have never even glanced at, I couldn’t begin to answer that question. You should go ask the creationists over at the Biology Institute, since they’re the ones who offered him as their best example of someone ignoring what the evidence says in favor of their pre-determined opinion.

    Which is hilarious. Which is why I shared that.

    Oh, and by the way, Piltdown Man? Really? That’s about the worst example brought on by evolution deniers. Because yes, Piltdown Man was a hoax. And you know, HOW we know it was a hoax? Because actual scientists discovered this. Not clergymen, not creationists, not intelligent designers, not evolution deniers. Actual scientists who go where the evidence leads them (and therefore, have not ocme to the conclussion that evolution is false). And know how they did it? Partly because it was inconsistent with what evolutionary theory predicted it should be. So, the fact that Pltdown Man was a hoax is, in every way you want to look at it, a triumph, and suport, both for the scientific method, and evolution itself.

    Implying that the fact that Piltdown Man was a hoax somehow is a strike against evolution, is like claiming that the fact that things are lighter on the moon disproves the theory of gravity, instead of, you know, reafirming it.

    Between this and the fact that the existence of a croco-duck would actually be a serious strike agains evolutions, it’s almost as if creationists don’t have the irst clue aout what they are denying. Fancy that…

  353. bz

    Kelly,

    from the truth givers at ncse:
    “Recent work by Richard Lenski has even shown new bacterial species evolving in the laboratory. Lenski and his student Zachary Blount note that “E. coli cells cannot grow on citrate under oxic conditions, and that inability has long been viewed as a defining characteristic of this important, diverse, and widespread species.” They then exposed several identical populations of E. coli to an environment high in citrate and low in other energy sources. “For more than 30,000 generations, none of them evolved the capacity to use the citrate. … [O]ne population eventually evolved the Cit+ function [a gene that could metabolize citrate], whereas all of the others remain Cit− [unable to metabolize citrate] after more than 40,000 generations.” Given that the Cit- trait is a defining feature of E. coli, the population that gained Cit+ could be considered a new species.”

    what do you make of Lenski’s words “could be considered a new species” being placed in quotes?
    http://ncse.com/creationism/analysis/evolving-bacteria

  354. Kelly

    As I thought – you accused Lenski of declaring Cit+ to be a new species absent any work to support this, and you insinuated that he did so in a paper of his. (In the citrate paper he noted that Cit+ might be a new species, but that further work would be needed before the claim could be positively asserted.) Instead, you took something someone else wrote a summary of his work that went further than he did in his conclusions. Another lie from you, confirming my previous assessment of you as unscrupulous and dishonest.

    Kelly

  355. Alvaro

    @bz,

    “what do you make of Lenski’s words “could be considered a new species” being placed in quotes?”

    I make of it that you’re either a bold-faced liar, functionally illiterate, or completely delusional, since, as can be verified by anyone actually clicking that link, the only place those words are in quotes are in your post.

    So, which one is it?

  356. bz

    Alvaro,

    the reference for the lenski quote was posted. right at ncse. personal attacks demean you when the evidence is right there for you to check out. However, your behavior demonstrates typical Darwinist behavior.

    repeating the reference of the lenski quote to demonstrate how emotional and lacking in intellectual integrity the Darwin community actually is:
    http://ncse.com/creationism/analysis/evolving-bacteria

  357. Alvaro

    So, functionally illiterate AND completely delusional it is!

    To the first statement: My whole post was that if you actually click that link, it jsut demonstrates how you are 100% incorrect, since there are no quotes around the words “could be considered a new species ” anywhere on that page. They don’t exist. The fact that your response is simply to post the same link WHICH DEMONSTRATES YOU ARE LYING AND/OR WRONG, means you don’t actually understand words very well.

    As to the second: I am honestly curious. Do you actually see quotes around those words at the end of the penultimate paragraph (the only place they appear, as can be easily checked by the search function of your browser). Are you really that dissasociated fom reality? Because I am sorry to tell you: The nearest quotes to those words are, a closing one 17 words before them, and an opening one two paragraphs down in the citations.

  358. bz

    Kelly,

    lenski uses the words “new species” to refer to his E coli. language of those in science, else he would have used other words. and if you claim lenski did not imply he grew a new species in his lab after all those mutations over all those generations then that says no speciation took place, which is my point. be prepared for being smeared.

  359. Kelly

    From the relevant portion of Lenski’s citrate paper:

    “Will the Cit+ and Cit- lineages eventually become distinct
    species? According to the biological species concept widely used
    for animals and plants, species are recognized by reproductive
    continuity within species and reproductive barriers leading to
    genetic isolation between species (67). Although the bacteria in
    the LTEE are strictly asexual, we can nonetheless imagine testing
    this criterion by producing recombinant genotypes. In particular,
    we could move mutations that are substituted in the evolving
    Cit+ lineage into a Cit- background to test whether they reduce
    fitness in their ancestral context. One could also perform the
    reciprocal experiment, although we anticipate more rapid evolution in the Cit+
    lineage because it has acquired a key innovation that substantially changed its ecological niche. Such experiments would require, of course, controls to examine the fitness
    effects of the same mutations in the lineage where they arose. If the Cit+
    lineage is indeed evolving into a new species, then we expect, with time, that more and more of the beneficial mutations substituted in that lineage would be detrimental in the
    ecological and genetic context of its Cit- progenitor.”

    Language does matter in science, but most scientists presume that readers will actually read that language before pontificating upon it. (You still haven’t read the paper, have you? Just as you lied about the genetic basis of citrate utilization. Do you have any honor at all?) Of course, they also tend to assume honest readers.

    Kelly

  360. Alvaro

    @Kelly,

    I’m beginning to doubt he has much conection to reality, let alone honor.

  361. Kelly

    @Alvaro,

    I think you are correct. I think I hope you are correct. People who are out of touch with reality I can understand and have sympathy for. However, those who are dishonest and lacking in good faith? I have never understood how people can be that way and be comfortable with themselves.

    Kelly

  362. bz

    Alvaro,

    you have gone totally around the bend.

  363. John Kwok

    Kelly and Alvaro,

    Intelligent Design creationist bz loves to revel in his dishonesty and ignorance. He claims Carl doesn’t address Luskin, when this very post of his (above) does. He claims that I don’t understand what Behe is talking about, but when a professional biochemist, David E. Levin, drops by and does, not only does bz refuse to listen to Levin’s observation that I understand Behe all too well, but he also proceeds to attack Levin’s credibility.

    If nothing else, bz is a perfect example of your typical fanatical creationist, whether that person is an ID creationist, Old Earth creationist or Young Earth creationist. No wonder why he “worships” the Dishonesty Institute; it is filled with people who think and act exactly like him.

  364. bz

    Kelly, the facts are plain on lenski’s E coli. there is no dispute that his strains could not metabolize citrate and they did via losing genetic information. this is not evolution. getting fitter by losing genetic information is not evidence for evolution.

    you guys send out a lot of heat to cover the actual evidence. lack of speciation after all those mutations is evidence for stasis and evidence against evolution and Darwinism.

    and lenski should have found evidence of evolution … in his own words about the power of numbers on E Coli, Lenski:
    “P.S. Did you know that your own bowels harbor something like a billion (1,000,000,000) E. coli at this very moment? So remember to wash your hands after going to the toilet, as I hope your mother taught you. Simple calculations imply that there are something like 10^20 = 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 E. coli alive on our planet at any moment. Even if they divide just once per day, and given a typical mutation rate of 10^-9 or 10^-10 per base-pair per generation, then pretty much every possible double mutation would occur every day or so. That’s a lot of opportunity for evolution.”

    so evolution has “lots of opportunity” according to lenski on E coli alone and evolution remains in hiding.
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservapedia:Lenski_dialog

  365. Alvaro

    @bz

    No, but you clearly have. Answer this simple question. Are you asserting that in the link you provided, there are opening quotes inmediately before the word “could” and closing quotes inmediately after the word “species” in the only place in that entire page where the words “could be considered a new species ” appear together? Yes or no?

  366. David B. Benson

    Still at it I see.

    I suggest reading “The Logic of Chance” by Eugene Koonin.

  367. bz

    Alvaro,

    what if lenski said the opposite … “couldn’t be a new species”?

    and let’s look at the actual fact … there was no new species when Lenski said there could be.

    lots of E coli and no new species pops the myth called Darwinism.

  368. Toos

    bz, you don’t answer Alvaro. Instead, you come with counter-”questions”. Just as you did before in this thread. You even don’t realize, you’re a guest on this blog. IMO you behave anti-communicating in a very agressive terrorizing way.
    Perhaps you get what you wish: the last word of this thread. But know that the ONLY thing you convinced me of, is that you behave disheartening horribly insane.

  369. Shrunk

    So bz is finding more direct questions to avoid.

    And this discussion shows why there is value in debating creationsts. Not that there is any hope of convincing a confirmed reality denier like bz, who even hallucinates quotation marks where none exist.

    But in the course of this discussion, I have been made aware of the some of the future directions Lenski will be pursuing in his important research. Including how he intends to determine whether he is actually observing a speciation event in the process of occurring. No, bz, he is NOT claiming that a speciation event HAS occurred. That’s just another of your lies that you keep hurling against honest scientists and writers. Lenski’s doing what a scientist does: Forming a hypothesis and then making further observations to determine whether this is correct.

  370. Martha Bays

    Regarding the Piltdown hoax, 2 interesting points–

    1. It was perpetrated in 1912.

    2. It was perpetrated by people who claimed to believe in evolution, but who did not like Darwin’s hypothesis (based on biogeography and comparative anatomy) that we are descended from African apes, whose African ape descendants are our closest living relatives.

    So, a hundred years ago, people who were trying to disprove one of Darwin’s hypotheses perpetrated a fraud. And scientists eventually exposed their chicanery. In the mean time, fossil and genetic evidence has piled up and up that Darwin’s hypothesis is correct.

    In what way is any of this evidence against the fact of evolution?

  371. John Kwok

    Shrunk,

    I agree with your assessment (# 373). I’ve wondered where Lenski and his team might be pursuing further with regards to their experiment. The news I’ve read here is by far among the most important that I’ve seen recently with regards to pushing the boundaries of research in evolutionary biology.

    I am glad Carl is allowing this thread to continue merely as a public service to show just how ignorant and deceitful, Intelligent Design creationists (and other creationists) are with regards to understanding and distorting genuine science; without question, bz is a textbook example.

  372. John Kwok

    bz -

    This is a most apt description of yourself, and I know you are incapable of realizing it:

    “you have gone totally around the bend.”

    You’ve been asked as someone with a MIT-level education in mathematics to provide a rigorous mathematical proof demonstrating how Intelligent Design can increase the “information content” in the genome. For refusing to address this, you have demonstrated that you are someone who lacks a MIT-level education, doesn’t really understand mathematics, displays only behavior consistent with some form of mental illness, and is an ignorant liar with regards to genuine, mainstream science like modern evolutionary biology.

    Maybe you should take a rest before commenting further here, bz. A long rest in which you’ll force yourself to understand from the perspective of the general public, what is – and what isn’t – valid science.

  373. bz

    toos,

    Alvaro was trying to make the point that lenski didn’t introduce the idea the new species had been created from his starting batch of strains of E coli . lenski produced no new species so he should never have eluded to the idea that he did. of course no new species means an end of a free ride on taxpayer dollars so we see how a Darwinist has to operate, fake claims about the results and use the term “new species” to keep the money rolling. same waste of money, in the billions, on trying to find life on Mars. if Las Vegas took odds on that one it would contain more zeroes against that can be calculated.

    it is the darwinistsnwho act like fascists. iif a person is interested in science the only issue is the results from the experiments. Lenski’s results are all proving stasis and a lack of evolution, very similar to the life of Stanley Miller. So much promise and zero results on origins all his life.

    if Lenski’s results were other than they are I would say so and agree with them. you have an a priori assumption in favor of Darwinism and can’t handle evidence that shows your faith is misplaced. makes you feel bad to know you are wrong. as for may … lenski MAY PRODUCE evidence of evolution in his lab but so far all his evidence shows evolution is a 100% bogus claim. I am 100% open to what ever results he gets next … either way. for or against evolution.

  374. bz

    shrunk,

    see my answer to toos. lenski is the one who introduced these two words into circulation “new species.”. keeps the money rolling from funding sources in the government. we have official endorsement of the Darwinist religion from our government. even though lenski has not shown evidence of a new species by suggesting he could have the secularist religious founders keep the money rolling in hopes they can use my tax money to destroy religion. note how kwok and others attacked me, in ther world view, by calling me a creationist. we are not allowed to have an official state religion in the USA but Darwinism is one.

    the Mars project of NASA has zero chance of finding life and Darwinists get it funded anyway. SETI, is a volunteer effort to get similar results in an attack on religion. Sagan hated religion. I don’t want my religious beliefs funded by the government but your religion is and that is criminal. and there is no evidence for it flowing from the lenski lab that was funded in part by me.

  375. bz

    Martha,

    the people who created the Piltdoan hoax believed in their own version of evolutiom. Shapiro has his own version too and Darwinists like kwok attack him. the USSR AND RED CHINA were both communist but they also fought each other. and Germany was also socialist during WWII and they fought another branch of socialism after being close allies.

  376. Toos

    bz, the last thing I’m interested in, is how you think I should apprehend other comments overhere. They all can speak perfectly for themselves. You just are abusing my comment #372. Continuing your anti-communicative behaviour as described. Again: know that the ONLY thing you convinced me of, and with #377 even extra, is that you behave disheartening horribly insane.

  377. bz

    kwok,

    I don’t subscribe to ID so I don’t have to defend it. the key is that Darwinism is totally insufficient to explain life. This leaves openings for guys like Shapiro to offer alternate explanations of what really happened. I have no explanation how the crayfish came to execute stochastic reasonance in real time and then stuff the program into its DNA. If God did it then he is clever enough to hide the causal mechanism from us else you would have no free will.

    I’m interested in the origins of life, maybe we find inscripted in DNA somewhere in the future – you caught me, like an Easter egg software guys do.

    it is Darwinists who make beliefs when there is no evidence to back them … I don’t make that mistake. my beliefs are proportional to the evidence that backs them. that is why I neither believe in the faith based religion of Darwinism or ID. Just because Darwinism is a failed religion and Lenski hammers more nails in this false belief every second of the day does NOT IMPLY intelligent design. ID may or may not be true but some alternative to Darwism is what really has happened.

  378. bz

    toos,

    it is not my fault if you don’t appreciate communications from a person who derives their beliefs from evidence and not faith. you may not like the fact lenski has not produced speciation in his lab but that is not my fault.

    and let’s say lenski actually does create speciation, then the next step would be to apply the math to see whether or not the quantity of mutations involved permit man to share a common ancestor with the chimp. science should always proceed from evidence regardless of how we personally feel about it.

  379. Shrunk

    bz,

    You keep claiming that Lenski has not produced speciation in his lab.

    First of all, how do you know this? The evidence is still inconclusive as to whether they are witnessing speciation in the process of occurring. Lenski has not made a definitive claim one way or the other, but you are making a definitive claim in the negative. What do you know that he does not? Have you been sneaking into his lab at night and examining the cultures on your own? Or are you just talking more BS based on your own ignorance.

    Secondly, even if speciation does not occur (and speciation is a problematic concept when dealing with asexually reproducing organisms, anyway), that doesn’t change the fact that his work has provided abundant evidence of how evolution actually occurs, under directly observed conditions. Just as one of your heroes, Anne Gauger, observed a beneficial mutation occurring right under her nose in the lab and continues to deny that beneficial mutations occur, you and all other creationists continue to deny that Lenski’s work provides ample demonstration of the evolutionary process occurring under direct observation. And yet you claim that creationists “derive their beliefs from evidence and not faith”? What a laugh.

    A concise summary of Lenski’s work can be found on Larry Moran’s Sandwalk blog, here:

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2009/10/evolution-in-action-and-michael-behes.html

    You’ll also find quoted there a hilariously uninformed response from another of your idols, Michael Behe. Moran’s reply to that is no more than your ignorant posts here require:

    “I don’t think I need to comment on such stupidity.”

  380. Toos

    bz, communication is interaction. IMO, you just are repetingly putting your abusing interpretations in the air, unidirectional. And nothing more than that.

  381. John Kwok

    bz (@ 381) -

    Only creationists – ID, OEC, or YEC – would state nonsense like this:

    “the key is that Darwinism is totally insufficient to explain life.”

    and this:

    “it is Darwinists who make beliefs when there is no evidence to back them … I don’t make that mistake. my beliefs are proportional to the evidence that backs them. that is why I neither believe in the faith based religion of Darwinism or ID. Just because Darwinism is a failed religion and Lenski hammers more nails in this false belief every second of the day does NOT IMPLY intelligent design. ID may or may not be true but some alternative to Darwism is what really has happened.”

    You are an Intelligent Design creationist since you demand proof of “information content” in the genome, just like Dembski and his fellow DI mendacious propagandists. And, like an Intelligent Design creationist, you admire James A. Shapiro because of this:

    “This leaves openings for guys like Shapiro to offer alternate explanations of what really happened.”

    James A. Shapiro is losing his credibility within the scientific community by promoting his “scientific” nonsense in his recently published book (which has yet to receive a favorable review from genuine scientists, historians and philosophers of science) and HuffPo blog.

    Thanks for demonstrating again that you are a delusional liar who revels in his ignorance of science. Time to seek the psychiatric and psychological treatment that you are long overdue for bz.

  382. bz

    shrunk,

    nothing lenski created in his lab has created a unique new species, much less with any new functions parts. read Behe sometimes. he tells exactly the limits of what lenski is producing.

    sorry, no speciation = no evolution = stasis.

    lenski’ beneficial mutation was caused by a loss of genetic information … same thing happens in sickle cell anemia. a harmful loss of genetic information has the beneficial side effect of preventing sickle cell victims from getting malaria. if. all that happens in the lenski lab is loss of information then he will run out of information over time even as beneficial mutations occur from time to time.

    lenski is showing evolution is not real.

    if lenski finds addition of information and speciation as a consequence then he finds evidence in favor of evolution. since he hasn’t then he is showing evidence that evolution is a hoax.

    and calling me a creationist does not making me one any more than saying lenski supplies evidence for Evolution when the reverse is true.

  383. bz

    toos,

    you are free to believe what you want to believe regardless of evidence to the contrary.

  384. bz

    kwok,

    do you reject the entire field called bioinformatics ? and Proteomics, do you reject that field too?

    David Ussery published the very first peer reviewed paper disputing Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box”. David studies in the field of bioinformatics and has lectured Lenski’s graduate students. David finds Shapiro’s ideas interesting and the direction of 21st century science … where you and Levin are stuck in 19th century hokum. old myths die hard which you demonstrate in about every one of your messages. I have posted David’s review of Shapiro’s book twice here so I am not going to bother a third time. just place their names in google and see for yourself.

  385. Shrunk

    bz,

    Kindly show the genomic data and calculations upon which you base your claim that the beneficial mutations detailed in Lenski’s experiments result from “loss of information”.

    As well, please provide a reference to the peer-reviewed creationist paper that documents observed examples of the magical non-human “intelligent designer” coming down from heaven and increasing the information content of a genome.

    You can do that, right? You wouldn’t possibly be making assertions that you cannot support with evidence.

  386. bz

    shrunk,

    By examining the DNA sequence of the E. coli in the neighborhood surrounding the IS [insertion sequence] elements, the investigators saw that several genes involved in central metabolism were knocked out, as well as some cell wall synthesis genes and several others. In subsequent work, Cooper et al. (2001) discovered that twelve of twelve cell lines showed adaptive IS-mediated deletions of their rbs operon, which is involved in making the sugar ribose. Thus, the adaptive mutations that were initially tracked down all involved loss-of-FCT.
    Several years later, when the cultures had surpassed their 20,000th generation, Lenski’s group at Michigan State brought more advanced techniques to bear on the problem of identifying the molecular changes underlying the adaptation of the E. coli cultures. Using DNA expression profiles, they were able to reliably track down changes in the expression of 1300 genes of the bacterium, and determined that 59 genes had changed their expression levels from the ancestor, 47 of which were expressed at lower levels (Cooper et al. 2003). The authors stated that “The expression levels of many of these 59 genes are known to be regulated by specific effectors including guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp) and cAMP-cAMP receptor protein (CRP)” (Cooper et al. 2003:1074). They also noted that the cellular concentration of ppGpp is controlled by several genes including spoT. After sequencing, they discovered a nonsynonymous point mutation in the spoT gene. When the researchers examined ten other populations that had evolved under the same conditions for 20,000 generations, they found that seven others also had fixed nonsynonymous point mutations in spoT, but with different substitutions than the first one that had been identified, thus suggesting that the mutations were decreasing the protein’s activity.

    The group then decided to concentrate on candidate genes suggested by the physiological adaptations that the cells had made over 20,000 generations. One such adaptation was a change in supercoiling density; therefore, genes affecting DNA topology were investigated (Crozat et al. 2005). Two of these genes, topA and fis, had sustained point mutations. In the case of topA, the mutation coded an amino acid substitution, whereas, with fis, a transversion had occurred at the fourth nucleotide before the starting ATG codon. The topA mutation decreased the activity of the enzyme, while the fis mutation decreased the amount of fis gene product produced.

    (Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).)

  387. Shrunk

    Blah, blah, blah, bz.

    Anyone can cut and paste.

    Now, could you actually answer my questions? For once?

    BTW, a discussion of why Behe’s paper does not mean what you’d like to think it means can be found here:

    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/behes-new-paper/

    You should pay particular attention to the conclsuion:

    “While Behe’s study is useful in summarizing how adaptive evolution has operated over the short term in bacteria and viruses in the lab, it’s far less useful in summarizing how evolution has happened over the longer term in bacteria or viruses in nature—or in eukaryotes in nature. In this sense it says nothing about whether new genes and gene functions have been important in the evolution of life. Granted, Behe doesn’t make such a sweeping statement—his paper wouldn’t have been published if he had—but there’s no doubt that his intelligent-design acolytes will use the paper in this way.

    “Finally, this paper gives ID advocates no reason to crow that a peer-reviewed paper supporting intelligent design has finally appeared in the scientific literature. The paper says absolutely nothing—zilch—that supports any contention of ID ‘theory.’”

  388. Shrunk

    BTW, bz, you and your fellow creationists seem to have failed to notice how Behe’s QRB paper actually drives a stake right thru the heart of ID:

    “Tables 2 through 4 summarize results
    from the past four decades of evolutionary
    experiments with microbes, categorizing
    the adaptive mutations as loss- or gain-of-
    FCT, or modification-of-function. As can
    be seen, only one of the adaptive mutations
    from bacteria (Tables 2 and 3) is
    gain-of-FCT, yet several adaptive mutations
    from experiments with viruses (Table 4)
    belong to that class as well.”

    So, even in controlled laboratory conditions, gain-of-FCT adaptive mutations have been observed to occur “several” times. Mutations which should NEVER, EVER be able to happen, except thru the miraculous intervention of God, if ID was true.

    Game over.

  389. John Kwok

    @ bz (# 388) -

    “Game over”, for the very reasons Shrunk and I (and others) have been saying. Only a delusional, ignorant fool would conclude that I don’t understand bioinformatics, when I’ve said earlier that I do. Since you seem incapable of providing us the rigorous mathematical proof that demonstrates how Intelligent Design can increase the “information content” of the genome, then you are such a fool and one in dire need of immediate mental health treatment. For your sake get that treatment immediately and please stop posting here.

  390. bz

    shrunk,

    within your reference the point that I made about sickle cell anemia earlier;
    Now these categories are not cut and dried.  For example, the “sickle-cell” mutation that, when present in one copy, protects carriers against malaria, is a point mutation in the beta hemoglobin molecule, changing a glutamic acid residue to a valine. You’d think that this would fall under class 3 (“point mutations”), but Behe considers it an adaptive gain of an FCT because the mutation causes the mutant hemoglobins to stick to each other in blood cells, somehow inhibiting the growth of the malaria parasite.  And because the point mutation is thereby said to specify a “new protein binding site”, Behe puts it into class 2 (gain of FCT).  Unfortunately, a lot of the single-gene mutations that Behe reviews from the experimental microbial-evolution literature work in unknown ways, so he could be missing similar cases that really fall into class 2.

    so the unknown trumps Behe’s analysis. always we start with evolution is real when in fact thentheorynis not supported from the ground up without that presupposition. and all the cry babies here that attack me cant defend their belief based on evidence. and the take away point is that loss is not denied and sickle cell anemia is the parallel case regardless of what type if falls under. nothing has been built.

    and AUTHOR is 100% CORRECT, THE FAILURE OF EVOLUTION TO ACCOUNT FOR LIFE IS NOT PROOF OF ID. which I have repeatedly stated as well and get called a creationist … the repeating pattern is false classification … done in calling evolution an explanation for life and calling me a creationist. However, if ID is true it is consistent with Behe’s paper.

  391. Shrunk

    Yet again, you attempt to avoid questions that are fatal to your position.

    Behe’s claim is that what he calls “gain of FCT mutations” can only result from “intelligent design”.

    Yet even he admits that the literature demonstrates “several” examples of these arising without any evidence of “design.”

    A real scientist would therefore conclude that his hypothesis has been falsified and intelligent design does not exist in biologuical systems.

    Behe, of course, in not a scientist but a religious propagandist, so he continues to hold his faith-based belief in “design”. The rest of us can just point and laugh at his brazen dishonesty, and shake our heads at the gullibility of his followers like yourself, bz, who swallow his propaganda whole, and ask for seconds.

  392. bz

    kwok,

    @ bz (# 388) -
    “Game over”, for the very reasons Shrunk and I (and others) have been saying. Only a delusional, ignorant fool would conclude that I don’t understand bioinformatics

    indeed , thank for admitting you lost but I would place your loss from your faith in Darwin and the inability to process information rather than calling yourself just a fool. “tool” is more apt self description for you.

    “Since you seem incapable of providing us the rigorous mathematical proof that demonstrates how Intelligent Design can increase the “information content” of the genome, …”

    you keep trying to classify me as an ID advocate every bit as much as you assert evolution is real.

    your argument goes this way … if and only if I support ID can I accept evidence that shows evolution is fake and everything Carl believes about life is based on make up hokum, Levin too.

    so sorry, I only use evidence to form judgments. there are some correlations that suggest evolution might be real but epigenetics and design fit with all this evidence too.

    the really bad thing to science is how certain guys like the late Neil Campbell act like fascists in widely used college biology textbooks. in his third edition he supported the Gaia hypothesis, supported a person who advocated genocide of the entire white race and used a quote from Niles Eldridge where Niles called people of religion to be “the enemy”. pure left wing political claptrap. and campbell hung out with 9/11 truthers that think Bush was behind the WTC terrorism attack as opposed to Muslim terrors. the truther was Carl Sagan’s ex. the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  393. Shrunk

    Focus, bz. Focus.

  394. Toos

    bz, your comments 377, 382 and 387 all are directed to me. However on whatever you are reacting, it’s 100% not in the texts of my comments 377, 382 and 387. You only are reacting on your own fancy interpretations of it. On what you think I would be thinking. Which is in no way in my texts. It’s only what your own mind is making of it.
    The same you are doing to others, in the moment John Kwok and Shrunk.
    The only thing you prove thus acting, is that you really behave mental insane. So I fully agree with John Kwok: please, stop posting here and go for a good treatment!

  395. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    Au contraire, oh delusional one (@ 396). I haven’t lost. Nor do I have “faith in Darwin”. I just accept what is well-established mainstream science, which is built on the pioneering work of Darwin, Wallace and their 19th Century peers.

    I’m glad Toos said it (@398). You are insane. Stop posting here and get the mental health treatment you need. You are in dire need of it. Each and every time you post here, you are proving to others just how insane you are.

  396. bz

    kwok,

    as to:

    “Since you seem incapable of providing us the rigorous mathematical proof that demonstrates how Intelligent Design can increase the “information content” of the genome, …”

    first off … I don’t have to jump throuht hoops, secondly, Shapiro also faulted your on this behavior, thirdly, I don’t subscribe to ID so the exercises has no point and fourthly … jump through your own hoop and show Lenski has created new species via speciation in his experiment. it has not like you can do something with Lenski’s date when it shows evolution is a hoax. why not show how many mutations it took for man to become a separate species from a chimp common ancestor. account for all the mutations that did nothing … like almost all of Lenski’s do nothing and the one that did create a beneficial result caused a loss of information.

    did the ancestor speak? if so then how did the chimp lose that capacity? else show the math and each step on the way to acquiring speech. failure to do so will establish you are guessing.

    after all, Carl claimed Casey was in error, Casey amplified the point that he was making at Carl’s request and Carl remains in hiding and the point Casey was saying in the first place is that evolution does not explain the existence of man. the point you claim so prove your case and try not to drift so much.

  397. bz

    toos,

    your claims seem to be true only in your own mind. you seem to have given yourself the self appointed role of prosecutor AND jury AND judge.

  398. bz

    shrunk,

    why Darwinists get things wrong, their underlying motivation, explains why they won’t process new information. agenda driven. look how kwok attacks Shapiro when David Ussery is open to his ideas. look how Carl has gone into hiding and Levin has run away as well. The fact Margolis is a 9/11 truther and was formerly married to Carl Sagan is every bit as much evidence as the fact lenski is showing evolution is a hoax.

    how many Darwinists purchased a chicken sandwich from Chicc-fil-a on the 1st? look how Dawkins attacks religion. that clouds his ability to look at evidence his faith in Darwin is misplaced. this all stems from 19th century silly thinking patterns that in part result from Malthus. who has been falsified over and over.

  399. Toos

    Oh please please bz, go in search for a good treatment! You don’t look a bad guy to me, on the contary. But you really are associating everything in all directions in a way that communication with you is impossible. You feel personally attacked even if nobody has that intentention, don’t you?

  400. bz

    toos, what do think is behind kwok and others caling me a creationist when I am not? my guess is that they wants to deal with a label so they can erect strawman arguments against the label rather than deal with evidence that shows evolution is a hoax. but feel free to ask kwok yourself why he repeats this misrepresentation of the facts. the nature of their accusations show that they are agenda oriented.

    my motivation is pretty clear, I dislike money wasted on the belief that evolution is real when it is still a guess based on 19th century thinking. belief should be proportional to the evidence that supports it. right now Lenski’s evidence points to evolution being a hoax and not real. that could all change but nothing so far supports lenski’s evidence being in support of evolution.

    and lenski has the right idea … test out theories and beliefs.

  401. Toos

    bz, and even that direct question of me you can’t answer …

  402. bz

    toos,

    “You feel personally attacked even if nobody has that intentention, don’t you?”

    you don’t have a grasp o bthe obvious. kwok etal keep calling me a creationist is a personal attack in THEIR MINDS. since I am not one their claim is an irrelevant and sense no attack. but clearly they launch attacks to draw attention away from the fact evolution is junk science at best. Carl and levin have gone into hiding and refuse to deal with the issues raised in the book “Science and Human Origins.”

    I would like to see Darwinists deal with the book in the style of David Ussery when he disagreed with Michael Behe. is any of this comment hard to understand? I would be happy to male it clearer if there is some part you don’t get.

  403. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    Shapiro is a once great scientist who has become a pale reflection of himself (@ 400); his opinion of me should be dismissed, and, moreover, he’s retracted his claim that I am a “Darwinist”. You are mentally unhinged and a delusional, often ignorant, liar. Calling you a creationist is self-evident to virtually all who have posted here. It’s a credible, quite accurate, observation; it isn’t one meant as a personal attack. Ever since you’ve started posting at The Loom, you have regurgitated creationist propaganda, cited them constantly in support of your latest breathtaking inanity, and have attacked “Darwinists” and “Darwinism”, just like other creationists. Given your bizarre mental state, it isn’t surprising that you don’t realize that you are a creationist.

    See a psychologist and a psychiatrist soon. You are in dire need of mental health treatment.

  404. Toos

    bz, ah, “they” this and “they” that, from the blue air I assume.
    Thereabove you only then feel not attacked if other people just don’t act like you want them to, is what you say in #406. In my ears this sounds like the frustrationtolerance of a kid in a supermarket that loudly keeps claiming a candy. Calling the whole world mistrating, just by not giving it what it wishes in spite of its wanting. Yes, in that case you indeed can wait very long not feeling attacked …
    Normally I just read this blog, comments included. This is the first time I feel the need to comment here myself, because of your sustaining insane behaviour. About that, I only can agree with John Kwok #407. And repeat: please, go for a good treatment! You can have a whole world to win, just by being able to look different at it.

  405. Toos

    Sorry! Two linguistic errors in my previous comment. It has to be:

    bz, ah, “they” this and “they” that, from the blue air I assume.
    Thereabove you only then feel not attacked if other people just act like you want them to, is what you say in #406. In my ears this sounds like the frustrationtolerance of a kid in a supermarket that loudly keeps claiming a candy. Calling the whole world mistrating, just by not giving it what it wishes in spite of its wanting. Yes, in that case you indeed can wait very long for not feeling attacked …
    Normally I just read this blog, comments included. This is the first time I feel the need to comment here myself, because of your sustaining insane behaviour. About that, I only can agree with John Kwok #407. And repeat: please, go for a good treatment! You can have a whole world to win, just by being able to look different at it.

  406. bz

    toos,

    people don’t like cherished unexamined beliefs challenged. that explains all the personal attacks and the avoidance of discussion of the evidence … even by Carl and Levin. would kwok know evidence? mo evidence of that.

    claiming a discussion of evidence is “insane behavior” makes you appear. pathetic. of course vidence is not on your side so that is all you have left. I’m still waiting for Carl to address issues from Casey’s reply.

  407. Toos

    bz, you again abuse my comments. I’m not talking about whatever you wish to make of it, but about your behaviour. Such as why it is impossible to communicate with you.

  408. John Kwok

    @ bz -

    This very blog post of Carl’s addresses the breathtaking inanity stated by David Klinghoffer, Casey Luskin and their fellow Dishonesty Institute Intelligent Design creationist mendacious propagandists. This has been pointed out to you by me and many others many, many times, but you are too delusional to understand this.

    You need to follow my advice (@ 407). You are indeed in dire need of mental health treatment.

  409. Shrunk

    bz says @210:

    “people don’t like cherished unexamined beliefs challenged. that explains all the personal attacks and the avoidance of discussion of the evidence.”

    A more accurate and concise explanation of creationism, you will not find.

  410. As I understand BZ’s complaint:

    First BZ says that Lenski’s E. coli had lost genetic information.

    Then BZ was challenged on this point, he denied making statements about genetic information.

    Then it was proven Lenski’s lab never published a description of any genetic changes in their recent mutants, so no one can know if their genetic information increased or decreased.

    Then BZ goes back to saying that Lenski’s E. coli had lost genetic information.

    So here BZ is not just contradicting the facts, he’s contradicting himself.

  411. Mike from Ottawa

    Carl,

    The info about the chromosome two was fascinating. The sorry tale of the antics of the Disinformation Institute’s inmates was amusing, but an oft-told tale as they never learn. This does show the only useful function of the creationists is that occasionally their inanities will produce a response that conveys information, as yours has done on this occasion.

  412. David E. Levin

    I guess now is a good time to repost an old treatment of the problems with Behe’s use of chloroquine resistance as a model for selection in the wild.

    Nobody rejects the notion that some selective alterations arise only very rarely (e.g. citrate utilization or chloroquine resistance), perhaps because they require multiple, simultaneous mutations. Indeed, some species go extinct because they are not able to answer a selective pressure (e.g. smallpox virus). But this is no argument against evolution. The fatal flaw in Behe’s thinking is not with his calculation of the probability of chloroquine resistance in plasmodium, it’s his attempt to draw from those numbers general conclusions about evolution rates.

    The problems with his extrapolation are several-fold. First, there is no reason to think that evolution, in general, would require genetic alterations involving multiple, simultaneous mutations. That we may be able to identify one or two examples where this is the case is no argument that it is generally the case. In fact, we know of many more examples of step-wise evolution–one selective mutation at a time.

    Second, at least in the case of chloroquine resistance in malaria, the selective pressure imposed was so severe that it can hardly be considered an appropriate model for evolution in the wild. This represents nothing less than a human attempt to exterminate the species. What other selection pressure do we know of that kills all but 1 in 10^20 individuals in a population? I can’t think of a WORSE model than this! Yet, the species was, nevertheless, still able to find a mutational solution to the problem.

    If you want an appropriate model for evolution in the wild, you need to think in terms of selective pressures that give a mutant, say, a 10% reproductive advantage over non-mutants. How difficult is it to understand that there are many more ways to answer a mild selection (and thus a much higher probability of an answer arising) than to survive an extremely stringent selection.

    Third, Behe’s argument that evolution of chloroquine resistance is relevant to the evolution of protein-protein interactions (and therefore, complex molecular machines) is based purely on his misrepresentation of the mutational requirements to generate such interactions. The evidence shows that these interactions can evolve stepwise, and that some even require only a single mutation. So, there is absolutely no justification for Behe’s claim that the evolution of new protein-protein binding sites would require 5 or 6 simultaneous mutations and is therefore, beyond the edge of what evolution can do. There is, quite simply, no reason to imagine that this step represents some sort of barrier to evolution.

    In short, nobody disputes the claim that there are limits to what evolution can accomplish in a single selective step. This falls into the category of “True, but irrelevant”. What is the evidence that evolution in the wild would ever have had to take mutational steps the size of the one that resulted in chloroquine resistance? No such evidence exists and everything we know about natural selection suggests that such an extreme selection pressure would normally result in extinction. There have certainly been many examples of mass extinction through the eons. The bottom line is that either a species evolves to fit its environment, or it goes extinct.

  413. Shrunk

    Another fatal problem with Behe’s argument: There is no reason to believe that any beneficial trait would require multiple simultaneous mutations to occur, which one of the main assumptions Behe uses to derive his probability calculations. This assumption is based on the belief that any deleterious mutations are immediately eliminated from the population, and therefore cannot persist long enough to combine with other mutations to provide an adaptive function. But that belief is empirically wrong. So long as a mutation is not immediately fatal, it can persist in a population, and even become fixed by genetic drift, even if it is deleterious. So it can hang around in a population for generations, until it finds itself combined with other mutations that may arise later or which already exist in a single individual genome and produce the beneficial trait.

    You are correct that Behe derives his frequency of the evolution of chloroguine resistance based on the flimiest of evidence, as quoted at the end of this article:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/06/05/behes-edge-of-evolution-part-i/

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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