The Finch Test For Natural Selection 37 Years Later

Since the 1970s, a husband and wife team who are British evolutionary biologists at Princeton University have been studying Galápagos Finches or sometimes they are referred to as Darwin’s finches. In the latest paper by Peter and Rosemary Grant doesn’t show much promise but holds on to a lot of vagueness in testing for evolution.

Since one cannot see the birds actually evolving, fitness is measured. In order to do this, the Grants embraced defining fitness as reproduction, “The fitness of an individual refers to its ability to survive and reproduce” which involves a high degree of complexity to cover all bases in it’s meaning.  The problem with this complex definition is that fitness can represent many things including the opposite such as speed or slowness, large size or small as long as more offspring are produced.  It can even mean production of large numbers of offspring (as in insects) or very few (humpback whales), and still qualify as “fitness.”  The bottom line, whatever is able to survive is deemed to be fit.

They also added another term in their research, “The translation of an individual’s potential fitness into realized fitness is governed by the environment,” but omit the explanation on what differentiates those two terms which makes things a bit confusing. Either an individual survives and reproduces or does not; if it only has the potential to do that, how can anyone measure its fitness until it dies and its offspring are counted?

The Grants attempted to measure what is called, “lifetime fitness” or  “recruitment,” which includes measuring relative offspring count at the end of an individual’s life: “Lifetime fitness (recruitment) may be determined solely by producing many offspring, modified by stochastic effects on their subsequent survival up to the point of breeding, or by an additional contribution made by the high quality of the offspring owing to nonrandom mate choice.” All this is saying is how many chicks survive and grow up to pass on the parents’ genes to the next generation.

The Grants mention, “Darwin’s finches deviate from the standard tropical pattern of a slow pace of life by combining tropical (long lifespan) and temperate (large clutch size) characteristics.” Does that mean that what occurs in these finches stays in finches? The Grants conclude…

“Thus, there are two components of biological success, in addition to chance, that have a bearing on the combination of life history traits.  The first component is an ability to find food (seeds) in dry years when food is scarce and there is no breeding.  The second is an ability to find food (insects and spiders) and avoid interference at the nest from intruders during breeding.”

“Identifying the components, which are two different suites of behavioral and physiological traits, shows where further research is needed to gain a more detailed understanding of how fitness is maximized.  Such research may yield insight into the question of how lifespan/reproduction trade-offs evolve differently in different tropical habitats that vary in seasonality, elevation, structure, and climate and also between tropical and temperate zones due to differences in ecology and seasonality, as well as other correlates of latitude.”

So for 37 years of studying these birds, the Grants are unable to narrow down any factor that provides a prediction of upward and onward gains in fitness, whatever that is in it’s high complexity of vagueness in meaning.  For all they know from all this time, each one of these factors has oscillated for thousands of years, or else all the birds would have arrived at fitness nirvana by now!

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38 thoughts on “The Finch Test For Natural Selection 37 Years Later

  1. @Michael,

    You say, “The bottom line, whatever is able to survive is deemed to be fit.”

    Yeah, you just figure that out? Creatures evolve to fit to their enviroment. If they survive in it, they are “fit” to it.

    Then you add, “Either an individual survives and reproduces or does not; if it only has the potential to do that, how can anyone measure its fitness until it dies and its offspring are counted?”

    Oh please! Tell me you are not this ignorant! We do not have to wait and count the offspring to know if it will be a “fit” species. What we really have to know is if it is well suited to it’s enviroment. INHERENTLY it will leave enough offspring…INHERENTLY!

    Then you add the most ignorant statement I have ever read on your post my claiming the following: “For all they know from all this time, each one of these factors has oscillated for thousands of years, or else all the birds would have arrived at fitness nirvana by now!

    WTF?!?!

    Micheal!! What are you talking about? There is NO such thing as a “fitness nirvana” in evolution, and anyone who thinks there is such a thing is completely ignorant of evolutionary theory and has no place to criticize it with any authority whatsoever….As I have explained to you many times in the past, evolution has no direction nor any goal. It is not a ladder…It is simply a branching bush….No animal on the bush is higher or lower than another… For example, Liones are not lower or higher than cockroaches or ants; the komodo dragon is not either higher or lower than sea slugs. Even our species of Homo sapiens is neither higher or lower than any of our hominid ancestors from the past…..

    “Fitness nirvana” is a concept that Charles Darwin had debunked 152 years ago…. His theory of evolution was what replaced it…You are confusing Darwin’s theory with that of Lamarck…. Lamark believed in an evolutionary goal…Darwin did not! He debunked Lamark.

  2. Very good article Michael.

    I am always amazed at how Darwinists can look at a creature that has adapted to it’s environment and then says “this is evidence that this bird is descendant from the same ancestor as the tree it is standing on”.

    God gave us the ability to adapt, now lets learn how we adapt so we can learn more about how our God-given bodies work. This is how science finds cures for disease.

    Of course Darwinists will attack my last statement, their predictability gets boring.

  3. @Mcoville

    God gave us the ability to adapt, now lets learn how we adapt so we can learn more about how our God-given bodies work. This is how science finds cures for disease.

    This is the same assaying that God gave his creatures to evolve, whether the change is macro or micro…I know you don’t see it, but that is exactly what it means…since there is no genetic mechanism to put an end to change.

  4. Honestly, what is the difference between micro and macroevolution?

    I’ll tell you: There is no valid difference. The change happens by the exact same mechanisms (i.e., mutation and natural selection). Micro evolution is just the change that happens on a shorter time period, and Creationists have yet to show that the small changes over a longer period of time cannot add up.

    Besides, they have yet to point to a verse in the Bible where God has said “Thou shalt not evolve into new species,” and that “Microevolution is permitted, but not macroevolution.” — No verse in the Bible contradicts that macroevolution can occure…That is a fact.

  5. Kriss,

    “Honestly, what is the difference between micro and macroevolution? I’ll tell you: There is no valid difference.”

    The Bible clearly states animals according their to their own kind (Gen. 1:25), or as they are call “variants” within a kind which is what we observe today. Your confusion is a strawman’s argument between macro-evolution (fish to man) and variants within a species (dogs and wolves). Darwinian evolution requires macro-evolution, variants within a kind doesn’t create man from fish.

  6. Good points, Mcoville

    It’s also amazing how much money has been spent over the years on studying finches for evidence of Darwinian natural selection and don’t really have anything to show for it. It’s job security no doubt, keeps the money coming in…lol…But seriously, the money could be spent on other things as you mentioned, how designed bodies work in various species and humans or looking for cures for diseases, and so on which would be a much more suitable expensive that increases knowledge for real science not evolution!

  7. @Mcoville

    And we have observable evodence in the fossil record…and you still have not given a mechanism to stop change. I ask again: What is the genetic barrier to macro-change?

    @Michael,

    Genesis 1:25 does not talk about “varients.” All it says was that the creatures were reproducing wish evolution actually predicts…And do not feed me the so-called “Biblical Kind,” since not only does it have no Biological support, it also has no Biblical support for it either.
    — — According to the Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Volume 1, page 334): “Some have insisted that the phrase ‘after it’s kind’ is a complete refutation of the theory of evolution. It is not, however, at all clear what the Hebrew word ‘kind’ (mîn) means, except as a general observation that God made creatures that they reproduced in their families. But it the Hebrew word is not understood, it is also true to say that the biological groupings are not at all finally decided. Let it be agreed that the Bible is asserting that, however life came into being, God lay behind the process, then the chapter neither affirms nor denies the theory of evolution, or any theory for that matter.”

    The Biblical kind has 1) no Biological support, and 2) no biblical support either.

    Try again.

    Both my points stand:

    1. There is no difference between Micro-evolution since there is NO GENETIC barrier to change.

    2. There is no biblical verse that says animals cannot change on a macro-scale.

  8. @Michael,
    You say “It’s also amazing how much money has been spent over the years on studying finches for evidence of Darwinian natural selection and don’t really have anything to show for it.”

    And what does Creationism have to show for it? Nothing! What discoveries in the last 152 years have been made with the “godidit” mentality? Absolutely zero!

    — How many discoveries have been made based on evolution? Many! If it weren’t for Darwin, we wouldn’t know how viruses and bacteria change. We wouldn’t know our genetic evolutionary pas, and medicine would still be in the dark ages.

  9. It doesn’t matter that we do not see a “fish turn to a man.” Actually, if we saw a fish turn to a man, that would be powerful evidence against evolution.

    The fact that michael actually used that as an argument shows he is a complete ignoramous on the subject.

    And I am still waiting for any creationist to explain what the limits to change are.

  10. “And we have observable evodence in the fossil record…” All you can observe is bones. There is no evidence that one bone gave birth to another that had any genetic change. You need genetic evidence for that. What Darwinist do is speculate what they want out of the evidence found in fossils.

    “and you still have not given a mechanism to stop change. I ask again: What is the genetic barrier to macro-change?” We do not know scientifically what that mechanism is, but we can know that it comes from the same place that the mechanism that regulates gravity comes from… God.

    Creationism is the leading cause of scientific discovery. Creationism gives us the understanding of the laws of physics. Creationism gives us the understanding that all things have a purpose and a pattern, and if we learn those purposes and patterns we can learn how they work.

    I understand you worship at the church of Darwin and will try and through the umbrella of evolution over everything, but that mentality is failed. Reality has moved on.

  11. @mcoville

    You say, “All you can observe is bones. There is no evidence that one bone gave birth to another that had any genetic change. “

    We do not need to prove that the actual individuals gave birth…But we do know this: Those creatures were members in various populations, and those populations DID give birth.

    And the observation shows change with time. For example, the protoceratops and the triceratops are obiously related, but the differences between them require macro-change. The same goes for creatures that are relatives to elephants: Deinotherium is obviously related to modern elephants, but the differences are obviously macro.

    Then you add, “We do not know scientifically what that mechanism is, “

    Well, actually the mechanism does not exist. We know what to expect of a genetic mechanism that restricts change: We would need two types of DNA strands; one impervious to change such as random mutation and gene duplication, etcetera..while the other DNA strand takes all the change…But unfortunately, we only have one kind of DNA strand…A machanism to put limits to change forever does not exist.

    Then you add, “but we can know that it comes from the same place that the mechanism that regulates gravity comes from… God.”

    Being a Christian myself, I really hate to knock this one down, but we get gravity because of mass and distance. The orbit of the earth and the other planets are affected by the mass of the sun as well as their own distance from it. . . But the same kind of argument can be made in favor of evolution. I do not deny that God may have authored the process of gravity, but there is nothing to claim that the same doesn’t hold true for evolution either. If evolution occurs, then it is in conformity to the laws of nature that God himself has authored.

    Then you add, “Creationism is the leading cause of scientific discovery. Creationism gives us the understanding of the laws of physics. Creationism gives us the understanding that all things have a purpose and a pattern, and if we learn those purposes and patterns we can learn how they work.”

    Name one discovery that has been made in the past 152 years because of Creationism.

    Then, “I understand you worship at the church of Darwin and will try and through the umbrella of evolution over everything, but that mentality is failed. Reality has moved on.”

    Ridiculous. There is no church of Darwin, and I am a Christian. There is no conflict between God and the fact of evolution, except in the minds of those that want their to be.

  12. “the protoceratops and the triceratops are obiously related”, what observable evidence is there that they are related? Bones looking alike is not evidence of relation, only of common design.

  13. @mcoville

    You say, “what observable evidence is there that they are related? Bones looking alike is not evidence of relation, only of common design.”

    The observable evidence that they are related has to do with the creatures that replaced it later on. — A species that replaced is called Pachyrhynosaurus…which looks a lot like Protoceratops but is gaining a horned structure above his forehead…After that came other species such as Chasmosaurus with even more pronounced horned structures above it’s forehead and above it’s snout, and so on to Torosaurus and then to Triceratops… The interesting thing here is: Even though the differences between just a couple immediate intermediates could be said to be just “micro-evolution,” HOWEVER if you line up all the imtermediates and take away most of the ones in the middle, it becomes clear that the change has been macro.

    Now I can see you responding to me saying that just because they are extremely similar, and just because they appear in a good time sequence, that doesn’t mean they are related…. This is a willfully ignorant statement…

    The claim that this is the prodict of common disign actually demans the designer,…especially if you wish to say that the designer is God. That is because many of these species went extinct, and then were replaced by others similar to and yet different from them….Did God just get tired of some, kill them off, and create others?

  14. @mcoville

    Another detail to point out…The way you are arguing is similar to the way a Jesus-Myther (someone who denies the existence of Jesus) argues.

    Jesus-Mythers like to say that outside of the Bible, there is no evidence of Jesus…And when they are shown other references such as Josephus or Tacitus, they argue that they were either forgeries or based on Christian filters…. You are using the same kind of logic that THEY use…When you are shown evidence, you argue it isn’t really evidence.

    Creationists and Jesus-Mythers and the Zeitgeist crowd have a lot in common.

  15. First of all, creation scientists do not have billions to conduct research over the different areas of science. Secondly, they are banned from mainstream science journals. Evolution ‘theory’ is in the same boat as Geocentrism. This was an ancient belief held by many with some observational data that tried to explain the earth was the center of the Universe. Due to certain falsifications with it’s predictions such as planets moving backwards, the theory became very complex and was later replaced. Newton was a creationist, we still use the math he had invented. How many discoveries or tests have simplified evolution through verification? What ‘part’ of evolution ‘theory’ has medicine benefited from? Limits of change, are variants within a kind.

  16. @Michael,

    Actually it is not true that Creationists are banned from publishing in mainstream science journals. There are several examples of them publishing WHEN they do REAL science. Robert Gentry, for example got published in American Journal of Physics as well as in Science, Leonard Brand got published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology as well as in Geology, and Grant Lambert got published in Journal of Theoretical Biology and in Journal of Paleontology.

    But while we are talking about being (or not being) banned from publishing, why don’t we talk about how Young Earth Creationists bann anyone they disagree with in the slightest from publishing in their journals? — I’ll give two examples:
    —-Glenn Morton submitted a paper to the Creation Research Society Quarterly , and it got rejected because he simply does not believe Noah’s flood was a global event, and also because he criticized Carl Froede’s bad geology. —- My second example: Gary H. Loechelt wrote a paper criticizing RATE and submitted it to the Creation Research Society Quarterly . The reviewers told him they would accept it IF he made slight changes, and he did. But after stringing him along for a year, it became clear they would not publish his paper under any circumstance.

    I hope this educates you, Michael!

    You then say, “Evolution ‘theory’ is in the same boat as Geocentrism. This was an ancient belief held by many with some observational data that tried to explain the earth was the center of the Universe.” — The versions of “evolution” you are talking about actually are part of SUPERNATURALISM!!! They do not have natural mechanism.

    Then you add, “Due to certain falsifications with it’s predictions such as planets moving backwards,” — This is laughable. There is no such thing as “backwards” since evolution has no goal. Retaining ancestral traits is not going backwards…it simply means you still have the genetic traits…which evolution allows.

    Then you say, ” the theory became very complex and was later replaced.” — Wow, that is just amazing, Michael. Now go and tell 99.5% of all scientists and PH.Ds who apparently do not know that.

    You add, “Newton was a creationist, we still use the math he had invented.” — Newton’s math has nothing to do with being a Creationist. The versions of evolution in his lifetime had no natural mechanism, and so he rightfully rejected them…. And the irony of Creationists citing Newton is fund in the fact that he used his theories to explain laws of nature….without God.

    You then ask, “How many discoveries or tests have simplified evolution through verification? “ — I already mentioned the Fossil record. We have many transitional species between many groups. In dinosaurs, we have many transitions between souropods…We even have their fossil ancestors who were bipeds. In the evolution of birds, we have many transitions from theorpod dinosaurs, and even bones of a velociraptor with feather impressions on it…. In Genetics, Evolution has been testes as well. A good falsification of evolution would be if there were different geneti codes, but we ALL have a universal genetic code, even though there are 100 different possible codes there could have been.

    You ask, “What ‘part’ of evolution ‘theory’ has medicine benefited from?” — It is because of Darwin that we know why viruses evolve and become resistent to antibiotics. If it weren’t for this, we would be using obsolete drugs on newly evolved bacteria and viruses against which it would be inaffective.– Now, I can see you arguing that this was a “loss” of information…Actually, that is not necessarily the case, as we have examples of gained information in the lab. E-coli has been tested in the lab. It’s decendants were separated from it’s ancestor and exposed to more humid conditions, and it;s descendants showed more fitness in contrast to their ancestor…Since the scientists knew the genetic code of the ancestor, they were able to show that this was new information in the offspring. — And even if it were a “loss” of information, it really wouldn’t matter since evolution is about adapting a species, NOT about making it more complex…Sometimes more complexity is a bad thing.

    And Michael, I asked the same question before in this very thread….I answered you, so why don’t you tell me what role Creationism has played in Modern medicine in the last 152 years?

    Then you add, “Limits of change, are variants within a kind.” — You are just going to keep repeating this, aren’t you? — I have already asked, if there are limits to change, then what are they? What mechanism stops change? I asked this, and I am still waiting for an answer… –The Bible does not support the “biblical kind,” as proposed byt YECs. I have already quoted a reputable source that shows that the word for “kind” used in Genesis is not well understood, but you either ignored it or didn’t read it. I will quote it again:
    — — According to the Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Volume 1, page 334): “Some have insisted that the phrase ‘after it’s kind’ is a complete refutation of the theory of evolution. It is not, however, at all clear what the Hebrew word ‘kind’ (mîn) means, except as a general observation that God made creatures that they reproduced in their families. But it the Hebrew word is not understood, it is also true to say that the biological groupings are not at all finally decided. Let it be agreed that the Bible is asserting that, however life came into being, God lay behind the process, then the chapter neither affirms nor denies the theory of evolution, or any theory for that matter.”

    You get that Michael? Not only is the word for “kind” not understood well in Hebrew, but it cannot be said that it contradicts the theory of evolution!!

  17. Does anyone still wonder why scientists laugh at creationists? Here we have 8 stanzas of misinformation in 8 sentences of a single comment. Not bad, even for Michael.

    .

    @Michael: “First of all, creation scientists do not have billions to conduct research over the different areas of science”

    If creations did have all the money they wanted, what specific research projects would they spend it on? Describe how you would design a space telescope to demonstrate the creation of the universe 6,000 years ago. Describe an experiment to show how God sorted out all the kangaroos only in Australia, all the turkeys in North America, and all the giraffes only in Africa after the Flood. Design a double-blind national clinical study to demonstrate the medical value of exorcism.. Creationism offers no guide as to to how to conduct research that would demonstrate special creation. The problem is not money.

    @Michael: “Secondly, they are banned from mainstream science journals.”

    Michael can’t even seem to remember his own claims. For example, four days ago he trumpeted 3 intelligent-design papers in peer-reviewed journals: “Intelligent Design Papers Are Making Noise” Remember now? The sad fact is that no creationists or ID folk have even submitted any papers containing any positive evidence for their claims.[1]

    @Michael: “Geocentrism. This was an ancient belief held by many with some observational data that tried to explain the earth was the center of the Universe.”

    Michael, please name the specific physical evidence that convinced the ancients as to the truth of geocentrism. The only “evidence” for geocentrism is that the Earth appears to be stationary. (Ironically enough, this is also the only evidence for special creation—that living organisms appear to be designed.) [0]

    @Michael:“Due to certain falsifications with it’s predictions such as planets moving backwards”

    People knew the planets moved backwards for thousands of years.[2] Yet geocentrism continued until 400 years ago. If geocentrism had been “falsified” this long, why had no one noticed? Michael might also note that celestial navigation, and even GPS, still operate on a geocentric basis..Michael clearly understands nothing about scientific theories and how they rise and fall.

    @Michael: Newton was a creationist, we still use the math he had invented.

    In what way was Newton’s mathematics based upon his creationist beliefs? Leibnitz invented the same mathematics, yet he was not a creationist. Laplace was an agnostic, yet we still use his improvements to Newton’s mathematics. Creationists cannot get through their heads that religious belief does not determine the truth of a scientific theory.

    @Michael: “How many discoveries or tests have simplified evolution through verification? “

    Why would anyone think that simplification is a goal–or even a result—of a verification? Did the verification of relativity through testing curvature of starlight simplify that theory? Again, Michael misunderstands the purpose of testing; he confuses it with apologetics.

    @Michael:“What ‘part’ of evolution ‘theory’ has medicine benefited from?”

    Ironically, one of the deficiencies in medical education that is now being addressed is that students have so little exposure to evolution theory that it hampers their understanding of disease. Probably the biggest—and oldest—is the application of natural selection theory to drug resistance. Without that, doctors would not have a clue as to where it arises or how to combat it.[3] Evolutionary population genetics traces the ancestry of HIV and other diseases for the design of better drugs. Research on Michael’s favorite medical topic, stem cells, is informed by the new field of evolutionary development, which studies the same phenomenon of cell differentiation. Research into the evolution of multicellularity uncovered the entire field of cell signalling, which has so far led to a completely new class of antibiotics, and promises much more. In this area aslo, Michael demonstrates and abyssal ignorance.

    @Michael: “Limits of change, are variants within a kind.”

    Define “kind” in a manner that does not change with new discoveries in evolution. Creationists used not to admit any change at all. Then variation within species. Then similar species. Today, there are creationists who will admit that an entire phylum may be a single “kind.”[4]

    ===========

    [0] Besides the “evidence” that the Bible says that the Erath is fixed. Again, like creationism.

    [1] Michael will bridle at that, but note the limitations. Dembski & Marks’ paper in IEEE Transaction, for example, merely offered a definition of a quantity said to be useful in searches, and did not claim anything at all as to evolution or any other specific application. Meyer’s infamous Smithsonian paper was a “review” paper, merely summarizing the literature in a certain area. Douglas Axe’s papers at most showed that a particular mechanism of evolution might not work as thought in a specific situation. And so forth.

    [2] That’s why they’re called “planets”—Greek for “travelers.”

    [3] A couple of years ago, an ID wonk suggested a remedy for drug resistance based upon intelligent design. His proposal would actually have increased the rate of drug resistance, not reduced it. Evolutionary scientists just laughed. (The IDiot proposed attacking a resistant trait with multiple antibiotics. This would of course strengthen evolution selection to increase resistance. Evolution says you want to attack multiple targets with the antibiotic cocktail.

    [4] As krissmith777 has noted at length, interpretation of the biblical “bar” varies widely, and may even be simply a literary device with no meaning whatever. .

  18. @Olorin,

    You say, “Does anyone still wonder why scientists laugh at creationists? Here we have 8 stanzas of misinformation in 8 sentences of a single comment. Not bad, even for Michael.”

    From my view, this is why scientists do not usually like to debate Young-Earth Creationists…Creationists tend to spout out a lot of “codswollop” in a few sentences…and for a scientist to affectively refute it, he would have to go into a lot more detail to debunk it –As we can both see, our refutations of Michael’s 8 sentences took up a lot more space–. But since debates have a certain format in which they have limitted time, they do not have the time or the ability to refute all the BS the Creationists spout off… To the simple minded, this can cause the people in the audience to assume that simply because the scientist didn’t refute it (because he really didn’t have the time to), that therefore the arguments must hold water.

  19. Kris, my sentiment exactly. Although I would have phrased it a bit differently.

    In a debate, the creationist will seize upon a minor point that is usually irrelevant to the question at hand, then worry it to death with misdirection and doubt. Most of the time, the scientist will never be able to get back to the main topic at all.

    Thus the creationist appears to have “won” the point—without ever having addressed the question at all! Duane Gish was, and still is (he’ll be 90 this year!), a master of this technique.

  20. @Michael: “Since one cannot see the birds actually evolving, fitness is measured. In order to do this, the Grants embraced defining fitness as reproduction.”

    Well. Even better. One sentence, 3 errors.in basic knowledge..

    (A) Just because Darwin didn’t “see” the Galapagos finches[1] evolve does not mean that no one has. These birds have been observed on a regular basis over the past 150 years, and they have in fact have been seen to have evolved over that period. In other news, frogs in the Adriatic have been observed to evolve a new species over only 30 years. Cichlids in Lake Victoria evolve so rapidly that it’s hard to keep track of the new species. A new red/blue split was observed just a year or so ago.

    (B) Fitness does not measure evolution. Fitness can increase or decrease without any evolution at all. Why did the dinosaurs go extinct? Their food chain collapsed, rendering them less fit in the new environment. They definitely did did not go extinct from “evolving” toward a lower fitness. Seems rather elementary, at least to anyone who has the slightest background in biology.

    (C) The Grants did not define fitness as reproduction. Reproduction is the definition of evolutionary fitness. What else could it be? What the Grants did was to analyze individual components of reproductive fitness in the finches, the effect of factors such as clutch size, longevity, and mate selection[2] on overall reproductive fitness.

    ===========

    [1] Acctually, they are tanagers, not true finches.

    [2] Surprisingly low, as it turned out,

  21. I find it insane that Michael thinks he is doing anyone any favors by attacking evolution and science in general.
    Creationists have a tendency to insert things in the Bible that are not required in the Bible in the least….

    Many examples of this are found in Creationist claims of Flood Geology….They like to claim that the flood of Noah changed the landscape…But the Bible not only doesn’t say that, but it also contradicts it… In Genesis 2, the modern rivers of the Tigris and the Euphrates are described and associated with countries that were known AFTER the flood of Noah, and the fact that the writer of Genesis pin-pointed them in such a way indicates that he thought that the pre-flood earth was not different from the landscape afterwards..—–Also interesting is that satellites have identified a fossil river that can easily be associated with Pishon river (mentioned in Genesis 2: 11) because of the place that it is identified with… Genesis places that river in Havilah..Havilah is in the Arabian dessert…and the fossil river flowed from the Arabian dessert to where the Persian gulf is today… In my mind, that indicates that these rivers we know today are the same as the ones mentioned as watering the Garden of Eden..And the real clencher here is the rivers all met in one place and became one just as Genesis says… To say otherwise is the same as saying that the Bible doesn’t say what it means. — The clear implication is: Even if the flood were worldwide, it didn’t change the landscape…not of the middle east, at least.

    Flood models really have a way of creating more problems than the ones they are set out to solve… A good example of this is Walt Brown’s Hydroplate theory.. – According to Brown, (at least) half of the water of the flood was 10 miles below the crust. The water was a half mile thick there… But the problem here is that the Bible says the mountains were covered by 22.5 feet, but he says that the mountains in the pre-flood earth were 9,000 feet high… A half mile is only 2,640 feet..and if that was only half the water, than that means that the tops of the mountains were 3,720 feet above water level!!! That means that Hydroplate theory actually contradicts the Bible!!!

    Then there is John R. Baumgardner’s Runaway Subduction… His model says that the plates moved at such rapid rates… This actually implies contradiction of the Bible because of the earthquakes it would have caused… The Bible says the storm ended after 40 days… But at this point, the plates would have had to have continued moving, as the model itself indicates that the plates moved for several months… This would have caused massive Tsunamis LONG AFTER the rain would have ended…and that would have been much worse than the flooding itself… The flood would have been the least of Noah’s worries—–… And also, the heat that the model produces would have been 10^28 joules which would have boiled away the oceans which makes one wonder how the water remained on the earth for 371 days…

    Oh yeah, I forgot! It’s a miracle!!!

  22. @Michael: “So for 37 years of studying these birds, the Grants are unable to narrow down any factor that provides a prediction of upward and onward gains in fitness, whatever that is in it’s [sic] high complexity of vagueness in meaning.”

    Another failure of reading comprehension on Michael’s part. The whole point of this paper is to “narrow down” the components of reproductive fitness in these finches. Reproductive fitness can occur in many ways. What is it in particular that lends fitness to these birds?

    If Michael had understood even the abstract of the paper, even the parts he himself has quoted, he might see that the authors found “two different suites of behavioral and physiological traits.” He might have noticed that the number of clutches is more important than the size of each clutch. He might have seen that—surprisingly enough—sexual selection was not very important. And that “extramarital” liaisons did not improve fitness. (Apparently, they were just out for a lark :-) Perhaps most significantly—and again somewhat surprisingly—the birds’ lifestyle—the “life history strategy+—does not match that of most other tropical animals in several respects.

    The paper then offers an evolutionary explanation for these findings, in terms of selective pressures.

    Now, Michael, tell us again that the Grants spent 37 years and found nothing of interest.

    ==========

    Post commentum: When we say that the study lasted 37 years, Michael probably has a mental—excuse the term—image of a tent pitched in the Galapagos for four decades, with a resupply steamer arriving every few months. Not so, mon cher. They identified the cohorts, banded the birds, and left. Maybe twice a year they flew in again, spent a couple days spotting the birds and reading the bands. Then they flew out, wrote up the data, and went on to other research projects. If Eelco spent months at a time glued to a telescope, how would he have any time to comment on this blog?

  23. Kris, you must remember that creationists do not honor logic or consistency. We tend to forget that.

  24. @Lance Ponder: “fitness nirvana” — LOL

    Yes, this is our reaction as well. Although for a completely different reason. As Kris pointed out, it is incredibly stupid.

  25. Kriss,

    You say creationists can get published in a science journal if they are doing science, but they are not doing research for evolution! Creationism which is driven by the data, it’s foundation is the Bible. Evolution is not driven by the data, it’s only in the minds of men. Here are some examples…

    Evolutionists consider the Eukaryotic to be the first living one-cell animal. It has been one of the most studied in recent time. Evolutionary scientists have been taking a close look at it’s structure and discovered a revealing result. Biochemist Nick Lane from the University College London states that any eukaryotic cell must have a fully functional mitochondrion that is already in place (Nature: October 2010) because without the mitchondrion which is designed to manufacture fuel for the rest of the cell, the Eukaryotic would be unable to survive. This creates a problem for evolution if one considers it a true theory. The one-cell animal’s designed structure renders evolution useless, and falsified, which leads an explanation to solve the problem and challenge other viewpoints with mere imagination to keep it alive.

    Mutations happen in populations with animals and people but do not show it’s possible to turn a fish into a human. According to a study published in January 2010, humans accumulate mutations at a rate of 1 to 5 percent per generation. Another study in 2010 was completed showing that DNA base-by-base analysis yielded a smaller number, to the previous study, finding that 60 new, irrevocable mutations add up each generation. Those numbers are not compatible with “millions” of years which is commonly taught by evolutionary ‘theory’. There are those as I previous stated, claim that evolution goes into high gear at a particular time which is not data driven either, it was just another out of many ideas in an attempt to explain observational data that is in conflict with evolutionary ‘theory’ like the Cambrian Explosion.

    In light of evolution, nothing in biology obtains clarity, it only gets more complicated. As one evolutionist puts it as…

    “Evolution is a lot of fun,” said Bejerano, who plans to continue the investigation into what the ultraconserved segments might be doing. “You answer one question, and five others pop up.”

    This saying is so true in everything that includes evolution as an explanation of origin. Bejerano is thrilled because it’s job security. But nature is a highly advanced design which doesn’t need evolution to explain it, in fact it hinders it. Learning about real specialized complexity being observed in nature is data driven!

  26. @Micheal,

    You say, “You say creationists can get published in a science journal if they are doing science, but they are not doing research for evolution!

    The fact that you completely ignored the unfair descrimination I pointed out of Creationist journals against anyone they disagree with is noted..

    Then you say “Creationism which is driven by the data, it’s foundation is the Bible. Evolution is not driven by the data, it’s only in the minds of men. Here are some examples…””

    As I have kept pointing out, Creation models have nothing to do with the Bible. I have already proven that they actually go as far as to contradict the Bible. Constant insistence that Creationism is based on the Bible doesn’t make it true. (For example, in this comment: https://thebibleistheotherside.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/the-finch-test-for-natural-selection-37-years-later/#comments)

    I am not going to keep repeating myself. If you were even interested in learning anything, you would have figured that out.

    Then you say, “Evolutionists consider the Eukaryotic to be the first living one-cell animal. It has been one of the most studied in recent time. Evolutionary scientists have been taking a close look at it’s structure and discovered a revealing result. Biochemist Nick Lane from the University College London states that any eukaryotic cell must have a fully functional mitochondrion that is already in place (Nature: October 2010) because without the mitchondrion which is designed to manufacture fuel for the rest of the cell, the Eukaryotic would be unable to survive.”

    There are two things wrong with this statement….

    1. You are assumining the Eukaryotic are exactly the same as they were 3.8 billion years ago.. In fact, they are not.

    2. You are showing ignorance of the evolution of the mitochondrion. We know through genetic testing that the mitochondrion did not enter the picture in our OWN genetics until MUCH LATER, AFTER the Eukaryotics came into the picture. — That said, we know that Mitochondrion are the descendents of bacteria that hitched a ride little over a billion years ago!! [1] Of course, this makes it MUCH YOUNGER than the first Eukaryotic.

    What this means is you just completely botched a weak argument for Irreducible complexity. If modern Eukaryotic cannot survive without the mitochondrion, then so what? The genetic testing shows that for the first couple of billion years, they did survive without it!

    What this means is that they weren’t dependent on it at first, BUT that they eventually gained dependence. That is how irreducible complexity can evolve; the mitochondrion would not have been well integrated at first. If, however, it is still usefull and another portion deemed needed (for lack of a better term) erodes away, the mitochondrion will become vital. I have explained this to you before, and you ignored it.

    Irreducible Complexity was predicted in the early 20th century by Herman Muller….as an evolutionary prediction! [2] — This begs the question: If irreducible complexity were such a threat to evolution, why did evolutionary scientists 70 years before Michael Behe come to conclusion that these systems were an evolutionary prediction?

    Oh, and speaking of Irreducible complexy, remember my old flagellum challenge which you have failed to answer. It has been since last June, and I am still waiting.

    Michael, your entire comment is a red herring. In it, you have completely ignored most of the points made against you, and you just go off to other topics that have nothing to do with anything that either you, I or even Olorin have brought up. Resorting to red herrings is a sign of someone who has lost the original argument and seeks to salvage it through irrelevant means..

    The references needed to debunk this horse manure are easily accescible, but now I had to resort to lifting Olorin’s numbering method in order to endnote and cite my sources. –So, I apologize to Olorin. [3]

    ——————
    [1] Olson, Steve. Mapping Human History: Genes, Race and our Common Origins, page 24. — A book I have started to read. Indeed, I didn’t know this fact about the origins of mitochondria until yestarday (January 11, 2011). Good timing, isn’t it?

    [2] Muller, Hermann J. 1918. Genetic variability, twin hybrids and constant hybrids, in a case of balanced lethal factors. — Long paper, and quite old. I was surprised to find it online.

    [3] Sorry, Olorin. It’s just much easier to go on with what I say, and place my refences here below. I think it makes the post a bit more readable.

  27. @Kris: “[3] Sorry, Olorin. It’s just much easier to go on with what I say, and place my references here below. I think it makes the post a bit more readable.”

    What, you think I have the patent on footnotes?? Forge ahead :-)

  28. @Michael:“You say creationists can get published in a science journal if they are doing science, but they are not doing research for evolution!”

    Let’s see…. Stem-cell investigators are not doing research in evolution either, yet they get published all the time. Michael, how would you account for that?

    @Michael: “Evolutionists consider the Eukaryotic [sic] to be the first living one-cell animal.”

    This marks a new low in Michael’s understanding of evolution. Wherever did you get that idea????

    @Michael: “Biochemist Nick Lane from the University College London states that any eukaryotic cell must have a fully functional mitochondrion that is already in place (Nature: October 2010) because without the mitchondrion which is designed to manufacture fuel for the rest of the cell, the Eukaryotic [sic] would be unable to survive.”

    While not quite as egregious as the previous error, this statement demonstrates that Michael has not even heard of the by now consensus theory that eukaryotes evolved by incorporation of bacteria into archaea. Where have you been for the past 20 years??

    @Michael: “Mutations happen in populations with animals and people but do not show it’s possible to turn a fish into a human.”

    This “crocoduck” argument is so stupid that even Answers in Genesis says it should not be used. (Not only because it’s wrong, mind you, but because so many people know it’s ridiculous.)

    @Michael: “Those numbers are not compatible with ‘millions’ of years which is commonly taught by evolutionary ‘theory’”

    Not compatible in what way? Your preceding statements are irrelevant to this point.

    @Michael quotes an unnamed ‘evolutionist’: “‘Evolution is a lot of fun,’ said Bejerano, who plans to continue the investigation into what the ultraconserved segments might be doing. ‘You answer one question, and five others pop up.’”

    As opposed to creationism, where answering one question turns up five inconsistencies with other observations.

  29. Olorin,

    Creationists do not get published in PNAS, or Nature which are the mainstream of science journals. They also do not get the press from science daily or new scientist or others if their works get published in smaller journals.

    “Let’s see…. Stem-cell investigators are not doing research in evolution either, yet they get published all the time. Michael, how would you account for that?”

    That is so true, good point! Well if you were following my discussion with Kriss, I mentioned that evolution is not needed in science to learn about how nature functions. It’s like a car Olorin, you can learn about it without evolution. From that knowledge, the car could also be improved, similar with nature. His response if we do that, we would be living in the dark ages which is a common but false statement that some evolutionists try to use in desperation. But it’s nice to see you also think evolution is not needed in science as well…lol

  30. @Michael,

    You say, Well if you were following my discussion with Kriss, I mentioned that evolution is not needed in science to learn about how nature functions. It’s like a car Olorin, you can learn about it without evolution.

    And in two simple sentences, you entire argument falls within two breaths. — Evolution is fundamental to nature…CARS ARE NOT part of nature!!!

    Epic Fail, Michael, epic fail.

  31. Cars are irrelevent to analyze evolution. Cars are not living things; they do not mutate, they do not reproduce, and they certainly are not subject to natural selection. Like Paley’s watch, it fails on the same basis.

  32. I should not have mentioned stem-cell research as an example that does not need evolution, since I had mentioned only a short while ago that evolutionary development (“evo-devo”) does contribute to stem-cell research, since evo-devo studies the evolution of cell differentiation.

    Actually, it is hard to find an area of biology that evolution does not affect.

    But Michael is still wrong when he says that nothing but evolution gets published. And certainly papers critical of evolutionary mechanisms do get published, in Science, Nature, and every other journal.

    The problem with creationism is that you need actual evidence in order to publish a research paper, and creationists have never come up with any. The best they can do is “appears to be” designed and “similar to” a machine.

    If you look at papers published in Answers Journal, Journal of Complexity, and other creationist organs, it only takes a moment to see flaws in reasoning, omitted citations to relevant papers, and unsupported conclusions that would clearly flunk peer review in a scientific journal.

  33. @Michael: “Aren’t cars studied and tested with predictions made about it’s [sic] technology? “

    No. Why would anyone do that? “Hm. Based upon the Chevy Volt’s battery life, I predict other electric cars have neodymium motors. Let’s go do an experiment and find out.” Ridiculous.

    @Michael: “Aren’t cars studied and tested with predictions made about it’s technology? ”

    What in the world does this sentence have to do with the preceding sentence? Or with anything at all?

  34. @Michael: “Aren’t cars studied and tested with predictions made about it’s technology? “

    No. Why would anyone do that. “Hm. based upon the Chevy Volt’s battery life, I predict other electric cars have neodymium motors. Let’s go do an experiment and find out.” Ridiculous.

    @Michael: “Have you ever heard of biomimetics “

    What in the world does this sentence have to do with the preceding sentence? Or with anything at all?

    ((Sorry. Overeaager ENTER key))

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