Bacterial motors carefully studied (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, March 31, 2016, 18:01 (930 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Thank you for another marvellous piece. However, it is unworthy of you to join the fundamentalists of both sides who use exaggerated language to discredit one another. Darwin's theory of evolution is not “collapsing”, and you know it. […]
DAVID: It is a good Englishman who defends his countryman. My view of Darwin is very different. Evolution was recognized well before Chuck.

Nothing to do with Darwin being an Englishman, and the fact that other people (especially your favourite Wallace) had also worked on the idea of evolution does not mean the theory is now collapsing, so why mention it?

DAVID: He provided a theoretical natural mechanism which you and I both think is incorrect. That was his contribution.

His major contribution was to make the concept of common descent so convincing that even many religious folk now accept the theory, as opposed to that of separate creation. The evidence he accumulated for this theory, in the form of basic patterns, remains just as valid today as it was then.

DAVID: Natural selection is a logical tautology. Of course there will be competition between variations, and small variations was his prime theme. Today we are well beyond Darwin in trying to reach answers.

Agreed. My objection is not to your individual criticisms of Darwinism but to the misleading use of language which is common to both sides. Just as an atheist would be delighted to hear from Dawkins that natural selection “explains the whole of life”, your Creationist would leap with joy at hearing that the theory of evolution is collapsing. But it isn't. It is the explanation of how evolution works - the theory of random mutations and gradualism - which in your view and mine is collapsing.

DAVID: Epigenetics is now being shown to be a more powerful heritable mechanism than previously thought. Perhaps it will turn out to be so powerful as to create species, but I doubt it. Just thinking of the issues involved in a giraffe neck make me pause. Same seven vertebrae (patterns), tremendous blood pressure, and did the acacia trees start short and as they grew taller the giraffes stretched their necks? Kipling! Not to mention leather-like tongues to handle the thorns that are like daggers.

All the theories so far seem like “just-so” stories if we tell them that way.
There was once an eternal spirit who came down to earth and pulled a spotty animal's neck to make it as tall as a tree.
There was once an eternal computer geek who planted a programme in a cell, and a couple of thousand million years later, the programme switched itself on and a spotty animal's neck suddenly shot up as tall as a tree.
There was once a spotty animal who wanted to eat the top of a tree, and its cells said: “Yeah, yeah, guys an' dolls, let's do it!” And they worked out a new formula to make its neck as tall as a tree.
Once upon a time a spotty animal with a normal neck had a genetic accident and gave birth to a spotty animal with a longer neck, and longer necks became fashionable (or useful) and gradually sort of…well…got longer, y'know whadImean?

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