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Tristen

Is any medical research reliant upon Common Ancestry being true

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I recently made a claim in another topic;

 

"There is no practical technology or discovery which is necessarily dependent upon the truth of Common Ancestry."

 

[The topic was locked before I had a chance to respond. I think this specific topic is worthy of discussion so I decided to post my response here. I considered the arguments in the initial post to be somewhat typical, so I included them for context (i.e. not to personally attack the poster - so I sincerely hope no offense is taken, as none is intended). And if anyone knows how to let the poster know about this topic, I would be greatful if you could - as a right of reply is deserved.

 

 

 

 

In response to my original statement (quoted above), the poster replied; “There is not a word in the English language strong enough to properly express how wrong you are”

 

It is a pity then that you could not find any words to express a single specific example of my supposed copious error. Unsupported Assertions and Innuendo are common strategies used to support the secular models, but they are logical fallacies; rendering such strategies to be technically irrational.

 

 

 

“I've personally performed experiments evolving bacteria in a lab, and charted their progress for pharmaceutical companies”

 

I also have “personally performed experiments evolving bacteria in a lab” specifically dealing with bacterial genetics. Anyone who researches bacteria should be aware that they are prokaryotic cells which engage in lateral gene transfer. It is this trait which makes them so useful in experiments pertaining to genetic manipulations. And it is this trait which logically disqualifies them from being used to support genetic-inheritance-based models such as Common Ancestry.

 

 

 

“I've also assisted in medical research that relies heavily on the theory of evolution”

 

Until you provide an argument I can examine, your claim here simply represents another Unsupported Assertion. It doesn’t actually contribute anything to the discussion.

 

 

In order to properly respond, I would also have to know how you are defining “evolution”. Do you mean the General Theory of Evolution (that all life on earth is related through a series of common ancestors), or do you mean the suite of concepts that tend to find themselves under the general umbrella of "evolution" (i.e. Natural Selection, genetic mutations, speciation etc., as well as Common Ancestry), or do you just mean any heritable change in a population?

Of all these options I, as a creationists, reserve my right under the scientific method, to scrutinize the claim that Common Ancestry is the only valid interpretation of the evidence. That is, I only dispute evolution when it is defined to mean the Common Ancestry of all life on earth (including its associated time frames). And this is why my claim was specific to Common Ancestry.

 

I encourage the use of specific terminology rather than the vague term “evolution” – because “evolution” is so equivocal that it muddies the debate. For example, people providing evidence of Natural Selection as evidence of evolution – not realising they have contributed nothing to the debate (since I have no issue with Natural Selection, and since the concept of environmental selection existed in the scientific literature before Darwin incorporated it into his hypothesis – so contrary to what is implied, there is no secular 'ownership' of Natural Selection). If evolution equals Natural Selection, then I, as a Biblical creationist, am also an evolutionist - so you see how such use of terminology could contribute to a confusing debate.

 

 

 

 

“Next time you get a bacterial infection just tell your doctor you don't need to follow the directions on your prescription bottle, because evolution has nothing to do with medicine.”

 

This statement doesn’t really make sense. There is no argument linking the premise to the conclusion. Why would the belief that “evolution [or more correctly, Common Ancestry] has nothing to do with medicine” produce the conclusion that I “don't need to follow the directions on your prescription bottle”? I would consider the opposite to be true. Since the science is not reliant upon secular assumptions, I can trust that the medical advice stems from objective scientific investigation.

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I apologize for the format of this link, as it appears to be lecture slides, but it is on topic. Specific examples are included. Some pretty interesting and amazing ones in my opinion.

 

http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/evolution/applied.pdf

 

Example 1: “Disease Phylogeny” is used to produce an epidemiological study of the disease – nothing whatsoever to do with Common Ancestry. It has nothing to do with the relatedness of species.

 

 

Example 2: “Beating Flu with Evolutionary Biology”. Flu is a virus. Viruses are not living organisms because they cannot function without the cell machinery provided by their host. Furthermore, they do not directly inherit their genetic material - so they cannot be legitimately applied to any biological inheritance model.

 

As a virus, influenza is an extremely simple molecular structure with only 8 genes (2 of which code for extra membranous proteins – i.e. outer structures that determine how well the virus can adhere to a host cell). Influenza is an RNA virus – meaning that there is no genetic ‘proofreading’ to correct for mutations – thereby allowing for those surface proteins to undergo unmitigated changes to their adhesion proteins (i.e. genetic drift). Living organisms utilise DNA which incorporate proofreading mechanisms to protect against such large scale mutation. But these types of mutations only corrupt existing genetic information. They do not change the flu into a living organism, or even another kind of virus – so they do not support the Common Ancestry model over the creationist model. As I mentioned in the opening post, creationists have no problem with the existence of mutations.

 

Influenza is also subject to genetic re-assortment; i.e. inside the host cell, the completed viral coating can pick up any nucleotides in the cell (e.g. from the host cell or even another kind of virus invading the same cell). Yet another form of genetic movement that disqualifies it as a supporting evidence for inheritance models.

 

 

Example 3: “phylogenies are being used in a survey to search for medically valuable compounds in the venoms of these animals”. The first obvious problem here is equivocation. My question asked if Common Ancestry is necessary for any medical discovery – not if constructed phylogenies can help researchers order their investigation in a systematic way.

 

Phylogenics just puts things in an order that is presumed to reflect evolutionary relationships. But there is no such compound that could not have been discovered had the researchers studied the chemicals in a different order. The presence or absence of Common Ancestry does not directly impact the research into these compounds.

 

 

I think I covered everything in the link. Let me know if I missed anything. The information related more to phylogenics than Common Ancestry.

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Okay. Phylogenetics presupposes common ancestry. I think there are many solid examples in the link that people can judge for themselves.

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Okay. Phylogenetics presupposes common ancestry. I think there are many solid examples in the link that people can judge for themselves.

 

I disagree that the examples are "solid". They do not demonstrate the necessity of Common Ancestry for any discovery. I have provided specific arguments demonstrating why they fail to do so.

 

And that's my point - no scientific discovery is necessarily, logically reliant upon Common Ancestry being true. Every discovery made by science could have been made independently of these secular assumptions. The assumption that all life on earh is related through a series of common Ancestors was not a necessary, logical prerequisit of any scientific discovery.

 

What that means is - I can take my medicine without logically compromising my position. And I can confidently, rationally put to rest any specious claim that my position ignores evidence or is anti-science.

 

 

I am happy for people to "judge for themselves". Rational people will consider both arguments and either agree with my proposal, or attempt to provide a rational rebuttal of my position. Others who are less rational will simply see what they want to see (in accordance with their own confirmation biases) and continue to stumble blindly through life; comfortable in their ignorance.

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Okay. Phylogenetics presupposes common ancestry. I think there are many solid examples in the link that people can judge for themselves.

 

I disagree that the examples are "solid". They do not demonstrate the necessity of Common Ancestry for any discovery. I have provided specific arguments demonstrating why they fail to do so.

 

And that's my point - no scientific discovery is necessarily, logically reliant upon Common Ancestry being true. Every discovery made by science could have been made independently of these secular assumptions. The assumption that all life on earh is related through a series of common Ancestors was not a necessary, logical prerequisit of any scientific discovery.

 

What that means is - I can take my medicine without logically compromising my position. And I can confidently, rationally put to rest any specious claim that my position ignores evidence or is anti-science.

 

 

I am happy for people to "judge for themselves". Rational people will consider both arguments and either agree with my proposal, or attempt to provide a rational rebuttal of my position. Others who are less rational will simply see what they want to see (in accordance with their own confirmation biases) and continue to stumble blindly through life; comfortable in their ignorance.

 

Alright, but I don't see how you are going to *generate* phylogenetic trees without assuming common ancestry. That is how they are conceptually extended at all. I can certainly see how you could use them without that presumption, after they are already formed.

 

As to your last statements, I have to admit I haven't discerned any positive arguments aside from appeals to enhanced consistency from accepting YEC and declaring that such and such line of reasoning, body of evidence and so forth could be interpreted differently but without presenting a thorough model which has better explanatory powers. Your comments about viruses seemed diversionary from the upshot of the presentation I linked you to. Nothing you said about them seemed to relate to what the presentation was actually about. Considering phylogenetic mapping has been successfully used to help deal with them, it would seem that they are actually successfully modeled by evolution.

 

In my view there isn't much to be said to that. It is entirely possible I am missing your point.

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Anyone who researches bacteria should be aware that they are prokaryotic cells which engage in lateral gene transfer. It is this trait which makes them so useful in experiments pertaining to genetic manipulations. And it is this trait which logically disqualifies them from being used to support genetic-inheritance-based models such as Common Ancestry.

For the uninitiated, this person is trying to claim that bacterial organisms cannot evolve because they lack a nucleus. He is also trying to claim that because bacteria reproduces asexually (horizontal gene transfer) that they cannot evolve. Both of these are of course, total nonsense and it is precisely because bacteria reproduces this way that they acquire resistance to antibacterial medication so quickly.

Bacteria reproduce via a process called binary fission wherein the cell divides itself creating a genetically identical copy. When one cell becomes resistant, every "clone" thereafter is also immune. Those that are not immune are killed by said medication and the resistant strain is free to propagate unchecked. This is why it is so important to follow your doctors advice in regards to using antibacterial meds. If your infection becomes immune to too many treatments it creates a sort of "super bacteria" that is nearly impossible to treat. After that you either die, or your system destroys itself in the process of fighting the infection.

I am unclear as to why a nucleus or sexual reproduction are required for natural selection or evolution.

Perhaps you'd like to give us all a breakdown as to the reasons?

Edited by MrsRational
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Okay. Phylogenetics presupposes common ancestry. I think there are many solid examples in the link that people can judge for themselves.

 

I disagree that the examples are "solid". They do not demonstrate the necessity of Common Ancestry for any discovery. I have provided specific arguments demonstrating why they fail to do so.

 

And that's my point - no scientific discovery is necessarily, logically reliant upon Common Ancestry being true. Every discovery made by science could have been made independently of these secular assumptions. The assumption that all life on earh is related through a series of common Ancestors was not a necessary, logical prerequisit of any scientific discovery.

 

What that means is - I can take my medicine without logically compromising my position. And I can confidently, rationally put to rest any specious claim that my position ignores evidence or is anti-science.

 

 

I am happy for people to "judge for themselves". Rational people will consider both arguments and either agree with my proposal, or attempt to provide a rational rebuttal of my position. Others who are less rational will simply see what they want to see (in accordance with their own confirmation biases) and continue to stumble blindly through life; comfortable in their ignorance.

 

Alright, but I don't see how you are going to *generate* phylogenetic trees without assuming common ancestry. That is how they are conceptually extended at all. I can certainly see how you could use them without that presumption, after they are already formed.

 

As to your last statements, I have to admit I haven't discerned any positive arguments aside from appeals to enhanced consistency from accepting YEC and declaring that such and such line of reasoning, body of evidence and so forth could be interpreted differently but without presenting a thorough model which has better explanatory powers. Your comments about viruses seemed diversionary from the upshot of the presentation I linked you to. Nothing you said about them seemed to relate to what the presentation was actually about. Considering phylogenetic mapping has been successfully used to help deal with them, it would seem that they are actually successfully modeled by evolution.

 

In my view there isn't much to be said to that. It is entirely possible I am missing your point.

 

 

 

You said “I don't see how you are going to *generate* phylogenetic trees without assuming common ancestry”

 

Phylogenic trees are formulated using combinations of morphological and molecular analysis (some methods rely on one or the other but most rely on a combination of the two). So they are formulated around some measure(s) of similarity. Any supposed evolutionary associations are post-hoc speculations based on the assumption that similarities are inherited through close relatives; and therefore represent evidence of Common Ancestry. So even phylogenic trees themselves can exist independently of Common Ancestry; merely representing similarities based on the chosen measure(s).

 

However, it is commonly claimed that practical biological discoveries (i.e. beyond the supposed usefulness of knowledge pertaining to the putative concept of Common Ancestry itself), such as medicines, could not exist apart from the practical application of Common Ancestry. And that implication is extended to suggest that a creationist’s use of medicines (and other technological advances) represent some form of logical inconsistency. My argument is that there is no such advancement in science that is necessarily reliant upon Common Ancestry being true. All current technology and medicine could exist regardless of whether or not Common Ancestry is true. Common Ancestry only necessarily contributes to assumptions about evolutionary associations; i.e. the study of Common Ancestry itself.

 

 

 

“Your comments about viruses seemed diversionary from the upshot of the presentation I linked you to”

 

Perhaps. The link was a presentation about the general usefulness of phylogenies – so was essentially irrelevant to the issue of whether or not any scientific advancement is necessarily reliant upon Common Ancestry.

 

 

 

“Considering phylogenetic mapping has been successfully used to help deal with them, it would seem that they are actually successfully modeled by evolution.”

 

Viruses are non-living particles. Their mechanisms of genetic change and reproduction do not mirror those found in living cells. They are therefore insufficient to qualify as evidence for the claim that all life on Earth is related through a series of common ancestors. Viral mechanisms of genetic change and reproduction cannot be legitimately applied to living cells (either prokaryotic or eukaryotic) and therefore fail as evidence of Common Ancestry.

 

Even so, the phylogenies themselves only traced strains of the same virus – not the evolution of one virus into another. So in another sense, this example fails to qualify as support for Common Ancestry.

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Anyone who researches bacteria should be aware that they are prokaryotic cells which engage in lateral gene transfer. It is this trait which makes them so useful in experiments pertaining to genetic manipulations. And it is this trait which logically disqualifies them from being used to support genetic-inheritance-based models such as Common Ancestry.

For the uninitiated, this person is trying to claim that bacterial organisms cannot evolve because they lack a nucleus. He is also trying to claim that because bacteria reproduces asexually (horizontal gene transfer) that they cannot evolve. Both of these are of course, total nonsense and it is precisely because bacteria reproduces this way that they acquire resistance to antibacterial medication so quickly.

Bacteria reproduce via a process called binary fission wherein the cell divides itself creating a genetically identical copy. When one cell becomes resistant, every "clone" thereafter is also immune. Those that are not immune are killed by said medication and the resistant strain is free to propagate unchecked. This is why it is so important to follow your doctors advice in regards to using antibacterial meds. If your infection becomes immune to too many treatments it creates a sort of "super bacteria" that is nearly impossible to treat. After that you either die, or your system destroys itself in the process of fighting the infection.

I am unclear as to why a nucleus or sexual reproduction are required for natural selection or evolution.

Perhaps you'd like to give us all a breakdown as to the reasons?

 

 

 

You said “For the uninitiated, this person is trying to claim that bacterial organisms cannot evolve because they lack a nucleus”

 

Nope – that’s not even close to what I’m suggesting.

 

 

 

“He is also trying to claim that because bacteria reproduces asexually (horizontal gene transfer) that they cannot evolve”

 

Wrong again.

 

Asexual reproduction is vertical gene transfer (i.e. from parent cell to daughter cell). Horizontal (or lateral) gene transfer refers to mechanisms such as conjugation, transformation and transduction – where genes are acquired from sources other than the parent cell.

 

 

 

“Bacteria reproduce via a process called binary fission wherein the cell divides itself creating a genetically identical copy. When one cell becomes resistant, every "clone" thereafter is also immune”

 

You moved from the specifics of a description of binary fission to a vague description of the most important event in our discussion; “When one cell becomes resistant”. How does this occur?

 

The preponderance of evidence is that bacteria acquire antimicrobial resistance through horizontal gene transfer. That is, bacteria with resistance genes can share these genes with other bacteria (not restricted to the same species of bacteria); maybe through conjugation – directly copying the genes (on a plasmid vector) into a receiving bacteria using specialized pilli structures; or through transformation – the capacity of a bacteria to pick up genetic material directly from the environment; and more rarely through transduction – viral-mediated transfer of genes from one bacteria to another.

 

Common Ancestry is a model of the history of life based on inheritance. For example, the reason we share many genes with our siblings is because we inherited them from our parents. We share less (but still many) genes with our cousins because we inherited them through our grandparents. Common Ancestry extrapolates that concept to assume that we share genes with similar species because we inherited them through an ancestor species – and so-on, all the way back to a last universal common ancestor (LUCA). So any support for this model has to be based on observations of exclusive biological inheritance.

 

The capacity of bacteria to pass genes sideways renders them to be an illegitimate evidence for any inheritance-based model – not because they can’t inherit genes, but because the most prolific mechanism of genetic change is horizontal gene transfer. That is, because they can and do pass genes sideways, gene acquisition cannot be assumed to be inherited. Therefore the genetic change in bacteria does not provide support for a model based on inheritance; as it cannot be traced through inheritance.

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Wrong again.

 

Asexual reproduction is vertical gene transfer (i.e. from parent cell to daughter cell). Horizontal (or lateral) gene transfer refers to mechanisms such as conjugation, transformation and transduction – where genes are acquired from sources other than the parent cell.

 

 

“Bacteria reproduce via a process called binary fission wherein the cell divides itself creating a genetically identical copy. When one cell becomes resistant, every "clone" thereafter is also immune”

 

You moved from the specifics of a description of binary fission to a vague description of the most important event in our discussion; “When one cell becomes resistant”. How does this occur?

 

The preponderance of evidence is that bacteria acquire antimicrobial resistance through horizontal gene transfer. That is, bacteria with resistance genes can share these genes with other bacteria (not restricted to the same species of bacteria); maybe through conjugation – directly copying the genes (on a plasmid vector) into a receiving bacteria using specialized pilli structures; or through transformation – the capacity of a bacteria to pick up genetic material directly from the environment; and more rarely through transduction – viral-mediated transfer of genes from one bacteria to another.

 

Common Ancestry is a model of the history of life based on inheritance. For example, the reason we share many genes with our siblings is because we inherited them from our parents. We share less (but still many) genes with our cousins because we inherited them through our grandparents. Common Ancestry extrapolates that concept to assume that we share genes with similar species because we inherited them through an ancestor species – and so-on, all the way back to a last universal common ancestor (LUCA). So any support for this model has to be based on observations of exclusive biological inheritance.

 

The capacity of bacteria to pass genes sideways renders them to be an illegitimate evidence for any inheritance-based model – not because they can’t inherit genes, but because the most prolific mechanism of genetic change is horizontal gene transfer. That is, because they can and do pass genes sideways, gene acquisition cannot be assumed to be inherited. Therefore the genetic change in bacteria does not provide support for a model based on inheritance; as it cannot be traced through inheritance.

No, you're wrong.

Asexual means non-sexual reproduction. Since bacteria do not mate they are asexual, they receive their genetic material from a single "parent" (I use this term for convenience, not in the true biological definition of a parent). Horizontal gene transfer is when an organism transfers it's genetic material to another that is not an offspring. Vertical gene transfer is from parent to child.

Anyone who is willing to slog through Tristen's post will notice a lot of technical jargon and large words. This is generally a tactic some people use to try and dazzle the reader and make it hard to figure out what is actually being said. You would think that on a public forum one would try and make their comments as reader friendly as possible. The reason some people do not is partly for the reason above and also because they don't really understand what they are posting. In academic circles this is called s Pseudo-Intellectual, a person who tries to impress with tons of large technical sounding language that doesn't actually say very much. The way to call this sort of behaviour out is to ask them a specific question like I did. Since they don't actually have much knowledge of the subject in which they speak they either don't answer or try to drown you in more jargon and endless repetition of the same points.

 

Luckily I have a masters degree in biology and a very high I.Q. to go with it, so I'll translate for anyone who cares:

 

In a nutshell:

 

Aside from actually confirming what I already said and not realizing it, he mentions how cells pass their immunity on to others via a process called "conjunction". This basically means cells touching each other. A nucleus is sort of a chamber that contains things like dna. Not all cells have a nucleus however so they contain their genetic material in the same membrane (the "shell") with everything else. Since bacteria are one of these non-nucleus cells they can pass their genes to one other merely by physical contact.

 

After this he is making a circular argument that changes can only be passed from parent to offspring, and we know this because changes can only be passed from parent to offspring. No supporting data is provided of course.

.

So Tristen I ask you once again, why do you think a nucleus and sexual reproduction are required for evolution to occur? And please post in plain speak so everyone on the forum can understand what is being said. It's the polite thing after all.

Edited by MrsRational
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