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Re: On the polemic of "Spitting on Nature".

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  • Randy C
    ... Incorrect. One example would be the so-called nylon bug adaptation. As Wikipedia describes it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nylon-eating_bacteria: In
    Message 1 of 115 , Oct 4 7:00 AM
      > JayJay:
      > OK, I'll try putting my point slightly differently.
      > Creative adaptations haven't happened in peripherally
      > isolated local communities as Eldredge and Gould claimed,
      > but in unbounded contexts marked by high biodiversity.
      > Small islands are just the extreme example of isolation.


      One example would be the so-called "nylon bug" adaptation.
      As Wikipedia describes it at

      "In 1975 a team of Japanese scientists discovered a
      strain of Flavobacterium living in ponds containing
      waste water from a factory producing nylon that was
      capable of digesting certain byproducts of nylon
      manufacture, such as the linear dimer of 6-aminohexanoate,
      even though those substances are not known to have
      existed before the invention of nylon in 1935."

      In other words we have:

      1. An "peripherally isolated community of organisms" -
      bacteria living in factory waste water.

      2. Developed a "creative adaptation" - the ability to
      digest the manmade byproducts of nylon production.

      Why doesn't that qualify as an example?

      Randy C.
    • jayjay4547
      ... It was Randy who claimed dolphins getting caught in nets is a sign of poor design. In post 18585 (Sept 7th) he wrote: **IF** life on Earth is the result
      Message 115 of 115 , Nov 6, 2009
        --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, "gluadys" <g_turner@...> wrote:
        > > Jay wrote: Yes but the situations where that arises of getting caught in nets (your example) are (a) wholly recent (b) catch anything in the sea, mainly gilled animals.
        > >
        > G Turner replied: That may be the most obvious example, which, no doubt is why you mentioned it. But it need not be the only one.

        It was Randy who claimed dolphins getting caught in nets is a sign of poor design. In post 18585 (Sept 7th) he wrote:

        "**IF** life on Earth is the result of the work of an Intelligent Designer, why didn't that designer give cetaceans (whales, porpoises and dolphins) the ability to breathe underwater?

        They live in an aquatic environment and surely being able to breathe in that environment would be very, very beneficial.

        Some porpoises and dolphins actually drown when caught in fish nets or other things that prevent them from coming to the surface. If they had, for example, gills - the same mechanism found in fish that wouldn't happen."

        Soon after that, in post 18607 you agreed:
        "Take a shark and a dolphin out of water for any significant length of time and both will die. Trap a shark and a dolphin underwater and only the dolphin will die. Clearly in this respect the species whose respiratory apparatus is adapted for water is superior to that of an air-breathing mammal."

        If you would like now to distance yourself from the nets-and-dolphins argument then by all means cite the other ways a dolphin can get "trapped underwater" and we can discuss them. But if you want to stick to it, then if would be useful if you could take up the serious problems I raised, that nets are (a) wholly recent and (b) catch anything in the sea, mainly gilled animals.

        > You left out "designing". That's the key word. And if it is getting repeated like a mantra it is only because you have consistently refused to answer it, raising a plethora of irrelevant scenarios instead. But it is not surprising because there is no logical answer.

        No logical answer to what? You claim that there is something basically inappropriate in a marine animal breathing in water. Then you claim that if marine animals were "designed" by an omniscient creator, then dolphins would have gills- maybe in addition to lungs, or instead of lungs. You make out this is all open-and-shut. But it's got three separate major uncertainties as I've raised before:

        (a) It's not clear that a marine animal should logically breathe in water, in view of the facts that (i) air over the ocean contains a relatively constant 200,000 ppm oxygen, whereas water has something like 5ppm dissolved oxygen, that's variable and a drop below that scarce level apparently happens and is dangerous to gilled animals.(ii) Oxygen is used continually in activity and marine mammals in particular, are known to be highly active, access to the oxygen gives them an edge. (iii) Marine mammals are at the pinnacle of the food web in oceans- evidently their physiology gives them a broad advantage. (iv) It's the surface layers of the oceans where there is most food, that's close to the air. For large animals, the biosphere is like a thin skin on the planet and an animal that comes to the surface to breathe has simply been taught something valuable about the surface of that skin.

        (b) It's uncertain what one can usefully claim of an "omniscient creator". You use it to present that whatever dilly "improvement" one can think up (nuclear powered dolphins!!) ,is something this "omniscient creator" could do else this creator wouldn't be omniscient. Can a created being expound on what its creator can do? That's arguable and I believe it's bad religion. God the Creator is to be worshiped and God's will obeyed, that's the all.

        (c) It's also uncertain what one can mean by "design". You've used it to mean starting every time with a blank sheet. But when we normally speak about "design" there is anything but a blank sheet. Real designers have a detailed knowledge of their materials and of the state of the art. There's a confluence between the words discover, invent, learn, taught and discern. And that coming together needs to be carefully looked at in the light of the paths followed by the ancestors of living things.

        > Then why do you argue as if supporting intelligent design? You don't really agree with it, yet you can't, for some reason, agree that the evidence which indicates evolution (which for some reason you prefer to call "pathways of development") necessarily rules out design. One does not design a marine creature by tinkering with the model of a terrestrial creature and consciously restricting oneself to what can be derived from the terrestrial design by natural selection. >

        Interestingly, that's exactly what happens in actual design. It's an endless tinkering, an improvement on earlier designs. I'd expect you to factor in that practical experience of design. One reason why I argue as if supporting ID is that I'm struck by how un-pragmatic some of your anti-ID arguments are. Another is that as I said before, I approve of the fact that ID shows fight. The "theory of evolution" is an establishment position, defended with typical establishment instruments and ID provides cover for counter-positions to be explored. A third reason is that this syndrome of spitting on nature (in this instance, spitting on dolphins) is kinda interesting.

        > Design is not a matter of following paths at all. Following paths would be a form of evolution, not a design process. >

        That's just not true about actual design.

        > Truly, you are not understanding the point at all. I have not been arguing about evolutionary pathways. I have no criticism of evolutionary pathways. I have not suggested the dolphin has been made inappropriate. Quite the contrary. It has been made appropriate to its current habitat by natural selection of features advantageous in that environment. So, no, given its pathway, it probably cannot be made better than it is¬ónot by much anyway--but who knows what evolution still has up its sleeve for dolphins.
        > What it does not have up its sleeves is gills. Gills would show a dolphin was designed, because the resources it could use for gills in an evolutionary scenario are no longer available for that purpose. The bones and muscles and nerves used in a fish for gills are used in a dolphin for hearing¬óbecause that's what mammals use them for. And you can't simply reverse evolution. However, while there is an obvious reason that evolution could not supply a dolphin with gills, there is no obvious reason a designer could not or would not.

        But you have been asserting that a dolphin with gills in addition to lungs or instead of lungs, would have higher fitness than actual dolphins. But in truth, you are in an very poor position to make that judgment and you don't seem to appreciate how poor it is. On the contrary, you argue endlessly when the very first pragmatic objection is raised: that water has a hang of a lot less dissolved oxygen in it than air does. You don't respect how enabling the creative paths followed by species are.

        > >
        > >Jayjay: It's significant that you choose to criticize marine mammals, (a) relatively close genetically to humans and (b) wonderful performers.
        > >
        > Gluadys: I am not criticizing marine mammals and you should stop putting words into my mouth. I am criticizing proponents of intelligent design.

        But I truly believe that is a feature of positions that spit on nature. If you volunteered a criticism of sharks say, on the grounds that they live right next to a rich source of oxygen but still filter the 5ppm dissolved oxygen in water, that would be a counter-example.

        > The point is that the actual realized creation is one that evolves and all creatures we know are products of evolution. It is the pseudo-theory of design which cannot explain the evolved features of the dolphin. For evolution it is not a problem at all. We see that again and again in your posts because though you ostensibly are defending design, you always move back to the evolutionary scenario which you know is the correct one. So, since you do not claim to be committed to this pseudo-theory, I don't know why you pretend you are defending it.
        > I am not defending any spitting on nature. I am defending the evidence that cetaceans have evolved from terrestrial ancestors and THAT IS WHY they show no feature, such as gills, which would indicate they were DESIGNED specifically for marine life.

        Surely to goodness you should be able to come up with a clearer example than air-breathing marine animals? And surely, when problems are raised with the example you present, you should drop it? You are spitting on nature when off the top of your head, you imagine some improvement on what is realized in nature.

        > > Jayjay: Two sets of reasons [against atomic powered dolphins] occur to me. The fuel for atomic-powered subs is mined on land and its non-renewable. Whereas atmospheric oxygen is provided continually by living organisms. The second set of reasons is around the damage that nuclear reactions do to living cells. These reasons are like my objections to a water-breathing dolphin- they are pragmatic.
        > >
        > Gluadys: And why would an omniscient, omnipotent designer have problems with such pragmatic details?

        We all see through a glass darkly, I can only bring up pragmatic arguments gleaned from the world as I find it. Why hasn't God arranged for me to live forever with an endless supply of condensed-milk tins and an opener that lasts forever? Omnipotent and omniscient and all? Apparently God has some other plan. It's On and We're In It, is all.

        > Why would sharks drown in these nets? Their access to oxygen is not being cut off. Sharks, like other fish, are probably still alive when the nets are taken in. It is not the nets that kill fish, it is being lifted out of the water. But being trapped in the water does kill the dolphins.

        Earlier I cited Wikipedia entry on shark nets, that they "eventually drown" trapped sharks. Here's more definite data from a local body that manages shark nets


        They pull nets about 20 times a month and release animals that are still alive. Some release percentages: Gilled animals: sharks 13%, rays 50%, bony fish 0,5%. Air-breathing animals: dolphins 2.7%, turtles 55%, whales 68%. So it seems that being trapped underwater is deadly for gilled animals.

        >That is not my purpose [to address the modernity of fishing nets]. The purpose is to think about the issue of design---which you have not done. You are just using tactics like these to divert attention from the original topic.

        The original topic here is looking at statements that arguably spit on nature, trying to figure out why people do that. I propose, it's because of cross-talk from an atheist polemic: scoffing at the world as a way of scoffing at God. Why does a good Christian like you accept that polemic? How much of what you believe would you need to throw away if you were to stop? It's only by stopping that you can find out.
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