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I. SCIENCE E. The Theory of Evolution 4. Evolution Today

15 Feb

darwin_ape_cartoon

And so we will begin this post with a very famous old sketch of the evolved Charles Darwin. One could even ask what happened to some of the genetic material he should have inherited from his father and genius great-grandfather Erasmus. The more we study Darwin the more we see a man with luxuries and choices many around him did not have, a chance to be someone and choose his own destiny. Unfortunately, even with such a favorable environment that should keep any species from changing much, in depth of mind and honesty of inquiry Charles’ was but a fragment of the intellect of his immediate ancestors. Why hasn’t Darwin evolved? Granted, Evolution of Man does not occur quite this quickly (Lamarck, again, might have something to say about this…), but my point is not just to punish a dead man with a popular theory in need of disposal (or at least, huge overhaul). My point is that change itself cannot just be due to chance, or due to brute force, as Darwin put it. Even Darwin noticed Design, as we have already declared. I therefore wish to begin this summary of the modern Evolution Theory we espouse today by questioning a bit the very important diversification, or Evolution’s reason for the different types of species. Why does change occur at all? Why wasn’t slime good enough, why wasn’t being slime satisfying enough for Life, or Nature? In what direction is this Evolution heading?

Last post we noted that Darwin’s theory “…established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature.” This is the fact accepted by science today. We can begin by thinking about what this means. This means that the foundations of Evolution rest upon the premise that diversification in Nature, the reason we have so many different species of plants and animals, is due to “evolutionary descent with modification.”

As we have shown previously, if Evolution be correct then all species in a certain environment should be the same, or tending to the same structure and abilities. That this is not the case cannot be denied, and the way Evolutionists attempt to get around this obstacle is by saying that everything works by slow change, and so they try to tell us that the tadpole, the fish, the squirrel, snake, and bear in the same forest just haven’t had enough time to adapt.

The various peoples in all parts of the world have different skin colors, hair types, facial features, and statures which might be indicative of micro-evolution, the same micro-evolution discussed by dozens of others prior to Darwin. But such a truth is in no wise proof of macro-evolution, as all us humans, regardless of our location or appearance can still breed one to another, we are all still human, still homo sapiens. Conversely, chimps are still chimps, lizards, lizards. Our human characteristics have changed as much as our style of dress, our customs, our laws. But we still dress, we still have semblances of customs (in America, not so much…), and we still have laws. If the next step in this progression be the Superman, the evolved-further human being, the Ubbermensch of Nietzsche, it will not be in physical form; it will be in mental development, and for this, Evolution, as it attempts to account for species, is a retardation.

Indeed, what is Nature breeding? It is not strength, as compared to the Ass man is weak. It is not age, as compared to the Sequoia man dies in a flash. Neither is it speed, or stamina, or height, weight, or girth. What is the goal? To what are we all gravitating to, to what ideal? A lofty rise, or a speedy demise?

And here is the key. Man is frail, but the most intelligent of creatures, in fact unique. Despite his size he can move mountains, create towers, fly like the bird and swim like the fish, none of these advancements due to the way Evolution works, or explained away by diversification, or natural selection.

Diversification and de Vries

So let’s revisit this, and see if there is anything we missed. Diversification occurs by the modification of descent. This means that we get our various species from the same primordial slime because genetic structure, or the DNA, let’s say, goes through modifications and mutations. For more on this, let’s bring in the work of Darwin’s soul-mate, the flower man of Haarlem, Hugo deVries.

Hugo de Vries’ book Intracellular Pangenesis (1889) was based on Darwin’s own Pangenesis published in 1868. We can see in this alone how current “accepted” science works by building on what came before more than by postulating and proving new ideas. Regardless of the weakness of the foundation, the seen cracks, the scientific theorists nevertheless carry their Babelic Tower ever-higher, never mindful of the impending consequences. Nevertheless, de Vries’ experiments have come to be known as evidence for Evolution. We should therefore try to find out what this evidence is.

“Pangenesis,” we discussed previously, means literally, “all-created;” genesis means “the beginning,” “the creating,” or “the Origin,” and pan means “across-all” or “everything”. According to de Vries, actual pangenes, or small particles, carry specific traits and carry these traits down through the generations.

Later, this term became shortened to genes, and this is pretty much where we stand today. We believe that characteristics or traits of organisms come through “messages” transmitted through genes, as with DNA, or computer code. de Vries’ work with manipulating the genes of flowers gave Holland the basis for its beautiful varieties of tulips, and this spirit of “improving the stock” that still guides many Dutch growers (of many strains…), as well as food producers and farmers throughout the world. We increase yield, genetically mutate food to grow stronger and more resistant to disease. We can create hybrids and unite the desirable qualities of different variations of species. Much of this is due to the practical science done by de Vries and follows the work of Mendel and Pasteur.

This is science and its truth need not be denied. Evidence of mutated species and forced hybrids in the plant and animal world are all around us. But, we must at least mention that the side-effects of such genetically-altered foodstuffs. What goes into our vegetables and meats, or even ornamental plants, are no loner all known commodities, and many specific adverse effects to human health, by such genetic engineering, are only now beginning to come to light. We do not know long-term what will happen even by our making the Marigold more cold-hardy, let alone injecting corn with mammalian DNA code, or cows with growth hormone… or aging men with Viagra.

While we cannot doubt the science here, or the claim that genetic code is  real, neither does such an admission explain much, and is no different than any other intermediary. It is just another process: we have found the messenger, and possibly the message, but this helps us little in finding out where the message comes from, or how it really works. Has anyone bothered to ask how a combination of sub-atomic particles can come together in just the right combination to form just the variety of elements of the Periodic Table, let alone how these elements “know” to combine to form the DNA and inscribe the genetic code, or store, carry, and transfer actual orders for action? We do not know how the elements necessary for any growth, let alone change of pattern of growth, are actually brought together by the “message” it carries. We have not deciphered the hieroglyphics of that language. Again, de Vries shows us the avenues, hints as to how diversification appears to work, but all we are doing is splitting hairs. We have found parts of the clock, and see how it runs, but we have not found the clockmaker, or how the clockmaker gets everything operating and keeps it in motion, or the power that keeps everything moving at all.

Also of some importance is that de Vries noticed that various species can have genes in common. So, for example, the gene for hairiness in one flower is the same as that in another flower, and he guessed therefore that distinct species could be crossed by manipulation of these genes held in common. Orthologous genes, for example, do indeed allow cross-breeding in this way, but these genes are inherited from a common ancestor. True interbreeding of separate species, though, is still unknown, various claims to such being limited to the horizontal gene transfer found in simple organisms, viruses and bacteria. There is good evidence of a lion and tiger mating to produce the liger, and some new research about baboons and gibbons mating to produce viable offspring. All we can conclude by this, however, is that we have some problem with our classificatory system, the way we organize animals into genus and species. The cats are all related, as well as the apes, enough to interbreed. Properly they are not separate species, but variations or  rather sub-species of one single group. Furthermore, such interbreeding capabilities among apes can do much to explain some of the strange skulls and other fossils we have found, and without much proof assigned as proto-humans. More on this next section.

ecoli

Horizontal Gene Transfer

While standard genetic transfer is considered vertical, in that traits, characteristics, and other information get transferred through parenting, ancestry and actual lineage—from parent species to their children—horizontal gene transfer speculates that such genetic information may also be communicated across populations:

“According to Gogarten, Horizontal Gene Transfer or HGT leads to a radical new organizing principle. Gogarten’s and his colleagues work shows that genetic information is not only handed down from ancestor to descendant, but also is exchanged horizontally among and between contemporaries; even among different species and sometimes even between species belonging to different domains. Because evolution was first discovered and studied in animals and plants, the standard belief in biology has been that genes would mainly be transferred vertically, but in the microbial world, this paradigm does not appear to be the best way to explain what occurs. The frequent exchange of genetic information among organisms requires a reassessment of traditional ideas.

Gogarten believes that HGT is more frequent and pervasive than most biologists could even imagine a decade ago. He suggested that a microbial species might look similar to one another not because of a relationship through vertical inheritance but rather because the frequency of HGT between them. In fact, Gogarten stated that if the full data of complete genome sequences is taken into account, the genomic history of all bacterial life could be explained exclusively through HGT without any reference to vertical inheritance at all” (ibid.).

This is an interesting proposition at this point in our search for the Origin of Man. If we extend this theory to its implications for the human race, as extremists like us are wont to do, this would mean that we also acquire traits and characteristics handed down by the world-at-large. Is this again a comment on Nature versus Nurture? Heredity versus education, or experience? Let’s see if we can understand the evidence for this claim of horizontal transfer. Please keep in mind that Gogarten’s conclusions were drawn by examining events at the molecular level:

“…Gogarten’s and his colleagues’ work shows that genetic information is not only handed down from ancestor to descendant, but also is exchanged horizontally among and between contemporaries; even among different species and sometimes even between species belonging to different domains…”

This is the claim. Is this simply nurture, the effect of the environment, culture, experience, and education on the individual? The evidence that led to this comes from studying :

“1) Bacteria (sometimes known as Eubacteria).
2) Archaea (aka Archaebacteria), and
3) Eucarya (eukaryotic life forms which have a cell nucleus housing their DNA).

In prokaryotes the genetic information is not separated by a membrane from the rest of the cell” (ibid.).

Ah our old friends the prokaryotes and eukaryotes are back again, and by their study our dear scientists make more metaphysical claims. Good videos about the types of bacteria, and their classification (or lack thereof) may be found here. Let us be clear about this “evidence.” It is quite possible that the classification of these four creatures (eukaryotes, archaebacteria, and bacteria particularly) is simply wrong, and that what has been accepted as definitive characteristics of the species are not. They are all a type of bacteria. On this molecular level, we may be considering as distinct species what are but sub-species of the same species; they may be mistaking a species for a genus. A Pug looks nothing like a Chihuahua dog, they are both dogs nonetheless.

Now there is nothing wrong with saying that our environment influences us. Common sense should grant the respect to Nurture it deserves. We spend this time considering horizontal gene transfer at all because of its association with Evolution and as an illustration of the backward-motion of contemporary science. Millions are employed in the type of research we are now discussing, building upon sand structures of straw, few producing anything of human benefit as a result of the expense. This is Mental Masturbation, a searchless quest for Knowledge with no ideas of benefit or advance, feasting on itself and then regurgitating the putrid, only partially-digested matter as a revelation, as an “advance,” and indicative of “progress.” Meanwhile it fools itself throughout by calling its act a labor of love and quest for Truth, and in the process, the masturbator is rewarded with applause and requests as for an encore. Academies operate like this.

Bacteria and their Kin

Getting back to the immediate concern, and so considering the division of these bacteria we have been asked to accept, we are told that genetic traits cross not only between related species, but also between species “of different domains.” This, remember, is concluded from studying the genetic structure of the micro-organisms, some of these micro-organisms being not much more than just “genetic structure.” By “across domains” Woese, Fox, and Gogarten mean across the imaginary line they have drawn between these type of bacteria, the domain of the four types. Its implication for Evolution?

“Because evolution was first discovered and studied in animals and plants, the standard belief in biology has been that genes would mainly be transferred vertically, but in the microbial world, this paradigm does not appear to be the best way to explain what occurs.”

Aarchaebacteria

This provides for what I would call a “crutch” for Evolution, meaning a way whereby the theory might cover up, or get along, despite its obvious handicaps. The diversification of species can now be accounted for by other than purely physical means, in fact almost by absorption, the species emerge! Now, when the huge gaps that occur in the scientific explanation for the Origin of Man, or Evolution, are exposed for the chasms of unsurety that they are, those gaps may be filled by this plaster of Paris prospect of horizontal genetic transfer. It explains for Evolution the inexplicable. So finally, and pay close attention to this:

“Gogarten believes that HGT is more frequent and pervasive than most biologists could even imagine a decade ago. He suggested that a microbial species might look similar to one another not because of a relationship through vertical inheritance but rather because the frequency of HGT between them. In fact, Gogarten stated that if the full data of complete genome sequences is taken into account, the genomic history of all bacterial life could be explained exclusively through HGT without any reference to vertical inheritance at all” (ibid.).

Archaebacteria Structure

That similar-looking creatures might not be related, especially by considering remote descendants, is a fact, and we separate many especially sub-species that look alike. Even some species that look alike we consider distinct, especially the animals of the ocean, and plants. As was said last post, something from either within or from outside the elements must invigorate them to action. How does this help our quest for the Origin of Man?

Eubacteria, now known as just bacteria

Eubacteria, now known as just bacteria

Eukaryote Structure

Eukaryote Structure; prokaryotes look like bacteria

It does not, it just attempts to find the Origin of Man’s development. By written history we have evidence of a Man that has remained virtually unchanged for 5000 years. The same species domesticated by the Babylonians we still domesticate today. This despite vertical and, let us accept, horizontal Evolution. Our digestive tract may have adapted, our teeth worse for the corn, but we have always been the same. Only the toys around us, it seems, have changed.

The toymakers, they are good people. They have given us many things, some good, some bad, all choices nonetheless, and so we are advanced by the variety, the opened horizons. While we study these bacteria on a theoretical level, and also these viruses which so perplex our best doctors medical and non, though, we must observe and state that no real practical scientific work is being done, for example to eliminate the bad viruses, the cancers, the e-coli. We have not even been able to eradicate the common cold, or cure the Flu.

The reasons for this ineptitude are many, ranging from incompetence and ignorance to laziness, pride, and greed. Mostly, though, it is from attempting to make all new development fit in, or conform to, current thought, and the lack of willingness to dump useless ideas. What has NASA given us? What makes our lives better? Which knowledge is sure?

Artist's Conception, Spiral Motion of bacteria E-Coli

Artist’s Conception, Spiral Motion of bacteria E-Coli

Evolution Today

So what is Evolution today, exactly? According to it, what is the Origin of Man? Today, Evolution is two things, something people ought to keep in mind when they wonder why few understand it. Is it “a theory and a fact” as its proponents say?

Certainly it is a theory. It is theoretical in that it attempts to explain something, in this case how biological change occurs. Fact, it is claimed to be, but we should have to say that it is not. It claims to be fact based on observed changes in organisms over time, and this may be true, but not on a scale necessary for new species to occur. It is a fact that species can undergo change, but it is far from fact that this same type of change can account for diversification of species. It claims the diversity of species can occur by the same process as mutations within species, and this is simply unproven and just metaphysical speculation based on assumed fact.

This logic is assumed when calling Evolution a fact:

Fruit flies, which have a short lifespan, can be observed as changing from generation to generation.

The process of change from one generation to the next is called Evolution.

Therefore, Evolution is fact.

This conclusion “Evolution is fact” does not immediately follow from the premises. All that really follows logically if we accept the first two premises above, is:

Therefore, those observed fruit flies can be said to evolve.

IF Evolution be just about species changing qualities, and so if you are talking about Aristotelian category change regarding a Substance, then this Evolution is indeed correct. However, the mistake made even here is the presumption that what works for fruit flies also works for sheep, lizards, and humans. This may be the case, but may not be the case. We cannot apply the truths of a particular willy-nilly to the group. Because one person changes under X therapy, does not mean ALL people will change under X therapy. Indeed, not even all fruit flies change as expected, or at all, and most, like mutated plants, eventually tend to revert to their original genetic structure. Hybrids of plants rarely breed true to from from seed.

fruitfly

So if all Evolution wants to say is that species undergo change, we can, despite the logical problems, agree. This is old science, observable to the layman. But just by our experiments with these flies, what damage have we caused, in the long-term? What combinations have we introduced that might alter the course of Life?

It is rather macroevolution that everyone thinks of when they think about the Theory of Evolution. This is the belief that new species come about in the same manner as changes within species. It is considered an alternative to Creation, which we have shown, it is not, regardless of what it pretends to be.

dna

We are now where the ancient Plotinus was when considering these types of questions. He wrote that:

“Clearly, everything that we call being is composite, whether man-made or nature. The man-made is not achieved until skill, by the induction of a Form, has turned it into a statue or house or bed. The natural, however, is even more complicated—I mean what we call a compound, the sort of thing that can be analyzed into constituent elements and form, as Man for example, into soul and body” (in Elmer O’Brien’s Essential Plotinus, 1964, Hackett, p. 48).

All we need to do is substitute “DNA” or “genes” for “soul” in the following passage, and his Neoplatonic view will be seen as scientific a proposition, at least in theory, as any we have yet so far considered:

“Now, finding everything to be made up of materials and a shaping Form (of itself the matter of the elements is formless), one naturally asks whence comes the shaping form. And one has questions of a similar sort about the soul[from here on I substitute with “genes” or “DNA”]. Is it partless? Is it, on the contrary [these genes…], composite? Has it something representing matter, and something else representing Form? Is the Intelligence within it the equivalent of the shape of the statue and [/or] the sculptor giving it shape? Adopting the same method in regard to the cosmos, one will once more end up with an Intelligence and think it the true Maker and Demiurge. The matter, then, is [the elements]. Formation comes from yet another being, soul Genes, or DNA. The soul Genes gives them their cosmic pattern. But the Intelligence provides them the seminal reasons much as skill gives the soul Genes or DNA of the artist norms of performance. For there is an intelligence that is the Form of the soul Genes themselves, the DNA. And there is The Intelligence that gives the form to the soul DNA, like the sculptor who gives shape to the statue…”(ibid. et. seq., my emphases and brackets).

dna

I will close this section with a quote from UCLA. I believe it summarizes the background of Evolution’s problems pretty accurately, and makes notice of the questions we have been asking, for which we have yet to receive valid answer.

“Evolution is in principle hard to model precisely, since the changes it describes usually takes place over time periods that are inaccessible to human beings. Consider the related situation in astronomy. Changes in the movement of the stars are slow, and until very recently were too slow to be detected within the lifetime of an individual. However, with the help of a continuous series of observations dating back to the fifth century BC, Copernicus was able to formulate a detailed model that fit two thousand years of data. Unfortunately, in the case of biology, two thousand years of continuous observation would in most cases reveal very little. We must thus rely in indirect evidence, such as fossil remains and systematic structural similarities and differences in living forms. This evidence leaves room for a variety of possible interpretations of past events, and thus of the mechanisms of change that underlie them.”

3d_model_dna_w_phosphate_1

That there are a variety of explanations for the Origin of Man is doubtless. Next time around, we get poignant, we leave Evolution Minor (microevolution) as a fact, and render as accurately as we can the Origin of Man according to this macroevolution, or Theory of Evolution Major. Giving it its final chance,  we will let it try to show us how Man has descended from an ancestor we share with the chimpanzee…and how knowing this helps us to find anything of merit, for us, at least, about the Origin of Man.

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