NMSR/TCCSA Debate, Round 1 : ReMine for the Negative, Walter ReMine (creationist/Intelligent Design theorist) and Dave Thomas (evolutionist)
NMSR TCCSA


On-Line Debate

Round 1B


An online debate between
Walter ReMine (creationist/Intelligent Design theorist)
and Dave Thomas (evolutionist).



ARGUING FOR THE NEGATIVE of
"Comparisons of molecules (proteins, DNA) of various species provide independent and compelling support for the hypothesis of biological macro-evolution"

By Walter ReMine – (Response #1 – of 3)


In creation-evolution debates, “evolution” isn’t mere ‘change in gene frequencies.’ Unless context indicates otherwise, it refers, ultimately, to naturalistic molecules-to-man transformation – anything less involves creation.  “Macroevolution” makes the large-scale transformation fully explicit. 


Discrete, unlinked, examples of microevolution – such as nylon-ingesting bacteria, finch-beaks, or “new species” – fail to establish large-scale evolution. 

 

Evolutionary explanations aren’t now – and never were – limited to “descent with modification.”[1]



Table-1:  Evolutionary explanations – partial list

Name:

Examples:

Evolutionary experts embracing it:

E1

Common descent.

Includes E2/E3/E4/E5

All

E2

Anagenesis

Transformation within single lineage

All

E3

Cladogenesis

Splitting a lineage

All

E4

Loss

Traits are lost

All

E5

Replacement

Traits are replaced

All

E6

“Convergence”

Complex similarities that cannot be explained by E1-thru-E14.  Therefore called “Independent origin of similar traits”

All

E7

Lamarckism

Inherited use-and-disuse of parts

Darwin thru mid-1900s.  Still sought by some evolutionists.[2]

E8

Atavism - genetic throwbacks

Masked ancient traits unmasked into distant descendants – transposes traits across time. (Can theoretically mimic pattern E9)

Leaders from Darwin to Gould.[3]

E9

Transposition

Ancient notion.  Moves traits between distant lineages – lateral DNA transfer, plasmids, “endosymbiosis,” “leghemoglobin”

All (in microorganisms at least). Syvanen (throughout life).[4]

E10

Recapitulation

Peculiar embryological mechanisms – “terminal addition” & “telescoping acceleration”

Most – in some form

E11

Multiple biogenesis

Many life origins

Woese,[5] Dyson,[6] and others

E12

Incompleteness

“The data is too incomplete”

Classical Darwinists

E13

Exobiology

“It came from Space!” Mars rocks, Directed panspermia, SETI, Extraterrestrials, Ancient astronauts

Hoyle, Sagan, many others

E14

“Concerted evolution”

Molecular drive[7]

All



These explanations (except E9 among microorganisms, and E4) were never experimentally demonstrated over large-scales – instead, their existence, rate, power, and extent are inferred from the data-patterns themselves!  That’s a huge difference!  As used by evolutionists, these explanations are pattern-based, not demonstration-based.  Evolutionary theory is a smorgasbord of ‘Natural’ explanations, and evolutionists ‘select’ those that seem to match the data-patterns.  I call this ‘Natural’ selection. 

 

These evolutionary explanations do not – and never did – predict a hierarchy pattern!  (Note especially E8/E9/E11/E13, also E4/E5/E6/E2/E12.)  Evolutionary theory is structureless, and predicts virtually nothing.  It adapts to data like fog adapts to landscape.  The data-patterns lend shape to an otherwise structureless evolutionary theory – then this congruence is given as “evidence for evolution” – as used by evolutionists, it’s circular reasoning. 

 

If human’s cytochrome-c were completely different from ape’s, my opponent naively thinks evolution “would have collapsed overnight.” He forgot about E8/E9/E2/E3/E4/E5/E6/E13/E14, which offer vast ‘explanations.’  Indeed, evolutionists already accommodated analogous cases (“lamprey [cytochrome-c] appears closer to humans than does that of tuna fish” – Thomas * ) 

 

Life contains substantial hierarchical pattern, and virtually all macroevolutionary evidences hinge crucially upon it.  However, it isn’t evidence for evolution (since evolution doesn’t predict it), but against an ordinary designer, because no ordinary designer creates substantial hierarchy pattern.  It doesn’t occur by happenstance.  Message Theory solves this central riddle.[1] 



Table-2:  Message Theory

Life was reasonably designed:

  1. for survival,
  2. to look like the product of one designer (not multiple-independent designers), and
  3. to resist all other explanations (including Darwin’s, Lamarck’s, Gould’s, Syvanen’s, Hoyle’s, and yours). 



Message Theory disallows encoded/encrypted bio-messages (say, English text) as counterproductive.  They engender language barriers.  They don’t serve survival.  Mutation causes their meaning to be altered, lost, or mistaken for products of multiple-independent designers.  Rather, life’s message uses bio-complexity and the simple universal language of ‘similarity and difference’ – largely visible even to low-tech observers. 

 

Message theory requires neither universal acknowledgement of the message, nor perfection, nor falsification of all alternatives.  (Some are unfalsifiable – therefore unscientific by evolutionists’ own definition.[8,9,10]  Some –E4/E11 – are insufficient.  Others – E1/E7/E8/E9/E12/E13 – are potentially powerful, so must be more emphatically resisted.  Some patterns – E6/E14 – favor Message Theory.)  It only requires that life be reasonably designed for the three simultaneous goals.  Unlike evolution, this theory is risky and predicts life’s major patterns. 

 

If so, then why were evolutionists so wrong, you ask?  Answer:  Because they’re overly impressed by their ability to ‘explain’ everything.  We must unmask how enormously amorphous evolutionary theory really is.  What can naturalism not explain?  What patterns would help resist all naturalistic explanations?  We’re turning naturalism’s colossal explanatory power back upon itself. 

 

If there existed no fossil record, then reasonable observers would presume it “massively incomplete” and arbitrarily fill-in the “missing ancestors” with countless imaginings.  Earth’s substantial fossil record is required, ironically, in order to testify ancestors aren’t there.  But mere fossil existence isn’t enough – in the adage of Message Theory: There are many more fish to fry. 

 

Biodiversity is designed for ecological stability and simultaneously to thwart evolutionary interpretations.  Over large-scales, biodiversity (including fossils) systematically lacks the two independent features expected from Darwinism:

  • Gradualism
  • Clear-cut ancestors and lineages

This substantially refutes common-descent – or prompts its unfalsifiable reincarnations {such as Eldredge-Gould’s theory[1,11,12,13,14]; or as extreme (unsustainable) claims of fossil ‘incompleteness’(E12), which Eldredge-Gould oppose.[15]}.  This brief introduction helps illuminate biomolecular patterns.


Evolutionists could forever circumvent those fossil difficulties, if complex traits were rampantly transposed between morphologically-distant lineages – here called Transpositions.  This exceedingly powerful evolutionary explanation could potentially explain-away the twofold absences of gradualism and clear-cut ancestors/lineages.  (Indeed, that notion lay at the core of Syvanen’s evolutionary theory, which assumes lateral DNA transfer between higher-lifeforms.[4])  Transposition patterns, if sufficiently sturdy, would nullify the fossil record’s testimony against common descent – therefore Message Theory predicts life’s design avoids Transposition patterns. 

 

Humans transpose designs anywhere useful (into cars, buildings, etcetera)  Transposition is ordinary design practice.  But life’s designer avoided that.  Life’s designs are re-used, not randomly anywhere useful, but in confined “theme and variation” patterns that resist Transposition interpretations.  This feature profoundly distinguishes life from human-designed systems. 

 

The substantial absence of Transposition patterns from macroorganisms (at morphological, embryological, and biomolecular levels):

  • Resists Transposition explanations(E9), Syvanen’s theory, and “gene’s from Space” (Hoyle’s theory)
  • Resists Exobiology(E13)
  • Shows life’s designer is unordinary

 

Life’s hierarchy patterns (cladistic and phenetic): 

  • Supplies biodiversity for above-named purposes – while leaving “ancestors” out!(E1)
  • Unifies all life together, as product of one designer
  • Resists Transposition explanations(E9)
  • Provides background, against which, “convergences”(E6) are ‘seen.’ 
  • Allows deep (rather than superficial) embedding of bio-message; making it: resistant to mutation, and inseparable from survival
  • Resists incompleteness(E12).  The above properties retain perceptibility even when lifeforms are severely unavailable. 

 

These properties are vital for Message Theory. 

 

 

The traits evolutionists call “convergences”(here including “parallelisms”), favor Message Theory – which explains their abundance.  {Similar arguments apply to biomolecular patterns called “concerted evolution.”(E14)}  These complex designs are: sufficiently similar (to demand special explanation), yet sufficiently non-identical (to negate Transposition/Atavism explanations), and systematically-placed (to negate explanation by common descent).  Evolutionists are left with their least plausible explanation – independent origin of similar complex designs – such as your eyes and octopus eyes! 

 

“Convergences” are abundant (at morphological, embryological, and biomolecular levels)[16]) because they:

  • Help link diverse life-groups together, as products of one designer
  • Help thwart attempts to ‘impose’ ancestors and lineages onto life’s pattern[17]
  • Demand explanation, while resisting naturalistic explanations

 

But suppose morphological “convergences” were produced by biomolecular Transpositions (as in Syvanen’s Theory[4,18,19,20]).  This explanation is upset (again) by absence of clear-cut Transposition patterns at the biomolecular level.  Transposition theories (like Syvanen’s) are resisted by life’s patterns. 

 

If a bio-sequence (protein/gene) were identical in all species, it is trivially ‘explained’ naturalistically (by E1/E8/E9).  To diminish such naturalistic explanations, most all bio-sequences aren’t identical for all species – rather, they’re distributed through bio-sequence-space to meet the above-described Message Theory goals. 

The hierarchies (morphological, embryological, and biomolecular) – proudly displayed by evolutionists – never were predicted by evolution.  But Message Theory requires such patterns testifying, “Designed!  Systematic unity, lacking ancestors, gradualism, atavism, Lamarckism, and Transpositions!”  And fossils confirm it. 

 

Message Theory turns the origins debate inside-out.


 

The preceding argument depended – for its fullest success – on fossils.   The logic changes somewhat for lifeforms lacking fossilizable morphology – microorganisms.  Here it matters less whether lateral DNA transfer occurs, because there exist no fossils sufficient for carrying the argument forward to completion.  Also, microorganisms – go-anywhere, planetary housekeepers – must adjust to novel hazards.  This tips the balance of goals (toward survival, and away from resisting lateral DNA transfer).  Indeed, occasional transfer of DNA fragments does benefit microorganisms adjusting to novel environments: heavy-metals, unusual temperatures, etcetera.  Also, Message Theory shifts emphasis for microorganisms – toward resisting biogenesis.  They accomplish this generously, with virtually no fossil aid. 

 

Microorganisms also expose evolutionary theory’s embrace of Transposition, and multiple genetic codes. 

 

As challenged by my opponent:  If macroscopic-life encompassed multiple genetic codes – then evolutionary theory might accommodate it, as before, without ever experimentally demonstrating such origins – or it would suggest life’s creation (or later experimentation) by multiple-independent designers.  If humans possessed a special genetic code, it would suggest, for example, Earth’s visitation by ancient astronauts.  Life was successfully designed to resist all such interpretations, and instead look like the product of one designer. 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

My opponent purveys illusions – naïve notions of what would ‘disprove’ evolution, and false notions of what evolution ‘predicts’ – as though fog-shape ‘predicts’ its landscape.  Macroevolutionary theory remains effectively structureless even as data-patterns lend it an ephemeral, illusionary shape.  Consequently, evolutionists’ data-pattern arguments aren’t actually for macroevolution, but against a designer they misunderstood.  Message Theory solves the riddle. 

 

*Two words were added by agreement of the debators to clarify both a mistake in Mr. Thomas' first submission and Mr. ReMine's quotation of that sentence.

 

REFERENCES:

[1] ReMine, Walter J., 1993, The Biotic Message:  Evolution versus Message Theory, St. Paul Science/publishers, P.O. Box 28006, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55128, ISBN 0-9637999-0-8, http://www1.minn.net/~science

[2] Steele, E., et al, 1998, Lamarck’s Signature

[3] Gould, S.J., 1983, Hen’s Teeth and Horses Toes

[4] Syvanen and Kado/editors, 2002, Horizontal Gene Transfer, 2nd Edition

[5] Woese, C., 2002, “On the evolution of Cells,” PNAS, Vol. 99, Issue 13, 8742-8747

[6] Dyson, F., 1985, Origins of Life

[7] Dover, G., 2000, Dear Mr Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature.

[8] Overton, W.R., 1982, “McLean v. Arkansas, Opinion of William R. Overton, U.S. District Judge…”

[9] Aguillard v. Edwards, 1986, “Amicus Curiae Brief of 72 Nobel Laureates, 17 State Academies of Science, and 7 other scientific organizations” p 23

[10] McCollister B./editor, 1989, Voices for Evolution, NCSE

[11] Gingerich, P., 1984, “Darwin’s gradualism and empiricism,” Nature, Vol. 309, May 10, p 116

[12] Gingerich, P.,1984, “Punctuated equilibria—where is the evidence? Systematic Zoology, 33:335-338. (See also, Gould, S.J., 2002, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, p 149-150footnote)

[13] Schopf and Hoffman, 1983, “Punctuated Equilibrium and the Fossil Record,” Nature, Vol. 219, p 438-439

[14] Gayon, J., 1989, in Evolutionary Biology, (Hecht/editor), vol. 24, p 10

[15] Gould, S.J., 2002, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.

[16] Gould, S.J., 1980, The Panda’s Thumb, p 271

[17] Cain, A.J., 1982, “On Homology and Convergence,” Problems of Phylogenetic Reconstruction, (Joysey/editor), Systematics Association, p 1

[18] Syvanen, M., 1985, “Cross-species gene transfer; Implication for a New Theory of Evolution,” Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 112. p 333-343.

[19] Syvanen, M., 1986, “Cross-species gene transfer: a major factor in evolution?” Trends in Genetics, March, p63-66.

[20] Syvanen, M., 1987, “Molecular Clocks and Evolutionary Relationships: Possible Distortions Due to Horizontal Gene Flow,” Journal of Molecular Evolution, 26:16-23

For the first statement by Dave Thomas, to which this paper is a response, posted on August 16, 2002, click HERE.


For the next response by Dave Thomas, posted on November 8, 2002, click HERE.


To contact Mr. ReMine, click HERE.

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