Friday, December 14, 2007

"Intentional Deception by Evolutionists"

I found the following article over at "God And Science":

The following example of speciation appears on the Talk Origins website:

"Three species of wildflowers called goatsbeards were introduced to the United States from Europe shortly after the turn of the century. Within a few decades their populations expanded and began to encounter one another in the American West. Whenever mixed populations occurred, the specied interbred (hybridizing) producing sterile hybrid offspring. Suddenly, in the late forties two new species of goatsbeard appeared near Pullman, Washington. Although the new species were similar in appearance to the hybrids, they produced fertile offspring. The evolutionary process had created a separate species that could reproduce but not mate with the goatsbeard plants from which it had evolved."1

From the description, one would think that this was a very convincing example of macroevolution in action. Obviously, there must have been quite a number of massive mutations to produce an entirely new species that could not interbreed with the original. Right? Actually, every statement above is absolutely true. However, some of the important details have been intentionally left out, in order to make this example sound much better than it really is. Here is what actually happened.

The example above is not macroevolution, but is simply due to a single genetic event known as polyploidy. The original goatsbeards from Europe were standard diploid (two copies of each chromosome) plants. However, plants often do not undergo complete monoploidy during meiosis (during the formation of the sex cells, or gametes). This means that the gametes may remain diploid. When diploid gametes fuse, a new polyploid "species" is formed. No new information is created (Do you have twice as much information if you copy one book to produce an identical copy? No!), but the chromosomes are duplicated. The new "species" cannot produce viable offspring with the original species simply because of the difference in number of chromosomes. With goatsbeards, the process has happened more than once. Of course, the two "new" species have the same number of chromosomes and can produce viable offspring, since they are virtually identical.

This entire article is a lot of ranting and raving over nothing. The goatsbeard is a new species since it can no longer reproduce with its parent species. Reproductive Isolation is a key factor in defining a species. So, I'm not quite sure what Mr. Deem's problem is there. Deem also goes into why simple doubling of genetic information is not "new information". Of course, duplicated material is often used for a secondary purpose, leading to new functions. But, as I have stated before, every time I have to debunk a creationist for this 'information' nonsense, I am going to present a new example of information increase. Here goes:

In his book, The Edge of Evolution, Michael Behe discusses a hemoglobin variant known as C-Harlem. C-Harlem protects against Malaria just like Sickle Cell Hemoglobin does, but it does not cause Sickle Cell Disease. You get all the benefit of Sickle Cell with none of the suffering. This is therefore an increase in information (If everyone had C-Harlem hemoglobin, and someone was born with normal hemoglobin, this would be a decrease in information, since that person would be more susceptible to disease).

In closing, Mr. Deem would be well advised to take a look at the dozens of cases of observed speciation, not involving polyploidy, such as this one.


Efrique said...

I imagine I am showing off my ignorance here, but what is "the opposite mutation" in the case of C-Harlem?

I don't tend to think of mutation as something that has an opposite, but I guess in certain circumstances it might make sense.

AIGBusted said...

Well, what if you had C-Harlem and you had a mutation that changed your blood type back to normal? You would have a blood type more prone to disease. (A decrease in beneficial information).

J. C. Samuelson said...

Damn, I remember these guys. They've been around awhile, but don't have the resources or moxy that AiG does, so they just kind of sit there out in the void.

The amount of crap that's out there concerning science is just overwhelming. It's good that more blogs are going up like this, and that scientists are speaking out. I don't know if you already knew, but the Center for Inquiry is asking for signatures calling for a debate on science among the Presidential candidates.