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Author Topic:   Does Chen's work pose a problem for ToE?
randman 
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Posts: 6367
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Message 1 of 84 (290118)
02-24-2006 2:07 PM


Chen, a professor at the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology, discovered an important fossil which he feels seriously undermines some aspects of evolutionary theory, and basically agrees that the Cambrian explosion cannot be accounted for by current evo models. He says that the reason the West has such a hard time dealing with these facts is because "evolution changed into a religion", which btw is what I have been saying.
But the new fossils have become nothing less than a challenge to the theory of evolution in the hands Chen, a professor at the Nanjing Institute of Paleontology and Geology. Chen argued that the emergence of such a sophisticated creature at so early a date show that modern life forms burst on the scene suddenly, rather than through any gradual process.
According to Chen, the conventional forces of evolution can't account for the speed, the breadth, and one-time nature of "the Cambrian Explosion," a geological moment more than 500 million years ago when virtually all the major animal groups first appear in the fossil record.
Rather than Charles Darwin's familiar notion of survival of the fittest, Chen said he believes scientists should focus on the possibility that a unique harmony between forms of life allowed complex organisms to emerge. If all we have to depend upon is chance and competition, the conventional forces of evolution, Chen said, "then complex, highly evolved life, such as the human, has no reason to appear."
The debate over Haikoulla casts Western scientists in the unlikely role of defending themselves against charges of ideological blindness from scientists in Communist China. Chinese officials argue that the theory of evolution is so politically charged in the West that researchers are reluctant to admit shortcomings for fear of giving comfort to those who believe in a biblical creation.
"Evolution is facing an extremely harsh challenge," declared the Communist Party's Guang Ming Daily last December in describing the fossils in southern China. "In the beginning, Darwinian evolution was a scientific theory.... In fact, evolution eventually changed into a religion."
Taunts from the Communist Party wouldn't carry much sting, however, if some Western scientists weren't also concerned about weaknesses in so-called neo-Darwinism, the dominant view of evolution over the last 50 years.
"Neo-Darwinism is dead," said Eric Davidson, a geneticist and textbook writer at the California Institute of Technology. He joined a recent gathering of 60 scientists from around the world near Chengjiang, where Chen had found his first impressions of Haikouella five years ago.
The Boston Globe, May 30, 2000, Pg. E1; Fred Heeren
Boston Globe Article
Davidson mentioned above states:
Davidson & Erwin: Neo-Darwinism Doesn't Work for the Cambrian Explosion
Paul Nelson
Seven years ago, I was sitting outside a hotel in China waiting for lunch to start (yes, I worked at gaining weight back then), when Caltech developmental biologist Eric Davidson walked up and asked me why I was carrying a diagram from one of his papers. The diagram depicted the complex control region of the Endo16 gene in sea urchins. I told him that I wanted to ask conference participants what process they thought had constructed the highly specified genetic circuitry (over a dozen DNA-binding proteins, interacting at nearly three dozen binding sites, to construct the sea urchin gut) -- what Davidson described as "information processing units 'wired' into the regulatory network so that they receive multiple inputs" (2001, p. 7).
Davidson smiled, somewhat ruefully, and said, "Well, I'm not sure, but I know that standard single-base-pair mutations won't do it" -- meaning, as he later explained to me, the textbook neo-Darwinism every college biology student learns. He was more blunt with the science writer Fred Heeren, who was covering the now-notorious conference we were attending. "Neo-Darwinism is dead," he said in an interview.
Davidson brought his case for the insufficiency of standard evolutionary theory to the pages of Science this past week. Writing with the paleontologist Doug Erwin, he argued that the "establishment by the Early Cambrian of virtually all phylum-level body plans" is not explained by the usually-invoked evolutionary processes
http://www.idthefuture.com/...son_erwin_classic_neodarw.html
So here we have a situation expressed by what appears to be mainstream Chinese scientific opinion and some Western scientists like Davidson that echoes creationist and ID criticism of current evolutionary models concerning the Cambrian explosion.
Is this validation of longstanding Creationist/ID criticism in this arena, and what do EVCers think about the idea that the evolutionary time-scale is compressed from 50 million to 2-3 million, and that this is insufficient time to explain by random mutations and natural selection the explosion of life forms we see during that period.
Chen's comments that there is no reason for bacteria to have evolved further is particularly interesting to me, and if you research Davidson's theories, he offers explicit predictions in genetics that would rule out random mutations being selected upon as the explanation for the Cambrian explosion.

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by crashfrog, posted 02-24-2006 2:11 PM randman has replied
 Message 7 by jar, posted 02-24-2006 2:27 PM randman has replied
 Message 9 by PaulK, posted 02-24-2006 2:45 PM randman has replied
 Message 13 by Modulous, posted 02-24-2006 3:04 PM randman has replied

  
randman 
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Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 4 of 84 (290124)
02-24-2006 2:16 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by AdminNWR
02-24-2006 2:11 PM


couple of initial topic questions
What about Davidson's work? Shouldn't issues related to the Cambrian explosion be allowed besides Chen's find?
Also, are we allowed to point out the Chinese scientists think the Western scientific community is ignoring hard data and not viewing the evidence objectively. If that is off-topic, then could you also insist all evos refrain from the argument (here and elsewhere) that the scientific community, at least here in the US, agrees with current evolutionary models? If we cannot challenge why the majority is rejecting what we feel is solid evidence, then evos should not be allowed to make a point that we are banned from challenging, correct?

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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5015 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 5 of 84 (290127)
02-24-2006 2:18 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by crashfrog
02-24-2006 2:11 PM


what are you saying?
The criticism of ID is that it never happens; this research seems to indicate one instance where it didn't happen.
What are you talking about here?

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randman 
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Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 10 of 84 (290140)
02-24-2006 2:50 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by crashfrog
02-24-2006 2:24 PM


Re: what are you saying?
The contention of this paper is natural selection and random mutation explain all of the diversity of life on Earth except for this one instance, apparently.
Not really, and if want to call the Cambrian explosion, one instance, well, I have to laugh at that comment considering all major phyla appeared at that time.

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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5015 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 11 of 84 (290141)
02-24-2006 2:52 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
02-24-2006 2:27 PM


Re: No probelms at all.
Well jar, he evidently feels this absolutely rules out random mutations and natural selection in explaining the Cambrian explosion. Perhaps that point just went right over your head?

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randman 
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Posts: 6367
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Message 12 of 84 (290142)
02-24-2006 2:53 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by AdminNWR
02-24-2006 2:29 PM


Re: couple of initial topic questions
Ok, that's fair.

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randman 
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Posts: 6367
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Message 15 of 84 (290167)
02-24-2006 5:27 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Modulous
02-24-2006 3:04 PM


random mutation and natural selection
I have been of the opinion that evolution isn't just random mutation and natural selection for some time.
But do not random mutation and natural selection consist of the bulk of evidentiary claims for ToE, and moreover, haven't evos (perhaps even yourself) argued that ToE can be falsified by whether natural selection and random mutation can account for macroevolution, or are all those claims that microevolution is macroevolution and really all the evidence you need just so much hot air?

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randman 
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Posts: 6367
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Message 16 of 84 (290169)
02-24-2006 5:29 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by crashfrog
02-24-2006 5:00 PM


Re: what are you saying?
The Cambrian explosion entailed as much variety of life as we see today. The idea that it is just "one instance" is laughable. If ToE cannot account for the Cambrian explosion, it is well-nigh useless.

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randman 
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Posts: 6367
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Message 20 of 84 (290173)
02-24-2006 5:35 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Chiroptera
02-24-2006 5:29 PM


Re: what are you saying?
What genetic evidence?

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randman 
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Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 21 of 84 (290175)
02-24-2006 5:36 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by crashfrog
02-24-2006 2:11 PM


it's not clear crash
The criticism of ID is that it never happens
What never happens? Please explain.

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randman 
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Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 23 of 84 (290177)
02-24-2006 5:40 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by crashfrog
02-24-2006 5:35 PM


Re: what are you saying?
Interpreting the fauna of the Cambrian explosion raises two deep and distinct issues, often confused in Conway Morris's commentary but providing a good framework for exemplifying our differences. First, a question of origins: How could so much anatomical variety evolve so quickly? In particular, must novel evolutionary mechanisms be proposed for such a burst of activity? Second, a question of consequences: How many distinct lineages arose in the Cambrian explosion? How many survived to leave modern organisms as descendants? Why have no new animal phyla (with the single exception of Bryozoa) evolved in more than 500 million years since the Cambrian explosion?
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randman 
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Posts: 6367
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Message 25 of 84 (290180)
02-24-2006 5:42 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by crashfrog
02-24-2006 5:39 PM


Re: it's not clear crash
Crash, all major life forms and more creatures than exist today appeared in the Cambrian explosion. To dismiss this as "one instance" is patently absurd.

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randman 
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Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 28 of 84 (290183)
02-24-2006 5:48 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Chiroptera
02-24-2006 5:41 PM


in your own words?
The reason I ask is such analysis must be based on belief that the molecular clock is valid, which seems to me that evos like to employ at times and other times reject.
But it doesn't matter. The fact the genetic "evidence" contradicts the fossil evidence is to be expected if ToE models are wrong. The genetic evidence suggests a huge span of time was involved, you claim 500 million years, but the fossil evidence indicates only a 2-3 million year window for all of this to take place, and so the genetic evidence is actually very strong evidence against current evolutionist explanations here.

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randman 
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Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 29 of 84 (290184)
02-24-2006 5:50 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by crashfrog
02-24-2006 5:48 PM


Re: what are you saying?
Why have no new animal phyla (with the single exception of Bryozoa) evolved in more than 500 million years since the Cambrian explosion?
I think crash you just aren't that aware of how diverse life was at the Cambrian era. You not only had many extinct dinosaurs, but even semi-aquatic mammals.

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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5015 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 30 of 84 (290185)
02-24-2006 5:53 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Modulous
02-24-2006 5:45 PM


Re: random mutation and natural selection
I don't think the claim that microevolution is macroevolution holds particular water...I suspect that this argument is put forward as an illustration that the mechanisms are the same and there isn't a line between them.
But you suspect microevolution based on natural selection of mutations and variation cannot explain all the data, right? It cannot explain the macroevolution of the Cambrian explosion, right?
Basicaly, if ToE cannot explain the Cambrian explosion, it is useless. Clearly, there is something else involved creating such an explosion of life.

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