Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Its a tiny fishy, but I finally caught one!

Right now Im happily enjoying the fact that Creationists/Deniers/etc dont post on my blog. Its nice not having to moderate comments (eh a couple Deniers have been creepy, but sitemeter scared them off).

But I am equally as happy to have a nice Creationist stop by to post his/her views of my posts so I can use it as a learning experience for me, the poster, and my readers. So thanks, Webster, for leaving a nice comment. Please dont take this as me attacking you personally-- Im trying to direct my response to the Creationist Claim in general, not you.

ERV, I would be embarrassed to post such nonsense out where anyone can read it.
Nonsense! A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men!

Your first major error is special pleading. Even though no one was there to see it, HERVs must have been inserted millions of years ago, so they were. You don't even offer any evidence besides the bald claims.
Um, actually I did provide a reference--
Differences in HERV-K LTR insertions in orthologous loci of humans and great ape

Again, I will direct you towards PubMed so you can look up references yourself in the future. Some will be available online for free, but if you go to a local library, they should be able to help you get any article you are interested in!
For instance, here is a nice free intro to HERVs! I promise a blog entry on molecular clocks soon, too :)

Retroelements and the human genome: New perspectives on an old relation

Next, you turn to begging the question. From the report that an ERV is necessary for placental formation, you jump to "Mammals gained the function". But that assumes that mammals descended from non-mammals, which is to be proven!
Comparisons of genomes from various organisms creates a phylogenetic tree-- a Tree of Life-- which unquestionably demonstrates that mammals share a common ancestor with 'non-mammals'.

Next, you misrepresent the opposition. "Evolution ... is not accomplished by retroviruses jumping around in the genome" becomes "ERVs cant allow a gain of function." But those two statements are not even close to the same meaning. Dr. Purdom is pointing out that moving data around does not increase its information content, which should be fairly obvious.
Retrotransposition (moving data around) most certainly can 'increase information content.' I just gave an example not a week ago on this very blog-- Marsupials have a T-cell receptor that we dont have because of a retrotransposition.
I would, however, like to caution you against using the terms 'data' and 'information' on this blog. There are several extremely cute and extremely clever mathematicians that read ERV that will jump you for this, if you arent very veeeery certain of your position. Just a heads-up.

Still in the same paragraph, you next slide right into equivocation, claiming that any change in creatures we see today is exactly the same process as that which produced them in the first place, as if studying a car engine could tell you who built the factory.
Genetics is not magic. It doesnt work one day, and work a different way tomorrow. With ERVs, for instance, some retroviruses have endogenous and exogenous components, like MMTV. We can still watch all this stuff happening-- its not some mystical magical process that only could happen millions of years ago.

Next, you unwittingly strengthen your opponents position, by affirming her tentative suggestion of a possible sign of common design over common ancestry. Thanks!
No, not unwittingly-- I addressed that claim immediately after I brought it up. This is a well known Creationist Claim that I have addressed sarcastically on this blog several times (like here!).
You can take the position of common descent or common design through common descent, but not common design only-- unless you can go talk to your designer and ask why they made our genomes to look like apparent descent, when we were specially created.

You finish off by showing that you really didn't read the conclusion very carefully. Dr. Purdom says that "more work needs to be done." You say that her statement is dishonest b/c YECs "dont [sic] do laboratory research." But she didn't say that they do, she said that more work needs to be done. She doesn't even say who should do it! Oh, and did I mention that it took me only about 15 seconds to find a page on YEC research? YEC lab research is limited by the fact that most labs are controlled by evolutionists, many of whom are actively hostile to any YEC attempt to use their facilities, even as students. It's pretty hypocritical to lock them out of the labs, then claim that they can't be taken seriously b/c they don't do lab work!


The Templeton Foundation
begged Creationists to submit research proposals. You know how many they received? None.

Professional Creationists are not interested in doing novel research. They are interested in pirating real research.


Tyler DiPietro said...

"Dr. Purdom is pointing out that moving data around does not increase its information content, which should be fairly obvious."

Perhaps this is true for those who have been suckered by the creationist pseudomathematics of charlatans like Sewell and Dembski. It is mostly certainly not true for those of us familiar with the subject matter of a basic computer science curriculum:

1: Simply moving data around randomly is perhaps the most reliable way to increase information content. If you take the sequence 101010101010, and randomly flip binary digits to make it 1101001000111, you've increased in KCS complexity/information content immensely.

2. Moreover, in combinatorial structures like connected graphs, simple moving around edges and vertices can immensely increase the information content of the graph.

People who rehash the "moving data around doesn't increase information content" have usually had no exposure to the rigorous mathematics underlying the subject matter, and instead take the word of pseudomathematical fools. It's sad, really.

(BTW Abbie, I am going to put up my entry in the 8 random facts meme. I'm just virtually dead right now.)

wandering primate said...

Well done ERV!
With so much ID "goblygook" out there it is very much appreciated when real scientists take precious time to set things right.

Anonymous said...

Dave S. said...

And didn't the YE Creationists just open a fancy-schmancy museum that costed almost 30 mill? Why couldn't they have used some of that cash to do some actual research? Its because they have no actual theory from which to draw hypotheses and do research. Same as the ID creationists. They do no science, because there is none they can do.

ERV said...

*points at Tyler* See, Webster, I told ya.

wanderin primate-- HAHAHA I used the word 'gobbledygook' several times today. Not in a good way. Western Blot day. Gawd I suck at those.

Dave-- Good catch :)

Tyler DiPietro said...

"*points at Tyler* See, Webster, I told ya."

Actually, he just stealth-trolled an old thread on my blog with equally ridiculous arguments that betray his innumeracy even further. I fisk him pretty good here.

VWXYNot? said...

I've had my first one recently too! He/she is actually very civil and I've enjoyed answering the points raised. I have another post to respond to but I'll wait for the weekend - writing my last response almost made me late for work the other day.