Secular incoherence : What Darwin didn’t / couldn’t know and modern secularists pretend not to know.


Charles  Darwin was  a  brilliant  scientist who sought  to explain  the changes  the physical  appearances  of  living  organisms  and  the  origin  of  new  species.  His  observations  were  spot  on  but  his  conclusions  and  extrapolations  were  wrong. This  is  because  of   limitations  in his  knowledge.  Scientists in Darwin’s day  did  not  appreciate  the  complexity  of  the “protoplasm”  or  the concept  of  information and  programming.

We  now  know  that at  a  most  fundamental  level  living  organisms  are  characterized  by information technology – the  specific  type  of  information has  been termed “prescriptive” information  and  instructs  on what  to  do.  It  is  the type  of  information found  in computer  programmes  and  has  never  been found  to occur  without  an intellect.

Richard  Dawkin’s  foolish  concept  of   “the  blind  watchmaker”  shows  that  he  obviously  does  not  understand  the  programming  in  living  organisms  or he is  pretending  not  to  do  so.

The  fact  is the mechanistic  naturalistic construct  of  the modern synthesis  is  dead  and  has  been for  a long  time.  Persons  interested  in a  serious  discussion  on evolution  i.e  “descent  with modification”  need  to  inform themselves  by  reading  a  copy of  Professor  of  Microbiology  at  the University  of  Chicago, James  Shapiro’s :


 “Evolution: a view from the twenty-first century”




This  blog is aware  that  there  are  twist  and  turns  in science  and  acknowledges  that   the good  thing  about  science  is  that  it  corrects  itself .  It  is  in the  nature  of  true  science  that  what  is  held  as  true  today  is  cast  off  tomorrow.  There  is  nothing  wrong  with  this  occurring  as  we  search  for  truth.

This  blog also  believes  that  evidence  is  growing  rapidly  against  the  possibility  that  life  and  the information  associated   with  is  such  that   abiogenesis  could occur  by  accident  in  goo  and  that  ” a blind  watch maker”   is  responsible  for  the  design  in living   orgasms. 






Arkhat Abzhanov
Arkhat Abzhanov checks out a selection of Darwin’s finches preserved in the Harvard Museum of Natural History. He and his colleagues discovered a molecule that controls the length of the birds’ beaks, which enhance their ability to survive on available seeds and insects. (Staff photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office)

How Darwin’s finches got their beaks

A gene’s-eye view of evolution

By William J. Cromie 
Harvard News Office

Darwin’s finches are the emblems of evolution. The birds he saw on the Galapagos Islands during his famous voyage around the world in 1831-1836 changed his thinking about the origin of new species and, eventually, that of the world’s biologists.

Darwin wondered about the changes in shape of bird beaks from island to island. So-called cactus finches boast longer, more pointed beaks than their relatives the ground finches. Beaks of warbler finches are thinner and more pointed than both. These adaptations make them more fit to survive on available food.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have taken the story one step further. Using modern genetic analyses, they found a molecule that regulates genes involved in shaping the beaks of Darwin finches. “Calmodulin is a protein that binds and activates certain enzymes, which triggers a signal that eventually turns specific genes on or off,” explains Arkhat Abzhanov, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard. These signals alter the behavior of cells responsible for beak sculpturing.

Members of the research team received permission to collect finch eggs from the Galapagos National Park, a group of rocky islands in the Pacific Ocean, about 600 miles west of Ecuador. Female finches lay clutches of four to five eggs, one per day. To avoid disruption and abandonment of the nests, the researchers took only the third eggs laid.

In the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, 26 bird embryos were examined, using gene chips that reveal which genes are most active in the heads of the developing finches. This activity was then matched with the size and shapes of adult beaks.

The investigation soon focused on calmodulin as the switch that can turn on genes involved in increasing beak length. This protein had never before been implicated in the development of the skulls and faces of any birds.

“We found that calmodulin was indeed expressed at detectably higher levels in cactus finches compared to ground finches, and thus associated with their longer beaks,” says Clifford Tabin, professor of genetics. “This higher level is both biologically relevant and functionally important for shaping of elongated beaks, which are used in a specialized manner to probe cactus flowers and fruit for pollen, nectar, and seeds.” The same surge of calmodulin was not found in more blunt-beaked ground finches.

A beak at evolution

When Charles Darwin first saw the Galapagos Islands he described them as 10 islands “situated under the equator.” He noted that they originated as volcanoes and were pockmarked with craters. “Some of the craters, surmounting the larger islands, are of immense size, and they rise to a height of between three and four thousand feet.”

Noting differences in the feeding habits of the finches, Darwin wrote that cactus finches “may often be seen climbing about the flowers of the great cactus trees.” Seeing the diversity of beaks and other structures in the closely related finches, he wrote in his notebook, “one might really fancy that one species had been taken and modified for different ends.”

Darwin elaborated on this idea when he published his intellectual bombshell, the “Origin of Species,” some 25 years later in 1859. He speculated that birds, resembling starlings, came to the Galapagos Islands by wind. Evolution took over and different groups developed different diets. When, he wrote, “an immigrant first settled on one of the islands, … it would undoubtedly be exposed to different conditions in the different islands (where) it would have to compete with a different set of organisms. … Then, natural selection would probably favor different varieties in the different islands.”

In other words, beaks changed as the birds developed different tastes for fruits, seeds, or insects picked from the ground or cacti. Long, pointed beaks made some of them more fit for picking seeds out of cactus fruits. Shorter, stouter beaks served best for eating seeds found on the ground. Eventually, the immigrants evolved into 14 separate species, each with its own song, food preferences, and beak shapes. Warbler finches, for example, catch insects in beaks that are sharper and more slender than those of cactus eaters.

For the future, Abzhanov notes, “there remain seven or eight other unique-beaked Darwin finches to explore. These birds serve as an ideal starting point [for studying the role of calmodulin], because they are very closely related yet very diverse in shape and structure.

“We also expect calmodulin to be important in other groups of long-beaked birds. However, this is not going to be the whole story for birds such as storks and ibises. Increasing calmodulin activity leads to a modest 10-14 percent increase in beak length, which matches well with the length differences between cactus and ground finches but additional mechanisms might be required for even longer beaks.”

Abzhanov, Tabin, and their colleagues at Harvard, Princeton, and the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria, published the result of their finch research in the Aug. 3 issue of the journal Nature.

Asked about the possibility of calmodulin in the heads of humans, Abzhanov answers, “At this point we don’t know whether mammals in general or humans in particular employ calmodulin during development of their skulls and faces. It is, however, very likely as calmodulin appears to be involved in very basic craniofacial developmental processes. We do know it is expressed at the right time and in the right place in the development of mice embryos. We will certainly pursue its role(s) during both mouse and chicken development.”

Diagram of finches
The warbler finch (top) boasts a thin, sharp beak best suited for spearing insects. Ground finches’ shorter, more robust beaks (center) are adapted for eating seeds found on the ground. Those of cactus finches (bottom) are shaped for getting seeds from cacti. (Harvard Medical School and Margaret Bowman)



Evolution – The modern synthesis is dead — long live the evolving synthesis!

The essence  of  Enlightenment  Thought  is  that  Man  is now  of  age  and   should control his  existence and destiny by  reason. He  does  not need  a  God.

Enlightenment Thought provides a platform for the naturalist worldview which is replacing the Judeo-Christian worldview in Western Democracies.

In  the naturalist  worldview it  is immoral  to  deny a woman an abortion or  to  restrict sexual expression.

The  successors  of  Enlightenment   Thought  embrace   and  strongly  defend Darwin’s  Theory  of  the  Origin of  Species.  Ostensibly  this  is  because  of the impeccable  scientific  credentials  of  the  theory  but  there  are  other  reasons  why  naturalists  would support  the  theory.  The theory   purports to describe  a  mechanism by which the complex  bodies  of  living organisms could  be sculpted without the need  for a designer (God).   Darwin’s  theory appears to put an end to the  need  for  “a  God Hypothesis” i.e that the world  and the organisms in it are the product of  a Great Being who exists outside of nature i.e is supernatural.

Darwin’s  himself suggested  that natural selection  –  a process  that  allowed  hereditary  traits  which  favoured survival and reproduction  to persist in a population – was  the   sculpting mechanism.  Darwin  did not  know what  the nature  of  the  hereditary  material  in living organisms was  so  it  was  left  to  others  to complete his theory.

The discovery  of  genes  and  DNA  lead evolutionary biologists  to suggest that  random variations  in DNA  was  the change  upon which natural  selection acted.  The dual  phenomena  of random  DNA  mutations  and  natural selection became  known as theModern Synthesis and  is the  standard  mechanism  of  evolution  taught in textbook.

Evolutionary Biologist  Allen  MacNeill  writes  on  the Modern  Synthesis  at :

MacNeill  believes  evolution  to  be  true  i.e  that  species  arise  from pre-existent species  but  acknowledges  that  the  mechanism  by  which  this  may  have  occurred   is not  settled.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Modern Synthesis is Dead – Long Live the Evolving Synthesis!

It has been almost exactly a century and a half since Darwin’s Origin of Species was first published, and half a century since the conference at the University of Chicago where the “triumph” of the “modern evolutionary synthesis” was celebrated. So, isn’t it a little odd that some well-respected scientists and historians of science are proclaiming in this celebratory year that the modern evolutionary synthesis is dead?

For example, Eugene Koonin, senior investigator at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, and National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, has published two essays on the current status of the “modern evolutionary synthesis”:

The Origin at 150: Is a new evolutionary synthesis in sight?
Trends in Genetics, 25(11), November 2009, pp. 473-475.


Abstract: The 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin and the 150th jubilee of the On the Origin of Species could prompt a new look at evolutionary biology. The 1959 Origin centennial was marked by the consolidation of the modern synthesis. The edifice of the modern synthesis has crumbled, apparently, beyond repair. The hallmark of the Darwinian discourse of 2009 is the plurality of evolutionary processes and patterns. Nevertheless, glimpses of a new synthesis might be discernible in emerging universals of evolution.


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