Another Darwinian thinks he’s got me

Brian T. writes:

Just saw your second article on amphibian reproduction. I particularly liked the part where you acknowledge that you were wrong but then claim that you are still right by changing your argument.

A rational person, when discovering that the basis of their argument was wrong, would take a look at the EVIDENCE upon which they based their claim. They would additionally bother to do some light reading on the subject.

Instead, you steam full speed ahead into a series of equally ill informed conclusions based on your lack of knowledge about amphibian reproduction.

Had you bothered to use a little thing called “google,” you could have found plenty of articles describing the various kinds of salamander reproductive techniques, including species which run the full gamit from external fertilization through “spray and pray” right through internal fertilization—with SEVERAL examples in between.

Of course, such information would necessitate a third article with a similar begining to your second.

“Well readers, looks like I was wrong about the facts AGAIN. But, my conclusion still stands … “

Here’s a tip. If you are going to pose an argument AFTER being burned by the facts once, you should really bother to learn a little bit about the topic.

LA replies:

Sorry, no prize for you. The point I initially got wrong (I think it had to do with whether copulation first appeared in reptiles or amphibeans) was of no importance in the context of that discussion. The fundamental problem with Darwinism that I identified in that article is still there, which is that at whatever stage in vertebrate evolution copulation and internal fertilization appeared, their appearing by random genetic mutations and natural selection is a total impossibility.

Brian T. replies:

Like every other creationist without a basic understanding of evolution, you are assuming that there must be one giant leap from one stage to another.

Simply not the case. There are living examples of amphibians who display various stages. For example, amphibians where the male deposits the spermatophore upon which the female lays the eggs.

Nice intermediary and completely conflicting your claim that both male and female systems need to evolve exactly the same way at the same time.

Of course, this information contradicts your already drawn conclusions. Why bother looking to the facts when they contradict your politics.

I won’t be expecting to see this in any of your next articles. I’ve never met a single Creationist who was even close to honest about their position. You won’t be the first exception.

Before you go beating someone to death with your Bible, you may want to read what it has to say about honesty.

LA replies:

LOL. In the typical Darwinian manner, you repeat the same tired generalities that YOU somehow think are dispositive, but in fact say NOTHING. I’m fully aware of the intermediate stages argument and have dealt with it. It doesn’t change the fact that for copulation and internal fertilization to appear, and, indeed, for any particular manner of copulation and internal fertilization to appear, an entire system of changes, or, rather, two perfectly complementary and interacting systems of changes, had to appear simultaneously in one male and one female of the same species living in the same neighborhood.

I suggest that you try to grasp the fundamental issues about Darwinism that I raise in my articles, rather than focusing on secondary points or on my lack of biological expertise, or repeating Darwinian mantras to yourself, as though they automatically overcame all objections just by being repeated.

Unfortunately for you, however, your inability to conduct the discussion without accusing me of dishonesty has ended this exchange.

- end of initial entry -

Ben W. writes:

LA: “Sorry, no prize for you.”

That reminds me of the soup Nazi in Seinfeld, “No soup for you.”

Terry Morris writes:

Re Brian T.’s attitude, one wonders what causes these people to be such smart a**es.

LA replies:

It got rather worse. Below is his next e-mail to me. Normally I wouldn’t post this kind of insulting e-mail, but in this case it will be useful, as it shows the unsettingly hatred that many Darwinians have for anti-Darwinians, and will also give me the opportunity to expand on a point that Brian felt I ignored.

Brian T. wrote:

Just as I expected. I give you an example of this happening without your “required” changes. You merely repeat yourself.

It must be hard being so old and so inflexible.

I’ll leave you to your racist rants and the knowledge that your kind has ruined America for future generations.

You better pray the next generation doesn’t just decide to up and eat the old.

Gotta love it how new information plays no role in your decision making. So typical.

[end of e-mail.]

Now let’s go through Brian’s statements:

“Just as I expected. I give you an example of this happening without your ‘required’ changes. You merely repeat yourself.”

While I replied in a general way to his example of amphibian reproduction in his second e-mail, he evidently felt the example was so apposite that it required a specific reply from me. Here is his amphibian example again:

“There are living examples of amphibians who display various stages. For example, amphibians where the male deposits the spermatophore upon which the female lays the eggs.

“Nice intermediary and completely conflicting your claim that both male and female systems need to evolve exactly the same way at the same time.”

As previously, he thinks he has shattered my argument, when he has done nothing of the kind. In fact, his example actually proves my point that male and female need to evolve in corresponding ways at the same time. The male has to develop the behavior to deposit his spermatophore, presumably in a particular manner and location, and the female has to have the behavior of laying her eggs on top of the spermatophore in that location. Prior to this behavior existing, if there had not been a male and a female of the same generation and in the same pond developing by chance random mutations precisely these mutually complementary behaviors, this method of reproduction would not have come into existence.

Now if this amphibian species is to evolve from the intermediate form of fertilization just described into a form that copulates and has internal fertilization, the existence of the intermediate stage, which in Brian’s mind solves all problems, does not in fact eliminate the trillion trillion trillion to one odds against the following things that must still occur: an individual male must, by chance random mutations, develop the behavior to clasp onto the female, penetrate the female, and eject his sperm into the female; and an individual female must simultaneously, by random accidental mutations, develop the organs and the behavior to generate internal eggs, receive the male organ, join the male sperm with the female eggs, provide a place in the female’s body for the eggs to develop, and then lay the eggs. And all these organs and behaviors have to appear simultaneously within two members of the respective sexes who live close enough to each other to meet and mate.

So Brian T.’s example of a female laying her eggs over the male spermatophore, which he imagines disproves my case about the need for simultaneous and mutually complementary mutations between the sexes, doesn’t disprove it at all.

Brian writes:

“Gotta love it how new information plays no role in your decision making. So typical.”

In fact, Brian is the one who is repeating received slogans and formulae and closing his mind to my new and different criticisms of Darwinism, not understanding what I’m saying but automatically dismissing it.

“It must be hard being so old and so inflexible.

“I’ll leave you to your racist rants and the knowledge that your kind has ruined America for future generations.”

Leaving aside the insults, consider the amazing fact that Brian, an enforcer of the established orthodoxy of the entire Western world, considers himself the voice of youthful rebellion against stodgy old ways, while I, who am challenging the established orthodoxy of the entire Western world, am the representative of age, inflexibility, and America’s racist past!

“You better pray the next generation doesn’t just decide to up and eat the old.”

This comment goes beyond Darwinian insults and braggadocio and indicates a disturbed mental state. Think about the fact that this expression of cannibalistic hatred has been generated in Brian by my rejection of Darwinism.

Gintas writes:

You wrote: “This comment goes beyond Darwinian insults and braggadocio and indicates a disturbed mental state. Think about the fact that this expression of cannibalistic hatred has been generated in Brian by my rejection of Darwinism.”

A perfect example of devolution in action.

LA replies:

Yes, just like those “evolution in reverse” cartoons where there’s a man, then a brutish looking man, then an ape, you could have an “evolution in reverse” cartoon about the Darwinians themselves: on the left, a tall, distinguished, respectable 19th century gentlemen; in the middle, an overweight, irreverent, and twinkly nihilistic Steven Jay Gould; and on the right, Brian T., a depraved hater threatening anti-Darwinians with being eaten by their young.

Ben W. writes:

In keeping with the current trend of naming groups as “istas” (eg. fashionistas), perhaps we can modernize the Darwinians as the Darwinistas.

John Joyce, a contributor at New English Review (at whose blog I commented the other day on what to do about the Islam problem), writes:

Actually, this comment to you has nothing to do with Darwinism but, rather, it is to do with the standard of debate evinced by your correspondent, Brian T. in your exchanges with him. What marked out your post at your blog for me was your reasonably civilised and gentlemanly debating tone and his increasingly impolite and intemperate tone as he manifestly failed to change your mind. I suppose that Brian T. must be a young man and one, furthermore, who has never had the benefit of belonging to a well run school or university debating society wherein the established conventions about discussion and argument would have been drilled into him. I was taught by two very learned teachers of English at my school that debate between two or more people of opposite views is not necessarily about changing the minds of those whose opinions differ from ones own, but, and perhaps more importantly, about laying out the arguments from all sides in such a way as to assist those in the audience to make up their minds in a spirit of critical enquiry. I was taught, also by those two wonderful teachers, that every speaker in a debate had a duty to help any other speaker in difficulties to get his, or her, point across regardless of whether or not one agrees with the point being so promulgated.

Obviously, you and I grew up in a more civilised age than Brian T. did. However, I am constantly surprised by the appallingly impolite and downright hostile tone of many who debate with each other on blog sites. Ordinary good manners should preclude such behaviour even in the anonymous spaces on the World Wide Web. Whatever happened to courtesy and consideration for one’s fellow man? Just for the record, you and I would be on opposite sides if we were ever to debate about evolution, but I doubt that either of us would descend into childish verbal tantrums, as Brian T. did with you, as we failed to change each other’s minds. Instead, I feel sure, we would simply enjoy the opportunity to discuss our views and opinions with each other in a perfectly amicable way which would inform those who do not know of the ramifications of our theories, of the complexities of those theories and why we two hold such different views.

By the way, thank-you for linking to my post at the NER. Most kind of you to draw the attention of your own readers to my paltry offering of news from England. Rebecca Bynum drew my attention to this in an email some hours ago and I must confess that I have never read at your site before this. From now on, however, your site is on my “must read” list.

Well, I mustn’t take up too much of your time with my idle chit-chat and relatively unimportant observations on modern manners.

LA replies:

Thank you for your kind comments, and thank you for your interest in VFR.

December 23

Ben W. writes:

If evolution is The Process through which we have arrived at our present state, then why is Lawrence Auster’s mind not consistent with The Process? Why has Lawrence Auster not fully evolved as have the Darwinistas to recognize The Process? Is this a case of arrested development? Can evolution wind up with an anti-evolutionary mindset in some individuals?

It will not serve to castigate Mr. Auster for his evolutionary failing—this is outside his personal framework. Before we condemn Mr. Auster for his evolutionary interruption, should we not examine The Process that failed to develop his consciousness to a full appreciation of The Process? Did The Process fail The Process in his case?

John L. writes:

It’s sure true that the younger generation can’t debate politely. I (mid-thirties) never had any kind of debate training in public school. I tend to fall into all those eristical vices. I’ve really had to learn on my own to control myself while arguing. All the good habits I have I learned from Plato. I must say, though, I appreciate how you start by treating interlocutors with respect but then cut them off if they insult you. That seems like a good model. I’ve begun doing it whenever Europeans compare Bush to Hitler. I’m also slowly grasping the concept that in a debate one is not really trying to convince one’s opponent as the on-lookers.

Sage McLaughlin writes:

Your recent post on Darwinism reminded me, I’ve been meaning to send you this quote from Chesterton concerning the evolutionary mindset that inspires faith in the dead hand of Progress:

“Progress is Providence without God. That is, it is a theory that everything has always perpetually gone right by accident. It is a sort of atheistic optimism, based on an everlasting coincidence far more miraculous than a miracle.”

LA replies:

“Progress is Providence without God.”

That’s a fantastic insight into the liberal mind.

Also, it fits with my critique of the Darwinist tendency to keep sneaking in the implied notion of purpose (teleology) in evolution even though the theory strictly excludes purpose. Just as Darwinians, in their real, human core (which even their soulless Darwinian beliefs cannot entirely erase), cannot conceive of an orderly cosmos without intelligence and purpose creating it, in the same way, liberals cannot gaze on the marvelous prospect of Progress without tacitly believing that this supposedly purposeless progress, this “everlasting coincidence far more miraculous than a miracle,” is driven by a purpose. In Chesterton’s brilliant phrase which I just quoted, look at how the first half of the phrase smoothly turns into the second half of the phrase which contradicts the first half.

* * *

December 24

I’ve just re-read the article, “The evolution of internal fertilization in vertebrates, cont.,” that Brian initially criticized, and I realize that instead of writing the above reply to Brian’s argument, I should have just copied some of the text from that article. In that article I had already shown that the existence of transitional forms does not disprove my argument that the evolution of internal fertilization—or, indeed, the evolution of any new mode of internal fertilization—requires simultaneous complementary mutations in the male and female.

I wrote:

Now, if we imagine an evolutionary scenario in which the way of reproduction represented by the salamander (the female picks up the male sperm packet and places it inside her cloacum, followed by internal fertilization) precedes the way of reproduction represented by the tailed frog (the male inserts his sperm directly into the female cloacum, followed by internal fertilization), fewer simultaneous innovations would be needed for the tailed frog method of reproduction to be achieved, because, as I’ve said, the system of internal fertilization would already be there, prior to the evolution of direct sexual intercourse. This means that instead of the odds against the evolution of sexual intercourse by Darwinian processes being (to pick out a number suggesting total impossibility) ten billion to one, they are, say, a billion to one. It remains the case that it is impossible for UNRELATED CHANCE RANDOM MUTATIONS TO OCCUR SIMULTANEOUSLY IN THE MALE AND FEMALE giving the male the behavior and the organs to fertilize the female internally, and giving the female the behavior and organs to receive the male.

But that’s not all. The salamander, our transitional form, instead of making Darwinian processes less unlikely, introduces its own impossibility into the situation. The male salamander had to develop, by chance random mutations, the organs, functions, and external behavior to produce the spermatophore packet (which is itself a complex object) and lay it on the bottom of the pond, and, at the same time, also by chance random mutations, the female salamander had to develop the organs and behaviors to pick up the spermatophore from the floor of the pond and deposit it inside her cloacum.

To sum up and repeat, transitional forms do not eliminate the need for simultaneous and complementary mutations to occur in the two sexes, for the following two reasons:

(1) The transitional forms themselves, in order come into existence, require simultaneous and complementary mutations.

(2) In terms of the present examples, in which the method of insemination practiced by a certain salamander species is imagined as an intermediate stage leading to the method of insemination practiced by the tailed frog (leaving aside the question of the amphibian genus in which this supposed transition actually occurred), the fact that the female had developed the behavior and ability to pick up the spermatophore and deposit it in her cloacum does not eliminate the need for the female to have a further mutation complementing the new male mutation that leads the male to stop depositing the spermatophore on the bottom of the pond and instead deposit the spermatophore in the female’s cloacum; namely, the female still has to develop, by random chance mutations, the behavior of allowing the male to deposit the spermatophore in her cloacum. If a female living in the same pond with a male who has a new mutation that makes him deposit the package in her body, does not simultaneously with the male’s mutation have her own mutations that make her stop looking for spermatophores on the pond bottom and instead receive the package directly from the male, nothing would happen, the male mutation would not be passed on to a next generation, and this new method of reproduction would not survive.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 22, 2008 04:25 PM | Send

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