Crazy Convergences Distort Darwinism

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Posted on February 9, 2017 in Amazing Facts, Birds, Botany, Darwin and Evolution, Dinosaurs, Dumb Ideas, Mammals, Marine Biology, Media, Philosophy of Science, Terrestrial Zoology

Get a load of this: Darwinians claim that complex features arose independently multiple times by an unknown process called “convergent evolution.”

Giving a name to something is not the same as explaining it. Darwinians have learned how to manipulate language to create vacuous terms that masquerade as explanations. For instance, if two organisms that share the same assumed ancestral line have similar traits, they are called “homologous” traits in Darwinese. But if the traits are similar and are not on the same ancestral line, they call them “analogous” traits. When evolution splits traits apart, they call it “divergence.” When evolution brings separate organisms together, they call it “convergence.” Evolutionists confabulate and confibulate to pretend they are doing science, when they’re actually just playing Jargonwocky. Let’s look at some examples that demonstrate how convergence—an essential ingredient in Darwin Flubber—operates according to the Stuff Happens Law.

These bizarre creatures defy what we think we know about plants and animals (Jordi Paps on The Conversation). A particular sea anemone has a similar shape and mode of action as the Venus flytrap, a land plant. How did that evolve? Overcome with the spirit of Darwin, Dr. Paps praises convergent evolution:

BM-Darwine-smIt is a brilliant example of convergent evolution, where unrelated organisms independently evolve similar adaptations (for example, the wings of birds and bats). In this case, it is an animal that looks like a plant that imitates a carnivorous plant that feeds like an animal.

Convergent Evolution of Unique Morphological Adaptations to a Subterranean Environment in Cave Millipedes (Diplopoda) (PLoS One). The abstract says, “Our study clearly shows that morphological adaptations have evolved convergently in different, unrelated millipede orders and families, most likely as a direct adaptation to cave life.” It should be clear, though, that a cave cannot force an organism to adapt. It could “shoo” the organism away, or act as a death trap. Caves are under no obligation to bestow adaptive traits on any organism. This paper masquerades as an explanation, because it only describes similarities between unrelated millipede orders and families, without showing what mutations were selected by a Darwinian mechanism.

Ontogenetic and life history trait changes associated with convergent ecological specializations in extinct ungulate mammals (PNAS). These scientists looked into the teeth of some ungulates (mammals that chew the cud). Behold, they had similar teeth, even though unrelated. That proves convergence, doesn’t it? “We show that ever-growing teeth combined with faster molar eruption arose several times during the evolution of these mammals, allowing them to obtain a more durable and efficient dentition in constraining environments,” they declare triumphantly.  “These innovations might represent convergent ontogenetic and physiological adjustments that contributed to their ecological specializations.” Wait a second; who combined them? What made the traits arise, allowing them to eat better? What adjusted them? Look how they respond to four unrelated cases of tall teeth: ” Most remarkably, a crown height increase convergently evolved in four distinct notoungulate clades.…” Does this explain the observations, or explain them away?

Comparative genomics reveals convergent evolution between the bamboo-eating giant and red pandas (PNAS). We mentioned this Darwinian conundrum last week (2/02/17). Suffice it to say this paper appeals to “convergence” no less than 80 times! The authors also try to make a distinction between phenotypic convergence and genetic convergence, which only doubles the trouble for Darwinian evolution. For why would genes converge without a corresponding change in the phenotype, and vice versa? Notice what they say about convergent evolution in general in the concluding paragraph:

BM-EmperorCharlie-smConvergent evolution has long interested evolutionary biologists. Classic examples include the wings of bats and birds, echolocation in bats and dolphins, and adaptation of marine mammals to extreme marine environments. Although the functional nature of these convergent specializations is often obvious, the genetic basis underpinning particular examples of convergent evolution is far less clear. Charles Darwin suggested that convergent evolution stems from similarity in independent changes that underpin the same features in different organisms [i.e., Stuff Happens]. Although there have been advances in understanding the molecular basis of such parallel and independent phenotype convergence in recent decades, insights at the genomic level are rare.

The Flashlight Fish Anomalops katoptron Uses Bioluminescent Light to Detect Prey in the Dark (PLoS One). Anyone who has studied bioluminescence has probably been struck by the elaborate chemistry and physiology of light-producing organs. This paper describes a striking example of a fish that co-opts luminescent bacteria in its eye sockets, and can switch them on and off like flashlights. Speaking of convergence in marine organisms, none of the eight authors seem to have any qualms about inserting this miracle: “A recent study reported 27 independent evolutionary events of bioluminescence in marine ray-finned fish.”

A bizarre Early Cretaceous enantiornithine bird with unique crural feathers and an ornithuromorph plough-shaped pygostyle (Nature Communications). This fossil bird found in China appears too early to have some modern traits found in later Cretaceous birds. What to do? Converge it away: “A plough-shaped pygostyle, like that of the Ornithuromorpha, evolved convergently in the Cruralispennia lineage, highlighting the homoplastic nature of early avian evolution.” Note: Homoplasy is Darwin lingo for convergent evolution; they are saying that convergence is everywhere in the early bird fossil record. Indeed, later they say, “The discovery of this morphology in the Enantiornithes contributes to the tally of numerous instances of homoplasy that characterize early avian evolution.” The authors are struck by the modern-looking pygostyle, which they call an “unexpected homoplasy.

The long reach of the monster plant (Nature). This article about carnivorous plants betrays the “convergent evolution” pseudo-explanation without actually using the phrase. “There are many other species of carnivorous plant worldwide. And in a study released this week… researchers describe how these meat-eating plants rely on much the same genetic recipe, even though the different groups evolved the habit of carnivory quite independently.” So how, exactly, did Darwin work this out? “All were after the same thing: nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that they couldn’t extract from the meagre soil.” Is this really an explanation? The plants could have BM-lightclickavoided millions of years of waiting for the right random mutations to show up; they could have just taken the easy route and gone extinct. Maybe evolutionists should add “convergent extinction” to their explanatory toolkit. See also the press release from University of Buffalo, where the authors say, “The findings represent an example of convergent evolution, in which unrelated species evolve independently to acquire similar traits.” According to the headline, this “sheds light on how carnivorous plants acquired a taste for meat.”

In his new book Darwin’s House of Cards (Center for Science and Culture, 2017), veteran journalist Tom Bethell devotes a whole chapter to “The Conundrum of Convergence” (ch. 10). He describes several spectacular examples, such as the origin of flight in pterosaurs, mammals, birds and insects. Evolutionists ought to be dumbfloundering at such observations, but pretend not to be fazed by spewing the mythoid that it proves flight “must be easy to evolve.” That is more than Bethell can take. “Flight is easy to evolve?” he asks in exasperation. “By a series of accidental mutations? Someone should tell Boeing engineers how this was achieved.” It’s doubtful real engineers would fall for such a poof spoof. Concerning this teetering card in the house of cards, Bethell says it is a catch-all explanation that lets Darwinians have all their bases covered. “Animals from different lines can either converge, or evolve in parallel, or diverge… What could possibly falsify such a theory?” (p. 124).

Darwin is a naked emperor living in a house of cards in a tornado, expecting his 747 to emerge.

 

One Comment

Reflectory February 9, 2017

David, when can we expect your technical, peer-reviewed paper refuting convergence?

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