The Fusing of the Chromosomes

Here’s a great video from Dr. Ken Miller explaining solid proof in favor of evolution and against Intelligent Design/Creationism:

(via The Religion Virus)

  • Trace

    All godless lies.

  • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    The full two-hour lecture/Q&A is really good. It’s the go-to item that I use for my evangelical friends/family.

  • Adam

    His book, Only a Theory, is really good for going through different things like that and explaining how modern research makes the concept of Intelligent Design look extremely foolish.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Yeah, but my evangelical friends tell me that Roman Catholics are not true Christians and anything said by one should be treated with great suspicion. This lecture would merely be discounted as disinformation by an evilutionist.

  • Heidi

    That was awesome.

  • Ricky

    Some of the youtube comments actually make me really sad. =[

  • Steve

    YouTube is the deepest cesspool of internet commentary. It makes you weep for mankind.

  • http://www.surprisesaplenty.wordpress.com surprisesaplenty

    I’m looking for a little help.

    In discussing the fusion event Miller describes, a friend brought up this article from AIG:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v3/n1/tale-of-two-chromosomes

    The point of this article seems to be that ‘centric fusion’ is common and not a sign of speciation. I am garbling the point a little, I know.

    I think ‘centric fusion’ involves the centromeres but I don’t know enough to compare it to telomere fusion, which I think MIller is describing in the video above. Is this the key point? That centric fusions are very different from telemeric fusions?

    These discussion are mostly just a hobby for me and I am unable to reach a good English library to do such research myself. If you can offer any advice, I’d appreciate it.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    No… the key point is that AiG really doesn’t know anything about evolution or… y’know… science, and will make stuff up to discredit it.

    You’ll notice that the author of the article is a “D.V.M.” – that’s “Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.” A veterinarian. Not exactly an authority on genetics, but plenty able to misrepresent the findings of actual geneticists. Oh, and there’s always this bit:

    Most importantly, reliable eyewitness testimony is more powerful than circumstantial evidence in establishing historical details. The Bible, inspired by the Creator himself, indicates that humans were created in the image of God and distinct from other animals.

    Groan.

  • Citizen Z

    The point of this article seems to be that ‘centric fusion’ is common and not a sign of speciation. I am garbling the point a little, I know.

    No, that’s his point, but it’s a strawman argument against Miller. Miller was explaining why humans and apes have different numbers of chromosomes, he at no time stated that all centric fusion events result in new species.

  • ihedenius

    2007 I read the entire Kitzmiller vs Dover trial. Good stuff if you enjoy that sort of thing. It will give a good overview of creationism in America. I may be weird but I thought the human drama beyond the official contention made it into a page turner.

    I collected links long ago, many now dead except these:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover.html
    http://www.sciohost.org/ncse/kvd/Padian/Padian_transcript.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemon_v._Kurtzman
    The lemon test I didn’t know about until reading the judges summation. Glance at that first (thats what ‘prongs’ are about).
    Mike Argento was doing an not-quite-HL-Mencken commentary if it can be found (link dead).

  • http://www.givesgoodemail.com Givesgoodemail

    Testable, repeatable proof of evolution, derived from major-league science.

    Applause.

  • http://twitter.com/jtradke John

    @surprisesaplenty – If you’re garbling the point, it’s probably because the article is. For example:

    The idea that so many genes were altered so that they are expressed in the proper concentration according to cell type and can effectively control the many different genes they regulate is not what we would expect of chance processes.

    What? Why not? If the miRNA-coding genes were not expressed in proper concentration and weren’t effective regulators, then those cells and consequently the organism would not survive. That’s called selection.

    One possibility I had considered is that humans and apes (and perhaps other animals too) were created with the same number of chromosomes with similar banding patterns.

    This thought is incomplete. If humans and apes were created with the same number of chromosomes, how did humans end up with 1 fewer? Lightner just halts her brain at this point and moves on to:

    Since chromosome numbers vary within created kinds, it is not in the chromosome number where we should expect the most significant differences to lie, but in the coded information.

    This point is completely upside-down. Miller’s point was that if apes and humans had a common ancestor, we should expect similarity in the chromosomes, not differences.

  • http://twitter.com/jtradke John

    Sorry for the logorrhea, but I just read the last paragraph in that AIG article, and it’s a riot:

    There are still many fascinating questions waiting to be answered. For example, why do chromosomal rearrangements occur?

    Problems during crossover.

    It has been pointed out in the literature that they are non-random [17]. Do they have a purpose?

    The paper Lightner cites in footnote 17 (her link is broken, but it’s available here) cites another paper from 1989 (abstract here) which offers a perfectly cromulent explanation:

    The surplus of t(14q21q) is presumed to depend on these two chromosomes having a homologous pericentric region. The 10-20 times higher incidence of t(13q14q) as compared with other RT is best explained by crossing-over between homologous, but relatively inverted, segments in these chromosomes.

    Back to Lightner:

    Do they have a purpose? (Evolutionists aren’t supposed to ask this.)

    Evolutionists don’t ask it because it presumes a creator, which we have no evidence for. If there was solid scientific evidence for a guiding hand in evolution, then asking about purpose would actually be good science. (Funny, though, that a woman who no doubt would not hesitate to offer a “mysterious ways” defense should tragedy befall her has no qualms about probing for purpose here.)

    Do they play a role in speciation?

    LOLWUT? She just got done saying this:

    So, the bottom line is that centric fusions themselves do not inevitably result in a new species. It is conceivable that some apes exist with 46 chromosomes. Yet these animals will be distinctly apes; they will not be “evolving” to become a human.

    Back to Lightner’s incurious questioning:

    If so, how? Do they help animals adapt to new environments?

    Just like any other genetic switcheroo (mutation, mistranslation, etc.), it’s either adaptive, deleterious, or just neutral. There’s no reason to believe it’s any different from the rest.

    Why are there times when they cause problems (i.e. some carriers have a high percentage of unbalanced gametes which results in infertility or abnormalities in their offspring)?

    BECAUSE GOD IS ANGRY AT THEM. Haha, just kidding, God is a lie. What’s really happening, again, is that meiotic acrobatics usually end badly.

    And the cherry on top:

    How can they become fixed in a population?

    Sorry, but you ought not dare reproach Ken Miller’s scientific credentials when you don’t even understand genetic drift.

  • Rich Wilson
  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    I’m an admirer of Miller’s, and I’ve always wanted to ask him this question: Is there any evidence at all that, if uncovered and validated, would cause you at long last to give up this whole Catholicism/theism thing?

    Because obviously he remains religious because he simply likes religion on some level, right? I mean, I don’t see how a man like that can say everything he said during the first 4:08 of that clip, and then in the final ten seconds say, Oh by the way, I’m a theist.

  • EdmondWA

    Am I on Pharyngula?

    But seriously, I don’t need a single word of this explained to me to understand that ID is bunk. If it looks like it came about by natural processes, then nature did it. If a god did it, it would just be magic. I don’t see any magic.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timtationsmusic Tim D.

    I’m an admirer of Miller’s, and I’ve always wanted to ask him this question: Is there any evidence at all that, if uncovered and validated, would cause you at long last to give up this whole Catholicism/theism thing?

    Because obviously he remains religious because he simply likes religion on some level, right? I mean, I don’t see how a man like that can say everything he said during the first 4:08 of that clip, and then in the final ten seconds say, Oh by the way, I’m a theist.

    I think it actually works in his favor, at least in this case, in the event that he ever finds himself up against any Catholics (or slightly more moderate kinds of non-Catholic Christianity) who would try to equate evolution with some kind of atheist/agnostic “conspiracy.”

    If nothing else, it just shows that it’s possible to both be Christian and accept evolutionary theory; therefore it’s a logically faulty argument to say that “only atheists believe in evolution,” or that there’s some kind of special motivation for atheists to accept evolution.

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    While it is obviously possible to be a Christian and accept evolution—cognitive dissonance not being an uncommon phenomenon in humans—that doesn’t mean the two things are rationally compatible (hence, cognitive dissonance). I should have worded my thought clearer: Miller spends the whole clip explaining how humans evolved. We were not “designed” by a deity, rather, we evolved, like everything else, over millions of years—and the evidence shows it. The process requires no supernatural element to be explained, and no one comprehends that as fully as Ken Miller. And yet, he’s a theist? (Not a deist, mind you, he’s a theist.) I think he just wants to be religious. He likes it, likes the idea of it. Belief in belief.

    In order to be a Catholic and accept the fact of evolution by natural selection, a person inevitably ends up rationalizing/watering-down one or the other. Miller has clearly chosen to water down his Catholicism rather than his evolution, which I applaud. When reality comes into collision with one’s faith, that person has to make a choice—which one will I water down? This is the nature of holding supernatural beliefs.

  • Steve

    I don’t think they are necessarily incompatible. It’s just incompatible with a literal interpretation of the Bible. But not all people are like that. I was raised Catholic, and I really, really don’t want to defend the Church, but no one ever told me that the Bible should be taken at face value. As a kid maybe, but not when I got older. When the OT was referred to, it was nearly always the story of Moses and nothing else.

    I think it’s, as usual, fundamentalist (American) groups distorting faith and distracting from more important things. You can accept all of the NT and even parts of the OT and still take Genesis for what it is: a story to explain what wasn’t understood.

    Why not believe in a god who snipped his fingers and then let evolution take its course? I don’t think that goes against the main tenants of Christianity. Creation is really the least important part of it.

  • http://secularshawshank.wordpress.com Andy

    Why not believe in a god who snipped his fingers and then let evolution take its course?

    Why not? I can only speak for myself: A.) There’s no evidence such a being exists, and I’m one of those crazy people who cares whether his beliefs are supported by the evidence, and B.) A God who snapped his fingers and let evolution take its course would be pretty much indistinguishable from a God who doesn’t exist. Why not just call evolution “God”? Why not just call any natural process “God”? It’ll save us some time.

    I don’t think that goes against the main tenants of Christianity. Creation is really the least important part of it.

    Tell that to Ken Ham. He’s part of a large, well-funded, and politically influential movement of people who want that garbage taught to children as science. And don’t tell me he’s a fringe kook. Gallup polling in 2007 shows that a full third of Americans believe as he does. Beliefs have consequences, as does scientific literacy.

  • Steve

    I meant from a theistic perspective. I don’t believe in a god either (for the stated reasons), but if I did, I’d see no reason to assume that god micromanaged everything. For me, nothing of the other stuff in the Bible or the beliefs derived from it requires that he was directly involved in all aspects of the universe’s creation.

  • jose

    Hey Andy,
    “There’s no evidence such a being exists, and I’m one of those crazy people who cares whether his beliefs are supported by the evidence”

    Yeah, critical thinking works through evidence, but christianity works through revelation. You see, religious have the bible, which would be the revealed word of god, so that’s what matters to them. Of course, one of them took us to the moon and the other one took us to a pyre, but you get the point. Religion is not about evidence, you can’t reach god through evidence.

    “A God who snapped his fingers and let evolution take its course would be pretty much indistinguishable from a God who doesn’t exist. Why not just call evolution “God”?”

    Because those who follow him will live forever in Heaven. He sent his son to show us the way to heaven: “Sell everything you own, give the money to the poor and you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.” (Mark 10,21). The main point of Roman Catholicism is Jesus’ resurrection: he’s alive. Follow him (not just believe in him like evangelicals say–you must actively follow his teachings) and you will live forever just as he does.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m an atheist. I’m not defending them. As an ex-catholic, I thought I could just clarify some points in order to understand why they say such stuff.

    “Tell that to Ken Ham. He’s part of a large, well-funded, and politically influential movement of people who want that garbage taught to children as science.”

    Well, Roman Catholicism is the biggest Christian church in the world. Maybe Ken Ham should talk to the Pope.

  • Dan W

    That was great. Ken Miller kicks ass.

  • Ben

    I guess I was raised “Roman Catholic.” We went to church, I did all the “rites,” and did what you were supposed to but always had a sense that something wasn’t right. I had a feeling that we were doing something that wasn’t real and seemed off. Now, I see Catholicism as more like Buddhism than anything and almost like the Jewish faith than anything. A “Personal god” is not so much the core of the religion rather than an opaque “faith”. I also see it as innocuous. Unless they tell kids they’ll go to hell if they misbehave. By that standard I’d be Hell yesterday. There is no god. There is also no reason, except political, that this guy would need to say he is a “theist” especially a Roman Catholic one.

  • Gibbon

    Andy

    While it is obviously possible to be a Christian and accept evolution—cognitive dissonance not being an uncommon phenomenon in humans—that doesn’t mean the two things are rationally compatible (hence, cognitive dissonance).

    Actually cognitive dissonance can only occur if the person holding the beliefs considers them contradictory; the term can not be applied by one person to another, even if the first person believes the beliefs contradict each other. So you can’t say that what Ken Miller is exhibiting is cognitive dissonance, only he is in the position to determine that.

    In order to be a Catholic and accept the fact of evolution by natural selection, a person inevitably ends up rationalizing/watering-down one or the other. … When reality comes into collision with one’s faith, that person has to make a choice—which one will I water down? This is the nature of holding supernatural beliefs.

    It would be strange for the beliefs of a religion to be adapted to newly acquired knowledge wouldn’t it. Almost like what has been happening throughout history. It is not watering down, but rather a matter of the beliefs adapting and evolving without delegitimizing the religion.

    Tell that to Ken Ham. He’s part of a large, well-funded, and politically influential movement of people who want that garbage taught to children as science. And don’t tell me he’s a fringe kook.

    It’s a matter of perspective. For someone like Ken Ham accepting the core of Christian teachings necessitates that one believe that the Creation story be literally true. For other Christians, meaning non-fundamentalists and non-literalists, there is no such requirement as what is gained from the core beliefs do not leave one needing to believe in a literal creation story.

  • http://www.happyatheists.com Slickninja

    Ken Miller, while I don’t understand how/why the man is Catholic, certainly knows how to keep his spheres separate enough to be a rational dude. I saw him at University of Oregon. I like the guy.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    For someone like Ken Ham accepting the core of Christian teachings necessitates that one believe that the Creation story be literally true. For other Christians, meaning non-fundamentalists and non-literalists, there is no such requirement as what is gained from the core beliefs do not leave one needing to believe in a literal creation story.

    Without the literal creation story, the rest of the doctrine becomes incoherent. Jesus died for the sins of the world, which were passed down from parent to child all the way back to the entrance of sin into the world at the fall of man. No actual fall of man, no original sin, no reason for Jesus’ death. I mean, come on, Jesus spoke of Adam as a literal, specific human being. Either you believe what the book says, or you’re just making up a religion for yourself that’s an imitation of Christianity.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    Without the literal creation story, the rest of the doctrine becomes incoherent. Jesus died for the sins of the world, which were passed down from parent to child all the way back to the entrance of sin into the world at the fall of man. No actual fall of man, no original sin, no reason for Jesus’ death. I mean, come on, Jesus spoke of Adam as a literal, specific human being. Either you believe what the book says, or you’re just making up a religion for yourself that’s an imitation of Christianity.

    This, precisely, is the reason that I quit being a Christian. Someone had to spell it out for me on the Bad Astronomy blog, but it was exactly the reason. I was a Christian because I wasn’t ready to admit I wasn’t. I watered down my faith to the point where I didn’t really believe in the god of the Bible or Jesus or anything, but still lived a ‘good Christian’ life – oh, except the fact I didn’t. I was only taking into consideration the Golden Rule part of it – the ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ part of the Bible – which I’ve learned really doesn’t require faith in the first place. Go figure.

    Ken Miller is a man I respect, a Christian man not afraid to state the truth – yes people, evolution happened, here’s how. Sadly I know Evangelical Christians will just ignore what he says even though he is devout. Evangelical Christians dismiss Catholics, you’d not believe the anti-Catholic sentiment that came out of my family’s church.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Great reasoning, but at Jeff P said above, it’s more going to be people that refuse to hear these reasonable arguments will simply find another excuse that supports their own thinking to discredit these logical claims.

  • Gibbon

    MikeTheInfidel

    Without the literal creation story, the rest of the doctrine becomes incoherent.

    Only according to fundamentalists and Biblical literalists, and there is nothing which says that their interpretation is more truthful than those of liberals and other non-literalists.

    Jesus died for the sins of the world, which were passed down from parent to child all the way back to the entrance of sin into the world at the fall of man.

    Yet humans are still fallible creatures capable of sinning. The Genesis story may not be literally true and sin may not be inherited, but that doesn’t change the fact that humans are sinful.

    Either you believe what the book says, or you’re just making up a religion for yourself that’s an imitation of Christianity.

    Or like I implied, the changes made to scriptural interpretations are but a part of the natural evolution of religions.

  • MAtt

    so if he proves that evolution is false, how does it prove that christianity or god is true?

    im really annoyed that religious people try to prove other people wrong and not prove themselves correct.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin, Critically Skeptic

    so if he proves that evolution is false, how does it prove that christianity or god is true?

    See, that’s the thing. Even if evolution is proven false, it doesn’t immediately mean that ‘god did it’ is the real answer. It just means that there’s another possible explanation for the diversity of life – evolution may not be the real answer, but it sure as heck is the most probable.


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