Molecules; Paddlefish; Whale Brains; and Dog Paws – the week of Jan 23

Yes, I haven’t posted in a week. Here’s what you missed from Mr Thomas, all in one go. See your doctor if adverse reactions persist.

A Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)

The DpSU for the 23rd was called Study Finds Molecules Evolving in Wrong Direction. Basically, we have a paper in Nature (and a news article also) that shows how complexity can arise in protein rings.

Their method involves a pre-existing protein ring made of a single kind of protein. The gene for this protein duplicates, and now we have two identical proteins that can be used to make up these rings. However, these two genes will mutate away from each other. What can happen, in this case, is that the genes mutate in such a way that it prevents certain linkages of proteins. In the case described in the news article, their are two proteins that now are only able to bond with each other, forming a ring of alternating proteins (see the picture here) – the real-world situation in the paper is a little more complex.

At the end of the day, you’ve evolved complexity. What the creationists are latching on to is the fact that this involves the loss of function – the proteins are now unable to bond with certain proteins. In doing so, they divert attention from the fact that this is ‘complexity’ arising from evolution – something which they generally say is impossible – and better yet, through ‘devolution’, which they so deride.

Now, nitpicking. We have the following sentense from Mr Thomas: “In response to this research, biochemist and well-known critic of neo-Darwinian evolution Michael Behe told Evolution News:”, followed by a quote. Now, considering that Evolution News And Views is the official blog of the Discovery Institute, and that Behe wrote the entire blogpost being quoted, did he in fact ‘tell’ the blog this? Should I introduce all my quotes with “former biology teacher and well-known creationist loon Brian Thomas told ICR News“? I’ll have to try someday…

Next was Paddlefish Are Tuned to Eat Only Plankton. This post consists entirely of ‘isn’t the Paddlefish’s system of hunting plankton so amazing,’ and, as Mr Thomas told ICR News:

This means that the first paddlefish had to have every necessary component perfectly fitted together from the beginning in order to find its food. And that means that paddlefish were unquestionably created.

When, if it comes down to it, having only some of the things listed would be better than none, but worse than having all. If the fish could only “detect the presence of plankton”, but not “their distance from its mouth”, it would have a better time of it than it would being able to do neither.

The one for the 27th was Fossil Whale Brain Proves Paleontologist Wrong. We have a brain, of a whale, that’s been fossilised, and a paleontologist was of the opinion that such a thing was totally unheard of, until he (his last name is Thomas, as it happens) actually saw it.

It’s been mineralised, Brian – the other Thomas was of the opinion that a brain would be unlikely to get fossilised in the first place, but if it does it’ll last as long as any other rock. *yawn*

And the final one was Why Dogs Don’t Need Snow Boots. This is like the paddlefish one, in that he’s saying how amazing it is, but he doesn’t go the irreducible complexity route.


I’ll try to catch up with everything else before March. School starts this week, so there may be more of these entire-week posts. There was no That’s a Fact video this week either.

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3 thoughts on “Molecules; Paddlefish; Whale Brains; and Dog Paws – the week of Jan 23

  1. Paddle fish filter plankton over their gills. Every single fish (except adult lampreys) takes water in through the mouth and passes it over the gills, so the set-up is already in place. This is presumably why filter feeding has evolved convergently so many times in both bony fish and cartilaginous fish (but only once within mammals, as they have to do it by a completely different mechanism)

  2. “Should I introduce all my quotes with “former biology teacher and well-known creationist loon Brian Thomas told ICR News“?”

    In a word: yes

  3. Pingback: Assumed Evidence « Eye on the ICR

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