We Don’t Know Everything About Electric Fish

There are six different lineages of so-called “electric fish,” each of which evolved its potential independently and convergently. The most famous of these is the electric eel, though speaking of convergent evolution that species is not actually an eel. The portion of the body that produces the electric field is called the “electric organ,” and appears to be derived from muscle cells, but are quite different from each other. A recent paper in Science – “Genomic basis for the convergent evolution of electric organs” (pdf, press release) – investigating representatives of four of six lineages determined that, despite their differences, the same underlying genetic and cellular processes have been leveraged (or hijacked) in each case.

Nathaniel Jeanson has an article up today about this paper called “Darwin’s ‘Special Difficulty’ Solved?” His conclusion is, if anything, unusually weak, and it’s difficult to know what to make of it. He begins by quote-mining Darwin, a common tactic but one which the ICR doesn’t seem to often resort: Continue reading



Here’s a nice bait-and-switch, courtesy of Frank Sherwin via Your Origins Matter:

Let’s address this issue by first defining our terms. Although many definitions have appeared, science can be described as what we really know to be true mainly through observation. The late G. G. Simpson of Harvard stated in Science magazine that “it is inherent in any definition of science that statements that cannot be checked by observation are not really about anything . . . or at the very least, they are not science.”

But the origins debate centers around macroevolution, and macroevolution has never been observed. One of the architects of neo-Darwinism agrees: “It is manifestly impossible to reproduce in the laboratory the evolution of man from the australopithecine, or of the modern horse from an Eohippus, or of a land vertebrate from a fishlike ancestor. These evolutionary happenings are unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible” (Theodosius Dobzhansky, American Scientist, December 1957).

Continue reading