Re: Callouses and Kings

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Aug 17 2001 - 00:10:20 BST

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    From: "Dace" <>
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    Subject: Re: Callouses and Kings
    Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2001 16:10:20 -0700
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    > > MR offers a model of evolution that gives organisms an active role
    > > in shaping themselves. We know, for instance, that camels begin
    > > developing
    > > calluses on their kneepads when they're still in the womb. This
    > > would
    > > suggest that camels who developed calluses as a result of
    > > kneeling in the
    > > desert passed this trait onto their offspring. Since behavior can't
    > > directly affect genes, the logical assumption is that the calluses
    > > are passed on non-genetically. Otherwise we must accept the
    > > colossal improbability that the genetic mutation for calluses on the
    > > kneepads just
    > > happened to appear right when the camels needed it. You'd think
    > > they'd have
    > > to have gone through a lot of useless mutations first, like calluses
    > > in other places, or the wrong alterations on kneepads before they'd
    > > hit on the
    > > right mutation. How many millions of years should it have taken for
    > > them to
    > > get the right mutation? Now consider the fact that this applies
    > > many times
    > > over for every species on earth, and you start to see just how high
    > > that
    > > mountain of improbability is. Sheldrake offers a more streamlined,
    > > elegant
    > > model of evolution.
    > Callouses would not evolve all of a piece, but gradually;

    I can almost believe that with calluses, but the gradual emergence of
    complex structures like eyes is highly problematic. Most of what goes into
    an eye has no use unless the whole structure is present.

    > but what
    > you're REALLY missing here is dermatological understanding.
    > Animals (including us) can develop callouses anywhere there is
    > chafing on the skin; it's built into the dermis; the only modification
    > needed is one that permits such growth in the absence of
    > stimulation, and that mutation could happen anywhere, and only
    > stick where it was useful and selected for.

    You're simply restating the problem. If the mutation is random and could
    affect any part of the skin, why does it affect precisely the area where
    it's needed? And why not another mutation in that spot instead?

    > There was a hundred
    > million years for camels and their precursors to produce such a
    > mutation - no problem.

    Mammalian evolution developed from primitive lemur-like stock very rapidly
    after the fall of the dinosaurs. Within a few million years all the basic
    forms were in place, from bats to whales.

    > Elegant explanations are not always
    > correct; otherwise we would embrace the elegant yet Occam-
    > violating explanation of a Master Designer intentionally sticking
    > those clumsy thumbs on pandas.

    To reject the Blind Designer is not necessarily to accept the Master
    Designer. I reject all concepts of an independent design, whether
    theological or chromosomal.

    Ted Dace

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