February 11, 2005

DEMONSTRATING TELEOLOGY:

Ear-splitting discovery rocks mammal identity: Triple bone structure arose independently in platypus and humans. (Roxanne Khamsi, 2/10/05, Nature)

Listen up: mammals seem to have evolved the delicate bone structure of the middle ear at least twice. The surprising discovery comes from a fossil, found off the southern coast of Australia, that belongs to an ancestor of the platypus.

Modern mammals are unique among vertebrates for possessing three tiny bones in the middle ear. The malleus, incus and stapes (commonly known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup) work as part of a chain that transmits sound towards the skull. Birds and reptiles have only one bone to perform this function.

Because the mammalian arrangement is so complex, scientists believed that the set-up had evolved on just a single occasion, in an ancestor that gave rise to placental animals (including humans), marsupials and monotremes (such as the duck-billed platypus).

All this changed when James Hopson, a vertebrate palaeontologist at University of Chicago, Illinois, took a trip to Australia.


Posted by Orrin Judd at February 11, 2005 9:54 AM
Comments

Form follows function. The human eye and the octopus eye are almost identical.

Posted by: dan duffy at February 11, 2005 11:18 AM

And function follows design.

Posted by: oj at February 11, 2005 11:30 AM

Wait until they find the ten-thumbed panda fossil.

Posted by: Luciferous at February 11, 2005 2:14 PM

From the article: This means that natural selection must have driven the same rearrangement in independent groups, after the monotreme split.

No teleology here. Move along. No teleology to see here.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 11, 2005 2:53 PM

About that appendix ...

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 12, 2005 6:10 AM

"And function follows design."

Or need.

Posted by: creeper at February 12, 2005 8:20 AM

creeper:

precisely.

Posted by: oj at February 12, 2005 8:40 AM

Orrin,

Design and need are not synonymous.

Posted by: creeper at February 12, 2005 11:00 AM

OJ:

What about that appendix?

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 12, 2005 1:09 PM

Jeff:

What about the appendix?

Posted by: oj at February 12, 2005 1:46 PM

Orrin,

What about the appendix?

Posted by: creeper at February 12, 2005 2:24 PM

I don't understand the question. If the point is that a rigorous Natural Selectiuon would of course eliminate such a potentially lethal and not apparently necessary organ over time I certainly agree.

Posted by: oj at February 12, 2005 3:02 PM

Orrin,

What Natural Selection are you talking about?

Posted by: creeper at February 12, 2005 4:04 PM

Darwinism

Posted by: oj at February 12, 2005 5:39 PM

"If the point is that a rigorous Natural Selectiuon would of course eliminate such a potentially lethal and not apparently necessary organ over time I certainly agree. "

So the appendix is not incompatible with evolution.

As for the theory that God created us, the pinnacle of Creation and highest of all beings, why would the Lord have saddled us with "such a potentially lethal and not apparently necessary organ"?

Posted by: at February 13, 2005 6:41 AM

The previous comment was from me.

Posted by: creeper at February 13, 2005 8:06 AM

creeper:

For the same reason airplanes still have no smokling signs even though smoking on planes has been illegal for years and the seats face forward instead of backwards or Yugos have speedometers that go up to 140mph. Intelligent design is inefficient. Natural Selection is required by the theory to be uberefficient.

Posted by: oj at February 13, 2005 8:39 AM

"Intelligent design is inefficient."

(a) ... even when perpetrated by the all-knowing Supreme Being? He would design the human being in all its intricacy, then just stick in an organ that is useless and potentially dangerous? Like he had an off-day or something?

(b) So you believe the human being has not reached its final state, but can evolve further?

"Natural Selection is required by the theory to be uberefficient."

How so? There are little remainders of previous 'features' all over the place, the appendix being merely one of them. In a super-efficient system, they would all have disappeared pronto... but natural selection is not perfectly efficient - it is merely as efficient as it needs to be.

Natural selection is also extremely slow-moving. At times when physical survival is easy (especially as regards appendix trouble), natural selection will not serve to eliminate the appendix.

Posted by: creeper at February 13, 2005 11:30 AM

He didn't know we'd eat the apple or that hanging on the Cross would be so hard but you think He could design us perfectly? Everything we know about intelligence suggests it's very fallible.

Posted by: oj at February 13, 2005 2:12 PM

Orrin,

Was the apple real or a metaphor?

Wasn't hanging on the Cross supposed to be hard? Otherwise it wouldn't be much of a sacrifice, would it? Are you seriously suggesting that this came as a surprise to God?

And since when can you read not just the minds of your fellow men, but now that of God as well? How do you know he didn't know these things?

"Everything we know about intelligence suggests it's very fallible."

Human intelligence. Isn't divine intelligence supposed to be infallible, especially in a monotheistic religion?

Are you suggesting God makes mistakes?

Posted by: creeper at February 13, 2005 3:21 PM

Orrin,

Was the apple real or a metaphor?

Wasn't hanging on the Cross supposed to be hard? Otherwise it wouldn't be much of a sacrifice, would it? Are you seriously suggesting that this came as a surprise to God?

And since when can you read not just the minds of your fellow men, but now that of God as well? How do you know he didn't know these things?

"Everything we know about intelligence suggests it's very fallible."

Human intelligence. Isn't divine intelligence supposed to be infallible, especially in a monotheistic religion?

Are you suggesting God makes mistakes?

Posted by: creeper at February 13, 2005 3:22 PM

It's funny to watch some of these contortions you perform in your desperation to fit inconvenient facts into your world view.

We now have a God who apparently is all too human in his capacity to make mistakes and be surprised that crucifixion is painful.

Posted by: creeper at February 13, 2005 3:25 PM

creeper:

"Oh Lord, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

Posted by: oj at February 13, 2005 3:48 PM

Let me get this straight.

God contrives to have Jesus crucified, figuring it won't be such a big deal. Apparently he's unaware of the details pertaining to crucifixion, which would suggest that extraordinary pain is endured, slowly but surely culminating in death.

Jesus is betrayed, put on trial, nailed to the cross. Turns out to be quite painful.

God, apparently never having witnessed a crucifixion before, realizes his blunder. Says "whoops" and sneaks off, duly embarrassed.

It dawns on Jesus that all is not as it is supposed to be, and that God has left him in the lurch.

Jesus cries out: "Oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?!" He is painfully aware that crucifixion is a big deal.

Is that more or less how you see this whole scenario?

Posted by: creeper at February 13, 2005 4:05 PM

Not I, that is the story. It is only when God experiences the despair that is Man's lot that we are reconciled and He understands why we've been such disappoints to Him since we unexpectedly ate the apple. The idea of God as a perfect being can not be squared with the Bible.

Posted by: oj at February 13, 2005 4:15 PM

Creeper:
You appear to have summed up OJ's crucifixion theology quite nicely. It would be pointless to agttempt to clean the mess he's left on this thread, so I won't. It's too late in the evening to try.

Posted by: Dave W. at February 13, 2005 10:59 PM

Creeper:

In saying

It is only when God experiences the despair that is Man's lot that we are reconciled and He understands why we've been such disappoints to Him since we unexpectedly ate the apple. The idea of God as a perfect being can not be squared with the Bible.

OJ is acknowledging that not only is God imperfect, but possesses less apphrehension of the glaringly obvious than your garden variety 10 yr old boy.

Blasphemer?

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 14, 2005 5:50 PM

Jeff:

Read the story and tell me what other interpretation it bears. God's mistakes and ignorance can be seen as a play used to educate us, but that doesn't change the story.

Posted by: oj at February 14, 2005 8:09 PM

What other interpretation does it bear?

The whole thing was made up.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at February 14, 2005 9:21 PM

Jeff:

What isn't?

Posted by: oj at February 14, 2005 10:49 PM
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