Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Poor Ilion, still peddling gibberish

I see that as off a couple of months ago, my old pal computer technicians and right-wing, birther, creationist, conservative Ilion was still peddling his anti-evolution claim that the human chromosome 2 fusion disproves evolution.
He's been peddling this claim - and refusing to budge despite having been corrected by at least 4 professional biologists that I am aware of - for about 8 years.

Briefly, humans have 46 chromosomes, while the other great apes have 48. There is evidence that human chromosome 2 arose via a fusion of two other chromosomes, and that is why we have 46. Ilion claims that even if thi sfusion occurred, 2 problems arise - 1. depressed fertility and 2. the fixation in the population (not enough time, or something).

The short answer is, the human chromosome 2 fusion is not really an issue.

And we can say this by looking at living mammals who do perfectly well with altered karyotyopes fixed in their population (even some that maintain polymorphic karyotyes, which Ilion insists is a bad, bad thing and essentially impossible).

Let's look at one example.

The domestic horse has 2n=66. Przewalski's horse has 2n=64. The difference is a fission of the domestic horse's chromosome 5 (or a fusion of 2 of P. horse's chromosomes forming the domestic horse's chromosome 5, if you like).

Here is the clincher - they can interbreed and produce fertile offspring.

But they are not odd numbers you say?

OK - let's stick with horses.

The Caspian pony maintains a polymorphic karyotype.

Some are 2n=64, some are 2n=65, and they get along smashingly.

Ilion the computer tech's arguments are just mantras and nonsense.


Doppelganger said...

I should note that on that blog, Ilion claimed that evolutionists like to use scientific jargon and go into excessive detail to try to cloud the issues.

When I copy and pasted all of Ilion's comments from that one blog post and pasted them into word, it came out to 12 pages...


Moraine said...

Hate to point it out but the diploid number of the domestic horse is 64. The whole donkeys (62) plus horse (64) yields mule (63, i.e. infertile). So breeding with a przewalski's horse is not going to produce an infertile hybrid but a viable, fertile 2n=64 live colt. Perhaps indicating that they are not so much a different species, but more likely a geographically isolated subspecies by the most simple definition of species, 'can they breed?' I'm a veterinarian, I know random things like this.

Might be a good idea to think about some of the issues about evolution which are somewhat troubling to "non-believers." For instance, spontaneous generation doesn't appear to occur. Ok, most of us studied Louis Pasteur and learned that living things come from living things. Except that once, when in the sterile chemical soups of prehistoric time, it happened. Once. But now with a gazillion biological molecules just lying around, it never happens. Weird. I'd have thought in the presence of DNA fragments, random amino acids and complex sugars, it might be able to happen again, but it doesn't appear to happen. I use my autoclave every day in the firm belief that when I sterilize something, its gonna stay sterile. Modern science was built on testable little deals like that. But you can go on the internet right now and find that proponents of evolution are willing to give up testable tidbits like that for the more titilating option of belief in spontaneous generation. Stating, accurately enough, that you can't disprove a negative.

Try this one; An antibody producing immune system is a pretty handy innovation for an organism to have. Sharks, you know, ancient cartilagenous, bite you in half without so much as a moment's moral reasoning vertebrates? They are capable of antibody production. Then, that almost unfathomable advantage disappears out of the phylogenetic tree. Bony fishes can't do that, T cells, yes, B cells, no. Seems a bit farfetched to me to think that a system so complex would resurface, no resurface is too "it was there all along" cause that is not how evolution happens, to think that the massive number of mutations and selective pressures necessary to craft such an innovation would happen again to protect the races mammals, well that raises questions.

I have questions, legitimate questions that to ask, makes one be labeled as a right wing wacko. But these folks who want everyone to toe the party line, so the public won't find out there are legitimate questions, what is that?

Doppelganger said...

You are correct, I mixed up the horse 2n numbers. But I didn't even mention zebras or quaggas or onagers, all of whom I suppose creationists consider of the horse kind, all of whom have differing n numbers, to include variable interaspecies numbers in some cases, yet there they are, doing fine.

As for the immune system issue in fish, I suggest a brush up on cladistics. It might be interesting to see what sort of immune system coelacanths possess.

I'm not sure what folks you are referring to. I see research articles 'asking questions' and such all the time.