Posted: Jan 18, 2018 1:41 am
by Rumraket
Lönnig wrote:As to the evolutionary scientists just mentioned: A totally nonsensical and relictual misdesign would be a severe contradiction in their own neo-Darwinian (or synthetic evolutionary) world view. Biologist and Nobel laureate Francois Jacob described this view on the genetic level as follows: "The genetic message, the programme of the present-day organism ... resembles a text without an author, that a proof-reader has been correcting for more than two billion years, continually improving, refining and completing it, gradually eliminating all imperfections."

This is a stupid and over-literal reading of Francois Jacob. Natural selection does not literally eliminate all imperfections. All Mr Lonnig has succeeded in doing here is catching Francois Jacob in a rather poor choise of words.

It's a misconception that evolution makes anything perfect, or perfectly optimized. It can't do that and never did (in fact it can be proven with population genetics that with a finite population size and small fitness effects, it is impossible for selection to completely eliminate noisy effects).

Lönnig wrote:The result in the Giraffe? Jerry Coyne: "One of nature’s worst designs is shown by the recurrent laryngeal nerve of mammals. Running from the brain to the larynx, this nerve helps us to speak and swallow. The curious thing is that it is much longer than it needs to be" (quoted according to Paul Nelson 2009). And: "…it extends down the neck to the chest…and then runs back up the neck to the larynx. In a giraffe, that means a 20-foot length of nerve where 1 foot would have done" (Jim Holt in the New York Times, 20 February 2005: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/20/magazine/20WWLN.html). “Obviously a ridiculous detour! No engineer would ever make a mistake like that!” – Dawkins 2010 (see below) (All italics above mine.)

And they're right. It is a ridiculous detour to have a nerve extend back up from around the aorta to the larynx, considering the the whole nerve's point of origin. It doesn't matter whether it has jobs innervating structures and tissues on the way back up again to the larynx. It might as well just branch off on the way down instead of going back up.

Lönnig wrote:Apart from the facts that the nerve neither runs from the brain to the larynx nor extends down from the neck to the chest

Uhh, yes it does. Liar liar pants on fire.



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Look at that black arrow going down around the aorta, AND THEN BACK UP. Yes, it goes further down from there and branches out into other things. But why that detour back up? Why not have branches all the way up at the beginning and more along the way down, instead of going back up?

Done. Case closed. The entirety of the rest of Lonnig's pseudo-paper is now irrelevant. The rest of what he talks about is collapses on the two above mentioned falsehoods:
1) That natural selection is supposed to be able to eliminate all "imperfections".
2) That the nerve doesn't do what it actually demonstrably does.

Then Lonnig spends a lot of time blathering about some poeple born with a developmental mutation that causes the nerve to not make the entire detour around the aorta(caused by an aortal deformity), which has the effect of at least partially correcting the wasted extra length, and asks why natural selection has not been able to "fix" this mutation since our common ancestor shared with fish (~420 million years). In effect, he answers that question himself.
Because the mutation is deleterious. The non-recurrent mutation that does not make the complete detour around the aorta, is malformed and is associated with all sorts of speaking, swallowing, disease and movement-related issues. So it's significantly selected against. The recurrent laryngeal nerve (the one making the detour) evolved first, so it has been against the background of a well-functioning but detouring nerve, that a badly functioning mutant nerve that nevertheless partially corrects the detour, has been competing. Against this established, well-functioning nerve, the mutant has failed to fix.

How is that a problem for evolution? It isn't.

But that does not explain why a designer could not simply have designed a well-functioning nerve that doesn't make the detour it does. So despite Lonnig's attempt to make it appear as if it is a problem for evolution, the fact that the nerve makes the detour it does is still evidence for blind evolution by natural selection, for common descent, and evidence against intelligent design. All the issues that arises from the nerve could be fixed by an intelligent designer.

Instead of having to rely on natural selection correcting this "mistake" by fixing a badly functioning, shorter mutant nerve against the background of a population with a well-functioning recurrent laryngeal nerve, and then adapting it to become well-functioning, a designer could circumvent that whole thing and just straight up design it to be shorter, not make a detour, and still function well.

Lonnig spends time arguing that the nerve that begins at the brain and runs down through the neck and into the chest has other jobs deeper down in the body. So what? That still doesn't explain why it would make that detour back up from the aorta.

Then Lonnig blathers about it innervating the trachea. And shows a picture of the piece of the nerve that extends back up from the aorta, also branching off to other tissues on the way. So what? It still doesn't explain why it would make that detour back up from the aorta. It would STILL make much more sense if simply made more branches off on the way down. Like this:


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Conclusion: Lonnig is just another deluded creationist full of bad excuses.