Sunday, July 24, 2011

Worth Quoting


It often seems as though Cornelius Hunter can't read any news article about science without spinning it into an attack on evolution. His latest attempt is a misreading of an article in New Scientist that reminds us of the complexity of some modern bacterial species. According to Hunter this information refutes a major prodiction of evolution [New Scientist: Not so Simple—Bugs That Break all the Rules].
It seems that first born cell of evolution must have been quite complex, including a vast proteome of hundreds of different proteins. This is just one of many scientific falsifications of evolution’s prediction of simple beginnings.
Most intelligent people can see the flaws in Hunter's logic so I won't bother pointing them out. However, I would like to highlight the first comment on Hunter's blog. Thorton said ...
We know you hit the bottom of the barrel with your anti-science nonsense some time ago CH. Now we discover your barrel had a trap door.
Very clever. And very appropriate. Well said Thorton.


29 comments :

  1. From the New Scientist:
    "Simple cells like bacteria are supposed to be, well, simple. They might have transformed Earth because of their unimaginable numbers, but they’re little more than tiny, solitary bags of chemicals. Or so we thought. Here, New Scientist looks at the growing number of exceptions to the rules. The most recent discoveries are challenging our ideas about the nature of early life."

    In what way are these discoveries challenging our ideas about the nature of early life?

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  2. The link you gave claims he has a PhD in Biophysics and Computational Biology. I can only say 'Yikes'. He doesn't seem to understand that the ToE does not impinge on abiogenesis. He doesn't appear to understand that any hypotheses in abiogenesis or even its central tenet that life arose from inorganic or simple molecules is not invalidated by this organism. Is it that easy to get a PhD these days?

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  3. Re Acleron

    Mr. Hunter is another young earth creationist who fraudulently earned a PhD (just like Marcus Ross and Jonathan Wells) in order to give them apparent academic creds to attack modern science as liars for Yeshua of Nazareth.

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  4. From the New Scientist:
    http://www.newscientist.com/special/not_so_simple
    "Simple cells like bacteria are supposed to be, well, simple. They might have transformed Earth because of their unimaginable numbers, but they’re little more than tiny, solitary bags of chemicals. Or so we thought. Here, New Scientist looks at the growing number of exceptions to the rules. The most recent discoveries are challenging our ideas about the nature of early life."

    In what way are these discoveries challenging our ideas about the nature of early life?

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  5. Bacteria are anything but simple. They do not have simple proteomes. E. Coli has about 4,000 genes compared to humans with 20-25,000. But one has to remember that 80% of our own genes are duplicates and variants of more ancient genes.

    Cyanobacteria appear about 3.8 billion years ago in the fossil record replete with complex biochemical pathways such as those for photosynthesis like the Calvin cycle.

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  6. It seems there's a pervasive problem (in some circles) in distinguishing the Last Common Ancestor from the First Common Ancestor that has characters of the group we're talking about. Ie, that further past a certain common node is a stem, often a long one, before hitting the next divergence (or origin of life). In other words, if the Last Universal Common Ancestor was a complex cell, that does not mean it had no ancestors before it -- only that it doesn't appear that prior divergences left any extant or detectable lineages.

    I think some people forget about the time dimension of phylogenetic trees. I mean people who matter here, creationists are always gonna make stuff up no matter what. But some sensible people make mistakes here too, I find. And creationists take advantage of that to swindle the public.

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  7. anonymous says,

    Cyanobacteria appear about 3.8 billion years ago in the fossil record replete with complex biochemical pathways such as those for photosynthesis like the Calvin cycle.

    There is no evidence that cyanobacteria are that ancient. The previous reports of 3.8 billion year old cyanobacteria have been thoroughly discredited.

    All of the molecular data shows that cyanobacteria arose long after most other clades of bacteria. They certainly arose well after the evolution of Type I and Type II photosystems since cyanobacteria combine those two ancient photosynthesis pathways.

    There are many different ways to fix carbon in bacteria. They have nothing to do with photosynthesis. The Calvin cycle is derived from a more ancient pathway called the Pentose Phosphate pathway.

    Photosynthesis is the pathway where light energy is converted to chemical energy in the form of ATP and NADPH. Those cofactors are used for all sorts of things in bacterial cells including: synthesis of lipids and membranes; synthesis of amino acids and proteins; synthesis of nucleotides and nucleic acids; and synthesis of carbohydrates.

    We need to stop thinking of photosynthesis in terms of oxygen production (not necessary) and carbon fixation (a separate process).

    And we need to stop thinking that sophisticated cells like cyanobacteria appeared at the beginning of life.



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  8. The New Scientis wrote:
    "but they’re little more than tiny, solitary bags of chemicals. Or so we thought"
    http://www.newscientist.com/special/not_so_simple


    Very silly remarks by the New Scientist. "Tiny, solitary bags of chemicals"? Whoever thought that, perhaps even 200 years ago?

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  9. This thread is odd. It is entitled "Worth Quoting". The New Scientist article is certainly worth quoting, but nobody will answer the question I have asked two times:

    From the New Scientist:
    http://www.newscientist.com/special/not_so_simple
    "Simple cells like bacteria are supposed to be, well, simple. They might have transformed Earth because of their unimaginable numbers, but they’re little more than tiny, solitary bags of chemicals. Or so we thought. Here, New Scientist looks at the growing number of exceptions to the rules. The most recent discoveries are challenging our ideas about the nature of early life."

    In what way are these discoveries challenging our ideas about the nature of early life?

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  10. Anonymous said... "In what way are these (New Scientist article) discoveries challenging our ideas about the nature of early life?

    At the risk of being accused of quote-mining, here’s what other knowledgeable people have said about early life on earth.

    Leslie Orgel, "The self-organization of the reductive citric acid cycle without the help of 'informational' catalysts would be a near miracle ... It is hard to see how any .. [of the potentially self-replicating] polymers that have been described up to now ... could have accumulated on the early earth...[It is] to appeal to (naturalistic) magic." Insert by Denny

    Sir Fred Hoyle, "If there were some deep principle that drove organic systems toward living systems, the operation of the principle should easily be demonstrable in a test tube in half a morning …. No such demonstration has ever been given. Nothing happens … except the eventual production of a tarry sludge."

    Cytochrome c (not the most complex of molecules) had to appear early in the evolutionary process. Yet information theorist Hubert Yockey calculated a probability of 10-75 to generate it spontaneously from an amino acid-rich environment, which is less likely than winning the Powerball lottery nine weeks in a row, buying only one ticket per week!

    Murray Eden of Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculated a probability of 10-313 to spontaneously bring polypeptide sequences together into functional proteins.

    Biologists J. T. Trevors and D. L. Abel, "The argument has been repeatedly made that given sufficient time, a genetic instruction set and language system could have arisen. But extended time does not provide an explanatory mechanism for spontaneously generated genetic instruction. No amount of time proposed thus far, can explain this type of conceptual communication system. It is not just complex. It is conceptually complex."

    Anonymous. If you adopt a naturalistic view of origins, you must reconcile the data noted by Cornelius Hunter and the above challenges, and the fact that abiogenesis (early life) is not only unproven, it is mathematically impossible. It is the creation myth of a naturalistic culture.

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  11. abiogenesis (early life) is not only unproven, it is mathematically impossible.

    How utterly ludicrous. You've just proved crystals (self organizing chemistry) are mathematically impossible. If you're married, next time you look at the diamond on your spouse's finger, let it remind you that you're wrong.

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  12. Thank you Denny.
    What you have posted is worth quoting.

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  13. Larry,

    It is actually Atheistoclast you replied to about cyanobacteria, and not Anonymous.

    So, are you telling me that this presentation on the little creatures by Berkeley university is wrong? How could that be?!

    Fossil record of cyanobacteria

    I am very much aware of the Pentose Phosphate pathway: one gene in this pathway is transaldolase: it is a very complex enzyme and is essential for the production of ATP and DNA.

    But even more interesting are the sophisticated aminoacyl synthetases which bind to specific anticodons and so facilitate the protein translation process.

    Did they just arise "by accident" as you like to claim about evolution in general?

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  14. Anonymous said...
    In what way are these discoveries challenging our ideas about the nature of early life?

    There are no 'discoveries challenging our ideas about the nature of early life' in anything the New Scientist wrote. The New Scientist is just being uninformed and stupid.

    As Anonymous could have grasped before now, if he/she/it knew anything.

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  15. Atheistoclast,

    The Berkeley website is definitely wrong on this. Ancient stromatolites do not imply cyanobacteria. There is no firm evidence of cyanobacteria until the Great Oxidation Event, more than 1 billion years later.

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  16. The New Scientist article says that
    the discoveries challenge our ideas about the nature of early life.
    heleen has claimed that the New Scientist article is just uninformed and stupid.
    Does everybody agree with that?
    If so, then the problem is with the New Scientist article and not Cornelius Hunter.
    Right?

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  17. "fact that abiogenesis (early life) is not only unproven, it is mathematically impossible."

    I love seeing statements like this - it shows how truly deluded and ignorant the 'anti-materialists' out there really are.
    I wonder if they think that some superbeing willing everything into existence is NOT mathematically impossible? Oh, right - since there was a 'mind' at work, math doesn't matter....

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  18. Atheistoclast asks,

    So, are you telling me that this presentation on the little creatures by Berkeley university is wrong?

    Yes, the Berkeley website is wrong. See: Did Life Arise 3.5 Billion Years Ago?.

    How could that be?!

    I guess they weren't keeping up with the literature and they aren't very knowledgeable about early evolution. None of the molecular evidence is consistent with the early evolution of cyanobacteria so many of us were skeptical of the so-called fossil evidence from the very beginning.

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  19. anonymous says,

    If so, then the problem is with the New Scientist article and not Cornelius Hunter.

    Right?


    Let's put it this way. Most of the informed amateurs realized right away that the New Scientist article was misleading—at best. They are aware of the fact that you don't base your science on what's written in the popular magazines. They know this because they've been following the debates and discussion on evolution and science journalism.

    They understand evolution.

    Cornelius Hunter didn't know any of that because he's an IDiot. I suppose you could say that's not his problem.

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  20. Moran posted:
    "Let's put it this way. Most of the informed amateurs realized right away that the New Scientist article was misleading—at best. They are aware of the fact that you don't base your science on what's written in the popular magazines. They know this because they've been following the debates and discussion on evolution and science journalism."

    Dr. Moran I am glad you have posted here. My question to you concerning the New Scientist article is:

    In what way are these discoveries challenging our ideas about the nature of early life?

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  21. anonymous the IDiot asks,

    Dr. Moran I am glad you have posted here. My question to you concerning the New Scientist article is:

    In what way are these discoveries challenging our ideas about the nature of early life?


    What part of "Most of the informed amateurs realized right away that the New Scientist article was misleading—at best" did you not understand? Almost all the words have less than three syllables and they're all in the dictionary.

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  22. I had posted:
    In what way are these discoveries challenging our ideas about the nature of early life?"

    You replied:
    "What part of "Most of the informed amateurs realized right away that the New Scientist article was misleading—at best" did you not understand? Almost all the words have less than three syllables and they're all in the dictionary."

    So your point is that the new discoveries they describe do not challenge our ideas about the nature of early life in any way.
    Your point is that that their statement is completely false.
    And your point is that we should all know that. And without comment just know and accept that the statement is completely false.
    Okay.

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  23. anonymous the IDiot says,

    And your point is that we should all know that. And without comment just know and accept that the statement is completely false.

    No, that's not correct. I never said that you should have known that. In fact, I would have been shocked if you had.

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  24. So Moran is saying that the statement in the New Scientist is completely false. And that everyone should have known that. But the person who wrote it and the others at New Scientist must have thought it sufficiently true to publish it.
    Presumably you and the other "informed amateurs" here know better.

    But thinking they know better is par for the course here.

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  25. Jud said, “How utterly ludicrous (quoting Denny: “abiogenesis (early life) is not only unproven, it is mathematically impossible.). He also said, “You've just proved crystals (self organizing chemistry) are mathematically impossible. If you're married, next time you look at the diamond on your spouse's finger, let it remind you that you're wrong.”

    The “crystals” in my wife’s wedding ring are testable and falsifiable. Abiogenesis is not. No one was there to observe the emergence of early earth life. We are all left to speculate. You may speculate through a naturalist or materialist lens. When considering all fields of natural science, not just the narrow fields of biology and biochemistry, where so much unknown leaves lots of room for speculation, scientific discovery-trends are not demonstrating that the simple slowly morphed into the complex. The trend is toward more and unexpected (by naturalists) complexity at the beginning. It seems as though right after the heavy bombardment, life emerged with complexity, not simplicity, as evolution would require. One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that the growing overall ‘trends’ of scientific discovery do not favor a purposeless meaningless chance beginning of early earth life.

    I choose to speculate through less philosophically biased lenses - 1) a lens that accepts the scientific ‘trends and what they imply, which also happens to coincide with 2) the lens of Biblical scripture – when it refers to natural phenomena.

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  26. Anonymous writes:

    So Moran is saying that the statement in the New Scientist is completely false. And that everyone should have known that. But the person who wrote it and the others at New Scientist must have thought it sufficiently true to publish it.

    Oh yes, I've never seen writers for popular magazines exaggerate the significance of the events they're writing about in order to sell articles or magazines! [eyeroll]

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  27. Denny writes:

    No one was there to observe the emergence of early earth life.

    I choose to speculate through less philosophically biased lenses...2) the lens of Biblical scripture....

    And you know it is "less philosophically biased" because you were there to observe God make the world and all life in 6 days?

    Anonymous at least takes a couple of comments to contradict himself. You manage to do it in the space of a single comment. Congratulations!

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  28. Denny,

    The trend is toward more and unexpected (by naturalists) complexity at the beginning.

    While I doubt that this "trend" that you talk about exists, whether expected or unexpected "by naturalists" does not matter. What matters is whether it was possible. Experiments show that it indeed was. For instance, however many creationists have tried to build a cartoon where fully functional and specific versions of proteins have to emerge from random amino-acid soups, experiments have shown that 10^13 molecules are enough to find sufficient activities for selection, for instance, for self-replicating molecules, and that the activities improve as rounds of selection and replication occur.

    It seems as though right after the heavy bombardment, life emerged with complexity, not simplicity,

    Cool! So heavy bombardments (whatever that means) results in "complexity." Fascinating. Would it be too much to ask where the frontier between simplicity and complexity lies? Because you seem to think that life arising with complexity is somewhat news. I doubt anybody thinks that life arose with simplification (if that's what you mean), rather than with complexation (if that's what you mean). For instance, in case you missed it, Miller-Urey demonstrate the arising of more complex molecules from a mixture of simpler ones. So?

    as evolution would require.

    Evolution does not require life to start one way or another. All evolution requires is life however it arose. For instance, evolution continues despite there's much more complex life forms today than a billion years ago.

    One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that the growing overall ‘trends’ of scientific discovery do not favor a purposeless meaningless chance beginning of early earth life.

    You don't have to be a rocket scientist, but you have to understand what you are talking about. I doubt you understand 1% of 1% of the "trends of scientific discovery," because so far, you mistake abiogenesis and evolution, you give evolution "requirements" that are not there, and wherever I look in the scientific literature, all I see is confirmation after confirmation that more complex stuff can easily arise from simpler stuff. What does "purposeless meaningless chance" mean? Maybe that's the [mis]conception that gets you lost. I suspect that you read about "scientific trends" in creationist propaganda (such as that referring to it as "ID").

    I choose to speculate through less philosophically biased lenses

    Wow, this should be interesting! Less biased! Let's see that:

    1) a lens that accepts the scientific ‘trends and what they imply,

    OK, this would be "unbiased," as long as you actually study science, not watered down misinterpreted creationist cartoons of science, which would be quite far from "unbiased."

    which also happens to coincide with 2) the lens of Biblical scripture – when it refers to natural phenomena.

    Haaaaaaaa, ha, ha, ha ,ha! Good joke! So science has confirmed that the Earth is flat! I didn't know that the "lens" of biblical scripture was unbiased. How did I ever miss this! Thanks for the tip!

    The other thing that was really funny was that about taking Cornelius' points" into account. As if we now had to listed to apprentices of charlatanry in order to understand "scientific trends."

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  29. Negative Entropy. My earlier comments must seem, at the very least, very naive to you. To me they seem far less naive than sophisticated naturalism which sees human life (all life) as a meaningless and purposeless accident. That view renders this blog meaningless and purposeless, Larry’s new textbook meaningless and purposeless, and everything meaningless and purposeless.

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