Friday, January 29, 2016

Berlinski and Denton challenge Darwinism

It's fun to listen to the "ID the Future" podcasts. It shows us the very best of Intelligent Design Creationists. This time we get a twofer— David Berlinski and Michael Denton posing their most challenging questions to Darwinists. Here's how David Klinghoffer introduces the pair ... [Berlinski and Denton: If You Could Pose One Challenge to a Thoughtful Darwinist, What Would It Be?].
You can always dream. While the evolutionist side in the Darwin debate is long on rhetoric and insults, serious debate or dialogue is woefully rare. But imagine you had the opportunity to sit down with a thoughtful, honest, well-informed Darwinist and pose one question or challenge. What would it be?

I had the opportunity to pose that question to two of the most brilliant minds in the intelligent design community -- Michael Denton and David Berlinski. Take a well-spent 15 minutes and listen to their answers -- focusing respectively on the insect body plan and the enigma of whale evolution -- recorded as an episode of ID the Future.
Berlinski wants a detailed mathematical estimate of the number of mutations required to go from a land animal to a whale. Denton wants details on the formation of insect body plans.

It's important to note that these are questions about the history of life. You could easily answer "I don't know" to both questions and it would not affect our understanding of evolution and common descent one iota. The answers have nothing to do with "Darwinism" per se and nothing to do with evolutionary theory (which is not Darwinism).

Listen to the very best minds in the Intelligent Design Creationist community ... and weep for them. This is all they've got.

Id the Future: Berlinski and Denton


101 comments :

  1. You could easily answer "I don't know" to both questions and it would not affect our understanding of evolution and common descent one iota.

    A favorite tactic of the religious believer is to try to exploit the god-of-the-gaps fallacy. After all, if there are questions we can't answer, why then, it must follow as night follows day that gods must be the answer.

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  2. Very well, I require a complete list of every ancestor of both of them from present to the year 1350. If they cannot provide it, then they cannot verify that they exist.

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  3. "Berlinski and Denton challenge Darwinism"

    So? Why do you care? You claim to be pretty much anything other than Darwinist. Why Berlinski and Denton's challenge of Darwinism bother you so much Larry?

    You can't sleep can you?

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    1. Because the vast majority of people seem to think that Darwin is the Pope of evolution and therefore we worship him or some stupid thing. It's why we STILL get articles about Darwin converting on his death bed and Darwin was a racist slave owner. It's typical authoritarian BS that can't understand how science works.

      Just like any person who understands anything about science would understand that their two questions are ridiculous.

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    2. You can't sleep can you?

      Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z

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  4. No scientific field I've ever heard of is simply a debating society. The usual procedure is:
    1. Scientist #1 does research in the lab or the field.
    2. Scientists #2, and possibly #3,4, and 5 see ways to test and expand on the work of Scientist #1. If they come up with contrary results, Scientist #1's work is eventually shelved. If they come up with exciting findings taking off from Scientist #1's work, Scientists #6, 7, 8 and 9 jump in with their own research ideas based on the previous discoveries. And so on.

    Intelligent Design has no had, what, two decades?, to come up with ideas that intrigue other scientists enough to test them. And so far, not even the ID crowd like Axe and Gauger seem very interested. Meanwhile, biology is going through a golden age, without recourse to hypotheses about mysterious designers. Arranging for the most brilliant debaters ever, with the cleverest points, is not going to do a thing to get ID into the field or the lab.

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    1. @hoary puccoon - Your comment about debating societies is exactly on point. When the ID person says "...serious debate or dialogue is woefully rare", they are both revealing and fulfilling their mandate. As you point out, science does not take place in blogs, debates, or press releases, but the mandate of the DI is not to impress the science literate. The role of the DI is to be a backdrop, like the phony storefronts in an old western movie. It is not intended to engage the interest or respect of scientists, it is intended to give the uninformed consumer, seeking comfort and illusion, the sense that their faith is indeed supported by reason.

      The DI audience is people who find the AIG level of discourse a bit too simplistic, but are, unaccountably, impressed by the "dumb person's idea of what a smart person sounds like" confabulations of a Berlinski.

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  5. You could easily answer "I don't know" to both questions and it would not affect our understanding of evolution and common descent one iota

    I don't understand the science and don't pretend to but it doesn't make sense to me logically. Wouldn't one be able to provide time limitations with these type of rigid mathematical questions? I guess, kind of similar to Behe's edge of evolution argument?

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    1. No. If it turned out that, say, the genomic differences between a whale and a hippo were greater than could be accounted for by the since their MRCA, that would mean we were wrong about how long ago their MRCA lived.

      Just like, if we learned that we were wrong about how long the moon had been orbiting earth, it wouldn't mean we'd have to question the theory of gravity.

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    2. Lutesuite, I don't think that's a good answer, as it makes our theories unfalsifiable. If the number of mutations were much greater than could be accounted for by known processes, something somewhere is wrong. We do have actual upper bounds on the age of the MRCA. So we could do the math. The tricky part is taking into account all the non-point-mutation sources of genetic variation. In my debates with Denton fans on Biologos, what they really wanted was for us to be able to show not merely that there was enough time for the mutations, but also that the intermediate steps between hippos and whales were functional. That's a hard thing to do, but we can more or less do it by pointing out the intermediate fossils. Those things were functional or else they wouldn't have grown up and been fossilized.

      I think the best answer to that question is to refer to Larry's many posts on human mutation rates and the genetic differences between humans and chimps (and the human-chimp MRC). This is a well-dated phylogeny and the genetic differences are well-understood. There is no unexplainable excess of mutations.
      Lou Jost

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    3. Well, sure. If it turned out that every single phylogenetic relationship we examined could only have arisen thru the evolutionary processes as we understand them if those processes had been going on for a trillion years, then obviously our understanding of the processes is wrong. But that is not what Beau or the IDiots are talking about. Theoretically, we could be wrong about the phylogenetic relationship between whales and hippos, but that would not challenge the theory of evolution (In fact, it would only be thru applying the principles of the theory that we would be able to detect such an error). But that's not what the IDiots think.

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  6. OMG Denton thinks the loss of a nucleus in red blood cells is saltational because there is no way to gradually go from with nucleus to without. How about a deletion mutation? Is that possible? Does anyone know?

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    1. Based on approximately 30 seconds of searching it appears that the main thing going on with mammalian enucleate red blood cells is an asymmetric fission event, where the nucleus goes one way, and most of the cytoplasm goes the other way. In Denton's new book, he notes vaguely that a contractile ring, actin, tubulin etc. are involved, but he seems to think evolution would have had to construct this whole system from scratch from the proteins to explain the origin of enucleate red blood cells. The obvious answer is staring him in the face, but he doesn't get it: asymmetric fission. Basically all evolution has to do is, starting from a stem cells-to-nucleate-red-blood-cells system, activate cell division and break the mechanism that splits the nucleus. One of the daughters will be enucleate, and...done. The wikipedia page even shows this process happening in some penguin red blood cells, so Denton isn't even right that this is totally unique to mammals.

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  7. Berlinski is one of the most brilliant minds in ID in exactly the same way that Sarah Palin is one of the most brilliant minds in the Republican party.

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    1. Jeffrey - you are being most unfair and your comparison is decidedly invalid!

      Unlike ID aka Creationism-lite, Republican Conservatives have produced some great thinkers!

      Take Trump for example... uhmmm... never mind.

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  8. Professor Moran, there is a difference in claiming that the whale evolved from a land animal and claiming that the whale evolved by a series of random mutations from a land animal. Making the second claim requires some sort of mathematical estimate of the number of mutations that would have been needed for the whale to evolve from a land animal. Absent that estimate, your "theory" remains highly speculative.

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    1. You're thinking this wrong Bilbo. You can calculate how many mutations it took, provided you can tell them apart from the ones accumulated by random genetic drift, which is quite the task. Once that's done you're left with how many it took, not how many it would take. What's the difference? You might ask. Well, that we're got the number for the one trajectory that happened, but we don't know if there could be many other trajectories leading to the same or similar result. The second part, that there might be many different trajectories, is one of the many creationists love to ignore. But if you get to understand just this one, then you would prove that there's at least one creationist who can think. Well, at least think just a little bit.

      So. Did you understand?

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    2. Oh, and it's not speculation that whales evolved from land-living animals. There's enough evidence that this is the case. Holding to faulty models about mutations and evolution won't erase the evidence that this was the case.

      Anyway, back to mutations. Did you get it?

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    3. Bilbo,

      Estimate the number of mutations it would take to get from your grandparents to you. Absent that estimate, your "theory" that your grandparents begat you remains highly speculative.

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    4. Estimate the number of changes (lexical, phonetic, morphological, syntactic, orthographic, semantic etc.) needed to transform Old English into Modern English. Note that this transformation has been accomplished by about 40 generations of speakers who at no point were aware of ongoing change in the language they spoke and did not deliberately direct its development (prescriptive grammarians, if anything, try to oppose innovations).

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  9. I'm really puzzled as to why Berlinski feels he needs a "Darwinist" to answer his question. The list of animals whose genomes have been sequenced is quite extensive, with at least four cetaceans among them:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sequenced_animal_genomes

    All that is needed is for one of the DI's crack researchers to compare any two selected genomes, look up when their MRCA likely lived, and there's his answer.

    So why don't they do it? Are they too lazy? Or are they not really interested in the answer?

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    1. Then I imagine anyone could estimate the number of mutations that were needed. Even Professor Moran.

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    2. "Then I imagine anyone could estimate the number of mutations that were needed."

      There is a reason nobody has ever seriously attempted to do this. It would be an incomprehensible task. It's easier to just say things evolved.

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    3. txpiper,

      There is a reason nobody has ever seriously attempted to do this. It would be an incomprehensible task. It's easier to just say things evolved.

      Seriously? Is this the reason why creationists haven't checked and thus made the calculation? I thought this was to their best interest. Now you say they don't do it because it's easier to say that they evolved? These creationists truly don't know what they want.

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    4. Comparative genomics is not about estimating the number of mutations. Try again.

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    5. Comparative genomics is about many things. One of them is counting the number of mutations. The issue then is to tell apart the ones that are behind the adaptations, from the ones from drift. But counting is the first step, isn't it txpiper? Do you really think that creationists can't count?

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    6. "Comparative genomics is about many things. One of them is counting the number of mutations."

      Right, and that is why counting or estimating mutations wouldn't be mentioned in an article about comparative genomics. Very good.

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    7. photosynthesis,

      "Is this the reason why creationists haven't checked and thus made the calculation?"

      It was the responsibility of evolutionary theorists to do this. But as I mentioned, it better to avoid the details and just let things evolve.

      Not many people will propose an outline showing how a particular specialty might develop, but Mark Isaak did so here:

      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/bombardier.html

      You might notice (but probably not), that he does not mention mutations. And you really can't blame him. It spoils the fantasy.

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    8. What txpiper doesn't know literally fills volumes in libraries around the world.

      Here's a metaphorical page from those libraries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecular_clock

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    9. photosynthesis
      As a YEC I also insist marine mammals were once land livers only. Whatever they looked like.
      Yet the change of them is not evidence for evolution just because the evidence is great that they changed.
      This is not a accurate analysis.
      People changed in looks from a original pair or group as creationists see it. Mechanism is innate there to bring this about. Yet evolutionary ideas are rejected as impossible etc.
      The simple, cause and effect of mutations creating whales is demanding on evolutionists to show how many mutations because its so unlikely.
      The math alone makes it unreasonable. Neither ind the glorious complexity of whales.
      Asking for how many mutations cuts through the fog of easy acceptance that mutations can do anything or ever did.
      The evidence of the math and the practical results of the number of mutations must make a thoughtful evolutionist uncomfortable and so not breach the subject themselves.

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    10. As a YEC I also insist marine mammals were once land livers only.

      And land kidneys, Robert Byers!

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    11. txpiper,

      If ID/creationists want to disprove evolutionary theory, why don't they do the calculations on how many mutations would be required and go from there?

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    12. Robert Byers,

      "The evidence of the math and the practical results of the number of mutations must make a thoughtful evolutionist uncomfortable and so not breach the subject themselves"

      It must make the ID/creationists uncomfortable as well since they haven't presented a list of mutations necessary to evolve a whale. You and txpiper should make sure they get on that.

      Then after that, you can prove to geologista, physicists, astronomers, chemists, and aboriginal Australians and the Chinese that the Earth is only 6-10K years old.

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    13. txpiper drools:

      "Comparative genomics is about many things. One of them is counting the number of mutations."

      Right, and that is why counting or estimating mutations wouldn't be mentioned in an article about comparative genomics. Very good.


      I'd like to understand how a brain could misfire so badly that txpiper would draw that conclusion from the statement he quotes. Then again, maybe I wouldn't.

      Hey, txpiper, have you read this older post of Larry's? Do you see that part where the number of mutational events differentiating humans and chimps is estimated?

      What's the Difference Between a Human and Chimpanzee?

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    14. txpiper continues to drool all over the internet. Gross:

      "Is this the reason why creationists haven't checked and thus made the calculation?"

      It was the responsibility of evolutionary theorists to do this.


      Yah, 'cuz that's how science works. You demand someone else answer a question and, when they ignore you, you brag about how much smarter you are than they. At least, that's how science works in CreotardLand.

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    15. txpiper,

      "It was the responsibility of evolutionary theorists to do this. But as I mentioned, it better to avoid the details and just let things evolve."

      Oh, evolutionary theorists do count differences and try and infer which mutations might be behind something, from those that are due to genetic drift. But the ID movement declares to be scientific. If so, they could do those calculations too. Do you really think they cannot count? I suspect that they prefer the easy way: model it in a way that it looks impossible and ignore the data. This way they can keep imagining new genes arising from random assemblages of nucleotides or proteins from random assemblages of amino-acids. Looking at data might get them thinking, and that's not good for their position.

      "Not many people will propose an outline showing how a particular specialty might develop, but Mark Isaak did so ... You might notice (but probably not), that he does not mention mutations. And you really can't blame him. It spoils the fantasy."

      Maybe you should check what the explanation was about. Namely, the creationists declare that such thing could not possibly evolve in steps, Mark explains that it could and gives one possible way. The issue being that creationists imagine that something is "impossible," but to do so they just make up a model hoping to leave it there. Often stubbornly leave it there despite evidence that their models are just bad, ignorant, models.

      The way to actually understand is not to be stubborn about a model, but to look at the data and then revise your thinking based on the evidence. Making up numbers is easy. Checking data and correcting mistakes is not as easy. It requires work and the willingness to understand. Two things creationists rather avoid.

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    16. txpiper,

      "Right, and that is why counting or estimating mutations wouldn't be mentioned in an article about comparative genomics. Very good."

      I suspect that you don't know what the word "comparative" means.

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    17. photosynthesis,

      “the creationists declare that such thing could not possibly evolve in steps”

      Yes, they do. But not because it can’t be imagined the way Mark Isaak did. Anyone can do that (to a point). What he cannot do, is get tangled up in mutations and natural selection when he is putting together a fantasy.

      Mutations are rare, abnormal failures. They are falsely portrayed to make evolutionary theory work. The real-life, routine results of DNA replication errors are impairment, disease and death.

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    18. we can arrange cars in hierarchy- a car--> a jeep--> atruck. but its doesnt prove any evolution. even if those cars was self replicating machines wit dna.

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    19. You obviously do not understand what is meant by a nested hierarchy. Read and learn:

      http://evolutionwiki.org/wiki/Nested_Hierarchy

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    20. Tppr wrote, "Mutations are rare, abnormal failures. . . . The real-life, routine results of DNA replication errors are impairment, disease and death."

      And yet every human baby has about 100 new mutations not seen in its parents. Most human babies are healthy, not impaired, not dead. How is this possible? Because most mutations cause no harm.

      Mutations: not rare, not abnormal, some times harmful, sometimes beneficial, and usually without any effect on the baby.

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    21. Over 600 mutations have accumulated in the E coli genome in Lenski's long-term evolution experiment. If they're usually the cause of death and deformation, one wonders why 600 of them have failed to render E coli extinct.

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  10. Ken Miller made an ass out of Berlinski in a televised debate in 1997 on the topic of whale evolution. http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2015/08/21/great-moments-in-evolution-debates

    BERLINSKI: Yes, I’ve read the same science papers you have, but those are very close. A dog-like mammal and a whale are very far.

    MILLER: Ah! That’s right! And the other end of the room is very far away, and it should not surprise you that I get there with one step at a time and that’s what we’re talking about."

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    1. Miller would get to the other side of the room because he wanted to be there, and because he took deliberate steps. That's what we are talking about.

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    2. So, in the universe as imagined by txpiper, objects cannot move unless they are intelligent.

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    3. No, in the actual universe txpiper lives in, sophistication and functional complexity are the result of purposeful action. If I find a camera on the beach, I am not so stupid as to conclude that natural processes put it there.

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    4. Of course not. We have actually witnessed intelligence creating both benches and cameras. We can even reproduce this. We can't do that with your favorite Jebus.

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    5. Since you believe Jesus designed both the camera and the beach, how are you distinguishing only one as showing design, txpiper?

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    6. Dave.
      if its one step at a time and that can/will do it then one step at a time could do anything. Imagine a impossible line of descent, say rabbit to elephant to rabbit to hippo to mole etc etc.
      However impossible some lineage , one could imagine, the evolutionist could and would have to say JUST IMAGINE ONE STEP AT A TIME. you can explain the impossible by stepism.
      So a answer to incredible lineages as seen by people, 'something to whale" is not rightly answered by stepism.
      For explaining the impossible by a hypothesis discredits it for explaining what is said possible.
      Evolutionism can't intelligently use stepism and say WHY NOT!
      One could use it always as confidently for the impossible.
      Darwin was wrong about this line of reasoning.

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    7. Txpiper: "Miller would get to the other side of the room because he wanted to be there, and because he took deliberate steps. That's what we are talking about."

      Actually no. That makes the assumption that the place where Miller ended up was ordained before he started to move. If he had taken steps in a random direction he would have ended up *somewhere* away from where he started. In retrospect that could be interpreted as deliberate action, but there was no forward planning and no goal.

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  11. sophistication and functional complexity are the result of purposeful action.

    The rings of Saturn have both sophistication and functional complexity. Did the Designer create those by "purposeful action" and "Newtonism" and Einsteinism" (the theory of gravity) are as full of holes as you believe "Darwinism" (the theory of evolution) to be?

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    1. "The rings of Saturn have both sophistication and functional complexity."

      What is their function?

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    2. Good question, txpiper, what is the function of the rings of Saturn? Is there a function, and how do you know if there is or not?

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    3. Ah, I see. When you said "functional complexity," I thought you meant "complexity of function," and the functioning of Saturn's ring system is certainly quite complex.

      But you mean something that has a function, but goes about it in a complex way? "Rube Goldberg" design? Are you sure you want to call that a sign of intelligence? Over in another thread, Dr. Torley is saying that directness of approach and efficiency are the hallmark of a designer. Would you folks like to get together and figure out what the characteristics of your G - I mean, Designer - are?

      But in any case, if you want an example of functional complexity, I've got one for you: the path of the Mississippi River, which fulfills the function of taking the river to the sea. It is incredibly complex; a human drawing a path from the source of the river to the sea would have no chance of making something as complex as the reality. So did God have to forge a path for the river, txpiper, or did gravity, fluid dynamics and geology suffice?

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  12. Chris B
    I think its impossible to even imagine mutations creating new useful progress in biology. let alone a number to account for "somethin: to a whale.
    The unlikelyness of mutations to do anything and yet are taking place would be great high. The number needed , even in a straight run, must hundreds of thousands if you think about.

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  13. Bottom line: I was neither "amazed' nor "dismayed" by the arguments from ignorance and incredulity posed by "two of the most brilliant minds associated with the intelligent design community". Typical Klinghoffer hyperbole equals sad times for IDCers.

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  14. Robert, I can only point to comment by Chris B, it says all that needs to be said.

    i can only add the fact that you do not know what you are talking about. A Young Earth Creationist is by default excuced from any relevant knowledge of biology and genetics. In fact, your laughable opinion about genetics and all biological sciences only reveal an incredible level of ignorance and silly ideas. Your opinion about DNA shows that you don't even accept the utility of DNA as a tool in forensic investigation, human familiy relationships et cetera.

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  15. Berlinski:"How come the creature is set up to become a sea-going creature, if it’s spent all of its evolutionary history on the land? Where’d that come from?”

    I think this is a very thought provoking question. I have not seen any logical answers to it so far, so I hope someone has one or more. Let's see.

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    1. It is a good question. If the history of whales was that a bunch of ungulates were roaming the African savannah, and came one day to the ocean and decided to plunge in, this would seem to be a poor scenario.

      But look up at the tree in the post, above. What is the nearest relative of these whales? There it is, and many molecular studies have confirmed this, the hippopotamus. A land-living animal that spends most of its time in water, swims well, and even gives birth underwater. So, do you want to push the question back to asking how the hippos got into the water?

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    2. Joe, as far as I know, hippos do not swim. They walk on the bottoms of rivers and ponds. Nor is it clear that the aquatic habits of hippos and whales are homologous. Anthracotheres were apparently less aquatic than modern hippos, and pygmy hippos aren't very aquatic either. Better to consider the various intermediates, i.e. Eocene fossils and modern analogs such as otters and pinnipeds.

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    3. John, I stand corrected. You and I will agree about one thing. Berlinski makes it sound as if it is a mystery how any land-living mammal could have descendants in the water. Your examples are only a few of the many lineages that have done just that. I'd add manatees, too.

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    4. Around 30 different tetrapod lineages over time have gone back to being marine forms. That doesn't even start to include the forms that become semiaquatic fresh water forms. The living otters (subfamily Lutrinae in the Mustelidae) span the range from mainly terrestrial to almost entirely marine (including some changes in swimming locomotion that creationists claim are impossible).

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    5. Christine,
      That's very interesting, especially about the otters.
      I think there are many thousands of facts and phenomena such as this- things that would be very relevant for debates with creationists- but never find their way to those debates. They're known to relatively few specialists who, of course, don't organize their knowledge as a counter-argument to creationist and ID claims.

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    6. I'm not specialist, and I've heard of otters. Creationists haven't? And from what do creationists think otters would have evolved?

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  16. BTW: Larry, You've recently claimed that evolutionary complexity among the variety of organisms originates from neutral mutations and NOT from advantages novel mutations, which are rather very rare. You have acknowledged that the vast majority of mutations are either deleterious or neutral (as you yourself conceded more than once).

    So, why would you support the idea that few thousand mutations can turn an land animal into a whale if you had known that the mutations can't do the trick? I'm just curios. That is all. Why?

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    1. You are confused. Though most mutations are neutral, there are millions of them, and a few thousand advantageous ones would be a tiny percentage of all the mutations that occur, and even of the ones that end up being fixed. Nor does Larry claim that all evolutionary complexity (whatever you mean by that) arises from neutral mutations, just that some of it does.

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    2. "Though most mutations are neutral, there are millions of them, and a few thousand advantageous ones would be a tiny percentage of all the mutations that occur"

      DNA replication errors are actually quite rare as there are extremely talented replication enzymes involved which are committed to fidelity. That said, the 'advantageous' mutation would have to occur in a specific position in an enormous genome of a germ cell, which would be only one candidate out of millions (hundreds of thousands if it is an egg). Even if this cell is the winning contestant, the error it carries would have to be complimentary to prior mutations.

      There is not a single thing in the scenario that isn't an extremely low-probability event.

      The picture is painted as if helpful DNA replication errors happen with monotonous regularity. But there is no place to hide from the growing list of organisms which show virtually no change in the fossil record after tens of millions of supposed years. Gould and Eldredge accurately pointed out that from an evolutionary point of view, the fossils say that stasis and extinction are the reliable norms. They even proposed PE, not to manage the evidence, but to contend with the fact that there isn't any.

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    3. "DNA replication errors are actually quite rare" -- and yet each newborn human has about 100 mutations not found in either parent.

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    4. @txpiper

      "DNA replication errors are actually quite rare as there are extremely talented replication enzymes involved which are committed to fidelity."

      And yet they happen anyway. A mutator phenotype evolved in the long term evolution experiment, the result of which is that one lineages has accumulated over 800 mutations in it's genome.

      "That said, the 'advantageous' mutation would have to occur in a specific position in an enormous genome of a germ cell, which would be only one candidate out of millions (hundreds of thousands if it is an egg)."

      This is nothing but empty rethoric trying to downplay what actually and demonstrably happens. Every human being is born with over 100 mutations on average.

      "The picture is painted as if helpful DNA replication errors happen with monotonous regularity."

      They DO happen with monotonous regularity.

      You blather about mutations, then jump to the fossil record. The two are not related in the sense you are trying to portray. Beneficial mutations are not required or even assumed to be about gradual morphological change, much of it could be biochemical or affect the internal physiology, none of which would be visible in skeletal fossilization.

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    5. "They even proposed PE, not to manage the evidence, but to contend with the fact that there isn't any."

      Evidence for what? What is it you think there's no evidence for in the fossil record?

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    6. @Velhovsky

      "So, why would you support the idea that few thousand mutations can turn an land animal into a whale if you had known that the mutations can't do the trick? I'm just curios. That is all. Why?"

      You seem confused, you're mixing up the idea of complexity with the concept of "beneficial" which regards fitness. Greater complexity is not necessarily beneficial (or deleterious), which is why complexity can increase due to mutations that are actually neutral or even slightly deleterious with respect to fitness.

      Besides, there's no reason to say that extant whales are more "complex" than their ancestors, they're just different. They also aren't "better" than their ancestors, they just live in a different environment. They traded their fitness on land, for fitness in water. Many of the mutations that contributed to their adaptations for aquatic life would be deleterious to an organism living on land. Beached whales die. The genetic and developmental pathways that once upon a time gave their ancestors four legs, feet, knees, toes and a pelvis have heavy degraded.

      Though, still, whales are sometimes born with legs because rare mutations reactivate some of these long degraded developmental pathways. Picture of whale with ativistic hind-legs.

      If whales didn't evolve from terrestrial(land-dwelling) mammals through a process that involves mutations, why do they still have the developmental pathways for producing legs with articulated bones, though in degraded form? The magical designer decided to just leave them there because he had extra DNA on the shelf and needed a place to store it, so he just put it in the whale genome?

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    7. Txpiper,

      Let's say whales were intelligently designed.

      What were the starting, "raw" materials? A land animal? Dirt? Creation ex nihilo?

      By what method do IDers identify the raw materials that got designed? What? They have never identified any starting state?

      For a given starting material, how many changes were intelligently designed?

      E.g. if you start with a land animal, how many changes needed to be designed, and how do you know for sure that every one of those changes was designed and none were natural mutations?

      What? You say no ID proponent has ever counted the number of intelligently designed changes needed to go from land animal to whale?

      And no ID proponent has ever described a method by which such counting could be done? That is, if you knew what the starting materials were, but no ID proponent has ever identified the starting materials either, nor has any ever described a method by which they could be identified.

      And the end state(s), post-design, have never been identified? Or even counted. Was it one individual whale? A single breeding pair? 10,000 members of a single species? Or a dozen species? Was it even a whale, or a dolphin or porpoise, or all three? Was it toothed, or a balleen whale, or the common ancestor of both (we have the transitional fossils for this of course, they had both teeth and balleen.) What was/were the end state(s) of the design? Any clue as to number, even?

      And your Intelligent Designer-- what information went into him, or them? I won't ask you to identify the designer-- I know what happens if you ask IDers that-- I won't even ask how the construction got constructed-- but since you claim Intelligent Designers "create" information, how do you measure the information that went into the Designer?

      If it were the Egyptians building a pyramid, we would want to know their starting information. Did your Designer have super information about hydrodynamics laying about and just copied that information, or did he create it from scratch?

      What? No ID proponent has ever suggested a method to identify the beginning state, the number of designed changes, the information available to the Designer, or any end state(s) of design?

      You can't even say how many end states there were?

      Why, without that, you have no theory of ID (as ID proponent Paul Nelson admitted you have no theory), but merely vaporous speculations and dreams about the mystical, the vague, the supernatural. Ooga booga.

      Delete
    8. The picture is painted as if helpful DNA replication errors happen with monotonous regularity. But there is no place to hide from the growing list of organisms which show virtually no change in the fossil record after tens of millions of supposed years. Gould and Eldredge accurately pointed out that from an evolutionary point of view, the fossils say that stasis and extinction are the reliable norms. They even proposed PE, not to manage the evidence, but to contend with the fact that there isn't any.

      As you're a YEC, your attempt to say real science hasn't allowed sufficient time for the necessary changes is more than a little ironic. That's OK, as most of us have stopped carrying around our irony meters - too much shrapnel when they constantly explode. But I did want to point out a basic error of thinking in your meanderings about mutations.

      Part of determining whether mutations have been favorable, unfavorable or neutral is the environment. A mutation that tends to develop a longer tongue in an insect won't necessarily be helpful unless it assists in feeding from flowers the insect couldn't fully access before, and unless there is no competing insect or bird already staking out the territory.

      Gould and Eldredge's periods of stasis appear to correspond with periods of stasis in the environment, when most ecological niches are filled and thus mutants tend to lose to the established competition. Periods of most rapid morphological evolution appear to correspond with the aftermaths of great extinction events, when two things are true:

      1 - There is little competition in many ecological niches.

      2 - Owing to #1, it is possible for populations to disperse into geographically separated sub-populations.

      Both of these factors promote the formation and success of new species.

      Delete
    9. Mikkel Rumraket Rasmussen,

      “A mutator phenotype evolved in the long term evolution experiment, the result of which is that one lineages has accumulated over 800 mutations in it's genome.”

      More accurately stated, from the Wikipedia article:

      “…12 populations experienced improvement in fitness that decelerated over time and some of populations evolved detrimental effects such as defects in DNA repair, causing mutator phenotypes.”

      In other words, the ‘mutator phenotype’ is damaged.
      -
      “This is nothing but empty rethoric trying to downplay what actually and demonstrably happens. Every human being is born with over 100 mutations on average.”

      No, what I told you is truthful and accurate. Concerning the 100 mutations:

      “New mutations can occasionally lead to severe diseases like cancer. It is hoped that the findings may lead to new ways to reduce mutations and provide insights into human evolution.

      Joseph Nadeau, from the Case Western Reserve University in the US, who was not involved in this study said: "New mutations are the source of inherited variation, some of which can lead to disease and dysfunction, and some of which determine the nature and pace of evolutionary change.”

      http://io9.gizmodo.com/5351093/new-study-shows-every-person-has-at-least-100-mutations

      “Using several techniques to gauge the effects of these mutations, which are the most common type of variant in the human genome, Akey estimated that more than 80 percent are probably harmful to us.”
      http://discovermagazine.com/2013/julyaug/07-most-mutations-in-the-human-genome-are-recent-and-probably-harmful

      There is lots of available reading about humans accumulating mutations. If people are evolving towards anything, it is probably getting sick.
      -
      “They DO happen with monotonous regularity.”

      Only in your imagination. Extremely rare ‘beneficial mutations’ could never have resulted in bioluminescence, or whales, or any other complex thing. These are just stories. If you want to stare down the gun barrel and find out what DNA replication errors are really all about, all you have to do is search “mutations”. Nobody is celebrating having acquired mutations. Researchers all over the world are dealing with their actual destructive effects. Diseases are what happens with monotonous regularity.
      -
      “…about mutations, then jump to the fossil record. The two are not related in the sense you are trying to portray”

      They surely are. Sudden appearance, stasis and extinction are what the fossil record shows. What it does not show, or support, is the idea of DNA replication failures slowly assembling phenomenally complex biological specialties, or rendering one type of animal into another.

      Delete
    10. Diogenes,

      “What were the starting, "raw" materials? A land animal? Dirt? Creation ex nihilo?”

      The latter.
      -
      “By what method do IDers identify the raw materials that got designed?”

      I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking here, but I’m a Creationist. ID is too tepid for my tastes. And my worldview is about a lot more than origins.
      -
      “if you start with a land animal, how many changes needed to be designed[?]”

      I don’t believe things like this happened, or that they can happen.

      “how do you know for sure that every one of those changes was designed and none were natural mutations?”

      I do accept adaptation, even radical adaptation, because there is indisputable evidence for it. But I believe that variation is built into DNA, and not the result of random replication errors.
      -
      “You say no ID proponent has ever counted the number of intelligently designed changes needed to go from land animal to whale?”

      No, I say that nobody could possibly calculate such a thing. This transition would involve all kinds of interdependent systems and subsystems, and they would have to be altered independently, and simultaneously, along with immensely complex regulatory mechanisms.

      ===

      judmarc,

      “Periods of most rapid morphological evolution appear to correspond with the aftermaths of great extinction events, when two things are true:

      1 - There is little competition in many ecological niches.
      2 - Owing to #1, it is possible for populations to disperse into geographically separated sub-populations.”

      Open ocean does not illustrate geographical isolation very well.

      Delete
    11. txpiper, there's a lot that is inadverently amusing about your barely literate posts. But chief among them is your habit of quoting things that directly contradict your claim, and then saying, "See? I'm right." Hilarious!

      Delete
    12. Wikipedia:

      "One of the earliest theoretical studies of the distribution of fitness effects was done by Motoo Kimura, an influential theoretical population geneticist. His neutral theory of molecular evolution proposes that most novel mutations will be highly deleterious, with a small fraction being neutral.[58][59] Hiroshi Akashi more recently proposed a bimodal model for the DFE, with modes centered around highly deleterious and neutral mutations.[60] Both theories agree that the vast majority of novel mutations are neutral or deleterious and that advantageous mutations are rare, which has been supported by experimental results. One example is a study done on the DFE of random mutations in vesicular stomatitis virus.[47] Out of all mutations, 39.6% were lethal, 31.2% were non-lethal deleterious, and 27.1% were neutral. Another example comes from a high throughput mutagenesis experiment with yeast.[52] In this experiment it was shown that the overall DFE is bimodal, with a cluster of neutral mutations, and a broad distribution of deleterious mutations.

      Though relatively few mutations are advantageous, those that are play an important role in evolutionary changes.[61] Like neutral mutations, weakly selected advantageous mutations can be lost due to random genetic drift, but strongly selected advantageous mutations are more likely to be fixed. Knowing the DFE of advantageous mutations may lead to increased ability to predict the evolutionary dynamics. Theoretical work on the DFE for advantageous mutations has been done by John H. Gillespie[62] and H. Allen Orr.[63] They proposed that the distribution for advantageous mutations should be exponential under a wide range of conditions, which, in general, has been supported by experimental studies, at least for strongly selected advantageous mutations.[64][65][66]

      In general, it is accepted that the majority of mutations are neutral or deleterious, with rare mutations being advantageous; however, the proportion of types of mutations varies between species. This indicates two important points: first, the proportion of effectively neutral mutations is likely to vary between species, resulting from dependence on effective population size; second, the average effect of deleterious mutations varies dramatically between species.[20] In addition, the DFE also differs between coding regions and noncoding regions, with the DFE of noncoding DNA containing more weakly selected mutations.[20]"

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation

      If I were to teach critical thinking, I would never use this example as the base to learn it.

      Darwinists and supporters of Larry's "we have no choice but to change it into the new evolutionary theory" are hanging in on a very thin thread called-"if it is totally impossible then it happened".

      My critical thinking tells me that it is impossible to turn a land animal into a whale even with the help of a supernatural without breaking some very important rules or laws of nature.

      Let's see. I like this example though I think it is incomplete.

      Many pearl divers have been pretty much living in the ocean for many, many generations. Some of them can hold their breath underwater for up to 8 minutes. My question would be, why some of those divers have not gone through at least some evolutionary changes? These people have been doing it for many, many generations. What's wrong with evolution with them?

      Delete
    13. I do accept adaptation, even radical adaptation, because there is indisputable evidence for it.

      Coming from someone who doesn't believe the many interconfirming sources of evidence that Earth is more than 6000 years old, that is really saying something.

      But I believe that variation is built into DNA, and not the result of random replication errors.

      Built in, eh? So all the potential variations are *planned*? Where in the molecule is this strategic information housed - hydrogen bonds, phosphate groups...? Why do certain species of onions and salamanders need so much of it?

      judmarc,

      “Periods of most rapid morphological evolution appear to correspond with the aftermaths of great extinction events, when two things are true:

      1 - There is little competition in many ecological niches.
      2 - Owing to #1, it is possible for populations to disperse into geographically separated sub-populations.”

      Open ocean does not illustrate geographical isolation very well.


      It doesn't? Then please go live there. What, you'd drown? Rather difficult to think of greater isolation than the fact most species would die instantly if they attempted to live in a particular environment, so the first (sub)species to adapt to living in that environment is isolated. In the aftermath of a global extinction event, there are innumerable such opportunities.

      Delete
    14. Txpiper's repeated assertions that all mutations are harmful are absurd, and do not get better upon repetition. Txpiper attempts to back this up by quoting sources out of context to mislead the reader. Experimentally, we know that:

      1. Mutations are common (not "rare" as Txpiper keeps stupidly saying) on the scale of a genome, especially a genome with billions of nucleotides, hence each new human baby has 100-200 new mutations its parents didn't have, plus standing variation

      2. most mutations have no effect on function, and in the subset that affect function, several percent will be *beneficial.* The percentage will depend on the specis and its environment, see below.

      Delete
    15. For detailed stats on what percentage of mutations are *beneficial*, here is an article that directly rebuts creationist John Sanford's book "Genetic Entropy"-- in fact, it shows that Sanford misrepresented the sources he cited so badly that it constitutes lying. A lying creationist, you're shocked I know. The author, I emphasize, actually *looks up* the sources cited by John Sanford and shows that they don't say what he says they say. Thus, we can dismiss all creationist who learned all their science from Sanford or his disciples.

      Kassen and Bataillon (2006) [5] took a wild-type Pseudomonas flourescens bacterium, and exposed it to an antibiotic. They obtained over 600 antibiotic-resistant strains, with an estimated frequency of 2.4 x 10-9 beneficial mutations per cell division. That seems like a tiny number, yet it was adequate to drive the evolution of fitter bacteria. These antibiotic-resistant strains were much fitter in the new environment than the parent wild-type bacteria, which could not survive at all in the presence of the antibiotic. Interestingly, even in the absence of antibiotic, at least 2.7% of the mutants were superior to the wild-type. This is just one of the examples we have mentioned where mutant organisms can be superior to the parent in both the new environment and in the original environment.

      This Kassen and Bataillon study was not available when Sanford wrote Genetic Entropy. Neither were studies by Perfeito et al. [37] which found that 1 out of every 150 mutations were beneficial in small populations of E. coli, or by Joseph and Hall [38] who found 13% of the mutations in yeast were beneficial.


      It goes on like this at some length.

      Letter to a Creationist: Stan 4

      Letter to a Creationist: Stan 3

      Delete
    16. Velhovsky: Darwinists and supporters of Larry's "we have no choice but to change it into the new evolutionary theory" are hanging in on a very thin thread called-"if it is totally impossible then it happened".

      OK, you're a liar and you don't know any science. Not one creationist has every shown any evolutionary transition, that is necessary under evolutionary theory, was "impossible." In every case their "proofs" are ignorant garbage, like "Hey, I'll compute the probability of creating 500 specific proteins by randomly scrambling amino acids! That's a small probability, therefore evolution via natural selection is impossible through any of the 100 trillion conceivable pathways!"

      No, you morons have never proven that *any* necessary evolutionary pathway is impossible. You've never even raised a serious question or obstacle. Every one of your "proofs" is based on demonstrably false statements or assumptions.

      You wonder why we have contempt for creationists!

      Delete
    17. Txpiper says:

      “What were the starting, "raw" materials? A land animal? Dirt? Creation ex nihilo?”

      The latter."


      Fair enough. So there was nothing, empty space. Then, poof!
      What? A whale? A dolphin? A porpoise? All of them?

      Now the big question: please count how many changes God had to cause to "nothing" in order to turn "nothing" into a whale. You want us to count mutations; we demand you count the changes God made to "nothing."

      Actually, I'll be more precise. How many computations (measured as floating-point-operations) did God have to perform to create the initial, starting populations of whales/dolphins/porpoises? How many flops to design that whale?

      You say we MUST count how many mutations occurred to turn a land animal to a whale. By your own criteria, you MUST compute the number of flops or computations your God performed to create the whale/dolphin/porpoise or whatever you think the ending state was.

      Was it a breeding pair? Or 10,000 individuals? One species, or a hundred species? Did it look like anything extinct?

      If a whale, was it toothed, a balleen feeder, or what? (Yes, we have the transitional fossils between those.)

      Was it Dorudon? Basilosaurus? An archaemysticete? Like Maiacetus? Or more Rodhocetus? Or were Maiacetus and Rodhocetus created alongside Moby Dick?

      Where was its blowhole? Halfway up the skull, like the transitional Rodhocetus? Mostly down the skull, like Basilosaurus?

      What were its ankle bones like? Maiacetus had ankle bones, so we know it evolved from even-toed ungulates. If the first whales God created from nothing had **no** ankle bones, where did Maiacetus and other archaecetes get their legs and ankels from?

      Was it one whale species, or many? Was what the starting population, about?

      Delete
    18. Txpiper says: I believe that variation is built into DNA, and not the result of random replication errors.

      It seems you have a "pulling wild speculation out of my ass" problem.

      Here's the big question: how can you be so STUPID as to believe that most mutations are detrimental, while also saying that DNA changes are "built into DNA"?

      Since you've been saying all along (and incorrectly) that ALL mutations are harmful, and since mutations CREATE variation in DNA, it logically follows that your whatever you believe was "designed" into DNA causes all kinds of genetic diseases, cancers, and death.

      How do you explain the results of mutation accumulation (MA) experiments, wherein natural selection is turned off? Why do deleterious mutations accumulate, and there is NO mechanism
      seen (when natural selection is turned off) that gets rid of a deleterious mutation after it's happened-- no "built in DNA variation" that dominates or overwhelms deleterious mutations?

      When we experimentally turn off natural selection, where the hell did your "built in" system to rewrite DNA go? DID IT TAKE A VACATION!?

      When crossover experiments are performed, why is the rate of crossover proportional to the distance between genes on a chromosome-- as you'd expect for random mutation? Why do your speculative "built in" mechanisms for rewriting DNA not dominate, NOR IN ANY WAY AFFECT the (apparently random) pattern of chromosomal crossover?

      Where the hell is your "built-in" mechanism to rewrite DNA? DID IT TAKE A VACATION!?

      Why do we never see it, neither with natural selection turned on, nor turned off?

      What *specific predictions* follow from your hypothesis "variation is built into DNA, and not the result of random replication errors" but not from other hypotheses, and what *specific observations* match those predictions?

      What observation could falsify your hypothesis?

      Delete
    19. Txpiper says: Extremely rare ‘beneficial mutations’ could never have resulted in bioluminescence, or whales, or any other complex thing.

      I'd ask you for a citation on that from the peer-reviewed scientific literature, but my colleagues would LAUGH.

      Here are two irreducibly complex systems that evolved in recent times:

      PCD degradation pathway, involving three enzymes, if any one is removed the whole system doesn't work, irreducibly complex:

      http://www.cell.com/trends/biochemical-sciences/abstract/S0968-0004(00)01562-0?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0968000400015620%3Fshowall%3Dtrue&cc=y=

      Lenski's long term E. coli evolution experiment evolved citrate uptake, which is irreducibly complex, through new functionally coded elements, which ID proponent Michael Behe had previously said was impossible:

      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7417/abs/nature11514.html

      Delete
    20. “You say we MUST count how many mutations occurred to turn a land animal to a whale.”

      No, I’m saying that you should be at least mildly interested in stuff like that. But you aren’t, and you don’t like it when those kinds of questions are asked.

      Actual science does not shore up or excuse theories. It tries to pick them apart. Real science would define reasonble limits as to what accidents can accomplish. But in the case of evolution, science has been corrupted. There are no limits.

      Evolution was already accepted with religious zeal as fact long before the molecular level stuff came into view. The idea of mutations producing novel features was not a discovery. It was an idea that had to be wormed into evolutionary theory. You can characterize mutations any way you choose, but you will never get away from the fact that they are errors. There is all kinds of evidence showing that, if they have any noticeable effect, it will be abnormal. There is no rational reason to expect that DNA replication errors could possibly result in something like echolocation, or butterfly metamorphosis, or bioluminescence, or livers, or eyes or anything else. You’ve lost your objectivity. You’re simply letting your atheism define your science.

      Delete
    21. It seems you have a "pulling wild speculation out of my ass" problem.

      Diogenes' I think it's more of a "motivated failure of reasoning" problem. txpiper feels that demonstrably true and confirmed math, physics, chemistry and biology cannot be so if the story of his Savior is real. So a 6000 year old Earth is true, whales poof into existence like something from a Douglas Adams novel, and much of physics, chemistry and biology must be false, or else we are doomed because we aren't "saved."

      Because so much of the science we know today is so amazing (e.g., we're made of the insides of exploding stars), the far more primitive stories told thousands of years ago (the magic man blew on a handful of dust) are actually less challenging and more comforting to many people.

      I doubt there's anything at all we can do for txpiper. He looks at modern science for those places where his imagination and reasoning fail him and presumes to call them failures of science rather than failures of his own thinking. I suppose he would look at Proverbs 16:18 ("Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall") rather differently than we would - he would see the entire scientific enterprise for the past several centuries as the prideful ones, rather than looking in the mirror and asking himself why so many smart, hardworking people would have to have gotten so much wrong for so long in order for him to be right.

      Delete
    22. It was an idea that had to be wormed into evolutionary theory. You can characterize mutations any way you choose, but you will never get away from the fact that they are errors.

      The Intelligent Design creationists, at least some of them, think mutations were caused by God. So are you saying God commits errors?

      Delete
    23. Txpiper: You can characterize mutations any way you choose, but you will never get away from the fact that they are errors. There is all kinds of evidence showing that, if they have any noticeable effect, it will be abnormal.

      This is a lie that I already refuted, by citing *scientific* papers that actually counted up the number of beneficial mutations (see above, under "Letters to a Creationist"). You totally ignored EVERY scientific paper, and continue to assert that mutations are always bad, by pulling claims out of your ass. We care about published scientific results, not creationists repeatedly lying after they've been corrected a thousand times.

      Real science would define reasonble limits as to what accidents can accomplish. But in the case of evolution, science has been corrupted. There are no limits.

      Really? What are the limits of your omnipotent, supernatural God? The God you invoke to explain biological similarities and differences, radiometric dating, starlight arriving at Earth from galaxies millions of light years away in just 6000 years, colliding galaxies really created only 6000 years ago, etc.?

      What are the limits to what can be accomplished by the God of creationists and ID proponents? None. That's the point.

      Actual science does not shore up or excuse theories. It tries to pick them apart.

      Really? Has any creationist every tried to pick apart creationism... without getting fired or drummed out of the movement-- like Glenn Morton or like dozens of professors who got fired from Christian colleges and universities? (List available upon request.)

      I don't let creationists, who censor and suppress all criticism, and who, whenever they have any little bit of power, FIRE professors for challenging creationism, lecture me about critical thinking or free thought. You creationists contribute nothing to science, and in politics you're totalitarians.

      Delete
    24. Txpiper: "There is no rational reason to expect that DNA replication errors could possibly result in something like echolocation, or butterfly metamorphosis, or bioluminescence, or livers, or eyes or anything else."

      If evolution can't make complex structures, why has it been observed doing that? But no invisible spirits or spooks have been observed creating anything of any complexity level?

      As for echolocation, why do we see whale transitional fossils with part of, but incomplete, ear bones for echolocation, gradually growing more complex and more like modern whales? Creationists said these systems were "irreducibly complex" and all parts must be present at once or the whale would die. Why do the earliest bat transitional fossils have no echolocation?

      Furthermore, the genes controlling complex structures can be aligned into phylogenetic trees of common descent. If the genes creating complex structures were created in a magical POOF, why the convergence on phylogenetic trees of common descent?

      Creationists have been claiming for 120 years "We got proof evolution is impossible!" and every time their claims are examined, they're always based on demonstrable lies about observable facts, or absurd unbiological assumptions (e.g. "All parts of the woodpecker's head must be created at the same time, or the woodpecker will die!")

      Why have creationists claimed for 120 years they can prove evolution is impossible, and never found any proof for it?

      Evolution was already accepted with religious zeal as fact long before the molecular level stuff came into view.

      Bullshit! Darwin was attacked from all sides with religious zeal the minute he published his book. Agassiz and Richard Owen went after him, not to mention Soapy Sam Wilberforce, Charles Hodge, etc.!

      You clearly have never heard of the Eclipse of Darwinism, roughly 1890-1930, decades during scientists rejected the notion that random mutation plus natural selection could create biological complexity.

      As for creationists, nuts like T.T. Martin were getting professors fired from *public* colleges years before the Scopes Trial.

      You’ve lost your objectivity. You’re simply letting your atheism define your science.

      Bulverism: "Wah, you proved me wrong with facts and evidence! Your motives for presenting these facts must be ignoble!"

      Delete
    25. lutesuite,

      “The Intelligent Design creationists, at least some of them, think mutations were caused by God.”

      I don’t know why they would draw that conclusion.

      ===

      diogenes,

      “You totally ignored EVERY scientific paper, and continue to assert that mutations are always bad”

      No, what I said was “…they are errors. There is all kinds of evidence showing that, if they have any noticeable effect, it will be abnormal”. They are errors, and the evidence is plentiful.
      -
      “If evolution can't make complex structures, why has it been observed doing that?”

      What are you referring to here?
      -
      I wanted to address this:

      “Here's the big question: how can you be so STUPID as to believe that most mutations are detrimental, while also saying that DNA changes are "built into DNA”?”

      Again, I don’t think most mutations are bad. Most have no effect, and the ones that do usually are bad. I will answer the rest of your question with this one:

      What is going on with cave species when they lose their sight and pigment?

      Delete
    26. Irrelevant. How do cave fish refute observed cases of evolution creating mutations that are beneficial and increase complexity?

      Delete
    27. "How do cave fish refute observed cases of evolution creating mutations that are beneficial and increase complexity?"

      I think they illustrate that adaptation is built into DNA, and not the result of random replication errors.

      Delete
    28. sez txpiper:
      “You say we MUST count how many mutations occurred to turn a land animal to a whale.”

      No, I’m saying that you should be at least mildly interested in stuff like that. But you aren’t, and you don’t like it when those kinds of questions are asked.
      I/m "at least mildly interested in stuff like that". I am also aware that (to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld) you do science with the evidence you actually have, and not the evidence you wish you had.

      So. The question is, "how many mutations occurred to turn a land animal to a whale"? An interesting question indeed. What evidence would be needed in order to answer that question? Since we're talking about changes from some ancestral form to the current form, that desired evidence would include, at the very least, the genetic sequences of both the ancestral form and the current form. But… um… that ancestral form existed how many million years ago..? Not so likely that its DNA will have survived all those millions of years to be found, and used as scientific evidence, in the present day.

      Does txpiper wishes to regard "we ain't got the ancestor's DNA sequence" as an ad hoc special-case hypothesis invoked for the specific purpose of shielding a hypothesis from disconfirmation?

      But okay, let's say that we somehow did manage to get our hands on the DNA sequence of some long-ago land animal that's in a whale's direct line of ancestry (maybe time-travel was involved?). We could then compare that DNA sequence to the DNA sequence of a whale, and identify which bits of the descendant sequence differ from the ancestral sequence. Sadly, just knowing which bits are different would not tell us which of those differences were the result of point mutations (single-nucleotide changes), which were the result of of multi-nucleotide insertions, which were the result of multi-nucleotide deletions, etc etc.

      In short, even if we did have the complete DNA sequences of both the ancestral form and the descendant form, that would not tell us the specific number of mutations which occurred to convert that ancestral sequence to the descendant sequence. Again noting that science works with the evidence we have, and not the evidence we wish we had, what evidence would be needed in order to nail down the specific number of mutations which occurred to convert that ancestral (land animal) form to the descendant (whale) form? Well, it seems to me that you'd need to have all the DNA sequences of all the generations in between the ancestral form & the descendant form.

      It says something about txpiper that he rejects conclusions drawn from the evidence we actually do have, on the grounds that we haven't reached a particular conclusion (that being, the number of mutations which occurred to turn a land animal to a whale) which can only be drawn from evidence that, first, we haven't got, and second, we have good reason to think we ain't ever going to have. If txpiper replies to this with anything in the general neighborhood of, see? see? you evolutionists do subscribe to conclusions you don't have evidence for!!!, that will merely confirm that he rejects conclusions drawn from the evidence we actually do have.

      Delete
    29. Cubist,

      That's all well and good, but "the evidence we actually do have" is demonstrated in Lenski's experiment. After many thousands of generations, E coli acquired a transport protein that enabled it to utilize citrate under aerobic conditions. (Apparently, E coli lost this ability in a supposed divergence from Salmonella 102 million years ago. Probably just bad luck in the mutations lottery, but hell, that can happen to anybody).

      Lenski’s bacteria passed 60,000 generations back in 2014. How many would you suppose will come and go till he can announce that E coli has become something else?

      Delete
    30. sez txpiper:
      "That's all well and good, but 'the evidence we actually do have'…"
      …includes all the evidence on which mainstream scientists based the conclusion that whales evolved from land-dwelling critters. Perhaps you'd care to discuss that evidence, and show exactly how and where mainstream scientists erred when they reached that conclusion from that evidence?

      "…is demonstrated in Lenski's experiment."
      The change from land-dwelling critter to water-dwelling whale must necessarily have involved one king-hell monster of a change in environment. Lenski's experiment involves keeping a breeding population in a largely-unchanging environment over a large number (64,000 and counting) of generations. Therefore, Lenski's experiment lacks at least one highly significant factor which was necessarily present in the evolution of land-dwelling critters to water-dwelling whales. It is… not immediately obvious… why the results of any Experiment X can, or should, be applicable to any Scenario Y which possesses significant factors that were not incorporated into Experiment X. Perhaps you'd care to explain your apparent belief otherwise?

      "After many thousands of generations, E coli acquired a transport protein that enabled it to utilize citrate under aerobic conditions."
      Yep. And since E coli not only (a) does not normally utilize citrate at all, but also (b) is recognized for what it is exactly and precisely on the grounds that it does not normally utilize citrate at all, that's kinda of a big deal, you know?

      "Lenski’s bacteria passed 60,000 generations back in 2014. How many would you suppose will come and go till he can announce that E coli has become something else?"
      Given that inability to utilize citrate is, like, one of the diagnostic criteria by which one recognizes that E coli is, in fact, E coli, I'd say that at least some of the E coli-descendants in Lenski's experiment already have "become something else". If you disagree, perhaps you'd care to explain the basis of your disagreement? You being a Creationist, I suspect that your argument—assuming you choose to present one—will be somewhere in the neighborhood of kinds, dude! they're still the same kind!

      If you do indeed choose to argue that citrate-using bacteria are somehow the same thing as bacteria that do not use citrate, and you do indeed choose to wheel out a 'kinds'-based rationale in support of that argument, please be sure to include an explanation of how the heck one can tell whether or not two different critters belong to the same 'kind'. Thanks in advance.

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    31. Cubist,

      “includes all the evidence on which mainstream scientists based the conclusion that whales evolved from land-dwelling critters. Perhaps you'd care to discuss that evidence, and show exactly how and where mainstream scientists erred when they reached that conclusion from that evidence?”

      Sure. They haven’t proven that there is an effective mechanism behind all the changes. That aside, a lot of faith is invested in not so many people in regards to whale evolution. Gingerich and Thewissen are names very easy to find when reading about it.
      -
      “The change from land-dwelling critter to water-dwelling whale must necessarily have involved one king-hell monster of a change in environment.”

      No, that is just a canned notion right out of the jargon handbook. The environment cannot solicit helpful random DNA replication screw-ups.
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      “Lenski's experiment involves keeping a breeding population in a largely-unchanging environment over a large number (64,000 and counting) of generations. Therefore, Lenski's experiment lacks at least one highly significant factor which was necessarily present in the evolution of land-dwelling critters to water-dwelling whales….Perhaps you'd care to explain your apparent belief otherwise?”

      I would think a controlled environment would decrease the time necessary for fixation, and I can’t imagine that being in open ocean could possibly speed up the process.
      -
      “E coli not only (a) does not normally utilize citrate at all, but also (b) is recognized for what it is exactly and precisely on the grounds that it does not normally utilize citrate at all, that's kinda of a big deal, you know?”

      E coli has the genetic wherewithal to use citrate, just not in aerobic conditions. The ‘evolution’ that occurred, as I understand it, was about getting citrate into the cell, not processing it once it was there.
      -
      “I'd say that at least some of the E coli-descendants in Lenski's experiment already have "become something else". If you disagree, perhaps you'd care to explain the basis of your disagreement?”

      The Wikipedia article notes that “…E. coli remains one of the most diverse bacterial species: only 20% of the genes in a typical E. coli genome is shared among all strains”. I would doubt that any of the current generations in Lenski’s lab would be considered a new strain.
      -
      “how the heck one can tell whether or not two different critters belong to the same ‘kind’?”

      In mammals, the capability of successfully interbreeding is one indicator. I would think the number of chromosomes, and subsequent losses of chromosomes, would be a basis for determining what the originals were.

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  17. If Denton is so smart, why is he taking Berlinski seriously?

    It's been said before, Berlinski is a stupid person's idea of how smart people talk. And Denton seems to think Berlinski sounds like the way smart people talk.

    Not a good sign.

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