Sunday, March 20, 2016

You need to understand biology if you are going to debate an Intelligent Design Creationist

Last night's debate between Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Meyer, and Denis Lamoureux was very entertaining. I finally got to meet Stephen Meyer in person. (My photographer wasn't very good at focusing.)

There were some interesting exchanges during the debate. I want to talk about one of them.

Krauss tried to hammer Meyer on the "ID is not science" issue using quotes from a judge based on things said by lawyers in the Dover trial.1 Krauss tried to dismiss ID by saying that it never makes predictions but Meyer countered effectively by pointing out that ID predicts that most of our genome is functional and claiming that the prediction was confirmed by the ENCODE study.

The ID position is that Darwinists predicted that our genome would be full of junk while Intelligent Design Creationists predicted that most of our genome would be functional. ID was correct and Darwinism was wrong, according to this story.

Both Lawrence Krauss and Denis Lamoureux accepted the "fact" that ENCODE was right and most of the DNA in our genome has a function. Krauss was also hampered by his misunderstanding of evolution. It's obvious that he accepts the Richard Dawkins view of evolution so he tried to accommodate the ENCODE results by saying it's what you would expect of natural selection. This is the Richard Dawkins position.

Krauss tried to downplay the issue by saying that ID had not predicted what those functional parts of the genome would be doing but this was a weak rebuttal.

The facts are these ....
  • "Darwinists"—those who claim that natural selection is the only game in town—were opposed to the idea that most of our genome is junk. They still are.
  • Today, the majority of experts believe that most of our genome is junk in spite of the ENCODE publicity campaign from 2012.
  • The ENCODE Consortium has backed off it's original claim and now agrees that they misused the word "function." Some of them blame the media for distorting their position.
  • The ID "prediction" has been falsified.
A competent biologist would have known all this and could have challenged Meyer's statement. A biologist would have then demanded that Meyer explain how a genome that is 90% junk fits with Intelligent Design Creationism.

I talked to Denis Lamoureux after the debate to let him know that he was wrong about ENCODE and he was very gracious. I promised to send him more information. A genome full of junk DNA poses no threat to his version of Theistic Evolution.

Lawrence Krauss is an expert on cosmology but he's very weak on biology. I know it's common for physicists to think they are experts in everything but that's just not true. It was demonstrated in last night's debate.


1. This is a bad strategy. It's better to accept that ID proponents are doing science but just doing it very badly. Meyer ignored the issue of whether ID counted as science. He just presented the scientific case for ID and forced Krauss to respond to his "evidence."

155 comments :

  1. This is far from the first time I've seen this exact same thing happen, but I have seen biologists accept the claim and not challenge it in a debate with ID too, not just non-biologists.

    A minority of biologists understand the issue properly.

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  2. Larry
    I think your summary is exactly right. It was hard watching Steven Meyer struggle with a migraine headache. I agree that the intelligent design group taking credit for a functional DNA prediction is beyond the scope of the current design inference hypothesis even if turns out to be true. What model did they create to make this prediction?

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    1. They didn't make a prediction. A lot of people they think of as "Darwinists" believe (correctly) that most DNA is junk. If the IDiots could prove that there is no junk DNA, it would prove these "Darwinists", and therefore "Darwinism", wrong. So they construct fallacious arguments to convince uninformed listeners that this is the case.

      For some reason you continue to labour under the misconception that IDiots are attempting to perform science in good faith. You need to get over that.

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    2. There are many flavors of ID people. Although I don't agree with all Meyers arguments especially when he says that ID can make predictions, I think he has successfully defined ID for what it is; an inference to design based on what is observed about DNA. When you lump them together you are spinning the Irish yarn in order to create a negative image.
      "For some reason you continue to labour under the misconception that IDiots are attempting to perform science in good faith. You need to get over that."
      Do you really think that everyone on the side of evolutionary theory is performing science in good faith?

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    3. I believe that there are ID proponents who are attempting to perform science in good faith.

      Let's not quibble over when ID proponents made a prediction and whether it counts as a true predication. Right now, they are staking the reputation of ID on the claim (= prediction) that most of our genome is functional.

      We'll see what happens when they realize the truth.

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    4. Well, they'll admit they were wrong and that the ID prediction has been falsified, right? At least, that's what the one's who are practicing science in good faith would do.

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    5. I believe most of logically thinking "creationists" or ID proponents would never claim that human DNA would be perfect; free of junk for many reasons.

      The issue of what "function" actually means has changed many dictionaries though... thanks to Darwinists trying to get away with murder...

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    6. I believe most of logically thinking "creationists" or ID proponents would never claim that human DNA would be perfect; free of junk for many reasons.

      Well, then, a large majority of them are not "logically thinking." But it's not like that's news.

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    7. Eric,

      "I believe most of logically thinking "creationists" or ID proponents would never claim that human DNA would be perfect; free of junk for many reasons."

      So what then is your prediction on what proportion of the genome is functional, and how does your prediction logically follow from 'creationist theory'?

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    8. I don't think there are any ID "proponents" doing science in good faith on the topic of ID. There may be a few disoriented souls out there doing science in good faith on another topic to put food on the table, but on ID, no.

      Dembski dropped out, not that he did more than bafflegab and jot down some garbled math that was taken apart and criticized by his own major professor as "rubbish." Behe? No research, just idle speculation. Meyer? No research, just the same old Cambrian Nixplosion over and over again. Minnich? Nothing on ID, but still trying to disprove evolution. Axe? Attempting to evolve a dog from a cat and having no success, but, again, nothing about ID, rather another attempt to disprove evolution.

      But the point is moot. ID is not a scientific endeavor. Never has been. It's a political movement with a social agenda to inject religion into American public schools. Simple as that. Any discussion otherwise is idle parlor talk and best done with numerous flagons of ale!

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    9. "how does your prediction logically follow from 'creationist theory'?"

      One of the two elements of "thou shalt surely die".

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    10. "One of the two elements of "thou shalt surely die"."

      Are you trying to say that too much junk DNA is deadly? What element of 'creationist theory' predicts that? Or have I misunderstood you?

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    11. What is called junk DNA is deactivated to guarantee physical death.

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    12. How does 'deactivating' junk DNA guarantee physical death? What do you mean by 'deactivate'? What element of creationist theory predicts this?

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    13. Bill says,

      But the point is moot. ID is not a scientific endeavor. Never has been. It's a political movement with a social agenda to inject religion into American public schools. Simple as that.

      The debate took place in Canada where we allow the teaching of religion in public schools. None of us give a damn about the American Constitution. We're interesting in knowing whether the science is valid or not.

      If the Intelligent Design proponents have legitimate complaints about evolution and if they have good scientific arguments in favor of design then those ideas should be taught in Canadian schools in spite of what some judge in Pennsylvania said ten years ago.

      Lawrence Krauss tried to show that ID was not science but he did a horrible job. Meyer countered by presenting a lot of science forcing Krauss to deal with the very science that he said ID doesn't do!

      Bill, you are being dangerously naive if you think you can simply dismiss the ID movement because it's not science (according to your definition). The general public doesn't care. All they see is serious attacks on evolution that look a lot like science.

      Yes, ID is a movement and so are the desires to do something about climate change or GMO's. There are lots of "movements" with social and political agenda. Many of them deal with science in one way of another. It's the role of scientists to evaluate the scientific arguments in spite of the agenda. We have to show that the goal of the movement is either compatible or incompatible with the scientific facts.

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    14. When you say ID proponents are attempting to do science "in good faith," do I assume correctly that this includes attempts to prove a pre-existing position that a God/Designer is required? If so, what are the requirements in your opinion for doing science in good faith?

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    15. @ChrisB: Not txpiper, but would guess deactivation = the "fall."

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    16. It seems to me that we scientists often go into a research project fully intending to prove the truth of some hypothesis we have. That in itself doesn't mean we're not doing science. Even persisting in this path is consistent with science, assuming we keep reporting the results honestly. Think of all the people who tried and tried and tried, and finally succeeded.

      You could fill a sizable volume with papers testing the "herbivore optimization" theory of grass growth that conclude "We didn't see evidence of herbivore optimization but we know that's true, so our observations probably result from special conditions x, y, and z." Each person (often grad student) doing such a study was doing good science, I think. It took years and years before somebody challenged the whole idea. And believe me, her challenge was not welcome.

      Of course, there does come a point when you have to give up and admit you (or, easier, your colleagues) were wrong. That's the essential part of science that the ID people forget.

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    17. judmarc asks

      When you say ID proponents are attempting to do science "in good faith," do I assume correctly that this includes attempts to prove a pre-existing position that a God/Designer is required? If so, what are the requirements in your opinion for doing science in good faith?

      I meant SOME, not all, ID proponents are attempting to perform science in good faith. My meaning was quite obvious.

      What I mean by acting in good faith is that they don't lie or deliberately misrepresent facts when they present their views.

      There are many real scientists who say silly things that are easy to disprove but they are not lying. Many of those scientists have obvious biases that color their perception of the world. That's normal. We all behave that way.

      Given that there are many stupid atheist scientists, it's unreasonable to assume that everyone who disagrees with you not acting in good faith. Some of them are just deluded or ignorant.

      And, believe it or not, some of them might actually be right!

      There are definitely examples of ID proponents who do not act in good faith, but not all of them.

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    18. Eric writes:
      "I believe most of logically thinking "creationists" or ID proponents would never claim that human DNA would be perfect; free of junk for many reasons. "

      The only reason I am aware of having been put forth by IDCs is 'The Fall' - i.e., God's "curse" on all living things for the Fall of Man (how nice), resulting in mutations.

      Of course, their god also 'created' means by which to correct those mutations, so all we have is another level of just-so stories wrapped in enigmas.

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    19. Chris B,

      "So what then is your prediction on what proportion of the genome is functional, and how does your prediction logically follow from 'creationist theory'?"

      I personally predict that a large chunk of human genome will turn out to be functional. If you would like me to put a number on it I'd say 90-98%, maybe even more.

      From a creationist's point of view we can take into account several points:
      1. Longevity
      2. Imperfection
      3. Immortality

      While I personally don't believe any of the above factors can account directly for some of junk DNA, many creationists could argue that those factors could be contributing to "junk DNA" in human genome.

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    20. N. Manning,

      How are you able to distinguish the just-so stories from each other? Which one is more likely to be true?

      Give us some hints as to what your criteria is because you seem to be the ONE who knows it.

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    21. I meant SOME, not all, ID proponents are attempting to perform science in good faith. My meaning was quite obvious.

      I thought that was what you meant, but I personally haven't come across an example of someone adhering to ID without a religious reason, so I thought I'd ask. Dr. Behe, for example, sometimes asks interesting questions, but I feel when he continues to make the same errors in probability math, for example, that this makes his ultimate motives fairly clear.

      Since I don't have that data, I wondered if you had any particular ID adherents in mind.

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    22. We'll see what happens when they realize the truth.

      Well, that is less of a mystery - they will adapt. To leap to the end game, one could finally claim that function also includes, in the designer's wisdom, that which will be necessary/beneficial in the future even if not necessary/beneficial/functional now. That is trite and wrong of course, but since virtually all of ID is motivated by a theological imperative, special circumstances apply. No similar imperative exists outside of the arena of design inference.

      A different tack: as a thought experiment lets imagine in one fell swoop we could delete 80% of the human genome (that part thought to be non-functional). Would one expect normal human cells or gametes that could develop into a normal multicellular human. Obviously not, I would think. Hence, IDers win. (Shades of irreducible complexity of course and its misinterpretation, but effective enough to carry the day within the creationism/ID arena).

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    23. @judmarc

      I'm a big fan of Stephen Jay Gould, especially when he says things like ...

      I am ... an advocate of the position that science is not an objective, truth-directed machine, but a quintessentially human activity, affected by passions, hopes and cultural biases. Cultural traditions of thought strongly influence scientific theories, often directing lines of speculation, especially ... when virtually no data exist to constrain either imagination or prejudice. Stephen Jay Gould, “An Early Start” reprinted in The Panda’s Thumb p. 225

      Gould is talking about real scientists here. People like Jim Shapiro, John Mattick, and the members of the ENCODE Consortium.

      We all have biases and prejudices and they influence the way we do science. Because I live in a glass house, I'm reluctant to throw stones unless I'm absolutely convinced that someone is lying or being deliberately deceptive. Those people are IDiots. Jonathan Wells is one and so, I think, is Doug Axe. There are many non-scientist IDiots like Casey Luskin and David Klinghoffer.

      Lot's of other people fall into the category of acting in good faith while being very wrong. In some cases, it's like how Peter Medewar described Teilhard de Chardin, "[he] can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself."

      On most days I'm convinced that this applies to ID proponents like Michael Behe, Michael Denton, and Stephen Meyer and therefore, I think they are acting in good faith. On other days, I'm not so sure but the optimistic days outnumber the pessimistic ones.

      This has implications. It means that some ID proponents might actually be swayed by reason and facts. That's why I keep trying.

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    24. I admire your optimism, and your faith in people's better nature, Larry. I don't think I could keep that up if I had made as many efforts as you have to educate creationists, with so little evidence of their benefiting form it.

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    25. Eric,

      "I personally predict that a large chunk of human genome will turn out to be functional. If you would like me to put a number on it I'd say 90-98%, maybe even more."

      On what evidence do you base this prediction?

      "From a creationist's point of view we can take into account several points:
      1. Longevity
      2. Imperfection
      3. Immortality"

      How do you define terms 1, 2 and 3? Based on those definitions, how do you expect them to mediate the level of nonfunctional DNA in the human genome?

      "While I personally don't believe any of the above factors can account directly for some of junk DNA, many creationists could argue that those factors could be contributing to "junk DNA" in human genome."

      How so? What elements of ID/creationist theory would make this a logical argument?

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    26. Eric:
      "How are you able to distinguish the just-so stories from each other? Which one is more likely to be true?

      Give us some hints as to what your criteria is because you seem to be the ONE who knows it."


      Thanks. I KNOW that contradictory nonsense, such as that espoused by the creationists claiming that God cursed us with mutation and also helped us by giving us mutation correction mechanisms are the sort of just-so stories that sane, intelligent people can dismiss. Not only are these contradictory, no mechanisms is provided - 'curses' are generally not considered to be scientifically valid explanations for physical phenomena.

      So, as for distinguishing which 'just-so stories' are valid and which are not, I go with those for which there is at least some empirical evidence and do not rely on apologetics.

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    27. Laurence, are you aware that uncommondescent is exploiting your not-too-carefully-worded comment in a subtle form of quote-mining? See http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/kudos-to-larry-moran/

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    28. @Barry Desborough

      I don't have a problem with being quoted on Uncommon Descent even if it's by that despicable IDiot, Barry Arrington. I stand by what I said. It is an accurate representation of my views.

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  3. how is random genetic mutation creating organs, part of organs, or any anatomical structure, for that matter, considered "science?" This whole notion that variation is chance-based needs to be thrown into the trash can like a worthless, crumpled piece of paper.

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    1. IMHO, your response suggests your knowledge about the subject leaves something to be desired. I (and yours) only hope is that you are not as old as me! I suggest you overrate randomness and downplay value and utility of selection, natural.

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    2. On a piece of paper I just wrote "variation is chance-based", then crumpled it up and threw it into a trash can.

      Your work is done here.

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    3. I refer SRM to "Evolution By Accident" by Dr. Larry Moran.

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    4. An argument from ignorance and an argument from personal incredulity squished together into one.

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    5. No, Unknown, you don't refer to "Evolution by Accident" by Larry Moran. You might believe you were paraphrasing (?) what Larry wrote, but deliberate misrepresentation is also possible.

      Quoe the relevant passage and we'll explain why it doesn't say what you said it says. To be clear: random mutation, unfiltered by natural selection, does not by itself create complex adaptations. We've explained this many times, but we have to grapple with creationist Alzheimer's.

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    6. Is mutation really random? I thought it was only random in the sense of being uncorrelated with selective advantage. Aren't there parts of the genome, like multiple repeats, that are particularly prone to mutation? And the rate of mutation is certainly correlated with certain environmental factors like radioactivity.

      So what part of evolution is random?

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    7. hoary puccoonMonday, March 21, 2016 7:11:00 AM
      So what part of evolution is random?


      That is a common and very deep misconception.

      Yes, there are regions in the genome that are more likely to undergo mutations. But what that means is that the mutation rate goes, for example, from 1 x 10^{-8} to 1 x 10^{-7} per cell division, or something of the sort. So in any given generation, any given mutation is very unlikely and happens by chance. Biased is not the same as non-random.

      Now we can debate a lot whether mutations are truly "random" in the context of the universe as a whole, and it all comes down to our understanding of physics and the nature of mutations as quantum events (most interpretations lean towards non-determinism).

      But the physical determinism of the universe is not exactly what "random" means in the context of biology -- what we mean by "random" is that mutations happen independently of their selective effects, with no future foresight regarding those, and also with no knowledge of their informational context in the genome. I.e., in the cell divisions that lead to the production of a sperm cell in organism X that fertilizes an egg in organism Y, an A mutates to G and this happens without any "knowledge" of whether that A is in a coding sequence, in a regulatory element, or in unconstrained intergenic sequence space, etc., and without any knowledge of what its selective effects will be in the future. The subsequent fate of that mutation in the population is determined by the combined actions of selection and drift.

      This is the sense in which mutations are "random" biologically even if the universe is fully physically deterministic (which seems not to be the case anyway).

      Speaking of drift, it is very important to note that when we speak of randomness, the focus is usually on mutations. But mutation is only the first step, it has to then get fixed, and this is largely overlooked in these discussions (not surprisingly given the abysmal understanding of evolution by creationists). But it turns out that most newly arisen mutations disappear very quickly from populations even if they are beneficial, and that in general drift is a major evolutionary force.

      And this adds a second element of "randomness" -- recombination and gamete segregation are also generally blind to what the information content of chromosomes is (with some exceptions).

      Which is devastating for all attempts to reconcile religion with evolution. It is a common tactic among the "respectable" such approaches to hide God in the quantum nature of mutations. Which is stupid on its own, but even if were to accept it, those mutations then have to get fixed, and chromosomes are inconveniently bulky to invoke quantum magic. Thus, when you think about it, theistic evolution gets reduced to a more science-friendly version of ID that accepts common descent but rejects evolutionary theory, i.e. it basically ceases to exist...

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    8. Georgi Marinov--

      Thank you for explaining the extent to which mutations actually are a random process.

      As I indicated above, I was already aware that mutations are random in the sense that their probability is uncorrelated with their potential advantage or disadvantage to the organism.

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    9. During the debate, Stephen Meyer emphasized random nature of evolution and it's inability—according to him—to come up with new protein folds and new information in a reasonable amount of time.

      Krauss misunderstood the argument, which was based on the frequency of mutations, and tried to dismiss it by pointing out that evolution is not random—it's directed and guided by natural selection.

      Meyer corrected him by pointing out that the issue was the probability of mutations and not the probability of fixation once the mutation occurred. (This was when he was struggling with a migraine so he didn't do as good a job as he could have.)

      Krauss stumbled on for a bit emphasizing natural selection and the fact that evolution is not random.

      That was embarrassing. I think Krauss gets most of his information about evolution from Richard Dawkins so he (Krauss) probably doesn't know about random genetic drift or historical contingency or any of the other features of the history of life that make it "random" (in the colloquial sense).

      I suspect that Krauus still holds on to the Dawkins view that life has the appearance of design. Truth is, in the big picture, life really doesn't have the appearance of design. Certainly our genome doesn't look designed and my back was not designed for walking upright as it let's me know every morning when I get out of bed.

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    10. Stephen Jay Gould wrote a wonderful article on "randomness." The title is "Chance Riches" and you can find it in Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes (1983). Here's a teaser ...

      Evolutionary theory is now stirring from the strict Darwinism that has prevailed during the past thirty years or so. While critics have not seriously challenged Darwin's mechanism on its primary turf of explaining adaptations, they have rallied around a claim for pluralism. Must all evolutionary change be viewed as adaptation and ascribed to natural selection? Randomness has become a central focus for critics because Darwin's strict dichotomy [random mutation + natural selection ..LAM] seems to be breaking. Randomness may not act only in generating variation; it may be an important agent of evolutionary change as well. ... Given both the surpassingly poor reputation of randomness in general, and the specific Darwinian role of limiting its role to the production of raw materials only, this development in evolutionary theory is both exciting and, to many, distressing.

      ...

      Evolution operates at three major levels: populations change as certain gene become more or less common because individuals carrying them have more or less success in rearing offspring; new species arise by the splitting of descendant populations from their ancestors; and evolutionary trends occur because some species are more successful than others in branching and persisting. Randomness is challenging the determinism of natural selection as a cause of evolutionary change at all three levels.
      (p. 334)

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    11. Arthur Hunt addressed the study upon which Meyer's claim is based, here:

      Axe (2004) and the evolution of enzyme function

      The bottom line is that such a calculation is very difficult to make with any high degree of accuracy, but Axe's calculation was based on erroneous assumptions that cause it to be off by several orders of magnitude.

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    12. I have problems with Goulds text. The main issue is that Darwin wasn't a "strict Darwinist" in this sense and in particular was well aware of drift (although the term of course was coined later). When you look through the Origin (1st Edition, but that's not that affected by picking another one) you will find the term chance used 13 times to describe how variation arises. But it is used 19 times to describe selection as an increased chance to survive and leave offspring. Contemporary critics of Darwin were explicitly noting that the theory of natural selection as not deterministic (while all known physics was) and Darwin did never claim otherwise (and although I've told this one a few times it bears repeating: Boltzmann named Darwin as the most important Physicists of the 19th century because he introduced a non-deterministic theory). The idea of natural selection as deterministic arose in the second phase of the modern synthesis through a misreading of Fisher, Haldane and Wright by people like Mayr. Haldane explicitly stated that Darwin had provided an "outline of a stochastic theory of natural selection". And as population genetics was first formulated it stated with stochastic models. For these models there were deterministic approximations and the following generation began to think of these approximations as natural selection itself. But to think of Darwin as somebody who promoted a deterministic view of evolution with the exception of novel variation is ahistoric at best and revisionist at worst. He clearly defined selection as stochastic and defended this view against critics.

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    13. @Simon Gunkel,

      It's too bad Stephen Jay Gould isn't alive today or you could have sent him an email message telling him that he doesn't understand what Darwin wrote and doesn't understand the history of evolutionary theory.

      I'm sure he would have appreciated being corrected by you.

      [/sarcasm]

      As an expert on evolutionary theory, I'm sure you've carefully read The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. What did you think of Gould's extensive summary of Darwin's ideas in Chapter 2: "The Essence of Darwinism and the Basis of Modern Orthodoxy: An Exegesis of the Origin of Species"(76 pages)? Did he get it right?

      What did you think of the following passage? ...

      The "Origin of Species," as a volume of single authorship, maintains a stronger plot line and features fewer inconsistencies than the Bible; but Darwin and the Good Lord do share the common trait of saying something about nearly everything. Wrenched from context and divorced from a crucial assessment by relative frequency, a Darwinian statement can be found to support almost any position, even the most un-Darwinian.

      Since Darwin prevails as the patron saint of our profession, and since everyone wants such a preeminent authority on his side, a lamentable tradition has arisen for appropriating single Darwinian statements as defenses for particular views that either bear no relation to Darwin's own concerns, or that even confute the general tenor of his work.


      As I'm sure you know, this comes right after Gould's demonstration that Darwin did NOT claim that natural selection was the ONLY mechanism of evolution and right before his defense of the idea that gradualism WAS a key component of Darwin's thought.

      Did you write to Gould in 2001 pointing out that his description of Darwin's ideas was ahistoric and revisionist?

      If you had bothered to read the essay for understanding instead of an opportunity to nitpick, you would have realized that Gould uses the word "determinism" to describe events that have a cause, in this case evolution is caused by natural selection. It does not mean that natural selection always works perfectly but, when it does, evolution is the result. There is no doubt whatsoever that Darwin understood the difference between evolution by chance (randomness) and evolution by natural selection that "acts as a conventional, deterministic, directing force." Darwin greatly favored natural selection as the main force—the one producing the appearance of design that refuted Paley.

      Gould has consistently used "determinism" as the opposite of "chance" and "randomness" whenever he's talking about evolutionary mechanisms. But this is really a red herring (i.e. nitpicking) since Gould's essay is mostly about the "strict Darwinism that has prevailed during the past thirty years or so."

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    14. As an expert on evolutionary theory, I'm sure you've carefully read The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

      Of course I have. I think it is the book any graduate student in biology and adjacent fields should read at least once a year. I started doing so as an undergrad and have kept up the tradition.

      What did you think of the following passage?

      I think it is completely immaterial to the point I made above. But it is worth noting that you snipped off the first sentence of Goulds paragraph "Understanding Darwin's mode of justification by relative frequency becomes vitally important because selective quotation represents the most common error made by evolutionists in interpreting his work and theory". My case for Darwin's understanding of selection as a stochastic process is based not on selectively quoting from the Origin, but from noting that he consistently describes selection using the term chance and in fact does so more frequently than describing variation in this way.

      you would have realized that Gould uses the word "determinism" to describe events that have a cause

      Which leaves two interpretations:
      a) Gould didn't know what the words he used meant (which I consider highly unlikely)
      b) He conflated cause with sufficient cause. The mechanistic worldview treated nature as governed by deterministic laws, which meant that effects had sufficient causes. But Darwin's biggest idea was that one could propose and test theories that only had necessary causes.

      Darwin greatly favored natural selection as the main force

      He did, but when Darwin writes selection he means Selection+Drift. Darwin was describing what was happening in real populations. Of course now selection usually means "what would happen if the population was infinite" and drift picks up the difference. But Darwin certainly did not conceive of selection in the hypothetical case of infinite population size.

      I do think we are stretching the limits of acceptable use with "determinism" here. And terms like "chance" and "randomness" get used so inconsistently by biologists I wonder if they are any use at all (I just re-revised a manuscript in which a co-author had inserted these terms seemingly willy-nilly. If it says "neutral substitutions" it seems fine by be and writing "random neutral substitutions from chance mutations" instead only makes the text less legible).

      Gould's essay is mostly about the "strict Darwinism that has prevailed during the past thirty years or so."

      That may be the case, but Gould does talk about Darwin's "strict dichotomy" and the "specific Darwinian role of limiting its role to the production of raw materials only" of randomness. Darwin however clearly did not limit the role of chance to the production of raw materials - again, he uses the term more often to describe selection than to describe variation.

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  4. I can just hear Larry now....."Hey IDiot....will you take a picture with me?"

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    1. Don't be ridiculous. I introduced myself and he said he was glad to finally meet me. I expressed sympathy for his migraine that impeded his ability to find words and make points during the debate. He responded with a joke about how much better he could have done. He held up a sign during the debate that said, "Moran Rocks!" except that he spelled my name "Noran" by mistake. He apologized during the debate and also when we met.

      I told him that we was wrong about a lot of things but he must already know that. :-)

      I introduced him to my friend who was taking the picture—he's an atheist professor of divinity at the University of Toronto. We had a pleasant chat.

      I don't think Stephen Meyer is an IDiot but he was under no illusions about what I thought about his views just as I was under no illusions about what he thinks of mine. Meyer is an opponent but not an enemy.

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    2. Wait, you don't think he's an IDiot? Then who is? (Let's distinguish between "IDiot" and "idiot". The former is a term of justifiable ridicule directed at supporters of ID, without intending any actual comment on their intellectual abilities. Some IDiots are quite clever, though some are idiots.

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  5. btw...."unknown" is otherwise known as Tommy Hall....feel free to converse with me over at my youtube site..lots of stuff on evolution....here's a recent video where I go through all the failed predictions and other failed concepts of the past century regarding evolution....it's quite humorous... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9xJhw95bjY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, the irony. Tommy's little video has drawn the attention of PZ Myers, and now Tommy is the laughingstock of the internet:

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2016/03/21/tommy-hall-replies/

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    2. If he is who I think he is, he's been the internet's laughingstock for a long, long time.

      Delete
  6. two things-
    1 there is a typo. After ’The facts are these…’ ‘expects’ in the second bullet point should be ‘experts’.

    2. I predict the design people will recognize that the function of ‘junk’ dna is to search the genetic configuration space for novel forms and functions. Giving each life form an ‘R and D’ of somewhere around 90% makes the designer wise like the CEOs of our most successful companies- which have large R and D budgets.
    The designer is not only intelligent, the designer is wise.

    Do I win a prize if they start using this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. IDists are tag teams. When one idea is beaten down, another jumps into the ring.

      Delete
    2. I think the term ‘intelligent design’ is vague enough that any set of circumstances can be described as the result of intelligent design. If we include the notion that the earth has ‘evil’ in it and that evil can thwart the intentions of the designer, then it seems any circumstance can be explained using the model.

      Delete
  7. Professor Moran, was Stephen Meyer cordial in your meeting? I always wonder if they take the blog posts personal.

    ReplyDelete
  8. PZ has responded to Tommy Hall's video so we dont need to, looking forward to his response.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2016/03/20/a-creationists-very-silly-laundry-list/#more-27584

    ReplyDelete
  9. AMEN. It was demonstrated. Its the worst evolutionist speaker presentation of evolution/criticism of oppopsition to it I ever saw by a famous person in these circles. i was surprised at the trashing at the start and the rambling about the universe and Krauss whole presentation. I think it ruined it.
    I desire better evolutionists to take on iD thinkers or YEC.
    They are all better.

    i don't know if the ID prediction failed.
    I don't know if they are only still reacting to the old news.
    it would, either way, be a tiny detail in the ID hypothesis.

    ReplyDelete
  10. PZ Myers has some interesting thoughts on the debate:

    A suggestion for debaters

    ReplyDelete
  11. "...Meyer countered effectively by pointing out that ID predicts that most of our genome is functional and claiming that the prediction was confirmed by the ENCODE study."


    Why is he still claiming this? Did he stop reading ENCODE papers when creationists got the fake smoking gun they wanted?

    As far as their "predicting" any of this - the earliest 'prediction' of a fully-functioning genome that I was told of by John West was Mims' unpublished letter to Science in 1993 and Dembski's essay from '96. These were both put out DECADES after function - actual function - had been discovered and published by non-creationists.

    These are some of the most dishonest cranks one can find...

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  12. I agree with those here insisting on the validity of this "prediction". If anything is accepted as an ID prediction and then our conclusions depend on the "prediction" being right or wrong, we are letting ID cheat. Because we can always observe things and then claim that it was what we had predicted and many won't notice if we are lying.

    Predictions are supposed to be logical consequences of a scientific hypothesis being true. First, there is really no scientific hypothesis about ID, about the process itself, that allows us to infer what the outcome would be.

    Second, there are no elements in the "science" of ID to infer wether our DNA should be perfect, mostly useful or mostly junk. The claims about this are just wishful thinking. Couldn't the process of intelligent design have such characteristics that it resulted in a genome full of junk?

    A mostly funtional DNA is not a prediction of ID. Is just a wish of their promoters.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've never seen Kraus do well in a debate. I started off really liking him on the basis of what was in his books and then liking him less and less as I saw him flub one personal exchange after another. He's a net loss for scientific materialism.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dropped an "s." Krauss I should say. I haven't read PZ in years, but what he says of this debate seems very solid. Krauss knows an area or two very well, but he's simply not a good debater, mostly because--it seems to me--he finds himself to be just too smart to bother learning anything about rhetoric or philosophy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't really know how someone is supposed to prepare for a debate with a topic as nebulous as this one. PZ is correct when he says the correct response is, "I'm a physicist, so I don't know whether your claims about protein evolution are valid. We need a biologist for that." But that's not going to get you any points.

      Delete
    2. Myers is simply an advocate for all things abnormal. Given another ten years and he'd be a champion for downtrodden pedophiles.

      Delete
    3. txpiper,

      What abnormality was Myers advocating in this debate?

      Delete
    4. Given another ten years and he'd be a champion for downtrodden pedophiles.

      I think the Catholic Church already had that covered.

      Delete
  15. After 5 min of Lawrence Krauss introduction I got the scoop. I wonder if anybody else noticed what Krausse was pissed off about the most with ID or the idea of the possibility of God's existence?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Krauss hates god. It could be the theme of the next hit christian movie. But the truth is, no atheist hates god nor is pissed off about the possibility of god's existence. For scientists at least (atheistic or not), the existence of god would be fascinating and something to study and understand.

      Now, it is true that any of the religious concepts of god would be nasty realities to behold (read your bible, at long last).

      But as atheists we all know that if it became apparent that some-such god/designer did exist it would be, at least initially, inscrutable to humans, would probably have nothing to do specifically with humans, and would bear no resemblance to the cartoon notions proferred by bronze-age religions.

      No one hates god, or is pissed off by the concept. Many are pissed off by people who claim to know things that no human could possibly know (and then use such obviously made-up knowledge to control and abuse society).

      Delete
    2. "But the truth is, no atheist hates god nor is pissed off about the possibility of god's existence. For scientists at least (atheistic or not), the existence of god would be fascinating and something to study and understand."

      No, that is not at all what the truth is. This is abysmal naiveté at best. People believe what they like, regardless of the facts. You aren't going to find the average atheist doing statistical analysis on the prophecies concerning the first advent, or the indications leading up to the second, and drawing conclusions based on the results.

      Delete
    3. "if it became apparent that some-such god/designer did exist it would be, at least initially, inscrutable to humans"

      It is apparent. But you'd have to leave the peer-reviewed-by-similar-suckers literature long enough to ask questions that look like they involve actual thought. If you've painted yourself into a corner where only evolutionary biologists have the answers, you've found your own dead end.

      Second,

      Delete
    4. tzpiper,

      "You aren't going to find the average atheist doing statistical analysis on the prophecies concerning the first advent, or the indications leading up to the second, and drawing conclusions based on the results. "

      What statistical analysis would you apply here? What evidence do you have for these prophecies? You talk as if the prophecies are something other must disprove. If you claim they are true, you are the one that needs to provide evidence.

      Atheism by definition is a provisional lack of beleif in god(s) given the lack of evidence for such beings, much like the lack of belief in the Loch Ness monster.

      Delete
    5. txpiper,

      "But you'd have to leave the peer-reviewed-by-similar-suckers literature long enough to ask questions that look like they involve actual thought. If you've painted yourself into a corner where only evolutionary biologists have the answers, you've found your own dead end."

      What are scientists missing, then? What avenues of inquiry have they failed to explore?

      Delete
    6. SRM:
      No one hates god, or is pissed off by the concept. Many are pissed off by people who claim to know things that no human could possibly know (and then use such obviously made-up knowledge to control and abuse society).

      Yes. Exactly!

      Delete
    7. txpiper writes:
      " People believe what they like, regardless of the facts."

      Yes, that is very, very true. and that a creationist would write this is a very nice example of projection. Or irony. Or something.

      Delete
    8. Chris B,

      "What statistical analysis would you apply here?"

      In the case of prophecies that have already been fulfilled, I would measure what was recorded against what occurred.
      -
      "What evidence do you have for these prophecies?"

      They are written down.

      Delete
    9. It is apparent. But you'd have to leave the peer-reviewed-by-similar-suckers literature long enough to ask questions that look like they involve actual thought.

      And I take it your use of the word "thought" above is meant in the singular. As in the thought is that all structures and mechanisms were intelligently designed. Period?

      Speaking of painting oneself into a corner, that is a mighty narrow corner you have made yourself.

      But, reasoned speculation is the mother of hypothesis. So presumably you have at least thought a little about mechanism. Can you take us through a scenario by which some intelligent agent was able to arrange all of the nucleotides within all of the genes that would correctly specify all of the amino acids that would correctly fold into all the proteins that would then assemble into a functional flagellum via specific protein-protein interactions to generate a structure that would properly respond to a proton gradient. Of course, the flagellum as one structure is just a snowflake on the tip of the iceberg of complexity.

      But how might this work? Electromagnetic thought waves? Some other force yet to be specified? Any ideas? You surely appreciate that mechanism is important.

      The only word that comes to my mind is magic, but then I figure that magic is just a word that obscures underlying mechanism. Have you any thoughts on the potential mechanism used by an intelligent designer to actually design that you can share? Not looking for complete answers, just your speculation.

      Delete
    10. Chris B,

      “So no evidence then.”

      No? There is all kinds of evidence. Like I told you, it is written. This is not theoretical. It is wide open and subject to scrutiny. If you want an example, read the Gospels accounts of the crucifixion and compare them to Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. If you prefer something a little more contemporary:

      Isaiah 11:11
      “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.”

      Jews started trickling back to the promised land in the late 1800’s. But it took the horror of War 2 for Israel was reassembled as a political nation in 1948. This was no self-fulfilling prophecy.

      Jesus Christ explained in painful detail what would happen to Jerusalem long after His death:

      Luke 21:
      5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
      6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.


      This happened when Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD.

      24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

      This occurred in its finality under Hadrian around 132 AD. Jerusalem was liberated in 1967 in the Six Day War. The times of the Gentiles are not quite complete, but without a doubt, they are almost over.

      The Bible is loaded with prophecies and piles of those are devoted to Israel and the Second Advent. People who are aware are on the edge of their seats, while you are busy trying to confirm your common ancestry with chickens and broccoli. It would be amusing were it not so freakin' tragic.

      Delete
    11. txpiper,

      "Luke 21:
      5 And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,
      6 As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

      This happened when Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD.

      24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

      The gospel of Luke was written after the 70AD fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple. Incorporating recent events into a story of the life of Jesus is not prophecy.

      The 'Second Advent' is a religious belief, not a real imminent event. I won't gratuitously comment on whether or not how you spend your life is tragic. For the record, I spend my career studying the biology of infectious disease transmission. I don't think I am wasting my time. god's 'intelligently designed' pathogens cause misery and suffering for humans on a scale and magnitude that is beyond tragic.

      Delete
    12. "The gospel of Luke was written after the 70AD fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple. Incorporating recent events into a story of the life of Jesus is not prophecy."

      There is no actual evidence to support this declaration. (But it is no surprise that all you had to do was hear it for it to become fact. People believe what they like.) The evidence that disproves this claim is the complete lack of any kind of historical objections. All the canonical books of the New Testament were immediately copied and recopied for distribution among the early churches. This would not have happened if people knew Luke’s account contained false claims, and if he was writing after 70 AD, they would have known.

      That aside, Jerusalem was indeed destroyed by Roman legions in 70 AD, the Jews were dispersed, and Israel became a nation again in 1948 against all historical odds. And that is just the tip of the prophetic iceberg.

      Delete
    13. Chris B: "The gospel of Luke was written after the 70AD fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple."

      Tppr: "There is no actual evidence to support this declaration."

      Actually, there is. Scholars have spent the last couple of centuries studying translations and early New Testament texts and comparing them to other documents of the time to figure out what the Gospels actually say, when and where they were written, by whom, and how the interests of the original writers and of the copyists influenced what the text we have say. These scholars worked from a position of belief in God and Jesus; why else spend a lifetime at this difficult work? A summary for the layman can be found in Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, for example, but the technical literature fills probably a kilometer or more of library shelves. (I studied this a bit in college, but that's long ago so you're going to have to look up the evidence yourself -- assuming you actually want to know.)

      My summary: The letters attributed to Peter and Paul and others were the first written expression of Christianity. The Gospels were written later, when the original witnesses to Jesus' life were dead or near death, people wanted to record what they knew of him (or thought they did) while they could. Their society was deeply disrupted at this time, in part by the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

      Delete
    14. Good god, txpiper, the canonical books of the Bible were not established for the Roman Catholic Church until the Council of Trent in 1546. To claim that all the canonical books of the NT were immediately (and faithfully) copied and recopied for the early churches is ridiculous. Christianity argued for centuries over what written works were 'divinely inspired', or acceptable, the standards for which varied over those centuries.

      The time frame of Luke's gospel is pretty well established. I "heard it" back in the 1980s when I attended a Catholic prep school run by the Piarist order of priests. We went through each Gospel in detail. In fact, I was taught the Gospel of Luke most likely had two main authors and was modified somewhat afterwards. Maybe those priests were just making declarations without facts and had no respect for the provenance of the books of the Bible. If that helps you sleep, go for it.

      In any case, my point was the "prophecy" of Jesus of the fall of Jerusalem was written after the AD70 destruction of the temple of Jerusalem.

      Delete
    15. "In any case, my point was the "prophecy" of Jesus of the fall of Jerusalem was written after the AD70 destruction of the temple of Jerusalem."

      And that does not excuse you. You can't blame this on Catholic theologians. You have to deal with the reality of a right here and right now Israel, and prophecies recorded long before there was such a thing as a catholic church. You have to use your own mind and your own volition. I can sympathize with your confusion, but the information is all there. You have no excuse for defaulting to the asinine beliefs of materialism.

      Delete
    16. The confusion is yours, txpiper. I just showed how one of the "prophecies" you tout was invented by the folks that wrote the gospel of Luke. This has nothing to do with materialism, unless you mean that I ask for evidence to support your claims, rather than mindlessly accept the circular logic that the bible is true and you know that because it's in the bible so it must be true. Once you get off that dizzy line of reasoning and have some evidence for your claims, let me know.

      Delete
    17. Hey Eric and txpiper,

      Could you please explain why an intelligent designer would make Stephen Meyer's head so small in proportion to his body ?

      Delete
    18. txpiper - out of idle curiosity

      What is your take on Bart Ehrman's books?

      In particular this one:

      http://tinyurl.com/jkpb5fe

      Why do my spidy-senses indicate I am going to be sorry I asked?

      Delete
    19. Scholars have spent the last couple of centuries studying translations and early New Testament texts and comparing them to other documents of the time to figure out what the Gospels actually say, when and where they were written, by whom, and how the interests of the original writers and of the copyists influenced what the text we have say.

      txpiper was evidently born too late, as he doesn't believe the past couple of centuries' worth of science, or of Biblical scholarship.

      If he is so proud of his personal ignorance and incredulity that they trump all of quantum physics, organic chemistry, etc., do you really think he'll accede to anyone else's knowledge regarding *Bible interpretation*? After all, they've simply got lifetimes of learning and hard work on their side (together with confirmation from other scholars), and what is that when posed against txpiper's invincible self-certainty?

      Gott mit uns, eh, tx?

      Delete
    20. Tom Mueller,

      “What is your take on Bart Ehrman's books?”

      Nothing new. His genre has been around since Porphyry.

      Delete
  16. Like a lot your comments... A believe you are a skeptical. A lot of people that qualify themselves as skeptical are actually bitter at believers...

    ReplyDelete
  17. Larry, The notion that most of the human genome is non-functional is not evidence based. It's theoretically based. The ENCODE proponents who backed down to 50% or less did so supposedly (peer pressure aside) because of mysterious repetitive DNA in the genome. But we already know that there are many possible functions for repetitive DNA. Indeed, numerous papers have shown function for non-coding "junk" DNA, including repetitive DNA, and the trendline of the research overwhelmingly shows that when we look for function in non-coding DNA, we find it.

    ENCODE-critics who say the genome is junky rely primarily on theory; ENCODE proponents who say the genome is functional rely primarily on data.

    Therefore, ENCODE as an ID prediction is still extremely plausible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ENCODE-critics who say the genome is junky rely primarily on theory; ENCODE proponents who say the genome is functional rely primarily on data.

      The data says no such thing

      Delete
    2. It's important to define "function" right? Most basically means there is some purpose or use. Therefore, non-function would necessarily mean purposeless or useless. This is simply not the case at all. The website below documents scientific papers showing function, yes function, for non-coding DNA.

      www.lncrnablog.com

      The vast majority of those defending ENCODE are actually not pro-ID and have no motive to aid and abet "the creationists." They're driven by the empirical data. For example, University of Chicago geneticist James Shapiro praised ENCODE's results while simultaneously disavowing ID. He found that "the old idea of the genome as a string of genes interspersed with unimportant noncoding DNA is no longer tenable," since "ENCODE revealed that most (and probably just about all) of this noncoding and repetitive DNA contained essential regulatory information."



      Delete
    3. Functional lncRNAs occupy a tiny fraction of the genome.

      Delete
    4. "the old idea of the genome as a string of genes interspersed with unimportant noncoding DNA is no longer tenable,"

      I agree. I could have said that when I started graduate school in 1968. Most of my teachers actually did say that and they had already known it for several years.

      I don't know what planet Jim Shapiro lives on but it certainly isn't the same one I inhabit.

      Delete
    5. ...since "ENCODE revealed that most (and probably just about all) of this noncoding and repetitive DNA contained essential regulatory information."

      Can anyone find a quotation in any ENCODE publication that would precisely support that statement? I highly doubt it. Whatever the inappropriate hyperbole associated with ENCODE, I can't imagine actual scientists making such an irresponsible claim.

      Delete
  18. Hi Georgi,

    I stumbled across this link while in lurk-mode a while back.

    http://gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/08/06/gbe.evv152.full.pdf

    Your thoughts? Is there any cogency to resurrecting Gould's higher levels of selection along these lines?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Group and multilevel selection theories are controversial and I don't know enough about the intellectual history of the field to comment in detail :(

      Delete
    2. I have the inverse problem - I don't really know too much about the history of TEs. I don't think there is that much actual controversy about hierarchial theories anymore. There are currently two different types of hierarchial theory, one goes back to Stanleys 1975 paper on species selection ("A Theory of Evolution Above the Species Level", PNAS, 72:646-650.) and the other one uses the Price equation to compartmentalize fitness.
      The first one is noting that there are various biological entities that have analogs to birth and death (cells, organisms and species) and allow allele frequencies to be defined on them. And from there it's rather simple: we already have a theory of how allele frequencies change in time and we know how to measure selection coefficients. If it looks as if there is controversy then it can be fairly easily ascribed to confused thinking by Richard Dawkins. He did sharply criticize Stanley (by missing the point of the paper), then after Williams wrote something that mainly goes "Stanley got that brilliantly right" he started crediting Williams with the idea (remaining dismissive of Stanley), but also noting that it wouldn't have much of an effect, then used it in his work on the evolution of evolvability. In his recent books he often manages to hold all 3 views at once.

      As an aside: It's worth noting that a lot of our molecular methods assume strict neutrality on the species level (at least as priors) and this is mostly an issue of missing data. It's probably worth trying to figure out how big of an impact relaxing the conditions on BD parameters has on estimated phylogenies and molecular dates.

      The modern group selection approach is even more trivial. You can split up fitness into between-group and within-group components and it turns out that the result is the same. The groups don't even have to have biological meaning, you could arbitrarily number your population and then opt for a group that's all the prime numbers and one that's all the non-primes and it would still work. Advocates of group selection based hierachial theory argue that splitting populations up when there are biologically meaningful groups is more intuitive. Opponents think it's not. And while there is some high-flying rhetoric on either side, it's really coming down to one side saying some model parameter is 4 and the other side very ardently arguing that it is 1+3. In other words: There is no scientific controversy, there is an argument on the interpretation of the same theory. The reasonable attitude to this IMHO is to look at this and say "Shut up and calculate!".

      Delete
    3. Here's the paper, and the abstract, that Tom refers to ...

      Brunet, T.D., and Doolittle, W.F. (2015) Multilevel selection theory and the evolutionary functions of transposable elements. Genome Biology and Evolution, 7:2445-2457. [doi: 10.1093/gbe/evv152]

      One of several issues at play in the renewed debate over “junk DNA” is the organizational level at which genomic features might be seen as selected, and thus to exhibit function, as etiologically defined. The intuition frequently expressed by molecular geneticists that junk DNA is functional because it serves to “speed evolution” or as an “evolutionary repository” could be recast as a claim about selection between species (or clades) rather than within them, but this is not often done. Here, we review general arguments for the importance of selection at levels above that of organisms in evolution, and develop them further for a common genomic feature: the carriage of transposable elements (TEs). In many species, not least our own, TEs comprise a large fraction of all nuclear DNA, and whether they individually or collectively contribute to fitness—or are instead junk— is a subject of ongoing contestation. Even if TEs generally owe their origin to selfish selection at the lowest level (that of genomes), their prevalence in extant organisms and the prevalence of extant organisms bearing them must also respond to selection within species (on organismal fitness) and between species (on rates of speciation and extinction). At an even higher level, the persistence of clades may be affected (positively or negatively) by TE carriage. If indeed TEs speed evolution, it is at these higher levels of selection that such a function might best be attributed to them as a class.

      There are multiple issues here. The first one is whether active transposons are junk or not junk. There's general agreement that selfish DNA is functional at the level of the gene or genome but it isn't selected at the level of the organism.

      That makes them not junk, in my opinion, but Ford Doolittle, Ryan Gregory, and others disagree (I think).

      I discussed this in The Function Wars: Part II

      The second issue is whether the presence of bits and pieces of defective transposons (~50%) of our genome can be co-opted to create new functional sequences. Of course they can. But does this mean there's selection for retaining that junk in the genome in order to give the species an advantage over other species that might not have this junk in their genomes?

      If so, then this is selection at a higher level than the individuals in a population. It's species-level selection.

      There's nothing wrong with higher levels of evolution whether it be by selection or drift but that not the only problem. The problem is whether it's really satisfying to explain the C-value Paradox by invoking hierarchical theory.

      Our current understanding of junk DNA is that it is slightly detrimental and it will be eliminated if the power of natural selection is sufficient—as in species with large population sizes. Some people are suggesting that there might be a selective advantage to junk DNA in the long run that makes it advantageous to carry lots of apparent junk in your genome. That advantage is manifest at the species level.

      Those are two different explanations and they aren't very compatible.

      Delete
    4. Those are two different explanations and they aren't very compatible.

      I'm not sure they aren't very compatible - usually MLT becomes interesting primarily when selection at different levels runs opposite directions. However it is worth noting that it's quite possible that the C-value paradox can be resolved by using passive trends. If we assume that
      a) most processes that change genome size are multiplicative (which is true if the rates of these processes are given per BP).
      and
      b) There is a lower bound for genome size (trivially at 0, but there is likely a higher value for any given clade)
      then we expect the mean genome size of clades to correlate with the SD of the genome size just as a boundary effect. Even if there is significant selection towards minimal genomes, this boundary effect can lead to genomes with high quantities of junk.

      Delete
  19. "Small non-coding RNAs (e.g. miRNAs) and long non-coding RNAs (e.g. lincRNAs and circRNAs) are emerging as key regulators of various cellular processes."

    ENCODE critics that claim the human genome is only 8 - 10% functional rely on the argument that repetitive DNA is useless. This is simply not true WHEN studied. I'm not a DNA expert, nor can I adequately speak on what percentage of the genome is functional. Regardless, here is what we actually do know: when non-coding regions are intentionally and rigorously analyzed - it is observed to be functional rather than non-functional.

    In fact, and this the GREATER point: I'm not sure why any truly objective scientist would claim, as a matter of fact, that ANY part of the genome is truly non-functional. How could they possibly know for certain? We're just beginning to discover the vast complexity and specificity of DNA - information rich sequences that no human brain could ever generate. This is why Darwinism is a science stopper, and ID is a science advancer. William Dembski said it best 14 years before ENCODE came out:

    "[D]esign is not a science stopper. Indeed, design can foster inquiry where traditional evolutionary approaches obstruct it. Consider the term "junk DNA." Implicit in this term is the view that because the genome of an organism has been cobbled together through a long, undirected evolutionary process, the genome is a patchwork of which only limited portions are essential to the organism. Thus on an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible, to exhibit function. ... Design encourages scientists to look for function where evolution discourages it"

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    Replies
    1. ENCODE critics that claim the human genome is only 8 - 10% functional rely on the argument that repetitive DNA is useless. This is simply not true WHEN studied.

      Here are four of the known functions for repetitive DNA sequences. They have been known for over three decades.

      Ribosomal RNA genes
      Centromeres
      Telomeres
      Origins of DNA replication

      Please supply a reference to a knowledgeable ENCODE critic who claims that all repetitive DNA is functional. If you can't do that, then apologize for lying.

      We're just beginning to discover the vast complexity and specificity of DNA - information rich sequences that no human brain could ever generate.

      No, we are not "just beginning." We've been at it for more than half a century and that's why we are very confident that we have a good understanding of genome organization.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, I can't publish as "Unknown" any more.

      Easy..easy. I never claimed ENCODE critics think that ALL repetitive DNA is functional or non-functional. But scientists still do claim portions of non-coding DNA is in fact non-functional. Correct? And that is my greater point: How can you possibly know for certain when the trend says otherwise.

      "I never claim that functions have been found for most non-protein-coding DNA, though as I stated above the list grows longer every week. It is the trend, more than the current total, that should worry any defender of junk DNA." - Jonathan Wells

      The more non-coding DNA is rigorously analyzed - the more it is found to be useful - which in the most basic sense is NOT non-functional.

      Delete
    3. "How can you possibly know for certain when the trend says otherwise"

      Speaking of which, how can anyone claim the level of funtionality in DNa is related to ID when there is no clue about how the intelligent design is performed or what performs it?

      Shouldn't that be a much urgent query for those promoting ID?

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    4. This is a classic misconception about ID. The idea that you have to know "how". Evidence for ID focuses on features/aspects of nature that we know for a fact a "mind" is able to produce. You don't need to know how in order to infer that a mind is able to be credited as the source of it. The science of forensics, cryptology, and archeology use the same detection methods. It's only controversial in the natural sciences because of the obvious religious implications that some people, namely, the powers that be, cannot stand.

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    5. You seem unclear on the distinction between knowing that a mind can produce something, and knowing that only a mind can produce something.

      I wonder how creationists would react if evolutionary biologists were prone to saying they can just tell by looking at something that it evolved, and they don`t need to produce any evidence of the mechanism or process by which evolution occurred. What do you think, Tim?

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    6. The science of forensics, cryptology, and archeology use the same detection methods.

      Really? So when, say, an archeologist identifies some pieces of rock as arrowheads, he does so with no knowledge whatsoever of how they were produced, or what produced them? Learn something new everyday when you talk with a creationist.

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    7. "This is a classic misconception about ID. The idea that you have to know "how". "

      Well, in science, the way you look for evidence is determined by hypothesis you are trying to prove. So, if ID is science, there has to be a hypothesis.

      If you know for a fact that mind produces certain things, then that is not a hypothesis. So, what's the hypothesis you are trying to prove? Anyone would think that it's a hypothesis about the mechanism of ID.

      "Evidence for ID focuses on features/aspects of nature that we know for a fact a "mind" is able to produce."

      How do you know that for a FACT? Are you sure that you are not ASSUMING those features are produced by minds?

      "You don't need to know how in order to infer that a mind is able to be credited as the source of it"

      I disagree. Anyway, the notion that you can determine that a feature is the result of process A performed by entity B without knowing what process A and entity B are is quite weird. Simple example: how would you prove someone was murdered without knowing how he died or who killed him?

      "The science of forensics, cryptology, and archeology use the same detection methods."

      But they work with KNOWN PROCESSES AND KNOWN ENTITIES. When an archaelogist finds an arrow tip made of rock, he knows who or what made it and has clues about how it was made. A detective determines if someone died naturally or violently because he knows HOW the person died.

      "It's only controversial in the natural sciences because of the obvious religious implications that some people, namely, the powers that be, cannot stand."

      I would say that it is not controversial. It's simply that people like you deny t see the fallacies behind ID. It's not a controversy. It's just that we have to tell you a lot of times the same thing: you can't get evidence for "I don't know what" nor "I don't know how". That's not how science works.

      When you say "I have evidence for Y but I don't know what Y is" something's wrong.

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    8. I wonder how evolutionists would react if ID proponents were unable to explain the theory they're resisting? I imagine much language would be more hostile.

      You don't just "tell by looking at something". There is real evidence about that something that leads one to objectively make an ID conclusion. And, yes, we actually do know that a mind is the only source capable of producing certain features observed in nature. For example, biological features that exhibit specified complexity. Evolution can tinker with pre-existing specified complexity, but has never been observed to create novel specified complexity. That was actually the crux of Meyer's argument in the debate regarding a novel protein fold.

      Specified complexity is a game changer because evolution has never been observed to account for it's origination - but ID has. Evolutionists, I believe, knowing this, have decided to claim specified complexity is purely subjective. Not so.. Question:

      In order for the functionality of an engineering system to happen - do the parts need to be in a specific arrangement?

      The obvious answer is yes. The parts of the system need to be specifically arranged a certain way. This is objective, and like Meyer said, based on our uniform and repeated experience.

      We see specified complex systems all throughout biological organisms. That's why we can confidently say biological systems are engineering systems. We actually know an intelligent mind has been observed to produce specified complex systems. We have not observed the evolutionary mechanism to do it.

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    9. "Well, in science, the way you look for evidence is determined by hypothesis you are trying to prove. So, if ID is science, there has to be a hypothesis."

      Well, here you go, and there are more:

      (1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. specified complexity).

      (2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.

      (3) Convergence will occur routinely. That is, genes and other functional parts will be re-used in different and unrelated organisms. This is because a common designer is known to produce functional parts in various design concepts.

      (4) Much so-called "junk DNA" will turn out to perform valuable functions. This is because designers have been observed to exhibit foresight, having an end goal of purpose or function in mind. Therefore, we can predict much or all DNA has some function.

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    10. I wonder how evolutionists would react if ID proponents were unable to explain the theory they're resisting? I imagine much language would be more hostile.

      No need to imagine. I've almost never seen an ID proponent who was able to explain the theory he was resisting.

      As for the rest, you have just shown that humans created all biological organisms, since we're the only intelligent beings we know about. Doubtless you disagree; you think it was God. But what evidence is there that this hypothetical being exists? On the other hand, we do know that the various evolutionary mechanisms do exist and are operating right now.

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    11. John, you just proved the point in that quote of mine! You don't need to know "who" the designer is in order to infer it is actually designed. It could be an intelligent mind that is "human like". That actually has Christian theological implications. Who knows from a purely scientific standpoint. Panspermia is an implication of ID theory.

      I do believe in God. And science is one reason that I think gives credence to my faith. People can misconstrue and misrepresent all they want which is unfortunate. What evolutionists will NOT admit is their metaphysical bias. You sure you don't have assumptions and biases against a "hypothetical being" existing??

      Well, I've been on boards long enough to know this could go on and on. And I've got a family. I've said my piece and actually really appreciate the civility in this blog. Moran has a lot to do with that..

      Even though more can be said. Peace!

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    12. Congratulations, Tim Gardiner, on your remarkable ability to regurgitate ID creationist talking points. That you can repeat them verbatim doesn't mean a word of any of them is true. But it's still a somewhat impressive feat.

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    14. Tim Gardiner,

      So, all you've got from Guillermo's explanation was five words?

      The main point in Guillermo's explanation was that you have no minds to talk about in the first place. There's is nothing that leads one to objectively make a conclusion that biological structures could only have been done by "a mind," when the minds we know about do not pop things into existence. Minds are the products of nature themselves. So, saying that only minds can produce something you see in nature, when minds themselves are dependent on the very thing that is being described as the product of a mind, is simply nonsensical. Your claim becomes "a mind is required to produce a mind." It's worse, because you're proposing that minds can exist without everything that minds need to exist in the first place. Food, energy, a brain, biochemistry, genetics, etc. Then these proposed minds have to do their work without any of the items necessary for minds to exert any influence, like a body, tools, etc.

      So, ID is a non-starter.

      Now, closer to your "point." Inventing a terminology like "Specified complexity," as something that requires a mind in the first place, then declaring that something exhibits such feature, becomes a declaration that something is the product of a mind because you have just labeled it as something that is the product of a mind. But that's precisely what you're supposed to be trying to prove. In order to actually prove that something has "specified complexity" you would have to prove that there's minds that can do their work, have their food, exist, without everything we consistently know to be required by a mind, and then that these minds can do their work without tools and without leaving evidence of their actions. Your "we have consistently seen such stuff to be the products of a mind" becomes mere rhetoric, since you're ignoring everything else that is been consistently observed about what minds are, what minds require to exist, what minds require to do anything, and how they do it. You're supposedly "objective" inference becomes an exercise of extreme cherry-picking and circular logic.

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    15. photosynthesis, I didn't mean that we know only a mind can produce it. What I meant is that a mind is the only known source capable of producing it. There might be other sources, but we only know of one for certain: a mind. My fault, hope that is clear.

      Your saying ID has to have a mechanism to explain exactly how a specified complex came to be. I'm assuming a physical mechanism No, it doesn't. And I never said a mind can "pop things into existence". We don't have to know how in order to infer that the original concept/idea (specified complex system) began in an intelligent mind - and ultimately was produced somehow. We don't need to know how. We know where the concept came from: intelligence. The fact that specified complexity is a real (not invented) attribute of engineering systems is sufficient enough evidence to conclude that the original concept began in an intelligent mind. Because that is what we have observed to be true. This is unlike the evolutionary mechanism which has not been observed to produce a specified complex system. This is not circular. It's based upon observed experience that no undirected, unintelligent process can claim. Your response to this post on a computing device is testable evidence that ID is a proven source for specified complexity to trace back to. And so where ever we see specified complex systems, even in nature, ID is a legitimate scientific inference.

      Other concepts like "foresight" which we observe in nature also have ID inferences. Embryonic development clearly shows that cells are dividing for specific purposes to create specific organs, etc.. All the biological information for the organism's entire development is house in it's chromosomal composition which exists before any of it happened. That is foresight, which is a concept found in an intelligent mind. No need to know how to infer design.

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    16. What I meant is that a mind is the only known source capable of producing it.

      "A mind" isn't a known source. A human mind would be a known source. Any other mind would be an unknown source, and we can have no idea whether a non-human mind would be capable of (or inclined toward) doing the sort of things a human mind can. And once again let's note the we have no evidence for the existence of the particular mind you clearly intend, YHWH. Finally, we should note that nobody has shown natural evolutionary processes to be incapable of producing specified complexity, and we know that these processes actually do exist, so that's a point in their favor.

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    17. Again TIm, you're forgetting the elephant in the room. It doesn't matter if a few of the things I sad are not in your list, like popping things into existence. But then you have to agree that if we're to talk about what we "consistently" know, as you said (we consistently know that specified information is produced by minds you said, or something to that effect), then what about the other things we consistently know? Like minds needing brains, food, development, and the very things that you want to explain as the products of a mind themselves! Proposing a mind is simply mindless. It's cherry-picking those consistencies.

      Let's put it another way. Please don't get distracted by the simplicity. Two primitive humans wondering about the volcano. One proposes that the volcano is a fire started by a gigantic human. We know, this man says, the only thing we know that produces specified fires is humans. Other fires are all over the place, and this fire is like our camp fires. Just there in one spot. A large spo, but one spot. Occasionally, like our camp fires, it goes wild and burns farther, but normally it's just there. The other man says no. I don't believe that. I never saw a human large enough to make that fire. But we consistently know that humans produce those kinds of fire, only much smaller, the giant human must be the answer! No! We consistently see humans to be similar in size to us. never large enough for the volcano. Ah, then the giant humans must be invisible! This had to be a giant human, since we consistently know that humans produce those kinds of fires! No, we've never known of invisible humans! We consistently know that humans are visible! They leave tracks! Then the giant humans are invisible and soft footed! So, after a while, the giant-human theory has lots of inconsistencies with what is known about humans. To save face, the giant-human proposal goes into a "we don't need to know the being who made this fire, but it had to have a mind, because we consistently know that only minds produce those fires!" The skeptical human insists on everything you have to ignore about what's known about humans to produce that proposal, but no, the giant-human proposer insists that even though we don't know what kind of mind did it, it was a mind. Not only that, the giant-human proposer insists that, since the other human has no answer, since we don't know of anything else but a mind that could make such a fire, his answer must the most probable one.

      Well, even though you're talking about more complicated stuff, you're ignoring everything that we know about minds to make your supposed proposal, and focus only in what interests you. "Specified complexity." That doesn't bother you because you're thinking of a god. But a god would have to be proven first, and what we consistently see about minds wouldn't help that case. Right?

      Please think about it. Don't concentrate on a few items. Think of everything you have to ignore when you pretend to talk about "consistency."

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    18. Your posts are far from simplistic. Your choosing to make this much more difficult than it needs to be.

      "we consistently know that specified information is produced by minds you said, or something to that effect"

      Yes, basically. This is the only ID argument I've elaborated on. Why the"minds needing brains, food, development, and the very things that you want to explain as the products of a mind themselves!....It's cherry picking those consistencies"

      No, your going way off track. I'm only explaining that an intelligent mind is known to produce a certain feature. That's it. I've had time to "think about it" and the "elephant" is your attempt to tear down an argument that was never made. Straw man. You just built a complete straw man. You've built up your own criteria as to what needs to be viable for ID to be legit (other consistencies). No, that's not how it works. You haven't addressed the only consistency that matters right now: specified complex systems ultimately trace back to and intelligent mind. That is consistent. Therefore, when we see it, it's a legitimate scientific inference. That.Is.All.It.Needs.To.Be. You've given the impression you've defeated the real ID argument I presented, but you haven't touched it at all.

      "you're ignoring everything that we know about minds to make your supposed proposal, and focus only in what interests you. "Specified complexity.""

      I'm not ignoring anything about minds. Whatever you think "we know about minds" is completely irrelevant to the point I'm making. A scientific inference based upon our observed experience. My thinking it's God is also irrelevant to the scientific inference.





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    19. John, so we know a human mind accounts for specified complex systems. We don't know that evolution accounts for it. What matters is that we discover something that is known to be capable of producing it. Well we do know a mind, yes a human mind, can think of and ultimately be responsible for producing specified complexity. We don't know of anything else capable of producing specified complexity.

      And we see specified complex systems throughout nature. Well, we only know of one source capable. Shouldn't we focus on what we know rather than what we don't know to help us figure out where it comes from? Why is unreasonable that the source have a mind similar to a human mind? Similar meaning able to produce design concepts. What about an unembodied mind? We have no idea if conscienceness or rational thought are physical things. It appears brain tissue is distinct from what we consider a "mind" to be. Why do you limit these possibilities? Because it's to unbelievable? Well that's not a scientific resistance, but rather metaphysical. Maybe it's aliens that have intelligence comparable or greater than humans.

      I understand the strong religious implications ID theory causes, especially when you start to get into cosmological ID evidence. Well, so be it. Because we don't like the implications - there fore it must not be true. That's not possibly you, right?

      I should also mention there are many more design concepts discovered at work in biological systems. Engineering concepts only known to originate from an intelligent mind. Negative feedback for stable operation, thresholding and discrimination, frequency filtering, control and signaling, information storage, timing and synchronization, redundancy, optimization, robustness, reverse engineering. There are more. It's striking that all these design concepts are utilized in biological systems. David Snoke has a good paper "Systems Biology as a Research Program for Intelligent Design" that expounds on this. Fascinating, if your open to it.

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    20. We don't know of any unembodied minds, and in fact we have good reason to believe that minds are necessarily expressed by brains, having never seen any evidence to the contrary. If you want to argue that Galactus designed the earth's biota, I think we have more evidence for that than for your invisible, undetectable deity. What do you think of Galactus? (And we do indeed have evidence for evolution producing such things.)

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    21. Tim,

      Which of these is intelligently designed, and how do you know:

      1. Plasmodium falciparum

      2. a diamond

      3. Balaenoptera musculus

      4. Wildwood Beach, New Jersey

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    22. John Harshman

      " We don't know of any unembodied minds, and in fact we have good reason to believe that minds are necessarily expressed by brains, having never seen any evidence to the contrary. "


      What comes first, mind or matter?

      http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1380-what-comes-first-mind-or-matter



      The argument of the mind of all matter in the universe
      1. “The ultimate cause of atheism, Newton asserted, is ‘the notion of bodies having, as it were, a complete, absolute and independent reality in themselves.’”
      2. The 1925 discovery of quantum mechanics solved the problem of the Universe’s nature. Bright physicists were again led to believe what is for atheists the unbelievable — that the Universe is mental.
      3. According to Sir James Jeans an astronomer, mathematician and physicists of Princeton University: “the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter…we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.”
      4. Matter cannot produce mind but rather a thoughtful mind can produce structures of matter. If we leave all the molecules or atoms of the brain on a pile under Mother Nature’s sky no brain or mind will ever be produced by thunderbolts, high pressures or typhoons. But a person with a mind can create e.g. a computer.
      5. This means mind pre-existed to matter.
      6. A mind is a property of a person and the mind of the universe can only be God’s.
      7. God exists.


      – Max Planck, theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918
      “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

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    23. El wrote:
      6. A mind is a property of a person and the mind of the universe can only be God’s.

      Which god are we talking about? And where's the evidence for only this particular god? Why not Jupiter, Odin or Quatzequatel?

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    24. John, so we know a human mind accounts for specified complex systems.

      Actually we don't, because the definition of "specified complex systems" has been ever-changing. First it was "information," but it was pointed out that there was already a scientific definition for that. Then it was "complex information," but then it was pointed out that evolution and indeed inanimate "dumb" systems were fully capable of creating that. Then it was "specified complex information," "specified" standing for design information specified by an intelligent entity. This is a logical fallacy, known as "begging the argument" and by various other names. You simply start where you want to wind up and declare you've won!

      So come back to us when ID has finally decided, in a non-fallacious way, on exactly what it is that it wants to prove evolution can't do.

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    25. El, you do understand you're blathering complete nonsense at this point, right? You've pulled some random quotes, applied some irrational, illogical "reasoning," and come to the conclusion you wanted in the first place. None of it, to quote some Jefferson Airplane lyrics, "mean[s] shit to a tree."

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    26. Judmarc

      its not MY conclusion. So YOU do not like it, and acuse me of " not understanding ". Please point out what exactly i do not understand about following, published in Nature magazine:

      R.C. Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University , “The Mental Universe” ; Nature 436:29,2005) ? He wrote:
      “A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.”

      Maybe also consider what Einstein wrote:

      Einstein's Gulf: Can Evolution cross it? by John Oller, Ph.d

      http://reasonandscience.heavenforum.org/t1283-einstein-s-gulf

      Albert Einstein,undoubtedly one of the greatest scientists of all time, described the "gulf' that logically separates the concrete world of hard objects on the one hand from the abstract world of ideas on the other. He wrote: We have the habit of combining certain concepts and conceptual relations (propositions) so definitely with certain sense experiences that we do not become conscious of the gulf-logically unbridgeable which separates the world of sensory experiences from the world of concepts and propositions

      On the one side, we find the real world of objects, events, and tensional spacetime relations. On the other side, we find fully abstract representations that contain information about the material world. That articulate information is abstracted first by our senses, secondarily by our bodily actions, and tertiarily by our ability to use one or more particular languages . Between the two realms we find what appears to be an uncrossable gulf.

      A small part of the materialists problem is that hard objects are never observed spontaneously to transform themselves (on their own recognizance) into abstract ideas.

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    27. Sure. What you don't understand is that none of your random quotes regarding the role of an observer in quantum physics, or abstracting reality into useful models, mean anything at all to whether or not there's a deity.

      For example, regarding your muddled "understanding" of quantum physics, other names for the role played by the observer in quantum physics include measurement or interaction. That is, all that has to occur to cause something to drop out of the state of quantum superposition is that it must interact with something else. There is no necessity at all that this something else must have intelligence. This is why we don't see objects the size of bowling balls exhibit quantum behavior, like disappearing and suddenly appearing somewhere else. These objects are interacting with far too many other atoms, molecules, photons, gravitational fields, etc. Go ahead and try - place a large object like a bowling ball out of your sight or the sight of any other intelligent observer, then come back a week or so later and tell me whether it's moved across the room. That is *all* that is implied by the use of the term "observer" in quantum physics.

      Sorry El, but you really are just blathering nonsense about stuff you don't understand at all.

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    28. Tim,

      Other than because it's actually a religions movement, why would no other consistency matter? Why would only the one you like matter? Do you really not see the problem there? You want to propose a mind but forget all that's required for a mind in the first place. That's not straw-man, that's not my preferences, it's about the supposed consistencies that you yourself were talking about. To propose a mind, the mind must be plausible. For a mind to be plausible, there must be the ingredients there that make a mind. We consistently know that minds are human, require brains, require development themselves, and require the very things that you want to explain with a mind. We consistently know that minds don't act by themselves (mere wishing doesn't make it so), they require the actions allowed by the bodies, the tools, the technology. Therefore considering a mind, without anything else, is patently nonsensical. Again, nothing to do with my preferences.

      It's like in my example, after all the things added to this giant-human proposal, the person prefers to ignore that, and propose instead that we should just look at the hallmarks of a human fire. All there, only bigger, and man! More complicated! Much more powerful than any camp fire build by men! So let's propose a mind and let's ignore all the problems that the proposal entails. gathering wood? Nah, doesn't matter. If we see no evidence of such thing it's even more evidence for the mind! You have to plan so that you leave no traces of gathering that much wood! No evidence of the wood there in the first place? Even more astounding! Evidence of a far more advanced mind that makes fires without wood! All of that based on mere ignorance about how volcanoes work.

      From a scientific point of view, that's just ridiculous. The only reason you refuse to confront those elephants in the room is because your proposal is religious in nature. You have a mind in mind, and this mind is one of those fantasies called gods. Given that, your proposal stops being based on what we consistently, and scientifically, know, to become a proposal based on some fantasies that you believe by faith.

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    29. Tim Gardiner

      "I wonder how evolutionists would react if ID proponents were unable to explain the theory they're resisting?"

      IF?

      In any case, the difference is that we explain the mechanism of evolution and you don't accept it and you DON'T EXPLAIN the mechanism of ID when we ask for it. Why should we know what you refuse to explain?

      "Evolution can tinker with pre-existing specified complexity, but has never been observed to create novel specified complexity."

      Was ID observed to produce ANYTHING in nature?

      "That was actually the crux of Meyer's argument in the debate regarding a novel protein fold."

      It's not an argument for ID. It's a (weak) argument against evolution. Do you understand the difference between proving hypothesis A and refuting hypothesis B? They are not necessarily complementary. Do you know what the false dicotomy fallacy is?

      "Specified complexity is a game changer because evolution has never been observed to account for it's origination - but ID has"

      An example in nature, please.

      "In order for the functionality of an engineering system to happen - do the parts need to be in a specific arrangement?"

      No. That's what you don't get. What functionality? What function? You assume everything has a specific function but nature shows us that sometimes something that is perfectly suitable for a function is used for another function. Basically, given the arrangement, the function. So, no, you don't need a specific arrangement for a certain function. Given the arrangement you have, the function it will be found useful for.

      "We see specified complex systems all throughout biological organisms. That's why we can confidently say biological systems are engineering systems"

      BUT SCIENCE IS NOT ABOUT CONFIDENTLY SAYING: IT IS ABOUT PROVING. I CAN CONFIDENTLY SAY THAT THE EARTH IS PERFECTLY STILL IN SPACE. I JUST CAN'T PROVE IT BECAUSE IT'S WRONG.

      "We actually know an intelligent mind has been observed to produce specified complex systems. We have not observed the evolutionary mechanism to do it."

      We have not observed intelligent minds produce wild populations of living organisms and YES, WE HAVE PROVED THAT EVOLUTION PRODUCES SPECIFIED COMPLEX SYSTEMS.

      Besides, when you talk about "mind", you are specifically talking about HUMAN MIND. YES, WE CAN DIsCUSS WHAT HUMAN MINDS DO BECAUSE WE KNOW WHAT MIND WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

      That leads to your no spoken hypothesis about minds: you analize the MIND in ID relating it all the time to the human mind. HOW DO YOU KNOW THE MIND OF THE INTELLIGENT DESIGNER WORKS LIKE OUR MIND?

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    30. Tim Gardiner

      "(1) Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns that perform a specific function"

      THIS IS NOT A HYPOTHESIS. THIS IS AN OBSERVED FACT. THAT'S CHEATING.

      "(2) Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors"

      THIS IS NOT A HYPOTHESIS. THIS IS AN OBVIOUS FACT. IT'S LIKE SAYING "THINGS WILL BE FIND THAT LACK OF EXPLANATION". YOU DON'T HAVE PRECURSORS UNTIL YOU FIND THEM.

      "(3) Convergence will occur routinely."

      OBSERVED FACT, NOT HYPOTHESIS.

      "common designer is known to produce functional parts in various design concepts."

      GREAT!! A HYPOTHESIS. HOW DO YOU TEST THIS HYPOTHESIS? How do you prove THE DESIGNER will be interested in reusing parts? And “a common designer is known…”? What common designer is known?

      "(4) Much so-called "junk DNA" will turn out to perform valuable functions. This is because designers have been observed to exhibit foresight, having an end goal of purpose or function in mind. Therefore, we can predict much or all DNA has some function."

      Designers are known to produce garbage, too. They are known to produce designs that break, so that some of the components we find have lost their functionality. How do you apply this to DNA? Specially when the designers have designed a system capable of mutating. How do you prove that, given the way the designers designed life, DNA has to be completely functional and never lose functionality?

      On the other hand, how do you determine the “foresight” and the “goal of purpose”? How do you prove a function was purported?

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    31. Tim Gardiner

      Please, don't forget to answer this question: how would you prove someone was murdered without knowing how he died or who killed him?

      You can say that the purpose or the goal of having him dead proves he was murdered. How do you detect that goal?

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    32. Guillermo,

      "you don't need a specific arrangement for a certain function. Given the arrangement you have, the function it will be found useful for"

      It's a mystery how you can make such a bazaar statement.

      Do you not realize that the "arrangement you have" is required to be specified, that is it MUST be arranged in specific way or pattern, for the observed functionality of the system as a whole to occur. If the parts of a protein fold, DNA strand, molecular machine are not specifically arranged a certain way - then the observed function of those systems (as a whole) will not occur. That is specified complexity. It's irrelevant that individual parts can be used for other functions individually or for different functions in other systems.

      Try sticking to the point ID is making. Yes, parts of a specified complex system (say a mouse trap) can be used for different uses else where - but that's avoiding the point! The point is that there is an observed overall function for a mouse trap, your laptop, your watch, a bacterial flagellum, blood clotting. If parts in any of these systems are re-arranged differently or randomly - the system will fail.

      In fact, this is why irreducible complex systems like a mouse trap or bacterial flagellum are a special kind of specified complexity that only intelligence is known to produce - and the evolutionary is not at all know to produce.

      It's likely you'll need clarification on the irreducible complexity argument since it's been grossly misrepresented (intentionally or not). Here is a great article clarifying irreducible complexity with an excellent, simple, easy to understand visual near the end of the article. I behoove you to read it:

      http://www.discovery.org/a/24481

      As far as your last question: the clues in the murder case match a specific pattern. The specific pattern (specificity) taken together (complexity) reveals an intelligent act (murder) or a natural cause. In forensics this is not fool proof. Though this is how they solve murder cases. You don't need to know who killed the person to infer it was an intelligently designed act. Identification of the murderer is upon further investigation.

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    33. So much to respond to. Can't do it don't have time. It's striking that ID critics will try to fit a square through a circle opening. Trying to jam evolutionary theory into a slot that doesn't fit. ID provides a theory that fits the slot. You critics back away I believe because of your metaphysical presuppositions that you just won't allow to be challenged.

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    34. Should be easy. Let's see:

      1) Examples of ID observed working in nature. You say "evolution has never been obsered to produce X".

      What have we observed ID (the ID that produced life on Earth) produce?

      Nothing, right? What do you conclude of that?

      2) Do you understand that considering ID proved by presenting evidence against evolution is a false dicotomy fallacy?

      3) Do you understand that in science you have to back every claim with evidence? That you can't confidently say anything unless you support it with evidence?

      4) How do you test the inference that the ID mind works pretty much like ours?

      5) How do you test your inferences about what the outcome of the ID process would be like?

      6) How do you test your inference that ID should result in DNA with little junk?

      See? It's just six simple questions.

      Let's go on:

      Do you not realize that the "arrangement you have" is required to be specified, that is it MUST be arranged in specific way or pattern, for the observed functionality of the system as a whole to occur.

      Well done!!! You are claiming that you need a specified arrangement for the "observed function", which obviously would be the goal.

      Assume now that observed function was an accident. Accidentally the system serves a function. Does the arrangement that produces an accidental function need to be specified?

      This is important because, so far, we know these "accidents" occur. But we know nothing about the "intelligent design". So, of course, we don't even know if it's real.

      See my point? You reasoning is "specified arrangement for specified function". How do you know the function was specified? Remember, this is science, we need evidence to back your claim.

      That is specified complexity. It's irrelevant that individual parts can be used for other functions individually or for different functions in other systems.

      It's not irrelevant. It undermines your idea of specified function, foresight, goal, purpose. If any function can be the result of an accidental change in a previous function, maybe ALL functions are accidental changes of previous functions.

      So, you need to EXPLAIN and PROVE HOW a new function would be obtained otherwise, i.e. you need to describe the mechanism of ID.

      If parts in any of these systems are re-arranged differently or randomly - the system will fail

      MAN, EVOLUTION IS NOT RANDOMNESS.

      In fact, this is why irreducible complex systems like a mouse trap or bacterial flagellum are a special kind of specified complexity that only intelligence is known to produce - and the evolutionary is not at all know to produce.

      I know evolutive explanations about how the bacterial flagellum appeared on Earth. I know NO EXPLANATION based on ID about how the bacterial flagellum appeared on Earth. Can you provide one?

      See what you are doing? You are all the time saying things like "known common designers", "intelligent design is known to produce", but those are lies. We know no common designer. We don't know how ID produces any feature we find naturally in life. It's bullshit!!!

      you'll need clarification on the irreducible complexity argument

      What I would really like to know is why is it that an irreducibly complex system cannot be the result of biological evolution.

      If you take a part from such system, it ceases to work. What implications does this have in terms of biological evolution?

      the clues in the murder case match a specific pattern

      What clues? What pattern? What clues and patterns point to a murder WITHOUT GIVING YOU ANY INFORMATION ABOUT THE CAUSE OF DEATH OR THE ENTITY RESPONSABLE OF THE MURDER? Bear in mind that knowing it was a human is knowing something about the killer; it could have been an animal, too.

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    35. "It's bullshit!!!"

      Right, so throw 10-11 different distractions that have nothing to do with what is actually claimed - and poof! You've explained it away!

      "Assume now that observed function was an accident. Accidentally the system serves a function"

      Again, that is part of the overall point. Evolution has never demonstrated to have the creative power to do this! It's only observed to tinker with pre-existing specified complexity that DOES NOT CAUSE A NOVEL FUNCTION. You're assuming it has the creative power, like a magic wand, to account for new specified complexity with a brand new functionality. Nope never observed, and far as I know never explained how evolution actually would do this.

      "If any function can be the result of an accidental change in a previous function, maybe ALL functions are accidental changes of previous functions."

      Again, GIGANTIC assumption. The point is it never has been observed. That is point of the 1 in 10^77 protein fold mutational search (a conservative value) needed for a novel function. Yes, you need an element of randomness in evolution. Read what Moran said in this blog that your posting on.

      "I know evolutive explanations about how the bacterial flagellum appeared on Earth. I know NO EXPLANATION based on ID about how the bacterial flagellum appeared on Earth"

      Again, GIGANTIC assumption! Never observed. All explanations about how the bacterial flagellum appeared PRESUPPOSE the existence of specified complexity. No evolutionary explanation that I know of actually explains how a brand new irreducible complex system can arise by undirected processes. If there is, it has never been observed. So, no bonus points. Sorry.

      "What I would really like to know is why is it that an irreducibly complex system cannot be the result of biological evolution."

      Because it's never been observed and because of the vastly improbable odds (1 in 10^77 as just a small example) that it would occur in the evolutionary time available.

      We know intelligent beings are able to create specified complexity and irreducible complexity. We know that the concept began in the intelligent being's mind. It's legitimate to say the "mind" is the ultimate cause or mechanism. That's it. All you need for a scientific inference. Discover exactly how, what other mechanisms were used to creat the finished product of specified complexity - is highly interesting but not necessary to infer the design itself.

      I do not have the brain power these days to try to explain this any more, nor do I have the time. We'll have to agree to disagree. I apologize if I've been hostile at all. Thank you for not personally attacking me - which is a step in the right direction for both sides..

      Take Care :)

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    36. That is point of the 1 in 10^77 protein fold mutational search (a conservative value) needed for a novel function.

      No, not a "conservative value". A completely made up value, with no evidence to back it up. Just because a creationist blog can quote a ridiculously large number does not mean that number actually means anything.

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    37. Lutesuite

      " No, not a "conservative value". A completely made up value, with no evidence to back it up. "

      Are you sure you actually understand the subject ?

      Bruce Alberts writes in Molecular biology of the cell :

      Since each of the 20 amino acids is chemically distinct and each can, in principle, occur at any position in a protein chain, there are 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 = 160,000 different possible polypeptide chains four amino acids long, or 20n different possible polypeptide chains n amino acids long. For a typical protein length of about 300 amino acids, a cell could theoretically make more than 10^390 different pollpeptide chains. This is such an enormous number that to produce just one molecule of each kind would require many more atoms than exist in the universe. Only a very small fraction of this vast set of conceivable polypeptide chains would adopt a single, stable three-dimensional conformation-by some estimates, less than one in a billion. And yet the vast majority of proteins present in cells adopt unique and stable conformations. How is this possible?

      The complexity of living organisms is staggering, and it is quite sobering to note that we currently lack even the tiniest hint of what the function might be for more than 10,000 of the proteins that have thus far been identified in the human genome. There are certainly enormous challenges ahead for the next generation of cell biologists, with no shortage of fascinating mysteries to solve.

      Now comes Alberts striking explanation of how the right sequence arised :

      The answer Iies in natural selection. A protein with an unpredictably variable structure and biochemical activity is unlikely to help the survival of a cell that contains it. Such
      proteins would therefore have been eliminated by natural selection through the enormously long trial-and-error process that underlies biological evolution. Because evolution has selected for protein function in living organisms, the amino acid sequence of most present-day proteins is such that a single conformation is extremely stable. In addition, this conformation has its chemical properties finely tuned to enable the protein to perform a particular catalltic or structural function in the cell. Proteins are so precisely built that the change of even a few atoms in one amino acid can sometimes disrupt the structure of the whole molecule so severelv that all function is lost.

      Proteins are not rigid lumps of material. They often have precisely engineered moving parts whose mechanical actions are coupled to chemical events. It is this coupling of chemistry and movement that gives proteins the extraordinary capabilities that underlie the dynamic processes in living cells

      Now think for a moment . It seems that natural selection is the key answer to any phenomena in biology, where there is no scientific evidence to make a empricial claim. Much has been written about the fact that natural selection cannot produce coded information. Alberts short explanation is a prima facie example about how main stream sciencists make without hesitation " just so " claims without being able to provide a shred of evidence, just in order to mantain a paradigm on which the scientific establishment relies, where evolution is THE answer to almost every biochemical phenomena. Fact is that precision, coded information, stability, interdependence and irreducible complexity etc. are products of intelligent minds. The author seems also to forget that natural selection cannot occur before the first living cell replicates. Several hundred proteins had to be already in place and fully operating in order to make even the simplest life possible

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    38. ElShamah777,

      You don't even understand the creationist argument you're trying to defend. That's very amusing.

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    39. Tim,

      "Again, that is part of the overall point. Evolution has never demonstrated to have the creative power to do this! It's only observed to tinker with pre-existing specified complexity that DOES NOT CAUSE A NOVEL FUNCTION."

      Says who? And regardless, suppose the evolutionary processes did not "create" a novel function. So what? Minds do not produce anything without bodies, tools, and technologies. Minds do not exist without the very things you want to explain as the products of minds.

      "You're assuming it has the creative power, like a magic wand, to account for new specified complexity with a brand new functionality. Nope never observed, and far as I know never explained how evolution actually would do this."

      Again, it has. Plenty of examples where, for example, evolutionary algorithms "create" very useful stuff. Stuff that has been often impossible for engineers to design. Interesting, stuff that engineers find very hard to explain (they don;t get how or why they work as wanted).

      But again, suppose that has never happened. Why go for a mind when minds require so much themselves in the first place? When what you're attempting to explain is required before you can have a working mind. When minds don't act on their own, when minds require tools, technologies, etc. Again, where's the scientific evidence that minds can exist without what minds require to exist? At least we know that evolutionary processes do exist. At least we know that new information is made all the time. Small and not so small. You despise and ignore them as if "tinkering" was not the making of new information whatsoever. But what is that but a question of scale? Yet, again, if it wasn't, if it truly had never been observed, minds are simply a no-go. A god-of-the-gaps fallacy in disguise.

      I know that you mix that with the "specified information" rhetoric. But that too is a huge fitting of the data into your preconceived notions. It's a circular argument where you label something as what a mind produces and then conclude that a mind produced it. Each complain is force fitted into your diatribe.

      Volcano-gods all the way. Nothing else.

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    40. ES777,

      "Proteins are not rigid lumps of material. They often have precisely engineered moving parts whose mechanical actions are coupled to chemical events. It is this coupling of chemistry and movement that gives proteins the extraordinary capabilities that underlie the dynamic processes in living cells"

      This is quite the curious claim. I bet you can come up with a million quotes. Please don't. Just read and pay attention. I worked with protein movements for my PhD. You have a very deep misunderstanding about proteins. Of course, proteins are not rigid lumps of material. They are very plastic and they move a lot. So much that the time for a "buried" water molecule inside some "rigid" protein has been measured in nanoseconds.

      As per those "precisely engineered moving parts," they suck. When we examine a structure that has those large movements, they do not look like precisely engineered moving parts. They look like shit. We schematize them as if they were precisely and beautifully formed when we make cartoons to explain phenomena, but those cartoons do not look like the real structures at all. We say "there's a lid," but we have to point to the "lid" in the structure, and, often, it can only be well identified by looking at structures with the "lid" open and closed.

      Biochemical phenomena, like enzyme catalysis, are not clean and neat phenomena. They are painful to pinpoint, figure out, and then rationalize against backgrounds of possibilities available because of the way chemistry works.

      When we examine proteins, we use a lot of metaphorical language out of lack of a language developed under the circumstances we're trying to explain. That doesn't mean that we actually find finely crafted machines. That just means we use familiar language to try and convey some explanations. But the work involved is hard precisely because those molecular "machines" are far from being the finely beautifully crafted machines that you imagine them to be.

      Delete
    41. “…those "precisely engineered moving parts," they suck. When we examine a structure that has those large movements, they do not look like precisely engineered moving parts. They look like shit. We schematize them as if they were precisely and beautifully formed when we make cartoons to explain phenomena, but those cartoons do not look like the real structures at all.”

      Yeah, sometimes I ruminate about how piss-poorly proteins were designed. But then, sometimes I think Muggeridge was right…we’ve educated ourselves into imbecility.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wejj8G9ZoXY

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    42. Proteins weren't designed txpiper, they evolved.

      Delete
    43. Tim Gardiner

      First, did you notice that you avoided all my questions about ID?

      Here they go again:
      1) Examples of ID observed working in nature. What have we observed ID (the ID that produced life on Earth) produce? Nothing, right?

      2) Do you understand that considering ID proved by presenting evidence against evolution is a false dichotomy fallacy?

      3) Do you understand that in science you have to back every claim with evidence? That you can't confidently say anything unless you support it with evidence?

      4) How do you test the inference that the ID mind works pretty much like ours?

      5) How do you test your inferences about what the outcome of the ID process would be like?

      6) How do you test your inference that ID should result in DNA with little junk?

      Second: every time you claim "evolution has not been observed to do..." my answer is the same: ID HAS NEVER BEEN OBSERVED TO DO ANYTHING.


      Evolution has never demonstrated to have the creative power to do this!

      Can you demonstrate the creative power of the mechanism of ID that produced life on Earth?


      It's only observed to tinker with pre-existing specified complexity that DOES NOT CAUSE A NOVEL FUNCTION.

      Define "novel function" and describe how the mechanism of ID would produce "novel functions".


      You're assuming it has the creative power, like a magic wand, to account for new specified complexity with a brand new functionality.

      At least I KNOW WHAT I AM ATTRIBUTING MAGIC POWERS TO!!! You are assuming the magic creative power of a mechanism you don't know performed by an entity you don't know for a purpose you don't know!!!!


      Nope never observed, and far as I know never explained how evolution actually would do this.

      EXCELLENT! What explanation about how ID would do it do you know and when has it been observed?


      GIGANTIC assumption. The point is it never has been observed. That is point of the 1 in 10^77 protein fold mutational search (a conservative value) needed for a novel function. Yes, you need an element of randomness in evolution

      Whoa!! This is tough... So much bullshit in here I don't know where to start…

      GIGANTIC ASSUMPTION? Not bigger than claiming "you don't know what" is the cause of life "you don't know how" "you don't know why".. Ain't that a big assumption?

      Never been observed? YES, IT'S BEEN OBSERVED IN THE CASE OF EVOLUTION. NO, IT HAS NOT BEEN OBSERVED IN THE CASE OF ID.

      1 in 10^77 is a value taken out of context and absurdly extrapolated in a ridiculous way. Here is an interesting analysis of the source of that figure:
      http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/01/92-second-st-fa.html

      An element of randomness? If I am not wrong you referred to evolution as total randomness before. So, I guess you are correcting yourself,

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    44. Tim Gardiner (cont.)

      Never observed. All explanations about how the bacterial flagellum appeared PRESUPPOSE the existence of specified complexity.

      Never observed? Again? Really? Do I have to say it? CAN YOU PROVIDE AN OBSERVED EXAMPLE OF THE MECHANISM OF ID THAT PRODUCED LIFE AT WORK?

      All explanations about the bacterial flagellum presuppose? Ok, describe any ID explanation for the bacterial flagellum and LET’S SEE IF IT PRESUPPOSES SOMETHING… (You can’t, can you?)


      No evolutionary explanation that I know of actually explains how a brand new irreducible complex system can arise by undirected processes.

      Do you know any ID explanation that explains how brand new irreducible complex system can arise in wild living organisms?

      Let me guess: NO?

      By the way, you obviously do not know these explanations for irreducible complex systems:
      http://www.nature.com/news/prehistoric-proteins-raising-the-dead-1.10261
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v481/n7381/full/nature10724.html


      Because it's never been observed and because of the vastly improbable odds (1 in 10^77 as just a small example) that it would occur in the evolutionary time available.

      This is crap. The odds you mention apply only to some types of protein, not to ANY IC system. And “it’s impossible because it has never been observed” is bullshit. Do you know planes? Before the first one flew, they had never been observed.

      Again, an irreducibly complex system is a system that ceases to function if it loses one component. How does that affect evolution?


      Discover exactly how, what other mechanisms were used to creat the finished product of specified complexity - is highly interesting but not necessary to infer the design itself.

      Really? Can you provide evidence for ANY mechanism without considering the characteristics of the mechanism? Simple challenge: choose a mechanism, whatever you like, and test if that mechanism is real without considering how that mechanism works. An example: RAIN. How do you prove rain really happens without knowing what happens when it rains?

      Delete
  20. I apologize I didn't mean to post my last reply twice. I can't delete it. I only meant to post it in my convo with Georgi just north of here..

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  21. photosynthesis, I didn't mean that we know only a mind can produce it. What I meant is that a mind is the only known source capable of producing it. There might be other sources, but we only know of one for certain: a mind. My fault, hope that is clear.

    Your saying ID has to have a mechanism to explain exactly how a specified complex came to be. I'm assuming a physical mechanism No, it doesn't. And I never said a mind can "pop things into existence". We don't have to know how in order to infer that the original concept/idea (specified complex system) began in an intelligent mind - and ultimately was produced somehow. We don't need to know how. We know where the concept came from: intelligence. The fact that specified complexity is a real (not invented) attribute of engineering systems is sufficient enough evidence to conclude that the original concept began in an intelligent mind. Because that is what we have observed to be true. This is unlike the evolutionary mechanism which has not been observed to produce a specified complex system. This is not circular. It's based upon observed experience that no undirected, unintelligent process can claim. Your response to this post on a computing device is testable evidence that ID is a proven source for specified complexity to trace back to. And so where ever we see specified complex systems, even in nature, ID is a legitimate scientific inference.

    Other concepts like "foresight" which we observe in nature also have ID inferences. Embryonic development clearly shows that cells are dividing for specific purposes to create specific organs, etc.. All the biological information for the organism's entire development is house in it's chromosomal composition which exists before any of it happened. That is foresight, which is a concept found in an intelligent mind. No need to know how to infer design.




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    1. Sorry everybody, I'm listed as "Unknown" just above. I changed computers and the settings are different. Sorry..

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  22. Life was designed for a far different environment. The atmo had more pressure and more oxygen. The expulsion from the Garden might have actually been a major change in the environment and the Flood a further one. So a lot of the DNA is not applicable nowadays, and there has been a few thousand years of devolution. We are struggling along trying to adapt to environs that barely sustain us. We have to eat meat or spend a fortune at the health foods store for example...

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    1. Some people think that sauropods could not live and function in the current environment, suggesting that gravity was attenuated at some point. Fossil megafauna well attest to the fact that dramatic changes have occurred. At one time, the earth was tropical from pole to pole.

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    2. suggesting that gravity was attenuated at some point.

      ROTFLMAO! Why didn't Earth lose a portion of its atmosphere and fly off further away from the Sun, destroying all life? Why do we still have a moon?

      Fossil megafauna well attest to the fact that dramatic changes have occurred. At one time, the earth was tropical from pole to pole.

      According to you that began a maximum of 6000 years ago. When did it stop?

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  23. @Max:
    Life was designed for a far different environment.

    So, the designer didn't forsee these changes? There goes the almighty and all knowing god.

    So a lot of the DNA is not applicable nowadays

    And there goes ID too.

    What exactly is the point you were trying to make Max?

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