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Darwinism’s great appeal: Empowering the ignorant and nurturing their self-esteem

More for amusement than anything else, I sometimes check the latest reviews of my books and those of my colleagues on Amazon. Here’s the beginning and end of a review of Icons of Evolution (authored by my good friend Jonathan Wells) posted three days ago:

***********************************************
A review by a medical researcher, June 27, 2006
Reviewer: Ian R. Peters (Boulder, CO USA)

I want to make 2 things clear before I start discussing this book.

(1) I have read this book thoroughly. I have taken the time to analyze the
arguments that Jonathan Wells makes.

(2) I am a medical researcher and have quite a bit of background on this
subject. This is not to say that I’m infallible, because as Wells clearly
demonstrates a biology degree can mean that you can still be wayyy off base.
Still, I would like to point out that I have some knowledge of the subject.

Wells’ book is a product of someone who has little or no understanding of
the subject matter. A perfect example is his discussion on homology. Wells
tries to show that the argument for evolution is a circular one because, he
says, evolutionists use analogous structures as support for evolution and
vice versa. But the thing is, we biologists don’t use JUST homologous
structures as evidence for evolution. There’s a whole lot of evidence that
is taken into account including genetics, biochemical systems and
comparative embryonic analysis.

…[snip]…

The theory of evolution has helped us to better understand the world around
us, including how/why bacteria adapt to antibiotics and how we can fight
avian flu. Without it, I know that the work that I and countless others do
would not have any meaning. Modern biology has given us a lot and evolution
provides the framework for it all.

If you think this book is right and evolution is a work of fiction, then
just be glad that your doctor knows better. We need more trained biologists
in this country to help keep our world healthy and I fear works like this
one will deter young people from becoming productive scientists.
*****************************************

Curious, I looked up Ian R. Peters on the University of Colorado-Boulder web site (I found him here). He’s a 5th year senior (i.e., undergraduate) in biological sciences and philosophy.

Isn’t Darwinism wonderful? It empowers someone who has not yet earned a bachelor’s degree to call himself a “medical researcher” and tell Jonathan Wells — with a Ph.D. in biology and twenty years of experience in medical laboratories — that he has “little or no understanding of the subject matter.”

But Darwinism doesn’t merely empower. It also nourishes self-esteem. It’s why we desperately need courses in evolutionary logic:

Evolutionary Logic
By William A. Dembski

Since the neo-Darwinian synthesis of the 1930s, evolutionary biology has become a growth industry. This growth has resulted in the demand for more flexible methods of establishing evolutionary biology’s grandiose claims than the laborious, difficult, pedantic, and “rigorous” methods favored throughout the rest of the sciences. This demand has been met by what is now a well-developed branch of evolutionary biology known as evolutionary logic.

I can’t here develop the theory of evolutionary logic in detail, but I will introduce some necessary terminology. In ordinary logic, which is used throughout the rest of the sciences, one is justified asserting that a claim is true provided one can formulate a coherent and rigorous argument that supports it. In evolutionary logic we relax both these restrictions: an evolutionary claim is true provided there is an evolutionary argument that supports it. This definition is sufficiently clear as not to require elaboration. Further, we stipulate that any circularity in this definition is virtuous rather than vicious.

The benefits and practical applications of evolutionary logic will be obvious. Professional authors of evolutionary tracts depend on it for their livelihood. Instructors in evolutionary biology find that evolutionary logic enables them to make complex ideas readily accessible to students regardless of their preparation or background (indeed, proficiency in evolutionary logic has been shown to be positively correlated with high self-esteem). Research workers in a hurry to claim priority for a new result or who lack the time and inclination to be pedantic find evolutionary logic useful for expeditiously writing up their results. In this respect evolutionary logic has a further advantage, namely, the results are not required to be true, thus eliminating a tiresome (and now superfluous) restriction on the growth of evolutionary knowledge.

I want next to consider some of the actual techniques for establishing evolutionary claims that evolutionary logic makes available. I will be concerned mainly with ways in which these techniques can be applied in lecture courses — they require only trivial modification to be used in textbooks, research papers, formal debates, and Internet discussions.

In evolutionary biology, organisms transform by an evolutionary process into other organisms. This means that evolutionary biologists are often called on to establish lineal relationships. There is a whole class of methods that can be applied when an instructor can’t quite bridge an evolutionary gap. Suppose an instructor can get from organism A to organism B and from organism C to organism D by an evolutionary process but cannot bridge the gap between B and C. A number of techniques are available to the aggressive instructor in this emergency. The instructor can write down B and then, without any hesitation, put “therefore C.” If the class is bored or the organisms in question are not terribly interesting, it is unlikely that anyone will question the “therefore.” This is the method of argument by omission and it is remarkably easy to get away with (sorry, “remarkably easy to apply with success”).

Alternatively, there is the argument by fiat, where one simply posits an intermediary between B and C — call it Z — that shares characteristics of both. The evolutionary transitions from B to Z and then from Z to C are now obvious. The argument by fiat is a special case of the argument by misdirection, where in place of a difficult problem that was supposed to be solved, one solves an easier problem that is superficially similar to the original problem.

Argument by definition can be extremely effective. Here the instructor defines a set S to be whatever biological systems satisfy some property. For instance, S might consist of all irreducibly complex molecular machines that are the result of Darwinian evolution. The lecturer then announces that in the future only members of S will be the focus of discussion. Even honors students will take this at face value, not questioning whether the set S might in fact be empty.

Argument by assertion is unanswerable. If, for instance, some vague waffle about an evolutionary transition does not satisfy a recalcitrant student, the instructor simply says, “This point should be intuitively obvious. I’ve explained it as clearly as I can. If you still cannot see it, you will just have to think very carefully about it yourself, and then you will see how trivial and obvious it is.” The instructor at this point might also want to add, “What are you, a creationist?” or “Are you one of those Christian fundamentalists?” or “Where have you been brainwashed?” Arguments by demonization like this are particularly effective when one or a few students get unruly, but the majority sides with the instructor.

Yet when the majority of the class becomes unruly, nothing beats an argument by obscure reference. This will silence all but the most determined troublemaker. Few students take the time or want to take the time to hunt down an obscure reference in the evolutionary literature. And even if students locate the reference (which is becoming easier with the Internet), if the reference is sufficiently technical and difficult to understand, it is an easy matter for the instructor to inform the student that he or she simply doesn’t comprehend the relevant passage.

In this case, if the instructor is feeling benevolent, he or she may simply offer an argument from removable ignorance — “Just keep studying evolutionary theory, and eventually it will all make sense.” If that doesn’t work, the instructor may wish to try an argument from stupidity — “How can you be so stupid?” But if the student is otherwise at the top of the class, this approach may backfire. In that case, either the argument from wickedness (“You are just being perverse”) or the argument from insanity (“What are you, nuts?”) should do the trick. And always keep the argument by demonization in your front pocket.

A variant of the argument by obscure reference is the argument by irrelevant reference. This works in a pinch when you can be reasonably sure that the student won’t track down the reference (perhaps because of time constraints). But be careful — if the irrelevance is palpable (say you are discussing the evolution of vertebrates and the article you cite is on the evolution of organisms in a completely different phylum or even kingdom), then you may be in trouble if the irrelevancy is pointed out. Make sure the irrelevance is hard to fathom. And then there’s the argument by nonexistent reference — this works best in public debates.

Because the public debate over evolution tends to pit academic high culture against the burger-eating, coke-swilling moronic masses, it is helpful to have a technique specifically for keeping the masses in check and for keeping the academic elite from being seduced by populist sentiments. The argument from aesthetics is the technique of choice here. “This theory is just too beautiful to be false.” Evolutionary biologists regularly use this technique to establish the validity of their theories when the evidence for them otherwise is extremely slender.

By now it will be apparent what riches derive from the study of evolutionary logic. I therefore appeal to evolutionary biologists everywhere to institute formal courses in this discipline. This should preferably be done at the undergraduate level so that those who go to teach with only a bachelor’s degree will be familiar with the subject. But high school students too should be exposed to the rudiments of evolutionary logic. It is certain that in the future no one will be able to claim a biological education without a firm grounding in the practical applications of evolutionary logic.

This article adapts and extends Paul Dunmore’s “The Uses of Fallacy,” New Zealand Mathematics Magazine, vol. 7, 1970.

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32 Responses to Darwinism’s great appeal: Empowering the ignorant and nurturing their self-esteem

  1. Dr. Dembski,

    Aren’t you being a little hard on Mr. Peters? After seeing his CV, I am quite impressed: http://ucsu.colorado.edu/~petersi/cv.pdf

    Resident Advisor 2003 to Present
    University of Colorado Housing Department, Boulder, CO 13 hrs a week
    I am directly responsible for the well-being and security of 76 freshmen at
    the international dormitory at Willard Hall. My duties include nightly
    patrols and room searches for contraband.

    Responsible for security for ’76 freshmen’ mind you! 76! He also seems to be some sort of covert operative working ‘nightly patrols and room searches for contraband’. And a biology major to boot! How does he do it?

    I venture to guess that this man is to biology as Eddie the Eagle was to Olympic ski jumping.

    Saxe

  2. I hope you have posted your expose of Mr. Peters on the Amazon website so others can be warned of his review (assuming it is the right guy).

    Nice to see such a morally concerned evolutionist — oh that’s right, evolution is morally bankrupt; it’s just survival of the fittest out there.

    Robo

  3. I guess this is what Dawkins meant with “intellectually fullfilled”.

  4. Co-option, discussed in my last post, is a fine example of evolutionary logic: make up an imaginative story that has no basis in evidence or sound reasoning, and declare the problem solved.

    I’d be curious to hear the details concerning how evolutionary theory can help us fight avian flu. And what contribution did Darwinism make to the development of antibiotics, anyway?

    Here’s a thought: What if the mutations that confer antibiotic resistance to bacteria are not random, but designed and engineered in some way? If they are random there is nothing we can do about it, but if they are designed perhaps we could find a way to attack the mechanism that engineers these “mutations,” and defeat the bugs once and for all. If this should turn out to be the case, this would be another example of how erroneous Darwinian assumptions led us down a blind alley, as they did with “junk” DNA and many “vestigial” organs.

  5. Well, I just came across a prime example of evolutionary logic earlier today and it just happens to be related to co-option.

    The crucial argument underlying the whole ID philosophy, widely discussed in the video, is the concept of “irreducibly complex” systems, and the purported impossibility of conventional evolutionary mechanisms to generate them. Although it was quickly rejected by biologists on theoretical and empirical grounds, “irreducible complexity” has remained the main staple of ID Creationism. Ironically, this argument was just recently delivered a fatal blow in the prestigious science journal Nature, where a computer simulation based entirely on evolutionary principles (undirected random mutation and selection) was shown to be able to generate “irreducibly complex” outputs. here

    What I am left wondering is, if computer simulations can demonstrate that it is possible to generate IC systems “based entirely on evolutionary principles (undirected random mutation and selection),” what was the basis of the rejection of IC on theoretical grounds?

    I wonder if Judge Jones was aware of this letter, posted on the NCSE web site.

    What does this tell us about IC?

    A valid scientific and biological concept. Possible to study scientifically.

    Why do evolutionists resort to co-option to explain what can easily be explained by the standard evolutionary mechanisms of undirected random mutation and selection?

    In what sense are “mutations” in a computer simulation undirected? The mutations are permitted to effect programming logic or physical entities existing apart from the computer program?

  6. Bottaro’s letter, indeed the entire NCSE review of Unlocking the Mystery of Life, is a joke. I had personal correspondence with the NCSE about this 3 years ago, in which they tacitly admitted that their critique was lacking, but assured me that a scientific critique of the documentary would be posted “in the very near future.” Oh well, I guess they couldn’t be bothered to actually come up with any rational critique.

    My thoughts on the NCSE review, including the letter Mung cites:

    http://www.evolutiondebate.inf.....20NCSE.htm

  7. [OFF TOPIC]
    I am happy to anounce that Darwin’s countrymen have been kicked out of the World Cup by Portugal. The history of Euro 2004 repeats itself since Portugal defeated England by penalty shots back then aswell.

    Clearly England did not evolve since 2004 (Thank God for that!).

    We are awfully sorry for this intermission. We now resume our “Evolutionary Logic” trend.

    by P.N.C.S.E.D.W.C.E. (Portuguese National Center for Science Education During World Cup Events)

  8. One more point, just in case it was not clear to everyone from Mung’s quote. The “computer simulation” referred to by Bottaro, which supposedly delivered the “fatal blow” to irreducible complexity, is none other than the silly Avida program. Thus we have a sense as to the low level of “proof” that Bottaro is willing to blindly accept from his buddies. Now Bottaro can go on his merry way, content in the illusion that some computer simulation has dispensed with the challenges to Darwinian theory . . .

  9. Mung,

    You asked — What I am left wondering is, if computer simulations can demonstrate that it is possible to generate IC systems “based entirely on evolutionary principles (undirected random mutation and selection),” what was the basis of the rejection of IC on theoretical grounds?

    I just have a quick question, if you could clear it up for me, please.

    I thought the whole point of IC was that it couldn’t have evolved. So if they show that it could have (yeah right) wouldn’t that mean that it isn’t IC in the first place?

    Sorry if that’s a dumb question, but you lost me.

    JanieBelle

  10. JannieBelle says “I thought the whole point of IC was that it couldn’t have evolved.”

    If you look at Gil’s post yesterday on co option, you will see that IC has been attacked on the basis that the parts of a large integrated system may have had other selectable uses prior to their being incorperated into the new apparently Irreducibly Complex system.

    This is the approach taken by almost all biologists as the de novo production of IC systems is tacitly agreed to be impossible.

    Casey Luskin addresses this in a piece about cars and lugnuts at ARN.org.

    What Behe argued was that there has been no detailed account of how any IC system could have evolved by Darwinian means. We must remember that fables are not detailed and that each step in the program must confer a selectable advantage.

    IC is alive and well in molecular biology.

  11. “I thought the whole point of IC was that it couldn’t have evolved. So if they show that it could have (yeah right) wouldn’t that mean that it isn’t IC in the first place?” – JanieBelle

    Isn’t the answer to JanieBelle’s question that either

    1) the system was not Irreducibly Complex, or

    2) the Computer Program doesn’t do what it purports to do, which is simulate how biology works in the real world (i.e. the computer program “cheats”)

  12. Eric,

    Great essay; glad you took the time to write it.

    Cheers.

  13. 13

    Re #4

    –”Here’s a thought: What if the mutations that confer antibiotic resistance to bacteria are not random, but designed and engineered in some way? If they are random there is nothing we can do about it, but if they are designed perhaps we could find a way to attack the mechanism that engineers these “mutations,”

    What a good point.

    What will be truly embarrassing and baffling as future generations look back on this foolish episode in science, is that while prior centuries can be largely excused for believing in things like spontaneous generation (they did seem to observe it) or the sun going around the earth (ditto) we know far too much to justify clinging to this absurdity.

  14. 14
    sagebrush gardener

    GilDodgen wrote:

    What if the mutations that confer antibiotic resistance to bacteria are not random, but designed and engineered in some way?

    As someone who works with computers for a living, I know a bit about computer viruses. The parallels between computer viruses – whose origin by intelligent design is undisputed – and certain biological agents are fascinating.

    Here are a few quotes from Symantec’s database of computer virus descriptions…

    Metamorphic viruses use a permutated virus body. The virus engine of a metamorphic virus can recompile itself into a new form. So, the code of the virus is different from generation to generation, leaving no constant areas that let antivirus software detect it using string type detection.

    The virus … is a single code that mutates itself.

    … a mutation engine produces seemingly random programs … and some mutation engines generate billions upon billions of variations.

    In other words, random mutation within predefined limits is a survival strategy that is designed into certain sophisticated computer viruses. Randomness (including random mutation) and intelligent design are not mutually exclusive.

  15. JannieBelle:
    I thought the whole point of IC was that it couldn’t have evolved.

    IC is all about the mechanism of evolution- evolution having several meanings.

    There is a paper titled “Evolving Inventions”, Scientific American 2003 (Keane, Koza & Streeter). In that paper IC systems “evolved” via a target/ goal-oriented program. IOW the pre-programming and the resources were provided so that the systems could evolve. IOW the systems were designed to evolve!

    On another note-Perhaps Ian Peters should read the following:

    Is Bacterial Resistance
    to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?

  16. Saxe:
    I venture to guess that this man is to biology as Eddie the Eagle was to Olympic ski jumping.

    But Eddie WAS an Olympic ski jumper (very similar to “poor design is still intelligent design”) regardless of his ability (or lack thereof) to compete at any level in that event.

    Ian was never anything to biology. Eddie had the nads to ante up on the world’s biggest stage.

  17. Sorry if that’s a dumb question, but you lost me. – JanieBelle

    No, it’s not a dumb question. I see you received a number of responses from others, but I’ll add my own comments as well. I think you are expressing a common misunderstanding of IC. Behe did not argue that IC systems could not have evolved, in fact he considers in his book that they may indeed have evolved. Those who appeal to co-option to explain IC systems are not “refuting” Behe, they are agreeing with him. Behe’s argument is structured around Darwin’s own proposed test of his theory:

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

    Now, apart from the simple fact that it is impossible to make such a demonstration, and that this is a test of Darwin’s theory in name only, Behe gave it his best effort. IC systems are a challenge to Darwinian formation “by numerous, successive, slight modifications.” Behe’s critics admit this when they resort to exaptations as an “explanation.”

    I am just pointing out that Bottaro’s claim raises some issues that seem to have escaped the notice of the critics of IC and call into question their reasoning, in line with the spirit of this thread.

  18. Well, I’ve come across some more fine examples of evolutionary logic that I’d love to share. From over at TT:

    Our starting assumption as scientists ought to be that on some level consciousness has to be an illusion. The reason is obvious: If nothing in the physical world can have the features that consciousness seems to have, then consciousness cannot exist as a thing in the physical world. So while we should concede that as conscious subjects we do have a valid experience of there being something in our minds that the rules of the physical universe doesn’t apply to, this has to be all it is – the experience of something in our minds.”
    Nicholas Humphrey, “Consciousness: The Achilles Heel of Darwinism? Thank God, Not Quite”, in John Brockman (ed.), Intelligent Thought: Science versus the Intelligent Design Movement (Vintage, 2006), pp. 58-9. Original emphasis.

    Our starting assumption as scientists ought to be that on some level consciousness has to be an illusion.

    Humphrey declares that our starting assumption as scientists ought to be that on some level consciousness has to be an illusion. I disagree.

    First, what about non-scientists? Should the starting assumption of non-scientists be different? If so, why should the starting assumption of scientists be any different from the starting assumption of the non-scientist? Do scientists live in a different reality from the rest of us?

    Humphrey gives what he thinks is a rational reason for the starting assumption that “on some level consciousness has to be an illusion.” He states:

    The reason is obvious: If nothing in the physical world can have the features that consciousness seems to have, then consciousness cannot exist as a thing in the physical world.

    The reason is not so obvious. Why should scientists believe that nothing in the physical world can have the features that consciousness seems to have? Should not the starting assumption be, that consciousness exists, that consciousness exists in the physical world, and that therefore there is something in the physical world that can have the features that consciousness seems to have? Why should that not be our starting assumption as scientists?

    Is there any other field of science which would deny that the features of something that exists in the physical world could actually exist in the physical world, and therefore the thing which has those features must be an illusion? Or is this strange mode of thinking peculiar to Humphrey’s own field?

    Humphrey’s argument is flawed from the beginning. He has not rationally justified his starting assumption and actually wants to assume that which he desires to prove. His argument is fallicious.

    As an aside, how is it that science can justify what “ougth” to be the case?

    So while we should concede that as conscious subjects we do have a valid experience of there being something in our minds that the rules of the physical universe doesn’t apply to, this has to be all it is – the experience of something in our minds.

    If, as conscious subjects, we have a valid experience of something in our minds, why would we assume, think, or believe that these valid experiences are something that “the rules of the physical universe doesn’t apply to?” Humphrey gives no rational justification for this claim and I can think of no good reason to accept that it is true. None at all.

    …if we were to come across an impossible to create object … we would have to conclude that it had been created supernaturally.

    I disagree. We would have to conclude that it was not an impossible to create object.

  19. The various computer simulations set up to prop up Darwinism’s crumbling façade are actually an example of intelligent design. They do not in any way prove the efficacy of random mutations ex nihilo, but the exact opposite: that to arrive at a specific result one needs to design a specific function or functions purposely directed toward achieving the desired outcome. The programmers (intelligent agent) begin with a purpose and a result in mind and assemble various components to achieve that aim. They need hardware of various types (a room or lab, a computer or computer network, their own body), and software of various kinds (computer applications, electric current, and their own knowledge of how best to put it all together to function as desired for the result intended.) Many of these prerequisite components need to be irreducibly complex, individually in themselves, in order to be functional as designed and desired, in the whole.

    Darwinists refuse to contemplate these fundamental and indispensable prerequisites either deliberately or because they are genuinely unable to. Evolutionary “logic” has become increasingly loopy and appears incapable of grasping real logic from the real world. No surprise, really. Once people accept the big lie of RM + NS, many other little lies become the necessary glue that keeps the Darwinian house of cards looking impregnable. (These are mostly also the same people who proclaim an absolute – “There are no absolutes!” – in order to deny that the human race must live by moral and other absolutes.)

    It is exasperatingly amusing to see bacterial adaptation to antibiotics routinely touted as “proof” of (macro)evolution – yet conveniently overlooked or suppressed is the fact that the bacteria always remain bacteria. They do not change to tadpoles. Not long ago I took a class in earth science and was fascinated by the processes of sedimentation. Ongoing studies at Mount St. Helens in Washington state are providing intriguing insights into the processes of fossilization and canyon formation, among others. Darwinism began – and has evolved – on the basis of a series of geological assumptions. In the light of the new insights, a critical reexamination may be in order to review how the fossil record was actually laid down. In regard to biology, Intelligent Design theory provides just such a review.

  20. BILL AND OTHERS,

    SORRY FOR POSTING THIS HERE BUT I CANNOT FIND ANOTHER LINK TO USE.

    JILL TARTER (SETI — TOP 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL LIST IN TIME MAGAZINE ETC.) VISITED NEW ZEALAND RECENTLY AND HAS HAD A STAB AT ID. YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE AUDIO HERE:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio.....ill_tarter

    OR DOWNLOAD IT WITH http://WWW.FLASHGET.COM FROM HERE:

    mms://204.61.215.51/rnz/sun/SUN-44A6F15F-mbr.wma

    REGARDS FROM NEW ZEALAND!

  21. Thank you all for helping to clear that up for me. I won’t promise that I have a total handle on what you all have said, but I’m getting there.

    My next question is “Why do they have to be so rude?” My blog has been open for less than a week, and I just had to ban some guy named James Wynne. TWO COMMENTS! It took him TWO COMMENTS TO GET BANNED.

    Not for being an evolutionist, but for being a jackass (sorry bout that, but RLY.)

    First he made a comment about ID, which I politely asked him to take to the science thread I have set up. Instead of that, (Matt has been politely quiet and waiting his turn, why can’t he do it?) he came back and insulted Dave, and then insulted me!

    That was rude and uncalled for.

    Yeah, like I care what he has to say now!

    jerk.

    Why do they have to be so rude?

    If you’re not rude often enough you can have your membership in the card carrying atheist club revoked. :-) -ds

  22. Thanks Dave, I was sooooo mad, but you made me smile with that.

    I didn’t mean to get this off topic.

    sorry.

    Stop by the blog soon?

    Laughter is the Best Medicine! I’ve stopped by I just didn’t have anything to add. I was tempted to comment on “I kill me.” You don’t see that line very often and I use it myself. I guess it could be described as self-medicating. :razz: -ds

  23. Joseph,

    That’s a good point. :) I had in mind Eddie’s talent , not character, when making the analogy.

    Regards,
    Saxe

  24. Mung,

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention: “Our starting assumption as scientists ought to be that on some level consciousness has to be an illusion.”

    This statement is riveting (in the same way a train wreck is riveting; it is so amazing one cannot look away).

    Stripped to its essence the statement could read: “Our starting assumption is that all products of consciousness – including starting assumptions – are an illusion.”

    It is truly breathtaking.

  25. Readers of this thread may find this amusing. ;)

  26. Crandaddy: the “amusing” link seems no longer to be valid…

  27. I don’t know why the link won’t work. Try this.

  28. Crandaddy,

    I believe this is the URL you meant to reference:

    http://godlessevolutionist.blogspot.com/

    This guy is really in love with himself.

    Saxe

  29. IC is all about the mechanism of evolution…

    “ID is not a mechanistic theory,…” (on the third page), so how does IC relate to ID?

    Bob

    The quoted statement is correct but is easily misinterpreted (which you easily did). Clarified: “IC is all about the insufficiency of the neoDarwinian mechanism of evolution”. So how does IC relate to ID? ID is known to be a required factor in producing IC structures wherever the method of production (the mechanistic procedure) is fully known and by extension it is proposed that ID is a factor required to produce IC structures where the method is not fully known. -ds

  30. ID is known to be a required factor in producing IC structures wherever the method of production (the mechanistic procedure) is fully known and by extension it is proposed that ID is a factor required to produce IC structures where the method is not fully known

    I thought Behe & Snokes had shown that the opposite was true: IC structures can be produced without intelligent design. They calculated the rate of production of IC structures under a limited model of evolution, and the rates they estimated are high enough to be plausible in bacteria.

    Bob

    Do you have a link for that conclusion of Behe & Snokes. As far as I know they concluded that even simple irreducibly complex protein interactions require unrealistically large probabilistic resources. -ds

  31. Do you have a link for that conclusion of Behe & Snokes.

    Here.

    Bob

    You’ve got to be kidding me. The lawyer that was doing the questioning asked

    Q. And so in the case of prokaryotes, which you said was a good example of what you were studying, 10 to the 16th in one ton of soil?

    A. Yes.

    Q. So a few tons of soil, and we’ve gone past that 10 to the 30th?

    A. Well, no. In the 10 to the 14th tons of soil. 10 to the 30th is the number that’s in the entire world, according to the best estimates, including the ocean as well as soil. So — but I agree with your point, that there’s a lot of bacteria around and certainly more than 10 to the 9th.

    If that lawyer isn’t bright enough to know that a few times 10^16 isn’t 10^30 he’s pretty much a moron when it comes to math. I wouldn’t trust the idiot to balance a checkbook much less make a cogent argument about probabilities with Mike Behe. -ds

  32. What’s amusing to me is that the discussion over the Behe&Snoke paper deals with a feature that is a modification of 3 AMINO ACIDS!!! That is less than a tiny slice of a drop of water in a huge, freakin bucket compared to the systems that Behe deals with in his book.

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