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Ken Miller in Birmingham

Noted Brown University biologist and slayer of windmills, Kenneth Miller, came to Birmingham, Alabama, on Thursday November 5. The room was packed with what seemed to be about 200 (mostly students and some faculty). Overall, Miller displayed the affable but subliminally arrogant attitude I’ve come to expect in some academics. Miller began by giving a long list of his publications interspersed along with some obligatory self-deprecating humor, the apparent take-home message being “look at what a smart and prolific boy I am.” He then launched into Kitzmiller v. Dover and said (whether out of genuine misinformation or outright disingenuousness I cannot say) that the Discovery Institute “put them [the school board] up to it.” After giving a wholly inaccurate definition of ID as the idea that “design in the form of outside intelligent intervention is required to account for the origin of living things,” he launched into the bulk of his lecture most of which simply gave examples of common descent as “proof” of Darwinian evolution.  I must say that I was surprised by the degree to which Miller absolutely savaged ID. It’s not that he simply disagrees with ID, the substance of his message was that ID is a creationist group (no one was mentioned by name) with the Discovery Institute as its front organization working (in his words) “against scientific rationality.” The thrust of his ID comments were wholly denigrating and dismissive.  Miller later admitted that evolution was the product of “design in nature” in search of “adaptive spaces.” His discussion of design was frankly bizarre; at times he almost sounded like a Gaia proponent—I couldn’t figure out if by design he meant just some sort of unfolding or self-direction or if “design” was somehow synonymous with natural selection. The entire presentation in this regard was quite fuzzy.  There was a lot of conflation of concepts—my personal favorite being his conflation of evolution, genetics, and Gregor Mendel. Anyone listening to Miller on this would have thought that Mendel was simply carrying Darwin’s ideas forward; he did not, of course, point out that Darwin’s adherence to pangenesis and the notion of inheritance of acquired characteristics was quite different from that of Mendel. The rest was pretty predictable.

I finally did get to ask Miller a question. It was the second to last one, and Miller was pretty euphoric having hit a series of Q & A home runs from softballs pitched at T-ball speeds mostly by students. The good thing was that by the time I got to pose my question a lot of questioners had prefaced their questions with comments (mostly “thank you, thank you, for supporting theism and science,” “oh what an important struggle we have before us promoting good science, your presentation was marvelous,” etc., etc.). I started by saying that I sincerely wished that this country could get away from this overly simplistic “evolution versus creation” discourse as unhistorical and unhelpful. We talk about evolution as though Wallace and Mivart never existed. Then I said, “Dr. Miller, as you well know, Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of natural selection, broke with Darwin over the role of natural selection in creating the human mind. Wallace didn’t think it could account for it; Mivart agreed. Now these objections are still with us today. They haven’t gone away. Surely you’re familiar with the April issue of Nature in which Bolhuis and Wynne asked, ‘Can evolution explain how minds work?’. Don’t we have an educational obligation to give the WHOLE story of evolution? I mean we talk about evolution as if it was simply the story of Darwin and science on the march when, if fact, many of the original objections raised to his theory remain today. This is Whiggish history of the worst kind! How can we get past this and tell the more complete and accurate story of evolution? ” Miller replied by nodding in apparent approval, which seemed inappropriate given his presentation, but then simply didn’t answer the question. The upshot of his reply was to utter some vague generalizations about the Templeton Foundation and that he was working with them on this very thing. Huh??

Well that’s my report. I must say Miller is an engaging and powerful speaker. His points are persuasive to the uninformed and although I have no objection to his having his say in a free markeplace of ideas, I suspect that he does considerable intellectual damage where ever he goes.

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262 Responses to Ken Miller in Birmingham

  1. Miller’s talk sounds exactly like the one he presented at my university earlier this year. I too was surprised by how self-aggrandising he was. He presented drawings of himself in the Dover-Kitzmiller courtroom, and then glowingly displayed photos of his textbook on the frontcover of Time magazine.

    When he actually got onto the evidence, again he just gave evidence for common descent. Aside from the fact that CD is compatible with ID, he also told the audience that there was *no* other explanation for the fusion in human chromosome 2. It appears he hadn;t even considered the possibility that this fusion might have occured within the human lineage.

    It was all a bit disappointing really, since the lecture series (the ‘James Gregory lectures’) were set up to promote discourse between science and religion. Instead of doing this, Miller spent the whole night bashing ID.

  2. I would have asked him the following:

    “What part of your Christianity allows you to lie and misrepresent people’s ideas?”

    Actually I would have yelled out “Liar!” when he stated the Discovery Institute put the Dover SB “up to it”.

  3. Yeah I agree, Joseph. It’s infuriating how he can so confidently stand up and lie about ID to an audience. The only reason he gets away with it is because he’s generally either preaching to the choir, or to the ignorant who are none the wiser.

  4. A bit off topic but very interesting: William Lane Craig On The Viability Of Intelligent Design:

    The Viability of Intelligent Design 1/3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgSnrat_P3U

    2 of 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luJg-amDjWE

    3 of 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzdieauxZg

    William Lane Craig presents his case for the viability of intelligent design at Indiana University. His opponent was the eminent evolutionary biologist Francisco J. Ayala. This was the first time William Lane Craig had ever publicly debated the subject.

  5. Craig’s preceding talk was given Nov. 5 at Indiana University:

  6. Thanks BA. Somebody posted this the other day but there was no link to a vid for it.

  7. “He then launched into Kitzmiller v. Dover and said (whether out of genuine misinformation or outright disingenuousness I cannot say) that the Discovery Institute “put them [the school board] up to it.””

    As a journalist I protect my sources, but I can say for certain that, based on my research, it is certainly misinformation that the Discovery Institute put the Dover school board up to it.

    To the best of MY knowledge, they were completely freaked by the whole thing.

    It is sad when this misinfo continues to circulate; sadder still when academics are fronting it.

    What is happening to society when a freelance hack somewhere is better qualified to know the facts than a tenured prof?

    It all comes of asking questions instead of spouting one’s credentials, I guess.

    Note: I never wrote much on the the story because I was under contract to co-write a book about something else, on a short deadline.

  8. In a situation like this, you shoot the bullet quickly so you have time to follow up. You can’t waste words. You must make your case in ONE MINUTE, emphasizing the right words at the right time.

    Here is how you do it:

    “Dr. Miller, I don’t want to be unkind here, but in all honesty I have to say that you have seriously misrepresented both ID science and your own theory.

    “First, just as you did at the Dover trial, you conflated ID, a design inference, with creationism, a religious presupposition. If you think ID depends on a religious presupposition, I challenge you now, without appealing to motives, to show us how the concepts of ‘irreducible complexity’ or ‘specified complexity’ hint at religious faith in any way.

    Second, in defending Darwnistic macro evolution, an undirected process which is indeed, incompatible with ID, you provide evidence only for generic macro evolution, which ID does not, in any way dispute. On the contrary, Michael Behe, one of ID’s main proponents, posits both ID and macro evolution, yet you allude to him as a “creaitonist.”

    Please stop doing this since it does violence to both science and responsible public discourse.”

  9. Green

    Thank you for your post.

    Many readers will already be aware of this, but I’d just like to mention that a recent article by Dr. Richard Sternberg, entitled Guy Walks Into a Bar and Thinks He’s a Chimpanzee: The Unbearable Lightness of Chimp-Human Genome Similarity provides a somewhat different slant on chromosome 2 from what you’ll find in standard biology textbooks. Sternberg’s article is highly entertaining and well worth reading.

    Green, you made a very interesting comment on Miller’s talk:

    When he actually got onto the evidence, again he just gave evidence for common descent. Aside from the fact that CD is compatible with ID, he also told the audience that there was *no* other explanation for the fusion in human chromosome 2. It appears he hadn’t even considered the possibility that this fusion might have occured within the human lineage. (Emphasis mine – VJT.)

    Actually, you are quite correct in your surmise. You might like to have a look at Chromosome Fusion: Chance or Design? by Dr. Barry Starr (May 12th, 2008), a biologist (and a convinced evolutionist). If you scroll down, there is a post by Dr. Barry Starr on August 8, 2008 at 10:50 a.m., where he lists two links that support an estimate of somewhere between 740,000 and 3 million years for the timing of the fusion event. In other words, it looks like it happened during the time of Homo erectus or possibly Homo antecessor.

    For the benefit of readers, I’ll provide Starr’s references in full:

    Biased clustered substitutions in the human genome: The footprints of male-driven biased gene conversion by Timothy R. Dreszer, Gregory D. Wall, David Haussler and Katherine S. Pollard. In Genome Research 2007. 17: 1420-1430.

    Excerpt from abstract:

    Human and chimp orthologous regions show a striking similarity in the shape and magnitude of their respective UBCS maps, suggesting a relatively stable force leads to clustered bias. The strong and stable signal near telomeres may have participated in the evolution of isochores. One exception to the UBCS pattern found in all autosomes is chromosome 2, which shows a UBCS peak midchromosome, mapping to the fusion site of two ancestral chromosomes. This provides evidence that the fusion occurred as recently as 740,000 years ago and no more than ~3 million years ago.

    Molecular mechanisms of chromosomal rearrangement during primate evolution by Hildegard Kehrer-Sawatzki and David N. Cooper. In Chromosome Research, (2008) 16:41-56. March 2008. DOI 10.1007/s10577-007-1207-1.

    Excerpt from p. 43:

    Human and chimpanzee karyotypes are distinguishable by virtue of the fusion of two ancestral chromosomes homologous to chimpanzee chromosomes 12 and 13 which gave rise to human chromosome 2 (Dutrillaux 1979, Yunis & Prakash 1982, Jauch et al. 1992, Wienberg et al. 1994). Nucleotide substitution patterns suggest that the fusion occurred between 740 000 and 3 million years ago in the human lineage (Dreszer et al. 2007). This fusion was mediated by recombination between telomeric repeats in the p-arms of two submetacentric ancestral chromosomes. The remnants of this telomere-telomere fusion are still identifiable as degenerate telomeric sequences at 2q13-q14.1 (IJdo et al. 1991, Fan et al. 2002).

    I should add that I am a believer in common descent myself, and I have no problem believing that humans and apes share a common (48-chromosomed) ancestor. However, there is little doubt that the fusion event itself occurred within the human lineage, and not at the point of divergence between humans and chimps, which is generally considered to have taken place at least 5 million years ago.

  10. vjtorley,
    Even in what could be considered your very fair rendering of the genetic evidence, I believe you are giving far too much weight to the genetic evidence,,, There is now ample evidence to overthrow the genetic similarity argument of Chimps and Humans, used by evolutionists, and to argue powerfully for distinct created kinds, especially given the fact that you already concede to the insurmountable gaps in the supposed “human evolution” fossil record:

    DNA: The Alphabet of Life – David Klinghoffer
    Excerpt: But all this is trivial compared to the largely unheralded insight gained from the Human Genome Project, completed in 2003. The insight is disturbing. It is that while DNA codes for the cell’s building blocks, the information needed to build the rest of the creature is seemingly, in large measure, absent. ,,,The physically encoded information to form that mouse, as opposed to that fly, isn’t there. Instead, “It is as if the ‘idea’ of the fly (or any other organism) must somehow permeate the genome that gives rise to it.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2....._life.html

    Higher Levels Of Information In Life – Stephen Meyer – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HavmzWVt8IU

    Thus the 98.8% similarity derived from the DNA code, to the body plans of chimps and man, is purely imaginary, since it is clearly shown that the overriding “architectural plan” of the body is not even encoded in the DNA in the first place. Of more clarity though, this “98.8% similarity evidence” is derived by materialists from a very biased methodology of presuming that the 1.5% of the genome, which directly codes for proteins, has complete precedence of consideration over the other remaining 98.5% of the genome which does not directly code for proteins. Yet even when considering just this 1.5% of the genome that codes for proteins, we find that the proteins, which are directly coded by that 1.5% of the genome, are shown to differ by a huge 80% difference between chimps and man.

    Chimps are not like humans – May 2004
    Excerpt: the International Chimpanzee Chromosome 22 Consortium reports that 83% of chimpanzee chromosome 22 proteins are different from their human counterparts,,, The results reported this week showed that “83% of the genes have changed between the human and the chimpanzee—only 17% are identical—so that means that the impression that comes from the 1.2% [sequence] difference is [misleading]. In the case of protein structures, it has a big effect,” Sakaki said.

    Eighty percent of proteins are different between humans and chimpanzees; Gene; Volume 346, 14 February 2005:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15716009

    How in the world did the proteins change by +80% while the genes, which supposedly code for those proteins, remained virtually unchanged? Why is this huge +80% anomaly ignored by materialists and only the biased genetic similarity stressed especially since the proteins are what actually account for 3D structure?

    As well from what evidence we do have for as far back as we can gather, there is no evidence for evolution.

    mtDNA Proves Humans And Neanderthals Did Not Evolve – Hugh Ross – audio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcPmJTyn4yw

    Human Evolution – Genetic Adam And Eve – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cfHsFtw02g

    CHROMOSOME STUDY STUNS EVOLUTIONISTS
    Excerpt: To their great surprise, Dorit and his associates found no nucleotide differences at all in the non-recombinant part of the Y chromosomes of the 38 men. This non-variation suggests no evolution has occurred in male ancestry.
    http://www.reasons.org/interpr.....lutionists

    etc…etc..

  11. vjtorley:

    I should add that I am a believer in common descent myself, and I have no problem believing that humans and apes share a common (48-chromosomed) ancestor. However, there is little doubt that the fusion event itself occurred within the human lineage, and not at the point of divergence between humans and chimps, which is generally considered to have taken place at least 5 million years ago.

    I think you are misinterpreting both Miller’s argument and Green’s comment above.

    Miller completely agrees that the fusion event must have occurred in the lineage leading to humans after it diverged from the lineage leading to chimps. Indeed, that’s his point: if there weren’t evidence for such a fusion event, then evolutionists would have no way of explaining why we have 46 chromosomes while chimps and other apes have 48.

    Evolutionary theory thus survives yet another empirical test.

    I also think you misunderstood Green’s point in writing this:

    When he actually got onto the evidence, again he just gave evidence for common descent. Aside from the fact that CD is compatible with ID, he also told the audience that there was *no* other explanation for the fusion in human chromosome 2. It appears he hadn;t even considered the possibility that this fusion might have occured within the human lineage.

    What Green is saying here is that Miller didn’t consider the possibility that humans and apes were created separately, both with 48 chromosomes, and that the fusion event happened later in the human lineage, reducing the human chromosome count to 46.

    I suspect that Miller did consider that possibility, but rejected it as absurd. The evidence is overwhelmingly against it.

    As just one example, consider the broken genes that are found both in humans and in certain primates. The presence of these pseudogenes makes perfect sense if common descent is true, because each lineage inherited them from the common ancestor.

    On the other hand, suppose that humans were separately created from the other primates. Why, then, did the creator place the same broken genes in both? Why did he want to make it appear that common descent is true?

  12. He presented drawings of himself in the Dover-Kitzmiller courtroom, and then glowingly displayed photos of his textbook on the frontcover of Time magazine.

    This is a form of argument from authority, where he is establishing his “credentials” so that the audience will understand that they can trust him to tell them the truth.

  13. A bit off topic but very interesting: William Lane Craig On The Viability Of Intelligent Design

    Craig opens with the following:

    “…it’s critical that we begin by clearly defining our terms, and this is especially important … because there is such widespread misunderstanding of what Intelligent Design theory is.”

    He could use Ken Miller as Exhibit A.

    Thanks for the links.

  14. Mung:

    He presented drawings of himself in the Dover-Kitzmiller courtroom, and then glowingly displayed photos of his textbook on the frontcover of Time magazine.

    This is a form of argument from authority, where he is establishing his “credentials” so that the audience will understand that they can trust him to tell them the truth.

    It would be an argument from authority if Miller said “My book’s been on the cover of Time, and I accept common descent. Therefore, you should accept common descent.”

    Of course he says nothing of the kind. Instead, he lays out the evidence, all of which can be independently checked, and explains why it supports evolutionary theory and undermines creationism.

    He is asking his audience to reject creationism based on evidence and reason, not on his authority, as can be clearly seen in this video from 2007.

  15. So according to you it’s merely gratuitous self-aggrandizement?

  16. He is asking his audience to reject creationism based on evidence and reason, not on his authority, as can be clearly seen in this video from 2007.

    And what does his argument in that video have to do with intelligent design theory?

    He makes the point to the audience that they were not questioned on this data, and that the ID people had no response, but he fails to tell the audience why they should have responded to it.

    Why should they be required to address an irrelevant argument?

  17. scrofulous, you may want to check that pseudo-gene argument (as well as all your other junk DNA evidence),,,we now have substantial evidence overthrowing that line of deception,,,ooops I mean evidence:

    Despite the unfounded disappointment of materialists , a large sampling of recent studies indicates high level regulatory function is to be found for all sorts of previous “Junk DNA” sequences across the entire spectrum of the human genome.

    How The Junk DNA Hypothesis Has Changed Since 1980 – Richard Sternberg – Oct. 2009 – Excellent Summary
    Excerpt: A surprising finding of ENCODE and other transcriptome projects is that almost every nucleotide of human (and mouse) chromosomes is transcribed in a regulated way. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....is_ha.html

    Junk DNA Found To Have High Level Function – Lists Of Over 100 Studies
    http://docs.google.com/View?id=dc8z67wz_25gqm4zzfd

    No Such Thing As ‘Junk RNA,’ Say Researchers – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: Tiny strands of RNA previously dismissed as cellular junk are actually very stable molecules that may play significant roles in cellular processes, http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....105809.htm

    Here is a detailed refutation of the Vitamin C (GULO) pseudogene argument used by evolutionists for human/chimp common ancestry:

    Excerpt Of Conclusion:
    When examined in detail, the full pseudogene dataset we collected does not lend itself to a reasonable neo-Darwinian interpretation.
    http://creation.com/images/pdf.....18-127.pdf

  18. Mung:

    And what does his argument in that video have to do with intelligent design theory?

    He makes the point to the audience that they were not questioned on this data, and that the ID people had no response, but he fails to tell the audience why they should have responded to it.

    Why should they be required to address an irrelevant argument?

    It’s not irrelevant.

    If the chromosomal fusion data had undermined evolutionary theory instead of bolstering it, the defense team would have jumped all over it. The fact that they did not (and could not) speaks volumes. Evolutionary theory passed yet another empirical test with flying colors.

    That is a point worth making, and Miller made it.

    Regarding the argument that the chromosomal fusion evidence is compatible with ID, as long as you accept common descent, that’s absolutely true — but only because any evidence is compatible with this weaker form of ID. If ID makes no distinguishing predictions, it’s not a scientific theory.

    For example, consider this question: Why hasn’t human chromosome 2 split back into its two constituent chromosomes?

    The evolutionist can explain this by pointing out that it is vanishingly improbable, in a naturalistic scenario, for the chromosomes to split apart at exactly the same spot where they originally fused.

    But if humans are designed, then why didn’t the designer “fix” the fusion by splitting the chromosomes apart? If He’s willing to tweak the human genome in other ways, then why not “unfuse” the chromosomes? The ID supporter has to shrug and say “The designer could have done it, but for some reason He chose not to. We don’t understand why, but he keeps choosing to do things in a way that makes undirected evolution appear to be true.”

  19. scorfulus you are using a bad design argument to refute design,, which is illogical,,,

    this video will clearly show you why that argument is irrelevant to Intelligent Design:

    William Lane Craig on the Validity Of Intelligent Design (As Science)
    3 of 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzdieauxZg

  20. bornagain77,

    The fact that some “junk” DNA has a regulatory function in no way undermines the pseudogene argument against common descent.

    To defeat that argument, you’ll need to show that all the pseudogenes in question are actually functional.

    Once you’re done, you’ll need to explain why all the molecular evidence, and not just pseudogenes, points to a nested hierarchy, exactly as predicted by common descent.

    Good luck with that.

    Again, why would the creator choose to make common descent appear to be true, if it’s not?

    It’s the antithesis of Walter ReMine’s “message theory”. ReMine tells us that we should expect nature and life to be structured to give the overwhelming impression of having been created:

    Life was reasonably designed to meet three simultaneous goals:

    1. Survival

    2. To look like the product of one designer (or unified design team acting together as one), and unlike the product of multiple designers acting independently.

    3. To resist all other explanations of origin.

    Yet the evidence actually supports evolutionary theory and common descent. What gives, bornagain? Why is the creator hiding?

  21. I’ve attended one of Miller’s lectures in the past. Unbelievably difficult to sit through without gagging profusely.

    Casey is currently posting a series of posts over at ENV that target the blatant misrepresentations that Miller consistently spews. Next time any of you attend a Miller lecture, go armed with a stack of copies of Casey’s rebuttal of Miller’s nonsense. Stand at the door and hand them out as attendees leave the venue….hehe.

  22. bornagain77:

    scorfulus you are using a bad design argument to refute design,, which is illogical,,,

    Could you explain why the argument is faulty?

  23. FtK,

    Luskin tried to refute Miller’s chromosomal argument back in 2006. That didn’t go too well.

  24. scorfulus, As soon as you tell me why you believe that a process with no demonstratably beneficial mutations backing it up can even be considered viable as a hypothesis in the first place your blind faith simply won’t suffice to persuade me:

  25. Look at the video scoffullofus

  26. Could someone lend bornagain a hand and explain the flaw in my argument, if there is one?

  27. scrofullofit, I ain’t got time to list all your flaws buddy,,,

    “I have seen estimates of the incidence of the ratio of deleterious-to-beneficial mutations which range from one in one thousand up to one in one million. The best estimates seem to be one in one million (Gerrish and Lenski, 1998). The actual rate of beneficial mutations is so extremely low as to thwart any actual measurement (Bataillon, 2000, Elena et al, 1998). Therefore, I cannot …accurately represent how rare such beneficial mutations really are.” (J.C. Sanford; Genetic Entropy page 24) – 2005

    Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? (Thomas Bataillon)
    Abstract……It is argued that, although most if not all mutations detected in mutation accumulation experiments are deleterious, the question of the rate of favourable mutations (and their effects) is still a matter for debate. http://www.nature.com/hdy/jour.....7270a.html

    Distribution of fitness effects caused by random insertion mutations in Escherichia coli
    Excerpt: At least 80% of the mutations had a significant negative effect on fitness, whereas none of the mutations had a significant positive effect. http://www.springerlink.com/co.....q5l0q3832/

    “But in all the reading I’ve done in the life-sciences literature, I’ve never found a mutation that added information… All point mutations that have been studied on the molecular level turn out to reduce the genetic information and not increase it.”
    Lee Spetner – Ph.D. Physics – MIT – Not By Chance

    “Bergman (2004) has studied the topic of beneficial mutations. Among other things, he did a simple literature search via Biological Abstracts and Medline. He found 453,732 “mutation” hits, but among these only 186 mentioned the word “beneficial” (about 4 in 10,000). When those 186 references were reviewed, almost all the presumed “beneficial mutations” were only beneficial in a very narrow sense- but each mutation consistently involved loss of function changes-hence loss of information.” Sanford: Genetic Entropy

    “Mutations, in summary, tend to induce sickness, death, or deficiencies. No evidence in the vast literature of heredity change shows unambiguous evidence that random mutation itself, even with geographical isolation of populations leads to speciation.”
    Lynn Margulis – Acquiring Genomes [2003], p. 29.

    “But there is no evidence that DNA mutations can provide the sorts of variation needed for evolution… There is no evidence for beneficial mutations at the level of macroevolution, but there is also no evidence at the level of what is commonly regarded as microevolution.”
    Jonathan Wells (PhD. – Molecular Biology)

    “Of carefully studied mutations, most have been found to be harmful to organisms, and most of the remainder seem to have neither positive nor negative effect. Mutations that are actually beneficial are extraordinarily rare and involve insignificant changes. Mutations seem to be much more degenerative than constructive…” Kurt Wise, paleontologist (2002, p.163)

    “The neo-Darwinians would like us to believe that large evolutionary changes can result from a series of small events if there are enough of them. But if these events all lose information they can’t be the steps in the kind of evolution the neo-Darwin theory is supposed to explain, no matter how many mutations there are. Whoever thinks macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up on volume.” Lee Spetner (Ph.D. Physics – MIT – Not By Chance)

    “The opportune appearance of mutations permitting animals and plants to meet their needs seems hard to believe. Yet the Darwinian theory is even more demanding: a single plant, a single animal would require thousands and thousands of lucky, appropriate events. Thus, miracles would become the rule: events with an infinitesimal probability could not fail to occur,,, There is no law against day dreaming, but science must not indulge in it.” Pierre P. Grasse – past President of the French Academie des Sciences

    Mutations: evolution’s engine becomes evolution’s end! – Article Highlighting The Technical Points Of Genetic Entropy
    Excerpt: recent discoveries show that mutations interfere with all molecular machinery. Life’s error correction, avoidance and repair mechanisms themselves suffer the same damage and decay. The consequence is that all multicellular life on earth is undergoing inexorable genome decay.
    http://creation.com/mutations-.....d#txtRef17

    Darwin Was Wrong: A Study in Probabilities
    “To propose and argue that mutations even in tandem with ‘natural selection’ are the root-causes for 6,000,000 viable, enormously complex species, is to mock logic, deny the weight of evidence, and reject the fundamentals of mathematical probability.”
    Cohen, I.L. (1984) – http://www.veritas-ucsb.org/li.....tions.html

    etc…etc…etc…

  28. one more before bed:

    Professional evolutionary biologists are hard-pressed to cite even one clear-cut example of evolution through a beneficial mutation to the DNA of humans which would violate the principle of genetic entropy. Although a materialist may try to claim the lactase persistence mutation as a lonely example of a “truly” beneficial mutation in humans, lactase persistence is actually a loss of a instruction in the genome to turn the lactase enzyme off, so the mutation clearly does not violate Genetic Entropy. Yet at the same time, the evidence for the detrimental nature of mutations in humans is overwhelming for doctors have already cited over 3500 mutational disorders (Dr. Gary Parker).

    “Mutations” by Dr. Gary Parker
    Excerpt: human beings are now subject to over 3500 mutational disorders.
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....ations.asp

    This following study confirmed the “detrimental” mutation rate for humans, of 100 to 300, estimated by John Sanford in his book “Genetic Entropy” in 2005:

    Human mutation rate revealed: August 2009
    Every time human DNA is passed from one generation to the next it accumulates 100–200 new mutations, according to a DNA-sequencing analysis of the Y chromosome. (Of note: this number is derived after “compensatory mutations”)
    http://www.nature.com/news/200.....9.864.html

  29. bornagain77:

    scrofullofit, I ain’t got time to list all your flaws buddy,,,

    That’s very Christian of you, bornagain.

    Also interesting that you have time to post comments at UD all day long, yet no time to explain why my argument is flawed.

    How convenient.

  30. Mr BA^77,

    How do you understand the differences found in Human Accelerated Regions (HAR) if not as functional and beneficial mutations?

  31. —-scrofulous: “Could someone lend bornagain a hand and explain the flaw in my argument, if there is one?”

    Do you really need someone to explain to you in detail why an argument for imperfect design does not suffice as an argument for no design?

  32. bornagain quotes Lee Spetner:

    The neo-Darwinians would like us to believe that large evolutionary changes can result from a series of small events if there are enough of them. But if these events all lose information they can’t be the steps in the kind of evolution the neo-Darwin theory is supposed to explain, no matter how many mutations there are. Whoever thinks macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up on volume.

    Spetner can’t be serious. The idea that every mutation loses information is trivial to refute.

    Take any two equal-length genes A and B. A can be converted into B by a series of point mutations. According to Spetner, each of those mutations involves a loss of information. If so, then B must contain less information than A.

    Now turn it around. B can be converted to A by a series of point mutations. According to Spetner, each of those mutations involves a loss of information. Therefore A contains less information than B.

    It doesn’t take an evolutionist to spot the contradiction.

    Bornagain, I think you need to be a little more discriminating in your choice of whom to quote.

  33. StephenB:

    Do you really need someone to explain to you in detail why an argument for imperfect design does not suffice as an argument for no design?

    It isn’t merely an argument for imperfect design. It’s an argument for imperfect design that looks like it was created by undirected evolution.

    Out of all the imperfect designs the creator could have chosen, why did he pick one that makes evolutionary theory appear to be correct?

    As I asked bornagain, why is the creator hiding?

  34. —-scrofulous: “It isn’t merely an argument for imperfect design.”

    I gather that you now understand that bad design does not mean no design. The proper response is, “Thank you, “I stand corrected.”

    —”It’s an argument for imperfect design that looks like it was created by undirected evolution.”

    You statement makes no sense. ID argues that evolution is directed and that biological design is real; Ken Miller argues that evolution is undirected and that biological design is illusory.

    —”Out of all the imperfect designs the creator could have chosen, why did he pick one that makes evolutionary theory appear to be correct?”

    Your question is too vague. Which evolutionary theory are you talking about?–ID’s evolutionary theory or Ken Miller’s evolutionary theory?

    —”As I asked bornagain, why is the creator hiding?”

    You should be asking that question of Ken Miller since he is the one that thinks design is an illusion. You appear not to understand the very point you are trying to argue.

  35. ReMine tells us that we should expect nature and life to be structured to give the overwhelming impression of having been created

    As your own quote from ReMine shows, this is not what he says.

  36. Spetner can’t be serious. The idea that every mutation loses information is trivial to refute.

    On this I agree with you. There are a lot of poor “Intelligent Design” books out there. It’s been too long since I read Spetner, but I do recall that I wasn’t convinced. More recently, John Sandford’s book.

    I can’t even imagine how Spetner could define information in such a way that every mutation in the genome qualifies as a loss of information.

    Maybe he’s not being accurately represented, who knows.

  37. It’s not irrelevant.

    Oh but it is. Read on.

    Evolutionary theory passed yet another empirical test with flying colors.

    News flash! ID is not anti-evolution. So it’s irrelevant whether “evolutionary theory passed yet another empirical test with flying colors.”

    …as long as you accept common descent, that’s absolutely true…

    And since ID is not anti- common descent, this argument against ID is irrelevant. It’s not an argument against ID at all. Even you see that now.

    …but only because any evidence is compatible with this weaker form of ID.

    And this is simply false.

    If ID makes no distinguishing predictions, it’s not a scientific theory.

    And this is false as well.

    But if humans are designed, then why didn’t the designer “fix” the fusion by splitting the chromosomes apart?

    This also is not an anti-ID argument, since ID isn’t about the motives of some unspecified designer.

    Even if it were an anti-ID argument, it wouldn’t be a very good one. Why should your hypothetical designer feel compelled to “fix” something that doesn’t appear to be broken?

    You want to know why he/she/it doesn’t turn humans back into chimps?

  38. … you’ll need to explain why all the molecular evidence, and not just pseudogenes, points to a nested hierarchy, exactly as predicted by common descent.

    1. A nested hierarchy is not predicted by common descent.

    2. The “molecular evidence” points to a nested hierarchy because that’s what the phylogenetic software is designed to do with it.

    3. The hierarchies you do get from the “molecular evidence” don’t agree.

  39. Mr. Scoffatus states:

    “Spetner can’t be serious. The idea that every mutation loses information is trivial to refute.”

    Then perhaps you would like to have a do at refuting this Null Hypothesis:

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

    Or if a formal proof is not your cup of tea, you can just empirically demonstrate the generation of functional information with a violation of the fitness test:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – “The Fitness Test” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BwWpRSYgOE

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....-drugstore

    List Of Degraded Molecular Abilities Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria:
    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

    Or if that is not your cup of tea you may try to revive some ancient bacteria that have changed and show us a little generation of functional information:

    There are many ancient bacteria spores recovered and “revived” from salt crystals and amber crystals which have been compared to their living descendants of today. Some bacterium spores, in salt crystals, dating back as far as 250 million years have been revived, had their DNA sequenced, and compared to their offspring of today (Vreeland RH, 2000 Nature). To the disbelieving shock of many scientists, both ancient and modern bacteria were found to have the almost same exact DNA sequence.

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes:
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.” Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ;
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    Revival and identification of bacterial spores in 25- to 40-million-year-old Dominican amber
    Dr. Cano and his former graduate student Dr. Monica K. Borucki said that they had found slight but significant differences between the DNA of the ancient, 25-40 million year old amber-sealed Bacillus sphaericus and that of its modern counterpart, (thus ruling out that it is a modern contaminant, yet at the same time confounding materialists, since the change is not nearly as great as evolution’s “genetic drift” theory requires.)

    In reply to a personal e-mail from myself, Dr. Cano commented on the “Fitness Test” I had asked him about:
    Dr. Cano stated: “We performed such a test, a long time ago, using a panel of substrates (the old gram positive biolog panel) on B. sphaericus. From the results we surmised that the putative “ancient” B. sphaericus isolate was capable of utilizing a broader scope of substrates. Additionally, we looked at the fatty acid profile and here, again, the profiles were similar but more diverse in the amber isolate.”:
    Fitness test which compared the 30 million year old ancient bacteria to its modern day descendants, RJ Cano and MK Borucki

    Thus, the most solid evidence available for the most ancient DNA scientists are able to find does not support evolution happening on the molecular level of bacteria. In fact, according to the fitness test of Dr. Cano, the change witnessed in bacteria conforms to the exact opposite, Genetic Entropy; a loss of functional information/complexity, since fewer substrates and fatty acids are utilized by the modern strains. Considering the intricate level of protein machinery it takes to utilize individual molecules within a substrate, we are talking an impressive loss of protein complexity, and thus loss of functional information, from the ancient amber sealed bacteria.

  40. Scoffatus: asks:

    ”why is the creator hiding?

    God ain’t the one who is lost!

  41. scrofulous:

    Take any two equal-length genes A and B. A can be converted into B by a series of point mutations.

    Evidence please.

    Also hopefully gene B was not required.

  42. Did someone say there was evidence for Common Descent?

    Then I have a question:

    How can we test that pertaining to primate feet?

    IOW how can we test that the transformations required are possible via selection/ mutation?

    The human body is built for running

    When you change the skeleton you also have to change the neuro-muscular system.

    No one even knows if such transformations can be accomplished via genetic changes.

  43. Mr Mung,

    I agree with you that the definition of ID given by Dr. Dembski and others of detecting patterns in nature is in and of itself not antithetical to evolution and common descent. It also has no particular commitment to genetic entropy.

    Just as evolution has moved on from Darwin in 150 years, it is possible for ID to move on from its roots in creation science over 20 or 30 years. My understanding is that it is exactly this ability to move on from cdesign proponentism that makes ID suspect in the eyes of some YECs.

    As such, I would expect more interest from the ID community into research on such things as human accelerated regions, which show the greatest promise of validating Wallace’s view of intervention into human evolution. HARs, if not the signature in the cell, could at least be the fingerprint! :)

  44. Nak, I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that was the most honest, forthright, post I’ve ever seen you write,,, Shoot, and materialists say miracles don’t happen. I just read one!

  45. Joseph asks:

    Did someone say there was evidence for Common Descent?

    Mung answers:

    And since ID is not anti- common descent, this argument against ID is irrelevant. It’s not an argument against ID at all.

  46. I like this quote I just read on David Berliski’s new post at ENV:

    Darwin and the Mathematicians – David Berlinski
    “The formation within geological time of a human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.”
    Kurt Gödel, was a preeminent mathematician who is considered one of the greatest mathematicians to have ever lived
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....cians.html

  47. scrofulous (#11)

    I think we may have gotten our wires a little crossed, so I’d just like to clear things up from my end.

    I agree with you that the broken genes shared by humans and other primates constitutes powerful prima facie evidence of common ancestry, although I am open to persuasion otherwise.

    I would also like to point out that Green (#1) explicitly stated that common descent is compatible with intelligent design. I agree with Green on this point.

    I am also perfectly aware that Darwinian evolutionists do not claim that the appearance of 46 chromosomes in the human line occurred at the time when humans split off from chimps. My point was simply that the change in chromosome number does not, by itself, establish common ancestry. All it shows is that people once had 48 chromosomes.

    Of course, various features of chromosome 2 have been alleged to show evidence of shared ancestry between humans and chimps. I cited Dr. Richard Sternberg’s article, Guy Walks Into a Bar and Thinks He’s a Chimpanzee: The Unbearable Lightness of Chimp-Human Genome Similarity as evidence that at least some respectable scientists view the evidence differently. As someone who tries to be a fair-minded person, I think it’s premature to declare the case closed on this issue.

    For the time being, my default working hypothesis is that humans and apes are related, but that the human brain did not originate through a blind, undirected process. I would expect scientists to uncover evidence of design in the DNA that codes for the development of the human brain, and that differentiates it from ape brains. Maybe this “cranial revolution” is the third “Big Bang” of evolution, after the origin of life and the Cambrian explosion. Or maybe not. We shall see.

  48. Of Note: Godel was a Theist

  49. Joseph,

    You’re missed the point. The viability of the intermediates between A and B is irrelevant to the argument.

    Let me present an even more direct illustration of the problem with Spetner’s claim. Suppose that gene A undergoes a silent mutation that converts a C to a U. According to Spetner, there has been a loss of information. Now gene A experiences another mutation that reverses the first mutation and converts the U back to a C. According to Spetner, there has been a further loss of information. Therefore, by Spetner’s logic, we have lost information by converting A into A. In his world, A has less information than A.

    Now do you see the problem?

  50. Scoff at us, dancing around will not help,,, you must present a violation of the fitness test i.e. Genetic Entropy, not point to some “compensatory mutation” as evidence of macro-evolution,,, We want proof of the generation of original, novel information not a return to original state (Which is another whole topic unto itself).
    For you to rely on such a shell game of evidence to try to make your case is frankly laughable, that I should have to point it out to you should make you ashamed.

  51. StephenB:

    I gather that you now understand that bad design does not mean no design. The proper response is, “Thank you, “I stand corrected.”

    Isn’t it necessary to be wrong first in order to be corrected?

    Perhaps I should apologize for presenting a real argument instead of the strawman you hoped to defeat.

  52. bornagain77:

    Scoff at us, dancing around will not help,,,

    I agree, and neither will spamming us with commas.

    Perhaps you could address the issue at hand. I’ve presented two refutations of your Spetner quotation. Can you defend him, or do you admit that he’s wrong?

  53. Mr BA^77,

    Don’t worry, the next “wink wink nudge nudge, we know who the Designer really is!” will restore my confidence that the ID community actually prefers bleating about the culture war to following the evidence where it leads. Why actually risk taking a position on HARs when pseudopredictions about the flagella still fill the pews?

    But i actually don’t feel that way. i have a belief in my fellow man as written in my previous post. Sure the ID community has a mean (perhaps centered on a conflation of evolution and social implications today) but it also has variance. Even among the self selected, we can apply this statistical, population based Darwinian thinking (though it does not come naturally, we prefer to think of monolithic tribes (gee, why could that be?)). Mung’s post represents that variance and it has to be respected and nurtured, not ignored.

  54. Scoff at us: only in your fertile imagination have you falsified the Null Hypothesis of Information Generation. This is science not a place where we warm the coggles of each other hearts with darwinan just so stories,,,If you want that go to PZ’s blog or Panda’s Dumb, If you want to “prove” you have violated Genetic Entropy you must do so with empirics, This will require you passing the fitness test:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – “The Fitness Test” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BwWpRSYgOE

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....-drugstore

    List Of Degraded Molecular Abilities Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria:
    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

    Then you must prove that the gain of functional information of the bacteria was greater than 140 functional bits of information:

    Mathematically Defining Functional Information In Molecular Biology – Kirk Durston – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUeCgTN7pOo

    Then once you figure all that out you can write up a peer reviewed article showing how Abel’s Null Hypothesis has been violated by naturalistic/materialistic processes

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

  55. bornagain77 (#10)

    Thank you very much for the link to the interview, The Coding Found In DNA Surpasses Man’s Ability to Code – Stephen Meyer .

    I agree that the similarity between human and chimp DNA has been over-stated, and I very much doubt that undirected processes alone are capable of explaining our distinctively human traits – especially our brains. That does not exclude common ancestry, of course, and I think there is good circumstantial evidence for that.

    Regarding the articles by Hugh Ross, I have to say that I think he is trying to shoe-horn human history into a period of less than 100,000 years. I also think he downplays the archeological evidence indicating that Neanderthal man was indeed capable of abstract thought.

    You might like to peruse these articles.

    The Humanity of Fossil Man by Glenn Morton.
    Summary:
    The activities in which fossil man engaged were quite human like. While they did not have the technological edge that we have, their behavior is much like that which we would perform under similar technological deficits. The evidence would seem to say that spiritual man extends at least as far back as 2.6 million years ago.

    Planning Ahead: Requirement for Moral Accountability by Glenn Morton.
    Conclusion:
    The demonstrable planning depth of the fossil hominids is clearly within the range of modern man and not within the range of the chimpanzee or other non-sentient beings. Clearly hominids as long ago as 1.5 million years ago, had the capability to have understood God’s command not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. To consider the members of the genus Homo as little more than bipedal animals, as some apologists have suggested, seriously underestimates their observed capabilities.

    The Compassionate Homo Erectus by Glenn Morton.
    Introduction:
    I have just finished reading a very interesting book by Alan Walker and Pat Shipman, The Wisdom of the Bones (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1996). This book raises several issues which bear on the thesis I have advocated, namely, that in order to account for the anthropological data, Adam must have been either Homo habilis or Homo erectus. Most Christians are loath to consider such a hypothesis, preferring to reserve the term “human” to those who look like us, i.e. anatomically modern humans. Unfortunately, this viewpoint ignores some of the most interesting details found in the fossil record. The record of care and compassion on the part of Homo erectus would seem to go beyond what can be expected of a mere ape. The case of a fossil known as KNM-ER 1808 exemplifies the care of a human, even if 1808 looked a lot different from us.

    The Ancient Record of Religion Among Archaic Hominids by Glenn Morton.
    Conclusion:
    Symbolic and ritual behavior is evident among the erectines prior to 100 kyr ago. Thus to claim that religion is only found among the anatomically modern humans is false in the face of the anthropological data. Unfortunately, too many Christian apologists selectively cite data that supports their position and ignores data that doesn’t. In the case of ancient religion, this is a very widespread practice.

    The Flawed Anthropological Views of Reasons To Believe by Glenn Morton.
    Discusses an article by three Christian scientists from Reasons to Believe, arguing for a recent origin for humanity. Like many apologetical works, their article has several factual flaws which end up misrepresenting the anthropological data. It also has a tendency to cite only those articles and authors who support their position without informing their readers of alternative positions which are validly held and then without discussing any data which contradicts their position, they feel they have proven their position. Morton examines several of these flaws in his paper.

    Review of The Genesis Question by Hugh Ross.
    Excerpt:
    Concerning who is human and who isn’t Ross writes:

    “From a biblical perspective, painting, musical ability, burial of the dead, and use of tools could represent evidence of soulishness, not spirituality. Birds and primates, even elephants, have been observed to engage in such activities, which reflect mind and emotion, not spirit. “Although bipedal, tool-using, large-brained primates roamed Earth for hundreds of thousands (perhaps a million) years, religious relics date back only about eight thousand to twenty-four thousand years…”

    Almost everything in this passage is erroneous. There is no evidence of any animal digging holes in the ground and burying their dead. Birds and primates certainly don’t do it, Elephants, which Ross has cited elsewhere as engaging in burial behavior (Ross, 1991, p. 159-160) is simply a misreading of the data on elephants. Elephants OCCASIONALLY will throw leaves, branches etc on their dead, they also do it for humans they have just killed, and rhinocerii. (Douglas-Hamilton and Douglas-Hamilton, 1975, p. 237-238). Neither birds, primates nor elephants have been reported to manufacture a musical instrument for the purpose of making music. The oldest flute is from Libya and dates at least 80 kyr (Isaac, 1989, p. 71) and the oldest bone whistle of the kind that was made by Europeans into the last century dates at least 100 kyr (Stpanchuck 1993).

    Recent discoveries have revived the debate about how old religion is. It certainly appears to be much older than 24,000 years.

    ———————-

    Well, I hope you find something to think about there, bornagain77.

    To be fair, I should mention that Morton is hardly unbiased either. He has his own rather bizarre theory that human beings (Homo erectus) originated in the Mediterranean basin 5.5 million years ago, which was then dry. Around that time, water came rushing in from the Atlantic. That was the Flood, and it killed all but a tiny handful of human beings (Noah and his family). Thus the Flood was not global in scope, but it did kill all of humanity (except one family of eight), in Morton’s interpretation.

    My impression is that just as Ross minimizes the evidence for Neanderthal rationality, Morton overstates his evidence for religion and art being practiced by Homo erectus, although he is certainly correct in saying that Homo erectus was a quantum leap ahead of chimps in terms of mental capabilities. I should add that to date, there is no evidence of Homo erectus going back more than 2 million years.

    For what it’s worth, I think that the first species of human being to have been capable of abstract thought was most likely Homo heidelbergensis , who appeared 600,000 years ago and was ancestral to both Neanderthal man and Homo sapiens.

  56. Mung:

    1. A nested hierarchy is not predicted by common descent.

    A nested hierarchy is not predicted by ID’s version of common descent, but it is predicted by Darwinian common descent. The fact that we do see a nested hierarchy is therefore damaging not only to creationism, but to ID in general.

    2. The “molecular evidence” points to a nested hierarchy because that’s what the phylogenetic software is designed to do with it.

    Evolutionary biologists do not accept the nested hierarchy merely because the software spits it out. They accept it because you get the same nested hierarchy (or a very similar one) when you feed in completely independent data sets. The odds against that happening by chance are astronomical.

    3. The hierarchies you do get from the “molecular evidence” don’t agree.

    Actually, they do agree with stunning precision. Nobody expects them to agree perfectly, because the reconstructions are probabilistic. However, the congruence between them is comparable to the precision of our best scientific theories, such as quantum electrodynamics.

  57. I wrote:

    Perhaps you could address the issue at hand. I’ve presented two refutations of your Spetner quotation. Can you defend him, or do you admit that he’s wrong?

    bornagain77 changes the subject:

    Scoff at us: only in your fertile imagination have you falsified the Null Hypothesis of Information Generation. This is science not a place where we warm the coggles of each other hearts with darwinan just so stories,,,

    bornagain, StephenB has some advice for you:

    The proper response is, “Thank you, “I stand corrected.”

  58. Scoff at us accuses me of changing the subject when I in fact directly addressed the generation of functional information with no less than reference to Abel’s peer reviewed article,,, Scoff in turn claims none of that is relevant, though it is central to the matter. He claims he has authority to judge in such manner because of his shell game he played in his post with “compensatory mutations”.

    Well Scoff, I suggest you copy your post, have your post peer-reviewed, and then present it to the world at large instead of a handful of people on a fairly obscure blog, since you seem to be so impressed with its validity. Good Luck with all that. Myself I think you are delusional to think you have any merit whatsoever,,, but what do I know,, so get it published!

  59. bornagain77:

    Scoff at us accuses me of changing the subject when I in fact directly addressed the generation of functional information with no less than reference to Abel’s peer reviewed article,,,

    Except that we were talking about Spetner’s claims, not Abel’s.

    Can you defend Spetner, or do you concede that he is wrong?

  60. Hmm Scoff at us, you concede that you cannot falsify Abel’s null hypothesis for functional information generation but then you turn around and say Spetner’s claim that mutations do not produce (functional) information is falsified,,, and the discontinuity of logic is where?

  61. Scoff at us, if you want to go round the rose bush with your focus on compensatory mutations go for it,,, but the plain fact is that evolution does not have any empiracal evidence whatsoever that mutations can produce even trivial functional information, much less the staggering levels we find in life,,, staggering levels that easily outclass man’s ability to devise sophisticated code,,, If you want to believe that it can happen by accident be my guest,,, but do not sit here and insult us by insisting you are being coherent scientifically!

  62. bornagain,

    You quoted Spetner:

    The neo-Darwinians would like us to believe that large evolutionary changes can result from a series of small events if there are enough of them. But if these events all lose information they can’t be the steps in the kind of evolution the neo-Darwin theory is supposed to explain, no matter how many mutations there are. Whoever thinks macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up on volume.

    I showed (comment #32) and showed again (comment #49) why it is impossible for every mutation to lose information, as Spetner claims.

    Can you defend Spetner, or do you concede that he is wrong?

  63. BA77, please answer Scrofulous #62, do you defend Spetner or not? After all, you’re the one qouting Spetner, aren’t you?

  64. You know what guys I do stand behind Spetner’s statement, and this is why:

    I was in a discussion with Dave Wisker and he, like you, was thoroughly enamored with “compensatory mutations” that had brought a compromised organism (C. elegans) back to a rough measure of equilibrium, with its parent stock, in a fairly short amount of time. Yet I maintained that the compensatory mutations were not “optimal” in regards to the optimality I hold the parent species to be (as the correct model of Genetic Entropy posits), and since I know this principle (Genetic Entropy) to be rigorously true, the mutations were certainly not generating information so much as they were recovering sub-optimal information. Moreover, the lightning pace of the recovery of the “compensatory mutations” actually clearly indicated a higher level of algorithmic information within the genome itself that was calculating the “recovery of information”. Thus I held that the “compensatory mutations” are in fact not random mutations at all but that they are precisely calculated mutations, thus since the “mutations” can’t be considered truly “random mutations” in the first place, as Darwinism requires them to be true, then Spetner’s claim that random mutations lose information remains unscathed.
    I even suggested a line of testing to show that the principle of Genetic Entropy has been obeyed by the compensatory mutations after equilibrium was achieved:

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....-drugstore

    Can we tweak the fitness test to discern this fine level of Genetic Entropy, I firmly believe it possible,,, but until the test is refined, the test on ancient bacteria, which show consistent conformation to Genetic Entropy, hold sway. Thus my claim to the overall principle of Abel’s null hypothesis, which you are loathe to look at and try to dodge word games, stands unscathed as well.

  65. Can you defend Spetner, or do you concede that he is wrong?

    There is a third option you need to consider.

    Is Spetner’s argument being portrayed accurately?

    He may not be using the term “information” in the way that you perceive him to be using it. I think you need to clear that up before you can declare victory.

  66. bornagain77:

    …the mutations were certainly not generating information so much as they were recovering sub-optimal information.

    In other words, you’re saying that compensatory mutations regain the information that was lost by the initial mutations. That means Spetner is wrong in claiming that all mutations cause the loss of information.

    Are you going to admit that Spetner is wrong, or are there further knots you’d like to tie yourself into?

  67. If I may, here is another argument why it is obviously false that mutations always decrease information:

    Several hereditary diseases are caused by single point mutations that lead to loss of function of an essential enzyme. A single back mutation could restore the function. Clearly such a mutation cannot be regarded as leading to a loss of information.

  68. That means Spetner is wrong in claiming that all mutations cause the loss of information.

    1. Is that really his claim?

    2. What does he mean by “information” in the context of that statement?

  69. Tell you what scoff, you prove the “mutations” were random Darwinian mutations, exactly as Spetner meant, and were not Directed Mutations, as all evidence for calculated compensatory mutations indicate, and I will gladly release claim to Spetner’s remarks that purely random mutations can generate information,,, AND as a bonus prize for you, if you can prove the compensatory mutations were purely Random, and increased fitness, within any barely negligible 4^100000 genome,,, I WILL totally free of Charge to you send a e-mail to Abel informing him that naturalistic/materialistic processes have been observed falsifying His null hypothesis! Is that a deal or what?

  70. Just as evolution has moved on from Darwin in 150 years, it is possible for ID to move on from its roots in creation science over 20 or 30 years. My understanding is that it is exactly this ability to move on from cdesign proponentism that makes ID suspect in the eyes of some YECs.

    Well, we could argue over whether modern ID has it’s roots in creation science, but since we both agree that positions can change I think it would be somewhat pointless.

    I somewhat dislike the “big tent” of ID, because all too often it distracts from the essential claims of ID, but I guess when you’re a small minority looking for a broad base of support…

    Being somewhat a pragmatist, I think it’s too late to change what ID is into what I think it ought to be.

    So within ID I think we have “strong ID” and “weak ID,” with strong ID being more along the lines of “Natural Theology” and weak ID being the much more modest claims of “the design inference.”

    I don’t really know anything about HAR’s, but it does sounds like an interesting area that ID might want to pursue, if they could just keep it separate from the argument that humans and other primates couldn’t possibly share a common ancestor.

  71. Mung:

    He [Spetner] may not be using the term “information” in the way that you perceive him to be using it. I think you need to clear that up before you can declare victory.

    Spetner’s precise definition of information doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the information contained in one copy of gene A is the same as the information contained in an identical copy of gene A. Surely you’re not claiming that Spetner would disagree with that, are you?

    Imagine that instead of talking about information, we’re talking about chizzlewhup. Smeckner, who holds a PhD in physics from Caltech, doesn’t tell you what chizzlewhup is, but he does tell you that the amount of chizzlewhup in one book is the same as the amount of chizzlewhup in another, provided that they contain the same typographical characters in the same order.

    Smeckner then makes the following argument:

    The neo-chizzlewhupians would like us to believe that large changes can result from a series of small typographical changes if there are enough of them. But if these events all lose chizzlewhup, they can’t be the steps in the kind of large chizzlewhup-gaining change the neo-chizzlewhupian theory is supposed to explain, no matter how many characters are changed.

    You respond by invoking an example: Suppose that you take the book Moby Dick, the first character of which is an ‘C’. You change the ‘C’ to an ‘N’. According to Smeckner, you have reduced the chizzlewhup of the book, since all such changes involve the loss of chizzlewhup. Now suppose that you change the ‘N’ back to a ‘C’. According to Smeckner, you have reduced the chizzlewhup even further. Yet you have restored the original text of Moby Dick. By Smeckner’s logic, the amount of chizzlewhup contained in Moby Dick is less than the amount of chizzlewhup contained in Moby Dick. This contradicts Smeckner’s original assumption about the amount of chizzlewhup in two identical books.

    You conclude that Smeckner is wrong to claim that every changed character involves a loss of chizzlewhup.

    Nothing in this argument requires that you know precisely what chizzlewhup is. All that matters is that the chizzlewhup of two identical books is the same.

  72. —scrofulous: “Isn’t it necessary to be wrong first in order to be corrected?”

    Inasmuch as you were presenting a bad-design=no design argument without even recognizing it, you could not have been more wrong.

    —”Perhaps I should apologize for presenting a real argument instead of the strawman you hoped to defeat.”

    They were your words, not mine. Shall I cite them once again.
    About ID, you argued,

    —”It’s an argument for imperfect design that looks like it was created by undirected evolution.”

    Are you hoping that the passage of time will validate an invalid and confused argument. ID argues that evolution is directed and that biological design is real; Ken Miller argues that evolution is undirected and that biological design is illusory. It is evident that you do not understand ID science or Ken Miller’s misguided objections to it, which by the way, is supposed to be the theme of this thread.

    —–”Out of all the imperfect designs the creator could have chosen, why did he pick one that makes evolutionary theory appear to be correct?”

    Again, that statement, because it doesn’t define “evolutionary theory,” which ID does not dispute in general, reflects a high level of confusion about the main arguments that are being presented.

    —”As I asked bornagain, why is the creator hiding?”

    Again, you demonstrate your unfamiliarity with both Miller’s argument ID’s main theme. You should be asking that question of Ken Miller since he is the one that thinks design is an illusion. This is news to you?

    Rather than fuss all day over Spetner, you ought to take time out to read the FAQ and familiaze yourself with ID’s approach to design and Ken Miller’s disingenuous approach to it.

    —-”bornagain, StephenB has some advice for you ‘The proper response is, “Thank you, “I stand corrected.’

    No, I really did mean the advice for you, since it was your name on the correspondence.

  73. StephenB,

    The only place where I’ve presented a “bad design = no design” argument is in your imagination. I suspect there are lots of strawmen flitting about in there.

    My actual argument is this:

    1. Undirected Darwinian evolution predicts a nested hierarchy.

    2. Creationism does not predict a nested hierarchy.

    3. ID, even for those who accept common descent, does not predict a nested hierarchy. It’s compatible with a nested hierarchy, but unlike NDE, it does not predict one.

    4. Molecular and morphological data can be used to reconstruct the nested hierarchy.

    5. The nested hierarchies reconstructed from different sets of molecular data are stunningly congruent.

    6. The nested hierarchies reconstructed from different sets of morphological data are stunningly congruent.

    7. The nested hierarchies reconstructed from molecular data are stunningly congruent with those reconstructed from morphological data.

    8. Not one of these congruences is predicted by creationism or ID. There are a bazillion choices a designer could make that would not result in congruent nested hierarchies.

    Which conclusion better fits the evidence?

    a. NDE is true, since its predictions regarding congruent nested hierarchies are confirmed.

    b. ID is true, and it just so happens that the designer, for unknown reasons, happened to pick a design method, out of a zillion possibilities, that happens to match the predictions of NDE. Why? Who knows? The designer works in mysterious ways.

    Which of these is the better explanation, Stephen?

  74. scrofulous:

    I appreciate your creative attempt to reframe the issue and set the agenda to suit your own proclivities, but I am not so easily distracted. If you read Flannery’s original comments, you will find several points concerning Miller’s gross misunderstanding of ID science and his disingenous and illogical approach to attacking it. It appears that you share Miller’s misunderstanding, and it is on that matter I persist.

    In keeping with that point, Flannery addresses Miller’s confusion first about basic ID definitions and terms and also his contradictory allusions to deisgn with respect to directed vs undirected evolution.

    That is the subject matter of this thread and also happens to be the substance of your own personal difficulties, which I outlined @71. That problem persists, and even though discussions about Junk DNA, nesting, and other items, would interest me in other contexts, it does not solve the corrent problem, namely, Miller’s [and yours] misunderstanding about the most basic issues.

  75. Stephen,

    I’m not surprised that you’re avoiding the question I raised in #72. I have yet to encounter an ID supporter who could answer it.

    Indeed, putting myself in the shoes of an ID supporter, I can see no way to answer it.

    You can’t attack the validity of the nested hierarchy. It’s been confirmed to an accuracy of better than 38 decimal places.

    The only alternative I can see would be to come up with some reason why the designer chose to design in a way that makes undirected evolution appear to be true.

    But if you admit that he did, then you’re admitting that the evidence points to undirected evolution, not to design. If so, then there’s no reason other than blind faith to believe in a designer. Blind faith is not science.

    Perhaps you can surprise me by coming up with a viable answer to my question, Stephen.

  76. Spetner’s precise definition of information doesn’t matter.

    What Spetner means by “information” in the context in which he is using the term absolutely does matter.

    You are arguing that a mutation from A to a where the change from an uppercase ‘A’ to a lowercase ‘a’ entails no change in meaning is a “loss” of information as Spetner is using the term. That’s your argument.

    But if the change from A to a is not a change or loss of information as Spetner is using the term, your argument is not addressing Spetner’s argument.

    Therefore, meaning does matter.

  77. I’m not surprised that you’re avoiding the question I raised in #72. I have yet to encounter an ID supporter who could answer it.

    Why on earth should an ID supporter bother attempting to answer it when, based on your own admission, it’s an issue unrelated to whether ID is true?

    ID, even for those who accept common descent, does not predict a nested hierarchy.

    Let’s say we assume this is true.

    Let’s also assume that it’s true that a nested hierarchy is present.

    If ID doesn’t predict one, how on earth does the presence of one in any way falsify ID?

    How on earth do you change the claim that “ID does not predict a nested hierarchy,” into a claim that “ID predicts there will be no a nested hierarchy” and then turn that into an argument that the presence of a nested hierarchy falsifies ID?

  78. Hmm Scoff, you dodge the topic that Stephen got you pinned with, duck the mutation issue (since there are not trully beneficial mutations for you to cite) Try to play hide and seek with nested Hierarchies,,, But can you really find solace in “nested hierarchies” for youe atheistic delusions??

    “Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life,” New Scientist (January 21, 2009)
    Excerpt: Even among higher organisms, “the problem was that different genes told contradictory evolutionary stories,”,,,“despite the amount of data and breadth of taxa analyzed, relationships among most [animal] phyla remained unresolved.” ,,,,Carl Woese, a pioneer of evolutionary molecular systematics, observed that these problems extend well beyond the base of the tree of life: “Phylogenetic incongruities [conflicts] can be seen everywhere in the universal tree, from its root to the major branchings within and among the various taxa to the makeup of the primary groupings themselves.”,,, “We’ve just annihilated the (Darwin’s) tree of life.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    In fact ever since Michael Denton’s book in 1985, “Evolution: A Theory In Crisis”, it has been popularly known that different genes tell widely different evolutionary “stories”. And though you may have been taught otherwise, the “gene tree” problem remains unresolved to this day.

    Shilling for Darwin — The wildly irresponsible evolutionist – William Dembski – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: The incongruence of gene and species trees is a standing obstacle, or research problem, in molecular phylogenetics.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com...../#comments

    A Primer on the Tree of Life (Part 4)
    Excerpt: “In sharks, for example, the gut develops from cells in the roof of the embryonic cavity. In lampreys, the gut develops from cells on the floor of the cavity. And in frogs, the gut develops from cells from both the roof and the floor of the embryonic cavity. This discovery—that homologous structures can be produced by different developmental pathways—contradicts what we would expect to find if all vertebrates share a common ancestor. – Explore Evolution http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    Neo-Darwinism’s Gene Homology Problem – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6P6bXA50c0

    This following study reveals that genes can’t even be resolved to the hypothetical mammalian tree of life.

    A article in – Trends in Ecology and Evolution – concluded
    “the wealth of competing morphological, as well as molecular proposals of the prevailing phylogenies of the mammalian orders would reduce the mammalian tree to an unresolved bush, the only consistent clade probably being the grouping of elephants and sea cows.
    W. W. De Jong, “Molecules remodel the mammalian tree,” – Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol 13(7), pgs. 270-274 (July 7, 1998).

    Comparing molecular sequences gives the same pattern of discontinuity as the fossil record does:

    ‘The theory makes a prediction (for amino acid sequence similarity); we’ve tested it, and the prediction is falsified precisely.’
    Dr. Colin Patterson Senior Principal Scientific Officer in the Paleontology Department at the British Museum

    Walter T. Brown, In the Beginning (1989), p. 7
    Excerpt: “There is not a trace of evidence on the molecular level for the traditional evolutionary series: simple sea life > fish> amphibians > reptiles> mammals. In general, each of the many categories of organisms appear to be equally isolated.”
    http://evolution-facts.org/Appendix/a21.htm

    Well scoff,,, seems your fantasy of “nested heirarchy” has a bit more work to cut the mustard,,,
    My question for you is why in the world is it so important for you to believe Darwinism? I mean you have totally disrespected the scientific method just so to protect a theory that has no foundation in reality! Myself I would be totally ashamed to contort evidence as you have done just to protect a metaphysical belief.

  79. Mung:

    You are arguing that a mutation from A to a where the change from an uppercase ‘A’ to a lowercase ‘a’ entails no change in meaning is a “loss” of information as Spetner is using the term. That’s your argument.

    No, it isn’t. You’re assuming that ‘chizzlewhup’ is the same thing as information or meaning, but I was very careful not to define what chizzlewhup is. My argument works regardless.

    As I said, the only assumption required is that the chizzlewhup of two books is identical if they contain the same typographical characters in the same order. If so, then Smeckner’s argument fails.

    Likewise, if we assume that two identical genes contain the same amount of information, then we don’t need to know anything else about the definition of information to know that Spetner’s argument fails.

    Read my comments again and you’ll see what I mean.

  80. Mung:

    Let’s also assume that it’s true that a nested hierarchy is present.

    If ID doesn’t predict one, how on earth does the presence of one in any way falsify ID?

    It doesn’t falsify ID. It just means that ID is extremely unlikely to be the correct explanation. NDE fits the facts much better.

    Reread the question I posed to StephenB:

    Which conclusion better fits the evidence?

    a. NDE is true, since its predictions regarding congruent nested hierarchies are confirmed.

    b. ID is true, and it just so happens that the designer, for unknown reasons, happened to pick a design method, out of a zillion possibilities, that happens to match the predictions of NDE. Why? Who knows? The designer works in mysterious ways.

    Which of these explanations fits the facts better, Mung?

  81. bornagain77:

    I mean you have totally disrespected the scientific method just so to protect a theory that has no foundation in reality! Myself I would be totally ashamed to contort evidence as you have done just to protect a metaphysical belief.

    It sounds like you need to reread this verse from Matthew, bornagain:

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

    Matthew 7:3-5, KJV

  82. Scoff it really is very funny for you to leave the realm of empirical science and to allude to chizzlewhup to make your case,,, I am giggling right now!!! Tell you what scoff whenEVER you decide to join the real world with empirical evidence I will meaningfully engage you in the merits of what you say, until then you are merely playing word games with absolutely no intent, as far as I can see, to truly judge whether these matters are true are not, and only want to protect your philosophical bias of atheism.

  83. Oh now you are so desperate to protect your indefensible position as to quote scripture,,, and tell me scoff just why do you not believe the rest of the Bible that says you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God?

  84. —-scrofulous: “I’m not surprised that you’re avoiding the question I raised in #72. I have yet to encounter an ID supporter who could answer.”

    If you reread what was said, you will find that I posed my question first and you used yours as an evasion. I don’t accomodate evasionary questions until my original questions are answered. Besides, there is much more at stake here than you even begin to realize.

    Since you choose not to approach the relevant subject matter that I introduced earlier, perhaps you can weigh into another topic equally relevant to the thread.

    Miller claims to have reconciled his Christianity, which posits a purposeful creation, with his science. At the same time, he insists that “evolution works without either plan or purpose”—that is its “random and undirected.”

    At Dover, however, he admitted that such conclusions about meaning and purpose are “beyond the realm of science.”

    If that is the case, why does he continue to characterize the issue that way? At Dover, He testified that he “immediately took it out of the book” after the third edition. Since that is not the case, we have to ask this question: Did he lie under oath? As Casey Luskin has pointed out, Miller tried to blame this language on his co-author, Joseph Levine, stating that “this was a statement that Joe inserted.” That, of course, is another little fib inasmuch as he says the same thing in his newest book.

    Here are some of his quotes more recent quotes:

    —-“random, undirected process of mutation had produced the ‘right’ kind of variation for natural selection to act upon” (p. 51)

    —-”a random, undirected process like evolution” (p. 102)

    —-”blind, random, undirected evolution [could] have produced such an intricate set of structures and organs, so brilliantly dedicated to a single purpose” (p. 137)

    —-”the random, undirected processes of mutation and natural selection” (p. 145)

    —-”Evolution is a natural process, and natural processes are undirected” (p. 244)

    He as also agreed with Simpson’s remark that evolution is a purposeless, mindless process THAT DID NOT HAVE MAN IN MIND.

    Further, in his book with Levine, he writes this:

    ”Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless–a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit. Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, THERE WAS NO DIVINE PLAN TO GUIDE US.

    Further still, he claims to believe in the Bible, which teaches that the Creator’s existence is evident from his design. Yet, like all dutiful Darwinists, Miller insists that design is an illusion.

    How do you reconcile Miller’s radical Darwinism with his self proclaimed Catholic Christianity? How can you even defend the proposition that he is intellectually honest in any way?

    If Miller has “reconciled” his religion with his science, why has he subordinated his religion to his Darwinist ideology?

    How do you defend your unwillingness to provide a rational defense for him?

    Do you think I am going to go off on a safari with you about “nesting” will all this hanging in the background. Get real.

  85. bornagain77:

    Scoff it really is very funny for you to leave the realm of empirical science and to allude to chizzlewhup to make your case,,,

    How do you know that ‘chizzlewhup’ is outside “the realm of empirical science” when I haven’t defined it?

    Your comment makes me think of someone who is arguing over arithmetic. When his opponent presents an equation like “x + 3 = 10″, he complains:

    It really is very funny for you to leave the realm of numbers and to allude to letters to make your case,,, I am giggling right now!!!

    bornagain77, continuing:

    Oh now you are so desperate to protect your indefensible position as to quote scripture,,, and tell me scoff just why do you not believe the rest of the Bible that says you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God?

    Because the evidence is against it. The Bible is generally untrustworthy, though it has some truths in it. I just find it interesting when folks who claim to believe the Bible nevertheless choose to ignore what it says.

  86. But did Spetner claim that any point mutation necessarily involves a loss of information? It’s been a long time since I read him, but I recall that in each of his examples, he explains exactly why the mutation results in less information and capacity of the organism, even though this loss may allow it to survive an antibiotic (for example).

    Where does Spetner actually say that any change equals a loss?

  87. avocationist:

    Where does Spetner actually say that any change equals a loss?

    In the quote that bornagain supplied:

    The neo-Darwinians would like us to believe that large evolutionary changes can result from a series of small events if there are enough of them. But if these events all lose information they can’t be the steps in the kind of evolution the neo-Darwin theory is supposed to explain, no matter how many mutations there are. Whoever thinks macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up on volume.

    [Emphases mine]

    If Spetner doesn’t believe that every mutation involves a loss of information, then why does he base his argument on that assumption?

  88. What a disappointment. StephenB has an answer to my question — no doubt a brilliant one — but he refuses to share it until his demands are met.

    C’mon, Stephen. If not for me, do it for your fellow ID supporters who have proven unable to answer my question. Don’t leave them hanging.

  89. 89

    scrofulous,

    Have you ever read an ID argument as presented by a proponent of ID?

    I ask because you came repeatedly making comments about the motivations of the God.

    Have you ever read any ID literature at all? If so what was it?

  90. 90

    EDIT:

    I ask because you came repeatedly making comments about the motivations of the God [of the Bible].

  91. Upright Biped:

    I ask because you came repeatedly making comments about the motivations of the God.

    Don’t you mean the designer?

    Read carefully. The question does not require you to ascertain God’s the designer’s motivations:

    Which conclusion better fits the evidence?

    a. NDE is true, since its predictions regarding congruent nested hierarchies are confirmed.

    b. ID is true, and it just so happens that the designer, for unknown reasons, happened to pick a design method, out of a zillion possibilities, that happens to match the predictions of NDE. Why? Who knows? The designer works in mysterious ways.

    Which of these is the better explanation, Stephen?

  92. Scoff, reality Check Scoff!!! you have no empirical evidence for nested hierarchies to allude to! Please read this following article carefully.

    “Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life,” New Scientist (January 21, 2009)
    Excerpt: Even among higher organisms, “the problem was that different genes told contradictory evolutionary stories,”,,,“despite the amount of data and breadth of taxa analyzed, relationships among most [animal] phyla remained unresolved.” ,,,,Carl Woese, a pioneer of evolutionary molecular systematics, observed that these problems extend well beyond the base of the tree of life: “Phylogenetic incongruities [conflicts] can be seen everywhere in the universal tree, from its root to the major branchings within and among the various taxa to the makeup of the primary groupings themselves.”,,, “We’ve just annihilated the (Darwin’s) tree of life.”http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/05/a_primer_on_the_tree_of_life_p_1.html#more

    Do you dispute that article Scoff?

    Read this part carefully on page 4 I believe:

    “We’ve just annihilated the (Darwin’s) tree of life.”

    That ain’t an ID article Scoff!!!

    If you do dispute the article go tell the leading researchers who contributed to the article to straighten it out, but please don’t pretend you have any foundation to make such dogmatic claims for nested hierarchies,,,

  93. Hey Scoff, I just found this quote by John Sanford, a former professor of Genetics and inventor of the “Gene Gun”, that relates directly your argument:

    ‘Mutations are word-processing errors in the cell’s instruction manual. Mutations systematically destroy genetic information—even as word processing errors destroy written information. While there are some rare beneficial mutations (even as there are rare beneficial misspellings),1 bad mutations outnumber them—perhaps by a million to one. So even allowing for beneficial mutations, the net effect of mutation is overwhelmingly deleterious. The more the mutations, the less the information. This is fundamental to the mutation process.’ John Sanford – Professor Genetics Cornell – Inventor Of The Gene Gun and Pathogenic Derived Resistance
    http://creation.com/geneticist.....impossible

  94. And Scoff, If deep down your are kinda curious as to what Genetic Entropy is, this video will shed a little light for you:

    Evolution vs Genetic Entropy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmbRbyv2PA0

  95. “Upright BiPed” (#88) asked “scrofulous” – “Have you ever read an ID argument as presented by a proponent of ID? I ask because you came repeatedly making comments about the motivations of the God. Have you ever read any ID literature at all? If so what was it?

    Perhaps “scrofulous” read the Wedge Document, the first sentence of which is “The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built.” – or the second bullet under “Goals” in the Wedge Document, which says “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.

    It’s actually pretty clear what (and Who) ID is about.

  96. scofluous,

    I take it from your comment that you’ve never read any ID argument.

    That explains your errant comments about the motivations of “the designer” as well as your misunderstanding of nested heirarchies.

  97. scrofulous

    You argument for evolution does indeed have merit. I reproduce the following quote from http://www.talkorigins.org/faq....._hierarchy :

    As seen from the phylogeny in Figure 1, the predicted pattern of organisms at any given point in time can be described as “groups within groups”, otherwise known as a nested hierarchy. The only known processes that specifically generate unique, nested, hierarchical patterns are branching evolutionary processes. Common descent is a genetic process in which the state of the present generation/individual is dependent only upon genetic changes that have occurred since the most recent ancestral population/individual. Therefore, gradual evolution from common ancestors must conform to the mathematics of Markov processes and Markov chains. Using Markovian mathematics, it can be rigorously proven that branching Markovian replicating systems produce nested hierarchies (Givnish and Sytsma 1997; Harris 1989; Norris 1997). For these reasons, biologists routinely use branching Markov chains to effectively model evolutionary processes, including complex genetic processes, the temporal distributions of surnames in populations (Galton and Watson 1874), and the behavior of pathogens in epidemics.

    Although it is trivial to classify anything subjectively in a hierarchical manner, only certain things can be classified objectively in a consistent, unique nested hierarchy. The difference drawn here between “subjective” and “objective” is crucial and requires some elaboration, and it is best illustrated by example. Different models of cars certainly could be classified hierarchically—perhaps one could classify cars first by color, then within each color by number of wheels, then within each wheel number by manufacturer, etc. However, another individual may classify the same cars first by manufacturer, then by size, then by year, then by color, etc…

    Because of these facts, a cladistic analysis of cars will not produce a unique, consistent, well-supported tree that displays nested hierarchies. (Emphasis mine – VJT.)

    The highlighted passage employs abductive reasoning at its finest. And let me add: the only known processes that specifically generate functional specified complex information are actions by intelligent agents.

  98. Queue: Obfuscation over functional specified complex information.

  99. —scofluous: “What a disappointment. StephenB has an answer to my question — no doubt a brilliant one — but he refuses to share it until his demands are met.”

    My first demand is that you acquaint yourself with the subject matter that you are trying to refute by reading the FAQ section about ID, about which you seem to know nothing. On the matter of your question, it doesn’t accurately cover or describe the options, and I have no intention of trying to reformulate it for you so that it makes sense, especially since you are using it to avoid the really important questions that I have asked over and over again.

    I have provided a multitude of examples showing that Ken Miller, your hero, and the man whose scholarship and integrity you once acted as if you could defend, dissembles at every turn. You have ignored every point, so I take it from your silence that you cannot defend him after all and that you quietly agree with me that he cannot be trusted to provide even a modicum of intellectual honesty.

  100. It just means that ID is extremely unlikely to be the correct explanation.

    Yet the only one even attempting to argue that ID is a correct explanation is you!

  101. vjtorley,

    Thank you for that quote. It reinforces many of the points I’ve been trying to make in this thread.

    If I’m interpreting your comment correctly (and please let me know if I’m not), then:

    1) you agree that the evidence points to the existence of a single nested hierarchy, and

    2) you agree that this hierarchy is likely the result of a gradual, branching evolutionary process, but

    3) you doubt that an undirected natural process could be responsible for the complexity found in living organisms.

    Is that a fair summary?

    If so, let me ask a further question: do you agree that of all the options open to an intelligent designer, the vast majority (like the car example from your quote) do not yield consistent nested hierarchies?

    P.S. In case you missed it, I responded to your comments regarding memory on the other thread.

  102. Mung:

    Yet the only one even attempting to argue that ID is a correct explanation is you!

    Beg your pardon?

  103. Beg your pardon?

    As you well ought. Do you see anyone else here arguing that ID is the best explanation, or even an explanation, for the phenomena that you are presenting as an argument against ID?

    Please provide the quote(s).

  104. …the great gems of Western culture and thought are inextricably linked to scientific reason and rationality.
    - Only a Theory, p. x

    Is it just my imagination, or is Ken arguing that rationality comes from science.

  105. a. NDE is true, since its predictions regarding congruent nested hierarchies are confirmed.

    NDE does not predict any nested hierarchies.

    Nested hierarchies require a direction of immutable and additive characteristics.

    NDE does not require such a direction.

    As a matter of fact the only things the NDE “predicts” is change or stasis.

  106. Zach Bailey, did you have a point?

    ID is not anti- Common Descent.

    Just because I am asking for evidence for it does not mean ID is against it.

  107. scrofulous,

    YOU missed the point.

    YOU need real scientific data- that you can post some scenario does not mean it can or did happen.

    I see you as being the problem.

    Especially if you think that the NDE predicts a nested hierachy

  108. vjtorley,
    Given your attention to detail in your studies, I am a bit disappointed in you. I am especially disappointed that you would quote a talk origin faq to support hypothesized “nested hierarchies”. The true state of affairs is that we have ample reason to believe that any descent scenario will be severely compromised above the level of kind (as in the cichlid example). There simply isn’t any overarching pattern to genetic similarity as evolutionists adamantly claim so as to infer genetic relationship amongst different animals.
    Do you think I am wrong in saying this?

    If so then Please carefully read this following article:

    “Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life,” New Scientist (January 21, 2009)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    Especially this following quote:

    Carl Woese, a pioneer of evolutionary molecular systematics, observed that these problems extend well beyond the base of the tree of life: “Phylogenetic incongruities [conflicts] can be seen everywhere in the universal tree, from its root to the major branchings within and among the various taxa to the makeup of the primary groupings themselves.”

    Stephen Meyer also testified at the Texas School Board Hearings on Textbooks, in January, that the method in which the computers are set up to draw out similarities is rife with error, since the computers are programmed with undo bias from the start, so as to draw out any similarities it can find and to ignore all the dissimilarities. But to be justified in gathering evidence in such a prejudiced manner to support evolution, so as to blatantly ignore dissimilarities, evolution must first be established as a fact in the first place! Yet clearly you cannot assume to be true what you are seeking to prove true in the gathering of your evidence. Maybe if evolution was a already overwhelmingly confirmed this method could be justified to a certain extent but evolution has never even remotely been proven as a fact. In fact there is now overwhelming evidence to suggest evolution cannot occur (Behe, Sanford). This is especially true since evolutionists have never demonstrated even the simplest of upward evolutionary change to bacteria, despite exhaustive experimentation. If evolutionists can’t even do this with the “simplest” life on earth, it is clear to presuppose naturalistic processes are severely deficient in solving the question of our own origins.

    Thus vjtorley, since their evidence rest on such a biased sampling of the evidence, and as well I have showed you a direct quote by a pioneering expert in this area, Woese, in which both similarities and dissimilarities are given full weight of measure and the incongruities are found to be so striking that it led one researcher to say “We’ve just annihilated the tree of life?” ,so Why do you hold on to this shady evidence for nested hierarchies? Were you somehow unaware of the severe prejudice to which evolutionists handle evidence??? I thoroughly respect your research and have been impressed many times by your scholarship, Thus you can see why I am very disappointed that you would overlook this very important point of sampling bias from the evolutionists !

  109. vjtorly,

    The talk origins article on nested hierarchy is so wrong it is hard to tell where to start- but a good place is what I said above:

    Nested hierarchies require a direction of immutable and additive characteristics.

    NDE does not require such a direction.

    Dr Denton gpes over this in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”.

    The only people who still cling to the notion are people who don’t understand nested hierarchies nor the theory of evolution.

  110. scrofulous,

    BTW nested hierarchy was once considered evidence for the Creator.

    Evolutionists stole the nested hierarchy and just changed “archetype” to “common ancestor”.

    One would expect a priori that such a complete change of the philosophical bias of classification would result in a radical change of classification, but this was by no means the case. There was hardly and change in method before and after Darwin, except that “archetype” was replaced by the common ancestor.– Ernst Mayr

    Simpson echoed those comments:

    From their classifications alone, it is practically impossible to tell whether zoologists of the middle decades of the nineteenth century were evolutionists or not. The common ancestor was at first, and in most cases, just as hypothetical as the archetype, and the methods of inference were much the same for both, so that classification continued to develop with no immediate evidence of the revolution in principles….the hierarchy looked the same as before even if it meant something totally different.

  111. 111

    Scrofulous:

    I think there are a couple of problems with your analysis. First, if NDE predicts nested heirarchy, then the Platypus (and other such oddities) falsifies NDE.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6568

    That is, unless “nested heirarchy” is a trivial prediction, and NDE can produce organism lineages that fall both in and out of their heirarchical categorization – something one wouldn’t expect if one is dealing with natural laws that defined essential limatations to possible modifications.

    Second, you claim that ID doesn’t predict a nested heirarchy; but this is simply not true. ID is based on “what humans do” as an example of ID; humans definitely work in developing innovations to product design through a heirarchical, systematic process. One only need look through the development of the computer, computer programs, automobiles, etc. to find ample evidence of nested heirarchies as valid diagrams of the history of design innovation.

    However, the difference between an NDE and ID prediction of “nested heirarchy” would be that under ID, innovation would not be limited to what was availabe solely under the framework of a nested heirarchy; IOW, ID would also predict that there would be truly innovative, “outside the box” incorporations of design elements from non-related portions of the heirarchy.

    Humans breed heirarchical pedigrees of dogs or strains of plants, but can also just take a fish gene and insert it into a tomato plant if the designer (human) thinks it might move the tomato plant towards a design goal, or if the designer simply wants to experiment with something to see how it works out, what its real-world behavior would be.

    When you claim that the putative designer “picked” heirarchical design methodology out of a any number of methodologies, you seem to forget that ID is based on what humans actually do. The history of technologial innovation can be seen as a nested heirarchy with instances of “out of the box” innovation or design leaps.

    As far as I can tell by the evidence, that’s exactly what we see in the fossil record, and is not something predicted by NDE. Further, it seems to me that if NDE is true, then we should have hardier/more fecund organisms that we started with, since the only differential sorting genetic information is natural selection; but the evidence shows that this doesn’t appear to be the case.

    However, from a design perspective, if it is not particularly your desire to create more fecund/hardy organisms, but rather have a different design goal entirely, then perhaps you begin by generating very basic, hardy hardware and software and then develop it over time to produce all sorts of effects that have little or nothing whatsoever to do with “hardiness” or fecundity.

    The transition from the hardy, fecund bacteria to the far less hardy, far less fecund human isn’t predicted by random mutation and natural selection whatsoever; the development of the human occurred in spite of all proposed NDE forces.

    I think that the real problem most advocates on both sides of this debate face is that the evidence is, and has been, only looked at from two perspectives; that it was either generated by a perfect, good designer, or that it was created by unintelligent, natural forces.

    The only design agent ID proposes as an example is human, and when one looks at the evidence through the eyes of human design, one finds a remarkable correspondence of evidence to human design proclivity.

  112. 112

    I had the impression that VJT only posted the talk-origins article to make the point that the abductive reasoning used to arrive at their trivial (and questionable) conclusion, is exactly the same abductive reasoning that solidifies the intractible evidence of agency.

    Of course, he might have been a little more clever about making the point, but then again, he might have also understood that scofulous is an entrenched ideologue, who could find Hecho in Heaven on the bottom of his foot and still not get it.

  113. “I’m not surprised that you’re avoiding the question I raised in #72. I have yet to encounter an ID supporter who could answer it.”

    I have been following what is happening here rather infrequently lately but this comment is absolutely not true. I read comment #72 and even if all your assertions are true, then there are several perspectives of ID that are entirely consistent with them and thus explain them. I have also not read any of the comments in between so do not know what has been said.

    Starting first with the premise that some who support ID have. Namely, there was only one event that required an intelligent input and that was the origin of life. All the rest flowed from that. That is an ID position some hold. Some hold that life’s origin was a natural process and the fine tuning of the laws of nature enabled this process to get started.

    Next, take the premise that the hurdles required for macro evolution are so great that it takes assistance from an intelligence to ease organisms over the hurdle through whatever means you want to postulate. Some hold to the idea that this happened through quantum events. In other words non random quantum events were used as the means to implement the necessary changes. Some take the view point that the intervention was more direct.

    For example, the ecology needed certain types of organisms to enable it to proceed and current organisms were modified to make that happen.

    You could let your imagination run and possibly think of other scenarios but the constant is that events must have taken place that required an intelligent input. It does not mean that all or even most needed an intelligent input. The theory really states that it is at least one intervention.

    There is no proof for any of these scenarios just as there is no proof that natural processes have the power to create macro evolutionary events and the information to enable them. We know intelligence can get the job done. We know that natural process have never been shown to be capable of getting the job done. So the logical conclusion is that there is a high probability that there is an intelligence responsible for some aspects of life.

  114. 114

    Another expection one would have of NDE is an evolutionary history with few failures when it comes to the sorting method of hardiness/fecundity. IOW, if even the most basic mutation can only be selected for if it makes the organism more hardy/more fecund, it seems to me that you’d have a pretty good system for success, considering that a very hard/fecund organism was around so early in the game (ancient bacteria).

    But yet, that’s not what we have; we don’t have an evolutionary history of increasing fecundity/hardiness, what we have are millions of years of what looks like design experimentation for some other reason or goal, replete with what we see in the human example of both design failures and the disposal of old designs as – apparently – new designs are achieved that are considered advancements towards the goal by the designer.

    I remember a dyson vacuum cleaner commercial that says taht there were thousands of design “failures” before the design was achieved that actually went into production; translated to evolutionary history, this would mean that we should find a propensity of extinct species.

    It seems to me that if NDE was true, you’d find a minimum of extinct species, considering that you began with one that could survive and reproduce in a huge variety of challenging environments, and the only thing that was being selected for was more fecund, more hardy species.

  115. Another comment relative to what was discussed in #72 above.

    All the assertions are based on a gradual accumulation of changes over time that left a trail. All are based on a deterioration of genomes which no one denies. There are process that constantly mutate individual pieces or little pieces of the genome on an ongoing basis and they leave a trail.

    But the theory of naturalistic evolution is based on a different premise, namely that some of these changes gradually build to enable completely different functions and some of these functions over time turn out to be quite amazing. While the first scenario, the random neutral changes in the genome are available for all to see, somehow the changes that built up these different functions are invisible in the genomic architecture of the organisms of the planet. Apparently the dog ate them.

    It is this last phenomena, the complete absence of genomic evidence of the development of these new functions, that leads logically to ID.

  116. My time for commenting is limited this week, so I’ll have to be less comprehensive than I’d like, but I do want to point out the following:

    1. Human design yields nested hierarchies, but they are not consistent with each other. Taking computers as an example, if you construct a nested hierarchy of computers based on processors, it will not be consistent with a nested hierarchy based on disk drives.

    2. Gradual evolutionary processes do yield consistent nested hierarchies, and this is what we find when we examine life, both morphologically and via molecular biology.

    3. Humans could choose to produce consistent nested hierarchies if they wanted to, but they rarely (if ever) do. After all, when you’re designing something, who cares whether it falls into a neat set of consistent nested hierarchies? What matters is how well it works.

    4. Humans mix and match design components all the time. A peripheral developed for PCs can be used in a Mac. Why reinvent the wheel?

    5. Life isn’t like human design. It falls into consistent nested hierarchies, and there is no mixing and matching.

    The question: If life is designed, why did the designer use a methodology that produces consistent nested hierarchies? There are a zillion other ways he could have done it. Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?

    And why does he never borrow a feature of a modern bird species, for example, and stick it into a mammal (or vice-versa)? Human designers do this kind of thing all the time.

    And if the evidence matches the predictions of NDE, but not those of ID, then how can ID be justified as scientifically true? You end up claiming that ID is true in spite of the evidence, rather than because of it.

  117. Scoff states,
    “so I’ll have to be less comprehensive than I’d like,”

    Scoff, do you even read what you write? I am pretty sure you believe what you write, but I find zero logical consistency to it. I believe it is fairly clear that, in your own way, you are trying to somehow establish validity for evolution,, But why are you relying on shallow peripheral reason in order to do this? Why not go to the heart of the matter directly with empirical evidence and slam dunk the case home for evolution? Clearly, at least to me, you have left the domain of science proper when you present no evidence to withstand scrutiny. Do you disagree that scientists have never changed any bacteria into another bacteria? If so present your evidence. Yet there is no evidence for you to present! Scoff, Why in the world do you believe in evolution when it can’t even offer this supremely trivial level of proof for the simplest life on earth? Do you find a teleological view of reality appalling? If so, Why?

  118. “And if the evidence matches the predictions of NDE, but not those of ID, then how can ID be justified as scientifically true? You end up claiming that ID is true in spite of the evidence, rather than because of it.”

    You haven’t a clue as to what ID is about. So I would start asking questions and not pontificating. There is no reason NDE is not subsumed within ID and yet you assume they are at odds.

    ID says that NDE or just to be more precise the latest version of the evolutionary synthesis cannot explain everything not that it is wrong in total. It is just limited.

    Now any further comments you make should take that into consideration.

    PS – devolution also produces nested hierarchies as a large population gene pool descends into narrower ones as the various aspects of selection exert their influence. But in a downward direction, not upward as Darwin proposed. Life started with phyla in the Cambrian and worked its way downward.

    PPS – in the 120-150 million years that birds have been around why haven’t they developed tools or are essentially the same as when they started. Oh we have lots of varieties but birds are essentially the same. Not much action in Birdland.

    And it takes 22 million years to get a new species of birds, a very conservative group. Do all birds vote Republican?

  119. If life is designed, why did the designer use a methodology that produces consistent nested hierarchies? There are a zillion other ways he could have done it. Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?

    Wow. You don’t even appear to be attempting to understand the responses to this question, and I have responded numerous times.

    And if the evidence matches the predictions of NDE, but not those of ID, then how can ID be justified as scientifically true?

    ID does not make any prediction concerning this “evidence” of yours. Therefore to claim that your evidence does not match the predictions of ID is to construct a strawman.

    You end up claiming that ID is true in spite of the evidence, rather than because of it.

    The claim that ID is true is not based on this “evidence.” You are the only one here arguing that it is. Don’t you get it yet? How much more plainly can it be stated?

  120. scrofulous, here’s how I summarize your argument:

    We have all this evidence that points to common descent, which consists of a particular pattern.

    If there is a designer, he/she/it could have produced zillions of other patterns, any one of which would have been incompatible with the evidence predicted by common descent.

    We don’t find any of these other patterns, what we find is a pattern consist with common descent.

    Therefore, ID must be false.

    That about capture it?

  121. 2. Gradual evolutionary processes do yield consistent nested hierarchies, and this is what we find when we examine life, both morphologically and via molecular biology.

    That is false.

    You would only expect to see lineages/ sequences with all descent with modification scenarios.

    Transitional species would blur the line of distinction- as they would, by defintion- posess a blend of defining characteristics.

    Darwin said that extinctions are what led to the distinct categories.

    And please tell me- what is it in the theory of evolution that prevents a mixture of characteristic traits?

    With descent with modification we can expect lineages.

    Lineages should never be confused with nested hierarchies.

    Nested hierarchies demand that defining characteristics be immutable and additive.

    Life isn’t like that.

    Whatever survives to reproduce, survives to reproduce.

    If life is designed, why did the designer use a methodology that produces consistent nested hierarchies?

    If makes sense to do so. Designers use some sort of order and no need to keep re-inventing for every organism

    There are a zillion other ways he could have done it.

    And just how do you know that?

    Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?

    How can undirected evolution be tested?

    As I said before all you can “predict” with the NDE is change or stasis.

    You think there is something else yet you don’t say anything about it.

  122. Um, jerry, don’t underestimate birds:

    The New Caledonian Crow is the only non-human species with a record of inventing new tools by modifying existing ones, then passing these innovations to other individuals in the cultural group.

    link

  123. Some quotes from Kenneth Miller’s book Only a Theory

    The “new science of design,” its advocates claim, would give us an entirely new way to look at life. While evolution is limited to bringing about very slight changes, intelligent design (ID) would enable us to develop new antibiotics that would conquer disease once and for all. (p.13)

    The willingness of Americans to reject established authority has played a major role in the way that local activists have managed to push ideas such as scientific creationism and intelligent design into local schools. (p.12)

    “The majesty of our earth. The beauty of life. Are they the results of a natural process called evolution, or the work of a divine creator? This question is at the heart of a struggle that is threatening to tear our nation apart.” (NOVA, 2001)

    You’ve got to be kidding, I thought to myself the first time I heard that narration … but do they really have what it takes to rend the fabric of America? I didn’t think so in 2001. But I certainly do now. (p.7)

    Those who defend science are regarded as godless atheists who wish the worst for our young people and seek to undermine both faith and traditional American values. (p.7)

    Godless atheists?

    When defenders of mainstream science strike back, they’re often tempted to describe their tormentors as Luddites, fools, or worse … (p.7)

    Tormentors?

    What is at stake, I am convinced, is nothing less than America’s scientific soul. (p.16)

    Anyone else notice the irony in Miller’s use of the soul as a metaphor?

  124. jitsak,

    Yes I have seen videos of these birds. There is a great nature series, Planet Earth that I believe has video of them. Your link does not lead anywhere so you should correct it.

    Birds do some clever things. In the Evolution in Four Dimensions by Jablonka and Lamb, birds learned to open milk bottles and then passed it on to their buddies so that the whole neighborhood had these milk bottle opening birds. There are other examples in the book of learned behavior by animals that is passed on. It is one of their dimensions of evolution.

    Birds build things too such as nests and are clever regarding the materials they use. But basically they are the same as 120 million years ago, though video wasn’t available then to show how little they have come.

  125. jerry,

    since you think so little of birds, here’s a question: are feathers novel, complex structures or did trilobites have feathers?

  126. Sorry, here is the correct link.

    As you can see, jerry, birds have developed tools. Indeed, at a level of sophistication surpassing most primates.

    Birds have evolved into penguins, hawks, ostriches, etc, occupying many niches. Unlike you, I wouldn’t call that “essentially the same”. You might as well call all deuterostomes essentially the same tubes with appendages to stuff food in one end and shit from the other end.

  127. Birds have evolved into penguins, hawks, ostriches, etc, occupying many niches.

    Birds have evolved into birds?

  128. More from Ken Miller:

    The rise of Christianity established for its believers that the ultimate designer was God the creator. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest of Christian philosophers, made this argument explicit: Wherever complex design exists, there must have been a designer; nature is complex; therefore nature must have had an intelligent designer. This straightforward argument is one of Aquinas’s five ways to demonstrate the existence of God, and was adapted brilliantly in Rev. William Paley’s 1802 book, Natural Theology (p.21)

    Um, no, Ken.

    Aquinas’s first three Ways are all variations on what is known as the “cosmological argument” for the existence of God … The Fourth Way is sometimes called the “henological argument” … The Fifth Way, in turn, is commonly taken to be a version of the “teleological argument” … Etymologically speaking, this is an apt name for the proof, but it is also potentially misleading given that when most contemporary philosophers hear the expression “teleological argument” they naturally think of the famous “design argument,” associated historically with William Paley (1743-1805), and defended today by “Intelligent Design” theorists critical of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Indeed, many writers (such as Richard Dawkins) assume that the Fifth Way is just a variation on the “design argument.” But in fact Aquinas’s argument is radically different from Paley’s, and the standard objections directed against the latter have no force against the former.

    – Edward Fester, Aquinas (p. 110)

    One has to wonder if Miller got his ideas from Dawkins. Perhaps he should stick to Biology.

  129. Yes, Mung. Just like mammals have evolved into mammals, animals have evolved into animals, and organisms have evolved into organisms.

  130. jitsak,

    Have birds evolved or devolved? In their history what are the list of new complex capabilities that have developed. They are good at flying, hawks; good at swimming, penguins; good at both flying and swimming, puffins. But are they really different?

    I don’t know a whole lot about them but they are supposedly the heirs of the kings of the planets (dinosaurs) with the ability to fly and with an incredibly useful oxygen transport system. You would have thought they would have taken over the place. But they have been sort of ho hum.

    In terms of the evolution argument what do birds show us?

  131. jerry,

    Have birds evolved or devolved? In their history what are the list of new complex capabilities that have developed. They are good at flying, hawks; good at swimming, penguins; good at both flying and swimming, puffins. But are they really different?

    I don’t know what you mean by devolved. Is that the opposite of evolved?

    Are deuterostomes “really different” from each other? They are all just modified tubes, right?

    I don’t know a whole lot about them but they are supposedly the heirs of the kings of the planets (dinosaurs) with the ability to fly and with an incredibly useful oxygen transport system. You would have thought they would have taken over the place. But they have been sort of ho hum.

    They also use a lot of energy with their high metabolic rate, so they cannot compete with cold-blooded animals in many environments. There are still fish and reptiles, right?

    In terms of the evolution argument what do birds show us?

    You might want to look into the radiation of finches on the Galapagos islands. But I’m not sure what “the evolution argument” is.

  132. jerry,
    some novel complex features evolved since the first appearance of birds:
    UV vision
    color-producing nanostructured tissues in feathers (structural colors)
    ability to hover (hummingbirds)
    strutted bones
    air sac system (only partially present in dinosaurs)
    complex muscular system for controlling tail
    keeled sternum
    over 6 different types of feathers
    digestive system (crop and gizzard)
    syrinx (unique vocal organ)

    just trivial microevolution, right?

  133. jitsak,

    Artifact:

    1. Artifacts, Works, and Authors

    Aristotle divided things into those that “exist by nature” and “products of art” or “artificial products” (Physics, Book II, 192b). Artifacts are contrasted to natural objects; they are products of human actions. Consequently an artifact has necessarily a maker or an author. Using the word ‘author’ in a somewhat generalized sense, we may thus adopt the principle:

    (A1) If an object is an artifact, it has an author.

    It may be suggested that the maker of an artifact need not be a human being. For example, in a recent experiment a New Caledonian crow called Betty bent a piece of straight wire into a hook and used it to lift a bucket containing food from a vertical pipe (Weir at al., 2002). Betty’s hook may be regarded as a simple artifact made for the purpose of gaining access to the food bucket.

  134. jitsak,

    All the finches on the Galapagos Islands are considered one species. So what am I supposed to look into. You have some interesting micro evolution of variants there but no different than dissimilarities between the various ethnic groups of humans.

    You said you are not sure what the evolution argument is. Then you should sit back and observe and maybe over time you can make a comment that is relevant. But basically the evolution argument is could all the changes in life forms over the history of life on the planet have taken place by naturalistic means. ID says no and no one yet has been able to explain how some of it took place. Certainly not Darwin and neither has any of the vocal and visual people today such as Richard Dawkins or Jerry Coyne. They talk a good game but are very short on the delivery.

    So when you bring up some minor changes you are not addressing the “gut” issue and are in no way undermining ID but actually supporting it.

  135. Khan,

    Do you have the sequence for each of these capabilities and how they developed and do you have the data on how long the developmental cycle leading to each was. These couldn’t have occurred over night so there must be a long list of organisms/fossils with and without each of the characteristics and indication of the progression made in all these characteristics. Since it takes over 20 million years for a new bird species to develop this must have happened a long time ago.

    So do you have any information on when the splits occurred for those with and without the various characteristics. There should be lots of variants with and without the various combinations of characteristics. How many exist today with and without these characteristics. And what mechanism caused all these changes from the prior condition to the condition with the capability.

    Sounds like interesting stuff.

  136. Khan,

    You are now capitalizing your name. Is this a change? Wasn’t it in small letters at one time.

  137. Scrofulous,

    Thank you for the Spetner quote, but I suspect it is taken out of context. I believe he preceded with an argument showing that mutations do indeed lose information, in a real way. The examples that you gave to falsify it were not the sort of thing he was talking about. I don’t know whether the examples you gave exist in reality, or are hypothetical. Spetner gave actual cases of mutations as his examples.

    Also, what exactly does the phrase nested hierarchy refer to – similarity of appearance between life forms, or is it on the biomolecular level?

  138. avocationist:

    I don’t know whether the examples you gave exist in reality, or are hypothetical.

    Avocationist,

    Point mutations and reversions are real phenomena. There is nothing unrealistic about the scenario below:

    Joseph,

    You’re missed the point. The viability of the intermediates between A and B is irrelevant to the argument.

    Let me present an even more direct illustration of the problem with Spetner’s claim. Suppose that gene A undergoes a silent mutation that converts a C to a U. According to Spetner, there has been a loss of information. Now gene A experiences another mutation that reverses the first mutation and converts the U back to a C. According to Spetner, there has been a further loss of information. Therefore, by Spetner’s logic, we have lost information by converting A into A. In his world, A has less information than A.

    Now do you see the problem?

  139. jerry:

    jitsak,

    All the finches on the Galapagos Islands are considered one species.

    That’s not true, jerry:

    Darwin’s finches (also known as the Galápagos Finches or as Geospizinae) are a group of 14 or 15 species of Passerine birds, now placed in the tanager family rather than the true finch family.

    Link

  140. Mung,

    You don’t get to pick and choose which evidence to measure a theory against. All of the evidence needs to be considered, and the theory that best fits the evidence is to be preferred.

    A theory that makes successful predictions is better than one that does not. NDE makes many successful predictions (the nested hierarchy being just one of them). ID makes no predictions that I’m aware of, unless you count the contradictory predictions that a) junk DNA must have a function if ID is true, and b) junk DNA need not have a function if ID is true.

  141. You don’t get to pick and choose which evidence to measure a theory against.

    lol.

    We have evidence that the earth revolves around the sun. NDE does not predict this, thus NDE is falsified.

    You most certainly do get to choose the evidence against which a theory is to be measured.

    A theory that makes successful predictions is better than one that does not.

    A theory that can “predict” anything is no better than a theory that predicts nothing.

  142. scrofulous,

    The NDE does NOT predict any nested hierarchies.

    The only people who think so are the people who don’t know about either nested hierarchies nor the NDE.

    The ONLY thing the NDE “predicts” is either change or stasis.

    As for ID:

    The conclusion that something was designed can be made quite independently of knowledge of the designer. As a matter of procedure, the design must first be apprehended before there can be any further question about the designer. The inference to design can be held with all firmness that is possible in this world, without knowing anything about the designer.—Dr Behe

    As a scientific research program, intelligent design investigates the effects of intelligence and not intelligence as such.- Wm. Dembski page 33 of The Design Revolution

    Observation:

    The Universe

    Question

    Is the universe the result of intentional design?

    Prediction:

    1) If the universe was the product of a common design then I would expect it to be governed by one (common) set of parameters.

    2) If the universe were designed for scientific discovery then I would expect a strong correlation between habitability and measurability.

    3) Also if the universe was designed for scientific discovery I would expect it to be comprehensible.

    Test:

    1) Try to determine if the same laws that apply every place on Earth also apply throughout the universe.

    2) Try to determine the correlation between habitability and measurability.

    3) Try to determine if the universe is comprehensible.

    Potential falsification:

    1) Observe that the universe is chaotic.

    2) A- Find a place that is not habitable but offers at least as good of a platform to make scientific discoveries as Earth or B- Find a place that is inhabited but offers a poor platform from which to make scientific discoveries.

    3) Observe that we cannot comprehend the universe, meaning A) what applies locally does not apply throughout or B) what applies in one scenario, even locally, cannot be used/ applied in any similar scenario, even locally.

    Confirmation:

    1) Tests conducted all over the globe, on the Moon and in space confirm that the same laws that apply here also apply throughout the universe.

    2) All scientific data gathered to date confirm that habitability correlates with measurability.

    3) “The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it is comprehensible.” Albert Einstein

    Observation:

    Living organisms

    Question

    Are living organisms the result of intentional design?

    Prediction:

    If living organisms were the result of intentional design then I would expect to see that living organisms are (and contain subsystems that are) irreducibly complex and/ or contain complex specified information. IOW I would expect to see an intricacy that is more than just a sum of chemical reactions (endothermic or exothermic).

    Further I would expect to see command & control- a hierarchy of command & control would be a possibility.

    Test:

    Try to deduce the minimal functionality that a living organism. Try to determine if that minimal functionality is irreducibly complex and/or contains complex specified information. Also check to see if any subsystems are irreducibly complex and/ or contain complex specified information.

    Potential falsification:

    Observe that living organisms arise from non-living matter via a mixture of commonly-found-in-nature chemicals. Observe that while some systems “appear” to be irreducibly complex it can be demonstrated that they can indeed arise via purely stochastic processes such as culled genetic accidents. Also demonstrate that the apparent command & control can also be explained by endothermic and/or exothermic reactions.

    Confirmation:

    Living organisms are irreducibly complex and contain irreducibly complex subsystems. The information required to build and maintain a single-celled organism is both complex and specified.

    Command & control is observed in single-celled organisms- the bacterial flagellum not only has to be configured correctly, indicating command & control over the assembly process, but it also has to function, indicating command & control over functionality.

    Conclusion (scientific inference)

    Both the universe and living organisms are the result of intention design.

    Any future research can either confirm or refute this premise, which, for the biological side, was summed up in Darwinism, Design and Public Education page 92:

    1. High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.
    2. Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.
    3. Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.
    4. Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

  143. And scrofulous,

    If you want to refute Dr Spetner you need a real-life example.

    Imaginary scenarios- like the one you posted- are never considered as a refutation.

    And you actually have to first demonstrate knowledge of the argument you are trying to refute.

  144. Khan:

    some novel complex features evolved since the first appearance of birds:
    UV vision
    color-producing nanostructured tissues in feathers (structural colors)
    ability to hover (hummingbirds)
    strutted bones
    air sac system (only partially present in dinosaurs)
    complex muscular system for controlling tail
    keeled sternum
    over 6 different types of feathers
    digestive system (crop and gizzard)
    syrinx (unique vocal organ)

    How do we test all of that?

    And then how can we test that each of these “evolved” via undirected processes?

  145. Khan:

    since you think so little of birds, here’s a question: are feathers novel, complex structures or did trilobites have feathers?

    Stop asking questions and start providing the scientific data that would support your position.

    What is wrong with you people?

    Don’t you understand that to refute ID all you have to do is to actually go out and substantiate YOUR claims?

    If you have the scientific data that demonstrates that feathers can “evolve” in a population that never had them then present it.

  146. “All the finches on the Galapagos Islands are considered one species.

    That’s not true, jerry:

    Darwin’s finches (also known as the Galápagos Finches or as Geospizinae) are a group of 14 or 15 species of Passerine birds, now placed in the tanager family rather than the true finch family.”

    Sorry, I was using the Grants as the source for my information. They apparently do not know much about the topic.

    The original birds on the Galapagos have been there about 3.5 million years and it takes over 20 million years to form a new species. So I suggest both you and Wikipedia do the computing. I suggest practicing with flash cards to get your times tables correct before attempting any calculations.

    They can all interbreed (some of it may require artificial means). Just because they look different does not mean they are of a different species. Is the rest of your information just as reliable.

  147. joseph,
    I have pointed out this paper to you several times:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/33/11734.full

    it shows that a molecular model of feather evolution is congruent with robust paleontological evidence of the same. multiple lines of evidence supporting the same hypothesis, all that jazz..

    jerry,
    no, it’s always been Khan. nice moving of the goalposts. you say nothing novel has evolved in birds. i point out a half dozen things, you want the step-by-step evolution of each. if those topics interest you, I suggest doing your own research. you can start by reading “Speciation in Birds” by Trevor Price.. you might learn something like how hybrid sterility (what you refer to in your 20 my figure) is just one of many mechanisms for speciation.

  148. 148

    Joseph at 145,

    “Don’t you understand that to refute ID all you have to do is to actually go out and substantiate YOUR claims?”

    That is not the case. Until ID makes testable predictions that would serve to falsify the ID hypothesis (which must be explicitly stated), testing modern evolutionary theory can have no bearing on ID. No matter what empirical observations are made, ID proponents can claim they are compatible with ID.

    Further, modern evolutionary theory is tested daily by scientists around the world. The results of those tests are documented in the peer reviewed literature, of which there is a truly overwhelming volume.

    What testable predictions do you derive from ID?

    “If you have the scientific data that demonstrates that feathers can ‘evolve’ in a population that never had them then present it.”

    There is fossil evidence that it happened. This blog post is accessible to the layman and gives enough information for anyone interested in learning more to do so.

  149. #146

    it takes over 20 million years to form a new species

    Where did you get that figure?

  150. scrofulous:

    You don’t get to pick and choose which evidence to measure a theory against.

    Mung:

    lol.

    We have evidence that the earth revolves around the sun. NDE does not predict this, thus NDE is falsified.

    You most certainly do get to choose the evidence against which a theory is to be measured.

    Mung, we’ve been through this before. Earlier in the thread, we had this exchange:

    Mung:

    Let’s also assume that it’s true that a nested hierarchy is present.

    If ID doesn’t predict one, how on earth does the presence of one in any way falsify ID?

    scrofulous:

    It doesn’t falsify ID. It just means that ID is extremely unlikely to be the correct explanation. NDE fits the facts much better.

    You don’t have to falsify a theory in order to decide that another theory is better.

    A theory that can “predict” anything is no better than a theory that predicts nothing.

    You’ve got it! NDE makes a huge number of successful predictions (including the prediction of the nested hierarchy), while ID predicts nothing (or everything, depending on how you look at it).

    That makes NDE a far superior theory.

  151. jerry:

    Sorry, I was using the Grants as the source for my information. They apparently do not know much about the topic.

    That’s interesting. Could you give us a quotation from the Grants to show us what you mean?

  152. You’ve got it! NDE makes a huge number of successful predictions (including the prediction of the nested hierarchy), while ID predicts nothing

    NDE doesn’t really “predict” anything. It provides just-so narratives describing observed phenomena without really explaining any of them. As it stands, it offers a host of possible explanations for the existence and variation of species, never fully explains or demonstrates any of them, and then claims that the truth lies in some unknown combination of those and other yet undiscovered causes. We know how the species originated – they changed, somehow.
    And it works quite well. Its vacuous lack of detail facilitates stretching the theory to “explain” anything observed. (See Punctuated Equilibrium.)

  153. Scott Andrews:

    NDE doesn’t really “predict” anything.

    Okay, I’ll bite. Tell us why NDE does not predict the nested hierarchy. I’m sure Joseph will be happy to help you out.

  154. Tell us why NDE does not predict the nested hierarchy.

    I’m sure you noticed my scare quotes.
    NDE does in a sense, predict a nested hierarchy.
    That would constitute a meaningful scientific prediction if it made any attempt to explain how or why living things changed to form such a hierarchy. The explanation for the nested hierarchy is that somehow living things changed to form a nested hierarchy. It’s hard to be impressed.

    I noticed Mung already pointed out that the genetic “tree of life” you’re talking about doesn’t exist. IOW, the prediction that’s hardly a prediction isn’t even true. That’s okay. Since no one has a clue what the specific implementation of evolution is, it should be easy to reimagine it to predict that there is no nested hierarchy. I have no doubt that folks are already working on it.

  155. Scott,

    If the “tree of life” doesn’t exist, then how has it been possible to confirm it to 38 decimal places of accuracy?

    Please be specific.

  156. Scott Andrews:

    NDE does in a sense, predict a nested hierarchy.
    That would constitute a meaningful scientific prediction if it made any attempt to explain how or why living things changed to form such a hierarchy.

    It does: random mutation and natural selection. The nested hierarchy is a direct consequence of this mechanism. If the mechanism were different (say, design), then a nested hierarchy would not be predicted.

  157. It does: random mutation and natural selection. The nested hierarchy is a direct consequence of this mechanism.
    So you’re ruling out recombinance, horizontal transfer, and epigenetics. How?
    While you’re at it, can you explain, using non-hypothetical examples, how random mutation and natural selection produced this nested hierarchy? Or can you only say that they did?

  158. Scoff, ignoring the biased methodology of your purported 38 decimal places, which was arrived at by extremely prejudiced sampling (you cannot presuppose true what you are trying to prove true!), and just comparing numbers from the ID camp to your 38 decimal places lets see what we get:

    Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and Mass of the Universe – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B0t4zSzhjg

    To clearly illustrate the stunning degree of fine-tuning we are dealing with in the universe, Dr. Ross has used the illustration of adding or subtracting a single dime’s worth of mass in the observable universe would have been enough of a change in mass density to make life impossible in this universe. This word picture he uses, with the dime, helps to demonstrate a number used to quantify that fine-tuning of mass for the universe, namely 1 part in 10^60 for mass density. Compared to the total mass of the observable universe, 1 part in 10^60 works out to about a tenth part of a dime, if not smaller.

    Where Is the Cosmic Density Fine-Tuning? – Hugh Ross
    http://www.reasons.org/where-c.....ine-tuning

    Hebrews 11:3
    “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

    Although 1 part in 10^120 and 1 part in 10^60 far exceeds, by many orders of magnitude, the highest tolerance ever achieved in any man-made machine, 1 part in 10^22, according to esteemed British mathematical physicist Roger Penrose (1931-present), the odds of one particular individual constant, the “original phase-space volume” of the universe, required such precision that the “Creator’s aim must have been to an accuracy of 1 part in 10^10^123”. This number is gargantuan. If this number were written out in its entirety, 1 with 10^123 zeros to the right, it could not be written on a piece of paper the size of the entire visible universe, even if a number were written down on each sub-atomic particle in the entire universe, since the universe only has 10^80 sub-atomic particles in it.

    The Physics of the Small and Large: What is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: “The time-asymmetry is fundamentally connected to with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: indeed, the extraordinarily special nature (to a greater precision than about 1 in 10^10^123, in terms of phase-space volume) can be identified as the “source” of the Second Law (Entropy).” http://www.pul.it/irafs/CD%20I.....enrose.pdf

    This 1 in 10^10^123 number, for the time-asymmetry of the initial state of entropy for the universe, also lends strong support for “highly specified infinite information” creating the universe since;

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis

    This staggering level of precision, for each individual universal constant scientists can measure, is exactly why many theoretical physicists have suggested the existence of a “super-calculating intellect” to account for this fine-tuning. This is precisely why the anthropic hypothesis has gained such a strong foothold in many scientific circles. American geneticist Robert Griffiths jokingly remarked about these recent developments;

    “If we need an atheist for a debate, I go to the philosophy department. The physics department isn’t much use anymore.”

    Further comments:

    “Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here. Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate — it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially.”
    Nobel Prize winning Physicist Charles Townes

    “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe that was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, supernatural plan.” Physicist and Nobel laureate Arno Penzias

    “The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side.”
    Michael Turner – (Astrophysicist at Fermilab)

    “If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.” John O’Keefe (astronomer at NASA)

    “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.” Alan Sandage (preeminent Astronomer)

    “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” (NASA Astronomer Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, p. 116.)

    Proverbs 8:29-30
    “When He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;”

  159. If the “tree of life” doesn’t exist, then how has it been possible to confirm it to 38 decimal places of accuracy?

    It became possible right after I stopped beating my wife.

  160. Or scoff, if physics ain’t your cup of tea, lets look at a few decimal places for the origin of life:

    The probabilities against life “spontaneously” originating are simply overwhelming:

    Signature in the Cell – Book Review – Ken Peterson
    Excerpt: the “simplest extant cell, Mycoplasma genitalium — a tiny bacterium that inhabits the human urinary tract — requires ‘only’ 482 proteins to perform its necessary functions (562,000 bases of DNA…to assemble those proteins).” ,,, amino acids have to congregate in a definite specified sequence in order to make something that “works.” First of all they have to form a “peptide” bond and this seems to only happen about half the time in experiments. Thus, the probability of building a chain of 150 amino acids containing only peptide links is about one chance in 10 to the 45th power.
    In addition, another requirement for living things is that the amino acids must be the “left-handed” version. But in “abiotic amino-acid production” the right- and left-handed versions are equally created. Thus, to have only left-handed, only peptide bonds between amino acids in a chain of 150 would be about one chance in 10 to the 90th. Moreover, in order to create a functioning protein the “amino acids, like letters in a meaningful sentence, must link up in functionally specified sequential arrangements.” It turns out that the probability for this is about one in 10 to the 74th. Thus, the probability of one functional protein of 150 amino acids forming by random chance is (1 in) 10 to the 164th. If we assume some minimally complex cell requires 250 different proteins then the probability of this arrangement happening purely by chance is one in 10 to the 164th multiplied by itself 250 times or one in 10 to the 41,000th power. http://www.spectrummagazine.or.....ature_cell

    In fact years ago Fred Hoyle arrived at approximately the same number, one chance in 10^40,000, for life spontaneously arising. From this number, Fred Hoyle compared the random emergence of the simplest bacterium on earth to the likelihood “a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 therein”. Fred Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining just one single functioning protein molecule, by chance combination of amino acids, to a solar system packed full of blind men solving Rubik’s Cube simultaneously.

    Protein Molecules and “Simple” Cells – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFNwStNhHIc

    The Origin of Life – Lecture On Probability – John Walton – Professor Of Chemistry – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIgQP4RwrqY
    Entire Video:
    http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/originoflife.xml

    Probability’s Nature and Nature’s Probability: A Call to Scientific Integrity – Donald E. Johnson
    Excerpt: “one should not be able to get away with stating “it is possible that life arose from non-life by …” or “it’s possible that a different form of life exists elsewhere in the universe” without first demonstrating that it is indeed possible (non-zero probability) using known science. One could, of course, state “it may be speculated that … ,” but such a statement wouldn’t have the believability that its author intends to convey by the pseudo-scientific pronouncement.” http://www.amazon.com/Probabil.....1439228620

    so scoff, if it takes decimal places for you to believe in design I got your 38 decimal places exceeded by 39,962 places of decimal.

    Want to compare some more numbers?

  161. You don’t have to falsify a theory in order to decide that another theory is better.

    True. Intelligent Design is a better explanation than “we don’t know (Darwinism)”

    You don’t get to pick and choose which evidence to measure a theory against.

    False. You don’t get to measure ID against evidence that’s irrelevant to the claims of ID, as you have repeatedly attempted to do.

    e.g., There is no evidence for the existence of God, therefore Darwinian theory is false.

    Someone might object that Darwinian theory makes no prediction about the existence of God, and is compatible with the existence of God.

    Then someone might respond:

    You don’t get to pick and choose which evidence to measure a theory against.

  162. Tell us why NDE does not predict the nested hierarchy.

    Because it does not follow from any principle (axiom) of the theory.

    It is a pattern that the theory attempts to explain, and the explanation is, according to NDE, common descent.

    You can’t then (logically) assert that it’s a prediction of the theory without begging the question.

    Also, I’m sure you’ll agree to the presence of a branching pattern.

    But there is nothing in evolutionary theory that states that lineages must branch for evolution to occur.

    If we remove branching, what happens to the nested hierarchy?

  163. Mung,

    But there is nothing in evolutionary theory that states that lineages must branch for evolution to occur.

    That’s true. Evolution can occur without branching. However, speciation (and therefore branching) is predicted by evolutionary theory (ET). Ergo, a nested hierarchy is predicted by ET.

    There are several confirmed (both theoretically and empirically) mechanisms by which speciation can occur according to ET. Drift, natural selection, sexual selection, in allopatry or sympatry, or any combination thereof. Look it up in a textbook or google it if you like.

  164. “It does: random mutation and natural selection. The nested hierarchy is a direct consequence of this mechanism. If the mechanism were different (say, design), then a nested hierarchy would not be predicted.”

    How much longer does this nonsense have to be corrected before you get it. Several who hold the ID premise recognize that nested hierarchies are frequent. Normal devolution through NDE processes produces nested hierarchies except they are really upside down. So are they lowerarchies. And are completely compatible with ID. They are essentially micro evolution.

    ID has no problem with these so called upside down hierarchies if that is what they can be called but the nodes do not represent evolution but devolution except where they haven’t a clue where a node began and only speculate. So what some of these nested hierarchies are is complete speculation that becomes science after awhile. For example, the origin of mammals and birds is at best speculative.

    Now Khan will tell you birds is a done deal but he has presented no evidence of this except a few isolated characteristics found in a few fossils. He listed a lot of unique characteristics for birds and pronounced them at macro evolution. And I agree in the sense that they are major characteristics necessary for bird flight. I asked him for the evidence of the evolution of all these characteristics in birds and how they happened and he did not present any. If something evolved it had to change from something and this change had to be gradual. I say the evidence doesn’t exist and Khan failes to provide the evidence to refute me so what am I to say. Did they pop out of nowhere and represent another instance of the poof effect or did they slowly accumulate over time?

    So birds and mammals represent new nodes of unknown origin and what happened after that is pure speculation but devolution is as good a rationale as any for it. And devolution is good science as far as the latest evolutionary synthesis is concerned and as far as ID is concerned. There is no conflict. So stop creating problems where there is none.

    As I told you above, stop asserting and pontificating and deliver on evidence not speculation and stop confusing what ID believes and does not.

  165. There are several confirmed (both theoretically and empirically) mechanisms by which speciation can occur according to ET. Drift, natural selection, sexual selection, in allopatry or sympatry, or any combination thereof.

    This is one of the reasons why ET lacks explanatory power. To say that change is caused by one of these mechanisms or a combination of them is not an explanation.

    It’s like a theory that predicts an increase in mortality. Why? Because there are a bunch of things that can kill people, and more of them are going to happen. Even if its “prediction” is accurate, it was still never more than a wild guess.

  166. ScottAndrews:

    It became possible right after I stopped beating my wife.

    Don’t dodge the question. Looking at independent data sets, biologists have produced nested hierarchies that agree with each other to 38 decimal places of precsion.

    Explain to us how that is possible if the nested hierarchy is not real.

  167. Jerry

    I know you have rather a lot to respond to but, if you have time, I am intrigued by your statement in #146:

    it takes over 20 million years to form a new species.

    Where did you get that from? (Bear in mind it is 63 MYA since the end of the dinosaurs.)

  168. Tell us why NDE does not predict the nested hierarchy.

    Dr Denton did that over 20 years ago.

    Ya see with descent with modification the best one can expect is a LINEAGE/ SEQUENCE.

    A lineage is not a nested hierarchy.

    With descent with modification defining traits are not immutable nor additive- whatever survives survives.

    With nested hierarchies defining traits MUST BE immutable and additive- evolution does NOT have such a direction.

    Also with evolution we would expect TRANSITIONAL forms.

    Transitional forms BY THEIR VERY DEFINITION refute the premise of nested hierarchies as nested hierarchies also demand distinct boudaries which transitional forms would violate.

    The predictions of random mutations and natural selection:

    There is no way to predict what mutation will pop up at any point in time.- obvious

    There is no way to predict what will be selected for at any point in time- Dennett on PBS series “Evolution”.

  169. BTW scrofulous,

    If you are relying on talk origins to support your claims then you have already lost.

    Good luck with that…

  170. ScottAndrews,

    This is one of the reasons why ET lacks explanatory power. To say that change is caused by one of these mechanisms or a combination of them is not an explanation.

    It is a general explanation. In individual cases the explanation can be narrowed down. But if you have a better explanation, I’m all ears.

  171. Joseph,

    With nested hierarchies defining traits MUST BE immutable and additive- evolution does NOT have such a direction.

    No offense, but from your posts in this thread it’s pretty obvious that you have no idea what you are talking about. Please repair your lack of knowledge and come back later for a fruitful discussion.

    Your claim that traits in a nested hierarchy must be immutable and additive is simply nonsense. Suppose species A (white) branches into species A (the original species) and species B (black), and species B branches into species B and species C (yellow). Then we have {A,{B,C}}, a nested hierarchy of species, according to a mutable and non-additive trait.

  172. it takes over 20 million years to form a new species.

    Where did you get that from?

    Well, I have been trying to form a new species for 20 years now, so far without success. I am merely extrapolating my results.

  173. Explain to us how that is possible if the nested hierarchy is not real.

    It does not matter whether it is real or not. That is not what is at issue here.

    It does: random mutation and natural selection. The nested hierarchy is a direct consequence of this mechanism.

    No, it isn’t.

    You can set up a simulation using those two features of evolutionary theory and prove your case, btw.

    Might I recommend that you do so?

    Evolution can occur without branching. However, speciation (and therefore branching) is predicted by evolutionary theory (ET). Ergo, a nested hierarchy is predicted by ET.

    You do not understand your own theory. By your own admission, NDE does not predict that speciation will produce a branching pattern (the two are not synonymous), ergo, a nested hierarchy is not predicted.

    Since NDE cannot predict that any particular species will branch, it doesn’t predict branching at all.

    What NDE says is, if particular conditions are met, it might happen that…

    But NDE does not predict that those conditions will happen, nor does it predict that if they do happen, a branching will inevitably take place. It merely affirms the possibility.

    To affirm the possibility of some event, is not to make a prediction.

  174. Someone stated,

    it takes over 20 million years to form a new species.

    I would say that figure needs to be revised way upward:

    God by the Numbers – Charles Edward White
    Excerpt: “Even if we limit the number of necessary mutations to 1,000 and argue that half of these mutations are beneficial, the odds against getting 1,000 beneficial mutations in the proper order is 2^1000. Expressed in decimal form, this number is about 10^301. 10^301 mutations is a number far beyond the capacity of the universe to generate. Even if every particle in the universe mutated at the fastest possible rate and had done so since the Big Bang, there still would not be enough mutations.” http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=2

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations, Part 5 – Michael Behe
    Excerpt: the appearance of a particular (beneficial) double mutation in humans would have an expected time of appearance of 216 million years,
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....ns-part-5/

  175. Mung:

    False. You don’t get to measure ID against evidence that’s irrelevant to the claims of ID, as you have repeatedly attempted to do.

    Mung,

    Perhaps an example will help you to understand why your statement makes no sense. Imagine that two blog commenters, ‘Fava’ and ‘scurrilous’, are having a conversation:

    Fava: The Pendulum God makes pendulums move.

    scurrilous: Really? How?

    Fava: I don’t know. He just does. What else could cause pendulums to move?

    scurrilous: Gravity.

    Fava: That’s ridicculous. A force acting between mindless masses at a distance? Give me a break. Those forces are clearly caused by the Pendulum God.

    scurrilous: I have a better explanation of why pendulums move. It’s called Newtonian mechanics.

    Fava: Are you an atheist? Don’t you believe in the Pendulum God?

    scurrilous: No. Newtonian mechanics is a much better explanation. Not only does it tell us why pendulums move, it predicts their periods! Does Pendulum God Theory do that?

    Fava: No, but that’s irrelevant to whether PGT is a better theory than Newtonian mechanics.

    scurrilous: It’s totally relevant! Newtonian mechanics explains the periods of pendulums, why the planets orbit the Sun, how fast they move at each point, why airplanes fly, why spinning tops don’t fall over…(continues for 15 minutes)

    Fava: Those are all irrelevant. PGT doesn’t address them. Why do you keep bringing up things that have nothing to do with PGT?

    scurrilous: All of those are relevant! It isn’t enough for a theory to avoid falsification. It needs to make successful predictions. Newtonian mechanics makes tons of successful predictions. What predictions does PGT make?

    Fava: It predicts that the Pendulum god makes pendulums move.

    scurrilous (incredulously): That’s it?

    Fava: PGT is clearly the superior theory.

    When you say that ID cannot be faulted for failing to explain the nested hierarchy, you are making the same mistake that Fava makes in my example.

  176. When you say that ID cannot be faulted for failing to explain the nested hierarchy, you are making the same mistake that Fava makes in my example.

    The entire hypothetical exchange was incoherent and entirely unrelated to any argument being put forth here.

    Do you have any substantive response?

    From henceforth, I shall feel compelled at every possible opportunity that presents itself to point out how there are other theories which better explain evidence which Darwinian theory does not purport to explain, such as the retrograde motion of planets.

    There is a much better theory to explain this phenomena. Darwinism is such a failure.

    scrofulous:

    You don’t get to pick and choose which evidence to measure a theory against.

    I give up. You win. Darwinism fails because it fails to predict how the solar system formed or explain the evidence we have that supports our current theories of solar system formation.

    You seem to be of a mind that ID should explain everything.

    ID is not like your theory, which can and does explain everything.

    ID is actually testable, unlike your theory.

    But you have to test a theory against the predictions it makes. Your theory, making no predictions, cannot be tested.

    Everything is accommodated within your theory, therefore it cannot be disconfirmed.

    Not only does it not explain phenomena that it should explain, but the phenomena that it does explain (and the opposite of that phenomena) can be explained in the same terms.

  177. To affirm the possibility of some event, is not to make a prediction.

    With nested hierarchies defining traits MUST BE immutable and additive- evolution does NOT have such a direction.

    Well said.

    Looking forward to the response.

  178. Scofulous,

    “You’re missed the point. The viability of the intermediates between A and B is irrelevant to the argument.

    Let me present an even more direct illustration of the problem with Spetner’s claim. Suppose that gene A undergoes a silent mutation that converts a C to a U. According to Spetner, there has been a loss of information. Now gene A experiences another mutation that reverses the first mutation and converts the U back to a C. According to Spetner, there has been a further loss of information. Therefore, by Spetner’s logic, we have lost information by converting A into A. In his world, A has less information than A.”

    No, the viability, from what I recall of the Spetner book I read, was precisely the point. In the cases he cited, the organism lost ability as a trade-off to gain antibiotic resistance, and for the reason would revert back to the original when the life-threatening situation was removed.

    I do not recall that he ever made a blanket statement that a point mutation in and of itself MUST equal an information loss.

    I noticed in 156 that you continue to claim that ID (or creationism) would not predict a nested hierarchy, even though another poster elegantly refuted that. I would find it odd and unnatural for the designer to create unrelated life forms. Further, although I support ID, I envision a naturally unfolding process. All life ought to be organically related.

  179. Mung:

    The entire hypothetical exchange was incoherent and entirely unrelated to any argument being put forth here.

    Mung,

    Since you’re evidenttly struggling to discern the parallels between the two arguments (or more likely struggling not to discern them), here are some clues:

    1. Fava = Mung

    2. scurrilous = scrofulous

    3. Pendulum God Theory = ID

    4. Newtonian mechanics = NDE

    5. The pendulum’s period = the nested hierarchy

    6. PGT predicts nothing except that the Pendulum God makes pendulums move.

    7. ID predicts nothing except that some things are designed.

    8. Newtonian mechanics predicts the period of the pendulum, as well as dozens of other important and interesting phenomena. The predictions have been confirmed.

    9. NDE predicts the nested hierarchy, as well as dozens of other important and interesting phenomena. The predictions have been confirmed.

    10. Newtonian mechanics doesn’t explain everything. Neither does PGT.

    11. NDE doesn’t explain everything. Neither does ID.

    12. Nevertheless, Newtonian mechanics predicts far more than Pendulum God Theory, and its predictions are successful. Pendulum God Theory only predicts that the Pendulum God makes pendulums move. This prediction has never been confirmed. Newtonian mechanics is obviously far superior to PGT.

    13. Evolutionary theory predicts far more than ID, and its predictions are successful. ID only predicts that God, I mean the designer, designed some things. This prediction has never been confirmed. Evolutionary theory is obviously far superior to ID.

    Sorry, Mung, but I can’t make it any simpler than that, and Mr. Rogers is no longer available.

  180. jistak,

    With nested hierarchies the levels consist of and contain all lower levels.

    For example the animal kingdom- all organisms in the animal kingdom consist of and contain a set of defined characteristics.

    Then comes the level of the Phyla.

    Each Phyla in the Animal Kingdom consists of and contain all those characteristics PLUS additional characteristics which define each Phylum.

    Each Phylum consists of and contains Classes.

    Each Class consists of and contains all the characteristics of its Phylum PLUS additional characteristics that define each Class.

    And so on.

    So once you start losing defining characteristics, which is allowable under the theory of evolution, you lose containment.

    The ISSS has an article on this:

    Summary of the Principles of Hierarchy Theory:

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.

    Perhaps the ISSS doesn’t know what it is saying.

    And perhaps Dr Denton was totally wrong and yet no one dared debate him on that.

    So what I am saying is perhaps your ignorance is causing some bias of opinion…

  181. 7. ID predicts nothing except that some things are designed.

    Wrong again.

    ID predicts that designers leave traces of their activity behind and that we can then detect those traces.

    ID predicts that not everything is reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

    9. NDE predicts the nested hierarchy, as well as dozens of other important and interesting phenomena.

    No it does not for the many reasons already provided.

    That you have failed to address those reasons tells me that you haven’t a clue and are just blindly parroting a propaganda website.

    You can’t even provide a testable hypothesis based on random mutations and natural selection.

    And that says quite a bit more about your position than anything I could ever say.

  182. So what scrofulous is saying is that if we ignore reality and substitute acid-driven imagination for actual science, the NDE is useful.

    Also it too bad scrofulous conflates alleged evidence for Common Descent for alleged evidence for a mechanism/ mechanisms.

  183. Avocationist:

    I noticed in 156 that you continue to claim that ID (or creationism) would not predict a nested hierarchy, even though another poster elegantly refuted that.

    Who refuted it? In what comment?

    I would find it odd and unnatural for the designer to create unrelated life forms.

    First of all, why couldn’t a designer choose to create unrelated life forms if he wanted to? He might not find it as “odd and unnatural” as you do.
    Second, you’re confusing relatedness with the nested hierarchy. Relatedness does not necessarily imply a nested hierarchy. For example, car designs are often related, but they don’t fall into a single nested hierarchy.

    Further, although I support ID, I envision a naturally unfolding process. All life ought to be organically related.

    Science is about what is, not about what ought to be.

  184. jitsak:
    It is a general explanation. In individual cases the explanation can be narrowed down.

    Since your claim is stated plurally, please refer to case in which each of the “known” causes of speciation applied. I don’t think anyone would make such a claim unless there were plenty of such cases.

    But if you have a better explanation, I’m all ears.

    This isn’t a science fiction writing contest.

  185. Mung:

    Everything is accommodated within your theory, therefore it cannot be disconfirmed.

    Not only does it not explain phenomena that it should explain, but the phenomena that it does explain (and the opposite of that phenomena) can be explained in the same terms.

    Let’s see about that.

    NDE predicts that the sex ratio in most species should be one male for every female. You claim that NDE predicts anything and everything. According to you, then, NDE also predicts that the sex ratio should be five males for every female.

    Let’s see you back up your claim, Mung. Using nothing but Darwinian principles, show us how NDE predicts a sex ratio of five males per female.

  186. scrofulous:

    “Science is about what is, not about what ought to be”

    - – - – - -

    scrofulous:

    “Why, then, did the creator place…”

    “Why did he want to make it…”

    “…then why didn’t the designer…”

    “If He’s willing…then why not …”

    “…could have done it, but for some reason…”

    “…but he keeps choosing to do things in a way…”

    “..why would the creator choose to make …”

    “Why is the creator …”

    “…the creator could have chosen, why did he pick…”

    “…that the designer for unknown reasons…”

    “…come up with some reason why the designer chose…”

    “…why did the designer use a …”

    “…other ways he could have done it…”

    “…Why pick one that makes …”

    “…And why does he never …”

    “…why couldn’t a designer choose …”

  187. ScottAndrews,

    I’m still awaiting your answer to the question I posed in #166:

    Don’t dodge the question. Looking at independent data sets, biologists have produced nested hierarchies that agree with each other to 38 decimal places of precsion.

    Explain to us how that is possible if the nested hierarchy is not real.

  188. Why don’t you listen to the evidence Scoff?

  189. Upright Biped,

    There is no contradiction, because those are “why” questions, not “ought” questions.

    If I ask “Why did John Brown attack at Harpers Ferry,” I’m neither asking about nor implying what he ought to have done.

  190. bornagain77:

    Why don’t you listen to the evidence Scoff?

    I should be asking you that question, bornagain.

  191. 189

    Sure…right

    You repeatedly asked ID proponents why the designer didn’t do this or that based on what you think he/she/it OUGHT to have done, or what the evidence OUGHT to say, or what OUGHT to have been a better this and that.

    But…go ahead and stay with your story. It sounds good if you say it fast enough (and don’t think too much about it).

  192. Upright Biped:

    You repeatedly asked ID proponents why the designer didn’t do this or that based on what you think he/she/it OUGHT to have done…

    No, I asked them why the designer chose the particular method he did out of the vast number of alternatives available:

    The question: If life is designed, why did the designer use a methodology that produces consistent nested hierarchies? There are a zillion other ways he could have done it. Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?

    There’s nothing in that question about what he ought to have done. I’m asking why he did what he did.

    It’s obvious, though I don’t suppose you’ll admit you were wrong.

    Incidentally, no one has answered the question I posed. How about you, Upright?

  193. Mark Frank,

    Go to Itunes U on Itunes and then select Stanford University. Under the first category, Stanford courses, click it to expand the selection. The very last course is a special lecture series on Darwin and evolution. You can download all or whatever you wish. They are free. There is a lecture by the Grants and it is well done and fascinating. In it Rosemary Grant says, I believe, 32 million years but the actual figure in their reports is 22 million. There is a long discussion on speciation too.

    There are evolution courses on Itunes from Berkeley, Yale, MIT and I just saw a new short one from UCLA. Nothing in any of them contradicts ID though most will disparage it. I have yet to see any book on evolution or course on it that has evidence to support the naturalistic approach for macro evolution or falsify ID. If you can find it anywhere, then I suggest you present it. It is the eternal challenge that is unmet here. The best there is seems to be circumstantial evidence for some kind of naturalistic process but there is nothing to support gradualism.

  194. “Incidentally, no one has answered the question I posed. How about you”

    What question?

  195. The one I quoted in #192:

    The question: If life is designed, why did the designer use a methodology that produces consistent nested hierarchies? There are a zillion other ways he could have done it. Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?

  196. scrofulous,

    man…you just do not get it do you?

    - – - – - –

    ALL (as in all) of your questions about the motivations, methods, choices, hair color, and favorite ice cream of the designer are not applicable to ID.

    Can you not undertsand this? Really, take a moment from the heavy lifting you’ve been doing on this board trying to prove how ID is false and THINK about it for just a minute. Give yourself a pep talk.

    ID is about recognizing the design…IT IS NOT ABOUT THE DESIGNER.

    Well, NO you say, that can’t be!

    Yes it is, and there is a fundamental reason why. The reason is really about having discipline (and of course, having discipline is what our opponents are sorry at). Lean in and I’ll tell you the secret you missed at whatever propagada board you’ve been hanging out on.

    Here is the reason all of your questions are irrelavent:

    ID is science.

    Science is empirical

    Empericism is about evidence

    There is tons of evidence for design

    But the is nothing in the evidence about the designer.

    THEREFORE…

    ID cannot say anything about the designer, but can damn sure say a lot about the design.

    - – - – - –

    Now, I know that everything I just said will go right past you because you have proven that you are a rather common materialist voicebox whom is (not so uniquely) inaccessible to evidence.

    However, if you’d like to have some fun, then allow this group to start asking you the questions and just see how well you do.

  197. Scrofulous,

    I wish I could fathom how to use the quote feature here.

    “Who refuted it? In what comment? ”

    Murray at 111. (designer would not use nested hierarchy)

    As to why he would make it look like NDE is true, I think it never ocurred to him that we would look at this universe and the life forms and believe they organized themselves.

    “First of all, why couldn’t a designer choose to create unrelated life forms if he wanted to? He might not find it as “odd and unnatural” as you do.”

    Who knows what he could and couldn’t do? Why speculate like that? What I see from many people is a kind of magical thinking about God as something separate from the natural world. As though his influence is only by special interference. God manifests a universe and the laws of nature and permeates everything. If God were separate from nature, how would he work with it?
    Why the discrete jumps in evolution of life forms? Probably a periodic infusion of intelligent divine energy and/or frontloading. There’s no such thing as something not being a natural process. There are only processes we don’t understand and whose origin or periodicity we have not discerned.
    I don’t believe that God ever suspends the laws of physics. Why would he? Augustine, I think, said “Nature is what God does.” We would do well to contemplate that. The life forms unfold, in discrete jumps, and that is no doubt because that is how things work and how they were set up to work. Why create a setup and then circumvent it?

    “Second, you’re confusing relatedness with the nested hierarchy. Relatedness does not necessarily imply a nested hierarchy. For example, car designs are often related, but they don’t fall into a single nested hierarchy.”

    According to many good posts here, life may not be a nested hierarchy. I see no problem either way.

    “Science is about what is, not about what ought to be.”

    You misunderstood my intent. I was not using ought in a moral way. I meant that it makes the most intuitive sense based upon reality.

    Scrofulous, you should make note of the difference between a design inference (post 196) and the designer, but in your defense, the question is not unrelated and may be required psychologically for ID to be acceptable.

  198. Since you’re evidenttly struggling to discern the parallels between the two arguments (or more likely struggling not to discern them), here are some clues:

    1. Fava = Mung

    GREAT! An actual asserted correlation! (Unlike anything else you’ve said.)

    Mung: The Pendulum God makes pendulums move.

    Um, no. I don’t think I’ve ever made such a claim, or anything resembling such a claim. Feel free to present evidence to the contrary.

    Mung: I don’t know. He just does. What else could cause pendulums to move?

    Um, no. I don’t think I’ve ever made such a claim, or anything resembling such a claim. Feel free to present evidence to the contrary.

    Mung: That’s ridicculous. A force acting between mindless masses at a distance? Give me a break. Those forces are clearly caused by the Pendulum God.

    Um, no. I don’t think I’ve ever made such a claim, or anything resembling such a claim. Feel free to present evidence to the contrary.

    At this point, I am, going to avail myself of a BASEBALL ANALOGY.

    THREE STRIKES! YOU’RE OUT!

  199. Relatedness does not necessarily imply a nested hierarchy.

    Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that this statement is true.

    If it is true that “relatedness does not necessarily imply a nested hierarchy,” then it is also true that descent (relatedness) with or without modification predicts a nested hierarchy.

    Science is about what is, not about what ought to be.

    This is a false view of science.

    Simply, if A is true, it ought to be that case that…

  200. 200

    Scrofulous,

    “Decided to drop your claim about the “oughts”, eh, Upright? Heh.”

    Hardly.

    - – - – - –

    “Out of all the imperfect designs the creator could have chosen, why did he pick one that makes evolutionary theory appear to be correct?”

    What is the core basis of this question? Allow me to help (although I cannot imagine that you couldn’t figure this out for yourself):

    If evolution is correct then it ought to look like evolution is correct. If it was designed it ought to look like it was designed. So why does it look like evolution is correct, if it was designed? Because if it was designed, it ought to look like it.

    Now let me incorporate the issue that went completely over your head from my previous post:

    If evolution is correct then it ought to look like evolution is correct. If it was designed, then the designer ought to have made it look like design was correct. So why does it look like evolution is correct if it was designed by a designer? If a designer picked the design, then…

    ”why did he pick one that makes evolutionary theory appear to be correct?”

    - – - – - –

    “Be brave, Upright. Face the question head-on”

    Since it was your question, I think you should have gone first.

  201. scrofulous:

    NDE predicts that the sex ratio in most species should be one male for every female.

    NDE is therefore falsified.

  202. Mung and scrofulous:

    NDE predicts that the sex ratio in most species should be one male for every female.

    I wasn’t aware of this as a specific prediction but observation does conclude that *most* species display an approximate 1:1 sex ratio (the Fisherian sex ratio)- this is an average though and there are plenty of species that diverge from this. If selection pressures favour a ratio that diverges from this equilibrium then you tent to see that reflected in the population.

  203. “The one I quoted in #192:”

    That has been answered. It is micro evolution. No one denies micro evolution and it is fantastic design.

  204. scrofulous: I promised you long ago I would answer your question if you would answer my questions about Ken Miller. Naturally, you didn’t because you can’t. Meanwhile, your dialogue partners refute you at every level and you continue on with your scripted talking points as sleek as ever, not having responded to, absorbed, or even read a word that was said.

    The problem is, and always has been, that your question is so naïvely constructed and full of false assumptions about nested hierarchies [consult Joseph], the designer’s intent [consult Upright Biped] the nature of ID [consult Upright Biped] [the difference between appearance and conclusions drawn from appearance [consult me], and the definition of “methodology” [something that scientists use to discern God’s handiwork, not something that God uses to create] that an adhoc committee of ID educators would be required to tweak it and make it coherent. However, since there is no time for that I will answer it exactly in the form it was asked.

    —-“The question: If life is designed, why did the designer use a methodology that produces consistent nested hierarchies? There are a zillion other ways he could have done it. Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?”

    He didn’t. He picked one that makes design appear to be true. If you don’t believe me, ask Ken Miller himself, and his mentor, Richard Dawkins, both of whom acknowledge that biology is the study of organisms that appear to be designed.

  205. StephenB:

    He didn’t. He picked one that makes design appear to be true. If you don’t believe me, ask Ken Miller himself, and his mentor, Richard Dawkins, both of whom acknowledge that biology is the study of organisms that appear to be designed.

    Stephen,

    When Dawkins and Miller say things like that, they are talking about the superficial appearance of design. In this thread we have been talking about the evidence of the nested hierarchy. My question makes that explicit:

    The question: If life is designed, why did the designer use a methodology that produces consistent nested hierarchies? There are a zillion other ways he could have done it. Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?

    If this question is so hard to answer, shouldn’t that tell you something about the viability of ID?

  206. Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?

    Explain how it has the appearance of being undirected. Do you have a hypothesis for detecting non-design, and how does it apply? How can a thing appear both superficially designed and have evidence of a lack of design?

  207. scrofulous,

    I answered your nonsensical question.

    So what is your problem?

    Ya see the design would have used the template that produces a nested hierarchy- you know for order and such.

    Then you say:

    There are a zillion other ways he could have done it.

    Yet you have no idea how many ways there are to design living organisms and have them all “play” together.

    You also ask:

    Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?

    The only thing in biology tat points to undirected processes are genetic diseases and malfunctions.

    And BTW when people say the design is superficial it would be up to them to demonstrate that undirected processes can account for it.

    To date all we have is a declaration.

  208. Question for the moderators: why are my comments being held in the moderation queue?

    jerry:

    That has been answered. It is micro evolution. No one denies micro evolution and it is fantastic design.

    Jerry,

    The pattern of the nested hierarchy shows up in all sorts of features, not just the ones you would acknowledge as “microevolutionary.”

    Incidentally, I’ve seen ID supporters claim that natural selection is a tautology, then turn around a few hours later and say that ID accepts microevolution, as in the case of antibiotic resistance.

  209. “If this question is so hard to answer, shouldn’t that tell you something about the viability of ID?”

    Is this some kind of childish game. It has been answered more than once and each time it gets answered you ignore the answer and say it hasn’t been answered. Doesn’t this tell you something about the validity of the anti ID position.

  210. BillB:

    I wasn’t aware of this as a specific prediction but observation does conclude that *most* species display an approximate 1:1 sex ratio…

    Which is why I was careful to use the word ‘most’ in my original statement:

    NDE predicts that the sex ratio in most species should be one male for every female.

    If you look upthread, you’ll see why I brought up that fact. Mung claims that NDE predicts anything and everything. I invited him to demonstrate that:

    NDE predicts that the sex ratio in most species should be one male for every female. You claim that NDE predicts anything and everything. According to you, then, NDE also predicts that the sex ratio should be five males for every female.

    Let’s see you back up your claim, Mung. Using nothing but Darwinian principles, show us how NDE predicts a sex ratio of five males per female.

    Instead of answering the challenge, Mung tried to change the subject.

  211. By that way, scrofulous, when are you going to answer my questions about Ken Miller @84.

  212. Another question for the moderators: Why did you delete my detailed reply to Upright Biped @196?

    Upright,

    Of all the ‘oughts’ you list in #200, only one is about what the designer ought to have done, and it comes from you, not me.

    My question is not about what the designer ought to have done; it’s about why the designer did what he did.

  213. — scrofulous: “When Dawkins and Miller say things like that, they are talking about the superficial appearance of design.”

    To say that it is “superficial” is to say that God mislead us, which is exactly the charge you level against ID, but the one which truly can be attributed to you. In fact Miller, and you by extension, are telling us that God designed a process in which design appears to be real but isn’t. Which of our two camps is saying that God sent a mixed message. Not ours Organisms appear to be designed and the evidence confirms that they most likely were designed. That is the lesson that nature teaches us. Learn it; live it; love it.

    —”The question: If life is designed, why did the designer use a methodology that produces consistent nested hierarchies?”

    Nested hierarchies do not require undirected evolution, so your main talking point is irrelevant. That you can come up with nothing else amplifies the point that you have no case.

    —”There are a zillion other ways he could have done it. Why pick one that makes undirected evolution appear to be true?”

    He didn’t.

    —If this question is so hard to answer, shouldn’t that tell you something about the viability of ID?”

    It was very easy to answer.

    When are you doing to answer my questions about Ken Miller at 84?

  214. Also, Scrofulous, I am still waiting clarification that Spetner really claimed that any point mutation is necessarily a loss of information.

  215. Hey Scoff, I found a picture of you working on Darwinism:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_xGKq....._horse.jpg

    Keep beating on it, I’m sure you can beat Darwinism back to life eventually.

  216. scrofulous,

    The pattern of nested hierarchy is totally unexpected given random mutations and natural selection.

    The way Darwin explained it is via extinction events that created the distinct categories we now observe.

    As Dr Denton stated in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” with descent with modification the best we can get is a sequence, which would lead to transitional forms which would blur the lines of distinct categories required by nested hierarchies.

    But then again you don’t seem to let facts get in the way of your bloviations so have at it.

    Can evolution make things less complicated?

    Instead, the data suggest that eukaryote cells with all their bells and whistles are probably as ancient as bacteria and archaea, and may have even appeared first, with bacteria and archaea appearing later as stripped-down versions of eukaryotes, according to David Penny, a molecular biologist at Massey University in New Zealand.

    Penny, who worked on the research with Chuck Kurland of Sweden’s Lund University and Massey University’s L.J. Collins, acknowledged that the results might come as a surprise.

    “We do think there is a tendency to look at evolution as progressive,” he said. “We prefer to think of evolution as backwards, sideways, and occasionally forward.”

    IOW there is no reason to expect a nested hierarchy because a nested hierarchy requires a direction of immutable and additive defining characteristics.

    But then again you don’t seem interested in those fact thingies…

  217. 217

    Joseph at 216,

    IOW there is no reason to expect a nested hierarchy because a nested hierarchy requires a direction of immutable and additive defining characteristics.

    I presume you are referring to the fact that observed inheritance hierarchies are nested. Why would a nested inheritance hierarchy require those two features? It’s perfectly possible for characteristics to be added, modified, or deleted within a nested inheritance hierarchy.

    The defining characteristic of the nested hierarchy predicted by modern evolutionary theory is that the changes between one node and the next will be incremental. Those changes are not purely additive nor are “characteristics” that appear as the result of those (genetic) changes immutable.

  218. Mustela states:

    “It’s perfectly possible for characteristics to be added, modified, or deleted within a nested inheritance hierarchy.”

    Well Mustela just how possible is it for characteristics to be added ?

    the loss of morphological traits over time, for all organisms found in the fossil record, was so consistent that is was made into a scientific “law”:

    Dollo’s law and the death and resurrection of genes:
    Excerpt: “As the history of animal life was traced in the fossil record during the 19th century, it was observed that once an anatomical feature was lost in the course of evolution it never staged a return. This observation became canonized as Dollo’s law, after its propounder, and is taken as a general statement that evolution is irreversible.” http://www.pnas.org/content/91.....l.pdf+html

    A general rule of thumb for the “Deterioration/Genetic Entropy” of Dollo’s Law as it applies to the fossil record is found here:

    Dollo’s law and the death and resurrection of genes
    ABSTRACT Dollo’s law, the concept that evolution is not substantively reversible, implies that the degradation of genetic information is sufficiently fast that genes or developmental pathways released from selective pressure will rapidly become nonfunctional. Using empirical data to assess the rate of loss of coding information in genes for proteins with varying degrees of tolerance to mutational change, we show that, in fact, there is a significant probability over evolutionary time scales of 0.5-6 million years for successful reactivation of silenced genes or “lost” developmental programs. Conversely, the reactivation of long (>10 million years)-unexpressed genes and dormant developmental pathways is not possible unless function is maintained by other selective constraints;
    http://www.pnas.org/content/91.....l.pdf+html

    Dollo’s Law was further verified to the molecular level here:

    Dollo’s law, the symmetry of time, and the edge of evolution – Michael Behe
    Excerpt: We predict that future investigations, like ours, will support a molecular version of Dollo’s law: ,,, Dr. Behe comments on the finding of the study, “The old, organismal, time-asymmetric Dollo’s law supposedly blocked off just the past to Darwinian processes, for arbitrary reasons. A Dollo’s law in the molecular sense of Bridgham et al (2009), however, is time-symmetric. A time-symmetric law will substantially block both the past and the future,”. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....f_tim.html

    The following article is important in that it shows the principle of Genetic Entropy being obeyed in the fossil record by Trilobites, over the 270 million year history of their life on earth (Note: Trilobites are one of the most prolific “kinds” found in the fossil record with an extensive worldwide distribution. They appeared abruptly at the base of the Cambrian explosion with no evidence of transmutation from the “simple” creatures that preceded them, nor is there any evidence they ever produced anything else besides other trilobites during the entire time they were in the fossil record).

    The Cambrian’s Many Forms
    Excerpt: “It appears that organisms displayed “rampant” within-species variation “in the ‘warm afterglow’ of the Cambrian explosion,” Hughes said, but not later. “No one has shown this convincingly before, and that’s why this is so important.”"From an evolutionary perspective, the more variable a species is, the more raw material natural selection has to operate on,”….(Yet Surprisingly)….”There’s hardly any variation in the post-Cambrian,” he said. “Even the presence or absence or the kind of ornamentation on the head shield varies within these Cambrian trilobites and doesn’t vary in the post-Cambrian trilobites.” University of Chicago paleontologist Mark Webster; commenting on the “surprising and unexplained” loss of variation and diversity for trilobites over the 270 million year time span that trilobites were found in the fossil record, prior to their total extinction from the fossil record about 250 million years ago.
    http://www.terradaily.com/repo.....s_999.html

    Evolution vs. Trilobites – Prof. Andy McIntosh – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P-gHO2Vl5g

  219. 219

    bornagain77 at 218,

    “It’s perfectly possible for characteristics to be added, modified, or deleted within a nested inheritance hierarchy.”

    Well Mustela just how possible is it for characteristics to be added ?

    The most straightforward way is a gene duplication followed by a mutation (point, frame shift, etc.) to one of the duplicates. Such mutations are observed in the lab and in nature and they clearly add variability that can be operated on by natural selection. Allen MacNeill’s excellent list of 47+ sources of heritable variation shows many other mechanisms.

    I find your question rather confusing, given that new characteristics are rather routinely observed evolving via known evolutionary mechanisms. I recommend Richard Lenski’s experiments with e. coli as just one example.

  220. Mustela Nivalis

    I presume you are referring to the fact that observed inheritance hierarchies are nested. Why would a nested inheritance hierarchy require those two features? It’s perfectly possible for characteristics to be added, modified, or deleted within a nested inheritance hierarchy.

    What are you talking about?

    If a defining characteristic is lost so is the required containment.

    The defining characteristic of the nested hierarchy predicted by modern evolutionary theory is that the changes between one node and the next will be incremental. Those changes are not purely additive nor are “characteristics” that appear as the result of those (genetic) changes immutable.

    Nested hierarcvhies demand that the defining characteristics be both immutable and additive.

    Without that you don’t get a nested hierarchy.

    Also the MET does not predict a nested hierarchy.

    Mechanisms that do not have a pattern other than “survival” do not construct patterns such a nested hierarchies.

    There isn’t expectations for such processes.

  221. The most straightforward way is a gene duplication followed by a mutation (point, frame shift, etc.) to one of the duplicates.

    And what is the evidence that gene dupications are random and what is the evidence they can do what you hope they can?

    IOW what is the evidence that Allen’s described mechanisms can produce novel protein machinery and novel body plans?

    And Lenski showed that E coli can “evolve” into E coli.

    You need much, much more than that.

  222. Mustela,
    Gene Duplication and Lenski?

    Well You may want to dig a little deeper because you are severely wanting for proof!

    This following article refutes Lenski’s supposed “evolution” of the citrate ability for the E-Coli bacteria after 20,000 generations of the E-Coli:

    Multiple Mutations Needed for E. Coli – Michael Behe
    Excerpt: As Lenski put it, “The only known barrier to aerobic growth on citrate is its inability to transport citrate under oxic conditions.” (1) Other workers (cited by Lenski) in the past several decades have also identified mutant E. coli that could use citrate as a food source. In one instance the mutation wasn’t tracked down. (2) In another instance a protein coded by a gene called citT, which normally transports citrate in the absence of oxygen, was overexpressed. (3) The overexpressed protein allowed E. coli to grow on citrate in the presence of oxygen. It seems likely that Lenski’s mutant will turn out to be either this gene or another of the bacterium’s citrate-using genes, tweaked a bit to allow it to transport citrate in the presence of oxygen. (He hasn’t yet tracked down the mutation.),,, If Lenski’s results are about the best we’ve seen evolution do, then there’s no reason to believe evolution could produce many of the complex biological features we see in the cell.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/.....96N278Z93O

    Upon closer inspection, it seems Lenski’s “cuddled” E. coli are actually headed for “genetic meltdown” instead of evolving into something better.

    New Work by Richard Lenski:
    Excerpt: Interestingly, in this paper they report that the E. coli strain became a “mutator.” That means it lost at least some of its ability to repair its DNA, so mutations are accumulating now at a rate about seventy times faster than normal.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....enski.html

    Mustela , Do you think Lenski will mind if I am using his experiment for proof of Genetic Entropy?

  223. Gene Duplication is a joke as well Mustela:

    Sometimes a materialist will say, “gene duplication is the real engine of evolution” which generates the new functional information in molecular biology. Due to the level of complexity being dealt with in molecular biology, they were able to, somewhat, hide behind this smokescreen for a while. Yet now that real evidence is coming in, they are brutally betrayed by the evidence once again. The malaria parasite, due to its comparatively enormous population size, has in 1 year more mutation/duplication/selection events than all mammal lineages have had in the entire +100 million years they have been in the fossil record. Moreover, since single cell organisms and viruses replicate, and mutate/duplicate, far more quickly than multi-cellular life-forms can, scientists can do experiments on single celled organisms and viruses to see what we can actually expect to happen over millions of years for mammals with far smaller population sizes. Malaria and AIDS are among the largest real world tests that can be performed to see if evolutionary presumptions are true.

    Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pg. 162 Swine Flu, Viruses, and the Edge of Evolution
    “Indeed, the work on malaria and AIDS demonstrates that after all possible unintelligent processes in the cell–both ones we’ve discovered so far and ones we haven’t–at best extremely limited benefit, since no such process was able to do much of anything. It’s critical to notice that no artificial limitations were placed on the kinds of mutations or processes the microorganisms could undergo in nature. Nothing–neither point mutation, deletion, insertion, gene duplication, transposition, genome duplication, self-organization nor any other process yet undiscovered–was of much use.” http://www.evolutionnews.org/2....._edge.html

    Behe and Snoke go even further in addressing the Gene Duplication scenario in this following study:

    Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues: Michael J. Behe and David W. Snoke
    Excerpt: We conclude that, in general, to be fixed in 10^8 generations, the production of novel protein features that require the participation of two or more amino acid residues simply by multiple point mutations in duplicated genes would entail population sizes of no less than 10^9.,,,The fact that very large population sizes—10^9 or greater—are required to build even a minimal [multi-residue] feature requiring two nucleotide alterations within 10^8 generations by the processes described in our model, and that enormous population sizes are required for more complex features or shorter times, seems to indicate that the mechanism of gene duplication and point mutation alone would be ineffective, at least for multicellular diploid species, because few multicellular species reach the required population sizes.
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=2286568

    The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories, Stephen C. Meyer, 2004
    ,,,the probability of randomly assembling (or “finding,” in the previous sense) a functional sequence (for a duplicate gene) is extremely small.
    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=2177

    Jonathan Wells Hits an Evolutionary Nerve:
    “duplicating a gene doesn’t increase information content any more than photocopying a paper increases its information content.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    “If you count copies as new information, you must have a hard time with plagiarism in your classes. All that the miscreant students would have to say is “It’s just like gene duplication. Plagiarism is new information — you said so on your blog!”"
    Professor of Neurosurgery Michael Egnor in a response to P.Z. Myers

    Does Gene Duplication Increase Information Content?
    “merely citing gene duplication does not help one understand how Darwinian evolution can produce new genetic information.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....infor.html

    “The theory of gene duplication in its present form is unable to account for the origin of new genetic information”
    Ray Bohlin, (PhD. in molecular and cell biology)

    “Evolution through random duplications”… While it sounds quite sophisticated and respectable, it does not withstand honest and critical assessment” John C. Sanford; Genetic Entropy 2005

    Sanford Genetic Entropy Polyploidy – (Gene Duplication Fallacies)
    http://livinglove.files.wordpr.....x4-pg2.pdf
    http://livinglove.files.wordpr.....x4-pg3.pdf

    This following paper reveals that there is a “cost” to duplicate genes that further precludes the scenario from being plausible:

    Experimental Evolution of Gene Duplicates in a Bacterial Plasmid Model
    Excerpt: In a striking contradiction to our model, no such conditions were found. The fitness cost of carrying both plasmids increased dramatically as antibiotic levels were raised, and either the wild-type plasmid was lost or the cells did not grow. This study highlights the importance of the cost of duplicate genes and the quantitative nature of the tradeoff in the evolution of gene duplication through functional divergence. http://www.springerlink.com/co.....4014664w8/

  224. Mustela Nivalis,

    We are well aware of Allen MacNeill’s 47+ engines of variation and they all operate but from what I understand there is only speculative evidence that they ever had any major effect. In other words evolutionary biologist can only point to a small hand full of genes that might have formed this way out of the hundreds of thousands of genes.

    They make interesting cases and if you and others believe this is in fact how naturalistic processes have operated, present the case histories for the various genes. There should be enough to fill up a 10,000 page book but all we are presented with is the speculation and a couple examples. Do you think we would be here having this discussion if the people who detest ID had such information. And there is a vast army that intensely dislikes us. There would be a line tens of miles long waiting their turn to show us up and in reality if they had anything, people like Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Johnson etc would have retired from this debate long ago and it would be just nut jobs on this site.

    Allen MacNeill’s colleague and friend, Will Provine who is a respected evolutionary biologist admitted that evolutionary biology was based on faith. Use your head and ask why you are the one here to inform us of what is the answer they have been seeking for all this years. Don’t you see the irony in all this. No one in the upper echelons can write a book that explains it. Not Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Stephen Gould, Henry Gee and certainly not Charles Darwin. But here you are, defender of the faith, taking us on. Doesn’t that tell you something.

  225. 225

    Joseph at 220,

    I presume you are referring to the fact that observed inheritance hierarchies are nested. Why would a nested inheritance hierarchy require those two features? It’s perfectly possible for characteristics to be added, modified, or deleted within a nested inheritance hierarchy.

    What are you talking about?”

    Nested hierarchies. What are you talking about?

    “If a defining characteristic is lost so is the required containment.”

    You seem to misunderstand the nature of the nested inheritance hierarchy predicted by modern evolutionary theory. As I noted, the defining characteristic of that nested inheritance hierarchy is that the changes between one node and the next will be incremental. Those changes are not purely additive nor are “characteristics” that appear as the result of those (genetic) changes immutable.

    “Nested hierarcvhies demand that the defining characteristics be both immutable and additive.”

    Continuing to repeat an incorrect assertion does not make it more correct.

    “Without that you don’t get a nested hierarchy.”

    Of course you do. That’s exactly what we observe in nature.

    “Also the MET does not predict a nested hierarchy.”

    Yes, it does, as I believe has been pointed out to you before by other posters. MET predicts that any inheritance hierarchies that result from evolutionary mechanisms will be nested. Empirical evidence shows this to be the case. Moreover, the nested hierarchies are the same for all genetic characteristics. That is a remarkably powerful confirmation of MET.

  226. 226

    bornagain77 at 222,

    Gene Duplication and Lenski?

    Well You may want to dig a little deeper because you are severely wanting for proof!

    Your claim at 218 was that “the loss of morphological traits over time, for all organisms found in the fossil record, was so consistent that is was made into a scientific ‘law’”. This is absurd on its face because the fossil record shows exactly the opposite.

    Lenski’s experiments show very clearly that new characteristics can be acquired via the mechanisms of modern evolutionary theory. Not only did one of his populations acquire the ability to digest citrate, the individuals in each population became larger over generations. That’s definitely a morphological change.

    Your claim that evolutionary mechanisms cannot add characteristics is absolutely false.

  227. Mustela, Methinks you are easily led astray,

    Do you for one moment think Lenski’s “cuddled bacteria” are going to pass a fitness test against the parent stock? I certainly hope you are not that detached from reality! Thus if they cannot gain even a minimal amount of functional complexity to pass the fitness test, why in the world would you think getting “cuddled bacteria getting “fatter” was absolute proof of evolution? It is downhill in my book! And you are way off base as far as maintaining scientific integrity! But Hey If you just got to believe your great great grand pappy was a mud-puddle go ahead and believe it, just do not insult me by saying you are being honest in doing so!

    Do you really want to go into the fossil record?

  228. Mustela:

    This video may give you a much needed hint as to what you are up against in so far as gaining even a trivial amount of functional complexity:

    Evolution vs ATP Synthase – Molecular Machine – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE3QJMI-ljc

    a few more points for you to consider:

    Bacterial Flagellum – A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNi0YXYadg0

    Biologist Howard Berg at Harvard calls the Bacterial Flagellum

    “the most efficient machine in the universe.”

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

    Bacterial Flagella – A Paradigm for Design – Scott Minnich – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N949Ysm0KTY
    http://www.veritas.org/media/talks/92

    Mathematically Defining Functional Information In Molecular Biology – Kirk Durston – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUeCgTN7pOo

  229. Here is another for you Mustela:

    Evolution vs. Functional Proteins – Doug Axe – Video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4FvdOxIDfU

  230. 230

    bornagain77 at 227,

    Mustela, Methinks you are easily led astray,

    Methinks you are not sufficiently educated in science to make the kinds of pronouncements you regularly do here, but let’s stick to the issues.

    Do you for one moment think Lenski’s “cuddled bacteria” are going to pass a fitness test against the parent stock?

    If the fitness test is ability to survive in a low glucose, high citrate environment, then yes.

    Thus if they cannot gain even a minimal amount of functional complexity

    Please define “functional complexity” mathematically rigorously and show how it can be calculated for the relevant parts of the e. coli genome and we can continue the discussion.

    to pass the fitness test, why in the world would you think getting “cuddled bacteria getting “fatter” was absolute proof of evolution?

    I was responding to your earlier claims. Before we go down a rathole, please clarify your views for me (I’m quite sincere, I am not positive about what you are claiming and I don’t want to put words in your mouth): Are you asserting that the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory are incapable of generating any new characteristics under any circumstances?

  231. Mustela,

    You wrote:

    Do you for one moment think Lenski’s “cuddled bacteria” are going to pass a fitness test against the parent stock?

    If the fitness test is ability to survive in a low glucose, high citrate environment, then yes.

    You are correct. A perusal of Figure 2 in the Lenski paper clearly shows a fitness increase over the ancestral stock. The legend says:

    Green squares show the improvement of this population’s mean fitness relative to the ancestor over time, and the green curve is a hyperbolic plus linear fit of this trajectory

  232. “Nested hierarcvhies demand that the defining characteristics be both immutable and additive.”

    Mustela Nivalis:

    Continuing to repeat an incorrect assertion does not make it more correct.

    It is not incorrect.

    Just because you are ignorant of nested hierarchies does not make what I say incorrect.

    I have provided a reference to support my claims.

    You have nothing but more bald assertions.

    “Also the MET does not predict a nested hierarchy.”

    Yes, it does, as I believe has been pointed out to you before by other posters.

    I have provided more than enough reasons why it does not.

    Dr Denton has also done so.

    No one has bothered countering those with anything.

    The MET can only “predict” change and/ or stasis.

    Once again-

    Transitional forms, by their very definition, would violate a nested hierarchy which demands distinct categories.

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels.

    IOW if the defining traits are not immutable and additive then you lose containment.

    Just look at taxonomy-

    Animal Kingdom has a set of definitions.

    All Phyla under the Animal Kingdom have that set of definitions PLUS additional definitions which sets them apart from the other Phyla.

    Each Class under each Phyla has that PLUS additional definitions which sets them apart.

    And so on down to the species.

  233. Are you asserting that the mechanisms identified by modern evolutionary theory are incapable of generating any new characteristics under any circumstances?

    1- They were not identified under the MET. Under science perhaps but the MET had nothing to do with it.

    2- Those mecahnsism may or may not be undirected- see “Not By Chance” by Dr Lee Spetner- IOW citrate and nylonase could very well be a “built-in response to environmental cues”.

    3- What has NEVER been demonstrated was that undirected processes can lead to novel useful protein machinery and novel body plans.

  234. Mustela Nivalis

    Youtube videos and Bible verses contribute nothing to the discussion.

    Neither do your ignorance of nested hierarchies, bald assertions and bacteria “evolving” into bacteria.

  235. Mustela and Dave a little music for you guys as well as a fascinating video:
    Virus – Assembly Of A Nano-Machine – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObxgbaWwT_w

    Only by contorting the fitness test is Lenski able tyo bend the data to anything remotely favorable to evolution. Dave probably knows this and convenienly omits it. Yet if the fitness test is held to these following high standards there in never any gain of functional complexity to be witnessed:

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....-drugstore

    by the mustela Dave in his exuberance to pull the wool over your eyes probably failed to tell you that all clearly known examples of antibiotic resistance alwats come at a cost of molecular functionality:

    List Of Degraded Molecular Abilities Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria:
    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

    As well since materialism is not even a coherent philosophy for reality, I start from a different angle to ascertain whether functional complexity has been gained in a adaptation:

    It seems readily apparent that to conclusively demonstrate God has moved within nature, in a teleological manner, to provide the sub-species bacteria with additional functional information over the “optimal” genome of its parent species, the “fitness test” must be passed by the sub-species against the parent species. If the fitness test is shown to be passed then the new molecular function, which provides the more robust survivability for the sub-species, must be calculated to its additional Functional Information Bits (Fits) it gained in the beneficial adaptation, and then be found to be greater than 140 Fits. 140 Fits is what has now been generously set by Kirk Durston as the maximum limit of Functional Information which can reasonably be expected to be generated by the natural processes of the universe over the entire age of the universe (The actual limit is most likely to be around 40 Fits). This fitness test, and calculation, must be done to rigorously establish materialistic processes did not generate the functional information (Fits), and to rigorously establish teleological, within nature, processes were indeed involved in the increase of Functional Complexity of the beneficially adapted sub-species.

    Here is the math for determining functional information:

    Mathematically Defining Functional Information In Molecular Biology – Kirk Durston – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUeCgTN7pOo
    Entire video:
    http://www.seraphmedia.org.uk/ID.xml

  236. 236

    Joseph at 233,

    I see now, you’re trying to define modern evolutionary theory out of existence. That may be an amusing semantic game, but science has referents in the real world.

    Your linguistic contortions don’t change reality.

    The meaning of “nested hierarchy” as used by evolutionary biologists does not include immutable and additive defining characteristics, however much you may wish it to be otherwise. The facts are that all living species fall into a nested hierarchy based on their genetic heritage. Further, regardless of the genetic features considered, exactly the same nested hierarchy is derived from the empirical data. This is incredibly strong support for modern evolutionary theory that you can’t make disappear with word games.

  237. 237

    bornagain77 at 236,

    Youtube videos and creationist sites are hardly a refutation of the observed evolution that you claim can’t happen.

  238. Mustela Nivalis states:

    Youtube videos and Bible verses contribute nothing to the discussion.

    How about both in one then?

    Euler’s Number – God Created Mathematics
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IEb1gTRo74

  239. Mustela, How in the world can you even entertain the thought that only materialistic processes created you when quantum mechanics has completely destroyed any claim materialism had on reality?

    Little do most people know there is actually no solid indestructible particle, at all, at the basis of our reality in the atom somewhere. Each and every sub-atomic particle in the atom, (proton, neutron, electron etc..) is subject to the laws of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is about as far away from the solid material particle, that materialism had predicted as the basis of reality, as can be had.

    Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism – By Bruce L Gordon:
    Excerpt: Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.
    http://www.4truth.net/site/c.h.....ialism.htm

    What blows most people away, when they first encounter quantum mechanics, is the quantum foundation of our “material reality” blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Most people consider defying time and space to be a “miraculous & supernatural” event. I know I certainly do! This “miraculous & supernatural” foundation for our physical reality can easily be illuminated by the famous “double slit” experiment. (It should be noted the double slit experiment was originally devised, in 1801, by a Christian named Thomas Young). (It should also be noted that the most solid indestructible “things” in the atom are the unchanging transcendent universal constants which exercise overriding “non-chaotic” dominion of all quantum events.)

    The Miraculous Foundation of Reality – Dr. Quantum – Double Slit & Entanglement – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzQuU6FpYAk

    As well, the actions observed in the double slit experiment are only possible if our reality has its actual basis in a “higher dimension”:

    Explaining The Unseen Spiritual Realm – Dr. Quantum – Flatland – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhjNlp5RIZs

    The Electron – The Supernatural Basis of Reality – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv_YQl6XSMM

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.” Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/magaz.....fault.aspx

    etc…etc…

    Mustela ,,, I can only show you the door I can’t make you go in!

  240. Mustela, I am still waiting for YOU to verify your grand claim that evolution HAS happened,,,you are the one making grand claims for natural processes to create all this amazing life around us!!!

    Are You really going to blindly cling to a pre-existing citrate ability of e-coli that was arrived at by detrimental mutations???? Is that your proof? Why in blue blazes do you accept such tripe as conclusive proof of evolution? What in the world is really driving you to be so willingly deceived? So detached from what is true

  241. 241

    bornagain77 at 240,

    Mustela, I am still waiting for YOU to verify your grand claim that evolution HAS happened

    Evolution is defined as a change in allele frequencies in populations over time. It has been observed. It has been documented. It has happened.

    The mechanisms identified as generating heritable variability by modern evolutionary theory have been observed and documented. They occur and they generate novel features. Two of those have been pointed out to you very recently: Lenski’s citrate eating e. coli and nylonase synthesizing bacteria. Again, evolution has been observed.

  242. Mustela, both of those examples came at a overall loss of functional complexity that was inherent in the parent bacteria….As amply witnessed by the fact that the nylonase will be less fit for survival once the nylon is removed from the environment, and that the citrate bacteria will not pass the fitness test in the parent bateria’s native environment… What you need is to generate functional complexity greater than was already present,,, You clearly have not done so!!! Why is it so important for you to believe this tripe you are trying so desperately to sell me? Did God hurt you somehow? What offense has He committed to you to make you so dogmatic in your atheism? Do you think God owes you something?

  243. BA77,
    if oxygen levels returned to those of the precambrian, human beings will be less fit for survival. does that mean that we are less functionally complex than cyanobacteria?

  244. Mustela Nivalis:

    I see now, you’re trying to define modern evolutionary theory out of existence. That may be an amusing semantic game, but science has referents in the real world.

    No you don’t see.

    It appears that you are incapable of seeing anything but your personal biases.

    I am not defining anything.

    I am using the standard and accepted definition of nested hierarchy.

    And you don’t seem to know anything about nested hierarchies.

    And you think your ignorance refutes the facts I have presented.

    The meaning of “nested hierarchy” as used by evolutionary biologists does not include immutable and additive defining characteristics, however much you may wish it to be otherwise.

    Evolutionary biologists do not get to change the meaning of nested hierarchies to suit their needs.

    Summary of the pronciples of hierarchy theory

    That is from the ISSS-International Society for the System Sciences.

    The facts are that all living species fall into a nested hierarchy based on their genetic heritage.

    The fact is nested hierarchies are constructed based on defined characteristics.

    Again you appear ignorant of nested hierarchies and you think your ignorance is meaningful discourse.

  245. Mustela Nivalis:

    Evolution is defined as a change in allele frequencies in populations over time. It has been observed. It has been documented. It has happened.

    Evolution is not being debated.

    The debate is about the mechanism(s)- are they undirected and without a goal, or are they directed and target oriented?

    So thank you for once again displaying your ignorance.

    Even YECs accept that allele frequencies change over time.

    The mechanisms identified as generating heritable variability by modern evolutionary theory have been observed and documented. They occur and they generate novel features. Two of those have been pointed out to you very recently: Lenski’s citrate eating e. coli and nylonase synthesizing bacteria. Again, evolution has been observed.

    Lenski’s experiment falls in line with the YEC variation within a Kind.

    Nylonase falls within the same parameters.

    IOW if all you have is evidence for the YEC model of biological evcolution- ie baraminology- you don’t have anything that supports your position.

  246. Khan, asks:

    if oxygen levels returned to those of the precambrian, human beings will be less fit for survival. does that mean that we are less functionally complex than cyanobacteria

    Well let’s take a look at evidence for terra-forming of the primeval earth Kahn:

    Contrary to what materialism would expect, these very first photosynthetic bacteria found in the geologic and fossil record are shown to have been preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear from the very start of their existence by producing the necessary oxygen for higher life-forms to exist, and by reducing the greenhouse gases of earth’s early atmosphere.

    The Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Cycle – video
    http://videos.howstuffworks.co.....-video.htm

    Photosynthetic bacteria slowly removed the carbon dioxide, and built the oxygen up, in the earth’s atmosphere primarily by this following photosynthetic chemical reaction:

    6H2O + 6CO2 ———-> C6H12O6+ 6O2

    The above chemical equation translates as:

    Six molecules of water plus six molecules of carbon dioxide produce one molecule of sugar plus six molecules of oxygen

    Interestingly, the gradual removal of greenhouse gases corresponded to the gradual 15% increase of light and heat coming from the sun during that time (Ross; Creation as Science). This “lucky” correspondence of the slow increase of heat from the sun with the same perfectly timed slow removal of greenhouse gases from the earth’s atmosphere was necessary for the bacteria to continue to live to do their work of preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear. More interesting still, the by products of the complex biogeochemical processes involved in the oxygen production and greenhouse gas removal by these early bacteria are (red banded) iron formations, limestone, marble, gypsum, phosphates, sand, and to a lesser extent, coal, oil and natural gas (note; though some coal, oil and natural gas deposits are from this early era of bacterial life, most coal, oil and natural gas deposits originated on earth after the Cambrian explosion of higher life forms some 540 million years ago). The resources produced by these early photosynthetic bacteria are very useful, one could even say necessary, for the technologically advanced civilizations of today to exist.

    The following video is good for seeing just how far back the red banded iron formations really go (3.8 billion years ago). But be warned, Dr. Newman operates from a materialistic worldview and makes many unwarranted allusions of the “magical” power of evolution to produce photosynthetic bacteria. Although to be fair, she does readily acknowledge the staggering level of complexity being dealt with in photosynthesis, as well as admitting that no one really knows how photosynthesis “evolved”.

    Exploring the deep connection between bacteria and rocks – Dianne Newman – MIT lecture video
    http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/496

    This following article explores some of the other complex geochemical processes that are also involved in the forming of the red banded iron formations.

    Banded Rocks Reveal Early Earth Conditions, Changes

    Excerpt: Called banded iron formations or BIFs, these ancient rocks formed between 3.8 and 1.7 billion years ago at what was then the bottom of the ocean. The stripes represent alternating layers of silica-rich chert and iron-rich minerals like hematite and magnetite. First mined as a major iron source for modern industrialization, BIFs are also a rich source of information about the geochemical conditions that existed on Earth when the rocks were made. http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....184428.htm

    Interestingly, while the photo-synthetic bacteria were reducing greenhouse gases and producing oxygen, and metal, and minerals, which would all be of benefit to modern man, “sulfate-reducing” bacteria were also producing their own natural resources which would be very useful to modern man. Sulfate-reducing bacteria helped prepare the earth for advanced life by detoxifying the primeval earth and oceans of poisonous levels of heavy metals while depositing them as relatively inert metal ores. Metal ores which are very useful for modern man, as well as fairly easy for man to extract today (mercury, cadmium, zinc, cobalt, arsenic, chromate, tellurium and copper to name a few). To this day, sulfate-reducing bacteria maintain an essential minimal level of these heavy metals in the ecosystem which are high enough so as to be available to the biological systems of the higher life forms that need them yet low enough so as not to be poisonous to those very same higher life forms.

    Bacterial Heavy Metal Detoxification and Resistance Systems:
    excerpt: Bacterial plasmids contain genetic determinants for resistance systems for Hg2+ (and organomercurials), Cd2+, AsO2, AsO43-, CrO4 2-, TeO3 2-, Cu2+, Ag+, Co2+, Pb2+, and other metals of environmental concern.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....04577v8t3/
    http://www.int-res.com/article.....26p203.pdf

    The role of bacteria in hydrogeochemistry, metal cycling and ore deposit formation:
    Textures of sulfide minerals formed by SRB (sulfate-reducing bacteria) during bioremediation (most notably pyrite and sphalerite) have textures reminiscent of those in certain sediment-hosted ores, supporting the concept that SRB may have been directly involved in forming ore minerals. http://www.goldschmidt2009.org...../A1161.pdf

    Transitional Metals And Cytochrome C oxidase – Michael Denton – Nature’s Destiny
    http://books.google.com/books?.....3&lpg

    As well, geological processes helped detoxify the earth of dangerous levels of metal:

    The Concentration of Metals for Humanity’s Benefit:
    Excerpt: They demonstrated that hydrothermal fluid flow could enrich the concentration of metals like zinc, lead, and copper by at least a factor of a thousand. They also showed that ore deposits formed by hydrothermal fluid flows at or above these concentration levels exist throughout Earth’s crust. The necessary just-right precipitation conditions needed to yield such high concentrations demand extraordinary fine-tuning. That such ore deposits are common in Earth’s crust strongly suggests supernatural design.

  247. Kahn: further notes on Terra-Forming:

    And on top of the fact that poisonous heavy metals on the primordial earth were brought into “life-enabling” balance by complex biogeochemical processes, there was also an explosion of minerals on earth which were a result of that first life, as well as being a result of each subsequent “Big Bang” of life there afterwards.

    The Creation of Minerals:
    Excerpt: Thanks to the way life was introduced on Earth, the early 250 mineral species have exploded to the present 4,300 known mineral species. And because of this abundance, humans possessed all the necessary mineral resources to easily launch and sustain global, high-technology civilization. http://www.reasons.org/The-Creation-of-Minerals

    To put it mildly, this minimization of poisonous elements, and “explosion” of useful minerals, is strong evidence for Intelligently Designed terra-forming of the earth that “just so happens” to be of great benefit to modern man.

    Man has only recently caught on to harnessing the ancient detoxification ability of bacteria to cleanup his accidental toxic spills, as well as his toxic waste, from industry:

    What is Bioremediation? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSpjRPWYJPg

    Clearly many, if not all, of these metal ores and minerals laid down by these sulfate-reducing bacteria, as well as laid down by the biogeochemistry of more complex life, as well as laid down by finely-tuned geological conditions throughout the early history of the earth, have many unique properties which are crucial for technologically advanced life, and are thus indispensable to man’s rise above the stone age to the advanced “space-age” technology of modern civilization.

    Metallurgy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallurgy

    Inventions: Elements and Compounds – video
    http://videos.howstuffworks.co.....-video.htm

    Bombardment Makes Civilization Possible
    What is the common thread among the following items: pacemakers, spark plugs, fountain pens and compass bearings? Give up? All of them currently use (or used in early versions) the two densest elements, osmium and iridium. These two elements play important roles in technological advancements. However, if certain special events hadn’t occurred early in Earth’s history, no osmium or iridium would exist near the planet’s surface. http://www.reasons.org/Bombard.....onPossible

    As well, many types of bacteria in earth’s early history lived in what are called cryptogamic colonies on the earth’s primeval continents. These colonies dramatically transformed the primeval land into stable nutrient filled soils which were receptive for future advanced vegetation to appear.

    CRYPTOBIOTIC SOIL -
    Excerpt: When moistened, cyanobacteria become active, moving through the soil and leaving a trail of sticky material behind. The sheath material sticks to surfaces such as rock or soil particles, forming an intricate web of fibers throughout the soil. In this way, loose soil particles are joined together, and an otherwise unstable surface becomes very resistant to both wind and water erosion.

    Materialism has no answers for why these different bacterial types, colonies, and processes, would start working in precise concert with each other preparing the earth for future life to appear from the very start of their appearance on earth.

    As well, several different types of bacteria are found to be integral, “key”, for the nitrogen fixation cycle required for plants:

    nitrogen fixation – illustration
    http://www.bio.miami.edu/dana/.....ncycle.gif

  248. Kahn further notes on terra-forming:

    Planet’s Nitrogen Cycle Overturned – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: “Ammonia is a waste product that can be toxic to animals.,,, archaea can scavenge nitrogen-containing ammonia in the most barren environments of the deep sea, solving a long-running mystery of how the microorganisms can survive in that environment. Archaea therefore not only play a role, but are central to the planetary nitrogen cycles on which all life depends.,,,the organism can survive on a mere whiff of ammonia – 10 nanomolar concentration, equivalent to a teaspoon of ammonia salt in 10 million gallons of water.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132656.htm

    Novel Nitrogen Uptake Design – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: The exceptionality of the snow roots and their nitrogen-capturing machinery, their extraordinarily complex designs, and their optimal efficiency qualifies them as evidence, not for evolution, but rather for supernatural design.
    http://www.reasons.org/NovelNitrogenUptakeDesign

    Moreover, the overall principle of long term balanced symbiosis, which is what we have with the overall chemical cycles of the earth, is a very anti-random chance fact which pervades the entire ecology of our planet:

    God’s Creation – Symbiotic (Cooperative) Relationships – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgVkeXRkZec

    Since oxygen readily reacts and bonds with many of the solid elements making up the earth itself, and since the slow process of tectonic activity controls the turnover of the earth’s crust, it took photosynthetic bacteria a few billion years before the earth’s crust was saturated with enough oxygen to allow a “sufficient level” of oxygen to be built up in the atmosphere, as evidenced by the red banded iron formations and other geological evidence.

    New Wrinkle In Ancient Ocean Chemistry – Oct. 2009

    Excerpt: “Our data point to oxygen-producing photosynthesis long before concentrations of oxygen in the atmosphere were even a tiny fraction of what they are today, suggesting that oxygen-consuming chemical reactions were offsetting much of the production,”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....141217.htm

    Once oxygenation of the earth’s mantle and atmosphere was accomplished, higher life forms could finally be introduced on earth. Moreover, scientists find the rise in oxygen percentages in the geologic record to correspond exactly to the sudden appearance of large animals in the fossil record that depended on those particular percentages of oxygen. The geologic record shows a 10% oxygen level at the time of the Cambrian explosion of higher life-forms in the fossil record some 540 million years ago. The geologic record also shows a strange and very quick rise from the 17% oxygen level, of 50 million years ago, to a 23% oxygen level 40 million years ago (Falkowski 2005). This strange rise in oxygen levels corresponds exactly to the abrupt appearance of large mammals in the fossil record who depend on those high oxygen levels. Interestingly, for the last 10 million years the oxygen percentage has been holding steady around 21%. 21% happens to be a “very comfortable” percentage for humans to exist. If the oxygen level was only a few percentage lower, large mammals would become severely hampered in their ability to metabolize energy; if only a few percentage higher, there would be uncontrollable outbreaks of fire across the land (Denton; Nature’s Destiny).

    This following article and video clearly indicate that the life sustaining balanced symbiosis of the atmosphere is far more robust that Global Warming alarmist would have us believe:

    Earth’s Capacity To Absorb CO2 Much Greater Than Expected: Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now. This suggests that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....141842.htm

    Global Warming Apocalypse? No! – video
    http://video.google.com/videop.....165214524#

    Because of this basic chemical requirement of complex photosynthetic bacterial life establishing and helping maintain the proper oxygen levels necessary for higher life forms on any earth-like planet, this gives us further reason to strongly believe the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support intelligent life in this universe. Remember, this balance for the atmosphere is maintained through complex symbiotic relationships with other bacteria, all of which are intertwined in a very complex biogeochemical process. All these preliminary studies of early life, and processes, on early earth fall in line with the anthropic hypothesis and have no rational explanation, from any materialistic theory based on blind chance, as to why all the first types of bacterial life found in the fossil record would suddenly, from the very start of their appearance on earth, start working in precise harmony with each other to prepare the earth for future life to appear. Nor can materialism explain why, once the bacteria had helped prepare the earth for higher life forms, they continue to work in precise harmony with each other to help maintain the proper balanced conditions that are of primary benefit for the complex life that is above them.

    Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides. – Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers

  249. 249

    bornagain77 at 242,

    Mustela, both of those examples came at a overall loss of functional complexity that was inherent in the parent bacteria

    Please define “functional complexity” in a mathematically rigorous manner and then demonstrate your calculations for each variant of e. coli under discussion.

  250. 250

    Joseph at 244,

    “The meaning of “nested hierarchy” as used by evolutionary biologists does not include immutable and additive defining characteristics, however much you may wish it to be otherwise.”

    Evolutionary biologists do not get to change the meaning of nested hierarchies to suit their needs.

    You do not get to change the definition being used by evolutionary biologists.

    Summary of the pronciples of hierarchy theory

    That is from the ISSS-International Society for the System Sciences.

    “The facts are that all living species fall into a nested hierarchy based on their genetic heritage.”

    The fact is nested hierarchies are constructed based on defined characteristics.

    Again, you are playing word games instead of addressing the underlying empirical evidence.

    It is a fact that, regardless of the traits under consideration, the same phylogeny is derived for all living things. This is truly remarkable support for modern evolutionary theory.

    Regardless of your disagreement with the way that evolutionary biologists define the term, arguing against their definition is by no means equivalent to arguing against modern evolutionary theory. The evidence is there, for anyone who wants to educate themselves on the topic.

  251. 251

    Joseph at 245,

    Evolution is not being debated.

    Actually, bornagain77 appears to be asserting that evolution does not, in fact, occur. If I am misinterpreting his or her position, I look forward to being corrected.

  252. Mustela, actually since the fitness test is not passed, I do not have to hunt down the genes and proteins that confer increased functional complexity of 140 functional bits (FITS) since there are in fact no new genes and proteins that have given the bacteria increased functional complexity. But if you want to challenge my assertion here is the fitness test and math:

    It has now been demonstrated Irreducible Complexity can be mathematically quantified as functional information bits(Fits).

    Functional information and the emergence of bio-complexity:
    Robert M. Hazen, Patrick L. Griffin, James M. Carothers, and Jack W. Szostak:
    Abstract: Complex emergent systems of many interacting components, including complex biological systems, have the potential to perform quantifiable functions. Accordingly, we define ‘functional information,’ I(Ex), as a measure of system complexity. For a given system and function, x (e.g., a folded RNA sequence that binds to GTP), and degree of function, Ex (e.g., the RNA-GTP binding energy), I(Ex)= -log2 [F(Ex)], where F(Ex) is the fraction of all possible configurations of the system that possess a degree of function > Ex. Functional information, which we illustrate with letter sequences, artificial life, and biopolymers, thus represents the probability that an arbitrary configuration of a system will achieve a specific function to a specified degree. In each case we observe evidence for several distinct solutions with different maximum degrees of function, features that lead to steps in plots of information versus degree of functions.
    http://genetics.mgh.harvard.ed.....S_2007.pdf

    Mathematically Defining Functional Information In Molecular Biology – Kirk Durston – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUeCgTN7pOo
    Entire video:
    http://www.seraphmedia.org.uk/ID.xml

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – “The Fitness Test” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BwWpRSYgOE

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....-drugstore

    List Of Degraded Molecular Abilities Of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria:
    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

  253. 253

    bornagain77 at 252,

    Mustela, actually since the fitness test is not passed, I do not have to hunt down the genes and proteins that confer increased functional complexity of 140 functional bits (FITS) since there are in fact no new genes and proteins that have given the bacteria increased functional complexity.

    What fitness test isn’t passed? The strains of bacteria under discussion evolved the ability to digest citrate and nylon, respectively. These are new characteristics. You claimed that the evolution of new characteristics is impossible. You have been proven wrong.

  254. Mustela, When the nylon is consumed from the environment the parent strain is “more fit” than the nylonase sub-strain:

  255. As well Mustela,

    excerpt:

    Some materialists also believe they have conclusive proof for evolution because bacteria can quickly adapt to detoxify new man-made materials, such as nylon, even though it is, once again, just a minor variation within kind, i.e. though the bacteria adapt they still do not demonstrate a gain in fitness over the parent strain once the nylon is consumed (Genetic Entropy). I’m not nearly as impressed with their “stunning” proof as they think I should be. In fact recent research has shown the correct explanation for the nylon-eating enzyme, produced on the plasmids, seems to be a special mechanism which recombines parts of the genes in the plasmids in a way that is non-random. This is shown by the absence of stop codons, which would be generated if the variation were truly random. The non-randomness and “clockwork” repeatability of the adaptation clearly indicates a designed mechanism that fits perfectly within the limited “variation within kind” model of Theism, and stays well within the principle of Genetic Entropy since the parent strain is still more fit for survival once the nylon is consumed from the environment. (Answers In Genesis)

    Why Scientists Should NOT Dismiss Intelligent Design – William Dembski
    Excerpt: “the nylonase enzyme seems “pre-designed” in the sense that the original DNA sequence was preadapted for frame-shift mutations to occur without destroying the protein-coding potential of the original gene. Indeed, this protein sequence seems designed to be specifically adaptable to novel functions.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-design/

    In fact almost all “changes” in the genome, which are deemed to be “beneficial”, are now found to be “designed” changes that still stay within the overriding principle of Genetic Entropy:

    Revisiting The Central Dogma (Of Evolution) In The 21st Century – James Shapiro – 2008
    Excerpt: Genetic change is almost always the result of cellular action on the genome (not replication errors). (of interest – 12 methods of information transfer in the cell are noted in the paper) http://www.uncommondescent.com.....revisited/

    “There is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter.” Werner Gitt, “In the Beginning was Information”, 1997, p. 106. (Dr. Gitt was the Director at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology) His challenge to scientifically falsify this statement has remained unanswered since first published.

    i.e. Abel Null Hypothesis

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

  256. Further note Mustela:

    Nylon Degradation

    Nylon 6 is a synthetic polymer consisting of more than 100 units of 6-aminohexanoic acid. Other forms of cyclic and non-cyclic nylon oligomers are formed as part of nylon 6 synthesis. Because nylon is not a natural occurring molecule, bacteria would not have been exposed to this polymer until the 20th century. The recent appearance of nylon degrading bacteria presents an interesting demonstration of bacterial ability to adapt to an ever changing environment and substrate. It has also lead to a few highly exaggerated claims regarding bacterial evolution.69

    At the phenotypic level, the appearance of nylon degrading bacteria would seem to involve “evolution” of new enzymes and transport systems. However, further molecular analysis of the bacterial transformation reveals mutations resulting in degeneration of pre-existing systems. The most studied of the nylon degrading bacteria is Arthrobacter sp. K172 (formerly Flavobacterium sp.70). This bacterium employs three enzymes for nylon degradation, EI (NylA), EII (NylB), and EIII (NylC), which are found on the plasmid, pOAD2.71, 72

    EI and EIII (also NylC in Agromyces sp.) have been initially characterized.73, 72 They apparently hydrolyze the cyclic forms of some nylons, which provides a linear substrate for EII. However, no detailed analysis of the mutational changes of EI or EIII has yet been performed.
    Confirmational Change of the Carboxyesterase

    Figure 4. Confirmational change of the carboxyesterase. The esterase (left) can hydrolyze carboxy esters, but the confirmation specificity of the enzyme’s catalytic site does not allow hydrolysis of other polymers, such as nylon. Point mutations in the enzymes’ gene can cause a conformational alteration of the enzyme’s catalytic site so that specificity is reduced (right). This reduced specificity now allows the enzyme to hydrolyze a wider variety of oligomers, including the linear polymer, nylon-6.

    The mutational changes of EII (6-aminohexanoatedimer hydrolase) have been characterized in detail. This analysis suggests that point mutations in a carboxyesterase gene lead to amino acid substitutions in the enzyme’s catalytic cleft. This altered the enzyme’s substrate specificity sufficiently that it could also hydrolyze linear nylon oligomers.74, 75 Yet, the EII enzyme still possesses the esterase function of the parent esterase. Thus, the mutational alteration results in a reduction of the parent enzyme’s specificity (Figure 4). This enables it to hydrolyze a wider range of oligomers that include nylon oligomers.76

    Nonetheless, reduced specificity of a pre-existing enzyme is biochemically degenerative to the enzyme,77, 78 even if it provides a presumed phenotypic benefit. The “beneficial” phenotype of nylon degradation requires the a priori existence of the enzyme and its specificity. Its degeneration is not a mechanism that accounts for the origin of either the enzyme or its specificity.

    Also on pOAD2 is a DNA region with a high homology to opp genes.79 These genes are involved in oligopeptide transport. Nylon oligomers have many chemical similarities to oligopeptides, thus genes on this region of the plasmid may be involved in nylon transport into the cell. No analysis of how these genes may have been altered by mutations has yet been preformed. However, it is reasonable to speculate that a pre-existing opp gene or set of genes has been altered sufficiently by mutations so that the transport proteins now have an affinity for nylon in addition to naturally occurring oligopeptides. As with enzymes, reduction of transport protein specificity is biochemically degenerative.

    The enzyme and putative transport genes on pOAD2 appear to form a nylon degrading operon.79 As a plasmid based operon, it can be transferred to various bacterial species. Thus, this gives it the potential for widespread distribution in the bacterial world. What is more, the increasing amount of microbial degradation of synthetic material11 may likely involve a similar mutational strategy as found with nylon degradation. This is a testament to the versatility of bacterial adaptation. However, these mutations do not account for the origin of the enzyme or transport protein specificity, merely their degeneration. Thus, this adaptive versatility has imposed limits as well, and this fits well within the types of mutational changes predicted by a creation model.

    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....n-bacteria

  257. 257

    bornagain77 at 254,

    When the nylon is consumed from the environment the parent strain is “more fit” than the nylonase sub-strain:

    Assuming, ad arguendo, that this is correct, so what? This exchange started with your 218:

    Mustela states:

    “It’s perfectly possible for characteristics to be added, modified, or deleted within a nested inheritance hierarchy.”

    Well Mustela just how possible is it for characteristics to be added ?

    I have explained exactly how this is possible and given two very well documented examples of evolutionary mechanisms adding new characteristics. In the case of nylonase, the new characteristic appears to be the result of a single point or frameshift mutation. In Lenski’s experiment, it appears to require two or possibly three separate mutations. Regardless, both demonstrate the creation of new characteristics via evolutionary mechanisms.

    The only appropriate response from you at this point is “Thank you, I stand corrected.”

  258. Mustela, I’m sorry but you are clearly wrong in this matter. The adaptations are clearly designed adaptations that degrade from what was already present in the parent stocks genome. You have only deluded yourself if you think otherwise, I suggest you honestly and rigorously account for the evolution, as I have outlined previously with the proper test and math, to do otherwise is to fudge the evidence due to your philosophical bias::

    This following articles refute Lenski’s supposed “evolution” of the citrate ability for the E-Coli bacteria after 20,000 generations of the E-Coli:

    Multiple Mutations Needed for E. Coli – Michael Behe
    Excerpt: As Lenski put it, “The only known barrier to aerobic growth on citrate is its inability to transport citrate under oxic conditions.” (1) Other workers (cited by Lenski) in the past several decades have also identified mutant E. coli that could use citrate as a food source. In one instance the mutation wasn’t tracked down. (2) In another instance a protein coded by a gene called citT, which normally transports citrate in the absence of oxygen, was overexpressed. (3) The overexpressed protein allowed E. coli to grow on citrate in the presence of oxygen. It seems likely that Lenski’s mutant will turn out to be either this gene or another of the bacterium’s citrate-using genes, tweaked a bit to allow it to transport citrate in the presence of oxygen. (He hasn’t yet tracked down the mutation.),,, If Lenski’s results are about the best we’ve seen evolution do, then there’s no reason to believe evolution could produce many of the complex biological features we see in the cell.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/.....96N278Z93O

    Lenski’s e-coli – Detailed Analysis of Genetic Entropy
    Excerpt: Mutants of E. coli obtained after 20,000 generations at 37°C were less “fit” than the wild-type strain when cultivated at either 20°C or 42°C. Other E. coli mutants obtained after 20,000 generations in medium where glucose was their sole catabolite tended to lose the ability to catabolize other carbohydrates. Such a reduction can be beneficially selected only as long as the organism remains in that constant environment. Ultimately, the genetic effect of these mutations is a loss of a function useful for one type of environment as a trade-off for adaptation to a different environment.

    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....n-bacteria

    Upon closer inspection, it seems Lenski’s “cuddled” E. coli are actually headed for “genetic meltdown” instead of evolving into something better.

    New Work by Richard Lenski:
    Excerpt: Interestingly, in this paper they report that the E. coli strain became a “mutator.” That means it lost at least some of its ability to repair its DNA, so mutations are accumulating now at a rate about seventy times faster than normal.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....enski.html

    Excerpt of summary of Nylon adaptation:

    Why Scientists Should NOT Dismiss Intelligent Design – William Dembski
    Excerpt: “the nylonase enzyme seems “pre-designed” in the sense that the original DNA sequence was preadapted for frame-shift mutations to occur without destroying the protein-coding potential of the original gene. Indeed, this protein sequence seems designed to be specifically adaptable to novel functions.” http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-design/

    Nylon Degradation – Analysis of Genetic Entropy
    Excerpt: At the phenotypic level, the appearance of nylon degrading bacteria would seem to involve “evolution” of new enzymes and transport systems. However, further molecular analysis of the bacterial transformation reveals mutations resulting in degeneration of pre-existing systems.
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....n-bacteria

    to use your own words against you:

    The only appropriate response from you at this point is “Thank you, I stand corrected.”

  259. 259

    bornagain77 at 258,

    The adaptations are clearly designed adaptations

    Really? Then you should have no problem identifying the designer and explaining when and, most importantly, how these acts of designs were accomplished.

    If you cannot, one would be justified in believing that you are simply making another baseless assertion and that you are incapable of admitting error even when it is clearly pointed out to you.

  260. Actually Mustela, the proper response was to admit you have no examples to substantiate your claims for evolution, than to go off half-cocked. The designer???? For me the answer that is consistent with reality as revealed to us by quantum mechanics is John 1:1 !!!!

  261. 261

    I see that further discussion is unlikely to prove fruitful. The last word is yours.

  262. Mustela it would only be unfruitful for the person committed to a false premise of materialism.

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