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“There is no controversy”

“There is no controversy.” “There should be no controversy.” “It’s okay to expel those who pretend that there is a controversy.” “Academic freedom does not apply where the scientific consensus says there is no controversy.” …

The Washington Post has a ridiculous editorial that elevates evolutionary theory to the same status as gravitational theory and the truths of mathematics (go here).

Meanwhile, the Altenberg meeting coming up this summer brings together biologists who see the contemporary state of evolutionary theory as in upheaval (go here). Yes, the field is in disarray, but there is NO CONTROVERSY. What, are we living in a Kafka novel?

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237 Responses to “There is no controversy”

  1. The first quote was in the editorial, but not the other ones. I guess making up quotes is one way of trying to start a controversy.

  2. There are many controversies in gravitational theory (e.g. those that led to the to the hypothesis of dark matter). Mathematics is full of controversies and unsolved problems. Does this mean that they are invalid?

  3. or, to stick closer to the topic, does this mean we should view them as being controversial theories?

  4. leo, give it a rest. The escalating satire of the 2-3 quotes was obvious. If you aren’t smart enough to recognize satire when it is kicking you in the pants, the next best thing would be to keep quiet while smarter people discuss the issues.

  5. 5

    In this context, the statement:

    “there is no controversy”

    makes as much sense as the statement:

    “I am lying”.

    Why even listen to someone who has his eyes shut, his fingers in his ears and is yelling at the top of his lungs?

  6. 6

    Hmmm…controversy?

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean different things.”

    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

    (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There)

  7. BarryA,

    I’m shocked. Rightous anger when the inaccuracy (or shall I say outright lie) of a post is pointed out! From you! Instead of noting that it was wrong, you continue to genuflect.

    The fact is, when one wants to be taken seriously, one has to act seriously.

    [Leo: I'm afraid you don't have the right sense of humor for this forum. Goodbye. --WmAD]

  8. Jack,

    Maybe, but if you called a cosmologist and asked him what he thought about the controversy over the validity of gravitational theory, despite some cosmological observations that are inconsistent with it, what do you think would he say?

  9. 9

    Apples and oranges.

  10. Really? it seems that some observations on the speed of stars fly in the face of gravitational theory. In fact, physicists had to invent a very vague hypothesis about something called “dark matter”, that can’t be directly measured, to explain these observations and keep them consistent with gravitational theory. Did you know that there are at least 6 alternatives to standard gravitational theory? Surely it is a theory in disarray as well?

  11. 11

    Does anyone object to teaching these gravitational “controversies”? I doubt it. No one would have second thoughts about discussing the “Pioneer Anomaly” in a high school science class. Just try and mention the inconsistency of the Cambrian explosion with NDE and you are bringing creationism into the classroom.
    That’s why I say “apples and oranges”.

  12. leo says: “The fact is, when one wants to be taken seriously, one has to act seriously.”

    Good point, in the world of Darwin there is no time for fun and games, with those selfish genes running the show.

    We all know that the Evo Psych crowd has explained satire and humor without breaking a sweat. As well as people who take themselves very serously. All for the purpose of unifying the tribe, you know.

  13. Jack,

    “Does anyone object to teaching these gravitational “controversies”? I doubt it. No one would have second thoughts about discussing the “Pioneer Anomaly” in a high school science class. Just try and mention the inconsistency of the Cambrian explosion with NDE and you are bringing creationism into the classroom. That’s why I say “apples and oranges”.

    you are talking about political, not scientific, controversy. so yes, we are talking about apples and oranges. If the reporter had called and asked about the political controversy concerning the teaching of evolution in public schools, he would have gotten a different response. but from a scientific standpoint, there is no controversy over the validity of evolutionary, or gravitational theory.

    and personally, i think it would be great if we talked about the fascinating questions posed by the cambrian explosion. it would show the students that top-notch scientific work is being done to explain the amazing diversity of life forms that “exploded” over 8 million years or so.. unfortunately, i think it would have to be taught in an upper-level honors course as evo-devo would probably be a bit confusing for most high school students (as it is for lots of us).

    so, to bring it back to the original topic, i just want to emphasize that just because there are controversies within a theory does not mean that it is in disarray, or that it is “controversial” (other than politicially). a semantic point, but an important one.

  14. leo : BarrtA is right. Get over your pretense to pointing out erroneous quotes and being shocked.
    Did you know what sarcasm is? Apparently not.

    Did you see anything that says all the quotes were literally in the ref. article? No. But they may as well have been since they are all implied. And we’ve seen them all in one form or another in Darweenie pseudo-journalism.

    Rightous anger!?!
    You’re kidding right? Grow up.

  15. leo,

    Here is part of a quote I made yesterday about you and others

    “I find it ironic that an evolutionary biologist such as Bob or biologists such as specs or leo never defend their positions with facts but who seem to delight in finding slight inconsistencies in often minor arguments by proponents of ID.

    Step up to the plate and swing away instead of hurling insults from the rafters that the opponent’s game isn’t going perfectly.”

    leo, you are in the position of contributing but you do not. If you agree with naturalistic evolution arguments, defend them. Otherwise you should be disclaiming the hypocrisy of the Washington Post editorial.

  16. dmso74 :
    ‘but from a scientific standpoint, there is no controversy over the validity of evolutionary, or gravitational theory’

    Darwinian fundamentalists pretending there is no controversy are in deep denial of reality.

    The only thing Darwinian scientists can agree upon seems to be that ‘it’s true’, after that controversy. Over how, why, when etc. is everywhere to found – except in the literature pawned off on the lay public where they always paint a pretty mask of perfect unity.

    Your statement is a denial of the 1000′s of degreed, working, qaulified scientists that do not accept Darwinism.

    This, ‘no controvery’ BS is a denial of their very existence!

  17. The escalating satire of the 2-3 quotes was obvious.

    Maybe a tag would help. Something like >blockquote>For heaven’s sake people. This is a P-A-R-O-D-Y !!

  18. Borne,

    Thank you for the psychological exam. Again, you are referring to controversies within evolutionary theory.. and, if you read the literature, it hardly paints a picture of “perfect unity.” Scientists love to prove each other wrong, and are frequently less than collegial in their choice of words doing so. I published a paper this month basically pointing out that a colleague’s hypothesis was based on a complete misunderstanding of basic physiology. so it goes.

    and as for the petition; petitions are political tools, not scientific ones. and yes, that goes for the list of Steves too.

  19. dmso74 :
    ‘but from a scientific standpoint, there is no controversy over the validity of evolutionary, or gravitational theory’

    What evolutionary theory? RM+NS, without consideration of information measures. And, even anti-IDers are calling to task the explanatory power of NS. And “random” mutations … what about those adaptive mutations that are aimed at a target as seen during the evolutionary process that is utilized by the immune system and technological evolution. Those mutations are not strictly “random.” And then there’s James A. Shapiros hypothesis of natural genetic engineering — a far cry from RM+NS.

    Now on to gravitational theory. Do we even have a gravitational theory? There’s quantum field theory and then there’s string theory and do we yet know if gravity is a field or a boson … very controversial stuff here.

  20. CJYman, if that’s all you think there is to evolutionary theory, I would politely suggest you brush up. Take a class, or read an up-to-date textbook (Futuyma’s is a bit wordy, Ridley’s is a bit dry.. I would suggest Evolutionary Analysis by Freeman and Herron).

    As for gravity, I agree, it is very interesting that so much is unknown about gravity and that discrepancies in it are attributed to vague, unproven entities like dark matter, yet we don’t hear any outcry about how it is “just a theory” or “in disarray.”

  21. LATEST PERMUTATION OF PERVERSE PRIMITIVISM

    No one would tolerate a teacher questioning the existence of the humors or the philosopher’s stone. So it is mystifying that a movement to undermine the findings of Ptolemy has garnered some support.

    This movement pretends to support academic freedom by seeking relaxation of the Inquisition, when in truth it is a poorly disguised attempt to reintroduce the primitive ideas of Aristarchus, having been given new impetus by the absurd publications of the Tuscan lens grinder, Galileo.

    To the well-meaning, these efforts may seem harmless. Who does not support academic freedom? Who does not want scientific progress? Such questions may have force if there were any doubt about the Ptolemaic system, but as the Most High Council of Affiliated Schoolmen (MHCAS) concluded in Venice just last spring, “There is no controversy.”

    Consider also that there is no real academic freedom where the Inquisition is in force. Teachers do not have the freedom to simply walk around spouting their own notions when the divine philosophy of Aristotle has been elegantly interpreted for our times.

    The Tutors’ Guild has openly opposed the movement, even though it is meant ostensibly to support educators. Clearly then the movement is nothing more than a ruse to undermine education.

  22. LiveScience (http://www.livescience.com/his.....chers.html) says that 1 in 8 highschool science teachers present ID or creationism in a favorable light. A hight percentage of highschool science teachers hold to a young creation of man (

  23. dmso74,

    Many of us are well aware of arguments within the “so called” evolutionary theory.

    In truth there is no theory. If there is, let us know what it is? Nothing out there explains what is known as macro evolution except speculation.

    Micro-evolution is better understood and can be observed so it might count as a theory except even here many of the mechanisms for change are at present unknown. But macro evolution is no where and should not be thought of as a theory. It is a series of WAS (wild assed speculations.)

    We should be precise when we talk about evolution and interjecting some esoteric problems with gravity does not help. Gravity is observable in every day life by all while macro evolution has never been observed by anyone either in the laboratory or in nature or in history. We hypothesize it not demonstrate it.

  24. The article says:
    “NO ONE would think it acceptable for a teacher to question the existence of gravity or to suggest that two plus two equals anything but four. It’s mystifying, then, that a movement to undermine the teaching of evolutionary biology is attracting some support. Equally perverse is that this misguided effort is being advanced under the false guise of academic freedom.”

    dmso74,

    The effects of grativity are not controversial, everyone who measures it gets the same answer. The origin of gravity however, is. Just like the effects of humans are not controversial, their origin is. Evolutionary theory attempts to explain the origin of humans, which is controversial. Think UCD.

    Lucky for us the origin of gravity is not discussed, so there is no need to teach both sides, or all sides as to its origin, hence no constroversy. Unlucky for us the origin of humans are discussed in high school textbooks, which becomes highly controversial because no one has seen or demonstrated a human coming from a non-human, which leads us to develop an inference as to the best possibility, hence the ‘design inference’.

    Evolutionary proponents like the one in this article always compare gravity as an ‘effect’, with evolution as a ’cause’ (for biological complexity). Comparing an effect with a cause while showing no valid relationship is as Jack Golightly put it: apples and oranges.

  25. dmso74,

    Where did I say that’s all there is to evolutionary theory? In fact I was only highlighting a few theories of evolution. Which one is right or which components of each theory are correct? That is the relevant question and that is what the controversy over the theory of evolution is about. The point is that there is, as of yet, no “one theory of evolution” just as there is no “one theory of gravity.” The fact that there are differing theories shows that there will be controversy. Science thrives off of controversy.

    Furthermore, the reason that I brought up “information measures” is that it is an extremely relevant topic within any evolutionary mechanism yet it is one which is rarely ever discussed. Is evolutionary informatics discussed in any of the textbooks you cite?

    dmso74:
    “As for gravity, I agree, it is very interesting that so much is unknown about gravity and that discrepancies in it are attributed to vague, unproven entities like dark matter, yet we don’t hear any outcry about how it is “just a theory” or “in disarray.”

    Well actually the competing theories of gravity *are* “just theories.” And yes, according to Theoretical Phycisit Lee Smolin, theories of physics are at the moment in disarray. String theory is highly controversial and no one knows yet what causes gravity. Theories of gravity at the moment are controversial subjects.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that gravity doesn’t work or that life hasn’t evolved. That only means that we need to take controversial ideas as to necessary conditions and mechanisms that are based on observation and testing into consideration.

    Furthermore, even if ID Theory didn’t exist, there would still be controversy surrounding the “final theory of evolution.” I have already cited James A. Shapiro’s work and we all know that you don’t have to be an IDiot in order to make controversial claims about observations that RM+NS isn’t the full story.

    There’s nothing wrong with controversy. Science thrives on controversy.

  26. Jerry,

    If you want to know what evolutionary theory is, read a textbook on it, or take a class on it. I give 30 1.25 hr lectures on it/semester and don’t nearly cover it all. I agree micro evolution is better understood. THat’s why some of the hottest research right now is going on in macroevolution.. Evo-devo, man..v exciting

    The problems w gravity are no more nor less esoteric than those w evolution. If we can’t explain why stars appear to move faster than they should according to gravity, it would completely destroy our current understanding of gravity. Is this not a “theory in crisis”?

    We make hypotheses about evolution and test them. We make hypotheses about gravity and test them. it’s all science.

  27. dmso74,

    Actually right now as I’ve referenced above, physics is undergoing a sort of crisis and there is much controversy surrounding theories of gravity. Are you trying to tell me that biology is somehow immune from that happening?

    Humans make many differing hypothesis about evolution and test them. There is much controversy about said theories. Same is true with gravity. It’s still all science.

  28. CJYman @ [27]: The point is that there is, as of yet, no “one theory of evolution” just as there is no “one theory of gravity.” The fact that there are differing theories shows that there will be controversy.

    Perhaps what evolution requires is a “Grand Unifying Theory”. I propose we call it the “Grand, Liberating and Unifying Theory of Evolution” or GLUTE for short. (I think I should trademark that!)

  29. Adding to what I wrote two comments earlier, Theoretical Physicist Lee Smolin thinks that we may need to review even some of our most basic understanding of Physics.

    It is good for Theories to go through spring cleaning once in a while. You’d be amazed at what you may find — both good and bad.

  30. JJS. P. Eng,

    Excellent!! Do I get any royalties?

    Biologists are definitely in need of a good GLUTE work out …

  31. CJYman,

    So we’re agreed that Evolutionary and Gravitational Theory are comparable in terms of scientific merit. Both have controversies within them, and both may be overthrown at some point.

  32. ..but both have substantial amounts of theoretical and empirical evidence behind them

  33. 33

    dmso74,
    You sure seem to think you got some conclusive proof for evolution. Surely all those textbooks you’ve got something concrete you can show us. Hey I got a good easy one for you! Why don’t you just point us to the study that shows bacteria to have “evolved” complexity above the level found in its parent species. You can then shut all us IDiots up!

  34. 34

    I could quote on Gravity; but suffice it to say, when taking into consideration Quantum non-locality, the Theistic philosophy holds more weight than the Materialistic philosophy does at this point in time as to explaining the origination of Gravity.

  35. bornagain,

    I will as soon as you link me to the single study conclusively proving gravitational theory.

  36. Holy crap, several hours ago when I first saw Dembski’s post, there were no comments. And in a short amount of time, the number has pretty much exploded.

    I guess there really IS a controversy after all. :D

    And it seems like public schools are in the interest of hiding the controversy in the first place. I had to access this site through a proxy earlier today (hence why I couldn’t comment when it first showed up) to get past their filters.

    But nonetheless, I found out about that article through Evo News and Views, and noticed it employed the same false analogies that every Washington Post hit piece, or PR statement by Eugenie C. Scott use.

    It basically compares established laws with observations, something which definitely fits the apples and oranges observation someone made earlier.

  37. bornagain, sorry, misunderstood your question.. the evolution of a new VPU in HIV is a good example of increased complexity, to use your terminology.

  38. F2XL,
    The theory of gravity is no more or less established than any other scientific theory. So it is perfectly reasonable to compare gravity and evolution from a scientific standpoint.

  39. Meanwhile, the Altenberg meeting coming up this summer brings together biologists who see the contemporary state of evolutionary theory as in upheaval [link omitted]

    Do you think there would be any objection to the proceedings of the Altenberg meeting being taught in high school biology? I’m not going to play dumb; I think the answer clearly is “no,” because there is no taboo on scientifically criticizing Darwin.
    You may object that the problem lies in the definition of “scientifically,” and that could be a legitimate argument, although altering the definition of “science” may be less likely to garner political support than “academic freedom.”

  40. 40

    F2XL,

    YOU HAVE UNFINISHED BUSINESS ON ANOTHER THREAD…

  41. 41

    dsmo74,
    Man, That ain’t even bacteria not to mention it ain’t even close to being alive! As well, that “leaky pore”, foreign, protein of the virus actually degraded much more complexity in its Host cell than it gained in its hypothetical march to a bonefide life form (1 controversial protein/protein binding site). Thus the example stays well within the principle of “Genetic Entropy” (Sanford 2005). Thus you have failed to demonstrate a gain in complexity that would violate this foundational principle of how poly-constrained information will act in organisms.

  42. The theory of gravity is no more or less established than any other scientific theory. So it is perfectly reasonable to compare gravity and evolution from a scientific standpoint.

    Really?

    *takes a keychain and drops it

    Interesting…

    *looks to his left and while looking at a broad green forest with trees set against a gray tapestry and tries to see “evolution in action” as easily as he did for gravity

    Nope, they are definitely both two entirely different realms of science.

  43. dmso74:
    “So we’re agreed that Evolutionary and Gravitational Theory are comparable in terms of scientific merit. Both have controversies within them, and both may be overthrown at some point.”

    The answer is “yes,” to the extent that controversy is healthy no matter the area of science.

    However, the answer is “no” to the extent that unlike with gravity, there is not even a law of evolution yet. When there is it will be stated in terms of information. Secondly, the law of gravity can be tested in the present, however biological evolution has extreme limits when it comes to present testability.

  44. 44

    dsmo74,
    Your foundational “hypothesis” is what is giving you trouble. You presuppose everything to have a materialistic solution prior to starting your investigation.

    let me illustrate:

    There are two prevailing philosophies vying for the right to be called the truth in man’s perception of reality. These two prevailing philosophies are Theism and Materialism. Materialism is sometimes called philosophical naturalism and, to a lesser degree, is often even conflated with methodological naturalism. Materialism is the current hypothesis entrenched over science as the dom^inant hypothesis guiding scientists. Materialism asserts that everything that exists arose from chance acting on some type of material basis which has always existed. Whereas, Theism asserts everything that exists arose from the purposeful will of the Spirit of Almighty God who has always existed in a timeless eternity. A hypothesis in science is suppose to give proper guidance to scientists and make, somewhat, accurate predictions. In this primary endeavor, for a hypothesis, Materialism has failed miserably. Lets take a look at a few of the predictions where Materialism has missed the mark and Theism has been accurate.

    1. Materialism did not predict the big bang (neither did it predict the creation of time). Yet Theism always said the universe was created (as well as always saying that time was created).

    2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space. Quantum Non-Locality actually proves the transcendence and dominion of “information” over the material/energy realm and makes God’s omniscient (all knowing) and omnipotent (all powerful) characteristics plausible with how our reality is actually constructed.

    3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

    4. Materialism did not predict the stunning interrelated precision found for the various underlying, unchanging and transcendent, universal constants for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle, which allows life as we know it to even be possible in the first place. Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning, unchanging clockwork precision found for the various transcendent universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.

    5. Materialism predicted that complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Yet statistical analysis of the many required parameters that enable complex life to be possible on earth reveals that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support complex life in this universe. Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe in its ability to support complex life (with the reservation that only God can create complex life in this universe).

    6. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.

    7. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.

    8. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity for the “simplest” life on earth.

    9. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Yet we find evidence for “complex” photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Minik T. Rosing and Robert Frei, “U-Rich Archaean Sea-Floor Sediments from Greenland—Indications of >3700 Ma Oxygenic Photosynthesis”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6907 (2003): 1-8) Theism would have naturally expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.

    10. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth. Yet Theism would have naturally expected such sudden appearance of the many different and completely unique fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

    11. Materialism predicted that there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Yet fossils are consistently
    characterized by sudden appearance in the fossil record, then rapid diversity within the group (Kind), and then stability and even
    deterioration of variety within the overall group and within the specific species of the group over long periods of time, until finally, the entire group goes extinct in the fossil record. (A Cambrian Peak in Morphological Variation Within Trilobite Species; Mark Webster 2007). There is not one clear example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Theism would have naturally expected fossils to suddenly appear in the fossil record with overall stability, and even deterioration afterwards, as well as no clear evidence of transmutation into radically new forms.

    12. Materialism predicts animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Yet man himself is the last generally accepted fossil to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. Theism would have naturally predicted that man himself was the last fossil to suddenly appear in the fossil record.

  45. 45

    A little background on the gravity “uncontroversy”

    The abstract of the September 1006 Report of the Dark Energy Task Force (which, “was established by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee [AAAC] and the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel [HEPAP] as a joint sub-committee to advise the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation on future dark energy research”) says: “Dark energy appears to be the dominant component of the physical Universe, yet there is no persuasive theoretical explanation for its existence or magnitude. The acceleration of the Universe is, along with dark matter, the observed phenomenon that most directly demonstrates that our (materialistic) theories of fundamental particles and gravity are either incorrect or incomplete. Most experts believe that nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of fundamental physics will be required to achieve a full understanding of the cosmic acceleration. For these reasons, the nature of dark energy ranks among the very most compelling of all outstanding problems in physical science. These circumstances demand an ambitious observational program to determine the dark energy properties as well as possible.”

  46. *eliminate the “and” in my last post and replace it with a comma.

    dmso74, you agree there is a difference between an observable “law” and a “theory” which attempts to explain facts right?

  47. BornAgain, this specific case has been debated extensively and i really have nothing to add to the debate. i am curious what your definition of “complexity” and “degraded” are, though.

  48. DK wrote:

    F2XL,

    YOU HAVE UNFINISHED BUSINESS ON ANOTHER THREAD…

    Yeah I know. I’m making sure as many ID critics who are skeptical of the X filter and CSI along with Irreducibility are paying attention to it.

    If 100 posts is the cut-off point for each thread then I may have to continue it to another relevant thread.

  49. At the top of the WaPo editorial is this little nugget which sums up the agenda of the editorialist

    Red-herring arguments about ‘academic freedom’ can’t be allowed to undermine the teaching of evolution.

    The teaching of evolution cannot be “allowed to be undermined”?

    Why not?

    question: What is so important about evolutionary theory that it cannot be allowed to be undermined?

    answer: Evolutionary theory undermines belief in God.

    question: Why is it important to undermine belief in God?

    answer: Because some people want to shape the beliefs of the masses for their own reasons. People who believe in God are harder to indoctrinate because they will often accept religious authority over secular authority.

    For example: If you fear the planet is being caused great harm by overpopulation and want to reduce human population growth, you will seek to create easy availability of abortions and you will seek to indoctrinate the people of the world into moral acceptance abortion as good, or at least as not bad. But since religions are against abortion it becomes necessary to indoctrinate people into disbelief of God in order for the world to be saved from overpopulation.

    Another example: If you fear that religious people all to often gain political power and then use that power to hamper your own political goals for society, then it is neccesary that those political leaders lose their cache amongst the masses by causing the masses to at best become atheistic or agnostic, or at the least to believe that God is really not involved with life here on earth. How do you do that? By indoctrination in schools and through media that evolution is accepted as absolute fact by all “nobel minded scientists” and that “creationism” is DUN! DUN! DUN!…EVIL!!! And pushed by “anti-science” demonic religious cultists who want to enslave you.

    Everyone up to speed?

  50. F2XL,

    Yes, and I’m also aware that the “law” of gravity is in serious jeopardy of being undermined.. so i would never call anything in science a “law.” and there is more to science than dropping a keychain and looking at a forest.. if only it were so easy.. which reminds me that this has been an epic procrastination on my part and i must get back to my data..
    p.s. bornagain.. science only deals with material causation.. sorry, that’s the way it is. it looks like you’re on your way to writing a book about why this should not be so, and I urge you to continue. just remember to get it peer-reviewed :).

  51. Yes, and I’m also aware that the “law” of gravity is in serious jeopardy of being undermined.. so i would never call anything in science a “law.”

    Something which is so easily falsifiable and yet cannot be falsified is what I would call a law.

    …and there is more to science than dropping a keychain and looking at a forest.. if only it were so easy..

    Agreed. My short “experiment” wasn’t supposed to represent all of science but if you want to see it in a different context, be my guest.

    p.s. bornagain.. science only deals with material causation.. sorry, that’s the way it is.

    I dare you to give any legitimate reason for why science must be material causation alone.

    Unless science has become a rel… never mind.

    just remember to get it peer-reviewed :).

    Part of what this site is for. Though this process may turn against you soon….

  52. 52
    Granville Sewell

    The case of Guillermo Gonzalez actually had nothing to do with biological evolution or Darwinism. I suppose the Washington Post editors would argue that the multiple universes theory is also as well-established as the law of gravity, so anyone who sees the fine-tuning of the laws of physics as evidence for design should also be expelled? In fact, Guillermo never mentioned his ID leanings in his classes, he says “I was denied tenure not for teaching Intelligent Design, but for believing it.”

  53. If evolution is really as firmly established as gravity or simple mathematical truths, then why does The Wall Street Journal need to consult the NAS to verify that there “is no controversy”? Why does the Washington Post feel the need to cite the NAS as an authority?

    Let this be a lesson to you kids: Don’t think. Let the Acadamy do all the thinking for you. :P

  54. 54
    Venus Mousetrap

    I’m aware it’s going to be impossible to defend macro evolution against the various barriers which no one has been able to see it overcome, but hey, I like a challenge.

    I’m going to come up with my own lifeforms, which are bit strings. I’m also going to declare that to belong to the same species, at least 3/4 of the bits must match.

    The idea is to make a very crude mimic of binding sites in egg and sperm.

    Example:

    a:1011011110001010
    b:1111101110001110

    These two 16bit strings match in 12 places, so they are compatible – they’re the same species.

    Now I take them away from each other and let them mutate independently, one bit at a time.

    a:

    1011011110001010
    0011011110001010
    0011111110001010
    0011111110101010
    0001111110101010
    0101111110101010
    0101111110101000

    after 6 mutations, it looks a lot different, but since it could still interbreed with its predecessor at all times, it can’t have changed species, no?

    I’m sure you can see where this is going. If I now mutate b 6 times…

    1111101110001110
    1111111110001110
    1111111110000110
    1110111110000110
    1110111110000010
    1110111110000011
    1110111110100011

    After 6 mutations in their species line, a and b can no longer breed (it’s pretty close – they match at 10/16 places, but they need 12/16). It’s mathematically inevitable that they will keep becoming genetically different if they are kept isolated.

    Of course, this is just a silly model, but scientists have looked into what makes animals able to reproduce. They haven’t found anything in there that will keep two populations of dogs doglike in perpetuity if they’re not mating with each other.

    And I’d like to hold ID to the same level of evidence that you demand of the naturalistic alternative here. It would be foolish to deny that two populations will not eventually diverge in the manner I describe above. You’re fighting chaos and probability there. Mutations do occur to all areas of DNA, so the chance of two populations remaining the same species relative to each other decreases with time.

    The only way this can be false is if there if a mechanism which is keeping them the same species – but, by the standards of evidence required by ID, if we can’t see it in action, it doesn’t count. Therefore macro evolution must be accepted as the best answer.

    If this gets out of moderation (it took a day the last time I made a post, by which time my comment was all forgotten in the early days of the thread – I was quite disappointed) I look forward to arguing about this. :)

  55. But, don’t you all realize, there is no controversy over evolution within science? Just like there are no homosexuals in Iran. ;)

    Look, I would be quite okay for schools to mention the controversies about dark matter, and dark energy, and the Pioneer anomaly, in science class starting very early. We already start fairly early mentioning the fact that gravity was revised by Einstein, and that while Einstein’s theory may or may not be absolute truth, Newton’s certainly wasn’t. Nobody in physics bats an eye. Furthermore, physics will not expel you from their society for questioning gravity, or even for mentioning, or even believing, the possibility that “a superintellect has monkeyed with the physics.” Various physicists that maintain that the most elegant solution to the anthropic coincidences is that they are evidence of a Designer, are allowed to mention their theories without significant recriminations.

    The reverse is true for those who challenge any aspect of megaevolutionary theory. See Caroline Crocker, Dean Kenyon, and even Guillermo Gonzalez, who never even challenged the biological theory but was refused tenure, not even for having taught evolution, but as Granville Sewell (54) noted, simply for believing it. There is a huge disconnect between the ways that physicists treat their dissidents and the way evolutionary biologists treat theirs.

  56. 56

    dmso74 you stated:

    p.s. bornagain.. science only deals with material causation.. sorry, that’s the way it is.

    You are brainwashed!

    What is your material causation explanation for quantum non-locality?

    I point out that it is an established fact that quantum non-locality proves the transcendence and dominion of (catch this next word) TRANSCENDENT information over the material/energy realm!

    You have no MATERIAL causation in which to resort to for an explanation of quantum non-locality!

    You are just plain wrong! Pure science could care less about “material causation” explanations, In fact pure science only cares to relentlessly pursue a more complete understanding of the truth no matter where that truth may lead.

  57. bornagain77, 58, says about the claim that “science only deals with material causation” “You are brainwashed!”

    Well, no. It is a definition of science – when used as describing the natural sciences. But it is not a definition of all the ways that things can be studied and understood.

    Science, by definition, studies things that can be observed. If a claim about something can’t be observed, the claim really isn’t enapsulated in the field of “Science”. But the study of it surely can be encapsulated in other fields that may not have a self-imposed requirement of observability.

    More generally, it is important to understand that “Science” in this context is simply the application of the scientific method – observe, predict, experiment, conclude, communicate. In other words, without performing experiments – observing results from controlled causes – science is not being practiced.

  58. dmso74 “Borne, Thank you for the psychological exam. ”
    Quite welcome. It’s actually a common occurrence among Darwinists but it’s curable.

    “I published a paper this month basically pointing out that a colleague’s hypothesis was based on a complete misunderstanding of basic physiology. so it goes.”
    I’ll bet you assumed “a complete misunderstanding of basic physiology” because he didn’t see things the way you do. Another thing Darwinists do all the time when facing IDists – the ubiquitous, “IDists don’t understand evolution”, “IDists are religious fanatics hiding behind pseudo-science”….

    “and as for the petition; petitions are political tools, not scientific ones. and yes, that goes for the list of Steves too.”
    Now just what petition would that be? I don’t recall mentioning a petition. Please stick your foot in your big mouth again and explain what you’re talking about.

    I suspect you’re referring to some popular Darwin dissenters list that I did not mention.

    If this is so then you’re response is so lame only a teen with a lot of arrogant angst could have thought it up.
    And if so, your little world wherein there is no controversy, and no real scientists who doubt Darwin, is devoid of reality – exactly as I said the 1st time.

    Get real kid.

  59. 59

    Cue,
    Limiting science to only material causations is artificially and unnecessarily retarding to science and would prevent any transcendent explanation.
    The transcendent (higher dimension) is precluded from any explantory power in the general definition of methodological naturalism and thus is unwarranted and unwelcomed until it is proven otherwise. In fact I find imposed materialism to be the biggest hinderance to science and would say that it has been that way every since the Michelson Morey experiment if not then, it was certainly a hinderance with Big Bang cosmology. I remind you thAT EINSTEIN’S GREATEST BLUNDER (cosmological constant to reflect a steady state universe) WAS BROUGHT ABOUT DUE TO HIS UNWARRATED ALLEGIANCE to the materialistic philosophy.
    With information finding a home in this higher dimension as well as information being established as having dominion over the material/energy realm, it is now time to call the materialistic allegiance on its bluff and seek to establish “natural” information causations of a higher order, a order not artificial hampered in its explanatory power.

  60. Bornagain, to say that it is artificial may be correct, but to say that it is unnecessary is not. The scientific method is a specific process. It is not the only process. It is, however, the process represented in the schools when natural science is taught.

    Studies that don’t fit the scientific method, such as they aren’t conducive to experiments or aren’t readily communicable, can still be studied, but not as a natural science.

    In 61 above, when you find imposed materialism to be the biggest hinderance to science, I suggest that simply doesn’t make sense. Science (natural science), by definition, has that imposition. If you mean that imposed materialism is the biggest hindereance to knowledge – appreciating that science is but one tool to gain knowledge – then the argument would make more sense.

  61. Cue: I’m not following this thread too closely, but to say that methodological naturalism is an essential ingredient of the scientific method betrays a gross ignorance of the history and philosophy of science. Indeed, it’s not even fair to say that there is one scientific method. Percy Bridgman put it this way: “the scientific method, insofar as it is a method, is doing one’s damndest with one’s mind, no holds barred.” In any case, you’re out of here.

  62. Science, by definition, studies things that can be observed. If a claim about something can’t be observed, the claim really isn’t enapsulated in the field of “Science”.

    But black holes can’t technically be ‘observed’ so does that mean that cosmology isn’t a science?

    Many rational people accept the existence of things they cannot see. In the January 1997 issue of “Discover” magazine, an article reported that astronomers detected what they concluded were about 12 planets orbiting distant stars.

    Did the astronomers directly observe said planets? No. They were detected by means of the gravitational pull they exerted on their parent stars. Related evidence–not direct observation is a perfectly adequate basis for scientists to accept (and study) what is invisible.

  63. 63

    Venus,
    Your example aside, the real evidence we have coming in indicates that “sub-speciation” is brought about due to loss of genetic information (genetic diversity) from parent species. In fact it is commonly known that the further you breed a sub-species away from its parent species the more limited variability the sub-species will be found to have. As well, taken to an extreme, sub-speciation results result in problems of inbreeding brought about by detrimental mutations finding their match in the “bottleneck” population. Thus your example is extremely simplistic and ignores all major lines of empirical evidence.

  64. dmso,

    If you teach evolution then I suggest you defend it as a theory. No one has yet to do it here so maybe you could be the first. Please do not use micro evolution examples because few here dispute this process.

    I have watched the evolution section of Berkeley’s biology course by 4 different instructors and I have a good feel for what is known and what is taught. I have also read several books by those who support naturalistic evolution. So we are not ignorant.

    There is no theory of macro evolution. None was ever presented in the Berkeley courses or in any of the books I have read. Speculation was presented but that is all. Maybe you could be the first to present such a theory here and the basis for it.

  65. I’m going to come up with my own lifeforms, which are bit strings. I’m also going to declare that to belong to the same species, at least 3/4 of the bits must match.

    A common tactic employed by Darwinists (yes, I said it) is to grossly oversimplify the task at hand. Apparently this is exactly what we see now. In really life a 3/4 genome difference could practically be the difference between two species in entirely different animal kingdoms.

    The idea is to make a very crude mimic of binding sites in egg and sperm.

    Might supremely crude have been a netter way of describing what you’re doing?

    Example:

    a:1011011110001010
    b:1111101110001110

    These two 16bit strings match in 12 places, so they are compatible – they’re the same species.

    As stated before similarities between the genome of creatures within the same species is much more similar and fragile then that, think more like 99.9% when it comes to humans alone.

    Now I take them away from each other and let them mutate independently, one bit at a time.

    Except in real life it takes more then just a single bit change at a time to see any real changes. I suggest you join the current discussion in “Chance, Law, Agency, or Other?”

    a:

    1011011110001010
    0011011110001010
    0011111110001010
    0011111110101010
    0001111110101010
    0101111110101010
    0101111110101000

    after 6 mutations, it looks a lot different, but since it could still interbreed with its predecessor at all times, it can’t have changed species, no?

    Except in reality you’re looking at a much larger genome, and are also looking at a much greater similarity within species.

    I’m sure you can see where this is going.

    Yes, without a doubt this is a gross-oversimplification of the task at hand when it comes to evolutionary changes at the Macro-level.

    After 6 mutations in their species line, a and b can no longer breed (it’s pretty close – they match at 10/16 places, but they need 12/16). It’s mathematically inevitable that they will keep becoming genetically different if they are kept isolated.

    And yet no attempt was made to determine or at least justify why the changes were mutations which provide a functional advantage to the organism, and not anything neutral or possibly harmful.

    Of course, this is just a silly model, but scientists have looked into what makes animals able to reproduce. They haven’t found anything in there that will keep two populations of dogs doglike in perpetuity if they’re not mating with each other.

    Maybe because the mating between dogs does nothing whatsoever to actually add new information to the gene pool and instead simply uses information which was already present to begin with. Not to mention the fact that to get significant changes in information without HARMING the organism would require and unrealistically huge (and lucky) set of mutations which often must happen simultaneously.

    And I’d like to hold ID to the same level of evidence that you demand of the naturalistic alternative here.

    Don’t we all. :D

    It would be foolish to deny that two populations will not eventually diverge in the manner I describe above.

    Not it wouldn’t be, and for the following reason: You’re fighting chaos and probability there.

    Moving on…

    Mutations do occur to all areas of DNA, so the chance of two populations remaining the same species relative to each other decreases with time.

    If you’re talking about the typical Macro-evolutionary change we look for which is the formation of new morphological structures, then you’re light-years away from the solution.

    The only way this can be false is if there if a mechanism which is keeping them the same species…

    See the above points.

    …but, by the standards of evidence required by ID, if we can’t see it in action, it doesn’t count.

    Hence the reason we hold unguided macro evolution to be a mere falsehood. All we CAN do is quantify the factors involved to try and predict what can and can’t happen based on what we do know.

    And as we’ve seen with your example the only way to make macro changes realistic is to change the task at hand.

    Therefore macro evolution must be accepted as the best answer.

    I would sincerely love your input on the discussion on the “X” filter and how it applies to CSI and Irreducibility:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-or-other/

    If this gets out of moderation (it took a day the last time I made a post, by which time my comment was all forgotten in the early days of the thread – I was quite disappointed) I look forward to arguing about this. :)

    I certainly do too. :D

  66. 66

    leo said (#7) –

    BarryA,

    I’m shocked. Rightous anger when the inaccuracy (or shall I say outright lie) of a post is pointed out! From you! Instead of noting that it was wrong, you continue to genuflect.

    The fact is, when one wants to be taken seriously, one has to act seriously.

    [Leo: I’m afraid you don’t have the right sense of humor for this forum. Goodbye. –WmAD]

    IMO Leo is right. The intolerance of critics and criticism of Darwinism is so great that the fake quotes are actually credible. I myself was taken in, thinking that the fake quotes were real. IMO the original post should have made it clear that the extra quotes are fake.

    Take, for example, the fake quote, “It’s okay to expel those who pretend that there is a controversy.” Isn’t that what actually happened to astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez at Iowa State U.?

    The Washington Post should be renamed “Washington Pest.”

  67. AT:

    You need to get your facts straight first. For instance, Design Theory is not to be properly characrtersised by:

    You say there’s a magic leprechaun poofing everything into existence? Then put your money where your mouth is and prove it.

    That’s a gross strawman misrepresentation. Similarly, science is not about “proof,” but about empirically anchored inference to best — abductive — explanation.

    By contrast, here is a basic def’n of ID by Dr [x2 -- Mathematics, and Phil; add'l Masters is in theol] Wm A D:

    . . . intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? . . . Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, purport to study such signs formally, rigorously, and scientifically. Intelligent design may therefore be defined as the science that studies signs of intelligence.

    Next, what ID sactually asserts, as just shown, is that certain feature of the observbable world show signs that in our experience reliably point to intelligent action, as opposed to chance and/or mechanical necessity. (And BTW, for whomever, it is routine in science to address unobserveds and even unobservables, e.g. the remote past, electrons, etc. What is done is to construct an empirically anchored explanation, which competes on a best explanation basis.]

    Wm A D and others have adapted fairly standared hyp testing processes to construct what let’s now agree we may all call the X-filter.

    In all cases where the X-filter has been tried on known cases of cause, it is accurate as designed when it rules intelligence — it is deliberately set up to rule so conservatively that too simple designs get ruled as chance; mechanical necessity produces natural regularities, so once we see high contingency, it is not the relvant explanatory factor. So per empirical tests The X-Filter is reliable for its purpose.

    The real challenge is for YOUR side to show, without imposing arbitrary, question-begging historically and phil of sci unwarranted evolutionary materialism-assuming redefinitions of science, that chance plus necessity adequatley accounts for:

    1] origin of a fine-tuned, life facilitating cosmos as observed

    2] origin of the organised complexity of cell-based life within that observed cosmos, on our planet and/or elsewhere [and if elsewhere, how observed and how does it get here]

    3] OO body-plan level biodiversity, starting with the Cambrian revolution, per the Meyer paper at PBSW etc (which passed perr review by “renowned scientists”)

    4] OO a credible mind that can think for itself instead of beign driven by chance + necessity, and so also that can account for the binding nature of moral obligation beyond mere brute “might makes right.”

    Those are the four big bangs of ID.

    We say, on the evidence of what we do see on teh routine cause of functionally specified complex information [FSCI], irreducible complexity [IC] and organised complexity [OC], and on the causal impotence of chance + necessity to credibly find islands of function in the relevant config spaces on the gamut of the observed cosmos, etc, intelligence is the best explanation. [Cf here Appendix 1, point 6 the always linked.]

    What is your response, why?

    Now, let’s see your answers, since you are the A-Team. [If you want a simple 101 survay of the X-Team's case, try my always linked for a start then go over to Research ID wiki and IDEA Center.]

    For the X-Team,

    GEM of TKI

    PS: You need to update your list of “evidence,” e.g. DNA is evidence of FSCI not of body-plan level evolution driven by c + n only. Similarly, Archaeopterix is a mosaic not a transitional form — on conventional dating more “modern” birds have earlier fossils than A — which is also plainly a bird in basic body plan — not ahalf-way house. Vestigial organs have so far shrunk in numbers as to be negligible, and the pattern is that uses were found for the “vestiges” on further investigaiton, so they never were.

  68. If there is no “evidence” for design, then why would Richard Dawkins say in The God Delusion that “We live on a planet where we are surrounded by perhaps ten million species, each one of which independently displays a powerful illusion of apparent design.”

    “One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect, over the centuries, has been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe arises.”

    When he uses the words “illusion” and “appearance” in the chapter, it depends entirely on the power of his argument that an eternal designer outside the cosmos is wildly improbable/impossible.

    That is the only reason for Dawkins, that the abundant, clear evidence for design in biology, has to be an illusion.

    ID is about quantifying what design looks like and this is done only in relation to physiacl evidence.

  69. PPS: Speaking of magic leps, kindly explain the coherence of mind and its credibility relative to chance plus necessity only, in light of issues such as are summarised at 101 level here. In other words, we see signs that our minds act on our brains and bodies in ways that go beyond C + N, on pain of self-referential incoherence and absurdity. Call it magic if you will, our thoughts and choices poof into existence from our SELVES. Worse, this experience is personal fact no 1 of our existence as intelligent agents — and without credible minds that think beyond mere lucky noise, chance conditions and control of mindless mechanisms, no science, indeed, no reason, is possible.

  70. 70
    Elliott the Contentious

    I agree with Leo: the placement of the unqualified series of quotes immediately before the reference to the Post leader gives the strong impression that the quotes are taken from the article. So strong that it effectively represents them as such. It is possible plausibly to deny this in retrospect by presenting it as a joke, true, but it gives the appearance of deliberately trying to mislead. It might be better for Mr. Dembski to place himself above suspicion of the intention to mislead by responding to the criticism and rewording the article so that it cannot be described as misleading. Reacting by shooting the messenger does not seem very Christian and does not look like the act of a person determined to remain above suspicion – I would advise a rephrase or rewrite.

  71. “There is no theory of macro evolution. None was ever presented in the Berkeley courses or in any of the books I have read. Speculation was presented but that is all. Maybe you could be the first to present such a theory here and the basis for it.”

    I’m not sure dividing up micro and macro into separate theories is really accurate, as they are all a part of evolutionary theory.. the division is really just a pedagogical tool.. but basically macroevolution (and microevoluton, on a smaller time scale) is the idea that all organisms are “descended with modification” from other organisms.and the theory is all of the evidence supporting that idea; see e.g.: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
    THere are lots of controversies and unknowns w/in evolution about tempo, mechanisms, etc. but that makes things more exciting. and credit where credit is due, I think ID and creationist people have been good at pointing out weaknesses and unstudied areas, and have stimulated some exciting new research. So thank you!

  72. Evolution has empirical evidence in spades from transitional fossils like archeaopteryx and ambulocetus natons, DNA evidence, vestigial organs, etc.
    Interestingly, New Scientist magazine recently ran an article on five vestigial things humans have but don’t need:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13927

    One of the things listed are goose bumps, which aren’t anatomical structures at all! Guess that narrows the list down to four.

    1. The VMO (vomeronasal organ), two dents on opposite sides of the vomer bone, makes the list despite scientists denying for decades that it even exists in humans. My university-level anatomy and physiology textbook doesn’t mention it.

    2.Darwin’s point, or tubercle, which is a malformation of the tissues that form the outer ear which develop during the 6th week of gestation. Again, my textbook makes no mention of this congenital defect or even the ‘hillocks of Hiss’ that cause it.

    3.The coccyx, or tailbone. The fact that there are 100 reports of babies being born with tails is posted as proof that this is a remnant of when humans had tails. And so possibilities become probabilities, which in turn become certainties. Speculations become conclusions.

    4.Wisdom teeth, or third molars, appear generally during a person’s late teens or early 20s. Some mammals don’t have them at all, such as marmosets (which are “probably” evolutionary dwarfs). “Suggesting” that when mammalian body size reduces, their jaws become too small to contain all their teeth is just that…a suggestion. Not a fact.

    There was a time when physiologists thought that there were at least 180 vestigial organs, but now that list has been apparently narrowed down to four. Just because one doesn’t know the function of an organ doesn’t make it vestigial. For this reason, most doctors today hesitate to call any organs vestigial.

  73. 73
    Venus Mousetrap

    A common tactic employed by Darwinists (yes, I said it) is to grossly oversimplify the task at hand. Apparently this is exactly what we see now. In really life a 3/4 genome difference could practically be the difference between two species in entirely different animal kingdoms.

    In science, we call the process of simplification ‘modelling’. It’s then left to the scientists to decide just how well those models reflect reality.

    In my model I actually made it harder for myself, on purpose.

    If, for example, I had used strings of a billion bits, and insisted that the same species must be 99% identical, then I could still have run the sim to give the same effect: two populations will diverge while still remaining supposedly the same species themselves. The math hasn’t changed.

    As stated before similarities between the genome of creatures within the same species is much more similar and fragile then that, think more like 99.9% when it comes to humans alone.

    That doesn’t refute the math. It’s the same in both cases.

    Except in real life it takes more then just a single bit change at a time to see any real changes. I suggest you join the current discussion in “Chance, Law, Agency, or Other?”

    Again, this is a M-O-D-E-L. It’s an illustration of the math. In real life, it’s even worse because there are more ways for it to change from one generation to the next… but it still remains the same species in its own line of descent.


    “after 6 mutations, it looks a lot different, but since it could still interbreed with its predecessor at all times, it can’t have changed species, no?”

    Except in reality you’re looking at a much larger genome, and are also looking at a much greater similarity within species.

    You keep saying this, but you’re not explaining why it refutes the math. A large genome has the same problems as a small one (it mutates in all areas) and the high similarity between species actually means they’ll become incompatible more quickly when separated.

    “I’m sure you can see where this is going.”

    Yes, without a doubt this is a gross-oversimplification of the task at hand when it comes to evolutionary changes at the Macro-level.

    As admitted, but I’ve explained why it’s still valid.


    “After 6 mutations in their species line, a and b can no longer breed (it’s pretty close – they match at 10/16 places, but they need 12/16). It’s mathematically inevitable that they will keep becoming genetically different if they are kept isolated.”

    And yet no attempt was made to determine or at least justify why the changes were mutations which provide a functional advantage to the organism, and not anything neutral or possibly harmful.

    I wasn’t talking about Darwinian evolution. I was talking about the inevitability of speciation.

    “Of course, this is just a silly model, but scientists have looked into what makes animals able to reproduce. They haven’t found anything in there that will keep two populations of dogs doglike in perpetuity if they’re not mating with each other.”

    Maybe because the mating between dogs does nothing whatsoever to actually add new information to the gene pool and instead simply uses information which was already present to begin with. Not to mention the fact that to get significant changes in information without HARMING the organism would require and unrealistically huge (and lucky) set of mutations which often must happen simultaneously.

    I’ll have to take your word for that since I’ve not been able to fathom how ID calculates information, but you haven’t explained why a dog has to remain a dog. Are we defining species by their information level now?

    “It would be foolish to deny that two populations will not eventually diverge in the manner I describe above.”

    Not it wouldn’t be, and for the following reason: You’re fighting chaos and probability there.

    Moving on…

    Um… that’s not an answer. That was my answer.

    “Mutations do occur to all areas of DNA, so the chance of two populations remaining the same species relative to each other decreases with time.”

    If you’re talking about the typical Macro-evolutionary change we look for which is the formation of new morphological structures, then you’re light-years away from the solution.

    Nope. I wasn’t talking about Darwinism, just the accumulation of mutations. And I’m sure the evo-devo people will appreciate the ignorance of their years of research into how new structures form.

    The only way this can be false is if there if a mechanism which is keeping them the same species…

    See the above points.

    I’m guessing you meant that information stuff, but you didn’t provide any details on that or why it prevents speciation.

    “…but, by the standards of evidence required by ID, if we can’t see it in action, it doesn’t count.”

    Hence the reason we hold unguided macro evolution to be a mere falsehood. All we CAN do is quantify the factors involved to try and predict what can and can’t happen based on what we do know.

    ie. if you can’t see how something happened, then it couldn’t have happened. This is what I meant by barriers – it’s possible for you to invent an infinite variety of barriers for evolution to overcome, and since it’s impossible to watch evolution in the process of overcoming them, you declare it must fail. Odd that no one insists on watching the designer overcome them.

    And as we’ve seen with your example the only way to make macro changes realistic is to change the task at hand.

    Are you’re trying to deny that animals have genomes which mutate?

    “Therefore macro evolution must be accepted as the best answer.”

    I would sincerely love your input on the discussion on the “X” filter and how it applies to CSI and Irreducibility:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com…..-or-other/

    I’ll have a look at it.

  74. Venus Mousetrap (#56):

    I appreciate that you like a challenge, but do you really think you are faceing it with your example?

    I have little to add to the examplary analysis made by F2XL. Just a couple of thoughts.

    What were you trying to prove? That you can arbitrarily change digits in numbers arbitrarily taken? Where is the deep point? If you really want to defend macroevolution, which was the original “challenge”, you have to give a model of:

    a) how a string of at least 500 bits with a specific function (for instance, a simple computer program) could come out from random noise + any kind of selection which does not include any knowledge of the result to be obtained.

    b) how, starting from the above string, you can derive another string of approximatley the same length, with a completely different function (for instance, another program to do something else), different from he first one for at least, say, 100 bits, by random noice + any kind of selection which does not include any knowledge of the result to be obtained.

    c) how, by the same criteria, you can “evolve” a set of independent programs, let’s say five of them, each one with a different function, and which, together, realize still another new function, which would be impossible without any of the five component programs.

    That’s, more or less, the challenge, and in a really minimal forma. Good luck!

  75. The A-Team (#69):

    your post is really a masterpiece of unreasonabless. It’s a true case of: with such enemies, who needs friends?

    “cdesign proponentsists have yet to present any falsifying tests on which to judge the merits of their hypothesis and thus cannot fall into the sphere of science. ”

    Falsifying tests? A reasonable model of how CSI can come out of random noice + undirected selection would be a good start. But, you see, that’s the task of darwinists to produce such a model, after all they believe that it exists. And, once the theoretical model exists (because, up to now, I don’t think they really have one), it can certainly be tested in the lab. Any lab demonstration that CSI can come out of random noise plus undirected selection would certainly falsify ID, or at least a good part of it. But I have to remind you that, again, it is the task of the darwinists to realize the falsification. What is required of a scientific theory, in a Popperian sense, is that in principle it can be falsified, and that is certainly true of ID, as I have shown. But it is not certainly the duty of those who present a theory to falsify it!
    Therefore, ID can certainly “fall into the sphere of science” (your words).

    “You say there’s a magic leprechaun poofing everything into existence?”

    I have nothing against magic leprechauns, but that’s not what ID is saying. ID is saying that biological information, or at least most of it, is best explained by design. Did I miss the leprechaun hiding in that definition? Are designers leprechauns by default? (and magic ones, too…)

    “Then put your money where your mouth is and prove it. ”

    That’s exactly what ID is doing (proving desing, not leprechauns).

    “That’s not an unreasonable request. ”

    Not at all.

    “Prove your claims or get out of the lab. ”

    We have, repeatedly, proven our claims, and a lab is not always necessary for that. Most of the ID theory deals with the existing evidence, exactly the same evidence which is being discovered in all labs in the world. Any protein sequence, for instance, is an example of CSI, and any cascade pathway an example of IC.

    “You don’t like the idea of empirical evidence (aka proving stuff)? Tough.”

    Where did you get that strange idea from? We do like the idea of empirical evidence. Everything in ID is based on the available empirical evidence.

    “Evolution has empirical evidence in spades from transitional fossils like archeaopteryx and ambulocetus natons, DNA evidence, vestigial organs, etc.”

    Others have already commented on that. I would like just to mention that all your examples, whatever their value, are at best evidence for common descent, and not for causal mechanism. Most IDists accept common descent. Some don’t, and they have the task to show how all those arguments are controversial (and I do believe they are controversial, which is not the same as false. In general, I can believe in common descent).

    But, as you shoud know, common descent is in no way the central issue of ID. The central issue of ID, in case you have not noticed, is the causal mechanism for change and for the appearance of comlex functional information in biological beings. None of your arguments applies to that. So, where is that “empirical evidence in spades”?

    “Trying to deny this evidence by putting your hands over your ears and singing “la, la, la, la” over and over again isn’t going to make it go away.”

    Is that a method you are familiar with? Interesting and original procedure!
    As for me, I have listened to you with attention, although with no great intellectual pleasure, and I have dutifully taken the time to answer you. Are you going to do the same?

  76. gpuccio,

    You pity the fool. :-)

  77. Just a general clarification about all this “controversy” issue.

    The controversy obviously exists. To say the contrary is pure folly (or just simply bad faith). A controversy does not exist only if no one dissents. Are we no one? Moreover, even if darwinists think differently, we are not stupid, our arguments are not stupid. Darwinists think differently, therefore the controversy exists.

    But there is more. We in ID have never asked that darwinian evolution, as a theory, be cancelled form the scientific community. We have never asked that it be never thaught in schools. We have never asked that it be never mentioned in schools, or that darwinian papers be never published on scientific journals. We are only asking that it may be freely debated, without being accused of heresy.

    On the contrary, darwinists ask that ID must not be considered a scientific theory, that it not only should not be taught in schools (which I agree with), but that it should never be mentioned in schools (which is inacceptable). They ask (and obtain) that no mention of ID be ever made in published papers (if not to attack it). Indeed, darwinists just want that ID may not exist, if not as folklore (and maybe not even as that).

    So, not only the controversy exists, but it is not even the same controversy.

    The controversy of IDists is a scientific controversy, the statement that darwinian evolution is indeed a scientific theory, but a bad theory, and that ID is a better theory to explain the same evidence. Both theories have the right to exist and to be debated seriously.

    The controversy of darwinists, instead, is one of dogma, intolerance and power, and has nothing to do with science. Darwinists are not arguing that their theory is better (which is their absolute right to do). They are arguing that no other theory exists, that there is no controversy. Indeed, they are often arguing that their theory is not a theory, but a fact.

    So, you see, there are at least two controversies, one good and the other bad. But, certainly, there are controversies.

  78. 78
    Venus Mousetrap

    gpuccio: Exemplary analysis? He avoided making any explanations.

    I was showing that if you split a population and let them both carry on as normal, they will speciate from each other. The fact that this occurs by pure random mutation (I wasn’t even selecting) means it is nonsense to claim that micro and macro evolution are two different ideas.

    You’re asking for a demo of darwinian evolution, which I wasn’t actually talking about, but I’m game for this, too: :)

    a) rm+ns (it’s easier to say than Darwinian evolution) obviously can’t arrive at a specific function. However, suppose we have a kind of machine code, where different combinations of bits are different operations.

    example:

    0000 [address] – JUMP to address
    0001 [direction] – ROTATE to direction
    0010 [distance] – MOVE by distance
    0011 [direction] – GROW in direction

    and more. Then a string of 500 bits will be a program for controlling and growing a virtual lifeform.

    A random string will result in a bizarre, deformed mess, but in a population of them, some must outperform the others, and the next generation will have more of their kids.

    This isn’t speculation. People do this. It’s my hobby. :)

    After a while you will have virtual lifeforms which are better at doing whatever it is they do, than the first ones were.

    This depends, of course, on a robust genome. That’s why you can’t mutate in C, but machine code is more forgiving.

    DNA already is this robust, and is therefore perfect for mutation and selection. Is that by design?

    b) Easy! duplicate the first program. This also happens in DNA. If your program’s end result, for example, is to spin a flagellum about, there’s no harm in doing it twice. Having a duplicated genome won’t harm it at all.

    But now it gets interesting. With the code for spinning already in place, it doesn’t matter if the duplicated version is changed. Suppose that mutations now cause the duplicated code to stretch and curl the flagellum, instead of spinning it, so that it becomes a sweeping organ which is good at gathering food.

    That could not have happened if it wasn’t already spinning. The duplication gave it new material to operate upon.

    c)

    Well, this kind of follows from b): a new function evolved that depended on the function in a). If another function evolves which also requires the lifeform to be spinning, then, that’s two. There’s nothing to stop that happening five times.

    This is what I meant when I said I saw no difficulties with rm+ns producing complex structures. And to top it off, it’s often the case in DNA that some genes ARE modified duplicates of others.

  79. dmso74,

    We can add you to the list of evolutionary biologists that do not provide any information to support macro evolution when asked. There is another evolutionary biologist who comments here all the time and never provides any support for macro evolution and we have regular biologists who also never comment. It is a telling trend.

    You have punted and pointed to the overwhelming evidence. But those that point to the overwhelming evidence nearly always fail to point to the best of the overwhelming. In other words they avoid any type of debate. I would suggest you pick the best of the 29 evidences and bring it forward for discussion.

    You seem like a reasonable person and not harboring inherent disdain for us here who challenge the naturalistic evolution paradigm. If so then the discussions could prove fruitful for both sides.

    But let me make a point. Such things as universal common descent are not evidence of any mechanism for change. UCD is a conclusion based on evidence, not evidence for a mechanism. Neither are the molecular DNA data differences between species. They have nothing to do with any naturalistic mechanism that creates new variants of life forms. We understand the possible means for deterioration of the genome so it is nothing new.

    Since you teach evolutionary biology, you know that the text books are nearly all about micro evolution. And the question becomes is micro evolution evolution upwards (species > genera > family > order) or devolution (order > family > genera > species.)

    The first would be Darwinian evolution or the modern synthesis macro evolution scenario while the later may be what the data says and is in complete contrast to the Darwinian paradigm. Many of us here tend to believe the latter scenario because that is what the evidence says and why we are skeptical of the current paradigm.

  80. Cue may be banned but I thought I’d respond:

    The scientific method is a specific process. It is not the only process. It is, however, the process represented in the schools when natural science is taught.

    This discussion already took place at length:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....impanzees/

    My take:

    The major issue I have is that it comes down to asserting that a currently popular philosophy of science IS Science itself. I think that public school standards should attempt to be as neutral as possible in regard to these various philosophies. Many people are not even aware that there are many schools of thought (btw, Bill apparently likes Pragmatic Naturalism). Also, I’m not saying that any particular philosophy of science is right or wrong (they all have merits depending on the nature of reality). In fact, my preference would be that schools briefly outline the various philosophies in addition to a neutral definition like this one:

    science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena

    After all, we’re talking about education, not indoctrination…which is what public education becomes if only a particular philosophy is taught as being the only option. Some may object that discussions of philosophy of science is too complicated and should be left for college. Well, personally I think we’re dumbing down the public education system enough as it is.

  81. The A-Team is someone who should be ignored. Unlike the original A-Team, he/she does not have a plan or a logical argument.

    When A-Team demonstrates anything other than contempt or ridicule maybe he/she should be answered.

  82. 82

    Some Cool “Uncontroversial” Videos:

    m RNA to Protein Synthesis

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    RNA Animation

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    The inner life of the cell

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B76hAYcAT8c

    The wonders of a tiny cell

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    DNA Replication

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    Privileged Planet

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWUbJzqLqB8

    Case for Creator: Cambrian Explosion

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ature=user

    Unlocking the Mystery of Life: Design Reasoning

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ature=user

    Case for Creator: Bacterial Flagellum

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    Privileged Planet: Finely Tuned Universe

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX5CbxiKHqY

    Unlocking the Mystery of Life: Information

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    Fearfully and Wonderfully Made (The Amazing Human Body)

    http://www.godtube.com/view_vi.....d69d4974ca

  83. Patrick,

    I watched a course on the Philosophy of Science from the Teaching Company. While the guy was about as convoluted as one can imagine, one thing that I came away with is that there is no definition of science or any universally accepted method of practicing it.

    The other thing I learned from various discussions and reading is that there is no accepted definition of life and intelligence. Like science, each is fraught with problems. So three standard concepts we frequently deal with are unclear.

  84. I’m not sure dividing up micro and macro into separate theories is really accurate

    Obviously there is a controversy at least on this subject, since I doubt all the Darwinists on UD would agree with you. That’s assuming what you mean is that microevolution leads to macroevolution over long time, and that the mechanisms are essentially the same. And, yes, both would be contained underneath an overarching theory, so no need to nitpick me.

    Stern, David L. “Perspective: Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the Problem of Variation,” Evolution 2000, 54, 1079-1091. A contribution from the University of Cambridge. “One of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved…Historically, the neo-Darwinian synthesizers stressed the predominance of micromutations in evolution, whereas others noted the similarities between some dramatic mutations and evolutionary transitions to argue for macromutationism.”

    Simons, Andrew M. “The Continuity of Microevolution and Macroevolution,” Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2002, 15, 688-701. A contribution from Carleton University.”A persistent debate in evolutionary biology is one over the continuity of microevolution and macroevolution ­ whether macroevolutionary trends are governed by the principles of microevolution.”

    Macneill, Allen. Uncommon Descent. “Do the “engines of variation” (EvoDevo, etc) provide sufficient variation to move beyond microevolution to macroevolution? This is indeed the central question. One of the central tenets of the “modern synthesis of evolutionary biology” as celebrated in 1959 was the idea that macroevolution and microevolution were essentially the same process. That is, macroevolution was simply microevolution extrapolated over deep evolutionary time, using the same mechanisms and with essentially the same effects. A half century of research into macroevolution has shown that this is probably not the case.”

    and

    “Do the currently identified mechanisms of genetic and phenotypic variation produce enough variation to get from there to here or not?

    As for macroevolution, I agree that at the present time we have little or no formal theory predicting the observed patterns of change in deep evolutionary time. This is one reason why I have asserted that the so-called “modern evolutionary synthesis” of the mid-20th century is “dead” – it’s theoretical predictions have either been superceded (e.g. by evo-devo) or shown to be inadequate.

    However, this only means that we do not currently have a comprehensive theoretical understanding of how macroevolution has occurred. What we do have is an immense and exponentially expanding body of evidence strongly supporting the inference that macroevolution has indeed happened. This is the inference that both Michael Behe and William Dembski (and my friend and colleague, Hannah Maxson) have agreed with on numerous occasions. the argument is not about whether, but rather about how.

    One approach to answering the question of how has macroevolution occurred is to analyze the previously mentioned mountain of empirical evidence with respect to any patterns that it might yield.”

    Yes, MacNeill is positive that with further research that Darwinism will be vindicated. One of the focuses for ID proponents has always been–even 10+ years ago–to find whether there is positive evidence for Darwinian mechanisms being capable of macroevolution to the extent that everything we see since the OOL was created without any directed design involved. That is nowhere near a “small” controversy. That’s a gaping hole in evolutionary biology that MacNeill is attempting to fill in with a shotgun filled with pebbles (the list of purported mechanisms for modern evolutionary biology). We’re just seeking one example. Every time a Darwinist claims there is an example, it’s either a trivial example we would not disagree with in the first place, like cladogenesis in plants or microevolutionary events like the nylonase in Flavobacterium, or they’re playing connect-the-dots by comparing various creatures and presuming the mechanism works…which is the point under contention in the first place! Yet most Darwinists will never admit that examples have never been observed but are instead inferred to be real.

    Let’s get real. There are real issues that both Darwinism and ID have trouble with. I’d be lying if I said that the ID movement has all its ducks in a row. The relatively low amount of ID research is one of them. It’s a real problem even if there are a real life reasons such as persecution and the need to maintain day jobs that usually don’t provide the opportunity for ID research. But increasing the amount of ID research is fixable, given enough support.

    Personally I’d love to see Darwinists and ID proponents working together. The major problem is procuring funding. I hate to see it when Darwinists are demanding that ID proponents produce more research and then at the same time advocating closing any potential avenues for this research to take place. If they want to be consistent and if they take these questions seriously they should be helping ID proponents receive a decent level of funding even if they do believe in general that ID is incorrect. At the very least these research projects may discover the limitations of certain mechanisms and in the process discover information that could advance medical technology. Who knows, maybe it would be an ID proponent who does the actual gruntwork and manages to find positive evidence for some Darwinian mechanisms being capable of producing CSI.

    But despite these disagreements, I personally am very thankful to him for declaring that Neo-Darwinism is largely dead and a new “evolving holistic synthesis” (MacNeill’s term) must be formed. The debate, and the controversy, has been centered around old ideas in evolutionary biology for far too long.

    The fact that this occurs by pure random mutation (I wasn’t even selecting) means it is nonsense to claim that micro and macro evolution are two different ideas.

    Perhaps in your model…which does not reflect biological reality.

    I wasn’t talking about Darwinian evolution. I was talking about the inevitability of speciation.

    You define species in a manner that doesn’t refer to biology. What exactly are you modeling again? If your purposes is to showcase that Darwinian processes can function in limited environments/cases then I see no reason to disagree.

    I’ll have to take your word for that since I’ve not been able to fathom how ID calculates information,

    http://www.designinference.com

    A simpler version:

    http://www.overwhelmingevidenc.....sand_words

    Other examples:

    http://www.overwhelmingevidenc....._challenge

    http://www.overwhelmingevidence.com/oe/node/361

    but you haven’t explained why a dog has to remain a dog.

    Unless I missed some significant scientific progress, no one is yet able to look at the informational content and say “these sections here is what makes this dog unique”.

    This is what I meant by barriers – it’s possible for you to invent an infinite variety of barriers for evolution to overcome

    Inventing barriers? We’re talking basic engineering here. When the code is pleiotropic you have to have multiple concurrent changes that work together to produce a functional result. Simple changes adding up over deep time are not realistic. And, yes, I’m aware that the modular design of the code can allow for SOME largescale changes, especially noticeable with plants, but this is not uniform. Nor is it usually coherent (cows with extra legs hanging from their bodies, humans with extra mammary glands or extensions of their vertebrae [tails], flies with eyes all over). Nor non-destructive for that matter. And whence came the modularity?

    See this:

    http://www.overwhelmingevidence.com/oe/node/362

    You’re asking for a demo of darwinian evolution, which I wasn’t actually talking about, but I’m game for this, too:

    This isn’t speculation. People do this. It’s my hobby.

    Why such models are not a danger to ID, and in fact favor ID:

    http://www.overwhelmingevidenc.....k/ga_chess

    Dr. Marks, in an interview:

    “Teleological” means that there is a goal in mind for the evolution process. Any time we go to the computer and actually simulate the evolution we have some sort of goal in mind, yet if you go over into the biology area, they say Darwinian evolution is not teleological — it has no goal. It’s just a process of meaningless, random events and, boom!, all of a sudden you have something which appears designed. Yet, intererestingly, in my limited exposure to some if the literature in biology, everything they do in computer modeling of evolution is teleological. And so, one of the things that I would like to see, and I have [as] a[n open] challenge, is to actually show me an emulation of a computer model that is nonteleological. And I don’t believe that there is one. We have looked at some different programs in the area of biology, and one of the things that is often claimed is that there is a magical design which occurs with the computer doing the evolution — again, not paying attention to all of this information that is snuck into the side. And what we have done, [is] we’ve been able to look at, for example, a paper from Tom Schneider at NIH, which actually proposed a[n] evolutionary program, ev, and we’re actually able to show that the amount of added information that he was using was incredible! There were two stages to it. One where he actually put together the program, and then he used an evolutionary program to do a search of this model, and it turns out his model was so information-rich that he didn’t even require an evolutionary program. He could have done it just by blind queries and it works better, and we actually were able to show this, and have it on one of our papers at evolutionaryinformatics.org — and we actually showed that the amount of added information that he placed into his algorithm was such that there only was required 8 bits of information that he needed to search for.

    The other one we’ve looked at, which we haven’t published as of yet, is the Avida program. Now the Avida program has been written by some very top people in the area of computational intelligence and biology. They purported to show through this process that, gosh, evolution can, indeed, happen on the computer. And it was [Avida researcher, philosopher Robert] Pennock who was one of the witnesses that testified at the Dover trial. There was reference made [at Dover] to this program called Avida. And Avida, like many of these other programs that we see in the evolutionary literature, said “Wow! Look at the magic of evolution. Look at all this information that we gained without having information.” I am actually starting to believe that there’s a law — a type of law of conservation of information. That is, you can’t get much more information out of an evolutionary program than you put in. Well, we have also done an analysis of Avida and will very soon be publishing a paper showing that the amount of information that was snuck in from the side was such that the program would not have a snowball’s chance if it didn’t have this extra information placed into the side. They also talk about it being “non-targeted.” It does have a target. And they even say, “It looks like it has a target, but it doesn’t have a target.” Well, it does have a target, and we’ll be showing that and actually giving measures of the amount of information — in bits — that was added to the Avida program.

    Another quote:

    Edge of Evolution pg. 276

    In Avida, acquiring new abilities is only one way for an organism to get computer food. Another way is by simply acquiring surplus instructions, whether or not they do anything. In fact, instructions that aren’t ever executed – making them utterly useless for performing tasks – are beneficial in Avida because they provide additional food without requiring any additional consumption. It’s survival of the fattest!

    It’s also very unrealistic. Biological organisms show the opposite behavior – genes that are useless in the real world are not rewarded; the genes are rapidly lost or degraded by mutation. Why, then, was Avida programmed to do the opposite? As explained on the Avida website, the counterbiological feature was needed, “Otherwise there is a strong selective pressure for shorter genomes.” In other words, otherwise the program wouldn’t give the desired results.

    And you act as if this is a new concept to us, yet you admit to not knowing the basics of ID. I suggest you do some reading first:

    Lee Spetner, Not By Chance! (Brooklyn, NY: Judaica Press, 1997)
    Neil Broom, How Blind Is the Watchmaker? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001)
    David Swift, Evolution Under the Microscope (Stirling University Innovation Park, UK: Leighton Academic Press, 2002)
    John Sanford, Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome (Lima, NY: Ivan Press, 2005)
    Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution (New York, NY: Free Press, 2007)

    And for balance, here’s some of the latest from Darwinists. There’s “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” by Sean Carroll, Jablonka and Lamb’s new book “Evolution in Four Dimensions”, Elliot Sober and David Sloan Wilson’s book “Unto Others: The Evolutionary Psychology of Unselfish Behavior”, and Lynn Margulis’s book “Acquiring Genomes”.

  85. bornagain77: I point out that it is an established fact that quantum non-locality proves the transcendence and dominion of (catch this next word) TRANSCENDENT information over the material/energy realm!

    Isn’t super-determinism a non-transcendent explanation?

  86. Venus Mousetrap:

    I can’t find any real answer in what you say. I will be more clear: I need specific, detailed models or examples, not vague speculations. More in detail:

    a) Show me how you have created a program of at least 500 bit length from random variation in your computer, with a definite function (I mean a function of the whole problem, not just an incoherent mix of elementary functions). For instance, an ordering algorithm, or a self replicating computer virus. I have no preferences. I don’t care if you have been using C or machine language. Detalis, please. Show the final program, and how you got to it, without a specific selection incorporating a definite idea of what you want to obtain. Please, show how you have, for the first time, overcome Dembski’s limit of 2^500.

    b) It is perfectly OK for me if you duplicate your first program (although that, too, should happen randomly). But please, show us how you pass from proram A to program B, which has another function. For instance, how you pass from an ordering algorithm to, say, a program which sums numbers given in input.

    c) and, finally, just get four similar program working together (for instance, ordering numbers, then selecting the first 20, summing them, ang executing some final computation.

    For all of that, you must either show that you have done that and how, or show a theoretical model which lets us see that it is possible empirically, computing the statistical resources needed.

    And, please, be explicit and detailed.

    Again, good luck…

  87. 87
    Venus Mousetrap

    Patrick: well, it was nice of you to basically ignore my entire answer to gpuccio’s question with a simple handwave of ‘I must be side-loading in information to the simulation’ (which is what that GA Chess post suggests). It’d be nicer if you could tell me where, in my hypothetical machine code example, that side-loading is occuring. Is it the act of deciding what the code should be, and arranging a genetic toolkit for organisms to build themselves?

    The whole point of giving the lifeforms a building toolkit was precisely to avoid the claim of sneaky information. If you’re going to assume that every single GA is sneaking it in via the back, then I’m wasting my time, aren’t I?

    Also, I could be wrong, but wasn’t Dr Marks’ paper on ev found to be in error?

    In any case, thanks for the links to the posts and websites, but I have read a lot of the material already, even Dr Dembski’s work on active information. I admire your effort to actually go through the math of ID, but I cannot find any that applies to what I’m talking about.

  88. Jerry, a few questions:

    you accept universal common descent, then?

    “And the question becomes is micro evolution evolution upwards (species > genera > family > order) or devolution (order > family > genera > species.)” i’m sorry, this does not make sense to me. are you suggesting that evolution is a linear progression in some way from species to orders or vice versa?

    well my favorite bit from the 29 evidences is the shared ervs among primates.. but of course that’s just evidence of common descent, not the mechanisms.. figure 7.5 from sean carrol’s “endless forms” is my favoite mechanistic hypothesis.. wings in arthropods evolve from reduction in number and exxageration of gill-like features in primitive aquatic nymphs.. all accompanied by concordant additions of hox gene receptors.. phenotypic subtraction and exxageration by genotypic addition..

  89. 89

    gpuccio

    Show me how you have created a program of at least 500 bit length from random variation in your computer, with a definite function (I mean a function of the whole problem, not just an incoherent mix of elementary functions)

    Interesting stuff. I wonder if Venus will post some sounce. On a somewhat different angle, what do you say to the possiblity that a computer program could be written to implement some aspect of the explnatory filter and detect design?

    Of course I don’t expect a all purpose 100% accurate program by any means, I doubt such a thing is possible, but I believe this might be an excellent group project if performed on a wiki style basis?

    How about it?

  90. 90
    Venus Mousetrap

    gpuccio: I tried to be as clear as I could, but it was a hypothetical example. What were you having trouble with, exactly?

    I can’t evolve a specific program, because I’d have to specify it in advance, which is the same as putting in the information directly. Evolution doesn’t work that way – indeed, Dawkins is still getting laughed at for his Weasel because people believe he was demonstrating evolution. But I can specify a goal which can be met by a subset of all possible programs – for example, find the most food, avoid dying, etc.

    I’m also not sure why you’re having trouble seeing how some non-essential code in an organism could change its function via mutation and selection. I mean, I can’t make it clearer than that. Code mutates. Does something else good. Repeats.

    Anyhow, I can’t meet your request, yet. I’ve been working on it for some time. :) But there isn’t much point, is there? There seems to be a default barrier in the ID circle against GAs… no matter what they are, the very act of coding them is declared to be sideloading of active information.

  91. How oft has the mantra been repeated that among biologists there is no controversy that evolution happened, the only dibates are as to how it happened. Well, if nearly every aspect of the how is questioned and often in controversy, then its no big leap to say the entire theory is in crisis and that controversy reigns.

    We in ID could just as easily say “there’s no controversy that intelligent design accounts for many features of the cosmos and certain aspects of biological systems, the only debates are as to how it may have happened” and be done with it. I wonder how that would play in biologic academia!

  92. 92

    dmso74,
    You presume that ERV’s are proof of evolution, yet ID would presume that the sequence similarity in genomes, which you call ERV’s, is actually an essential sequence of the genome that has an unknown but essential function. In fact the following study shows that if the “ERV’s” (your term) sequence is disabled proper development is retarded.

    Endogenous retroviruses regulate periimplantation placental growth and differentiation
    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/conten.....3/39/14390

    Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are fixed and abundant in the genomes of vertebrates. Circumstantial evidence suggests that ERVs play a role in mammalian reproduction, particularly placental morphogenesis, because intact ERV envelope genes were found to be expressed in the syncytiotrophoblasts of human and mouse placenta and to elicit fusion of cells in vitro. We report here in vivo and in vitro experiments finding that the envelope of a particular class of ERVs of sheep, endogenous Jaagsiekte sheep retroviruses (enJSRVs), regulates trophectoderm growth and differentiation in the periimplantation conceptus (embryo/fetus and associated extraembryonic membranes). The enJSRV envelope gene is expressed in the trophectoderm of the elongating ovine conceptus after day 12 of pregnancy. Loss-of-function experiments were conducted in utero by injecting morpholino antisense oligonucleotides on day 8 of pregnancy that blocked enJSRV envelope protein production in the conceptus trophectoderm. This approach retarded trophectoderm outgrowth during conceptus elongation and inhibited trophoblast giant binucleate cell differentiation as observed on day 16. Pregnancy loss was observed by day 20 in sheep receiving morpholino antisense oligonucleotides. In vitro inhibition of the enJSRV envelope reduced the proliferation of mononuclear trophectoderm cells isolated from day 15 conceptuses. Consequently, these results demonstrate that the enJSRV envelope regulates trophectoderm growth and differentiation in the periimplantation ovine conceptus. This work supports the hypothesis that ERVs play fundamental roles in placental morphogenesis and mammalian reproduction.

    Thus ID’s position is validated and your position (materialism) is found wanting once again.

  93. 93

    As well,

    That the ERV’s would be found to have essential developemental purpose heavily suggests that ERV’s are not a “recent” add on evolutionary feature

  94. dmso74,

    You are the expert so follow the line of reasoning.

    The mechanism of micro evolution through natural selection tends to winnow down the gene pool not build it up (please do not bring up that there are other processes that operate, we understand they do.) If a population gets separated from the mother population, then its gene pool is narrower than the original gene pool. If environmental pressures cause the new separated population to change it is probable that the new population’s gene pool will be even narrower still. If the population is small enough then genetic drift will fix some alleles. The net result of the process is that the gene pool becomes narrower over time, not broader.

    It is possible that mutations will cause some of these separated populations’ gene pools to increase but this is mainly speculative on how much this has ever happened.

    If this is the process that is mainly working in the world, then an original gene pool would be the order or class and the families, genera and species would just be refinements of this gene pool over time and not new variants. In other words most species are just a devolving from an original gene pool. There can be some exceptions to this but this is the general pattern that the data supports.

    Now I believe evolutionary biology believes that some form of mutations are hypothesized that would dramatically change gene pools and explain how new variants arise that are substantially different from anything that was possible from a previous gene pool. However, such a process has never been demonstrated but only speculated on.

    The types of mutations that are hypothesized have been demonstrated. However, there are no examples or very few that can be pointed to where a new function for an organism has developed through these mutations. By the way Allen MacNeill listed 47 different engines of variation so we accept that these events do happen. We have just never seen anything of consequence result from these processes.

    Typical Darwinism hypothesizes a process by where single cell organisms become multi celled organism and then builds up to the phyla. But the process we see is that the phyla popped out of nowhere and then the classes and then the orders etc all descended from there. Just the opposite of the Darwinian paradigm. There are no examples of any process that builds up from below. It is all top down.

    As I said you are the expert who teaches the material and are welcome to elaborate, criticize or present alternatives on what has been offered. We can also talk about specific examples.

  95. 95

    dmso74 you stated as a mechanistic hypothesis:

    from sean carrol’s “endless forms” is my favoite mechanistic hypothesis.. wings in arthropods evolve from reduction in number and exxageration of gill-like features in primitive aquatic nymphs.

    Well lets look at an anthropod through deep evolutionary time: The Trilobite; If any anthropod should sprout, wings, legs, etc… this should be your baby for it was in the fossil record for over 270 million years since it abruptly appeared at the beginning of the Cambrian Explosion.

    A Cambrian Peak in Morphological Variation Within Trilobite Species
    Mark Webster

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/.....7/5837/499

    Webster compiled morphological data for nearly 1,000 of the 17,000 different species of trilobites, a class of marine arthropods that died out by 250 million years ago, from 49 previously published sources. By tracking different morphological features — the number of body segments, for example — Webster found that trilobite species exhibited more variation during the Cambrian than in later periods, he reported in Science July 27. “Once you go beyond the Cambrian, the diversity of forms within any one species drops off,” he says.
    “Early and Middle Cambrian trilobite species, especially, exhibited greater morphological variations than their descendants. This high within-species variation provided more raw material upon which natural selection could operate, Webster says, potentially accounting for the high rates of evolution in Cambrian trilobites. Such findings may have implications for our understanding of the nature of evolutionary processes, he says.

    Why the early trilobites were so morphologically diverse is a whole different mystery.”

    Guess what Intelligent Design we know the answer to the mystery! CSI degeneration aka Genetic Entropy i.e. conservation of information!

    And it gets even better if you go into the actual studies themselves you find all trilobites that branch off the “parent” trilobites species quickly lose variability that is found in the parent stock. Exactly as would be predicted by the Theistic ID mod^el.

    Now dmso74, I certainly did not see any wings sprouting from these ancient anthropods at any time in their 270 million year history. In fact What is noted is a long slow deterioration within overall group (kind) and even a long slow deterioration within morphological variability of specific species. That is hardly condusive to any of your fanciful notions for evolution.

  96. bornagain,

    that is a neat link. just please keep in mind that ervs are not a single entity.. they provide good evidence for common descent of primates not bc primates share any old ervs, but bc we (and not other vertebrates) share the exact same ones in the exact same location in our genomes.. since ervs insert randomly the chances of this happening by accident are around 0. rather, it suggests that they are there bc our ancestors were infected and passed them on to us. the fact that they seem to have taken on new functional roles is, to me, completely fascinating.. there is “addition of new genetic information” right there.. by viral infection! one of the most fascinating bits is that chimps and bonobos (our sister species) seem to have been infected by an ERV that we don’t have.. big trouble for common descent, right? nope,we also have a different form of a trim5alpha protein that is resistant to that erv.. chimps have a version that isn’t resistant.. but guess what it gives them resistance to that we are sucscptible to? HIV.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5856/1565

    sorry that was long, i got excited.
    any particular reason why you think ervs aren’t really ervs?

    jerry,

    “The mechanism of micro evolution through natural selection tends to winnow down the gene pool not build it up (please do not bring up that there are other processes that operate, we understand they do.)

    this is a pretty narrow view of natural selection. if you focus on one trait, then yes, diversity in that trait will tend to decrease if there is strong directional selection. however, stabilizing selection for a homozygous trait, for example, will tend to increase the diversity of alleles. strong directional selection on one trait could also free up other traits to be more variable. the loss of the hyobranchial skeleton in salamanders after the evolution of skin-breathing that freed up chest space for a longer tongue is a good example.

    “ow I believe evolutionary biology believes that some form of mutations are hypothesized that would dramatically change gene pools and explain how new variants arise that are substantially different from anything that was possible from a previous gene pool. However, such a process has never been demonstrated but only speculated on.

    The types of mutations that are hypothesized have been demonstrated. However, there are no examples or very few that can be pointed to where a new function for an organism has developed through these mutations. ”

    this is why you HAVE to read “Endless forms most beautiful”.. it is all about empirical evidence for small genetic changes causing large phenotypic changes such as in the evolution of the arthropod wing.. it will show you that these are more than hypotheses and speculations now.. i won’t pretend that it’s all 100% certain, but pretty dang neat nonetheless.

  97. 97

    Intelligent Design is the only displine of knowledge I know of where most of the students are absolutely convinced that they know more than the teachers do, as well as thinking that the teachers are in need of much needed mental help.

    You presume that it was inserted and then go prove your case. Whereas I presumed nothing and sought to find function. If it has essential function then the “random insertion loses credibility and Intelligent Design gains credibility. I cited a study that shows essential “developemantal” function. This is hardly condusive to your presumption, yet you are so far down the road with your presumption that you do not find it peculiar at all. You have nothing but a suggestive similarity that does not pan out under scrutiny; Just like all other lines of evidence you will bring forth will be found to have; all fluff and no bite!

  98. dmso74,

    I have read Carroll’s book and found nothing in it that pointed to a Darwinian scenario. Now I will admit that some of it got very complex and maybe we can with your help translate it into the vernacular.

    Carroll’s book is what I call the kindergarten – graduate school approach. It starts out and continues in places at a man on the street level but then goes into complex explanations that those only with a graduate degree can understand. It often leaves out the grades in between.

    But because dinner time is approaching here and I have to go to the super market, I will ask more later on just what natural selection can do. I will want to explore just what are its capabilities given a gene pool.

  99. bornagain,

    I didn’t presume, I looked at the evidence: http://www.retrovirology.com/content/3/1/67

    jerry,

    great! then you have the book. look at fig 7.5 and we can discuss.

  100. In science, we call the process of simplification ‘modelling’. It’s then left to the scientists to decide just how well those models reflect reality.

    I can agree with what you’re saying in the above quotations but if you came here to convince us that speciation is a lot more probable then we had assumed in terms of being a gateway to macro-evolution (e.g. new morphological traits), then this model (to use an odd metaphor) has to be a bit more shiny in the face of reality.

    In my model I actually made it harder for myself, on purpose.

    I can totally understand why you would want to do that, I personally do the same thing when it comes to OoL calculations. But this is not what you did. You basically used a small genome (which means that small changes have bigger effects) and you also assumed that a bit changing in this genome size is equivalent or more hard on evolution in this simulator. Taking one of the smallest genomes known to biology from the SAR11, which has 1.3 million base pairs, we can see that if you divided it up into 16 parts in the way your model does, and mutate one part at a time, then your bit mutations are the equivalent to having over 80 thousand point mutations happen at once.

    Hence, you model doesn’t come anywhere near close to reality. No organism can possibly undergo such changes without dying on the spot. It would be like trying to add a whole new chapter to a novel and hope that the randomly generated paragraphs in it actually convey something meaningful the first time.

    If, for example, I had used strings of a billion bits, and insisted that the same species must be 99% identical, then I could still have run the sim to give the same effect: two populations will diverge while still remaining supposedly the same species themselves. The math hasn’t changed.

    No it wouldn’t, see the above point.

    That doesn’t refute the math. It’s the same in both cases.

    Yes it does. Differences between two species are more similar, but that doesn’t make divergence easier. It just means that there is far less room for error; if an organism builds up too many harmful mutations then it would be better off not to drift from the mean.

    Again, this is a M-O-D-E-L.

    One which has a lot of room for improvement.

    It’s an illustration of the math. In real life, it’s even worse because there are more ways for it to change from one generation to the next… but it still remains the same species in its own line of descent.

    In real life, even the difference between chimps and humans equates to a 60 million base pair gap, not to mention the different genome sizes. And if each change doesn’t provide and real benefit then why would we want to believe that a new set of changes will become dominant in a significant portion of the population?

    You keep saying this, but you’re not explaining why it refutes the math. A large genome has the same problems as a small one (it mutates in all areas) and the high similarity between species actually means they’ll become incompatible more quickly when separated.

    Larger genomes mean it takes more changes to have any divergence at all. And if you look in the supposed evolutionary history between general primates and humans you will see that the tolerances between making one species into another requires large amounts of information to appear at once without actually harming the organism. It’s like trying to get a new paragraph at once in a random fashion, not just ANY mutations will actually go anywhere even in terms of speciation.

    I’ll have to take your word for that since I’ve not been able to fathom how ID calculates information, but you haven’t explained why a dog has to remain a dog.

    Because it takes a simultaneous appearance of multiple changes all at once for there to be any kind of functional advantage.

    Are we defining species by their information level now?

    No, it’s still information content.

    Um… that’s not an answer. That was my answer.

    Yeah I know.

    Nope. I wasn’t talking about Darwinism, just the accumulation of mutations.

    In that case what was this supposed to prove beyond speciation?

    And I’m sure the evo-devo people will appreciate the ignorance of their years of research into how new structures form.

    Indeed, they probably wouldn’t want people to be aware that many embryos are self-correcting not to mention the fact that changes in homeotic genes only alters existing body plans, nothing new is ever really generated. The best they can come up with are fruit flies which only survive under laboratory conditions, and are nonetheless, still fruit flies. Having antennae replaced with legs isn’t something I would consider to be advantageous.

    ie. if you can’t see how something happened, then it couldn’t have happened.

    Based on the information available to everyone today, that’s what we must conclude. And please refer to the FAQ section here to understand why mutations alone don’t mean anything.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ock-in-it/

    Odd that no one insists on watching the designer overcome them.

    I suppose you could say the same exact thing with regards to the formation of a car engine, the fact is we don’t actually have to SEE a designer overcome such obstacles to know that it’s the only plausible explanation.

    Are you’re trying to deny that animals have genomes which mutate?

    Yet another common tactic, straw man. What I WAS saying was that mutations alone don’t typically go anywhere.

  101. bornagain,

    I didn’t presume, I looked at the evidence: http://www.retrovirology.com/content/3/1/67

    jerry,

    great! then you have the book. look at fig 7.5 and we can discuss.

    Don’t see a figure 7.5 in the article you site (goes up to four though), but aside from that I’ve always been told viruses are not categorized as “life.”

    And the links to the Youtube videos that BA has provided, I can remember acting as the thought police for some of the videos by IDbyIllustra, and boy did it get repetitive. I eventually decided it would be better to just read up more on the subject of ID and possibly join up on here then waste time with those people.

  102. It’d be nicer if you could tell me where, in my hypothetical machine code example, that side-loading is occuring. Is it the act of deciding what the code should be, and arranging a genetic toolkit for organisms to build themselves?

    dynamics.org/Altenberg/FILES/LeeEEGP.pdf

    “Both the regression and the search bias terms require the transmission function to have ‘knowledge’ about the fitness function. Under random search, the expected value of both these terms would be zero. Some knowledge of the fitness function must be incorporated in the transmission function for the expected value of these terms to be positive. It is this knowledge — whether incorporated explicitly or implicitly — that is the source of power in genetic algorithms.”

    That’s pretty basic.

    In order to function, the “evolving holistic synthesis” requires OOL, which is its own separate question. Besides “directed front-loading” (what I’m calling Behe’s hypothesis in order to differentiate it from other variants) there is the potential that ID only holds true in regards to the OOL. Dembski’s recent work shows that in order to find the targets in search space active information is required. This active information IS the design of the system (code, error correction, self-replication, modular components, plasticity in the language conventions, etc), which allows the “evolving holistic synthesis” to function without there being a directly embedded plan. Thus, it’s the initial design of the system that requires intelligent design, not necessarily every step of evolution (although that may be a possibility, via intervention or front-loading). I haven’t had a chance to read Mike Gene’s book but I believe he has the same or similar hypothesis. Dave described it as the design of the system being “transformer-like”. The system is designed to evolve.

    Still, this hypothesis needs much research and personally I find it unlikely that it is the entire picture. Portions of the system are obviously designed to evolve. I’d think it more likely that biological reality is a combination of specifically foresighted functionality, front-loaded information, and non-foresighted mechanisms that function due to the design of the system.

    Now do these GAs reflect biological reality? For Darwinists sake, they better not.

    If you’re going to assume that every single GA is sneaking it in via the back, then I’m wasting my time, aren’t I?

    A GA won’t function as intended unless designed properly. Did you miss the entire point of the GA Chess article?

    Also, I could be wrong, but wasn’t Dr Marks’ paper on ev found to be in error?

    Yes. They admitted it here:

    http://cayman.globat.com/~trad.....s/eev.html

    Unfortunately that link is down now. What it used to say was:

    Thanks to those who pointed to a bug in our software. This paper has been withdrawn.

    For revised analysis, see HERE.

    I don’t have a link to the revised analysis on hand. I’ll email Bill for it.

    I remember thinking when that quote first came out that it sounded absurd that a blind search would operate better. I’ve never known a single decent GA that doesn’t operate better than a blind search.

    I admire your effort to actually go through the math of ID, but I cannot find any that applies to what I’m talking about.

    Right. Observed limitations of GAs capabilities?

    I’m also not sure why you’re having trouble seeing how some non-essential code in an organism could change its function via mutation and selection. I mean, I can’t make it clearer than that. Code mutates. Does something else good. Repeats.

    You’ve proven you can write a trial and error program. Programs which are known to have limitations. And how does that provides positive evidence that biological reality operates uniformly in the same manner, capable of overcoming all obstacles it’s claimed to?

    There seems to be a default barrier in the ID circle against GAs… no matter what they are, the very act of coding them is declared to be sideloading of active information.

    The “default barrier” is against the absurd claims made by Darwinists. We know from experience what GAs are capable of, and what their limitations are. Even programs written by Darwinists showcase this.

  103. 103
    Venus Mousetrap

    Patrick: that’s not even slightly basic, unless search biases and transmission functions are well known in ID. But it turns out I actually agree with you. :)

    I have no problem with the idea that life was wilfully and intelligently placed to evolve over millions of years. The problem I have is with people denying the power of random mutation and natural selection to create novelty, when it is intuitively obvious to me that it can. I’ve even tried to explain the process. I’ll let you know when I’ve cracked it for real. :)

  104. 104

    Patrick

    The “default barrier” is against the absurd claims made by Darwinists

    Perhaps it’s time to get down and dirty and name and shame the Dariwinists? Maybe picking a specific claim made by Darwinists, one of the more absurd ones and showing how it is in fact absurd when viewed under the ageis of ID is the way to go?

    Show them no mercy.

    After all, once the claim has been shown to be untrue then if they continue to make it they are patently, provably dishonest and you can claim the moral highground.

  105. 105

    Jerry

    I will want to explore just what are its capabilities given a gene pool.

    There are simulations of particular situations that illustrate that sort of thing that can be run, even in excel which you can get for free via openoffice. I can post you some links if you like but it’s all easy to find via google.

    Patrick, I also wanted to ask you do you think it would be possible to implelemt some sort of limited design detection, via the EF, in a computer program of sorts? It seems like a worthwhile project, even if only ever with the possiblity of limited sucuess.

  106. 106
    Venus Mousetrap

    F2XL: you’re taking the model far too literally. All it’s supposed to show is that divergence is probabilistically inevitable if you isolate two populations. I could have just said it but I felt an illustration would be easier.

    This notion of harmful mutations is interesting however. You seem convinced that harmful mutations will build up and up… I know about this little crazy idea called selection which I’m told stops that happening, but then, I was going for an amechanistic description of macroevolution.

    However, the definition seems to have moved on from speciation to ‘large morphological changes’ now, so I guess that means that there no longer is a species barrier. My apologies, I was working from an older definition of the term.

    but why is everyone so sure that even small mutations don’t accumulate, or that functions can be fluid over time? You all keep saying it, and even that page of Arguments you don’t want to hear says it, but the fact is that even slightly beneficial mutations can give a population the edge. It’s a matter of statistics. I tried to explain with my idea of the spinning flagellum that keeps building functionality onto its new forms, and I get told that’s a highly improbable indirect Darwinian pathway. Uh, no, highly improbable would be the direct pathway where it all forms at once. Indirect is the stupid, aimless, and easy way which only cares about the function of the moment, and the possibilities open at those times.

  107. 107

    dmso74,
    Your Evidence itself is loaded with all sorts of presumptions , the main presumption being that evolution is true in the first place and thus this evidence cooborates it.
    I refer you to a leading expert, Dr. John Sanford, who in Genetic Entropy 2005, explains exactly why such “insertion” mutations are bogus.
    As for myself, I will address your genome sequence similarity being proof of evolution scenario:

    naturalists don’t ever seem to get it. Although the evidence in the fossil record, extensive research into selective breeding, as well as all other lines of evidence that are scrutinized, is overwhelmingly against them, they never seem to question the fact they may be viewing the evidence from the wrong overall perspective to begin with.
    Naturalists always try to establish scientific validity for evolution by pointing to suggestive similarities while ignoring the foundational principle of science (genetic entropy; conservation of information) that contradicts their preconceived philosophical bias.

    (Kariofocus: mathematical refutation of open system argument by evolutionists)
    http://www.angelfire.com/pro/k.....tm#thermod

    (Dr. William Demski’s math for Conservation of Information)
    http://cayman.globat.com/~trad.....veInfo.pdf

    For example, naturalists say that evolution is proven true when we look at the 98.8% similarity between certain segments of the DNA in a Chimpanzee and compare them with the same segments of DNA of a Human. Yet that similarity is not nearly good enough to be considered “conclusive” scientific proof. For starters, recent preliminary comparisons of the complete genome of chimps and the complete genome of man yield a similarity of only 96%. As well, the December 2006 issue of PLoS ONE reported that human and chimpanzee gene copy numbers differ by a whopping 6.4% (Hahn). Whereas, Dr. Hugh Ross states the similarity may in actually be closer to 85% to 90%. Secondarily, at the protein level only 29% of genes code for the exact same amino acid sequences in chimps and humans (Nature, 2005). As well, our DNA is 92% similar to mice as well as 92% similar to zebrafish (Simmons PhD., Billions of Missing Links). So are we 92% mouse or are we 92% zebrafish? Our DNA is 70% similar to a fruit fly; So are we therefore 70% fruit fly? Our DNA is 75% similar to a worm; So are we 75% worm? No, of course not!! This type of reasoning is simple minded in its approach and clearly flawed in establishing a solid scientific foundation on which to draw valid inferences from! Clearly, we must find if the DNA is flexible enough to accommodate any type of mutations happening to it in the first place. This one point of evidence, (The actual flexibility of DNA to any random mutations), must be firmly established, first and foremost, before we can draw any meaningful inferences from the genetic data we gather from organisms!! Fortunately we, through the miracle of science, can now establish this crucial point of DNA flexibility. The primary thing that is crushing to the evolutionary theory is this fact. Of the random mutations that do occur, and have manifested traits in organisms that can be measured, at least 999,999 out of 1,000,000 (99.9999%) of these mutations to the DNA have been found to produce traits in organisms that are harmful and/or fa^tal to the life-form having the mutation! (Gerrish and Lenski, 1998, Bataillon, 2000, Elena et al, 1998).

    “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.” (Sanford; Genetic Entropy page 24)

    The fate of competing beneficial mutations in an asexual population (Philip J. Gerrish & Richard E. Lenski)

    “Clonal interference is not the only dynamic that inhibits the progression of beneficialmutations to fixation in an asexual population.Asimilar inhibition may be caused by Muller’s ratchet (Muller, 1964; Haigh, 1978), in which deleterious mutations will tend to accumulate in small asexual populations. As shown by Manning and Thompson (1984) and by Peck (1994), the fate of a beneficial mutation is determined as much by the selective disadvantage of any deleterious mutations with which it is linked as by its own selective advantage.”

    http://myxo.css.msu.edu/lenski.....Lenski.pdf

    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

    High Frequency of Cryptic Deleterious Mutations in Caenorhabditis elegans ( Esther K. Davies, Andrew D. Peters, Peter D. Keightley)

    “In fitness assays, only about 4 percent of the deleterious mutations fixed in each line were detectable. The remaining 96 percent, though cryptic, are significant for mutation load…the presence of a large class of mildly deleterious mutations can never be ruled out. ”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5434/1748

    ” 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.”

    Trying to find an actual “hard” number for the “truly” beneficial mutation rate is, in fact, what Dr. Behe tried to do in his book “The Edge of Evolution”.

    Dr. Behe states in Edge of Evolution on page 135.

    Generating a single new cellular protein-protein binding site (in other words, generating a truly beneficial mutational event that would explain the generation of the complexity we see in life) is of the same order of difficulty or worse than the development of chloroquine resistance in the malarial parasite.

    That order of difficulty is put at 10^20 replications (births) of the malarial parasite, by Dr. Behe.

    Thus, the actual rate for “truly” beneficial mutations, that would account for the complexity we see in life, is far in excess of one-hundred-billion-billion mutational events.

    Thus, this one in a million number, that is often bantered about for “truly” beneficial mutations, is actually far, far too generous for the evolutionists to be using for their hypothetical calculations.

    In fact, from consistent findings such as these, it is increasingly apparent that Genetic Entropy is the overriding foundational rule for all of biology, with no exceptions at all, and that the belief in “truly” beneficial mutations is nothing more than wishful speculation on the naturalists part that has no foundation in empirical science whatsoever:

    The foundational rule of Genetic Entropy for biology can be stated something like this:

    All adaptations away from a parent species for a sub-species, which increase fitness to a particular environment, will always come at a loss of the original integrated complex information in the parent species genome.

    Professional evolutionary biologists are hard-pressed to cite even one clear-cut example of evolution through a beneficial mutation to DNA that would violate the principle of genetic entropy. Although evolutionists try to claim the lactase persistence mutation as a lonely example of a 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 clearly overwhelming, for doctors have already cited over 3500 mutational disorders (Dr. Gary Parker).

    “Mutations” by Dr. Gary Parker

    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....ations.asp

    Mutations: The Raw Material for Evolution?

    http://www.icr.org/articles/print/3466/

    “It is entirely in line with the accidental nature of naturally occurring mutations that extensive tests have agreed in showing the vast majority of them to be detrimental to the organisms in its job of surviving and reproducing, just as changes accidentally introduced into any artificial mechanism are predominantly harmful to its useful operation” H.J. Muller (Received a Nobel Prize for his work on mutations to DNA)

    “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)

    “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.” Dr. Lee Spetner (Ph.D. Physics – MIT)

    Man has over 3 billion base pairs of DNA code. Even if there were just a 1% difference of DNA between monkeys and humans, that would still be 30 million base pairs of DNA difference. It is easily shown, mathematically, for it to be fantastically impossible for evolution to ever occur between monkeys and man, or monkeys and anything else for that matter. Since, it is an established fact that at least 999,999 in 1,000,000 of any mutations to DNA will be harmful and/or fatal, then it is also an established fact that there is at least a 999,999^30,000,000 to one chance that the monkey will fail to reach man by evolutionary processes. The monkey will hit a dead end of harmful/fatal mutations that will kill him or severely mutilate him before killing him. The poor monkey barely even gets out of the evolutionary starting gate before he is crushed by blind chance. This would still be true even if the entire universe were populated with nothing but monkeys to begin with! This number (999,999^30,000,000), is fantastically impossible for any hypothetical beneficial mutation to ever overcome! Worse yet for the naturalists, mathematician William Dembski PhD. has worked out the foundational math that shows the mutation/natural selection scenario to be impossible EVEN IF the harmful/fatal rate for mutation to the DNA were only 50%. The naturalist stamps his feet again and says that symbiotic gene transfer, cross-breeding (yes they, desperately, suggested cross-breeding as a solution), gene duplication and multiplication of chromosomes, alternative splicing etc .. etc .. are the reasons for the changes in DNA between humans and apes. They say these things with utmost confidence without even batting an eye. Incredibly, this is done in spite of solid evidences testifying to the contrary. Indeed, even if a hypothetical beneficial mutation to the DNA ever did occur, it would be of absolutely no use for it would be swallowed in a vast ocean of slightly detrimental mutations that would be far below the culling power of natural selection to remove from a genome!
    “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 (PhD Genetics; inventor of the biolistic “gene gun” process! Holds over 25 patents! In addition to the gene gun, Sanford invented both pathgen derived resistance, and genetic immunization. If you have eaten today you have probably eaten some food touched by his work!)

    The human genome, according to Bill Gates the founder of Microsoft, far, far surpasses in complexity any computer program ever written by man. The data compression (multiple meanings) of some stretches of human DNA is estimated to be up to 12 codes thick (Trifonov, 1989)! No line of computer code ever written by man approaches that level of data compression (poly-functional complexity). Further evidence for the inherent complexity of the DNA is found in a another study. In June 2007, a international team of scientists, named ENCODE, published a study that indicates the genome contains very little unused sequences and, in fact, is a complex, interwoven network. This “complex interwoven network” throughout the entire DNA code makes the human genome severely poly-constrained to random mutations (Sanford; Genetic Entropy, 2005; page 141). This means the DNA code is now much more severely limited in its chance of ever having a hypothetical beneficial mutation since almost the entire DNA code is now proven to be intimately connected to many other parts of the DNA code. Thus even though a random mutation to DNA may be able to change one part of an organism for the better, it is now proven much more likely to harm many other parts of the organism that depend on that one particular part being as it originally was. Since evolution was forced, by the established proof of Mendelian genetics, to no longer view the whole organism as to what natural selection works upon, but to view the whole organism as a multiple independent collection of genes that can be selected or discarded as natural selection sees fit, this “complex interwoven network” finding is extremely bad news, if not absolutely crushing, for the population genetics scenario of evolution (modern neo-Darwinian synthesis) developed by Haldane, Fisher and Wright (page 52 and 53: Genetic Entropy: Sanford 2005)!

    http://www.genome.gov/25521554

    BETHESDA, Md., Wed., June 13, 2007 -” An international research consortium today published a set of papers that promise to reshape our understanding of how the human genome functions. The findings challenge the traditional view of our genetic blueprint as a tidy collection of independent genes, pointing instead to a complex network in which genes, along with regulatory elements and other types of DNA sequences that do not code for proteins, interact in overlapping ways not yet fully understood.”

    http://www.boston.com/news/glo.....ed/?page=1

    “The science of life is undergoing changes so jolting that even its top researchers are feeling something akin to shell-shock. Just four years after scientists finished mapping the human genome – the full sequence of 3 billion DNA “letters” folded within every cell – they find themselves confronted by a biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”

    Naturalists truly believe you can get such staggering complexity of information in the DNA from some dead process based on blind chance. They cannot seem to fathom that any variation to a basic component in a species is going to require precise modifications to the entire range of interconnected components related to that basic component. NO natural law based on blind chance, would have the wisdom to implement the multitude of precise modifications on the molecular level in order to effect a positive change from one species to another. Only a “vastly superior intelligence” would have the wisdom to know exactly which amino acids in which proteins, which letters in the DNA code and exactly which repositioning of the 25 million nucleosomes (DNA spools) etc .. etc .. would need to be precisely modified to effect a positive change in a species. For men to imagine blind chance has the inherently vast wisdom to create such stunning interrelated complexity is even more foolish than some pagan culture worshipping a dead stone statue as their god and creator. Even if evolution of man were true, then only God could have made man through evolution. For only He would have the vast wisdom to master the complexity that would be required to accomplish such a thing. Anyone who fails to see this fails to appreciate the truly astonishing interwoven complexity of life at the molecular level.

  108. dmso74,

    I found the book, took an hour to find it, and see fig 7.5. I will read the chapter and then ask questions.

  109. Venus Mousetrap (#91):

    “I tried to be as clear as I could, but it was a hypothetical example. What were you having trouble with, exactly?”

    You were clear enough to put yourself into trouble! The problem is exactly that: it was a hypothetical example, and it was false, because it did not take into account the problem of statistical and computational resources, which is exactly the main point of ID. And yet you boldly stated:

    “This isn’t speculation. People do this. It’s my hobby.”

    Which didn’t sound hypothetical at all!

    You say:

    “I can’t evolve a specific program, because I’d have to specify it in advance, which is the same as putting in the information directly.”

    That’s the only thing you have got right.

    “Evolution doesn’t work that way – indeed, Dawkins is still getting laughed at for his Weasel because people believe he was demonstrating evolution.”

    Evolution as you conceive it doesn’t work at all. Dawkins is still getting laughed at because he fully deserved it.

    “But I can specify a goal which can be met by a subset of all possible programs – for example, find the most food, avoid dying, etc.”

    If you specify a goal, and then in some way measure that function, you are only doing what Dawkins did in the weasel example, or what is being done in protein engineering. NS is not supposed to act that way. NS cannot know in advance what to measure. Indeed, NS does not measure anything. The idea is that RM is creative enough to generate new function which is selected for its intrinsic advantage in the environment (reproductive advantage), and not because someone measures a pre-specified function and, if present, even in minimal form, fixes it. That is called intelligent selection.
    In other words, your GA should work this way to be valid: your 500 bit program, generated by random noise, should be functional enough to survive, reproduce itself, and generate new, different programs, for its own strength, that is by spontaneously utilizing the implicit resources of your PC environment (or of any other environment). The only necessary thing is that you must not incorporate in the environment exactly the kind of function you want to evolve. To be even more clear, the “evolved” function must be strong of itself, and not be “recognized” by an intelligent, pre-specified system of measurement. That’s how it is supposed to work in reality.

    “I’m also not sure why you’re having trouble seeing how some non-essential code in an organism could change its function via mutation and selection. I mean, I can’t make it clearer than that. Code mutates. Does something else good. Repeats.”

    Here is your fundamental error. The whole point of ID is here, and you have not understood it. You should know that not everything can be computed. Some problems are so complex that they elude finding an algorithmic solution. Finding a functional solution by random search is exactly one of them, if the search space is big enough, so that the ratio between the functional set of solutions to be found and the whole search space is lower than 1:10^150, and if your search algorithm does not incorporate any knowledge of the result to be found, which are exactly the criteria fixed by Dembski, and which I requested of you and your “hypothetical” example.

    “Anyhow, I can’t meet your request, yet. I’ve been working on it for some time.”

    In the previous point, I have tried to explain to you why there are sound theoretical reasons why you will never be able to meet my request. So, may be you can use your time better, if you want. Anyway, if you should succeed, please let me know.

    “But there isn’t much point, is there? There seems to be a default barrier in the ID circle against GAs… no matter what they are, the very act of coding them is declared to be sideloading of active information.”

    No. I will be honest with you. I have read that kind of objections here at UD, and I don’t agree with them. I will accept as valid a GA, even if it is coded by someone, provided that it respects my conditions. The only thing I really want is that it satisfies the points I have already specified, especially that no specific information about the result to be obtained must be included in the code.
    In other words, what you can do is set up any kind of generic computer environment, which includes any kind of rules of random variation of existing information, and “evolve” in that context, by that random variation, some information with CSI (more than 500 bit long and functional), which has not been specifically searched and measured by the program. That’s all I ask. If you succeed, I will never hold against you the fact that the whole environment was intelligently coded. That’s a promise!

    So, to cite your words: I tried to be as clear as I could: what are you having trouble with, exactly?

  110. Bennith Karlow (#90):

    In principle, it is not difficult to apply the EF. Let’s take a single protein, for example. The first step would be to assess he presence of function. That is not a computational task, but rather a logical adn empirical one. Function must be described in a specific context, and it can de assessed as present or absent (values 0 or 1), or measured (for instance, in the case of an enzyme, you can measure its specific activity). Even in that case, you will have to set a minimum value of function which satisfies your concept of specification.

    The computational step is the second one, which is easy and difficult at the same time. It is easy to compute the search space: that does not even require anything more than a calculator, because it is equal to 20^(length of the protein in aminoacids). That would be great enough for any protein longer than 116 aminoacids, becuase that would overcome Dembski’s UPB. Most protein are much longer than that.
    But the problem is that we are not looking for a single solution, but for a set of functional solutions. We know that many sequences, not necessarily strictly similar, may have the same structure and give the same function, even in different degrees. We have many examples of that in protein families.
    The fact is, nobody can really compute the subset of the search space which has the specified function, because of two different difficulties:

    a) we have not enough understanding of the laws of biophysics to be able to anticipate how a protein sequence will fold, and if will have a funtion or not. That is still vastly beyond our understanding.

    b) The only other way of knowing, that is to really explore the search space and measure the function, is absolutely impossible for the same reason why it is impossible even to nature itself: the search space is simply too big.

    Now, that should not discourage us, because there are other ways to approach the problem. The fact that the specific subset of solutions with a specific function must really be very tiny in comparison with the whole search space is intuitive enough (it’s the same order of reasons why in the second law of thermodinamics the thermal equilibrium space is infinitely bigger than the sum of all specific, ordered spaces). I really believe that a satisfying theoretical approach to that computation will be found, with time.

    In the meantime, what we can do is to approach the problem empirically from the existing evidence. The best way I have found, up to now, is Abel and Trevors approach to protein families, which you can find in their paper:

    “Measuring the functional sequence complexity of proteins”

    easily available online.

    Another approach could come from protein engineering: as we are partially succeding in creating new function through guided random serach and function measurement, that should give us an idea os the real ratio between functional space and search space.

    In all cases where that ration is lower than 1:10^150, CSI has been formally demonstrated.

    And please, take notice ythat such a computation pertains simply to the first level of CSI: that implicit in a single protein. Computing CSI in systems of proteins is certainly more difficult, but it can be done, and it is obvious that the values of complexity become extremely higher there. In other words, if most single functional proteins probably exhibit CSI, any functional system of many proteins will certainly exhibit astounding levels of CSI.

  111. 111
    Venus Mousetrap

    gpuccio: well, I guess what I’m having trouble with is exactly how you determine just how impossible evolution via mutation and selection is, but I’ll keep working on my toys :) . Thanks for trying to explain, anyway.

  112. Computational CSI at the protein level is the bomb.

  113. ‘da bomb’ ?

  114. 114

    dmso,
    I have a comment in moderation,

    so to shortly reiterate what is waiting;

    You have a suggestive genetic similarity which you presume to be inserted by a virus long ago in some hypothesized common ancestor. Yet I disagree that it is conclusive proof for evolution (a long way from it). The fact in the previous study I cited, that all lines of mammal studies show essential “base level developmental” function for ERV’s (your term) should give you a clue that these ERV’s are not being slowly incorpoated into the genomes in regards to functionality i.e. they do not display an increasing level of functionality but display consistent functionality in early developmental stages of mammals. A very anti-Dawinian fact.

    That said, genetic sequence similarities are nororiously weak lines of evidence:

    Naturalists always try to establish scientific validity for evolution by pointing to suggestive similarities while ignoring the foundational principle of science (genetic entropy; conservation of information) that contradicts their preconceived philosophical bias.

    For example, naturalists say that evolution is proven true when we look at the 98.8% similarity between certain segments of the DNA in a Chimpanzee and compare them with the same segments of DNA of a Human. Yet that similarity is not nearly good enough to be considered “conclusive” scientific proof. For starters, recent preliminary comparisons of the complete genome of chimps and the complete genome of man yield a similarity of only 96%. As well, the December 2006 issue of PLoS ONE reported that human and chimpanzee gene copy numbers differ by a whopping 6.4% (Hahn). Whereas, Dr. Hugh Ross states the similarity may in actually be closer to 85% to 90%. Secondarily, at the protein level only 29% of genes code for the exact same amino acid sequences in chimps and humans (Nature, 2005). As well, our DNA is 92% similar to mice as well as 92% similar to zebrafish (Simmons PhD., Billions of Missing Links). So are we 92% mouse or are we 92% zebrafish? Our DNA is 70% similar to a fruit fly; So are we therefore 70% fruit fly? Our DNA is 75% similar to a worm; So are we 75% worm? No, of course not!! This type of reasoning is simple minded in its approach and clearly flawed in establishing a solid scientific foundation on which to draw valid inferences from! Clearly, we must find if the DNA is flexible enough to accommodate any type of mutations happening to it in the first place. This one point of evidence, (The actual flexibility of DNA to any random mutations), must be firmly established, first and foremost, before we can draw any meaningful inferences from the genetic data we gather from organisms!! Fortunately we, through the miracle of science, can now establish this crucial point of DNA flexibility. The primary thing that is crushing to the evolutionary theory is this fact. Of the random mutations that do occur, and have manifested traits in organisms that can be measured, at least 999,999 out of 1,000,000 (99.9999%) of these mutations to the DNA have been found to produce traits in organisms that are harmful and/or fa^tal to the life-form having the mutation! (Gerrish and Lenski, 1998, Bataillon, 2000, Elena et al, 1998).

    “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.” (Sanford; Genetic Entropy page 24)

    The fate of competing beneficial mutations in an asexual population (Philip J. Gerrish & Richard E. Lenski)

    “Clonal interference is not the only dynamic that inhibits the progression of beneficialmutations to fixation in an asexual population.Asimilar inhibition may be caused by Muller’s ratchet (Muller, 1964; Haigh, 1978), in which deleterious mutations will tend to accumulate in small asexual populations. As shown by Manning and Thompson (1984) and by Peck (1994), the fate of a beneficial mutation is determined as much by the selective disadvantage of any deleterious mutations with which it is linked as by its own selective advantage.”
    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.
    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.”

    Trying to find an actual “hard” number for the “truly” beneficial mutation rate is, in fact, what Dr. Behe tried to do in his book “The Edge of Evolution”.

    Dr. Behe states in Edge of Evolution on page 135.

    Generating a single new cellular protein-protein binding site (in other words, generating a truly beneficial mutational event that would explain the generation of the complexity we see in life) is of the same order of difficulty or worse than the development of chloroquine resistance in the malarial parasite.

    That order of difficulty is put at 10^20 replications (births) of the malarial parasite, by Dr. Behe.

    Thus, the actual rate for “truly” beneficial mutations, that would account for the complexity we see in life, is far in excess of one-hundred-billion-billion mutational events.

    Thus, this one in a million number, that is often bantered about for “truly” beneficial mutations, is actually far, far too generous for the evolutionists to be using for their hypothetical calculations.

    In fact, from consistent findings such as these, it is increasingly apparent that Genetic Entropy is the overriding foundational rule for all of biology, with no exceptions at all, and that the belief in “truly” beneficial mutations is nothing more than wishful speculation on the naturalists part that has no foundation in empirical science whatsoever:

    The foundational rule of Genetic Entropy for biology can be stated something like this:

    All adaptations away from a parent species for a sub-species, which increase fitness to a particular environment, will always come at a loss of the original integrated complex information in the parent species genome.

    Professional evolutionary biologists are hard-pressed to cite even one clear-cut example of evolution through a beneficial mutation to DNA that would violate the principle of genetic entropy. Although evolutionists try to claim the lactase persistence mutation as a lonely example of a 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 clearly overwhelming, for doctors have already cited over 3500 mutational disorders (Dr. Gary Parker).

  115. dmso4

    Linking evolution and gravity as equally well tested theories is crap made up by evolutionists. You don’t hear physicists saying the gravity is as well tested as evolution. The day you do is the day you can take seriously any claim the evolution is as well tested as gravity.

  116. 116

    Bornagain77 at 115 wrote,

    “Whereas, Dr. Hugh Ross states the similarity may in actually be closer to 85% to 90%. Secondarily, at the protein level only 29% of genes code for the exact same amino acid sequences in chimps and humans (Nature, 2005). As well, our DNA is 92% similar to mice as well as 92% similar to zebrafish (Simmons PhD., Billions of Missing Links). So are we 92% mouse or are we 92% zebrafish? Our DNA is 70% similar to a fruit fly; So are we therefore 70% fruit fly?”

    Is this all really true? I haven’t studied this in depth. BTW thanks to you Bornagain for such a magnificent post!

  117. 117

    Frosty122585,
    To the best of my knowledge all this information is true to the level of peer reviewed studies, save for Dr. Ross’s mathematical speculation that similarity may in actuality be closer to 85 to 90%. Yet even in that case my respect for Dr. Ross previous work in scientific apologetics warrants that his claim be taken with a due amount of respect.

    as a side note on June 1st, a new book is coming out from Reasonstobelieve.org

    The Cell’s Design: How Chemistry Reveals the Creator’s Artistry
    by Fazale Rana

    Editorial Reviews

    Armed with cutting-edge techniques, biochemists have unwittingly uncovered startling molecular features inside the cell that compel only one possible conclusion–a supernatural agent must be responsible for life. Destined to be a landmark apologetic work, The Cell’s Design explores the full scientific and theological impact of these discoveries. Instead of focusing on the inability of natural processes to generate life’s chemical systems (as nearly all apologetics works do), Fazale Rana makes a positive case for life’s supernatural basis by highlighting the many biochemical features that reflect the Creator’s hallmark signature. This breakthrough work extends the case for design beyond irreducible complexity. These never-before-discussed evidences for design will evoke awe and amazement at God’s creative majesty in the remarkable elegance of the cell’s chemistry.

    From the Back Cover
    The scientific evidence of design just got stronger. Armed with cutting-edge techniques, today’s biochemists have uncovered startling molecular features inside the cell that can compel only one reasonable conclusion–a supernatural agent must be responsible for life. Destined to be a landmark apologetic work, The Cell’s Design explores the scientific and theological impact of these discoveries. Instead of focusing on the inability of natural processes to generate life’s chemical systems (as nearly all apologetics works do), Fazale Rana makes a positive case for life’s supernatural origin by highlighting the many biochemical features that reflect the Creator’s signature. This breakthrough book extends the case for design beyond irreducible complexity. These never-before-discussed evidences will evoke awe and amazement at God’s creative majesty in the remarkable elegance of the cell’s chemistry. “In Darwin’s day, a living cell was thought to be quite simply–for all practical purposes–little more than a microscopic blob of gelatin. Rana lays out what contemporary science has learned about the cell’s design, and he poignantly and provocatively shows that it is the handiwork of not only an Intelligent Designer but specifically the God revealed in Scripture.”–Hank Hanegraaff, president, Christian Research Institute; host, Bible Answer Man broadcast “Fazale Rana’s welcome sequel to Origins of Life makes a significant contribution to the growing scientific literature pointing to intelligent design.”–Kenneth Boa, president, Reflections Ministries Fazale Rana is vice president of research and apologetics at Reasons To Believe. He is the coauthor, with Hugh Ross, of Origins of Life and Who Was Adam?

  118. 118

    Bornagain77,

    a) Got any citations for this “peer reviewed” work?

    b) Got any references that don’t come from people who don’t have obvious theistic connections, such as “reasons to belive”? Many people don’t like their science mixed with religion. If you could seperate the two perhaps you’d have a better chance of convincing people on the sidelines that it’s not really all just about conversions and saving souls and is in fact soley about the nature of reality with expermental proof backing it up.

    it is increasingly apparent that Genetic Entropy is the overriding foundational rule for all of biology

    Care to make a prediction as to when “increasingly apparent” becomes “so obvious only a deluded fool who refuses to change their mind in spite of Overwhelming Evidence to the contrary would contine to believe it”?

    The books been out almost 4 years, at least as far as I can tell, and yet it has scant acceptance in the wider scientific community. If the evidence is so obvious what is the reason it has not become standard knowledge?

    If everything is “winding down” then it can’t be that old in the first place? Does it then, in your mind, support a YEC POV?

  119. 119

    Born,

    Nice posts. I will check out the book. Thanks for the info!

  120. 120

    Frost,
    I doubt you will heed this, but do check out some of the critiquies of Tiplers books. There are some serious flaws that basically eviscerate his arguments.

    Do you really think that physics can be used to prove the ressurection of Jesus is a fact?

  121. 121

    Bennith Karlow,
    I’ve met your type numerous times before and You obviously will not believe in a transcendent Creator even if dug through all my books and cited a mountain of compelling evidence. You obviously have a chip on your shoulder and I will not waste my time, or paitence, with you. I do this mainly because you came out desparately swinging in spite of the detrimental mutation work I have already cited on this thread. As far as I’m concerned you are beyond reason.

  122. 122

    As far as I’m concerned you are beyond reason.

    From you I take that as a complement.

  123. 123

    obviously will not believe in a transcendent Creator even if dug through all my books and cited a mountain of compelling evidence

    If it’s proven then there is no need for belief. And Tipler proves it, right?

  124. 124

    Thanks gpuccio,

    As usual your work is very informative.

  125. 125

    Benn at 122,

    I will check it out- but I must say that my comments respecting Born’s posts were about substance and effort- of course it is far more important whether that substance is accurate or not, of which I currently do not know. So I was impressed with the novel effort. However you can count on me to check out the back story before pontificating. As far as proving the resurrection of Jesus I doubt whether the Christian God would even want this. There is a meaning and a purpose to “faith” which applies to the religious and secular alike and “knowing” the absolute truth would erase faith’s place. That however does not mean that there couldn’t be more or new scientific evidence that points towards or away from a particular religious belief.

  126. bornagain77 (#116 and 119):

    Good posts! I have no definite opinion about ERVs, and probably we have to wait for better evidence to really understand their meaning. As I am open to common descent, I have no reason not to believe that ERVs may be non functional, but only if the evidence goes in that sense. If common descent will be proved false, I will not suffer particularly for that.

    Perhaps we should be careful to distinguish always, in our talks, between the theory of common descent and the theory on non designed evolution (aka neo darwinian evolution). They are two completely different issues. The single word “evolution” is completely ambiguous, it can refer to both theories, or even, in its minimal definition (descent with modification) to a completely trivial concept, which is not even a theory.

    ERVs are, at best, possible evidence for common descent. Not necessarily good evidence, and certainly not conclusive evidence. But they are evidence just the same.

    ERVs are not, definitely, evidence for non designed evolution. Indeed, I really don’t know what darwinists could call evidence for that. The few pieces of evidence they have (ERVs, homologies, etc.) are only possible evidence for common descent, and they say nothing of causal mechanisms. The few experimental models they have (mutations in bacteria or similar, antibiotic resistance, and so on) are at best evidence for a minimal form of microevolution, able only to indirectly protect from an aggressive environmental menace (antibiotics) at the expence of existing function, and absolutely non complex (usually single point mutations).

    I am really waiting for any evidence of real, complex beneficial mutations, possibly from the lab, and not from vague homology considerations which are, at best, bad philosophy.

  127. 127

    Frost for your sake I dug a little deeper to find relevant studies:

    Here is an excellent site for finding those studies.

    http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/5111

    excerpt from site:

    Different studies claim different percentages of DNA similarity

    Although we are frequently told that chimps and humans share between 98–99% of their DNA, a number of studies reveal a smaller percentage of similarity. A 2002 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) analyzed about one million DNA base pairs and discovered an approximately 95% similarity.3 The human genome is composed of about 3 billion base pairs, so this comparison involved less than 1% of the genome, but it was of sequences already considered to be common to chimps and humans (‘homologous’). A 2003 study, also in the PNAS, compared about 1.9 million base pairs in immunologically critical areas of the chimp and human genomes. This study took into account insertions and deletions (indels) and derived a low 86.7% similarity.4 When the chimpanzee genome was mapped in 2005, scientists announced a 96% similarity.5 Another study, in 2006, revealed a 94% genetic similarity.6 Obviously, these results are all considerably lower than the still widely touted 98–99% statistic. These different studies reveal that the degree of genetic similarity is highly dependent on the particular regions being analyzed, the amount of DNA being compared and the computational techniques used.

    The 2006 study claiming a 94% similarity creates a big problem for evolutionary geneticists who just sequenced the Rhesus macaque genome and declared a 93% DNA similarity between these monkeys and human beings.7 It is highly problematic because these monkeys supposedly branched off from our common ancestor about 25 million years ago, while chimpanzees supposedly diverged about 6 million years ago. So we have supposedly diverged from chimps some four times faster than we have diverged from Rhesus monkeys. Simply stated, there should be a more significant gap between humans and the monkeys if evolution and its dating were true.
    Many uncertainties surround the recently sequenced chimpanzee genome

    In 2005, scientists announced that the entire chimpanzee genome had been successfully sequenced and it had confirmed evolutionary predictions (of course!). However, there are critical flaws to this declaration.8

    First, the chimpanzee genome was not built from scratch. In a likely bid to save money and time, it was assembled using the human genome as a scaffold. This also reveals the evolutionary presuppositions of the scientists who started the genome project with the critical assumption that humans and chimps are close evolutionary cousins and would tend to bias the results towards greater similarity.

    Second, the chimp genome is about 12% larger than the human genome. At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, this would seem to indicate at most an 88% DNA similarity from the outset. How was this 12% difference taken into account in the overall percentage similarity, or was it ignored?

  128. 128

    Benn you wrote,

    “The books been out almost 4 years, at least as far as I can tell, and yet it has scant acceptance in the wider scientific community. If the evidence is so obvious what is the reason it has not become standard knowledge?”

    Which book were you referring to? If it is the one that comes out on the first of the month you have got to be kidding calling us or the author the “bias ones” when you are trashing a book you haven’t read that isn’t out yet.

    Maybe I misunderstood what you were referring to- it wasn’t clear to me- but we had to recently remove a loon by the name of “Freemind” who was speaking in a similar tongue- so I recommend that you slow your roll. You are not going to get very far here using arguments like “The Fallacy By Authority” which is when you say “the majority of the scientific (or any) community doesn’t accept this view.” This site exists because many of us DON’T think the consensus (or perceived one) is correct in it’s assessments and commitments. Ideas and theories should be taken up on the grounds of arguments and evidence not popularity. This site is not a democracy nor is it American idol. Darwinism and global warming are to us clear manifestations of politics masquerading as science and that is what we talk about on this blog; not Jesus. The reason that Bornagain brought up Jesus is because this book which is supposedly scientific co-opts the science and interprets it as evidence for Christianity. That is not the part of the book we would be interested in here at the site (unless the science was VERY strong). We want to know here if he is going to make any good “scientific” arguments for Design. Design is not religious but it does usually require a nonmaterial world view which is hypothetically perfectly acceptable in science if that is where the evidence points. The enigma of “origins” both cosmological and biological, is clearly a place where a nonmaterial hypothesis is reasonable but we make that argument from a preponderance of evidence not biblical writings from 2000 years ago or a “God of the gaps” argument. Of course if a gap exists in the materialistic explanation of al things it just may be that no such explanation exists- this is where design can prove more plausible an explanatory tool. If you have a bias against any non-material explanation I seriously doubt whether you will last here. We mainly converse with those who are open minded at looking at the evidence of a given explanation or argument whether that be materialistic or no. A simple fallacy by authority, or a “that’s not science” mantra is not going to work or prove valuable unless it’s very well thought out and argued which is close to never.

    I doubt whether “The Cell’s Design” will be 375 pages of biblical manuscript. You should know better as well.

  129. Born:

    To express homologies in generic percentages is nonsense. One should always specify percentage of what, at least, and if possible also the methodology which has been used to assess that percentage. Otherwise, we will go on talking about unrealities, in a field which is already controversial enough…

  130. 130

    Thanks Born, check this out…

    http://www.sciam.com/article.c.....ing-pieces

  131. Frost:

    Our friend Benn seems to intervene when and if he is comfortable, and stay silent about all the important things. An interesting strategy…

  132. 132

    Calm down Frost. I’m simply pointing out that if somebody claims something then their claim stands or falls on the evidence they provide.

    If the Genome is deteroriating then either

    a) It’s true and the evidence has been provided but is being ignored by big science
    b) It’s not true.

    I’m simply saying that if a better explanation for observed data is available then people will eventually have no choice but to accept it. It happens naturally, even if it takes generations.

    Would you not agree?

    So anyway Frost, how long has the human race been around and how long has it got left, in your opinion?

  133. 133

    Born wrote,

    “Second, the chimp genome is about 12% larger than the human genome. At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, this would seem to indicate at most an 88% DNA similarity from the outset. How was this 12% difference taken into account in the overall percentage similarity, or was it ignored?”

    Interpretations and minor details. Don’t bother us with details because we have something to prove.

    That’s the way all things are that revolve around politics and money. When my Uncle worked in a high position in the government he use to joke about the pollsters that would come in (i.e. Gallop) and how the first question they would always ask is “what do you want your poll to show?” Well this is the similar line of inquiry the “chimps to humans DNA similarity argument” uses. Whether we share a common ancestor or not is not as obvious and important as the fact that one species is utterly limited and the other is capable of momentous and epic things. One eats bananas and swings from trees, the other flies flags on the moon and builds aircraft carriers. It also isn’t as important as the explanation that is capable of accounting for those differences. Call it 99.9% the same in each, you still have to get from swinging from a tree to flying at super sonic speeds.

    So when an article reads “similarities” between chimps and humans beware. It’s loaded. Make sure you read along side it the article that is titled “differences* between chimps and humans.” Or as Stephen Meyer always quips “beware the sound of one hand clapping.”

  134. 134

    That is a cool site Frost!

  135. 135

    Whether we share a common ancestor or not is not as obvious and important as the fact that one species is utterly limited and the other is capable of momentous and epic things.

    Well, who are you to say “the designer” will not interfere with their DNA and make them capable of even more then humanity is?

    One eats bananas and swings from trees, the other flies flags on the moon and builds aircraft carriers.

    Some humans sit around eating and do nothing worthwhile. Others build spaceships. Does that mean that the “eaters” are utterly limited and only the others are capable of momentous and epic things?

  136. Benn:

    “I’m simply saying that if a better explanation for observed data is available then people will eventually have no choice but to accept it. It happens naturally, even if it takes generations.”

    You may be confident that scientific truth will affirm itself “naturally”, maybe in countless generations.

    I prefer to think that it will affirm itself through the (designed) work of intelligent and openminded people, and as soon as possible.

    Maybe that’s the difference between a (darwinian) deterministic perspective and the approach of those who believe in intelligent design…

  137. 137

    Bornagain

    First, the chimpanzee genome was not built from scratch. In a likely bid to save money and time, it was assembled using the human genome as a scaffold.

    You say that like you have a video recording of the event. On what are you basing that, exactly? And what evidence do you have that “the designer” was concerned with either money or time?

    After all, it took 80 million years for some things to appear in the Canbrian explosion and according to some here that is a mere “blink” in time, not nearly the time required to allow evolution to perform the same feats.

    So, what concern does a being have that can spend 80 million years on a project with time? Or money?

    Are you seeing this in visions BornAgain?

  138. 138

    I prefer to think that it will affirm itself through the (designed) work of intelligent and openminded people, and as soon as possible.

    Care to make a prediction of when you think that will come to pass? Just interested…

  139. 139

    Benn says,

    “I’m simply saying that if a better explanation for observed data is available then people will eventually have no choice but to accept it.”

    Sorry to jump on ya- but better safe then sorry. I’m happy to say that they tow a hard line here at UD.

    I disagree. Look at Hitler and the Nazi’s. I believe what I think is a quote attributed to Joseph Gorbels which is something like “if you repeat something enough times it doesn’t matter what it is, people will believe it. Now there is no doubt here in evolution and origins sciences that the questions are foggy and confusing- I need not go into paleontology, anthropology or God forbid first cause cosmological origins to make this point manifest. There will always be missing links and I do not think gaps present an argument but like all gaps in stories they do present a place where an argument must be made and it is here that we ask the questions of “how” especially regarding the sufficiency of mechanisms.

    As far as the origins of man I’m willing to go back as far as we have good architecturally evidences that show either a first design or creation or a clear separation in the evolutionary lineage. The oldest known pottery dates from about 10,500 to 500 bc. I think pottery is a good marker of modern man. Sorry to be so conservative but that is my sense and intuition.

    As far as how much time we have left I have no idea. If those mutations are as random and beneficial as the Darwinists tell us then maybe forever. We might even mutate a gene that can survive the black hole implosion of the sun or w/e is predicted to happen. After all evolution was kind enough to somehow get us to the moon and probably Mars next- :P

  140. 140

    Benn says,

    “Well, who are you to say “the designer” will not interfere with their DNA and make them capable of even more then humanity is?”

    I am not making any such claim?

    and Benn said,

    “Some humans sit around eating and do nothing worthwhile. Others build spaceships. Does that mean that the “eaters” are utterly limited and only the others are capable of momentous and epic things?”

    Your comment is funnier than you know. The intellectual speak is beginning to degrade though. No apes build spaceships but most humans know what one is and does. No ape has been shown to even possess the conceptual tools to appreciate space travel. The worthless humans are still way ahead of the chimps. Chimps just don’t have the genes. Everybody knows that. Yes some humans are lazy or damaged or under privileged but no amount superior breeding, excellent training or admirable attitude is going to get ANY chimp into Cambridge.

    That supposed little 2% difference in the genome sure is a big one. It may be only 2% but it’s the biggest damn 2% you’ll ever see. :P

  141. Benn:

    “Care to make a prediction of when you think that will come to pass? Just interested…”

    Five – ten years.

  142. 142

    lol! ^

    I guess that’s funny.

  143. Benn (#139):

    First of all, it took probably much less than 80 million years for the phyla to appear in the Cambrian explosion. Most phyla probably appeared in a few million years. the same can be said for the Ediacara explosion. You can discuss either to call that a “blink” or not, but that’s certainly not nearly the time required to allow evolution to perform that kind of feats.

    Regarding the designer, you are right: we don’t know if he is/was interested in problems of time and money, just the same as we don’t know the reasons for the timetables we apparently observe in the appearance of living beings on earth, as far as we know it today. In a recent post on another thread I observed that the known timetable is very strange, both if you analyze it form a darwinian point of view and if you look at it from the perspective of design. And yet, that timetable is a fact (as far as it is accurate), and we have to reason on it, whatever our favourite theory is. The only honest approach is to admit that the distribution of fossils in time is still a mystery, however you look at it.

    At #137 you say:

    “Some humans sit around eating and do nothing worthwhile. Others build spaceships. Does that mean that the “eaters” are utterly limited and only the others are capable of momentous and epic things?”

    I would not underestimate the differences between humans and chimps as species. They are great and important. Humans are constantly producing abstract thought, for one thing. Their brains are much more developed, the complexity of their central nervous system is really huge. One of the practical cdonsequences of that is that humans constantly generate CSI: even the “eaters”, as you call them, are immense sources of CSI any time they interrupt eating to speak. That should be relevant, shouldn’t it? We know of no other source for CSI, except in biological information, whose source is at present, in case you have not noticed, controversial…

    The fact that the genetic difference between humans and chimps may appear not so big (but again, according to what criteria? some vahue percentages?) is probably only further evidence that we do not understand how genomes control the complexity in multicellular beings, a subject often discussed here at UD. For instance, we have no idea of which genetic (or non genetic) information is responsible for the “hardwiring” of our CNS (about 10^11 neurons, for a total of about 10^14 ordered connections), and that would be exactly what makes us different from chimps.

  144. DaveScot,

    I know that saying evolutionary theory is equivalent to gravitational theory sounds funny, but both of them really are in a state of flux. There are 6 alternative theories of gravity in the peer-reviewed literature right now! If you are referring to the layman’s version of “gravitational theory”, i.e. stuff doesn’t fly everywhere, that is is true in a practical sense. but the theory behind that observation is in some ways in an even greater state of flux than evolutinary theory.

  145. dmso74:
    “I know that saying evolutionary theory is equivalent to gravitational theory sounds funny, but both of them really are in a state of flux.”

    … and that is about the only equivalence between gravitational and evolutionary theory. Which is why, in accordance with the subject of this post, there *is* controversy and a potentially necessary revamping of some foundational assumptions in order to “make everything actually work at a fundamental level.”

    However, that’s about where the similarities end. Evolutionary theory is not near as well founded as gravitational theory, since as I’ve briefly stated earlier, unlike with gravity, there isn’t yet a law of evolution.

    Essentially, since an evolutionary process is the “production” of information at consistently better than chance performance, when there is discovered a law of evolution, it will have to take into account laws of the flow of information. Thus, before a law of evolution can be postulated, a complete 4th law of thermodynamics (a conservation of information) will most likely need to be in place.

  146. cjyman,
    which “law” of gravity is that? Newton’s Law or general relativity?

  147. Both. Newton formulated a limiting law and then Einstein expanded it.

  148. … or “refined” it.

  149. so they are both true, even though they use entirely different principles (force vs spacetime curvature) and postulate entirely different things for the nature of gravity?

    and does your definition of a “Law” mean something is universally true?

  150. 150

    dmso74 – What is your definition of a law?

    CJYman – What is the best “theory of gravity” that you are aware of?

  151. 151

    I found this comment interesting:

    http://www.thefinaltheory.com/scienceflaws.html

    Q: What is gravity?
    A: The answer cannot be found in today’s theories.
    Newton only claimed that gravity was an attracting force
    between all objects because that’s the way things appear –
    objects fall to the Earth or approach each other when floating
    in outer space. So Newton understandably claimed that it
    must be some type of attracting force emanating from objects,
    but he gave no scientific explanation for this force. Why does
    it attract and not repel? How does it cause falling objects and
    orbiting planets without drawing on any known power source?

    Einstein was so dissatisfied with our lack of understanding
    about gravity even two centuries after Newton that he invented
    an entirely new theory of gravity, known as General Relativity.
    Yet this theory doesn’t solve these problems either, adding
    that since everything in 3-dimensional space takes time to
    occur we must include our time measurement as a literal 4th
    physical dimension of our universe’s structure — hence
    “4-D space-time”, which somehow warps 4-dimensionally in
    the presence of matter for still-unexplained reasons,
    presumably explaining gravity.

    In addition to the increase in unanswered questions with
    General Relativity, it has been found to completely fail even to
    explain the motion of stars in galaxies. This has led to the
    further invention of exotic “Dark Matter”, said to invisibly fill
    galaxies, rather than questioning Einstein’s theory and the
    often-repeated claim that it has been tested to extreme
    accuracy. Add to this the fact that there are still a half-dozen
    theories of gravity officially under consideration at the
    moment, all with different physical description of gravity,
    and it is no wonder many are still asking: “What is gravity?”

    From “Nailing Down Gravity”, Discover Magazine, Oct 2003:

    For Michael Martin Nieto, a theoretical physicist at Los
    Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the mystery
    involves much more than a few hunks of spacefaring
    hardware; it reveals that there might be something wrong
    with our understanding of gravity, the most pervasive
    force in the universe. “We don’t know anything,” he says.
    “Everything about gravity is mysterious”

    As for my two cents, I feel that Gravity will defy explaination until the proper Theistic (higher dimension) approach is used in solving it.

    This position I hold is reasonable because, Just like every other discovery, of major signifigance in science, (see post #46) the most satisfactory solution for explaining gravity will not come from the materialistic philosophy but from the Theistic philosophy.

  152. dmso74:

    Laws are logico-mathemathical formulations which, in the context of a specific theory, try to explain known facts in terms of necessity, and if possible to predict new observable facts.

    There is no relationship between the concept of law and the concept of truth, universal or not. A law is defined in the context of a scientific theory. A scientific theory is a complex product of the human mind, and it may include laws, assumptions, general interpretations of reality, and a lot of other things. In general, however, asicnetific theory should have some consistent logico-mathemathical structure to be interesting, and laws are part of that structure.

    That has nothing to do with the concept of truth. A scientific theory is never universally true. In a sense, it can never be true at all. A scientific theory is a good theory if it gives a good, consistent and credible explanation of known facts, or at least the best explanation available, or at least one of the best. Better still if it is supported by new facts, which were predicted by the theory.

    However, any scientific theory, however good, can always be falsified at some time by new facts, or by better theories. Therefore, no scientific theory is ultimately true. That’s not really a limit of scientific theories: indeed, it is a remarkable quality of the same.

    The existing theories of gravity, with their inherent laws, may certainly be in a state of flux. But they have been, and still are, good theories. They are good theories in a state of flux.

    Darwinian evolution, instead, is certainly in a state of flux, but the difference is that it is, and ever has been, a very bad theory: inconsistent, empirically unsupported, philosophically arrogant, cognitively trivial.

    That’s why comparing the theories of gravitation with the theory of darwinian evolution is, at best, ridiculous: it’s like comparing Shakespeare to some mediocre commercial writer of our times (I will make no names, to respect anyione’s sensibility or taste).

    It’s not a question of flux: it’s a question of quality and value.

  153. bornagain,

    That was interesting. And while I disagree with your conclusion about theism being the solution, I think we can both agree that it is perfectly fair to say that evolution is as well-settled as gravity; that is to say, not very settled.

  154. 154

    Disagree if you want, but I maintain that it is not a logical disagreement of yours that has come through your reasoning but a gut reaction emotional responce. As for myself I’m betting on the philosophical horse that has won every race it has faced in foundational science. That philosophical horse is Theism (see post 46)

  155. gpuccio:

    I think gravitational theory is a bad theory. THere are numerous flaws in it, places where it is inconsistent, areas that have never been empirically verified or even tested, rampant speculation, etc.

    For example, I think “dark matter” is just something physicists made up when it looked like some observations of the speed of stars would contradict their precious ToG.
    It has never been observed and can’t even be measured.

    I’ll ignore “philosophical arrogance” (what does this have to do with a theory’s validity) and “cognitive triviality” (so the more complicated the equations are or the more difficult something is to understand, the better the science? I would say the opposite is true).

  156. 156

    I’m afraid I personally cannot abide this talk of higher dimensions holding the solution. What if they get discarded in sciences next reshuffle? Where does that leave you ?

    Bornagain, no disrespect intended but if theism had some, any, relation to higher dimensions would maths and physics classes not be full of converts to *some* religion or other?

    When I’m painting or walking, maybe near a lake, that is more important then “higher dimensions”.

  157. 157

    For example, I think “dark matter” is just something physicists made up

    I thought that was what they were supposed to do? I guess it’s a useful idea at some pratical level? Even if it’s not the right solution in the end maybe it will help get us a little closer?

    I like the idea that gravity behaves differently on very large scales to how it behaves on smaller scales.

  158. 158

    “I thought that was what they were supposed to do? I guess it’s a useful idea at some practical level? Even if it’s not the right solution in the end maybe it will help get us a little closer?”

    Yes but we obviously are primarily debating about truth and facts. Gravity whatever it is exists not only as a mathematically constructed representation of things but also empirically as a mysterious mover that we know by its effects. It is much like design and intelligence in this way. Dark matter however unlike gravity by necessity does not start off empirically detectible at all. It is first synthesized through physics and then speculated into a working theory about “invisible” matter. Everyone has a right to be skeptical about that theory. And it is still JUST a theory. Alternatives to it I might add speculate that we have in insufficient understanding of gravity and that should account for the inferred missing matter. I find this concept far more realistic and appealing.

    Nonetheless I give dark matter a fair shake. It could be true. But what annoys me about it is that it is becoming one of the sacred cows of science that no one is allowed to question. It is very questionable and should be questioned at every turn just like every other scientific theory and no “consensus” is a reason good enough to change that. A consensus exists only when people stop questioning. If they stop questioning because it’s not popular to or because there is no interest in the subject then sceince suffers but if the questioning stops because there are no new questions to ask then you can feel fairly content that the current theory is correct.

    Dark matter is far from this point.

  159. 159

    Bornagain, no disrespect intended but if theism had some, any, relation to higher dimensions would maths and physics classes not be full of converts to *some* religion or other?

    I could persuasively argue that they are already full of religious converts of some persuasion or other if I were to count materialism as a religion. Which I rightly think is proper in the grand scheme of metaphysical presumptions.

  160. 160

    This site really has some nuggets:

    http://www.thefinaltheory.com/scienceflaws.html

    He mentions that many problems arise when we realize that gravity has no “material/energy” power source:

    excerpt:

    1) Gravitational Perpetual Motion:

    As we all know, perpetual motion machines are impossible,
    and claims of such devices are a clear sign of bad science.
    No device (or natural phenomenon) can expend energy
    without draining a power source, and certainly cannot operate
    with no power source at all. Yet our science states that an
    object dropped into a tunnel cut through the Earth would be
    accelerated to the center by gravity, then decelerated as it
    approached the other end, only to be accelerated down again,
    over and over – endlessly. Even our most elementary physics
    states that it takes energy expenditure from a known power
    source to accelerate and decelerate objects, yet there is no
    power source in site here, let alone a draining one. Despite
    detailed atomic theories and even having split the atom,
    science has never identified a gravitational power source.
    This describes an actively operating mechanism that never
    ends and never drains a power source – an impossible
    perpetual motion scenario, according to today’s physics.

    as well as this:

    Q: How can a fridge magnet cling against gravity
    endlessly without draining a power source?
    A: It can’t … fridge magnets are impossible according to
    today’s science. It certainly takes tremendous energy to
    cling to the side of a cliff, supporting our own weight against
    gravity, and before long we would tire and fall. Yet a fridge
    magnet clings endlessly to the fridge by magnetic energy.
    And, as both our science and our experience tell us, such
    an expenditure of energy requires that a power source be
    drawn upon to support such effort. Yet a permanent magnet
    not only maintains its strength indefinitely (no theory or text-
    book shows the power drain characteristics of a permanent
    magnet as it clings against the pull of gravity), but there isn’t
    even a power source in sight! Endless magnetic energy
    apparently emanates from permanent magnets without
    any explanation in our science. The only explanation that any
    physicist will give for this mystery is that there is no mystery
    since the magnet isn’t moving, which gives a zero result if
    you plug this into the Work equation – a severely flawed
    diversionary tactic that was exposed above. No physicist will
    acknowledge the error of applying the Work equation to deny
    the ongoing magnetic energy expenditure, nor agree that a
    power source is required to cling energetically against gravity.

    This excerpt from an article on magnetism in Discover
    Magazine, Dec. 2002, further makes this point:

    Thus what is the rational for presupposing that Gravity and Electro-magnetism have a material/energy basis when that inference is not warranted.
    Dark matter is not warranted and is only added because of undue allegiance to materialism.

  161. dmso74:
    “so they are both true, even though they use entirely different principles (force vs spacetime curvature) and postulate entirely different things for the nature of gravity?”

    Yah … ummmm …. you might want to check into what you’re saying here before you go spreading some major mis-information.

    Einstein did *not* negate Newton’s work. The math still describes observation … just not at every scale. That is why Einstein’s work provided additional precision, so to speak. Einstein did not create a whole separate law of gravity … it was an extension. I now quote Sir Roger Penrose: “Current physics ideas will survive as limiting behavior, in the same sense that Newtonian mechanics survives relativity. Relativity modifies Newtonian mechanics, but it doesn’t really supplant it. Newtonian mechanics is still there as a limit. In the same sense, quantum theory, as we now use it, and classical physics, which includes Einstein’s general theory, are limits of some theory we don’t yet have.”
    http://www.edge.org/documents/.....Ch.14.html

    dmso74:
    “and does your definition of a “Law” mean something is universally true?”

    “my” definition? Yes, among other things (such as mathematical description of observation), a Law is universally true.

    Mavis Riley:
    “What is the best “theory of gravity” that you are aware of?”

    There is as of yet no complete theory of gravity which has been tested. I do personally believe that a quantum theory may come out on top since at least there are some tests that have been designed that may not be too far away and may be quite practical within the next ten years.

    However, the only point that I am making right now is the one that is consistent with the topic of this thread … and I quote myself from above:

    “That is about the only equivalence between gravitational and evolutionary theory. Which is why, in accordance with the subject of this post, there *is* controversy and a potentially necessary revamping of some foundational assumptions in order to “make everything actually work at a fundamental level.”

    However, that’s about where the similarities end. Evolutionary theory is not near as well founded as gravitational theory, since as I’ve briefly stated earlier, unlike with gravity, there isn’t yet a law of evolution.

    Essentially, since an evolutionary process is the “production” of information at consistently better than chance performance, when there is discovered a law of evolution, it will have to take into account laws of the flow of information. Thus, before a law of evolution can be postulated, a complete 4th law of thermodynamics (a conservation of information) will most likely need to be in place [as theoretical physicist Lee Smolin puts it].”

    Thus, as the topic of this post puts it … of course there’s no controversy

  162. *EDIT*

    my apologies, in my last post …

    “[as theoretical physicist Lee Smolin puts it]”

    … should not be at the end of the second last paragraph. It should come after …

    “Which is why, in accordance with the subject of this post, there *is* controversy and a potentially necessary revamping of some foundational assumptions in order to “make everything actually work at a fundamental level.””

  163. dmso74 (#157):

    You are certainly entitled to you personal opinion about gravitational theories. I certainly don’t agree with you, and I am probably in very good company, both quantitavely and qualitatively. But certainly, I will not make here an argument from authority…

    In my personal opinion, then, both Newton’s and Einstein’s theory of gravitation (to cite the two main historical theories on the subject) have been very good theories, and have helped greatly our scientific progress, both with what they have explained and with what they have not explained. Both theories have certainly been the best theoretical synthesis about that argument at the time they were formulated. Both are deep, creative, accurate, at least at some degree. Both are incomplete and unsatisfactory: gravitation is still a big mystery, and neither Newton nor Einstein have ever tried to deny that.

    Your comments about dark matter are really epistemological nonsense. What do you think of dark energy, then? If your point is that cosmological models are still extremely abstract, and most certainly grossly wrong, you are just affirming what everybody knows. That does not mean that they are useless, as long as they are sincere attempts at the best explanation of what is known, and as long as there is intelligent and open debate about them.

    Philosophical arrogance has really very much to do with a theory’s validity. As I have tried to point out, any scientific theory is made up of both philosophical and methodological assumptions, and logico-mathematical structures (laws). They are not the same thing. The general context of a theory, and especially of a general theory like darwinian evolution, and its methodological assumptions, are indeed philosophical choices, and as such they should be judged.

    The philosophical context of darwinian evolution is definitely arrogant: for instance, the assumption that methodological naturalism is the only admitted premise, the constant need to pass arbitrary descriptions for explanations, the frequent denial that credible causal mechanisms have to be found, the fear to compare with alternative explanations like ID, the absurd necessity to “explain” all and the contrary of all (just look at evolutionary psychology!), all these are evident marks of philosophical arrogance.

    That arrogance is matched only by the related cognitive triviality of darwinian evolution, which has nothing to do, as you suggest, with the concept that

    “the more complicated the equations are or the more difficult something is to understand, the better the science? “.

    Darwinian evolution is trivial because it never attempts to build a causal model which is really credible, it never verifies the mathemathical and statistical resources of its model (a model, let’s remind it, which is vastly based on statistical considerations), it never considers alternative explanations of facts, not even for a moment, it constantly creates cognitive biases (like passing evidence for common descent as evidence for causal mechanism), it boldly denies any serious epistemology (like constantly promoting theories as facts), and so on. All of that is trivial at best.

    Serious science is made by people who are aware of the mysteries they are dealing with, while trying to explain them. The apparent acceleration of the expansion of the universe is at present one of the biggest observational mysteries we know of. Dark energy theories (indeed, they still cannot even be called theories) are a painful and initial attempt to understand that, but nobody is denying the magnitude of the mystery.

    Biology has been facing for decades an observational mystery whose magnitude is even greater: the astounding information in living beings, whose complexity and quality have increasingly been understood, and are being understood with each passing day. The general attitude of darwinian evolution has been to deny that, to stick to explanations which don’t explain anything. Any new attempt at reviewing the fundamental model (puctuated equilibrium, evo devo, and so on) is unfortunately flawed in the same way: it does not try to build a credible causal model for what it pretends to explain. Indeed, as I have often pointed out, the new variants of evolutionary theory, with their forced awareness of the limits of the basic model of RV + NS, are even less powerful at the level of causal explanation.

    So, when I wrote of philosophical arrogance and cognitive triviality, I was not joking: I really meant it.

  164. BA77

    I’m tempted to ban you for posting that something strange is going on with refrigerator magnets. Do you suppose something strange is happening with glue, screws, and other fasteners too?

    Be VERY careful how you reply.

  165. 165

    Davescot,
    In glue, screws, and other fasteners it is fairly easy to see that a mechanical bond is formed, thus no work that should draw our attention is preformed. Yet in electo-magnetism the magnet preforms the “work” of defying gravity, by “clinging” on the refrigerators side with no apparent mechanical bond and no expendature of energy/material. If undisturbed, the magnet will cling to the refrigerator without losing strength, until entropic processes dissolve either the refrigerator, the magnet, or both.
    Yet materialism is steadfast in insisting that electromagnetism (as well as gravity) arises from a purely material/energy basis and as such. If this materialistic presuposition were true a small but noticable conversion of matter to energy should be noted for the length of time that the magnet defies gravity and performs this “work” of clinging to the refrigerator with no mechanical bond.

    As I stated in my post I excerpted this from the mentioned site, yet it sounds very reasonable to me that we should expect a drain of a power source with no mechanical bond.

    If I am wrong in this matter and have somehow misinterpreted something, please show me where I have misinterpreted what I read and cited.

  166. 166

    I think this following story is telling to this “magnetic” mystery:

    http://www.johnshepler.com/articles/einstein.html

    Einstein’s Compass

    This gift may have launched the genius of Albert Einstein

    When he was 5 years old and sick in bed, Hermann Einstein brought Albert a device that did stir his intellect. It was the first time he had seen a magnetic compass. He lay there shaking and twisting the odd contraption, certain he could fool it into pointing off in a new direction. But try as he might, the compass needle would always find its way back to pointing in the direction of magnetic north. “A wonder,” he thought. The invisible force that guided the compass needle was evidence to Albert that there was more to our world that meets the eye. There was “something behind things, something deeply hidden.”

  167. 167

    Bornagain,
    How much energy would be used by a magnet 1 gram in weight clinging to the side of a fridge? In a hour? A week? A year? If “materialism” were true how quickly would that 1 gram magnet be turned into pure energy and vanish?

    Yet materialism is steadfast in insisting that electromagnetism (as well as gravity) arises from a purely material/energy basis and as such. If this materialistic presuposition were true a small but noticable conversion of matter to energy should be noted for the length of time that the magnet defies gravity and performs this “work” of clinging to the refrigerator with no mechanical bond.

    I don’t see how the second sentence follows from the first. Can you clarify?

    As such a conversion is not taking place, where are you saying the energy is coming from? Jesus?

  168. “You are certainly entitled to you personal opinion about gravitational theories. I certainly don’t agree with you, and I am probably in very good company, both quantitavely and qualitatively. But certainly, I will not make here an argument from authority…”

    So what we both have are personal opinions, which in the grand scheme of science don’t count for much. The only way the “goodness” or “badness” of a theory can really be determined is how well it stands up to scrutiny within the scientific community. and both gravity and evolution have stood up to years of scrutiny within thw scientific community. the dfference, and i think this is a major source of confusion, is that evolution has come under a lot of scrutiny from outside of the scientific community. gravity has not. so when you are constant public and legal attack, you tend to harden your position a bit and say evolution is a fact, etc. I suspect that if physicists came under the same sort of contant attacks, they would say similar things. of course evoution is unsatisfactory and incomplete on some levels, but when you have a steady stream of legal cases, political figures saying you’re wrong, etc. you tend to batten down the hatches a bit. but you can not confuse the public face of evolution (Dawkins, etc.) with what really goes on in the scientific community. we are merciless with each other when it comes to scientific rigor. go to an evolution meeting sometime and listen to the questions following a seminar. you’ll see what i mean.

    “Your comments about dark matter are really epistemological nonsense. What do you think of dark energy, then? If your point is that cosmological models are still extremely abstract, and most certainly grossly wrong, you are just affirming what everybody knows. That does not mean that they are useless, as long as they are sincere attempts at the best explanation of what is known, and as long as there is intelligent and open debate about them.”

    my point is that the exact same type of wild speculation that you condemn in evolution goes on in every science. and “intelligent and open debate” is as much a part of evolution as cosmology, unless you mean “debate including the possibility of intelligent design”, which does not go on in either field.

    “The philosophical context of darwinian evolution is definitely arrogant: for instance, the assumption that methodological naturalism is the only admitted premise..”

    gravitational theory has this same arrogant assumption..

  169. the dfference, and i think this is a major source of confusion, is that evolution has come under a lot of scrutiny from outside of the scientific community.

    Who determines who is part of the “scientific community”?

    What were Darwin’s “scientific” credentials? How do they compare to Dembski’s or Behe’s? How about those fellows at the Wister Symposium who broached criticism of neo-Darwinism way back in 1966? Any similar ever happen with regard to gravity? I don’t think so even when gravitational theory was new much less a century after it was proposed.

    And when a group takes over an authoritative body then treats dissenters in ways that violate the the body’s traditional standards (or claimed standards) what are we supposed to think?

  170. 170

    dmso74

    gravitational theory has this same arrogant assumption..

    You obviously have strong opinions on this. Pray tell, how could research into gravitational theory be improved?

    What other premise then methodological naturalism should be considered when performing research into gravitational theory? And what benefits (and there would have to be some) would each new premise bring to the table?

  171. 171

    Who determines who is part of the “scientific community”?

    I’ll attempt some answers!

    I would say that anybody who has something that produces results is a scientist and part of the scentific community. So, a backyard inventor is a scentist if they invent useful new things. A researcher in a lab is part of the scientific community just as much as the backyard inventor. They both produce results. They are therefore both part of the scientific community.

    What were Darwin’s “scientific” credentials? How do they compare to Dembski’s or Behe’s?

    Again, look at the results. I’m not so familiar with Dembski’s or Behe’s work outside of their populist science books. Darwin appeared to revolutionalise his field. Do you mean did Darwin have a degree?

    How about those fellows at the Wister Symposium who broached criticism of neo-Darwinism way back in 1966?

    My understand of that event is that people outside of biology attempted to critique biology, with predicatable results.

    Any similar ever happen with regard to gravity? I don’t think so even when gravitational theory was new much less a century after it was proposed.

    There have been immumerable theorys of gravity proposed. I suggest you brush up on your history of science.

    And when a group takes over an authoritative body then treats dissenters in ways that violate the the body’s traditional standards (or claimed standards) what are we supposed to think?

    What body are you refering to here? And what normally happens in such situations is that the people who disagree split off and form their own body. Happens in politics, religion, sports, everything. It’s just what people do.

  172. 172

    Mavis Riley,

    As my math is pitiful, I would not hazard a guess as to the exact amount of time, but I would presuppose it to be a very long time since the total amount of energy locked into the atoms is tremendous, as demonstrated by Einstein and Atomic weapons.

    Yet your question where is the energy coming from? Jesus? is, though seemingly nonsense at first glance, revelent to this topic, for we know by personal experience that clinging to the side of something takes energy. Indeed a man clinging to a mountain would wither fairly quickly from the energy he expended. Yet, mysteriously, the magnet clings and withers not. How much energy would a 10 ton magnet require to suspend, from a massive steel plate, with wooden spacers in between to ensure no mechanical bond, indefinitely? Yet the ten ton magnet suspended from the plate will lose no weight and the steel plate will lose no weight save from entropy. How can this paradox be? Indeed I can ask you the same question you asked me, Where is the energy coming from? Jesus?

    I may be missing something simple in all this but I find the question very interesting and very mysterious.

    As for my own personal bias in finding a solution, I would presuppose the Theistic philosophy to ultimately hold the correct answer for this mystery since the Theistic philosophy has consistently been correct over the materialistic philosophy numerous times before (see post 46)

    I also find this following article interesting to the topic of mysterious magnetism:

    More Magnets, Please

    http://discovermagazine.com/2002/dec/featmagnet

    excerpt:

    One thing is certain: Neither Heisenberg’s theory nor anyone else’s for the moment can explain Tatiana Makarova’s magnets. According to Heisenberg, carbon should not be magnetic, and of course the ordinary stuff isn’t.

  173. 173

    I would presuppose the Theistic philosophy to ultimately hold the correct answer for this mystery

    They why don’t you make a start on working out the answer? If everbody else has missed the fact that “Theistic philosophy” is required to solve this one then the field is wide open for an unknown to solve one of the greatest mysteries since man discovered mangetism. OK, your maths might not currently be up to the required standard but what are you doing for the next 20 or so years?

    According to Heisenberg, carbon should not be magnetic, and of course the ordinary stuff isn’t.

    The problem here that I see for you is if this “mystery” is solved and “Theistic philosophy” was not required to solve it then does that not cause you to think again about all the other things that you are currently convinced require “Theistic philosophy” to solve?

  174. dmso74,
    I’m beginning to think that you really don’t know what you’re talking about since you just recently spouted some nonsense about how Newtonian physics and relativity both “postulate entirely different things for the nature of gravity,” Which Sir Roger Penrose has corrected in the quote I have provided in my last comment. Yes, it was an argument from authority (albeit one of the most respected — by both sides — and knowledgeable authorities on the matter), yet I did first incorporate my own brief explanation of the matter.

    Then, to make matters worse for yourself, you state:
    “my point is that the exact same type of wild speculation that you condemn in evolution goes on in every science.”

    You seem to not realize that evolutionary theorizing speculates on a whole host of complex issues (such as how caveman behaved in the past effects our phsychology today) that can not be tested in the present, do not necessarily flow from the math underlying present data, and so far is not yet built upon a Law. However, in physics the models are at least built upon consistent mathematical descriptions, attempt to explain a Law, and at least have potential testability in the present. Furthermore, wild speculation that is not testable (such as the case may be with string theory — which still has ground over some aspects of evolutionary speculating since it at least is consistent mathematically) is decried by many physicists as *un-scientific.*

    You then state:
    “and “intelligent and open debate” is as much a part of evolution as cosmology, unless you mean “debate including the possibility of intelligent design”, which does not go on in either field.”

    And again, your ignorance of the topic shines brightly. Please provide at least a brief explanation of the information theoretic foundations of intelligence design, then explain how computational evolutionary simulations increase their information content. Then explain how the two do or do not fit together. The same is true when it comes to the extreme fine tuning of physical quantities such as the cosmological constant. And, in physics, you aren’t considered a heretic if you ever discuss the possibility that a “super-intellect has monkeyed with physics.”

    Many cosmologists see this as a real issue. So again, you continue to assert mis-information as if you knew what you were talking about. I could understand if you didn’t really understand the issue and then asked for clarification. But to blatantly spread mis-information … that’s a whole ‘nother bag of worms.

    And finally you state:
    “gravitational theory has this same arrogant assumption [that methodological naturalism is the only admitted premise]..”

    … Which is perfectly fine since the Law of gravity can be described in terms of mathematical relationships. But, even then, if there is a fundamental non-computable aspect of reality, both materialism and methodological naturalism may go out of the window. I, myself, for the moment am a methodological naturalist albeit not a materialist. I do think that at least some physicists believe that materialism has been overthrown by modern physics.

    However, as I’ve stated earlier, “Essentially, since an evolutionary process is the “production” of information at consistently better than chance performance, when there is discovered a law of evolution, it will have to take into account laws of the flow of information. Thus, before a law of evolution can be postulated, a complete 4th law of thermodynamics (a conservation of information) will most likely need to be in place.” Once there is a conservation of information theorem formally described, then the informational input necessary to arrive at CSI and even more importantly, intelligence, will need to be explained. The only recourse may be a deeper system of intelligence.

  175. 175

    Mavis,
    No I don’t, for pure reason dictates that there must be an ultimate source (an uncaused cause; God) for everything in this universe. And though there may be a hidden mechanism between that ultimate uncaused cause (God) and the effect we are studying, I have not a shadow of a doubt in God’s ultimate reality nor have I a shadow of a doubt for the ability of pure science to give compelling inference to God through the Theistic philosophy.

    You asked me what if some unknown (material) thing is discovered that solves this magnetic mystery?

    Yet I ask you why is the Theistic Philosophy so blatantly ignored as a valid framework in science to make somewhat accurate predictions for what we will find, when the materialistic philosphy has failed so miserably in its predictive power for science before (see post 46)?

    Materialism should rightly be regulated to a subservient (purifying) role to Theism as far as science is concerned.

    Indeed there comes a time (long past due) when one must admit that the materialistic emperor has no clothes!

  176. 176

    Yet I ask you why is the Theistic Philosophy so blatantly ignored as a valid framework in science to make somewhat accurate predictions for what we will find, when the materialistic philosphy has failed so miserably in its predictive power for science before (see post 46)?

    I’ve read your “things that materialistic philosphy does not predict” post.

    3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

    It appears to me your understanding of “time” is based upon the materialistic philosphy and it’s way of understanding time. I.E special relativity. So materialism provides the explanation that you then use to say that materialism does not predict that explanation that only materialism can give? Have I got you right?

    So, If time comes to a stop at the speed of light BornAgain, does the photon during it’s lifetime percieve any time passing at all?

    In addition, when the photon is passing thru a medium where the local speed of light is lower then the speed of light in empty space does time pass for it then? Does Theism predict the answer to that?

    I just don’t see any possible pratical use in any of your “predictions” you see, not any way that any pratical (or even “pure” science) science can come of them. Shrug and move on.

    Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

    And?

  177. ba77

    Davescot,
    In glue, screws, and other fasteners it is fairly easy to see that a mechanical bond is formed, thus no work that should draw our attention is preformed.

    Something must hold the atoms of the screw together in its characteristic shape otherwise there would be no mechanical bond -the screw would simply break apart (which they do anyway if enough force is applied). The same force attracting a magnet to iron attracts atoms of the screw to each other – the electromagnetic force. You obviously have very little understanding of it. I strongly suggest you learn more before writing on this subject again.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_force

  178. 178

    BA77,
    In any case, I don’t see the connection that any of that with Intelligent Design?

  179. 179

    DaveScot,

    Are you and wiki saying that electro-magnetism has a undeniable material basis? For me I would say that the basic forces give rise to the material particle not the other way around.

    Mavis are you saying that materialism predicted that time would come to a complete stop at C? I can asure that it did not.

    You ask, What does it have to do with ID?

    Well if materialism can’t satisfactorily explain Gravity, which is a conclusion agreed upon by almost everyone here, even by DaveScot, nor in my very uneducated opinion can materialism satisfactorily explain electromagnetism (wiki not withstanding), then by all rights this developement takes the foundational explanatory power away from materialism and gives the Design Inference more weight and explanatory power for the origin of life on earth.

  180. 180

    Hi BA

    Mavis are you saying that materialism predicted that time would come to a complete stop at C? I can asure that it did not.

    No, I’m saying that it’s because of “materialism” that we can say that it does. Materialism does not predict in the way you mean it, it allows you to find out

    What would step one, the very first step that would diverge from doing it via “materialism”, be in investigating magnetism with theism?

    What would be different doing it your way BA? The fact is, if it produced better results then the current method people would jump on the bandwagon, whatever metaphysical baggage was attached.

    All that’s needed is a single demonstration to get the ball rolling, to start the revolution.

    nor in my very uneducated opinion can materialism satisfactorily explain electromagnetism (wiki not withstanding

    What do you mean “explain”? What does that entail? What would have to happen for you to consider it “explained”? I’m genuinely interested..

  181. dmso74:

    “So what we both have are personal opinions, which in the grand scheme of science don’t count for much.”

    But they do count in personal public confrontation, which is more or less what we are doing now. In the grand scheme of science, personal opinions are presented as theories. ID is a theory, and not a personal opinion.

    “The only way the “goodness” or “badness” of a theory can really be determined is how well it stands up to scrutiny within the scientific community. ”

    I don’t agree. I have never appreciated conformism, in any form. The goodness of a theory will be determined in the end by its own merits, as our understanding improves, and “if” it improves. A bad theory can gain the acclaim of the scientific community for some time, and still remains a bad theory. It happens. It has happened, unfortunately, for darwinian evolution. Not all that has the acclaim of a community is good, and we have many examples of that. The scientific community is not by default better than any other human community. It has no special privilege. Maybe the members of the scientific community will not agree with that, but why am I not surprised?

    “I suspect that if physicists came under the same sort of contant attacks, they would say similar things”

    I have a better opinion of phycisists than you have. But, again, the community of physicists is not by default better than any other human community. We will judge them according to their behaviour. At present, some physicists have certainly debated very non conformist points of view, with great courage (see for instance Penrose’s argument from the Godel theorem in favour of non algorithmic processes in the human mind). The same Penrose has often debated the improbability of the space of phases of the existing universe, which is one of the best ways to express the cosmological argument for the existence of God. So, as you see, physics is not always strictly committed to an orthodox, reducitonist view of methodological naturalism. Maybe gravitation (up to now) does not require anything more than methodological naturalism (after all, it has not to explain CSI), but other aspects of physics may certainly need a more general cognitive approach.

    “my point is that the exact same type of wild speculation that you condemn in evolution goes on in every science.”

    First of all, I don’t condemn the wild speculation in evolution: I just don’t buy it, because it is not convincing. I always appreciate speculation, be it wild or tame. Wild is often the best. But it has to be good, convincing, wild speculation.

    What I condemn is the attitude that: “I can wildly (and badly) speculate, but you can’t”. Our wild speculation of intelligent design has the same rights to exists, and it is far better, far more interesting, far deeper. And, yes, really wild!

    ““intelligent and open debate” is as much a part of evolution as cosmology, unless you mean “debate including the possibility of intelligent design”, which does not go on in either field.”

    Exactly quod erat demonstrandum.

  182. 182

    Mavis you stated:

    No, I’m saying that it’s because of “materialism” that we can say that it does. Materialism does not predict in the way you mean it, it allows you to find out.

    You are confusing the philosophy of materialism with the scientific method.

    Materialism as a philosophy presupposed time and distance to be infinite.

    I believe it was St. Aquinas who was first to state that Theism would predict the creation of time from the timeless eternity God lives in. (I can probably verify this one if you want)

    ASs far as how Theism would work differently in science:
    Theism, at its base entanglement with materialism, would presuppose the basic “ethereal” universal (and unchanging) forces to precede the many material atomic particles at every instance there is an interaction, whereas materialism will presuppose that some material atomic particle will precede every unversal force at every instance. Thus we have the problematic invention of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Yet, Theism would not have been forced into inventing such hypothetical particles, since the “ethreal” forces had been considered foundational to reality instead of the particles. and Theism would have been free to expect the forces to arise independently of any particles from a higher dimension. As to how to formalize this into a simple concise form I don’t know but I do know that is how it would work.
    As well with Dr. Anton Zeilinger’s work in quantum telelportation, Theism is free to consider that the irreducible kernel from which every thing flows is “information.

    http://www.metanexus.net/Magaz.....fault.aspx

    Yet for some reason I do not fully understand Quantum non-locality has forced the materialistic philosophy to propose the many worlds scenario. (Hopefully O”Leary’s coming book will untangle this.)
    Myself, I find the dominion and trancendance of information much simpler and frankly much more pleasing to the mind than I find the patchwock of the MWI. The near future holds bright promise to this particular line of investigation and I am quite confident that it will further delineate the Theistic and Materialistic philosophies.

  183. 183

    The near future holds bright promise to this particular line of investigation abd I am quite confident that it will further delineate the Theistic and Materialistic philosophies.

    How long are you prepared to wait?

  184. Mavis:

    “How long are you prepared to wait?”

    It’s already happening, day after day. so it really doesn’t matter how long it takes. It’s an exciting wait anyway.

    And, in my opinion, it’s more a matter of years than of decades.

  185. 185

    How long till the first pratical benefit to be realised? Many people will only be convinced by results.

    You say it’s already happening but where do you see evidence of that?

  186. Mavis:

    A general cultural shift is taking place, one of the most important in recent history. Strict materialism has overpowered modern thought in the last decades, but all of its main incarnations are now in severe crisis.

    Materialism and modernism have tried to make science the new religion of our age. But luckily, good science is better than the deformed image of it that scientism entertains, and the discoveries of science itself can no more support the simplistic assumptions about reality which have been the basis of scientistic philosophy.

    Physics is still looking for a general explanation of reality, and not findimg it. String theories are in crisis. Quantum theory thrives, but its general interpretation remains a mystery, adn while the reductive approach of Bohr’s Copenaghen interpretation has held for a few years, it is no more generally warranted. All recent experimental acquisitions, up to quantum teleportation, demonstrate that quantum theory really holds the key to a deeper understanding of reality, but that that key has yet to be really used.

    The biggest lie of all materialistic lies, strong AI theory, is going to show its total failure as soon as possible. It has explained nothing, it is based on completely false philosophical and methodological assumptions, it denies the principle itself of experience, personal consciousness. Turing’s test has never been passed, and never will be. Computers are never going to become conscious. Serious empirical approach to the empirical fact of the existence of consciousness is badly needed, and it is taking place (see The spiritual brain for details).

    Mathematics, if not psychology or religion, can show us the non algorithmic nature of consciuosness (see Penrose), and quantum mechanics can offer some basis for new theories of the consiousness-brain interaction (see, for instance, Eccles and followers, and the same Penrose).

    Darwinian evolution theory, the second biggest lie of materialistic dogma, will soon be completely made obsolete by the overpowering evidence of new biological discoveries. ID is only setting the new theoretical framework which will make us able to go on looking for reasonable explanations of known facts, but it is biological research itself which is going to give us the facts which will ultimately prove the old theory false. Practically each day, new evidence of complexity and design is unearthed in the biological world. The desperate effort to reconcile all that new evidence with the existing causal theory of RV + NS, or to produce new fantasy theories without any causal explanatory power, are sometimes funny, almost always sad and squalid. There is no intellectual freedom in evolutionary research today, no real cognitive sincerety. But, luckily, facts are found just the same, and facts are facts.

    Philosophy of science is ahead of scientism of decades. Kuhn, Polanyi, Feyerabend have spoken volumes against the simplistic view of science which still today makes up the backbone of everyday’s materialism. Today’s scientistic dogmas are based on a philosophy which died long time ago. Dawkin’s excursions into philosophy and religion are pitiful amateur ramblings of a bad secondary school student. Atheists of old times, like Russel, were at least interesting philosophers, but what can you say of Dawkins? The degradation of materialist thinking is severe and obvious.

    In the end, maybe that it will be physics, the old serious physics, which will point to the right direction. It is, at present, the only hard science which has the courage to face its mysteries (see dark energy). Biology is still trying to hide its ones under a carpet, but the carpet is becoming increasingly small. Biophysics will soon prove false many simplifications which are currently held as dogma. The physics of far from equilibrium systems is just at its beginnings, but it could really help understand some of the processes of life. DNA is still a mystery, and we have to realize that we understand almost nothing of its role and functions.

    Evo devo is the right thing made in the wrong way. It can discover much, provided that it does not stick to the temptation of easily explaining out things just to support the dying theory of darwinian evolution.

    But perhaps, understanding in a scientific way (which does not mean in a reductive, materialistic and deterministic way) the nature and laws of consciousness will be the final clue to a new formulation of scientific culture.

    You ask for practical benefits? The first, and foremost, practical benefit is creative thinking. That opens the road to true understanging. In The Spiritual Brain you can find many examples of how a non materialistic approach to consciousness can lead to immediate benefits in many fields, from medecine, to psychiatry, to religion, greatly improving the quality of life of people.

    The recognition of the design principle is of fundamental importance. It will open the road to a new understanding of meaning in the context of information theory, which is at present one of the black holes in modern culture (a theory of information without any approach to meaning is like a theory of consciousness which denies consciousness: the last century had the privilege of witnessing both such strange entities flourish).

    The design context allows a completely different interpretation of biological data, which has still to be carried over. The functional point of view is much stronger in the design context than it is in the deterministic context, and above all it is not conditioned only by the bare concept of survival, but can be appreciated in the much vaster principle of function and meaning. The understanding of biological regulation (see non coding DNA) will be possible only in the context of design, when we will become realistic enough to recognize general plans and intelligent procedures in living beings which cannot be reconduced to lucky mechanical feedbacks or to the “wonders” of blind mother evolution.

    With the new paradigm, practical benefits will come in spades. But indeed, the most practical benefit of all remains knowledge. It’s for the sake of knowledge that the biggest advancements in science have been realized, and it’s for the sake of knowledge and of cognitive self-respect that we are going to be soon delivered from the errors of the last decades.

  187. 187

    Thanks for the long post. However I don’t see any pratical benefits, only “promised” benefits.

    In The Spiritual Brain you can find many examples of how a non materialistic approach to consciousness can lead to immediate benefits in many fields, from medecine, to psychiatry, to religion, greatly improving the quality of life of people.

    Can you give me a specifc example?

    It seems to me that one of the critisims often leveld at evolution” is that it promises explainations are coming for things that are as yet unexplained.

    Yet equally I could say of ID that the things you talk about, such as those in your post, are “always coming” but never quite here.

    Do you have a concrete, pratical, not “soon” but right now example of how the ID paradine is producing results, and better results then the alternative?

    The design context allows a completely different interpretation of biological data, which has still to be carried over.

    Case in point, the frogamander. Does the design context shed any light on that strange beast?

    Biophysics will soon prove false many simplifications which are currently held as dogma.

    Could you give me an example please of such a false simplification? If you can’t then how do you know that’s the case?

    it’s for the sake of knowledge and of cognitive self-respect that we are going to be soon delivered from the errors of the last decades.

    How soon? Who by? Where should we look for this to happen?

  188. 188

    gpuccio,
    Also, do you think a change in the law is required before the things you speak of come to pass?

  189. 189

    Thanks gpuccio,
    Reading your writng is like a breath of fresh air for my mind, You answered Mavis’s question far better than I could have ever done. Yet I find it interesting that In spite of your clarity he still balked?!? I wonder if any amount of evidence will ever be enough for Mavis?!?

    But as for me, Thanks again for your clarity.

  190. 190

    Hi Bornagain,
    Would you quote for me this “evidence” that was not sufficent to convince me please?

    The desperate effort to reconcile all that new evidence with the existing causal theory of RV + NS, or to produce new fantasy theories without any causal explanatory power, are sometimes funny, almost always sad and squalid.

    I saw no “evidence”, just opinion. Interesting to read, sure, but not what I would call evidence. Hence my follow up question asking for specifics. You may be satisified with less BA but I guess I’m not.

  191. Mavis:

    I am not sure I understand all your comments. If in #191 you are spaking of the laws of the state, and in particular of US laws, then my answer in no. But I really don’t understand how your question may be pertinent to my arguments.

    Regarding the Beauregard book, you could perhaps refer to chapter six,about the cure of some psychiatric problems and the understanding of the placebo effect.

    About the interpretation of biological data, I have no opinion about the frogamander fo which you seem so fond, and whose relevance eludes me. I was thinking more of the interpretation of molecular data. As an example, I have tried an approach to the reading of a recent paper in the thread “Claim of a de novo acting protein” which can show how the same facts can give different insights if they are interpreted in the light of different theorical premises. If you want, you are welcome to discuss these aspects there.

    An example of the importance of biophysics are the studies about the physical properties of the DNA molecule, which are still at their beginnigs. I have read a few very interesting papers about that, but I have not a reference now. If I find them, I’ll let you know.

    Another field of great importance is obviously the theory of protein folding, which could help us understand how the functional spaces of proteins are really configured, a crucial point for both ID and darwinian evolution. That would also help greatly in protein engineering, helping us to design proteins.

    Finally, you could give a look at the theory of nerve transmission by soliton sound pulses, which has been proposed for many years by the Niels Bohr Insitute researchers, and only by them. It is an interesting example of a totally unconventional biophysics theory, which denies practically all that has been believed about nerve transmission. Nothing to do with ID (perhaps), but still a good example of how long held paradigms could completely and unexpectedly change, if a minority theory can demonstrate that it is better than the majority consensus.

    “How soon? Who by? Where should we look for this to happen?”

    Soon. Again, my idea: five-ten years.

    A few corageous scientists, in all fields of science. Count Dembski, Behe, Penrose among them. But also Shapiro, Abel and Trevors, and so on.

    A good idea would be to stay tuned here.

  192. Mavis (#193):

    Please, don’t play around. My post was a summary of many arguments repeatedly discussed here at UD by me and by many others. Many of these detailed discussions are behing held just now here, with your rather passive participation (see the thread where F2XL is very seriously debating the complexity of the flagellum). I have invited you to a detailed molecular discussion about darwinian explanations in the thread about the de novo protein gene. Nobody of us is reluctant to discuss the evodence, in whatever detail you want. But we cannot do that at every single post.

    So, if you are serious, and don’t want only to joke and provoke, you are welcome to the discussion, but please give some specific contribution to it. Otherwise, go your way…

  193. 193

    Regarding the Beauregard book, you could perhaps refer to chapter six,about the cure of some psychiatric problems and the understanding of the placebo effect.

    Again, that’s very fuzzy. I’ll have to order the book, but are you saying that because of this book some psychiatric problems have been cured and the placebo effect fully understood?

    An example of the importance of biophysics are the studies about the physical properties of the DNA molecule, which are still at their beginnigs. I have read a few very interesting papers about that, but I have not a reference now. If I find them, I’ll let you know.

    Seems to me the DNA molecuce has been studied for decades already.

    I’ll await the reference.

    Another field of great importance is obviously the theory of protein folding, which could help us understand how the functional spaces of proteins are really configured, a crucial point for both ID and darwinian evolution. That would also help greatly in protein engineering, helping us to design proteins.

    Here I presume you refer to Mr Axe and his work at the biologic institiute. Yes, it could help but is it helping?

    but still a good example of how long held paradigms could completely and unexpectedly change, if a minority theory can demonstrate that it is better than the majority consensus.

    And this is why i’m presing for specifics. It’s not going to happen unless you do exactly that. Has O’Leary demonstrated better understanding then the majority consensus already, on the issues you refer to above? Are they cured or not?

    A few corageous scientists, in all fields of science. Count Dembski, Behe, Penrose among them. But also Shapiro, Abel and Trevors, and so on.

    I happen to be reading a Penrose book right now.

  194. 194

    So, if you are serious, and don’t want only to joke and provoke, you are welcome to the discussion, but please give some specific contribution to it. Otherwise, go your way…

    Sorry for speaking my mind. I’ll leave you to talk about magnets with Bornagain77 then.

  195. Mavis:

    “are you saying that because of this book some psychiatric problems have been cured and the placebo effect fully understood?”

    No, I am saying that the book details the work of some scientists whon are trying to better understand and cure those problems from a non materialistic point of view.

    “Seems to me the DNA molecuce has been studied for decades already.”

    Yes, but not so much from a biophysical point of view. Biochemistry has been the leading science up to now. Biophysics looks at things in a very different way, and is really in its beginnings.

    “Here I presume you refer to Mr Axe and his work at the biologic institiute. Yes, it could help but is it helping?”

    No, I am referring to all those who study protein folding, still one of the least understood problems in biophysics.

    “Has O’Leary demonstrated better understanding then the majority consensus already, on the issues you refer to above?”

    O’Leary is not a neuroscientist. Beauregard is. And yes, he has. I think you would not waste your time reading his book.

    “I happen to be reading a Penrose book right now.”

    That’s good news. Let me know what you think of it.

  196. Mavis:

    “Sorry for speaking my mind. I’ll leave you to talk about magnets with Bornagain77 then.”

    Never been interested in that discussion about magnets. Regarding my phrase, perhaps you missed the part saying:

    “you are welcome to the discussion, but please give some specific contribution to it.”

  197. 197

    Mavis you ask:

    How about the overpowering evidence of biological discoveries gpuccio alluded to in other post he has written:

    Though not as detailed as gpuccio, this example has always stood out for me

    Some bacterium fossils, in salt crystals, dating back as far as 250 million years have had their DNA recovered, sequenced and compared to their offspring of today (Vreeland RH, 2000 Nature). Scientists accomplished this using a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). To the disbelieving shock of many scientists, both ancient and modern bacteria were found to have the almost exact DNA sequence.

    “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 ; (The Paradox of the “Ancient” Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes)

    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    If you read the article you will see how they jump through all sorts of incredible hoops to try to reconcile the data with evolutionary theory, So for me this is a prime example of “denied” evidence.

  198. BA77:
    The website and book you reference regarding gravity and magnetism is (almost) complete gobbledygook. There is is no “violation” or mysterious force holding my shopping list to the refrigerator door. I could just as well hold a scrap of paper on to the door by leaning a stick (broomhandle) against the scrap. It would have the disadvantage of making the door difficult to open without disturbing the scrap of paper. Quite simply, in the case of refrigerator magnets, the normal force due to the magnet times the coefficient of static friction exceeds the weight of the magnet due to gravity.

    As far as masses oscillating through a hole in the earth …. we already do this experiment in a far more practical way with pendulums. Pendulums and how they work is well understood.

    Re: Post 200:
    I read the article you link to and it appears to me that the authors are not denying any evidence as you suggest but, instead, they are discussing the evidence that they have to date and trying to make sense of it. The last sentence in that article reads:
    “As it stands, our present molecular work can neither confirm nor disprove the age of isolate 2-9-3.”

  199. 199

    utidjian,
    As I’m not knowledgeable to defend the theistic position regarding magnets, I am very sorry I even brought it up.

    But as too the ancient DNA of bacteria these are consistent findings that come from several different scientists, with drastic measures taken by each to prevent contamination of the ancient bacteria with modern bacteria. Yet consistently they find no significant mutational drift that is required by Darwinism. In fact the scientists find a “small but significant drift” that precludes any modern contamination yet overturns the required mutational drift that would be required to be proven for evolution to be considered true.
    The small but significant drift readily finds a place in the ID mod^el with conservation of information and Genetic Entropy providing the corner stones for a more detailed analysis, as well as laying the foundations for more robust predictions for the ancient DNA evidence that scientists may find in the future.

  200. BA77,

    Please expand upon how exactly the ID model with conservation of information and “Genetic Entropy” will help those scientists make a more detailed analysis. What “more robust predictions” can they make? Shouldn’t you be telling those scientists about this?
    Did you read the last sentence in that report? How does that sentence affect your position?
    What evidence are they denying?

    Yes, better to drop the “theistic position of magnets” until you have, at least, a secondary school level understanding on how magnets work.

  201. utidjian:

    “Did you read the last sentence in that report? How does that sentence affect your position?
    What evidence are they denying?”

    Let’s put it this way: a set of evidences would date the bacteria at 250 million years ago, while molecular phylogenetic analyses contradict that. Obviously, the evidence for the old datation could be wrong (although tehre seems to be no reason to think so). But if it is not, then the only other possible explanation is that the criteria used in evolutionary phylogenetic analyses are not reliable at all, and that bacteria of 250 million years ago are almost the same as modern bacteria. Now, that would really be a problem for a great part of evolutionary biology, so you wouldn’t expect that it will be easily admitted.

    The fact is that molecular phylogenetic analyses seem to be based on a lot of assumptions, and have been used for decades as the main “evidence” for darwinian evolution (although they are, at best, evidence for common descent). Any evidence against their accuracy, therefore, is pretty uncomfortable for the standard views of biology.

  202. 202

    Thanks gpuccio,
    You never cease to amaze me.

    Here is another ancient bacteria study backing up the foundational ID premise of Conservation of information coupled with Genetic Entropy:

    Revival and identification of bacterial spores in 25- to 40-million-year-old Dominican amber
    RJ Cano and MK Borucki

    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, amber-sealed Bacillus sphaericus and that of its modern counterpart.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5213/1060

    I really liked this study because being sealed in amber removed many speculations the Darwinists have invoked to block the crushing evidence.

    As far as incorporating this into a more robust theory that can make accurate predictions for ID, I believe ID is well on its way (especially with the many mathematically gifted minds we have around here),

    But to illustrate the clarification that ID is undergoing here is a fairly recent blog by DaveScot that illustrates the refining of the ID theory that is presently taking place;

    Genetic Entropy and Malarial Parasite P. falciparum

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....alciparum/

    Hope it helps

  203. bornagain77:

    Thank you for the kind words. I really think that we should become more involved in technical problems regarding molecular biology.

    Many assumptions of evolutionary biology are probably rather arbitrary. I think there is a great abundance of interesting facts and of problems at that level, but most of them are not correctly emphasized becaused they cannot really be explained by the standard model.

    I invite again those interested to join the thread about the de novo protein gene, because we could discuss some interesting aspects there (also because here, at 206 posts, the air is rather heavy!).

  204. 204

    In regards to the ancient bacteria studies, since they have actually revived the ancient bacteria, I think a VERY interesting “fitness” test between ancient and modern bacteria can be performed that very well may give strong support to the “Conservation of Information/Genetic Entropy” model of ID. I firmly believe it is very possible that the ancient bacteria will demonstrate a measurable amount of fitness over its very close DNA-wise, but different, ancestor. (Just as ancient lineages of cichlid fishes demostrate robustness over their descendent sub-species)
    The only bugs in this test that I can see is the environmental differences between now and 30 million years ago as well as the differences from now and 250 million years ago as well it is possible that God created slightly different strains of the same bacteria for the differing environments Yet if God indeed created these particular strains of bacteria in one time events, which I highly suspect he did from the pattern in the fossil evidence as well as present studies of genetic diversity, then the conservation of information principle should prove robust and demonstrate itself in the test. I love the possibilty that such a test of fitness will reveal in concrete terms, over millions of years of time, the foundational principles for conservation of information and for Genetic Entropy. And provide another crushing blow against Darwinism.

  205. Here is the abstract of a further study about the 250 million years old bacteria:

    Fatty acid and DNA analyses of Permian bacteria isolated from ancient salt crystals reveal differences with their modern relatives.

    Vreeland RH, Rosenzweig WD, Lowenstein T, Satterfield C, Ventosa A.
    Department of Biology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA 19383, USA. [email protected]

    The isolation of living microorganisms from primary 250-million-year-old (MYA) salt crystals has been questioned by several researchers. The most intense discussion has arisen from questions about the texture and age of the crystals used, the ability of organisms to survive 250 million years when exposed to environmental factors such as radiation and the close similarity between 16S rRNA sequences in the Permian and modern microbes. The data in this manuscript are not meant to provide support for the antiquity of the isolated bacterial strains. Rather, the data presents several comparisons between the Permian microbes and other isolates to which they appear related. The analyses include whole cell fatty acid profiling, DNA-DNA hybridizations, ribotyping, and random amplified polymorphic DNA amplification (RAPD). These data show that the Permian strains, studied here, differ significantly from their more modern relatives. These differences are accumulating in both phenotypic and molecular areas of the cells. At the fatty acid level the differences are approaching but have not reached separate species status. At the molecular level the variation appears to be distributed across the genome and within the gene regions flanking the highly conserved 16S rRNA itself. The data show that these bacteria are not identical and help to rule out questions of contamination by putatively modern strains.

  206. 206

    gpuccio,
    Thanks for the study. In all their analysis, I do not see a head to head fitness test. You would surely think a head to head fitness test would have been performed by them so as they could prove the evolution of bacteria.
    Am I missing it somewhere? Out of all their test a fitness test would have been one of the simplest to perform by far.
    Thanks for the study once again, I was going to further explore this line of study myself this morning.

  207. 207
    Granville Sewell

    There is no controversy over the major issues with evolution, only minor ones such as “is the sudden appearance of higher categories a phenomenon of evolution or of the record only” (G.G.Simpson), or what is the cause of evolution, or is the apparent design in living things real or only an illusion.

  208. 208

    Fatty acid and DNA analyses of Permian bacteria isolated from ancient

    http://www.wcupa.edu/abi/Extre....._et_al.pdf

    This following study has some hard numbers for what evolution expects for ancient bacteria and what is actually observed for the suspected 250 million year old bacteria.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11734907

    abstract:

    Curiously modern DNA for a “250 million-year-old” bacterium.
    Nickle DC, Learn GH, Rain MW, Mullins JI, Mittler JE.

    Studies of ancient DNA have attracted considerable attention in scientific journals and the popular press. Several of the more extreme claims for ancient DNA have been questioned on biochemical grounds (i.e., DNA surviving longer than expected) and evolutionary grounds (i.e., nucleotide substitution patterns not matching theoretical expectations for ancient DNA). A recent letter to Nature from Vreeland et al. (2000), however, tops all others with respect to age and condition of the specimen. These researchers extracted and cultured a bacterium from an inclusion body from what they claim is a 250 million-year (Myr)-old salt crystal. If substantiated, this observation could fundamentally alter views about bacterial physiology, ecology and evolution. Here we report on molecular evolutionary analyses of the 16S rDNA from this specimen. We find that 2-9-3 differs from a modern halophile, Salibacillus marismortui, by just 3 unambiguous bp in 16S rDNA, versus the approximately 59 bp that would be expected if these bacteria evolved at the same rate as other bacteria. We show, using a Poisson distribution, that unless it can be shown that S. marismortui evolves 5 to 10 times more slowly than other bacteria for which 16S rDNA substitution rates have been established, Vreeland et al.’s claim would be rejected at the 0.05 level. Also, a molecular clock test and a relative rates test fail to substantiate Vreeland et al.’s claim that strain 2-9-3 is a 250-Myr-old bacterium. The report of Vreeland et al. thus falls into a long series of suspect ancient DNA studies. (the only thing that I think is suspect in the whole thing is the evolutionary theory)

    The controversy over exact age continued as reported in this site:

    http://scienceweek.com/2005/sw051118-1.htm

    But the research group that discovered the (ancient) bacterium has followed up the original report with publications that seek to counter each of these criticisms. In 2002, the group reported their calculation that the degree of genetic damage caused by normal traces of radioactive potassium-40 in the surrounding rock was not great enough to rule out a quarter-billion years of bacterial survival.

    Yet Vreeland is quite the scientist and conducted this following study to further solidify his claim for 250 million years ago against criticisms of recent deposit of the “ancient bacteria..

    New evidence for 250 Ma age of halotolerant bacterium from a Permian Salt Crystal (2005)

    http://cache.search.yahoo-ht2......1&.intl=us

    excerpt:

    CONCLUSIONS
    We conclude that the halite cement crystals
    at 564 m in the Salado Formation formed syn-
    depositionally in shallow subsurface cavities
    by evaporative concentration of Late Permian
    seawater. It was in such an environment that
    the ?uid inclusion and the spore of Virgiba-
    cillus sp. 2–9-3 were likely trapped in the ha-
    lite crystal cement. These results con?ne the
    age of trapping of Virgibacillus sp. 2–9-3, as-
    suming entrapment in a brine inclusion, to the
    time of deposition of the Salado salts, 250 Ma.

    I still did not see a fitness test done with its modern decendent. It seems they are more worried whether it is actually 250 million years old than if it will demonstrate a fitness increase.

    Am I missing something gpuccio? anyone? Surely they would have performed the test for fitness don’t you think?

  209. bornagain77:

    Frankly, I don’t think they have done any fitness test. They probably know well, as do I, that the fitness would be exactly the same.

  210. 210

    cont. from this study

    Fatty acid and DNA analyses of Permian bacteria isolated from ancient;

    The di?erences between 2-9-3 and V. marismortui could certainly be the result of di?erences in gene content, a hypothesis readily testable with modern
    genomic technology. In fact, based upon the data being obtained during numerous comparisons of the four Permian organisms and V. marismortui sequencing the
    entire genome of these microbes may be the only way to determine the exact degree of relatedness between these organisms. Another possibility might be that free-
    living microbes in low nutrient, hypersaline environments may be evolving at rates that are slower than
    those calculated from other cultures. There is certainly no doubt that bacteria possess the capacity for rapid evolution and di?erentiation (No doubt of rapid evolution?). One need only look to such things as antibiotic resistance (LOL) and biodegradation for con?rmation. However, having the capacity to change rapidly does not necessarily require that one do so.
    In the months since their initial publication, the data and claims about Permian microbes (Vreeland et al.2000) have been intensely questioned and scrutinized as has been described above. The data presented here show unequivocal di?erences between four Permian
    strains and microbes isolated from present day environments. In addition, the geological evidence (Vreeland et al.2000; Powers et al.2001; Satter?eld et al.2005) supports the 250-million year age of the salt
    crystals. The data show that these bacteria are not identical. They are most likely related at the subspecies
    level. These data do help to rule out questions of contamination by putatively modern strains during the original isolation.

    It seems Vreeland has really done his science, but I still don’t see the fitness test with the suspected sub-species.

  211. 211

    gpuccio,
    you state:
    Frankly, I don’t think they have done any fitness test. They probably know well, as do I, that the fitness would be exactly the same.

    This is where I somewhat disagree with you, for the most likely highly polyconstrained nature of the information in the genome will warrant that a loss of information will accompany the sub-speciation. As demonstrated repeatidly with antibiotic resistance this increased fitness to a “hostile” environment always comes at a loss of overall functionality of the bacteria (most times with single point mutations). Thus I feel strongly that any bacteria that has been degraded through several hostile environments over millions of years will demonstrate a consistent loss of fitness from the parent strain since the genome has been degraded several times over that millions of years by differing environmental factors.

    The possibility is very real that Genetic Entropy will by demonstrated conclusively even in the sub-species “native’ environment because of this factor.

  212. 212

    bornagain77 said:

    As demonstrated repeatidly with antibiotic resistance this increased fitness to a “hostile” environment always comes at a loss of overall functionality of the bacteria (most times with single point mutations).

    What “overall functionality” are you referring to? The primary business of bacteria is sustenance and reproduction, and if antibiotic resistance promotes those (and it undeniably does), what “functionality” suffers?

  213. 213

    Lormy,
    Many times naturalists will offer “conclusive” proof for evolution by showing bacteria that have become resistant to a certain antibiotics such as penicillin. When penicillin was first discovered, all the gram positive cocci were susceptible to it. Now 40% of the bacteria Strep pneumo are resistant. Yet, the mutation to DNA that makes Strep pneumo resistant to penicillin results in the loss of a protein function for the bacteria (called, in the usual utilitarian manner, penicillin-binding-protein). A mutation occurred in the DNA leading to a bacterial protein that no longer interacts with the antibiotic and the bacteria survive. Although they survive well in this environment, it has come at a cost. The altered protein is less efficient in performing its normal function. In an environment without antibiotics, the non-mutant bacteria survive better because the mutant bacteria cannot compete as well. So as you can see, the bacteria did adapt, but it came at a loss of function in a protein of the bacteria, loss of genetic information in the DNA of the bacteria, and it also lessened the bacteria’s overall fitness for survival. Scientifically, it is better to say that the bacteria devolved in accordance with the principle of genetic entropy, instead of evolved against this primary principle of how “poly-constrained information” will act in organisms (Sanford; Genetic Entropy 2005)(Dembski Conservation of Information). As well, all other observed adaptations of bacteria to “new” environments have been proven to be the result of such degrading of preexisting molecular abilities.

    This following articles have lists of how different bacteria have been degraded in developing resistance for the different antibiotics that have been developed by man:

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

    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp
    http://www.trueorigin.org/camplist.asp

    excerpt;

    Table I. Mutation Phenotypes Leading to Resistances of Specific Antibiotics.

    Antibiotic Phenotype Providing Resistance

    Actinonin -Loss of enzyme activity

    Ampicillin -SOS response halting cell division

    Azithromycin -Loss of a regulatory protein

    Chloramphenicol -Reduced formation of a porin or a regulatory protein

    Ciprofloxacin -Loss of a porin or loss of a regulatory protein

    Erythromycin -Reduced affinity to 23S rRNA or loss of a regulatory protein

    Fluoroquinolones -Loss of affinity to gyrase

    Imioenem -Reduced formation of a porin

    Kanamycin -Reduced formation of a transport protein

    Nalidixic Acid Loss or inactivation of a regulatory protein

    Rifampin -Loss of affinity to RNA polymerase

    Streptomycin -Reduced affinity to 16S rRNA or reduction of transport activity

    Tetracycline -Reduced formation of a porin or a regulatory protein

    Zittermicin A -Loss of proton motive force

    Hope that helps Lormy.

  214. 214

    gpuccio,
    I wonder if you think that Vreeland will mind someone writing and asking if he has performed fitness test between ancient and modern bacteria. I wouldn’t want too since I will most likely use the wrong wording for molecular-biology, but if you think he will not mind someone asking, Do you think you could help me in getting an answer from him?

  215. bornagain77:

    I don’t know… Let me know more in detail what kind of help you need. If I can, I will be happy to help you.

    You see, the fact is that there seems to be not great genomic difference between the old and the new bacteria. It is not even a speciation. They are the same species, with some differences. My impression is that bacteria and archea of today are probably very similar to those of 4 billion years ago.

    I understand your point about genetic entropy, but don’t you thing that genomes are able to defend, in many ways, their precious information? Maybe they are more efficient than we think in doing that.

  216. 216

    gpuccio,

    All sub-speciation events, that I have seen proof of, occur because of loss of genetic information. While you are correct in bacteria having a tremendous ability to resist change we still find that:

    We find that 2-9-3 differs from a modern halophile, Salibacillus marismortui, by just 3 unambiguous bp in 16S rDNA, versus the approximately 59 bp that would be expected if these bacteria evolved at the same rate as other bacteria.

    Thus if just one section of the genome has suffered a 3 bp substitution then I am inclined to think a small but measurable amount of genetic entropy has occured since the parent strain was introduced by God that will show up in a head to head fitness test with all nacent “sub-species”.

    As well, Antibiotic resistant bacteria cannot even compete with the parent strain after only one mutation in head to head fitness tests(compensatory mutations not withstanding). Also, Remember the trench warfare, that was measurable by Behe, that occurred in malaria with just a couple point mutations. Even if fitness is equal in the bacteria I would still like to know the correct answer for the tests.
    As far as you perhaps helping me; if you know how to properly word the question yourself or if you know someone of Vreeland’s stature who could ask him if he has done comparitive fitness tests, I think I would be much more likely to get a responce from him than if I asked in my severely limited language. If I wrote it he would most likely laugh at some stupid wording I accidently used.

    If you decide to help or to ask someone to help here is his e-mail;

    Vreeland RH, Rosenzweig WD, Lowenstein T, Satterfield C, Ventosa A.
    Department of Biology, West Chester University, West Chester, PA 19383, USA. [email protected]

  217. bornagain77:

    I’ll give some thought to that, but I must confess that I have no clear idea of what form such a “fitness test” could practically have (apart form just cultivating the two strains together, which would probably show nothing). I am not a microbiologist, but I think that the concept of fitness is strictly dependent from a specific environment.

  218. 218

    This following video may help give you a clearer picture of what type of testing I’m looking for in this case:

    Is antibiotic resistance evidence for Darwinian evolution?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYaU4moNEBU

    Hope it helps
    Let me know what you think.
    I was thinking I could draw up a rough draft and have you check it for errors.

  219. bornagain77:

    “I was thinking I could draw up a rough draft and have you check it for errors.”

    That’s OK for me.

  220. Hello everyone I’m knew on this site and I’ve gained a strong interest over the last year intelligent design. Just a fact regarding the controversy of this theory that I think is always worth metioning, the verdict of the so called “historical trial” of judge jones was pretty much a direct cut and paste from the ACLU. Yet you have people who call ID corrupt.

  221. I noticed antibiodic resistance bacteria was another topic being discussed. Evolutionists love to hide the fact that once the bacteria becomes resistant to the antibiodics, it also gets so worn down that the mutation causes them to die when there put with bacteria that havent been exposed. So really the mutation caused them to die.

  222. 222

    gpuccio, Here is the very rough draft. Please feel free to correct it in any measure necessary.

    Dr. Vreeland,
    In looking through your studies on the suspected 250 million year old bacteria, I noticed that you used several test at the molecular level to prove that the bacteria were indeed different than modern strains, and that the suspected 250 million year old bacteria were indeed not modern contaminants. I was very impressed with your work and for what its worth I commend you on you on your excellent practice of science. Yet, a friend and I, in our brief looked at your paper (Fatty acid and DNA analyses of Permian bacteria) could not find a “fitness cost” test. The test which is commonly preformed on antibiotic resistant bacteria to find if a robust level of complexity has evolved. I was wondering if you have done such a measure for “fitness cost” between the suspected 250 Ma bacteria and any or all of its suspected decendent strains.
    We are debating whether if any of the strains will display evolution, whether any of them will stay the same, or whether any of them regressed in regards to the parent strain (tested in both the suspected ancient “hyper-saline environment and in the present environment).If you have done any “fitness cost” testing in this area of investigation we would greatly appreciate your to know results so that we know the truth regarding this matter.

    With Respect,
    Phil C.

  223. bornagain77:

    OK, I’ll work on it and post here my version. Stay tuned.

  224. Yet, a friend and I, in our brief looked at your paper (Fatty acid and DNA analyses of Permian bacteria) could not find a “fitness cost” test. The test which is commonly preformed on antibiotic resistant bacteria to find if a robust level of complexity has evolved. I was wondering if you have done such a measure for “fitness cost” between the suspected 250 Ma bacteria and any or all of its suspected decendent strains.

    As a professional, I can tell you that by this point the recipient of the letter will have decided that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    You would do better by asking whether they had compared the fitness of the ancient strain to modern bacteria. It might be good to be clear about what environment you think it should be tested in – obviously testing in a wrong environment will give useless results. The other problem with comparing fitnesses is evolution might have been more determined by Red Queen processes, so the fitness in the natal environment may not have changed, but the environment might have changed.

  225. Bob O’H:

    I agree with your comments at #227. I think bornagain77 is thinking of just a simple co-culture in standard conditions, as is shown in the video he linked, where antibiotic resistant bacteria succunb to their “normal” counterpart when cultured again in normal conditions.

    Do you thimk that could be a reasonable test? Personally, I don’t think it could detect any different fitness in this case, but who knows?

    As I am going to write a revised version of the question for bornagain, I would appreciate your input.

  226. 226

    Bob O’H
    Thanks for your input. I was lokking for test in “most likely” ancient environment as well as test in modern environment, for I have a strong hunch that the ancient will actually perform better in both enviroments since the descendent strains have most likely been through several “hostile” environments in 250 million years, Environments that have degraded their genetic information in a sequential manner to where they will show a consistent loss of fitness no matter which environment (modern or ancient) they are compared to the parent strain in.

    Thanks for your input and as gpuccio stated we would appreciate any further input that would help insure we get a positive reponse.

  227. 227

    Bob O’H,
    As gpuccio noted, he thinks the test will show no difference in (reproductive) fitness , whereas I think the ancient will show a more robust (reproductive fitness in both ancient and modern environments, so if you don’t mind me asking what do you think such a test will show for each environment.

  228. 228

    A little off topic:

    What are probiotics?

    http://health.yahoo.com/digest.....2spec.html

    they suggest the preceding line of defence to combat “superbugs here:

    Gut superbug causing more illnesses, deaths

    http://health.yahoo.com/news/a.....teria.html

    Thus the “fitness cost” test is, in an auxillary fashion, actually effectively being used to bring the “superbugs” into check. But instead of the test tube, the human gut is where the “beneficial” bacteria are reintroduced to outcompete the mutated bacteria into oblivion.

  229. bornagain77:

    As I promised, I have tried to re-write you text in a way which could be more technically detailed. Here it is:

    Dr. Vreeland,

    In looking through your studies on the suspected 250 million year old bacteria, I noticed that you showed that, although the “ancient” strain is very similar to the modern counterpart, there are several differences at the molecular level ehich can suggest that the bacteria were indeed different than modern strains, and that the suspected 250 million year old bacteria were indeed not modern contaminants.

    I was very impressed with your work and for what its worth I commend you on you on your excellent practice of science. Yet, a friend and I, in our brief looking at your paper (Fatty acid and DNA analyses of Permian bacteria) jusct wondered if it could be possible to campare the ancient starin with the modern one in a “fitness test”, to show if the differences bewteen the two strains could imply a funcional difference in fitness. The simplest way to do that, in our opinion, could be to have the two strains co-cultured in standard conditions, or in any culture condition which may appear appropriate to test specific fitness issues, and see if one of the two strains shows a fitness advantage. The rationale for that is that, if we assume that the ancirnt strain is in some way a putative “ancestor” for the modern one, it would be interesting to understand if any fitness difference can be observed between the two strains in controlled laboratory conditions.

    That would be perinent in any evolutionary reasoning about this really interesting case, where we could be in the lucky position of being able to directly compare an ancient ancestor and its supposed modern descendant from a functional point of view.

    With Respect,
    Phil C.

  230. 230

    Thanks gpuccio,
    Looks like the draft may be getting closer, (save for my grammer mistakes) and although I have hardly a clue for proper wording in this particular field of study(LOL).

    As well, I was thinking another avenue of inquiry may be in the amber bacteria that were revived. The scientist conducting the research (Cano) seems to be further along in his venture in some avenues, and it seems very likely he may have already done this type of testing. (At least that’s the impression I get when i read he has developed “new antibiotics”.)
    I haven’t dug too deeply into Cano’s work but this is what I found so far on his work on 25 to 40 million year old amber:

    Cano claims he resurrected at least 30 to 40 species of bacteria from ancient spores, and grew them on culture plates. Now he’s analyzing those bacteria. Most, he says, are members of the genus Bacillus, an ancient, spore-forming group of bacteria that is widely distributed today. Some members of the genus (Bacillus thuringiensis) are used for biological control of insects.

    as well as this

    Revival and identification of bacterial spores in 25- to 40-million-year-old Dominican amber. Cano RJ, Borucki MK
    Science 1995 May 19;268(5213):1060-4
    Published erratum appears in Science 1995 Jun 2;268(5215):1265
    Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 93407, USA.

    A bacterial spore was revived, cultured, and identified from the abdominal contents of extinct bees preserved for 25 to 40 million years in buried Dominican amber. Rigorous surface decontamination of the amber and aseptic procedures were used during the recovery of the bacterium. Several lines of evidence indicated that the isolated bacterium was of ancient origin and not an extant contaminant. The characteristic enzymatic, biochemical, and 16S ribosomal DNA profiles indicated that the ancient bacterium is most closely related to extant Bacillus sphaericus.

    As well, gpuccio, it seems that ancient bacteria coming from ancient amber will take away many of the criticisms that Vreeland has had to overcome in his work and thus give the results for any Genetic Entropy that may be found in ancient bacteria comparisons of Vreeland’s work much more traction, to all lines of ancient bacterial evidence that may be gathered.

    And if I recall correctly, the differences he found were similar to Vreeland’s, that is to say that the molecular differences are far enough apart to rule out modern contaminants yet close enough to rule out evolution during that time.
    I firmly believe that this pending evidence could be a minor treasure trove for ID.

  231. 231

    gpuccio,

    Here is a little more background on Vreeland’s work:

    Row over ancient bacteria

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci.....375505.stm

    Also here is a science blog that goes into some detail and is very informative on the matter:

    http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bi.....9&m=1

    excerpt from blog;

    Modulous, you are correct to see the discovery of ancient bacteria DNA as problematic for mainstream evo assumptions, but the evo solution is basically just to deny the evidence, and that’s frankly why I have a real problem with evolutionism. Evos start with ToE as the primary fact and then use that to argue whether data is correct or not, and then claim because all the data they accept agrees with ToE, that the theory is substantiated. It’s circular reasoning.

    Let’s look at the research on this finding since.

    The report elicited strong skepticism from many quarters. Biological chemists doubted that nucleic acids could remain pristine over such time periods. Even had the bacterium hibernated as a hardy spore, its DNA surely would have broken down over 250,000 millennia, if not from the barrage of ultraviolet light during its long-ago residence on the surface, then from naturally occurring terrestrial radiation over the Earth’s evolution.

    Geologists questioned the age of the fluid inclusions, arguing that certain features of the Salado Formation (the source of the halite crystal) suggested that flaws in the rock had permitted the intrusion of more recent fluid (which, by inference, had carried more recent bacteria into the ancient rock).

    Geneticists pointed out that one of the bellwether genes that the group had sequenced—one that encodes the so-called 16S ribosomal subunit—was far too similar to its counterpart in another strain of bacteria. According to this critique, either the “ancient” bacterium was actually a contaminant, or its descendants had inexplicably failed to change in the past 250 million years.

    Yet Vreeland and an expanding circle of collaborators have followed up the original report with publications that seek to counter each of these criticisms. In 2002, he and two West Chester University colleagues reported in the International Journal of Radiation Biology their calculation that the degree of genetic damage caused by normal traces of radioactive potassium-40 in the surrounding rock was not great enough to rule out a quarter-billion years of bacterial survival. Scratch objection number 1.

    In April of 2005, the three authors from the Nature paper teamed with Tim K. Lowenstein, a geologist at Binghamton University in New York, and his student, Cindy L. Satterfield, in publishing a detailed report in the journal Geology. To test the idea put forth by critics that inclusions in the salt crystals were newer than the surrounding rock, they measured the temperature of original crystallization for samples from the same part of the Salado Formation that yielded Virgibacillus sp. 2-9-3. The team reasoned that if microbe-carrying fluid had recently reached the deeply buried salt deposit and recrystallized, the temperatures of those crystallizations would be similar. Instead, they found the opposite: The results ranged from 17 to 37 degrees Celsius, or about 63 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit, a distribution that suggests seasonal climatic variation. In other words, the crystals that formed around pockets of fluid (and presumably bacteria) were created on or near the surface instead of far underground.

    A second, more definitive, line of investigation examined the concentrations of various ions in the fluid inclusions. The balance of ions in seawater changes over geological time, so measuring them can provide an approximate date at which the saltwater crystallized. The ion concentrations in the halite inclusions matched those of oceans in the Permian period—a profile that is distinct from the seawater of today and also from larger pockets of trapped brine elsewhere in the Salado. As a final test, the team plans to use an ultrasensitive mass spectrometer to date tiny, individual inclusions by the rubidium-strontium method (87Rb decays into 87Sr with a half-life of 49 billion years). Scratch objection number 2.

    The third criticism, based on DNA similarities, has been harder to dismiss. Despite a protocol of sterilization and controls that even critics describe as “heroic,” contamination remained a potential source of the 2-9-3 bacterium based on its molecular resemblance to current strains. Understandably, Vreeland defends the work against charges of contamination. He even views the genetic objections as the least valid, stating that of all the challenges (geologic, chemical and genetic), “this is by far the weakest of the critiques.”

    http://www.americanscientist.o.....etid/47368

    All of the criticisms have been met with the sole exception that this cannot be ancient DNA because it’s so similar to younger bacteria DNA that this doesn’t fit with evo theories on the molecular clock, but is this an acceptable argument?

    No. It’s like saying, hey, we know theory A is true, and so any fact that disagrees with theory A must be false, and so this piece of data is false. It’s not real science, imo. Heck, even the critics of Vreeland state the tactics used to prevent contanimation are “herioc”,but that doesn’t really matter. They will argue any fact that disagrees with them must be the result of contanimation or some other issue, unless perhaps Vreeland can find a way to say the data really doesn’t conflict, and then all the evos will say, hey, this is a good find or some such.

    Some more evidence:

    April 11, 2005 — A new study has confirmed that the brine and salt crystals in which scientists found a controversial 250-million-year-old bacteria truly form a quarter-billion-year time capsule.

    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/.....tlife.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci.....375505.stm

    Edited by randman, 08-14-2006 09:16 PM: No reason given.

  232. 232

    gpuccio,
    I believe another criticism leveled against Vreeland is that his work in reviving ancient bacteria was not duplicated, yet here is a study that seems to duplicate his findings in reviving ancient bacteria although the species appears to be novel with no decendent species:

    http://mic.sgmjournals.org/cgi.....45/12/3565

    Very similar strains of Halococcus salifodinae are found in geographically separated Permo-Triassic salt deposits

    Helga Stan-Lotter1, Terry J. McGenity2, Andrea Legat1, Ewald B. M. Denner3, Kurt Glaser1, Karl O. Stetter4 and Gerhar Wanner5

    Abstract:

    The authors have previously isolated a novel extremely halophilic archaeon, Halococcus salifodinae BIp, from Austrian rock salt deposited about 250 million years ago. In this study they compared strain BIp with two other halococci isolated independently from geographically distant salt deposits of similar age, and with two recent isolates (N1 and H2) from the same site as strain Blp. Strain BG2/2 was from a salt mine in Germany and strain Br3 from a halite deposit in England; both resembled Hc. salifodinae BIp in cellular and colonial morphology. Strains BIp, BG2/2 and Br3 had identical 16S rRNA sequences, very similar whole-cell protein patterns, which were different from those of other halococci, similar G+C contents and identical sequences in a 108-base insertion in their 5S rRNA gene. Other similarities included composition and relative abundances of polar lipids, antibiotic susceptibility, enzymic activities and Fourier-transform infrared spectra. Strains N1 and H2 showed similar morphology, whole-cell protein patterns and biochemical characteristics as strains BIp, Br3 and BG2/2. Their partial 16S rRNA sequences (682 and 641 bases, respectively) were indistinguishable from those of strains BIp, Br3 and BG2/2. Therefore strains N1 and H2 can be considered as reisolates of Hc. salifodinae which were obtained 8 years after the first samples were taken from that mine. The results presented suggest that viable halophilic archaea, which belong to the same species, occur in widely separated evaporite locations of similar geological age, and support the notion that these halophilic isolates from subterranean salt deposits may be the remnants of populations which inhabited ancient hypersaline seas.

  233. 233

    gpuccio,
    In Digging a little deeper to Cano’s work I found this.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/f.....gewanted=2

    excerpt:

    Dr. Cano said that most of the ancient microorganisms he had cultured were strains of Bacillus sphaericus, a harmless bacterium common today in soil and in the bodies of insects. Whether or not the strains of Bacillus sphaericus found in amber are essentially identical to modern bacteria remains to be seen; skeptics who contend that they are the same say that this shows the “ancient” bacteria to be nothing more than modern contamination.

    But 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, amber-sealed Bacillus sphaericus and that of its modern counterpart. The small genetic differences could be explained as the result of evolutionary change over 30 million years, during which modern Bacillus sphaericus diverged from its ancient form, he said.

    Skeptics point out, however, that the slight genetic difference might also be explained in terms of normal variation between individual bacteria. Biologists are likely to argue over this point for some time.

    —-

    Thus gpuccio, it appears that Cano’s work lines up with Vreeland’s as well as the revival of the apparent extinct species by Helga Stan-Lotter, makes the case airtight imo that these are indeed ancient. Thus all lines for genetic entropy/conservation of information, that may be able to be drawn from here on out will stand against criticism.

  234. 234

    a little more on Cano,

    Over the past few years, Cano and his team have claimed to have revived a whole range of microorganisms from dormant spores trapped in amber (New Scientist, Science, 27 May 1995, p 18). Most of the microorganisms have been very similar to living examples, but their latest bacterium is quite unlike modern species of Staphylococcus.

    Cano says that the bacteria are very unusual, often multiplying to form clusters that resemble a ship’s wheel. And whereas the cell walls of today’s Staphylococcus are rich in the amino acid L-lysine, this substance is not found in S. succinus. Instead, their cell walls are laden with diaminopimelic acids and a fatty acid called tuberculostearic acid, which are found in the walls of modern Corynebacterium. “It’s like science fiction, but it’s cool,” says Cano, who is submitting his findings for publication to the International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology.

    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....-team.html

  235. 235

    gpuccio,

    this is what Dr. Cano wrote back in regards to comparing ancient and modern bacteria;

    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. No antimicrobial panel was used. This is all the data we have and if you want specifics I’ll have
    to dig through my old notebooks. But it’s there somewhere.

    Gpuccio, correct me if I’m wrong but this shows a “narrowing” of flexibility for the modern bacteria thus conforming to genetic entropy.

    I wrote him back asking for more specifics.

    Well, what do you think gpuccio?

  236. bornagain77:

    Well, Cano’s answer seems to point to some narrowing of function, as you say, but still it is too vague. It would be interesting to know wxactly what the observed differences, and if they could be ascribed to some difference in the proteomes and in the genomes, and if those differences can be intepreted in evolutionary context. In other words, a lot of difficult work.

    In scientific research, after all, all amounts to available resources…

  237. 237

    Dr. Cano wrote me back to say he doesn’t have an opinion one way or the other as far as gaining or losing complexity. So I asked (begged) him for more detailed information so the guys around here could do a detailed analysis of the differences. (Because of EXPELLED) I assured him that his personal opinion will be stated clearly. In which his stated opinion is firmly undecided as to whether it has gained or lost complexity.

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