Home » Intelligent Design » “Another two-fingered salute to the opponents of evolution”

“Another two-fingered salute to the opponents of evolution”

New Scientist February 16, 2008 Dan Jones Pg. 40-43 heavily edited. Full text here.

“William Paley, who argued that the natural world is full of designed complexity which must have a creator, would have considered the bacterial flagellum an excellent example. The flagellum, with its intricate arrangement of interconnecting parts, looks no less designed than a watch.

Modern biology, of course, has no need for omniscient designers. Evolution - Richard Dawkins’s blind watchmaker – is all that is needed to explain the origin of complexity in nature.

The bacterial flagellum has become a focal point in science’s ongoing struggle against unreason.

The study of complex molecular systems has been given added impetus by the ID movement. ID claims that such systems cannot be explained by the stepwise process of natural selection.

The bacterial flagellum is a prime example of a complex molecular system – an intricate nanomachine beyond the craft of any human engineer.

Until recently biologists all too often fell back on the assertion that “bacterial flagella evolved and that is that”.

In the 1990s, microbiologists discovered “type III secretion systems”. Variants of seven T3SS proteins are found in the flagellum, strong evidence that the two systems evolved from a common ancestor. “The most parsimonious explanation is that the T3SS arose later.

Bacterial flagella are all built to roughly the same specifications, additional strong evidence that the flagellum evolved, as it is exactly what you would expect to see if today’s flagella had diversified from a common ancestor.

Why would an intelligent designer go to all the trouble of reinventing the flagellum over and over and reinventing the basic design twice more in the other two domains of life?

All bacterial flagella have much in common – exactly what you would expect if they shared a common ancestor. 23 of the proteins present in all, are required for a fully functional flagellum. Homology provides incontrovertible evidence that bacterial flagella are cobbled together from recycled components of other systems through gene duplication and diversification.

The scientific imperative is not to reconstruct the entire process but simply to prove that the evolution of the flagellum is plausible using well-established natural processes.”

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

55 Responses to “Another two-fingered salute to the opponents of evolution”

  1. Ah, the good old plausibility argument, commonly known as the argument from credulity.

    It’s the very implausibility of these structures which demands an explanation.

    Is it too much to ask what it is that makes a “Darwinian” explanation plausible?

    Is it possible that the only thing that makes the Darwinian explanation plausible, is the perceived implausibility of the alternative?

    I think so, what say you?

  2. From the article: “Why would an intelligent designer go to all the trouble of reinventing the flagellum over and over and reinventing the basic design twice more in the other two domains of life?”

    I don’t think this guy understands intelligent design. The electric bulb above our kitchen sink – which “emerged” just last year – is virtually identical to the bulb that was in my parent’s dining room over fifty years ago. But it was hardly “reinvented”.

    It appears this guy has a strange mix of both evolution and design concepts muddled together in his head. Take note, theistic evolutionists!

  3. You skipped the conclusion of the article:

    That won’t be enough for some opponents of evolution, of course. But just as it wasn’t good enough for biologists to say “bacterial flagella evolved and that is that”, neither is it good enough for defenders of ID to say “bacterial flagella are designed and that is that”. Evolutionary biologists have put their house in order. It’s time for their opponents to do the same.

  4. Just a straw man argument. Irreducible complexity says that if you take away any of the parts it will cease to function. It does not say all of the parts are individually useless. The BF could not have evolved since there is no stepwise evolutionary path. Jones abuses the definition of IC and then uses homologies as a plausible argument but admits in the end ‘The evolutionary events linking flagella and T3SSs are not clear.’ I thought he may be making a strong point, but in the end he is using their typical fallacious argumentation. He confirms what Behe has said that no one has been able to show that the BF is not IC.

  5. The scientific imperative is not to reconstruct the entire process but simply to prove that the evolution of the flagellum is plausible using well-established natural processes.
    Well, so much for actual knowledge coming out of the scientific process.

  6. Mung,

    Nearly all the arguments in the evolution debate are that the alternatives are false, therefore “consider my theory as the only one left standing.”

    ID’s arguments are all about Darwinian ideas being false and that random process cannot explain complexity. Therefore it must be intelligence that caused the result.

    Darwin himself mainly used negative arguments based on his understanding of the Christian God that such a God would never have created this way.

    Other materialist argue both these negative points of views to say there is another model of evolution that causes large changes in genomes to happen quickly. Allen MacNeill, Provine and Margulis are of this school.

    There is no direct evidence of anything so all is negative.

  7. We all know that these guys don’t like ID. We are probably never going to win them over to our cause.

    So, maybe we should just ignore them and listen to our own guys.

  8. Imagination has replaced objective testing as the bedrock of science.

    This is a sad day for all mankind.

    On another note:

    Is the TTSS also IC?

    Also to get the bacterial flagellum the proteins used are not just singular units. And some have to be ferried to their destination to avoid joining at the wrong place.

    And there is a cap at the end of the filament that “dances” to allow new proteins to connect to the ends. (see apendix C page 266/ 67 in “The Edge of Evolution”)

    >”Might there be some as-yet-undiscovered natural process that would explain biochemical complexity? No one would be foolish enough to categorically deny the possibility. Nonetheless, we can say that if there is such a process, no one has a clue how it would work. Further, it would go against all human experience, like postulating that a natural process might explain computers. Dr Behe pages 203-4 DBB (bold added)

    The BF is IC. The assembly instructions are also IC. And to add to that there needs to be a communication channel in place so that the organism can use and control it.

    see also the Animation of tye construction of a flagellum

  9. The whole idea that “God wouldn’t do it this way or that” is absolutely the most bogus argument in this whole debate. How on earth can anyone think that they would know what a Creator would or would not do?

    Look at artists/creators of human art whether it be paint, sculpture, music… The very thing that anyone says the artist would or would not do turns out to be exactly what the artist does to create something interesting and unique.

    That is what artists and creators do. I have absolutely no way or knowing what another human being would or would not do. By what stretch of any imagination do I presume to know what a Creator of the Universe would or would not do?

    It is so ludicrous that words fail me to describe just how ludicrous.

    Remember too, in art and in the biological world, we only see the finished product. To discover the actual method by which a thing was created, only the artist/creator himself can say.

    We don’t know how DaVinci fashioned Mona Lisa’s smile; we can only speculate. But to say, “DaVinci wouldn’t have done this or that…” Unless you are DaVinci, you cannot know.

  10. glennj,

    The whole idea that “God wouldn’t do it this way or that” is absolutely the most bogus argument in this whole debate. How on earth can anyone think that they would know what a Creator would or would not do?

    Quite right. Which also applies, of course, to the claim that God wouldn’t work entirely through evolution.

  11. larynormanfan:

    Quite right. Which also applies, of course, to the claim that God wouldn’t work entirely through evolution.

    Again, quite right. Show me an evidenciary case that God did do it all through natural means, through nothing more than a set of laws, and I will be happy with that. However, the evidence suggests otherwise. Let’s consider the data, not just the philosophy.

  12. All bacterial flagella have much in common – exactly what you would expect if they shared a common ancestor.

    Just like Wolves, Coyotes, Poodles, Beagles, Great Danes share a common ancestor. So what? It doesn’t explain the wagging tail. Down Pepe! Down boy!

  13. “Until recently biologists all too often fell back on the assertion that “bacterial flagella evolved and that is that”.”

    Well, there’s Matzke’s lame attempt at an explanation. But it’s more full of holes than Swiss cheese.

  14. Mung: Is it possible that the only thing that makes the Darwinian explanation plausible, is the perceived implausibility of the alternative.

    There is no “perceived” implausibility of an alternative. There is only a philosophical bias.

  15. “Homology provides incontrovertible evidence that bacterial flagella are cobbled together from recycled components of other systems through gene duplication and diversification.”

    And what evidence can he provide of the “cobbling” (i.e, blind process) actually being responsible for the right mutations in the proper sequence that would cause it to be so assembled?

    Part are parts. But instructions for proper temporal assembly are required.

  16. mike1962:

    And what evidence can he provide of the “cobbling” (i.e, blind process) actually being responsible for the right mutations in the proper sequence that would cause it to be so assembled?

    When scientists begin with a flagellumless bacteria, and individual mutations one by one, testing each new mutation to prove its superiority to the previous, and produce a working flagellum, when they then add the statistical calculations of how frequently each mutation would happen by chance, then I will conclude that they have made a solid case for the chance develpment of the flagellum. They have a lot of work to do, but it is within the domain and responsibility of science to do this kind of work, to make this strong of a case.

  17. Didn’t Matzke make a prediction of how the bacteria flagellum could grow, protein by protein. Is the technology advanced enough to actually do this?

    I wonder if the technology is advanced enough, if this will be his Ph.D. dissertation. He has entered the evolutionary biology doctorate program at Berkeley.

  18. You’re a better man than I am Charlie Brown. :)

  19. Jerry
    I wonder if Matzke’s dissertation committee would have the gumption (temerity? or audacity?) to ask him to provide quantitative calculations of each of steps in his proposed evolutionary sequence, and the consequent cumulative probability thereto, relative to the Universal Probability Bound?

    PS re “Two fingered salute”
    Apparently the two finger salute has multiple meanings. For those of us “less cultured”, some usages understood in Australia and the UK are rather uncomplimentary!

  20. But the Bacterial Flagellum didn’t evolve. It was designed.

  21. An ID proponent responds to this “two fingered salute”:

    I have not yet begun to fight.
    John Paul Jones

    Or from antiquity:

    “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.‘”
    King (Ahab) of Israel (1 Kings 20:11)

    I predict the outcome of ID vs Evolution will be the same as in those two occasions!
    The errors, invalid assumptions and illogical conclusions are so numerous it would take multiple articles to respond.

    PS I also declare as did Gandalf & Aragorn:

    ‘Let the Lord of the Black Land come forth! Justice shall be done upon him.’ J.R.R. Tolkein, Ch X, Return of the King

  22. Wow, reading a text like that is really an experience.

    I wanted to stress a few of the many total absurdities, gratuitous assumptions, false affirmations about ID, and so on of which this “pearl” is filled, but I am tired, and I think it really is not worthwhile.

    The only truth is that nothing has changed: the bacterial flagellum remains a priceless example of irreducible complexity, and a total failure for darwinists. And yet, it is interesting to observe how they strain and work to build up any “plausible” explanation! It seems that Michael Behe and ID have ultimately been the cause of a lot of hard field-work by biologists, and certainly much more seems to be known now of the flagellum (all of that, evidently, supporting ID, whatever darwinists say). So, after all, dear darwinists, is ID a science stopper?

  23. DLH,

    There are other gestures/words common in the US that have very negative connotations in other places in the world.

    When I was in New Zealand with the US Navy, I was assigned duty in Wellington for a meeting of high level politicians. I was outside the parliament building behind a 3 foot high barricade to fence off spectators. I was in civilian clothes and a little girl with her mother said I was a secret service man. She was very cute and after a few minutes she got a little fresh but still cute. I told her if she didn’t be have I would spank her on her “fanny.” In the US this an affectionate term for one’s bottom and used to be a common women’s name. But in New Zealand and a lot of ex British countries it means quite the opposite anatomically. The little girl, the mother and a lot of others got hostile. So watch out.

    In the US the A-ok sign is the three fingers and the index finger and thumb making a circle. It also means the trinity in Greece. In Brazil it means you are an a**hole and I was warned in Rio never to use it because it is a major insult.

    So one has to be careful depending upon which country you are in.

  24. Diddo, DLH.

    I think this is bogus. There is more of them than us. We are the underdog.

    They could produce a hundred papers overnight. Doesn’t make them right.

    They control the system.

  25. Do you think Steve Meyer or Mike Behe could get published in the New Scientist. I hope your answer would be no. They are completely biased against ID.

  26. “The scientific imperative is not to reconstruct the entire process but simply to prove that the evolution of the flagellum is plausible using well-established natural processes.”

    I wish I could get away with this sort of handwaving and half assedness in my job. Sure would make things easier. Yeah sure this design of mine for this software system plausibly works. Details ? Bah, i’ve demonstrated that it might plausibly work in some hypothetical make believe land. We don’t need to stinking evidence or details.

  27. Jerry
    Thanks for the cautions on “fanny”.

    One of the best (and very short) books I have read on cross cultural communications is:
    Doing business in Australia, Japan and the South Pacific, by Bill McCabe, 1991 ISBN: 0731802314.

  28. “I told her if she didn’t be have I would spank her on her “fanny.””

    Whoops !

    I always chuckle when I hear americans say they fell on their fanny. :O

    But then again Australians often feel like a XXXX (four X) after a days work. Which is a local brand of beer, but i’m led to believe is a brand of condom in some places. It added a whole different connotation to a series of TV ads the company used to have, the slogan being, “I can feel a XXXX coming on” !

  29. Jason,

    I wonder what the Brits, Aussies and Kiwis thought about the movie that launched Barbara Streisand. It was Funny Girl and about the life of Fanny Brice.

    There is also an old rock and roll song called “Short Fat Fannie.”

    You don’t see the name much any more in the US but it was a popular nick name for Frances a couple generations ago. It was apparently a popular British name at one time which is probably how it got to the US.

  30. Instead of two fingers, Jason, I’ll give you two thumbs up. The “It’ll work, just trust me, I’m a true believer” scenario doesn’t cut it. If it can’t be shown then it’s hypothetical. It can’t be set in stone.

    Jerry, we Aussies have become so Americanised that when we hear or see fanny, etc., depending on the person saying it and the inappropriateness of the occasion, we now only smirk. The one great universal change, though, is those small devices used to carry your camera, passports, whatevers – ‘fanny packs’ – we have, without encouragement, changed the name to ‘bum bags’.

    ’nuff said.

    I feel like a beer … now what choice, eh Jason?

  31. But the Bacterial Flagellum didn’t evolve. It was designed.-Dembskian

    Or designed to evolve.

    ID is not anti-evolution. Rather ID could be considered to be anti-blind watchmaker-type processes having sole dominion over the evolutionary process.

    See SciAm’s Feb 2003 article “Evolving Inventions”.

  32. Quite right. Which also applies, of course, to the claim that God wouldn’t work entirely through evolution.-larrynormanfan

    That scenario negates the random muation part of RM & NS.

  33. Joseph,

    you said

    “Or designed to evolve.

    ID is not anti-evolution. Rather ID could be considered to be anti-blind watchmaker-type processes having sole dominion over the evolutionary process.”

    I have been trying to convince people here of this concept for a couple years and it generally falls on deaf ears. There seems to be an attitude of any acceptance of rv + ns, even limited, is caving in to the Darwinist and thus evil.

  34. A lot of people express shock that evolution is still being debated “in this day and age.” And a lot of people claim that current critics of evolution are just recycling “creationist” arguments that were “refuted a long time ago.” But a lot of the information in the debate over the alleged irreducible complexity of the bacterial flagellum is of recent origin. The article says,

    “If you go back just six or seven years, the function of many of the components of the bacterial flagellum were unknown,” says Kenneth Miller, a biochemist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. “It’s very difficult to work out the evolution of a complex system when you don’t understand how the system works.” In the absence of this knowledge, biologists all too often fell back on the assertion that “bacterial flagella evolved and that is that”, according to Mark Pallen, a microbiologist at the University of Birmingham in the UK.

    The real “science-stoppers” are those who think that old ideas that have supposedly been “refuted” should not be reconsidered in the light of new information and/or new arguments.

    Also, as I have pointed out before, a lot of people have the mistaken idea that intelligent design is the only scientific (or pseudoscientific, to some) criticism of evolution theory. The problem of co-evolution of total co-dependence of two different kinds of organisms — e.g., bees and flowering plants — is an example of a non-ID weakness of evolution theory. In such co-evolution, unlike in evolutionary adaptation to widespread fixed physical features of the environment, e.g., water, land, and air, there may be nothing to adapt to because the corresponding co-dependent trait in the other organism is likely to be locally absent.

  35. Larry Fafarman,

    You could write a hundred page article on how this article distorts the ID position and how many times it begs the question on something.

    It assumes so many things and after these assumptions, it then proceeds to make wild speculations on these unsupported assumptions. Is this good science? Hardly, but it standard fare in evolutionary biology. Don’t you think that these are weaknesses of gradualism?

  36. “God wouldn’t work entirely through evolution.”

    Dembski has written that

    “I’ve also written elsewhere that the Christian God might use teleological organizing principles to implement his designs (e.g., that God does not need to specifically toggle the bacterial flagellum).”

    What’s the difference? These ‘teological organizing principles’ could have been there since the Big Bang. The Creator is the cause of all causes.

  37. Joseph & Jerry 31-32

    ID holds that somewhere Complex Specified Information (CSI) is introduced into the system in ways which cannot be explained by stochastic processes and natural law.

    i.e., “frontloading” with DNA and functional self reproducing cells, or equivalent saltational steps,
    AND/OR
    into “evolution” in ways that are NOT caused by random processes or natural law without the introduction of the specified information in self replicating cells or changes such changes to them.

    Kenneth Miller’s efforts to claim life by evolution without active involvement by an intelligent agent(s) in one and/or the other of these steps are just feel good sophistry.

  38. DLH,

    If “the Christian God might use teleological organizing principles to implement his designs” how are they implemented?

    Is this beyond our ability as human beings to understand?

  39. Joseph,

    As far as I’m concerned, Universal Common Descent is incompatible with Christianity. Thanks for your input though.

  40. —–Jerry writes, “I have been trying to convince people here of this concept for a couple years and it generally falls on deaf ears. There seems to be an attitude of any acceptance of rv + ns, even limited, is caving in to the Darwinist and thus evil.”

    Jerry, there seem to be three things one can say about RV+NS. [1] The process can do everything, [2] it can some things [3] it can do nothing.

    My experience on this blog leads me to conclude that almost everyone here falls into category #[2] What I understand you to be saying is that there are many here who accept category #[3]. Since we had this discussion a few days ago, I can’t find a single example of this happening. Am I missing something? -or – Have I framed the issue unfairly?

  41. 41

    —– Dembskian writes, “As far as I’m concerned, Universal Common Descent is incompatible with Christianity. Thanks for your input though.”

    Is there any evidence against UCD?
    Or is UCD pretty rock solid?

  42. StephenB,

    Expand your categories to

    2a It does nearly all things and

    2b it does a few things

    and I doubt few will be in 2a which is where I believe the evidence overwhelmingly points. I used the the number 90+% at first and that drew opposition and then I upped it on purppose to a more reasonable 99.99% which is also probably low. However, these number are so uncomfortable for people here and they don’t have to be because they support ID.

    If the people here are in 2a then why the constant bickering over neo Darwinism or the shots at rv + ns or chance worshipers. Why not the move by most to distinguish between the two as I have been doing. As an example, look at gpuccio’s reaction to my posts the other day. He is one of the best informed people here on science. He came up with all sorts of objections to my claims that were not accurate such that tigers and lions were separate species when they can be bred quite easily in captivity.

    Look at the objections by some to the definition I propose which is not mine but the accepted one in science. It is simple, concrete, robust in the sense that it can handle any case imagineable but it drew ire.

    Look at your own reactions to my posts when I tried to explain the objections you had about how could something be designed and proceed according to MET at the same time.

    Joseph’s phrase “Designed to evolve” says the same thing I had been trying to say. I have said several times that the MET is great design and that ID subsumes MET. But I have never accepted that it can create complexity or novelty so I am not accepting the BWT or any form of Darwinism that espouses such ideas.

    We know that tigers and lions look very different and becase of that they cannot be separate species but they are the same specie. Look at Denyse’s confusion over the Beefalo when this is easily explained by MET/MTE. Similarly dogs and wolves and I bet all sorts of fish and birds. All intuitively not obvious even to the science community and to us. What are the implications of such facts? They are explained by MET/MTE. And they are devestating to the Darwinists.

    How, because they extend Behe’s Edge of Evolution to multi-celled animals which if his findings for single celled organism are also true it would t hen destroy the BWT because all Darwin saw was devolution from a common gene pool and not creating new novelty and complexity. They won’t give up fighting but the path is there. What would the Darwinist do if all they have is the obvious and it the result of ID research.

  43. Dembskian writes:

    As far as I’m concerned, Universal Common Descent is incompatible with Christianity. Thanks for your input though.

    A#1, so what. ID is as the ID community bills it, not a religious perspective. In other words, whether the evidence leads to a position that is compatible with Christianity or not is disconsidered.

    2B, In what way is universal common descent incompatible with Christianity. If we begin with a “the Bible is the Word of God inerrant” view of the Bible, we have two options: Young Earth Creationists insist that the earth was of Biblical necessity created about 6000 years ago. The old earth community would consider that the “day” of Genesis is either not a literal day, or at least is not a day from the earth’s perspective. However, old earth theology still holds to a literal Adam about 6000 years ago, and a flood that annihilated all but 7 humans. From what I see, the old earth interpretaion is compatible with universal common descent. However, the old earth view still has a few major issues with the scientific evidence: humans not existing prior to 6000 years ago, a flood that brought man’s population down to 7, languages coming into sudden existance at Babel, and the Biblical suggestion of people living a really long time.

    If you reject the “Bible is the word of God” position, then Christianity is by all means compatible with universal common descent.

    Thirdly, please revist A#1.

  44. I said

    “We know that tigers and lions look very different and becase of that they cannot be separate species but they are the same species” in my previous post and the word “separate” to “same.”

  45. sparc said:
    “You skipped the conclusion of the article:
    … Evolutionary biologists have put their house in order. It’s time for their opponents to do the same.”

    Evolutionary biologists “put their house in order” by firing anyone who disagrees.

  46. 46

    Hi bFast. Good to meet you.
    I’ve frequented this blog for over
    a year now, and I have always found your comments informative. I appreciate that.

    Just out of curiosity, are you a
    Christian?

  47. 47

    Now Dr. Dembski and Dr. Behe are conventional Christians, but I wouldn’t call them ‘old earthers’.

    They seem to espouse something different. Obviously something more
    complicated and esoteric.

  48. PannenbergOmega, thanks for the compliment. I have fundimentally less expertise than some around here do, but I do try to be an honest thinker. Yes I am Christian. However, I am convinced that truth is truth, that one truth cannot trump another. When I first encountered old earth theory, I figured it was the ticket, but I cannot attest to it any more. I have had to come to a softer view of Biblical interpretation than the evangelical community aspouses to. Even then I find significant tension between what the scientific evidence shows and what I understand from the Bible. I have not rectified this conflict by any means. I hold, however, that truth is truth, and Biblical interpretation may not trump scientific discovery.

    I know that Catholic theology (Behe) holds a much softer understanding of the Bible than the evangelical community does. The Catholic understanding seems to be that the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is a documentation of man working out their theology. As such, it has rough edges. My understanding is that Dembski has suggested that it is as easy to believe that man was created De Nuvo, than it is to believe that he evolved. I also know that he has written on the topic of evil prior to man. I think he would like to hold to a more literal view of the Bible than Behe does.

  49. Jerry: OK, fair enough. Now that we have fine-tuned our perspective, I do agree with you. It is my perception that most on this site would challenge your notion that modern evolutionary theory can explain over 99.9% of the life dynamic. Indeed, my guess is that you are in a very small minority. My perception is that Michael Behe would put the number at about 50%, and even that is a little beyond my comfort zone.

    That said, I think I can now more fully understand your frustrations. You probably feel like a “voice crying out in the wilderness.” I have been in that very same situation, and I know what it is like. Indeed, I spend a lot of time swimming upstream against the wave of public opinion, knowing that about all I can do is plant small seeds and hope that the culture will reap a harvest at some later date. With regard to MET and its capacities, you may be right. If so, you will be vindicated. If not, your knowledge base, which is already impressive, will expand even further. Either way, you win. The people I feel sorry for are the ones who are afraid to put it on the line.

    We all think we know what is best for ID and how to advance the cause, but the truth is, none of us really knows for sure. The past does not equal the future; liabilities can become assets; forecasts usually turn out to be wrong. There are lots of intramural conflicts that must be worked through, and that is exactly what we are doing. Our job is to express our concerns, stay true to our convictions, and admit our mistakes. Inasmuch as you qualify on all three counts, you are certainly doing you job.

  50. Dembskian
    ID at present is focused on identifying evidence of intelligent agents, and then on a theory of ID to better describe and predict nature along the lines of reverse engineering design etc.

    Means are assumed sufficient to achieve the evidence without requiring that we understand that.

    See ID Assumptions 4.1

    The means of implementing the design, may not be known. Some means or equivalent means and parameters might be inferred based on detectable evidence from the current state of the design, or through communication from the designer or from the designer’s acquaintances. These factors are not necessary to detecting the occurrence of intelligent design. They may not be necessary to infer equivalent principles used in the intelligent design, or to reproducing those designs. E.g., Archeology may identify antiquities such as the pyramids or Damascus steel, without knowing how those objects were originally constructed.

    For those concerned that this can not be explained by the four laws of physics, may I suggest that they consider cosmological inflation or explain how gravity works, or how a Big Bang overcame gravity, or formed the four forces etc. There is alot we do not know, yet we can still apply what we do.

    We now have an avalanche of data coming on biological systems.

    The major scientific challenge now is not so much to discover the laws of nature, but to to provide explanations for Complex Specified Information, both embedded in the universe (anthropic principle) and that exhibited in the incredibly complex machinery of the cell and biological systems with complex body systems. We are in the midst f the 2nd scientific revolution.

  51. 51

    bFast, I believe Dembski is a Baptist.
    He also does not accept universal common descent. TO BE HONEST. It is difficult to pin down what he he really thinks.

    HMMM.. maybe you should be an Anglican.

  52. StephenB,

    Thank you for trying to understand my Quest. I have written a long post trying to summarize my thoughts and am well aware that something could come along and make it all meaningless.

    I have no hard data that 99.99% of the life forms on the planet arrived by naturalistic means but I use this number or any other really high number to make a point. The point is that most of the so called species in the world are probably not unique and nearly all are descended from some gene pool long ago and because of this, their genomes are very similar within their own taxonomic families.

    When J. B. S. Haldane, a British geneticist, was asked what his studies of nature revealed about God, he replied, “An inordinate fondness for beetles”. There are according to Wikipedia, 350,000 species of beetles. Now I am willing to bet that many of these can inner breed either naturally or artificially so the number of species is probably a lot less. Also for those who cannot inner breed, there are probably small genetic differences between them.

    So that once a gene pool for beetles was established way back a long time ago, most of the subsequent beetle species appeared through naturalistic means. It would be interesting to see just how much difference there is between each species. With this large number there is probably some very large differences between some. If so then the Darwinists should be all over it but if there are not any real differences, then maybe all these beetle species just evolved through normal Darwinian processes. They just are the result of reshuffling of the original gene pool caused by the environmental circumstances with occasional trivial mutations over time.

    You could go through each major animal group and do the same. My guess each is descended some gene pool through typical Darwinian processes. So cats, canines, cichlids, birds, etc are really just descended from a more expansive gene pool from several million years ago and represent a narrowing of these gene pools as time goes on.

    If this is true, then all this represent just the opposite of what Darwin predicted and evolution is getting narrower and not more expansive. In other words the evolution is top down and not bottom up as predicted by Darwin. If that is so, then research which confirmed that would be devastating to Darwinism. ID has nothing to fear from such a process and it would ironic if ID produced the research, maybe using the science community’s own data.

    Then the question becomes, where did the gene pools come from? That is where design comes in. ID would postulate an intelligence for the origin of the gene pool but once the gene pool is established natural processes do the refinement to produce the richness of life we see today on the planet. There would be some interesting results. Did humming birds and penguins come from the same gene pool or was it split by some event to be determined by other types of research.

    All this came from a comment Behe made when discussing his book on a tv show. A guy named Jason Rosenhouse was mocking Behe’s reply on the show when the moderator asked what would be good ID research. Behe replied that the type of research done by Lenski at Michigan State with bacteria is good ID research. Rosenhouse thought Behe was being an ass but the real ass was Rosenhouse who did not see Behe’s point.

    What Behe was saying is that any research that examines large numbers of reproductive events will show what the edge of evolution is. If trillions of reproductions of bacteria don’t produce any novelty or complexity then that supports a limited edge of evolution and consequently ID’s conclusion that some features essential to life are beyond naturalistic methods.

    Now single celled organisms are one thing but what if the same thing could be done for multi-celled organisms. These organisms will never produce the number of reproductive events in a laboratory setting that would be meaningful. But they over several million years have had the requisite number of reproductions in the wild. If in this time there was no novelty or complexity separating members of the same family then one could come to the conclusion that these trillions of reproductive events also did not produce any novelty and again the edge of evolution has not been breeched.

    If this is true then Darwinian processes will be eviscerated as a process that produces anything of consequence in evolutionary history. It is just a process that constantly narrows the gene pool. This is a very useful process as it allow organisms to adapt to new environments and avoid extinction. The only exceptions to the winnowing of the gene pool will be the occasional mutation that provides some trivial difference and occasional benefits.

    This is a huge undertaking and the investigation of the gene pools of species, genera and families are not likely to happen for several years. But there are people who are doing some of it today and that is why I say ID research is being done in the labs but it is not identified as such. Eventually the data could be used to support or falsify this understanding of species origins.

    If it shows complexity or novelty formation, then ID will have to accept that but my bet is that the edge of evolution will hold up.

    Sorry for the long post but feel to criticize any of it if you ever got this far.

  53. Panda’s thumb the discussion on Flagellum evolution in New Scientist is running on 272 comments! Most not worth the effort.

  54. glennj – “How on earth can anyone think that they would know what a Creator would or would not do?”

    Is it such a radical idea to you that God did actually reveal enough about this for one to think they do know?

    Those who take so little time and attitude towards this end will of course be left in a materialistic black hole resulting in the inability to see how anyone could think they know. IF you want to know start with an attitude towards the Creator if you can or are willing to ask for it and then start studying, perhaps with prophecy just to scratch the surface – the knowledge IS there.
    In answer to your question – because one can know the Creator. – TOO radical?

  55. alan,

    Well said. Search and you will find.

Leave a Reply