Home » Intelligent Design » A world-famous chemist tells the truth: there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution

A world-famous chemist tells the truth: there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution

Professor James M. Tour is one of the ten most cited chemists in the world. He is famous for his work on nanocars (pictured above, courtesy of Wikipedia), nanoelectronics, graphene nanostructures, carbon nanovectors in medicine, and green carbon research for enhanced oil recovery and environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University. He has authored or co-authored 489 scientific publications and his name is on 36 patents. Although he does not regard himself as an Intelligent Design theorist, Professor Tour, along with over 700 other scientists, took the courageous step back in 2001 of signing the Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”, which read: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

On Professor Tour’s Website, there’s a very revealing article on evolution and creation, in which Tour bluntly states that he does not understand how macroevolution could have happened, from a chemical standpoint (all bold emphases below are mine – VJT):

Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”?

…I simply do not understand, chemically, how macroevolution could have happened. Hence, am I not free to join the ranks of the skeptical and to sign such a statement without reprisals from those that disagree with me? … Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution? If so, I would like to sit with that person and be taught, so I invite them to meet with me.

In a more recent talk, entitled, Nanotech and Jesus Christ, given on 1 November 2012 at Georgia Tech, Professor Tour went further, and declared that no scientist that he has spoken to understands macroevolution – and that includes Nobel Prize winners! Here’s what he said when a student in the audience asked him about evolution:

I will tell you as a scientist and a synthetic chemist: if anybody should be able to understand evolution, it is me, because I make molecules for a living, and I don’t just buy a kit, and mix this and mix this, and get that. I mean, ab initio, I make molecules. I understand how hard it is to make molecules. I understand that if I take Nature’s tool kit, it could be much easier, because all the tools are already there, and I just mix it in the proportions, and I do it under these conditions, but ab initio is very, very hard.

I don’t understand evolution, and I will confess that to you. Is that OK, for me to say, “I don’t understand this”? Is that all right? I know that there’s a lot of people out there that don’t understand anything about organic synthesis, but they understand evolution. I understand a lot about making molecules; I don’t understand evolution. And you would just say that, wow, I must be really unusual.

Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science – with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. I have sat with them, and when I get them alone, not in public – because it’s a scary thing, if you say what I just said – I say, “Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?” Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go “Uh-uh. Nope.” These people are just so far off, on how to believe this stuff came together. I’ve sat with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. Sometimes I will say, “Do you understand this?”And if they’re afraid to say “Yes,” they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.

I was once brought in by the Dean of the Department, many years ago, and he was a chemist. He was kind of concerned about some things. I said, “Let me ask you something. You’re a chemist. Do you understand this? How do you get DNA without a cell membrane? And how do you get a cell membrane without a DNA? And how does all this come together from this piece of jelly?” We have no idea, we have no idea. I said, “Isn’t it interesting that you, the Dean of science, and I, the chemistry professor, can talk about this quietly in your office, but we can’t go out there and talk about this?”

If you understand evolution, I am fine with that. I’m not going to try to change you – not at all. In fact, I wish I had the understanding that you have.

But about seven or eight years ago I posted on my Web site that I don’t understand. And I said, “I will buy lunch for anyone that will sit with me and explain to me evolution, and I won’t argue with you until I don’t understand something – I will ask you to clarify. But you can’t wave by and say, “This enzyme does that.” You’ve got to get down in the details of where molecules are built, for me. Nobody has come forward.

The Atheist Society contacted me. They said that they will buy the lunch, and they challenged the Atheist Society, “Go down to Houston and have lunch with this guy, and talk to him.” Nobody has come! Now remember, because I’m just going to ask, when I stop understanding what you’re talking about, I will ask. So I sincerely want to know. I would like to believe it. But I just can’t.

Now, I understand microevolution, I really do. We do this all the time in the lab. I understand this. But when you have speciation changes, when you have organs changing, when you have to have concerted lines of evolution, all happening in the same place and time – not just one line – concerted lines, all at the same place, all in the same environment … this is very hard to fathom.

I was in Israel not too long ago, talking with a bio-engineer, and [he was] describing to me the ear, and he was studying the different changes in the modulus of the ear, and I said, “How does this come about?” And he says, “Oh, Jim, you know, we all believe in evolution, but we have no idea how it happened.” Now there’s a good Jewish professor for you. I mean, that’s what it is. So that’s where I am. Have I answered the question? (52:00 to 56:44)

Professor Tour’s online talk is absolutely fascinating as well as being deeply moving on a personal level, and I would strongly urge readers to listen to his talk in its entirety – including the questions after the talk. You won’t regret it, I promise you. One interesting little gem of information which I’ll reveal is that it was Professor Tour who was largely instrumental in getting Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, to reject Darwinian evolution and accept Old Earth creationism, shortly before he died in 2005. It was Tour who persuaded Smalley to delve into the question of origins. After reading the books “Origins of Life” and “Who Was Adam?”, written by Dr. Hugh Ross (an astrophysicist) and Dr. Fazale Rana (a biochemist).. Dr. Smalley explained his change of heart as follows:

Evolution has just been dealt its death blow. After reading “Origins of Life”, with my background in chemistry and physics, it is clear evolution could not have occurred. The new book, “Who Was Adam?”, is the silver bullet that puts the evolutionary model to death.

Strong words indeed, for a Nobel scientist. Readers can find out more about Professor Richard Smalley’s change of views here.

Why should we believe macroevolution, if nobody understands it?

Now that Professor Tour has informed the world that even Nobel Prize-winning scientists privately admit that they don’t understand macroevolution, a layperson is surely entitled to ask: “Well, if even they don’t understand it, then why should we believe it? How can we possibly be obliged to believe in a theory which nobody understands?”

That’s a good question. And it’s no use for Darwinists to trot out the standard “party line” that “even if we don’t yet understand how it happened, we still have enough evidence to infer that it happened.” At the very most, all that the current scientific evidence could establish is the common descent of living organisms. But that’s not macroevolution. Macroevolution requires more than a common ancestry for living organisms: it requires a natural mechanism which can generate the diversity of life-forms we see on Earth today from a common stock, without the need for any direction by an Intelligent Agent. But the mechanism is precisely what we don’t have evidence for. So the question remains: why should we believe in macroevolution?

The decline of academic freedom

Given the massive uncertainty about the “how” of macroevolution among scientists working in the field, you might think that a wide variety of views would be tolerated in the scientific arena – including the view that there is no such process as macroevolution. However, you would be sadly mistaken. As Professor Tour notes in his online article on evolution and creation, an alarming academic trend has emerged in recent years: a growing intolerance of dissent from Darwinism. This trend is so pronounced that Professor Tour now advises his students not to voice their doubts about Darwinism in public, if they want a successful career:

In the last few years I have seen a saddening progression at several institutions. I have witnessed unfair treatment upon scientists that do not accept macroevolutionary arguments and for their having signed the above-referenced statement regarding the examination of Darwinism. (I will comment no further regarding the specifics of the actions taken upon the skeptics; I love and honor my colleagues too much for that.) I never thought that science would have evolved like this. I deeply value the academy; teaching, professing and research in the university are my privileges and joys…

But my recent advice to my graduate students has been direct and revealing: If you disagree with Darwinian Theory, keep it to yourselves if you value your careers, unless, of course, you’re one of those champions for proclamation; I know that that fire exists in some, so be ready for lead-ridden limbs. But if the scientific community has taken these shots at senior faculty, it will not be comfortable for the young non-conformist. When the power-holders permit no contrary discussion, can a vibrant academy be maintained? Is there a University (unity in diversity)? For the United States, I pray that the scientific community and the National Academy in particular will investigate the disenfranchisement that is manifest upon some of their own, and thereby address the inequity.

It remains to be seen if other countries will allow their young scientists to think freely about the origin of life, and of the various species of organisms that we find on Earth today. What I will say, though, is that countries which restrict academic freedom will eventually be overtaken by countries which allow it to prosper. There is still time for America and Europe to throw off the dead hand of Darwinism in academic circles, and let their young people breathe the unaccustomed air of free speech once again.

(UPDATE: Here’s a link to my follow-up post, Macroevolution, microevolution and chemistry: the devil is in the details. It amply refutes the simplistic charge, made by some skeptics, that Professor Tour was conflating macroevolution with the question of the origin of life.)

UD Editors:  This post has received a great deal of attention lately, so we are moving it back to the front page.

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460 Responses to A world-famous chemist tells the truth: there’s no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution

  1. Wow.

  2. Although he does not regard himself as an Intelligent Design theorist…

    But there is a rumor that he is an intelligent design theorist. Careful VJT, you’ll confuse Gregory.

  3. Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution?

    After all, it’s just chemistry. Right Alan Fox? Right Reciprocating Bill? Right Onlooker? etc etc

  4. This is extremely compelling stuff indeed. Excellent article.

  5. How can we possibly be obliged to believe in a theory which nobody understands?”

    What is the Theory of Macroevolution?

  6. How Darwinists view themselves:
    http://calnewport.com/blog/wp-.....nstein.jpg

    How the American public generally views Darwinists
    http://images.addoway.com.s3.a.....4e37ef.jpg

    How I view Professor James M. Tour after reading Dr. Torley’s article
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhsWzJo2sN4

  7. Why should we believe macroevolution, if nobody understands it?

    People believe in God without understanding Him. But I digress. We are assured that macroevolution happened and all we have to do is use science to work out the details.

    No, this isn’t starting with a conclusion because we assured that macroevolution happened so we are just investigating actual historical events. I mean what else is there to explain our existence?

    :razz: LoL!

  8. What is the Theory of Macroevolution?

    “Starting with populations of prokaryotic-like organisms, somethings happened for whatever reasons, and things kept happening and accumulating, again for whatever reasons, and now we have the diversity of life on earth. And now we know that some of those things were mutations producing new genes and mutations changing the way existing genes were used. Oh, and some of those things were organisms taking residence in other organisms and becoming very important organelles. Don’t know how but it looks like that is what happened.

    So we have most of these things well in hand but we’re just not sure what they do nor what they are capable of.”

  9. I have been interested in the diversity of life ever since I read Philip Johnson’s “Darwin on Trial” when it first came out. I have read many books since then. They were mostly on intelligent design.

    What I haven’t read yet is a description of what I would call an evolutionary event. In other words, when and where in the life cycle of an organism does the random variation occur that is fundamental to the theory of evolution?

    More importantly, what does that random variation need to accomplish in order to begin or continue the redesign process that will eventually change one body plan into another? And to think that each step in that redesign process must offer a selective advantage over the previous step.

    A living organism is a hierarchy of cells, tissues and organs that are arranged in specific ways with respect to each other to make a functioning animal. I don’t see that those parts can be changed individually in a bottom-up, haphazard design fashion.

    A plan must be in place somewhere in the organism that controls how that organism is built. I would think that an evolutionary sequence has to be a top down process much like any good engineering project.

    I have imagined a project engineer being assigned the task of changing a truck into a submarine. A silly example? Perhaps, but I see the task of changing a land mammal into a whale no less complex.

    What I would like to see, as my layman’s understanding might suggest, is a post that describes what scientists need to know in order to understand macroevolution.

  10. Wow, this is the third serendipitous little miracle that has happened today. Look what ENV has for a podcast today:

    “Why is Intelligent Design such a Dangerous Theory that it has to be Censored?” – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....7_41-08_00

  11. 11

    What is the Theory of Macroevolution?

    The theory of macroevolution tells us that current evolutionary theory cannot long survive environmental challenges such as facts and logic, and that a more fit theory, such as ID, will necessarily take its place.

  12. Apart from the fact that I don’t think ID as a theory is ready to replace anything, what is the theory that it going to replace?

    What is the Theory of Macroevolution?

    Honestly, I don’t think there is one, and that’s why no one can explain what it’s details are. There is this huge gaping hole in evolutionary theory, to that I agree.

  13. 13

    What is the Theory of Macroevolution?

    The theory of macroevolution suggests that the fitness landscape is so jam-packed with functional configurations, that any random walk through protein sequence space will necessarily arrive at numerous complex functions that are advantageous to an organism for any given environmental niche.

  14. If macro-evolution were a fact, would we have these arguments today? Let’s face it; nobody argues that the Earth revolves around the Sun, because that’s a fact… Why do some put macro-evolution in the same category? Just because they believe it should be there…No problem but believe does not make it any more scientific than it already isn’t..

  15. I don’t get Tour’s objections to ID. Truly I do not. From Tour’s blog where linked above:

    …I have been labeled as an Intelligent Design (ID) proponent. I am not. I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments on the matter and I find some of them intriguing, but the scientific proof is not there, in my opinion…

    Proof of what? (Emphasis added):

    This is very noteworthy.’” As Kreeft (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Kreeft) points out in his commentary on Pascal’s Pensees, “If the Scripture does not use nature to prove God, it can’t be the best strategy. Notice that Pascal does not say that there are no good proofs of God or that none of them begin with data from nature. Elsewhere, he specifies merely that such proofs are psychologically weak, but he does not say they are logically weak. More important, they are salvifically weak, [meaning that] they will not save us. If nature proved God clearly, we would not have to search for him with all our hearts.” Pascal further writes in his Pensees 429 , “This is what I see that troubles me: Nature has nothing to offer me that does not give rise to doubt and anxiety; if there is a God supporting nature, she should unequivocally proclaim him, and that, if the signs in nature are deceptive, they should be completely erased; that nature should say all or nothing so that I could see what course I ought to follow.” Though 350 years since Pascal penned his dilemma, as a modern-day scientist, I do not know how to prove ID using my most sophisticated of analytical tools.

    ID has nothing to do with proving God or salvation knowledge scientifically. ID has to do with design detection in nature, period. A man such as Tour ought to know better. I would suggest he lay aside Pascal and C.S. Lewis for a few months, and take a serious look at Dembski, Behe and Johnson. Truly.

  16. Wow, your blogpost is a particularly silly comment on a particularly silly article. A guy whose field is not biology, and who shows absolutely no evidence of having seriously engaged with actual evolutionary biologists or their literature, and who appears to not have the first clue about how biologists would define “macroevolution”, spouts off on a webpage, and this is supposed to be a serious argument?

    Everyone should start here:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    Refute it if you can. Until you do, you’ve got nada.

  17. Gee Nick, do we get more than one post? Is there a time limit? Is there extra credit for the observation that that is the silliest comment that I have ever read on UD, bar none?

  18. Nick displays the typical evolutionary confusion, evasion, and equivocation.

    The Theory of Common Descent is not the Theory of Macroevolution.

  19. Thank you for this great article mr. Vjtorley!

  20. Guess what is on the very first line of the page Nick links to:

    Evolution, the overarching concept that unifies the biological sciences, in fact embraces a plurality of theories and hypotheses.

    So, Nick.

    If you would be so kind to help focus our attention on the relevant material on that page, perhaps beginning with the Theory of Macroevolution.

  21. To my ears, the cacophony of the mass cognitive dissonance that’s being caused by the ongoing collapse of this quaint little 19th-century edifice is becoming deafening.

  22. Macroevolution is evolution on the “grand scale” …

    Well, there you have it!

    Anyone else not understand the theory?

    “In science, macro at the beginning of a word just means “big”, and micro at the beginning of a word just means “small”"

    So Macroevolution means BIG evolution!

    Great. What’s the theory of Big Evolution and how is it distinguished from the theory of small evolution.

    Oh my, where’s Gregory when we really need him.

  23. I sort of feel like this poor professor in the OP.

    If Nick could just get someone from the NCSE, or maybe even Joe Felsenstein from over at TSZ to drop by and explain it all to us poor dimwits. I’ll even buy him (or her) lunch.

  24. “Isn’t it interesting that you, the Dean of science, and I, the chemistry professor, can talk about this quietly in your office, but we can’t go out there and talk about this?”

    Interesting is not the right word. Scandalous or shameful come to mind.

  25. Wikipedia:

    An example of macroevolution is the appearance of feathers during the evolution of birds from theropod dinosaurs.

    Abrupt transformations from one biologic system to another, for example the passing of life from water into land or the transition from invertebrates to vertebrates, are rare. Few major biological types have emerged during the evolutionary history of life and most of them survive till today. When lifeforms take such giant leaps, they meet little to no competition and are able to exploit a plethora of available niches, following a pattern of adaptive radiation.

    Someone is confused or lying. Or both.

  26. re Nick at 16:

    Anybody who has debated Darwinists on the internet has probably been ‘bombed’ by a TalkOrigins FAQ. This podcast reveals the bankruptcy of the actual evidence behind these FAQs and reveals that they are nothing more than literature bluffs;

    Talk Origins Full of Claims but Short on Real Evidence – Casey Luskin – podcast – February 2012
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....8_59-08_00

    Here is part 2 of the podcast

    Talk Origins Speciation FAQ, pt. 2: Lack of Evidence for Big Claims – Casey Luskin – February 2012
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_41-08_00

    More detailed refutation here:

    A Critique of Douglas Theobald’s – “29 Evidences for Macroevolution” by Ashby Camp
    http://www.trueorigin.org/theobald1b.asp

    Here is a video that recently came out which refutes the lizard cecal valve as proof of macroevolution:

    Phenotypic Plasticity – Lizard cecal valve (cyclical variation)- video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEtgOApmnTA

    “When our leading scientists have to resort to the sort of distortion that would land a stock promoter in jail, you know they are in trouble.”
    Phillip Johnson comment in the Wall Street Journal

    Here is a recent podcast dealing with the Darwinian claim (Dawkins) that Dogs are proof of macroevolution:

    podcast – On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin talks with geneticist Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig about his recent article on the evolution of dogs. Casey and Dr. Lönnig evaluate the claim that dogs somehow demonstrate macroevolution.
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_14-08_00
    Part 2: Dog Breeds: Proof of Macroevolution?
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....7_07-08_00

    Further notes:

    Creation Wiki responses to Talk Origins website:
    http://creationwiki.org/Index_.....ist_Claims

    Of note: Darwinists have a notorious history of literature bluffing:

    “A Masterful Feat of Courtroom Deception”: Immunologist Donald Ewert on Dover Trial – audio
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_03-08_00

    Now that I’ve addressed your site Nick, I’m still waiting on you, or ANY Darwinists, to produce evidence that purely material neo-Darwian processes can produce JUST ONE Novel functional protein:

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

  27. Hi Nick,

    Thank you for your post. You refer to Professor James Tour as “a guy whose field is not biology, and who shows absolutely no evidence of having seriously engaged with actual evolutionary biologists or their literature, and who appears to not have the first clue about how biologists would define ‘macroevolution’…”

    Nick, he’s one of the world’s top ten chemists! I would think that he knows more than a few eminent biologists. But if you really think he’s ignorant of the facts, why don’t you take up his offer of a free lunch?

    Re macroevolution, here’s what your source, Douglas Theobald, has to say about it:

    In evolutionary theory, macroevolution involves common ancestry, descent with modification, speciation, the genealogical relatedness of all life, transformation of species, and large scale functional and structural changes of populations through time, all at or above the species level (Freeman and Herron 2004; Futuyma 1998; Ridley 1993).

    I’m quite happy with that definition. It allows me to explain why I accept common descent but not macroevolution. Even Theobald admits that evidence for common descent is independent of mechanism. My quarrel with Darwinism concerns the processes whereby new taxa arise.

    Wikipedia is even clearer than Theobald in its definition of macroevolution:

    Macroevolution is evolution on a scale of separated gene pools. Macroevolutionary studies focus on change that occurs at or above the level of species, in contrast with microevolution, which refers to smaller evolutionary changes (typically described as changes in allele frequencies) within a species or population. Contrary to claims by creationists, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.

    The last sentence encapsulates, I think, one of the key stumbling blocks for Darwin skeptics like myself.

    Oddly enough, not all scientists agree with the proposal that examples of microevolution offer support for macroevolution. See here: Do Examples of “Microevolution” Provide Support for Macroevolution? (I assume the quotes are legit.) See also this paper by D. H. Erwin: here .

    Are you seriously telling me that you believe the origin of animal phyla can be explained by a process of microevolution occurring over millions of years? Just curious.

    Regarding macroevolution, Theobald makes some absolutely ridiculous statements about evolutionary change:

    A more recent paper evaluating the evolutionary rate in guppies in the wild found rates ranging from 4000 to 45,000 darwins (Reznick 1997). Note that a sustained rate of “only” 400 darwins is sufficient to transform a mouse into an elephant in a mere 10,000 years (Gingerich 1983).

    One of the most extreme examples of rapid evolution was when the hominid cerebellum doubled in size within ~100,000 years during the Pleistocene (Rightmire 1985). This “unique and staggering” acceleration in evolutionary rate was only 7 darwins (Williams 1992, p. 132). This rate converts to a minuscule 0.02% increase per generation, at most. For comparison, the fastest rate observed in the fossil record in the Gingerich study was 37 darwins over one thousand years, and this corresponds to, at most, a 0.06% change per generation.

    Mice to elephants in just 10,000 years? This is ridiculous, Nick! You’d be the first one to criticize young earth creationists for asserting that the various members of the dog family could have diverged within the last 4,000 years, and yet what Theobald is claiming here is much more absurd.

    Regarding human evolution, Theobald assumes that all our brains did was grow bigger. In fact, there have been at least four qualitative changes in the human brain over the past 3.5 million years:

    (i) a reduction in the relative volume of primary visual striate cortex (PVC, area 17 of Brodmann), which occurred early in australopithecine taxa, perhaps as early as 3.5 million years ago;

    (ii) a configuration of Broca’s region (Brodmann areas 44, 45, and 47) that appears human-like rather than apelike by about 1.8 million years ago, starting with Homo rudolfensis;

    (iii) changes in the prefrontal cortex that took place about 700,000 years ago, with the emergence of Homo heidelbergensis (Heidelberg man), which allowed for long-term planning and inhibitory control, making self-sacrifice for the good of the group and life-long monogamy possible; and

    (iv) changes in the temporoparietal cortex, with the emergence of modern Homo sapiens, about 200,000 years ago, making possible the emergence of art, symbolism and religious rituals.

    You can read more about these changes (and accompanying scientific articles) here .

    These are non-trivial changes. To blithely assert that the passage of time can account for all these changes without doing the supporting calculations is a form of intellectual laziness. And to tell an unsuspecting public, as Theobald does, that these changes are purely quantitative is to show one’s ignorance.

  28. VJTorley,

    I’m curious. Just how much of Nick’s list is even applicable to the objection both yourself and Tour are raising? It seems like the “29+ evidence” page is largely aimed at supporting common descent – which, as you’ve pointed out, is a separate question from whether macroevolution is understood.

  29. “Nick, he’s one of the world’s top ten chemists! I would think that he knows more than a few eminent biologists.”

    He shows no evidence of that, either directly or in terms of showing a sign of having a clue about the field of evolutionary biology. The science world is a huge place, one can be very prominent and yet not know many people outside your field, especially if you have a habit of going around crapping on other fields without knowing what you are talking about.

    “But if you really think he’s ignorant of the facts, why don’t you take up his offer of a free lunch?

    I’d love to, if someone pays my airfare, and if it will be recorded.

    “It allows me to explain why I accept common descent but not macroevolution.”

    If you accept common descent between species, you accept macroevolution, because macroevolution is just evolution above the level of species/gene pools.

    What you are trying to argue, in a very confused way, is that you have some kind of problem with the statement that macroevolution is “just” microevolution over large amounts of time. Well, lots of people have a problem with this claim, including me — it’s rather like saying microeconomics can be simply scaled up to produce macroeconomics. Or that the ecology of a single field experiment can be scaled up to explain the macroecology of the Amazonian rainforest.

    Or pretty much any field that deals with phenomena over several orders of magnitude of scale in time or space.

    Sometimes, for some phenomena, the simple multiplicative extrapolation is a decent model in all these fields, but sometimes it’s not. In economics, we had the housing bubble burst, with a macro factor crashing down to effect the microeconomics of many homeowners. In macroevolution, we have e.g. mass extinctions, where massive external events knock out many lineages at once, and simple extrapolation from population genetics is a poor explainer of that phenomenon.

    These scaling issues are well-known to experts in any such multiscale field, but with evolution, creationists have been abusing the term for upwards of 50 years now, because in their heads they have the bizarrely undefined concepts of “kind” and “fundamental change”, which are goalposts that they always keep on wheels and roll safely away from evidence.

    “Wikipedia is even clearer than Theobald in its definition of macroevolution”

    Theobald is right and wikipedia is wrong.

    “Oddly enough, not all scientists agree with the proposal that examples of microevolution offer support for macroevolution. See here: Do Examples of “Microevolution” Provide Support for Macroevolution? (I assume the quotes are legit.)”

    This highlights another thing creationists and other ill-informed antievolutionists just don’t get: just because different writers are talking about the word “macroevolution”, doesn’t mean that they are talking about the same thing. And the discussions aren’t even the same over the decades that those quotes are mined from.

    E.g., within macroevolution, scientists study:

    speciation (splitting of gene pools, reproductive isolation mechanisms)

    lineage dynamics (rates of speciation and extinction; mass extinctions; patterns in phylogenetic trees)

    rates of change across species in the fossil record — punctuated equilibrium, contrary to virtually all infuriating, blindly-repeated silliness from antievolutionists, was just about how speciation — the SMALLEST sort of macroevolutionary change — appears in the fossil record. It is about small jumps in morphology between closely-related sister species.

    evolution of development, including both “novel” structures and “exaptation” (the latter being far more common than true novelty, whatever “true novelty” means)

    the statistical estimation of the history of character change (or biogeographic change, etc.) on phylogenetic trees, and inference of the best statistical models that describe this process

    origin of “higher taxa” — this is common in older literature, but Linnaean ranked taxonomy is being gradually abandoned in biology, since we can just use phylogenies without needing any artificial ranks, which were never well-defined anyway

    Scientists can be talking about any of the above, or other topics, under the topic of “macroevolution”. And for any of the above, a debate can be had about to what extent an extrapolationist model works as an explanation. You can’t just splice together some random quotes about macroevolution and expect to convince anyone who has taken a graduate course or two in the subject.

    Heck, even Young-Earth Creationists accept quite a bit of the macroevolution in terms of the topics I listed above.

    “Regarding macroevolution, Theobald makes some absolutely ridiculous statements about evolutionary change:”

    Are you even trying to understand what he is saying? We have (1) observed rates of change in some populations right now, and (2) rates of change in fossil record. His point is that, in almost every case, (2) is much, much smaller than (1). In other words, observed evolutionary rates have **plenty** of capability to explain the changes seen in the fossil record. The puzzle, if anything, is why the observed change in the fossil — even the things you cite — is so incredibly SLOW.

  30. Why do evolutionist always chuck in the bit that other theists or Christians also accept macro-evolution? Is this to convince us or is it to convince you Nick? I’ll be be bold enough to say that speculation does occur but its caused by deleterious mutations not by gains. Check the literature and there is no new novel functions, no new body plans but loss of information that creates the barrier. The science backs my statement.

  31. If you accept common descent between species, you accept macroevolution, because macroevolution is just evolution above the level of species/gene pools.

    +

    This highlights another thing creationists and other ill-informed antievolutionists just don’t get: just because different writers are talking about the word “macroevolution”, doesn’t mean that they are talking about the same thing. And the discussions aren’t even the same over the decades that those quotes are mined from.

    It’s apparently not limited to creationists and antievolutionists, Nick.

    Are you admitting what I was getting at with VJT – namely that you provided a link to ’29+ evidences for macroevolution’ when really it was 29+ evidences for common descent – and manifestly not the sort of ‘macroevolution’ VJT was talking about? ;)

  32. *Correction… speciation

  33. But if you really think he’s ignorant of the facts, why don’t you take up his offer of a free lunch?

    THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH!

  34. By the way,

    He shows no evidence of that, either directly or in terms of showing a sign of having a clue about the field of evolutionary biology.

    The fact that this comes from someone who praises and boosts Richard Carrier and his “Jesus never existed!” speculations against eminent historians is priceless. Apparently, it’s entirely okay to be a maverick outside of the academy – but only if your views support Matzke’s social and political agendas. If not, well, suddenly being a “synthetic organic chemist” with a specialization in nanotechnology doesn’t mean you have any relevant knowledge with regards to evolutionary theory. ;)

    Look, Nick. I accept theistic evolution and have since I studied all this in high school. I even accept the general idea of macroevolution. I’m not interested in denying either one here. But I have to say – guys like you? You do harm to science. You actually make it more difficult for people like me to argue the case for common descent or certain kinds of evolutionary speculation, because when they see you – some ex-NCSE guy – BSing wildly, strawmanning your opposition, and generally trying to make it sound as the state of the science is far more certain than it really is… honest to God, they take one look at you and think, ‘how much faith can we put in science and scientists when someone like this tries to pull off what he does in the conversation?’

    Please, Nick. For the sake of science – stop it. Exercise the principle of charity when interpreting what critics say. Be honest about the tentative nature of science, and the real uncertainties that are present in evolutionary science – and science generally. We do not have to pretend that there are no major questions or no legitimate reasons to question the conventional wisdom.

    We had enough of this kind of crap with Lysenkoism. People are tired of it.

  35. I’ll sponsor the first 500 bucks towards Nick’s “free lunch.”

  36. Macroevolution is evolution on a grand scale — what we see when we look at the over-arching history of life: stability, change, lineages arising, and extinction.
    Macroevolution

    lol

    No wonder there’s no Theory of Macroevolution.

  37. Nick:

    Theobald is right and wikipedia is wrong.

    Considering that fully 50% of their external links are to Theobold’s article or to what he links to in his article (talkorigins) they must be complete morons.

  38. Nick M.

    Theobald is right and wikipedia is wrong.

    Now that’s just hilarious Nick.

    The very first entry in the References section in the Wikipedia article on Macroevolution is to something co-authored by someone named “Matzke, Nicholas J.”

    Maybe you should ask them to remove you as a reference.

  39. A post detailing the crucial distinction between the question of did it happen, and the question of how did it happen (it referring to macroevolution/common descent):

    Confusing Evidence for Common Ancestry with Evidence for Random Mutation and Natural Selection

    From my own experience, conflating the above two questions, and the evidence in support of each, is one of the Darwinists most often-used tactics when it comes to tricking the public. It’s good to see that Nick Matzke is keeping that sleazy tradition alive. Way to go, Nick!

    Anyway, here’s a few more relevant articles from EN&V:

    Douglas Theobald Tests Universal Common Ancestry by Refuting a Preposterous Null Hypothesis

    But Isn’t There a Consilience of Data That Corroborates Common Descent? (a follow-up to the preceding entry)

    Also, EN&V recently deconstructed Talk Origins’ entry on speciation, which crosses over into the question of large-scale macro-evolutionary change.

    The first of the six-part series can be found here, and the full article (in PDF format) can be downloaded here.

    It’s well worth a read. Once you see just how weak Talk Origins’ actual case is, you’ll understand why they resort to dishonesty and intentional confusion.

  40. Nice article VJT – looking forward to watching the video of Tour’s lecture. Gotta find time though…

  41. Nick

    How can you expect us to take Talk Origins serious as a credible evolutionary resource that is purely scientific and has no biased agenda if it has articles like the following?

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....nists.html

    Science should concern itself with cause and effect stuff only because that is what science is, to see what causes what….

  42. Mung

    Did Nick admit he is dishonest then? Seems that he does not even believe himself!

  43. This is a very long read but by far the best explanation yet on how speciation occurs, deletions my friend deletions. No new novel functions.

    http://m.gbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/3/812.full

  44. “Considering that fully 50% of their external links are to Theobold’s article or to what he links to in his article (talkorigins) they must be complete morons.”

    Wikipedia articles can have a great many writers. The line “Contrary to claims by creationists, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales” looks like it was stuck in by someone who was a popular fan of evolution but not very deep into the field.

  45. “The fact that this comes from someone who praises and boosts Richard Carrier and his “Jesus never existed!” speculations against eminent historians is priceless. Apparently, it’s entirely okay to be a maverick outside of the academy – but only if your views support Matzke’s social and political agendas.”

    …aaaand the misconstruals continue. As you know, or you would if you cared about accuracy and fairness, I never defended Carrier’s “Jesus never existed” position, I just pointed out the weaknesses in the critique that you, Mike Gene, etc. were making of him as some kind of total hopeless buffoon. I even explicitly disclaimed any ability to judge detailed disputes in ancient history issues. All I pointed out was that Carrier is acknowledged to be smart even by e.g. Bart Ehrman, and that he does a lot of reasonably good research.

    As I recall, you guys were the ones doubting the existence of an article he published, just because you were so incredibly suspicious of anything he did, and because you were relying on lazy and sloppy and insufficient research, and I was the one who physically went to the library and copied the article, which turned out to exist, and emailed it to anyone who asked.

  46. Then it could only be you Nick everything you write references creationists in some form or another. Yep it was you.

  47. 38
    JammerFebruary 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    A post detailing the crucial distinction between the question of did it happen, and the question of how did it happen (it referring to macroevolution/common descent):

    Confusing Evidence for Common Ancestry with Evidence for Random Mutation and Natural Selection

    From my own experience, conflating the above two questions, and the evidence in support of each, is one of the Darwinists most often-used tactics when it comes to tricking the public. It’s good to see that Nick Matzke is keeping that sleazy tradition alive. Way to go, Nick!

    Anyway, here’s a few more relevant articles from EN&V:

    Douglas Theobald Tests Universal Common Ancestry by Refuting a Preposterous Null Hypothesis

    But Isn’t There a Consilience of Data That Corroborates Common Descent? (a follow-up to the preceding entry)

    Also, EN&V recently deconstructed Talk Origins’ entry on speciation, which crosses over into the question of large-scale macro-evolutionary change.

    The first of the six-part series can be found here, and the full article (in PDF format) can be downloaded here.

    It’s well worth a read. Once you see just how weak Talk Origins’ actual case is, you’ll understand why they resort to dishonesty and intentional confusion.

    The kind if schizophrenia we see here is exactly why ID and whatever other sorts of vaguely antievolutionary mewing we are seeing in this thread will never get taken seriously by anyone who knows anything about the field.

    On the one hand, we have articles from the Discovery Institute website that take pains to claim (contrary to most of the evidence) that ID is just find with common ancestry, and that the powerful evidence from common ancestry should be carefully distinguished from those oh-so-much-more dubious claims about mutations and natural selection being the mechanism of change.

    On the other hand, we have articles from the very same Discovery Institute website that make extraordinary efforts to disprove common ancestry, and even to attempt to disprove even basically tiny changes that happen when one species splits into to two — speciation, i.e. the kinds of changes that even the most extreme Bible-beating, evolution-is-from-Satan, just-fell-off-the-turnip-truck (I take this phrase from Stephen Meyer) young-earth creationists happily accept.

    Pick a friggin’ side of each issue and stick with it. This is science, not lit-crit. You can’t maintain two opposite positions at once and expect to be taken seriously.

  48. 40
    AndreFebruary 18, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Nick

    How can you expect us to take Talk Origins serious as a credible evolutionary resource that is purely scientific and has no biased agenda if it has articles like the following?

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq…..nists.html

    Science should concern itself with cause and effect stuff only because that is what science is, to see what causes what….

    Science education and public understanding of science are useful things to promote. It is also useful to debate young-earth creationist charlatans and pseudoscientists like Duane Gish (in days of yore). What’s wrong with articles about these aspects of the issue?

  49. As you know, or you would if you cared about accuracy and fairness, I never defended Carrier’s “Jesus never existed”

    Oh really? So you’re going to turn around and denounce the Jesus-myth claim as nonsense?

    See, my recollection was that you defended the claim as a serious one worthy of attention, and that wasn’t at all discredited by the mere fact that actual ‘eminent historians’ across the board thought it was nonsense.

    I even explicitly disclaimed any ability to judge detailed disputes in ancient history issues.

    Right, sure. I mean, just like how you’re neutral on the Phantom time hypothesis or Timecube, right? You’re not a historian or a physicist, so how in the world can you judge such things?

    By the way, I like this turnaround:

    As I recall, you guys were the ones doubting the existence of an article he published,

    “We guys” did no such thing. One person said that they couldn’t find the article, and when it was produced, they admitted their error.

    By the way, Nick: indisputably, the Jesus Myth hypothesis is not taken seriously by actual eminent historians. Are you saying that just because an idea is rejected by the consensus of academics, that’s not at all a good reason to regard it as a silly or likely wrong claim? ID proponents would love to know the answer there.

    Pick a friggin’ side of each issue and stick with it. This is science, not lit-crit. You can’t maintain two opposite positions at once and expect to be taken seriously.

    Gosh, Nick. It’s almost as if the DI view is neutral with regards to common descent – it’s entirely compatible with its truth or falsity, and thus you have ID proponents expressing differing views. Would it be intellectually honest to treat the EO Wilson v Dawkins dispute as evidence evolutionary theory was like ‘lit-crit’?

    Like I said, Nick – please stop what you’re doing. When you BS about the state of the science, engage in blatant strawman tactics and otherwise bluff, you make scientists and science both look bad. You make it harder to argue the case for common descent and related issues by doing this sort of thing.

  50. @NickMatzke_UD

    Do you remember where you were the day junk DNA died?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    …sorry, couldn’t resist. :P

  51. The line “Contrary to claims by creationists, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales” looks like it was stuck in by someone who was a popular fan of evolution but not very deep into the field.

    It could well have been a guy who posts on BioLogos by the name of melanogaster, formerly John, who is very rude but never gets banned because he is acknowledged to be a working expert in population genetics. On a current post, he called the terms “microevolution” and “macroevolution” a “Creationist trope”. He often tells people that they don’t understand evolution.

    Sounds like Nick should have lunch with him to justify his Creationist tropes.

    Regarding the OP, my experience is that the claim that nobody understands macroevolution is untrue. There is in fact just one person who does understand it, but sadly nobody knows who it is because everyone is telling everyone else that they don’t understand evolution (eg Coyne to J Shapiro, Nick to Tour, Dennis Venema to Meyer, “John” to Behe and, of course, indirectly, Nick to “John”.)

  52. PS

    Strange how it’s so hard for mere Nobel chemists, population geneticists, etc to understand, when it’s so simple that only the willfully obscurantist hick Fundamentalists don’t get it.

  53. Its fine and welcome to accept this guy upon his stuff.
    However I wouldn’t credit him for YEC stuff.
    I’m saying watch the physics of who creationists quote for some aspect of our side.

    O)Kay about a top chemist, patents and all unlike Stephen Hawkings, to say how things did come about but creationists need not just do this.

    If evolution did not create the glory before us then there couldn’t be evidence that it did.
    Therefore there couldn’t be the higher standard of evidence gathering called science demonstrating evidence for evolution.
    if not then all creationists need insist is that there is no scientific biological evidence for evolution.
    So its up to them to show their top four poinbts.

    Creationism should be aiming at the methodology behind evolution evidence claims and not first at the claims of evidence.
    It was after all not true scientific biological evidence that was presented. so evolution is not yet a scientific theory but only a open hypothesis.

    By the way just because a Israeli (Jewish or not) says evidence is lacking for evolution is not king of all.
    Third world states shouldn’t be quoted so much.

  54. Nick

    You must be joking right science should never concern itself with articles on how to debate creationists or Duane Gish, that’s not science! I’ll repeat

    Class what is science?

    Science is the method we use to see and understand what causes what!

    That is it, science does not have an opinion on debating! Back to school for you, because what you suffer from is called the evolutionary lack of critical thinking syndrome. I think its a random mutation that went wrong or something!

  55. NickMatzke_UD (28):
    In other words, observed evolutionary rates have **plenty** of capability to explain the changes seen in the fossil record. The puzzle, if anything, is why the observed change in the fossil — even the things you cite — is so incredibly SLOW.

    This puzzle is solved when one accepts the fact that there is a huge difference between microevolution and macroevolution – which Theobald and you obviously do not.
    The so called ‘evolutionary rate’ in Trinidadian guppies, Ugandan elephants and Croatian lizards do not mean the origination of new species. But rather, minor changes of a more decorative kind that become fixed. To suggest otherwise is misleading and almost certainly meaningless in the context of the evolution debate.

  56. It is worth noting that Nick, when he was pressed to give an example of a single gene arising by Darwinian processes, gave an example that fell completely apart upon examination:

    Leading Darwin Defender Admits Darwinism’s Most “Detailed Explanation” of a Gene Doesn’t Even Tell What Function’s Being Selected – Casey Luskin – October 5, 2011
    Excerpt: …You just admitted that the most “detailed explanation” for the evolution of a gene represents a case where:

    *they don’t even know the precise function of the gene,
    *and thus don’t know what exactly what function was being selected,
    *and thus don’t know if there are steps that require multiple mutations to produce an advantage,
    *and thus haven’t even begun to show that the gene can evolve in a step-by-step fashion,
    *and thus don’t know that there are sufficient probabilistic resources to produce the gene by gene duplication+mutation+selection.

    In effect, you have just admitted that Darwinian explanations for the origin of genes are incredibly detail-poor.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51551.html

  57. That’s a fantastic article, VJ Torley, thank-you very much. How many atheistic evolutionists will curse honest and established scientists like Tour and Smalley for undermining their claim that all true scientists believe in evolution?

    Any evolutionist whose main defence of evolution is “if so many scientists believe it is true, then it must be true” cannot really be taken seriously. And, if they make matters worse by trying to smear any scientist who doesn’t toe the line (as illustrated, once again, by Nick Matzke) then it becomes perfectly clear that little things like evidence and reason are of no real interest to such evolutionists. It is either atheistic evolution or bust: to hell with the truth!

    I look forward to more scientists like Tour and Smalley, coming clean, publicly, and confirming that the criticisms of ID proponents were right all along.

  58. Nick Matzke:

    Everyone should start here:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    Refute it if you can. Until you do, you’ve got nada.

    First someone has to support that bit of tripe. IOW there isn’t anything to refute as all Theobald has is “it look like common descent to me”.

    Not only that I can, and have, taken Theobald’s claims and made them into support for a common design. Rather easily, too.

    Heck, even Young-Earth Creationists accept quite a bit of the macroevolution in terms of the topics I listed above.

    They define macroevolution differently thnan you do, Nick.

  59. In critique of Mr. Matzke’s position (and a critique of neo-Darwinists generally), it is interesting to note that he/they are operating from the presupposition of reductive materialism. In that he/they believe functional information, life and consciousness (Everything basically!), simply ‘emerges’ in a bottom up fashion from the various ‘random’ configurations of material particles. Particularly, they hold that ‘random’ mutations to DNA (Central Dogma) can account for all the diversity of life we see around us (Body Plan Morphogenesis). There are severe problems with this view. Recently, Paul Nelson presented an excellent lecture explaining the crushing problem that ontogenetic depth places on the reductive materialism of neo-Darwinism:

    Darwin or Design? – Paul Nelson at Saddleback Church – Nov. 2012 – ontogenetic depth (excellent update) – video
    Text from one of the Saddleback slides:
    1. Animal body plans are built in each generation by a stepwise process, from the fertilized egg to the many cells of the adult. The earliest stages in this process determine what follows.
    2. Thus, to change — that is, to evolve — any body plan, mutations expressed early in development must occur, be viable, and be stably transmitted to offspring.
    3. But such early-acting mutations of global effect are those least likely to be tolerated by the embryo.
    Losses of structures are the only exception to this otherwise universal generalization about animal development and evolution. Many species will tolerate phenotypic losses if their local (environmental) circumstances are favorable. Hence island or cave fauna often lose (for instance) wings or eyes.
    http://www.saddleback.com/mc/m/7ece8/

    Understanding Ontogenetic Depth, Part II: Natural Selection Is a Harsh Mistress – Paul Nelson – April 7, 2011
    Excerpt: The problem may be summarized as follows:
    – There are striking differences in the early (embryonic) development in animals, even within classes and orders.
    – Assuming that these animals are descended from a common ancestor, these divergences suggest that early development evolves relatively easily.
    – Evolution by natural selection requires heritable variation.
    – But heritable variations in early development, in major features such as cleavage patterns, are not observed.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....45581.html

    related notes:

    ‘No matter what we do to a fruit fly embryo there are only three possible outcomes, a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly. What we never see is primary speciation much less macro-evolution’ –
    Jonathan Wells

    Darwin’s Theory – Fruit Flies and Morphology – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZJTIwRY0bs

    Experimental Evolution in Fruit Flies (35 years of trying to force fruit flies to evolve in the laboratory fails, spectacularly) – October 2010
    Excerpt: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles.,,, “This research really upends the dominant paradigm about how species evolve,” said ecology and evolutionary biology professor Anthony Long, the primary investigator.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....ruit_flies

    The mouse is not enough – February 2011
    Excerpt: Richard Behringer, who studies mammalian embryogenesis at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas said, “There is no ‘correct’ system. Each species is unique and uses its own tailored mechanisms to achieve development. By only studying one species (eg, the mouse), naive scientists believe that it represents all mammals.”
    http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57986/

    Transcription Factors: More Species-Specific Biology – Cornelius Hunter – October 2011
    Excerpt: In fact, the binding sites are often so-called “lineage-specific,” meaning that the transcription factor binds to a section of DNA that is unique to that species. As one writer explained: “Remarkably, many of these RABS [repeat-associated binding sites] were found in lineage-specific repeat elements that are absent in the comparison species, suggesting that large numbers of binding sites arose more recently in evolution and may have rewired the regulatory architecture in embryonic stem cells on a substantial scale.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ecies.html

    Despite what Mr. Matzke may adamantly claim to the contrary (belittling anyone who disagrees with him in the process), he simply has ZERO scientific evidence that ‘random’ mutations to the DNA can produce fundamentally new Body Plans.,,,

  60. F/N: The 29 evidences game is based on loaded assumptions and assertions, and I suggest beginning instead by challenging the claim that life’s origin can be grounded on blind watchmaker forces of chance and necessity. (Cf. point 6 on here.) KF

  61. Nick Matzke:

    We have (1) observed rates of change in some populations right now,

    Yes, we have. However what we observe in no way supports universal common descent.

    and (2) rates of change in fossil record.

    That is only a case of “I wouldn’t have seen it if I didn’t already believe it.” IOW the fossils don’t help you Nick. Not only tat but the fossil record shows fish-> tetrapods-> fishapods. Not exactly what your position requires.

  62. Moreover, in further critique of Mr. Matzke’s position, the sequential information encoded on the DNA is found to be the ‘bottom rung of the ladder’ as far as the information hierarchy of the cell is concerned:

    Multidimensional Genome – Dr. Robert Carter – video (Notes in video description)
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8905048

    Why the ‘Gene’ Concept Holds Back Evolutionary Thinking – James Shapiro – 11/30/2012
    Excerpt: The Century of the Gene. In a 1948 Scientific American article, soon-to-be Nobel Laureate George Beadle wrote: “genes are the basic units of all living things.”,,,
    This notion of the genome as a collection of discrete gene units prevailed when the neo-Darwinian “Modern Synthesis” emerged in the pre-DNA 1940s. Some prominent theorists even proposed that evolution could be defined simply as a change over time in the frequencies of different gene forms in a population.,,,
    The basic issue is that molecular genetics has made it impossible to provide a consistent, or even useful, definition of the term “gene.” In March 2009, I attended a workshop at the Santa Fe Institute entitled “Complexity of the Gene Concept.” Although we had a lot of smart people around the table, we failed as a group to agree on a clear meaning for the term.
    The modern concept of the genome has no basic units. It has literally become “systems all the way down.” There are piecemeal coding sequences, expression signals, splicing signals, regulatory signals, epigenetic formatting signals, and many other “DNA elements” (to use the neutral ENCODE terminology) that participate in the multiple functions involved in genome expression, replication, transmission, repair and ‘evolution’.,,,
    Conventional thinkers may claim that molecular data only add details to a well-established evolutionary paradigm. But the diehard defenders of orthodoxy in evolutionary biology are grievously mistaken in their stubbornness. DNA and molecular genetics have brought us to a fundamentally new conceptual understanding of genomes, how they are organized and how they function.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....07245.html

    If all that was not bad enough for what Mr. Matzke considers to be a theory that is established on par with Gravity as a fact, recently, though it was thought to be impossible, quantum entanglement/information has now been found on a massive scale within molecular biology:

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    DNA Can Discern Between Two Quantum States, Research Shows – June 2011
    Excerpt: — DNA — can discern between quantum states known as spin. – The researchers fabricated self-assembling, single layers of DNA attached to a gold substrate. They then exposed the DNA to mixed groups of electrons with both directions of spin. Indeed, the team’s results surpassed expectations: The biological molecules reacted strongly with the electrons carrying one of those spins, and hardly at all with the others. The longer the molecule, the more efficient it was at choosing electrons with the desired spin, while single strands and damaged bits of DNA did not exhibit this property.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....104014.htm

    Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature – Elisabetta Collini and Gregory Scholes – University of Toronto – Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73
    Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state.
    http://www.scimednet.org/quant.....d-protein/

    The reason that this is extremely problematic for neo-Darwinism is because Quantum entanglement/information has a long history of simply refusing to be reduced to any conceivable scenario that can be envisioned for the reductive materialism of neo-Darwinism. For example this:

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

  63. NickMatzke_UD:

    The line “Contrary to claims by creationists, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales” looks like it was stuck in by someone who was a popular fan of evolution but not very deep into the field.

    I would infer from that that additional processes are involved in macro-evolution that don’t occur in micro-evolution. I’d be interested if you could find time to clarify this, Nick.

  64. Moreover Mr. Matzke, can you, while you are addressing Mr. Fox’s concerns, also address the question of how neo-Darwinism is coping with the overturning of Junk DNA?

    Junk No More: ENCODE Project Nature Paper Finds “Biochemical Functions for 80% of the Genome” – Casey Luskin September 5, 2012
    Excerpt: “And what’s in the remaining 20 percent? Possibly not junk either, according to Ewan Birney, the project’s Lead Analysis Coordinator and self-described “cat-herder-in-chief”. He explains that ENCODE only (!) looked at 147 types of cells, and the human body has a few thousand. A given part of the genome might control a gene in one cell type, but not others. If every cell is included, functions may emerge for the phantom proportion. “It’s likely that 80 percent will go to 100 percent,” says Birney. “We don’t really have any large chunks of redundant DNA. This metaphor of junk isn’t that useful.”"
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....64001.html

    You see Mr. Matzke, Junk DNA wasn’t just something that Darwinists tacked onto evolutionary theory because it fit in with their theological narrative of how God should or shouldn’t act within nature, Junk DNA was/is mathematically required by neo-Darwinism,,,

    Haldane’s Dilemma
    Excerpt: Haldane was the first to recognize there was a cost to selection which limited what it realistically could be expected to do. He did not fully realize that his thinking would create major problems for evolutionary theory. He calculated that in man it would take 6 million years to fix just 1,000 mutations (assuming 20 years per generation).,,, Man and chimp differ by at least 150 million nucleotides representing at least 40 million hypothetical mutations (Britten, 2002). So if man evolved from a chimp-like creature, then during that process there were at least 20 million mutations fixed within the human lineage (40 million divided by 2), yet natural selection could only have selected for 1,000 of those. All the rest would have had to been fixed by random drift – creating millions of nearly-neutral deleterious mutations. This would not just have made us inferior to our chimp-like ancestors – it surely would have killed us. Since Haldane’s dilemma there have been a number of efforts to sweep the problem under the rug, but the problem is still exactly the same. ReMine (1993, 2005) has extensively reviewed the problem, and has analyzed it using an entirely different mathematical formulation – but has obtained identical results.
    John Sanford PhD. – “Genetic Entropy and The Mystery of the Genome” – pg. 159-160

    Kimura’s Quandary
    Excerpt: Kimura realized that Haldane was correct,,, He developed his neutral theory in responce to this overwhelming evolutionary problem. Paradoxically, his theory led him to believe that most mutations are unselectable, and therefore,,, most ‘evolution’ must be independent of selection! Because he was totally committed to the primary axiom (neo-Darwinism), Kimura apparently never considered his cost arguments could most rationally be used to argue against the Axiom’s (neo-Darwinism’s) very validity.
    John Sanford PhD. – “Genetic Entropy and The Mystery of the Genome” – pg. 161 – 162

    A graph featuring ‘Kimura’s Distribution’ is shown in the following video:

    Evolution Vs Genetic Entropy – Andy McIntosh – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028086

    Carter: Why Evolutionists Need Junk DNA – December 2009
    Excerpt: Junk DNA is not just a label that was tacked on to some DNA that seemed to have no function, but it is something that is required by evolutionary theory. Mathematically, there is too much variation, too much DNA to mutate, and too few generations in which to get it all done. This was the essence of Haldane’s work. Without junk DNA, evolutionary theory cannot currently explain how everything works mathematically. Think about it; in the evolutionary model there have only been 3-6 million years since humans and chimps diverged. With average human generation times of 20-30 years, this gives them only 100,000 to 300,000 generations to fix the millions of mutations that separate humans and chimps. This includes at least 35 million single letter differences, over 90 million base pairs of non-shared DNA, nearly 700 extra genes in humans (about 6% not shared with chimpanzees), and tens of thousands of chromosomal rearrangements. Also, the chimp genome is about 13% larger than that of humans, but mostly due to the heterochromatin that caps the chromosome telomeres. All this has to happen in a very short amount of evolutionary time. They don’t have enough time, even after discounting the functionality of over 95% of the genome–but their position becomes grave if junk DNA turns out to be functional. Every new function found for junk DNA makes the evolutionists’ case that much more difficult.
    Robert W. Carter – biologist
    http://indicium.us/2009/12/car.....k-dna.html

    On Enzymes and Teleology – Ann Gauger – July 19, 2012
    Excerpt: People have been saying for years, “Of course evolution isn’t random, it’s directed by natural selection. It’s not chance, it’s chance and necessity.” But in recent years the rhetoric has changed. Now evolution is constrained. Not all options are open, and natural selection is not the major player, it’s the happenstance of genetic drift that drives change. But somehow it all happens anyway, and evolution gets the credit.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62391.html

    Majestic Ascent: Berlinski on Darwin on Trial – David Berlinski – November 2011
    Excerpt: The publication in 1983 of Motoo Kimura’s The Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution consolidated ideas that Kimura had introduced in the late 1960s. On the molecular level, evolution is entirely stochastic, and if it proceeds at all, it proceeds by drift along a leaves-and-current model. Kimura’s theories left the emergence of complex biological structures an enigma, but they played an important role in the local economy of belief. They allowed biologists to affirm that they welcomed responsible criticism. “A critique of neo-Darwinism,” the Dutch biologist Gert Korthof boasted, “can be incorporated into neo-Darwinism if there is evidence and a good theory, which contributes to the progress of science.”
    By this standard, if the Archangel Gabriel were to accept personal responsibility for the Cambrian explosion, his views would be widely described as neo-Darwinian.

    Ann Gauger on genetic drift – August 2012
    Excerpt: The idea that evolution is driven by drift has led to a way of retrospectively estimating past genetic lineages. Called coalescent theory, it is based on one very simple assumption — that the vast majority of mutations are neutral and have no effect on an organism’s survival. (For a review go here.) According to this theory, actual genetic history is presumed not to matter. Our genomes are full of randomly accumulating neutral changes. When generating a genealogy for those changes, their order of appearance doesn’t matter. Trees can be drawn and mutations assigned to them without regard to an evolutionary sequence of genotypes, since genotypes don’t matter.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....tic-drift/

    Here is a Completely Different Way of Doing Science – Cornelius Hunter PhD. – April 2012
    Excerpt: But how then could evolution proceed if mutations were just neutral? The idea was that neutral mutations would accrue until finally an earthquake, comet, volcano or some such would cause a major environmental shift which suddenly could make use of all those neutral mutations. Suddenly, those old mutations went from goat-to-hero, providing just the designs that were needed to cope with the new environmental challenge. It was another example of the incredible serendipity that evolutionists call upon.
    Too good to be true? Not for evolutionists. The neutral theory became quite popular in the literature. The idea that mutations were not brimming with cool innovations but were mostly bad or at best neutral, for some, went from an anathema to orthodoxy. And the idea that those neutral mutations would later magically provide the needed innovations became another evolutionary just-so story, told with conviction as though it was a scientific finding.
    Another problem with the theory of neutral molecular evolution is that it made even more obvious the awkward question of where these genes came from in the first place.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ay-of.html

    Thou Shalt Not Put Evolutionary Theory to a Test – Douglas Axe – July 18, 2012
    Excerpt: “For example, McBride criticizes me for not mentioning genetic drift in my discussion of human origins, apparently without realizing that the result of Durrett and Schmidt rules drift out. Each and every specific genetic change needed to produce humans from apes would have to have conferred a significant selective advantage in order for humans to have appeared in the available time (i.e. the mutations cannot be ‘neutral’). Any aspect of the transition that requires two or more mutations to act in combination in order to increase fitness would take way too long (>100 million years).
    My challenge to McBride, and everyone else who believes the evolutionary story of human origins, is not to provide the list of mutations that did the trick, but rather a list of mutations that can do it. Otherwise they’re in the position of insisting that something is a scientific fact without having the faintest idea how it even could be.” Doug Axe PhD.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62351.html

    At the 2:45 minute mark of the following video the mathematical roots of the junk DNA argument, that is still used by Darwinists, is traced through Haldane, Kimura, and Ohno’s work, in the 1950′s, 60′s and 70′s, in population genetics:

    What Is The Genome? It’s Not Junk! – Dr. Robert Carter – video – (Notes in video description)
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8905583

    A bit more detail on the history of the junk DNA argument, and how it was born out of the mathematics of evolutionary thought, is here:

    Functionless Junk DNA Predictions By Leading Evolutionists
    http://docs.google.com/View?id=dc8z67wz_24c5f7czgm

  65. Nick M says ” A guy whose field is not biology, and who shows absolutely no evidence of having seriously engaged with actual evolutionary biologists or their literature, and who appears to not have the first clue about how biologists would define macroevolution….”

    As an electrical engineering undergrad studying solid state electronics, I was required to take an intro course in quantum mechanics. There I was, a 20 year old without a degree, and at the end I understood much of the mathematical basis of the field. And this guy Matzke comes on here and has the gumption to belittle someone with multiple Ph.D’s and a career building organic molecules (i.e. as in biochemistry) as not smart enough to understand what is SO IMPORTANT that it MUST be taught in high schools. Well then, if the Ph.D can’t get it, then why are we teaching it in the public schools? (well it must be indoctrination since it CAN’T be understanding as we now know!) I mean if Tour is possessed of no hope in this, just because Matzke declares such, does not everyone see the absurdity of what these shysters are trying to do? I think Nick experienced a case of boiling blood and purple face when reading this UD post, just what the doctor (Tour) ordered. Thank Goodness. And I make the offer: I will buy a ticket for Nick to Houston and will buy a night at a hotel on a weekend. I live in Houston and would like to attend the meeting, and assume Nick will record the meeting.

  66. “And I make the offer: I will buy a ticket for Nick to Houston and will buy a night at a hotel on a weekend. I live in Houston and would like to attend the meeting, and assume Nick will record the meeting.”

    Wow, this could get very interesting! ,,, If the lunch ever does come together I hope, for the sake of all us who would love to see it, that it is recorded.,,, What do you think Nick? Here’s your chance to put all doubts about neo-Darwinism to rest,, all the growing doubts concerning the efficacy of unguided material (Darwinian) processes to produce the unfathomed complexity now being revealed in life! :)

  67. I make the offer contingent on my requested attendance. I will remain silent throughout, but would have some questions upon concluding the meeting.

  68. See, my recollection was that you defended the claim as a serious one worthy of attention, and that wasn’t at all discredited by the mere fact that actual ‘eminent historians’ across the board thought it was nonsense.

    Your recollection is wrong. Go back and read that discussion, you won’t be able to produce a quote backing up what you say above. You are apparently blinded by what you wish were true about your opponents, or something.

  69. I would infer from that that additional processes are involved in macro-evolution that don’t occur in micro-evolution. I’d be interested if you could find time to clarify this, Nick.

    I already mentioned several in this thread. Do you want me to re-write previous posts?

    If you read back, and are able to say what they are, then congratulations, you would be understanding more about macroevolution than anyone else responding to me in this thread.

  70. That is only a case of “I wouldn’t have seen it if I didn’t already believe it.” IOW the fossils don’t help you Nick. Not only tat but the fossil record shows fish-> tetrapods-> fishapods. Not exactly what your position requires.

    This statement depends on identifying one particularly early fossil trackway as tetrapods. This is disputed amongst the experts. But even if true, it would just push back the origin of tetrapod characters a few million years.

    So what? The fossil record is a very imperfect statistical sampling process and so having groups “missing” for a few million years is actually the most probable situation under any reasonable model.

    E.g., we think lemurs have been on Madagascar for tens of millions of years, but there are no lemur fossils at all until 12,000 years ago. Should we thus infer that lemurs popped into existence 12,000 years ago?

    With any noisy sampling process, the importance of the noise will reduce as you zoom out and look at more data. When we do this, we see strong statistically significant correlation between the fossil record and phylogenies built from non-fossil data. As you guys would know if anyone had actually bothered to read and engage with the 29 Evidences FAQ:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....chronology

  71. As an electrical engineering undergrad studying solid state electronics, I was required to take an intro course in quantum mechanics. There I was, a 20 year old without a degree, and at the end I understood much of the mathematical basis of the field. And this guy Matzke comes on here and has the gumption to belittle someone with multiple Ph.D’s and a career building organic molecules (i.e. as in biochemistry) as not smart enough to understand what is SO IMPORTANT that it MUST be taught in high schools. Well then, if the Ph.D can’t get it, then why are we teaching it in the public schools? (well it must be indoctrination since it CAN’T be understanding as we now know!)

    It’s not that he doesn’t have the mental capability to “get it”. The question is, has he put in the effort? Has the guy ever even cracked open a good college-level textbook on evolution? Has he ever sat in on a course on it? He says things that you could only say if you were almost completely uninformed about the topic.

    I mean if Tour is possessed of no hope in this, just because Matzke declares such, does not everyone see the absurdity of what these shysters are trying to do? I think Nick experienced a case of boiling blood and purple face when reading this UD post, just what the doctor (Tour) ordered. Thank Goodness. And I make the offer: I will buy a ticket for Nick to Houston and will buy a night at a hotel on a weekend. I live in Houston and would like to attend the meeting, and assume Nick will record the meeting.

    Fine with me.

  72. We have read it Nick it was weighed, and it was found wanting….

  73. Nick this is another false statement from you:

    “we see strong statistically significant correlation between the fossil record and phylogenies built from non-fossil data.”

    Besides the fact that you are completely ignoring the fact you have no mechanism to demonstrate the fixation of even two coordinated beneficial mutations (Axe) in a reasonable amount of time, the truth is that:

    Bothersome Bats and Other Pests Disturb the “Tree of Life” – Casey Luskin – December 5, 2012
    Excerpt: Incongruence between phylogenies derived from morphological versus molecular analyses, and between trees based on different subsets of molecular sequences has become pervasive as datasets have expanded rapidly in both characters and species.
    (Liliana M. Dávalos, Andrea L. Cirranello, Jonathan H. Geisler, and Nancy B. Simmons, “Understanding phylogenetic incongruence: lessons from phyllostomid bats,” Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, Vol. 87:991-1024 (2012).)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....67121.html

    An Enzyme’s Phylogeny Reveals a Striking Case of Convergent Evolution – Jonathan M. – February 11, 2013
    Excerpt: The authors attempt to account for the incongruity by positing that “the STC gene has been laterally transferred among phylogenetically diverged eukaryotes through an unknown mechanism.” They thus attribute the shared genes to horizontal gene transfer (with no offered mechanism), a proposition that has become a catch-all to explain away severe conflicts between evolutionary phylogenies.,,,
    “phylogenetic conflict is common, and frequently the norm rather than the exception”
    (Dávalos et al., 2012).
    Is it possible that the real reason for such striking and widespread phylogenetic discordance is that evolutionary biologists are looking at biology through the wrong lens? Could the reason that there is so much difficulty in correlating organisms to a tree be that no such tree exists?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....68911.html

    Understanding phylogenetic incongruence: lessons from phyllostomid bats. – Nov. 2012
    In conclusion, the biological processes that generate phylogenetic conflict are ubiquitous (constantly encountered : widespread), and overcoming incongruence requires better models and more data than have been collected even in well-studied organisms such as phyllostomid bats.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22891620

    Orphan Genes (And the peer reviewed ‘non-answer’ from Darwinists) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zz6vio_LhY

    Genes from nowhere: Orphans with a surprising story – 16 January 2013 – Helen Pilcher
    Excerpt: When biologists began sequencing genomes they discovered up to a third of genes in each species seemed to have no parents or family of any kind. Nevertheless, some of these “orphan genes” are high achievers (are just as essential as ‘old’ genes),,,
    But where do they come from? With no obvious ancestry, it was as if these genes appeared out of nowhere, but that couldn’t be true. Everyone assumed that as we learned more, we would discover what had happened to their families. But we haven’t-quite the opposite, in fact.,,,
    The upshot is that the chances of random mutations turning a bit of junk DNA into a new gene seem infinitesmally small. As the French biologist Francois Jacob wrote 35 years ago, “the probability that a functional protein would appear de novo by random association of amino acids is practically zero”.,,,
    Orphan genes have since been found in every genome sequenced to date, from mosquito to man, roundworm to rat, and their numbers are still growing.
    http://ccsb.dfci.harvard.edu/w.....n_2013.pdf

    Phylogeny: Rewriting evolution – Tiny molecules called microRNAs are tearing apart traditional ideas about the animal family tree. – Elie Dolgin – 27 June 2012
    Excerpt: “I’ve looked at thousands of microRNA genes, and I can’t find a single example that would support the traditional tree,” he says. “…they give a totally different tree from what everyone else wants.” (Phylogeny: Rewriting evolution, Nature 486,460–462, 28 June 2012) (molecular palaeobiologist – Kevin Peterson)
    Mark Springer, (a molecular phylogeneticist working in DNA states),,, “There have to be other explanations,” he says.
    Peterson and his team are now going back to mammalian genomes to investigate why DNA and microRNAs give such different evolutionary trajectories. “What we know at this stage is that we do have a very serious incongruence,” says Davide Pisani, a phylogeneticist at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, who is collaborating on the project. “It looks like either the mammal microRNAs evolved in a totally different way or the traditional topology is wrong.
    http://www.nature.com/news/phy.....on-1.10885

    Nature Article Finds MicroRNAs are “Tearing Apart Traditional Ideas about the Animal Family Tree”
    Casey Luskin June 29, 2012
    Excerpt: When Peterson started his work on the placental [mammal] phylogeny, he had originally intended to validate the traditional mammal tree, not chop it down. As he was experimenting with his growing microRNA library, he applied it to mammals because their tree was so well established that they seemed an ideal test. Alas, the data didn’t cooperate. If the traditional tree was correct, then an unprecedented number of microRNA genes would have to have been lost, and Peterson considers that highly unlikely. “The microRNAs are totally unambiguous,” he says, “but they give a totally different tree from what everyone else wants.”,,, Maybe the reason that different genes yield different evolutionary trees is because there isn’t a single unified tree of life to be found. In other words, perhaps universal common ancestry is simply wrong.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....61471.html

    micro-RNA and Non-Falsifiable Phylogenetic Trees – (Excellent Research) video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv-i4pY6_MU

    This Paper Discusses Problems With the Evolutionary Tree That You Didn’t Learn in Biology Class – Cornelius Hunter – May 2012
    Excerpt: In fact, it is impossible to construct a realistic evolutionary tree using all the (genetic) data. Evolutionists routinely construct evolutionary trees using a select, more cooperative, subset of the data. And even then the resulting trees are unrealistic. That is, they require evolutionary change for which there is no known mechanism. This is true even according to evolutionists who are quite liberal in allowing for speculation.,,, So neighboring species on the evolutionary tree may have a great many similarities, but in many cases they have some big differences, which evolutionary theory cannot explain beyond vague speculation.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....-with.html

  74. Nick Matzke:

    The line “Contrary to claims by creationists, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales” looks like it was stuck in by someone who was a popular fan of evolution but not very deep into the field.

    Wikipedia:

    Contrary to claims by creationists, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.[4][1]

    Notice the two footnotes.

    [1.] Matzke, Nicholas J. and Paul R. Gross. 2006. Analyzing Critical Analysis: The Fallback Antievolutionist Strategy. In Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch, Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for Our Schools, Beacon Press, Boston ISBN 0807032786[page needed]

    [4.] Futuyma, Douglas (1998). Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates.

    lol

  75. Nick:

    Refute it if you can. Until you do, you’ve got nada.

    Sorry, Nick, but it is your group that is making the wild, unsupported assertion that highly-scalable, massively-parallel system architectures based on 4-bit digital coding, file allocation, concatenation and software heirarchy protocols can come about as a result of particles bumping into each other. Demonstrate it if you can. Until you do, you’ve got nada.

    And make sure that you aren’t confusing mere similarity of appearance or structure or even common descent, with the alleged natural mechanisms. You know, the old evolutionary canard about the ‘fact’ of evolution being true although the ‘how’ is not understood. The ‘how’ is very much a part of the open issue.

  76. Mung @74:

    What the . . . ?!

    Are you saying Nick is cited in direct refutation of the position he just took?

    If true, that is too precious!

  77. Let’s see if Mr. Matzke, though he is cited as the main source for a position he claims he does not hold, can get wikipedia to change their entry. :)

  78. Nick Matzke:

    This statement depends on identifying one particularly early fossil trackway as tetrapods.

    tetrapods make tetrapod tracks, Nick.

    This is disputed amongst the experts. But even if true, it would just push back the origin of tetrapod characters a few million years.

    What experts? And it pushed tetrapod origins back before fishapods.

    And I read the 29 “evidences”. Unfortunately none of it can be verified and most, if not all, can be used to support a common design.

  79. Notice the two footnotes.

    [1.] Matzke, Nicholas J. and Paul R. Gross. 2006. Analyzing Critical Analysis: The Fallback Antievolutionist Strategy. In Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch, Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for Our Schools, Beacon Press, Boston ISBN 0807032786[page needed]

    [4.] Futuyma, Douglas (1998). Evolutionary Biology. Sinauer Associates.

    lol

    Wikipedia isn’t perfect. Wow what a discovery.

    Here’s what I actually said in the cited article:

    What’s wrong with the creationist definition of “macroevolution”

    To a biologist, the “it’s just microevolution” argument is painfully obtuse. In normal science, “microevolution” refers to evolutionary processes within gene pools, such as the origin and spread of individual gene variants. “Macroevolution” refers to evolutionary processes that work across separated gene pools. Speciation, a process that can be observed in nature, and that creationists accept, is the boundary between microevolution and macroevolution, because speciation occurs when one gene pool permanently splits into two separate gene pools. A speciation event is a case of macroevolution. So are other events that apply to whole gene pools, such as extinction.

    For biologists, then, the microevolution/macroevolution distinction is a matter of scale of analysis, and not some ill-defined level of evolutionary “newness.” Studies that examine evolution at a coarse scale of analysis are also macroevolutionary studies, because they are typically looking at multiple species – separate branches on the evolutionary tree. Evolution within a single twig on the tree, by contrast, is microevolution.

    It is true that scientists themselves contribute to confusion over this issue. This typically occurs because macroevolution is such a broad term that it can be applied to a wide range of proposed processes, ranging from uncontroversial (extinction, speciation, adaptive radiation, ecological drift), to controversial (punctuated equilibria, species selection), to discredited (orthogenesis, saltation). In a perfect world, scientists would refer to these specific processes rather than the very general micro/macro distinction, but as long as the terms are being used, it behooves us to understand what they mean within the scientific community. Evolutionary biologists on both sides of famously contentious debates seem to agree that the definition of macroevolution boils down to “evolution above the species level.”26

    [...]

    26 Douglas J. Futuyma, Evolutionary Biology (Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates, 1998). Stephen Jay Gould, “Macroevolution,” in Mark Pagel, editor, Encyclopedia of Evolution, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), vol. 1: E-23-E-28. Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004).

    Italics original, pp. 49-50 from: Matzke, N., and Gross, P. (2006). “Analyzing Critical Analysis: The Fallback Antievolutionist Strategy.” Chapter 2 of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for Our Schools. Scott, E., and Branch, G., eds., Beacon Press, pp. 28-56.

  80. So is groovamos (65) buying a plane ticket for Nick (71)? Is Nick going to meet with Prof. Tour?

  81. @ BILBO I
    perhaps Nick only debates with Popes, Bishops and VIP people, not with a simple chemist

  82. I’m confident that Nick would meet and discuss evolution with Tour. What I’m wondering about is whether groovamos was serious about buying the ticket.

  83. macroevolution is such a broad term that it can be applied to a wide range of proposed processes, ranging from uncontroversial (extinction, speciation, adaptive radiation, ecological drift), to controversial (punctuated equilibria, species selection), to discredited (orthogenesis, saltation).

    No wonder no one can explain it to the poor guy. No one knows what it is. They just know what it isn’t. It isn’t microevolution.

    I wonder how they know that. Considering they don’t know what it is, how can they say what it is not?

  84. The intelligence must be bond with ethics ( Pacta sunt servanda) and Groovamos looks IDist. I´m afraid who is going to say not

  85. I don’t know who groovamos is. I know who Nick is. I’m betting that if groovamos is sincere about buying the ticket then Nick is sincere about going to Houston and meeting with Tour.

  86. No wonder no one can explain it to the poor guy. No one knows what it is. They just know what it isn’t. It isn’t microevolution.

    I wonder how they know that. Considering they don’t know what it is, how can they say what it is not?

    Really? “This topic includes multiple subtopics” equals “they don’t what it is”, in your head? What a convincing argument!

  87. Am I the only one who kept bursting out laughing at Professor Tour’s pungently ironical pleas for explanations from the likes of Nick? Or even school-kids? Very, very funny.

  88. I think the reason that an article such as this causes such consternation is that it exposes the emptiness of the claim that skepticism of neo-darwinism is inimical to good science. Groups like the NCSE love to trot out the hackneyed talking-point that neo-darwinian evolution is the cornerstone of the modern scientific enterprise, therefore critical appraisal is not to be suffered. But if a guy like James Tour can get along perfectly well without it, then that scare tactic is worthless. Hence, Nick is obliged to savage the knowledge of a man whose work and experience as an experimental scientist far outstrips his own.
    BTW, Tour’s article reminds me of that one by Phil Skell from a few years back…

  89. N.Matzke- Regarding the quote – “He says things that you could only say if you were almost completely uninformed about the topic.”

    Which things? A claim like the deserves justificatoin. Can you specify by picking out the specific points about which you are incredulous and explain why?

    This is a sincere question. I didn’t pick up any of what you are referencing when I read it, but admittedly am a layman in this field.

  90. Dr. Matzke says about Dr. Tour after my points offered:

    “It’s not that he doesn’t have the mental capability to “get it”. The question is, has he put in the effort? Has the guy ever even cracked open a good college-level textbook on evolution? Has he ever sat in on a course on it? He says things that you could only say if you were almost completely uninformed about the topic.”

    Well obviously we all were taught all about Darwinian evolution in public school and in any post-secondary biology course, and had to “put in the effort” along the way. I don’t think many of us posting here are uninformed on the topic.

    But earlier in the thread here is what was said by same, which is a different story-line from the just quoted one:

    “He shows no evidence of that, (knowing many biologists) either directly or in terms of showing a sign of having a clue about the field of evolutionary biology. The science world is a huge place, one can be very prominent and yet not know many people outside your field, especially if you have a habit of going around crapping on other fields without knowing what you are talking about.”

    So which is it, Tour’s understanding is deficient because of not putting in the effort, or because he’s clueless for not “knowing many biologists”??? If public school students, who can’t be expected to know many biologists, cannot grasp Darwin (who was a naturalist) then why do we need to spend hundreds of millions trying to get them that understanding, apparently in vain? Why does a brilliant scientist like Tour not have the ability to understand a 19th century naturalist?

    I think I have a possible answer with Dr. Matzke unintentionally providing a clue in the first story-line. I think he believes (maybe at a barely conscious level) that hanging with many true believing biologists has the effect of socializing someone into an ideology, sort of like that which happens in organized religion or political activism. The 19th century naturalist is the non-titular figurehead and the ideology is scientific materialism. Granted, this is not clear cut, there are many Darwinists who are not materialists, but since I used to be among this group, trust me I was somewhat confused by the split I was living (that is, buying the materialist legend without buying materialism).

  91. Well obviously we all were taught all about Darwinian evolution in public school and in any post-secondary biology course, and had to “put in the effort” along the way. I don’t think many of us posting here are uninformed on the topic.

    Oh really? A great many teachers have historically avoided or minimized the topic of evolution in high school biology, because of creationist laws and other forms of pressure.

    I guess I should consider myself informed about property law because I had a few classes on legal theory in a government class back in ninth grade. Anyone want to hire me? My rates are good, only $100/hour.

  92. 89
    ecs2February 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    N.Matzke- Regarding the quote – “He says things that you could only say if you were almost completely uninformed about the topic.”

    Which things? A claim like the deserves justificatoin. Can you specify by picking out the specific points about which you are incredulous and explain why?

    This is a sincere question. I didn’t pick up any of what you are referencing when I read it, but admittedly am a layman in this field.

    I have highlighted some of them already, but:

    Mis-definition of “macroevolution”. Confusion of macroevolution with origin of life. Asserting that speciation is some kind of huge mystery, when actually it’s such a small change that even Young-Earth Creationists readily accept that it happens and happens easily. The entire bizarre, naive, and confused idea that explaining macroevolution is a matter of “chemistry”, when it is much more closely connected to ecology, biogeography, environmental change, natural selection, etc. Complete failure to note the huge, yawning problems with the statement that there are “gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution” — e.g., no mention that observed rates are plenty fast to explain fossil rates, no mention that the origin of many complex adaptations has been broken down phylogenetically into a series of much smaller steps, etc.

  93. So which is it, Tour’s understanding is deficient because of not putting in the effort, or because he’s clueless for not “knowing many biologists”???

    Both. Especially organismal/comparative/ecological/evolutionary biologists and paleontologists. You can have a department full of biochemistry/molecular bio types around and not necessarily have a very good understanding of evolutionary theory (that’s not to say all molecular bio types have a poor understanding of evolution, there are many exceptions who are very good, but it is common for molbio types to be experts on a few features of their model organisms and not much else).

  94. Hi Nick,

    I’ve notified Professor James Tour of your offer to explain macroevolution to him, in person. I’ve also invited him to respond in person on this thread, if he so wishes. Alternatively, he may choose to get back to me. I would advise you to prepare yourself, because I don’t think he’s going to turn down your offer.

    In your post above (#92), you accused Professor Rice of confusing macroevolution with the origin of life, and of espousing the bizarre idea that explaining macroevolution is a matter of chemistry. I suggest you re-read what Professor Rice wrote on his online article on evolution/creation:

    Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution? If so, I would like to sit with that person and be taught, so I invite them to meet with me. Lunch will be my treat. Until then, I will maintain that no chemist understands, hence we are collectively bewildered. And I have not even addressed origin of first life issues. For me, that is even more scientifically mysterious than evolution. Darwin never addressed origin of life, and I can see why he did not; he was far too smart for that.

    The above passage makes it plain that Professor Tour is quite clear about the distinction between the origin of life and macroevolution, and that when he demands a chemical explanation, he is talking not about macroevolution itself but about the chemical details behind it.

    Regarding the microevolution/macroevolution distinction, here is what Professor Tour wrote in his article:

    From what I can see, microevolution is a fact; we see it all around us regarding small changes within a species, and biologists demonstrate this procedure in their labs on a daily basis. Hence, there is no argument regarding microevolution. The core of the debate for me, therefore, is the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution. Here is what some supporters of Darwinism have written regarding this point in respected journals, and it is apparent that they struggle with the same difficulty.

    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.”

    So the debate between the validity of extending microevolutionary trends to macroevolutionary projections is indeed “persistent” in evolutionary biology.

    If you contend that Professor Tour is badly misinformed about evolution, then I think you need to read what he says more carefully. The man is no fool.

    Lastly, James Tour is a remarkably fair-minded individual. Here’s what he says about the teaching of origins-related issues in high schools:

    So what should be taught in schools regarding evolution? As I wrote, I am not a proponent of Intelligent Design for the reasons I state above: I can not prove it using my tools of chemistry to which I am bound in the chemistry classroom; the same tools to which I commensurately bind my evolutionist colleagues. But I think that a better approach might include more teaching about evolution, namely coverage of legitimate scientific criticisms of neo-Darwinism and disputes about the origin of the first life. That would be more balanced.

    More teaching about evolution? What say you, Nick? Does that sound good to you?

  95. Regarding the microevolution/macroevolution distinction, here is what Professor Tour wrote in his article:

    It’s clearer in that passage, but it’s thoroughly muddled basically everywhere else, including for several paragraphs of his talk which you quoted. And even in your summary:

    The above passage makes it plain that Professor Tour is quite clear about the distinction between the origin of life and macroevolution, and that when he demands a chemical explanation, he is talking not about macroevolution itself but about the chemical details behind it.

    As I’ve said before, this is like asking for the chemical details behind the Grand Canyon. The processes most relevant for understanding the Grand Canyon are not chemical. Ditto for macroevolution.

    Now, if what he meant wasn’t “macroevolution”, but specifically the evolution of developmental systems, i.e. evo-devo — which is what those articles are about — then the request for “chemical details” would make a tiny bit more sense, but it’s still bizarre. What any serious student of the question would look at would be the homologies, genetics, mutations, selection pressures, and functional shifts involved in the origin of a particular structure. Pretending that it’s just “chemistry” that is important, and chemistry only, is just weird. It’s some old-fashioned tidbit of reductionism adopted by someone who apparently can’t be bothered to learn the basics about a field before proclaiming it fallacious.

  96. More teaching about evolution? What say you, Nick? Does that sound good to you?

    That’s just the dishonest propaganda of the Discovery Institute. By “teach more evolution” they mean “please include our bogus, long-refuted creationist criticisms of evolution in high school classrooms.”

  97. If professor Tour does see fit to grace us with his presence, I’d like to ask him how many seminars and courses he has attended at Rice University’s Department of Ecology and Evolution, and how many of those faculty he has closely interacted with to investigate his allegedly burning scientific questions about macroevolution.

    http://eeb.rice.edu/

    http://eeb.rice.edu/faculty.html

    If the answer is “zero”, I think he should say so, as he is being treated as an authority and responsible commentator on the topic by so many here.

  98. Macroevolution = evolution above the species level? That is so ambiguous as to be useless.

    Speciation, a process that can be observed in nature, and that creationists accept, is the boundary between microevolution and macroevolution, because speciation occurs when one gene pool permanently splits into two separate gene pools.

    Creationists do not accept that definition of macroevolution, because it is useless.

  99. Nick Matzke-

    Who has a good enough understanding of biology and evolution to tell us how to test the claim that any bacterial flagellum can evolve via darwinian processes?

    How about someone who can tell us how many mutations it takes to get a fishapod from a fish?

    Can anyone tell us anything about getting the transformations required by changing the genome?

  100. Nick @95

    As I’ve said before, this is like asking for the chemical details behind the Grand Canyon. The processes most relevant for understanding the Grand Canyon are not chemical. Ditto for macroevolution.

    It seems to me that it would be a bit more like asking for the chemical details behind Mount Rushmore. Such a request is warranted if there is sufficient reason to doubt “natural”/undirected processes could have done the job.

    Microsculpting: When rain and wind wear down granite surfaces at glacial speeds.

    Macrosculpting: Microsculpting occurring over long periods of time (the only difference being, you have to wait a while and take a few steps back to see the “designs” of the “faces” in the granite.)

    No one denies microsculpting. So why would anyone doubt that given this very process we all acknowledge exists, combined with enough time, eventually Mount Rushmore was bound to happen somewhere on the planet? Seems unlikely you say? Undoubtedly. Seems purposefully arranged or designed? For sure. But we all can see the seemingly “designed” faces staring at us from the mountainside. Therefore we can conclude, macrosculpting most assuredly takes place.

    If anyone wants to see some sort of rigorous demonstration that this would be possible and in fact continues to happen, tell them “details schmetails!” and that there is nothing to see here- and to move along. If they persist, refer them back to microsculpting- and call them sculpture deniers.

  101. It seems to me that it would be a bit more like asking for the chemical details behind Mount Rushmore. Such a request is warranted if there is sufficient reason to doubt “natural”/undirected processes could have done the job.

    Microsculpting: When rain and wind wear down granite surfaces at glacial speeds.

    Macrosculpting: Microsculpting occurring over long periods of time (the only difference being, you have to wait a while and take a few steps back to see the “designs” of the “faces” in the granite.)

    No one denies microsculpting. So why would anyone doubt that given this very process we all acknowledge exists, combined with enough time, eventually Mount Rushmore was bound to happen somewhere on the planet? Seems unlikely you say? Undoubtedly. Seems purposefully arranged or designed? For sure. But we all can see the seemingly “designed” faces staring at us from the mountainside. Therefore we can conclude, macrosculpting most assuredly takes place.

    If anyone wants to see some sort of rigorous demonstration that this would be possible and in fact continues to happen, tell them “details schmetails!” and that there is nothing to see here- and to move along. If they persist, refer them back to microsculpting- and call them sculpture deniers.

    Whee, so you can make up an analogy that smuggles your desired conclusion (ID) into the premise. Congrats!

    But let’s make this interesting. We actually do have a case where human heads have evolved gradually over time — namely, the evolution of hominids! And that case shows just how foolish this implication of yours is:

    If anyone wants to see some sort of rigorous demonstration that this would be possible and in fact continues to happen, tell them “details schmetails!” and that there is nothing to see here- and to move along.

    Nope, over in the real-life science of hominid origins, we have hundreds of dated fossils skulls, showing the very gradual, step-by-tiny step acquisition of the features that make up the modern human head, as well as detailed measurements of modern and subfossil variation, modern and ancient DNA, a record of gradually improving tool use, etc. E.g.:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive.....ini-1.html

  102. Who has a good enough understanding of biology and evolution to tell us how to test the claim that any bacterial flagellum can evolve via darwinian processes?

    I did coauthor an article on this topic once. Maybe you should read it.

  103. Creationists do not accept that definition of macroevolution, because it is useless.

    Why? Do you deny that the number of species in existence has gone up and down through geological time? The description, estimation, and prediction of the rates of lineage gain and lineage loss in different clades is a huge topic in evolutionary biology right now, with hundreds of papers published in the last few years. This is lineage dynamics, i.e. a form of macroevolution. What is the border between lineages? Speciation. Not so useless after all.

    What you actually meant to say was probably something like: “I don’t care how experts in the field use terms, I prefer to use the inaccurate and idiosyncratic definition used by creationists where macroevolution=evolution of new “kinds”. I do this because I like protecting creationism from critical scrutiny over the definition of “kind” and creationism’s refusal to come up with a non-goalpost-moving definition of exactly what amount of change is supposed to be evolutionarily possible vs. impossible.”

  104. Nick @102:

    I did coauthor an article on this topic once. Maybe you should read it.

    I can heartily second this recommendation.

    Because once anyone reads it (at least those who are not burdened by a materialistic origins myth) they will quickly discover how thin the “evidence” actually is.

    The logic is pretty simple. It starts out this way:

    “Assume x . . .”

  105. Nick,

    I don’t for a moment mean to disparage the work you’ve done on the bacterial flagellum, but at least one competent Intelligent Design proponent has read your work, and finds your explanation wanting. I’m referring of course to Jonathan McClatchie, author of the 2012 paper, The Bacterial Flagellum: A Paradigm of Design. The paper is beautifully illustrated and cogently argued, and the conclusion it comes to is diametrically opposite to your own.

  106. Dr Torley

    Don’t expect Nick to acknowledge it, he’ll just site the YouTube Video where PZ Myers steam rolled Jonathan, but never actually tried to answer his question…..

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

    This is exactly what Nick is doing all the time here too….

  107. That’s just the dishonest propaganda of the Discovery Institute. By “teach more evolution” they mean “please include our bogus, long-refuted creationist criticisms of evolution in high school classrooms.”

    And by ‘bogus, long-refuted creationist criticisms’ Nick means any criticisms of Neo-Darwinism whatsoever, whoever they’re made by, no matter how credible.

    Because science, as you know, cannot withstand honest and open-minded questioning. It’s too fragile! You have to circle the wagons and protect it! Only liars come to conclusions that differ from the academic consensus!

    (Unless you’re a Jesus Mythicist, in which case that’s an entirely reasonable position to hold, Nick isn’t a historian so he doesn’t know how to judge that, and suddenly the need for people respect the academic consensus goes out the freaking window.)

  108. Hi Nick

    Can I ask you a question and I hope will you be able to give me an honest answer?

    Why is evolutionary theory the only scientific theory that is being protected by laws in the US?

  109. (Dr. Matzke):
    You can have a department full of biochemistry/molecular bio types around and not necessarily have a very good understanding of evolutionary theory (that’s not to say all molecular bio types have a poor understanding of evolution, there are many exceptions who are very good, but it is common for molbio types to be experts on a few features of their model organisms and not much else).

    OK so now we are to understand that Darwinian macroevolution is something abstract in the extreme, so that many years of study and association with those who really understand it, are required in order to see that it is absolutely true and has astounding applications. But – shouldn’t those astounding applications be multitudinous enough in themselves to prove that it is true, and thus blow away any doubt that we or Dr. Tour may harbor? Or are those practical applications detectable only to those persons able to abstract in some kind of acrobatic fashion?

    Now back to my experience with quantum mechanics. Even though I have mentally lost all of the details of the subject matter in the intro text by Arthur Beiser, I do remember having a fair grasp of the seriously abstract subject, just after taking one course in which I earned a B. The people who can understand the subject are a pretty small minority of humankind, as proficiency in calculus, diff eq., statistics and linear algebra are required. And — there was no one in the class who doubted the truth of what we were studying. There was no one in the class who could not see the astounding utility of the subject matter, with memories of our first transistor radio enough proof- in fact enough proof for the whole of humankind. Where is something equivalent in Darwinism that should be so obvious to humankind, some practical result of the macroevolutionary canon?

    So if we are to believe that Darwininin evolution requires abstraction on a higher level than my intro class required, is there a list of proficiencies similar to the short list I supplied? Or is “proficiency” in paleontology itself an actual ability to abstract on some higher level than say differential equations – requiring more schooling than the two years of prep I had before tackling the Beiser text? In summary I really would like to know the nature of the privileged information available to those brilliant persons with access to the mind-boggling abstractions of Darwinian macroevolution.

    OK on a practical level that we can all understand, I will maintain the offer, Dr Tour should be made aware of this thread and of my offer to finance airfare to Houston for Dr. Matzke.

  110. Hi Andre,

    I just watched the video you referred me to, and I am absolutely gobsmacked. Jonathan M asked a perfectly reasonable question, and even distilled it down for the benefit of P Z Myers, who then claimed that because the underlying homology for the development of the neural tube was similar across diverse taxa, there was nothing to explain, when in fact what needed to be explained were the differences in developmental pathways across these taxa. A child could have understood the question, and I have to say that P Z Myers’ ducking the question, while accusing Jonathan M of being shameless, was not a pretty sight.

  111. Hi groovamos,

    I emailed Professor Tour about four hours ago and I also mentioned your offer, and I invited him to contributed to this thread if he wishes to do so. I’ll keep you posted if I hear from him.

  112. Dr Torley

    Shameful to say the least…..

  113. 113

    Nick,

    I don’t for a moment mean to disparage the work you’ve done on the bacterial flagellum, but at least one competent Intelligent Design proponent has read your work, and finds your explanation wanting. I’m referring of course to Jonathan McClatchie, author of the 2012 paper, The Bacterial Flagellum: A Paradigm of Design. The paper is beautifully illustrated and cogently argued, and the conclusion it comes to is diametrically opposite to your own.

    It’s not cogently argued. Hardly any counterargument to the evolutionary model is provided — most of the article is just a description of standard flagellar systems, with insufficient attention to variation in the systems — and the counterargument is just a page or two.

    The counterarguments come down to basically:

    (1) gene duplication doesn’t work, citing an article or two by Gauger & Axe, published in the Discovery Institute’s in-house journal, and ignoring the hundreds of published articles in major mainstream journals giving strong evidence for the origin of new genes via gene duplication.

    (2) The (known, extant) T3SSs are derived from the flagellum, a subject which is still up for debate (McLatchie fails to cite an article reaching the opposite conclusion to the 2000 paper he cites, Gophna et al. 2003) fully discussed in Pallen & Matzke and elsewhere by Pallen, and which is not crucial to the basic evolutionary argument.

    (3) the T3SS doesn’t have homologs for FliG, MotA, MotB, and FliM. True(-ish), but, as explicitly pointed out in Matzke & Pallen (2006), MotAB have homologs in ExbBD and other systems, Pallen has also discovered and published a homology for FliG, and FliM is basically just a fusion of FliN, which does have a T3SS homolog, and CheC, a chemotaxis protein found in both some flagellar and some nonflagellar systems.

    Whoops. That’s straight-up basic mistakes and incompetence right there. Even if McLatchie was going to dispute the conclusions above, he would at least have to be aware of what has been published and rebut it explicitly. Heck, if he could disprove some of the previously-published homologies, he could get that published in a mainstream journal; the criteria by which homologies are determined are pretty well-known and objective.

  114. 114

    108
    AndreFebruary 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Hi Nick

    Can I ask you a question and I hope will you be able to give me an honest answer?

    Why is evolutionary theory the only scientific theory that is being protected by laws in the US?

    There is no such law specifically protecting evolution on the books. Name it if it exists. There are, though, several states with anti-evolution laws still on the books, sometimes in the guise of “academic freedom” lingo. And the Discovery Institute is pushing for more every year.

  115. Folks:

    See why I have emphasised the issue of origin of body plans per the tree of life, which in initial form was the ONLY illustration in Origin of Species?

    This also raises the onward natural question, whence the root of said tree, but of course, rather conveniently, that matter is excluded from the theory of evolution. Though it commonly appears in a misleadingly simplistic guise in many textbooks.

    I would suggest that Dr Tour is quite right, it is hard work, very hard and skillful work indeed, to construct complex C-chemistry based molecules that do relevant jobs. Of his ability in that field, the nanocar above is eloquent testimony.

    Similarly, if we look at the way life forms, say, construct proteins, we will see that the implication is the same. An elaborate controlled, regulated step by step almost Rube Goldbergian process is used to force the creation of specific, complex, functional molecules that stubbornly climb up the energy hill. Dozens of other molecules (many of them synthesised in earlier passes of the same process) are used to get the process to work.

    This is nano-factory, folks, not, put simple ingredients in a soup, stir and warm, hey presto.

    The OOL case Dr Tour does not address, of course, takes the usual assertions about the powers of chance variations and natural selections as well as co-optation off the table. That is why it is so important. At some level, evolutionary materialism advocates are saying that we put in some stuff in a pond or the like, stir, warm and hey presto. An utterly unlikely story, given the thermodynamics, complexity, functional specificity, and need for functional organisation involved.

    What drives its acceptance, is a priori commitment to a materialist frame of explanation, as Lewontin so plainly stated in his well known 1997 remarks, and as any number of others have corroborated.

    Take off those blinkers, and it is clear that design is a very viable explanation of the origin of life.

    And with that on the table, and with the materialist ideological straightjacket — usually disguised as a “mere” methodological constraint — off the table, it is highly reasonable to sit design at the table of possible explanations for body plans; as of right, not sufferance.

    Once that clearing the rubble is done, we simply ask: what is the evidence on causal adequacy to explain origin of functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information [FSCO/I], and what may we infer inductively therefrom?

    First, as Prof Tour has highlighted, we have no good reason to infer the capability of genetic accidents — the source of biological variation — filtered through differential reproductive success in eco-niches, to create the FSCO/I required to get to novel body plans. Indeed, such evidence as we have from micro-evo studies, typically points to breaking down of mechanisms that happen to be advantageous in particular environments as a dominant pattern. We also have very little reason to accept that the scale of required mutations to form a novel body plan, e.g. of a whale, is feasible on the relevant population dynamics and time scale.

    The chemistry is not helpful, the informatics are not helpful, the pop genetics are not helpful.

    And bluster and dismissal are not going to make those concerns go away.

    By contrast, we are surrounded by a world in which we see abundant evidence that intelligent design causes FSCO/I on a routine basis. Indeed this very post as well as those of Mr Matzke, is a case in point. So is the computer on which this is being composed and is about to be sent over an Internet that is yet another case. All of this should be blatant.

    It can be more than substantiated tha the only known causally effective source of FSCO/I is design. Also, that the needle in the haystack type analysis points to the credible impotence of other, blind watchmaker thesis mechanisms. For, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity on the gamut of the observed solar system [our practical universe] or the observed cosmos, will be maximally unlikely to find anything but the overwhelming bulk of possibilities for configs.

    But, where there is a powerfully backed up ideological a priori at work, the mere force of evidence and logic will often fail to break the established position. For a time.

    In the longer term, those who back that “consensus” and may use some pretty ugly tactics in its defence, are not going to look so good, when the wash is put out on the line to dry.

    Meanwhile, it should be clear why I have always insisted on speaking of body plan origin level macroevolution per the various forms of the tree of life that has been the primary icon of modern evolutionary theory since Darwin.

    KF

    PS: All of this is patently a part of why the 6,000 word essay challenge to provide substantiation for the dominant evolutionary materialist school of thought on origin of life and of body plans is now approaching five months without a solid answer.

  116. The difficulty with Nick, as with far too many proponents of neo-darwinism, is largely epistemological. In other words, I’m not sure if Nick is able to successfully differentiate between empirical knowledge (i.e. facts), hypotheses to explain said facts, and conjectures. That many different organisms exhibit genetic, functional, and structural similarities is a fact. It’s been directly observed, and no one disputes it. Universal common ancestry, though, cannot lay claim to the same bedrock status as aforementioned similarity. Comprising a (hypothetical) series of unique events in the remote past, it is plainly beyond observation. At most, one can say that it is a hypothesis that attempts to account for the similarities that are pervasive among differing organisms. Macroevolution, like universal common ancestry, is a hypothesis that also attempts to explain similarities among extant organisms. The problem for Nick is that he is so accustomed to inferring UCA and macroevolution from the empirical data that he is unable to distinguish the hypotheses from the data. He can’t tell where one stops and the other begins. And he’s by no means unique in this defect. Richard Dawkins famously described evolution as possessing the same factuality as the sun’s heat. Even assuming the truth of evolution, his statement is obviously fallacious. The sun’s heat is known through direct observation, whereas evolution (here understood as including UCA) is a hypothesis to explain an observed fact. To imply that they are the same type of knowledge is plainly asinine.
    Nick would do well to go back and read the article that Jammer linked to in comment 39. It critiques Douglas Theobald and his article that contrasts common ancestry with independent ancestry. Notably Theobald acknowledges the distinction between the empirical data (similarity) and the hypotheses that seek to explain them (though he, of course, advocates the orthodox view).

  117. F/N: NM of course excludes laws made from the judges’ bench. Of which there are many. KF

  118. 118

    So if we are to believe that Darwininin evolution requires abstraction on a higher level than my intro class required, is there a list of proficiencies similar to the short list I supplied? Or is “proficiency” in paleontology itself an actual ability to abstract on some higher level than say differential equations – requiring more schooling than the two years of prep I had before tackling the Beiser text? In summary I really would like to know the nature of the privileged information available to those brilliant persons with access to the mind-boggling abstractions of Darwinian macroevolution.

    Sigh. You really have no idea at all about this stuff, do you?

    Here’s the issue. Picture, in your head, all 5000 mammal species currently living on the planet. Now think of how many individuals are in each species — some are almost extinct, some have populations of billions. Now think about how each of these individuals lives and reproduces and dies over the years. Now add in how all of these individuals compete with each other, each each other, etc. Continue this process for millions of years, with species splitting and going extinct, sometimes randomly, sometimes due to climate change, sometimes due to invasions of other species, etc. Add in continents moving around on the globe, ice sheets advancing and retreating, and tens of thousands of other species of vertebrates plus hundreds of thousands of plant species and millions of insect species.

    Then imagine what this process would look like if all you had was a very incomplete sample with lots of biases, in the form of fossils, most of which are fragmentary.

    Suppose you are interested in doing science, and you want to develop hypotheses about the patterns you observe, and developed the data and statistical methods to rigorously test those hypotheses.

    Now you’re getting some vague sense of what macroevolutionary studies are really about, why it requires actual training and work to be able to avoid talking nonsense about the topic, and why you can’t just read a popular book or two and blithely assume you know what you are talking about.

    I work in a biology department where we do this stuff every day, on a campus where there are hundreds of people who work on these questions. We have several research museums supporting this work, with millions of fossil and nonfossil specimens. Why, for goodness sake, should I ignore everything I know based on years of personal experience and work in the area, for the uninformed opinions of a few anonymous internet commentators who can’t be bothered to lift a finger to do the minimum due diligence to learn the basics of what they are talking about before declaring my entire field bogus?

  119. 119

    each each other –> eat each other

  120. F/N 2: Above, someone pointed out the distinction between explanatory hypothesis and facts that such seeks to explain adequately. Proof, is a similarly challenging concept, which glides ever so easily from provisional and even confident warrant on balance of evidence on testing, to the sort of deductive conclusion that compels all but the utterly and insistently irrational or incompetent [per pons asinorum], on axioms acceptable to all. I doubt that there are significant scientific claims that can meet the latter test, and since Godel, even Mathematics is frustrated by it. In that light, I WOULD SUGGEST THAT DESIGN IS AN OBSERVED FACT IN OUR WORLD, AND THAT IT IS THE ONLY OBSERVED CAUSAL FACTOR CAPABLE OF CAUSING FSCO/I. In addition, we have abundant reason to see that blind chance and mechanical necessity will be severely challenged to generate FSCO/I, on needle in haystack grounds. In this context, I would infer that there is adequate evidence that points to design of cell based life, and of major body plans, including our own. Similarly, that the observed cosmos shows signs that persuasively point to design. However, if one is determined not to follow such, or if one has been formed intellectually in a context that makes materialism seem plausible — BTW, it is utterly and irretrievably self-referentially incoherent and self-refuting — it will be hard to see what should otherwise be quite evident. Working one’s way, slowly, painfully, step by step, back out of a whole system, is hard. But then, think about how c. 55 AD, as recorded in Ac 19, the Town Clerk of Ephesus dismissed a riotous assembly in part by alluding to how it was a commonly known “fact” that the image of Artemis worshiped in the local shrine, had fallen from heaven. (Apparently, by then the statue in question was not even a meteorite, but a wooden statue . . . ) Think about the mindset of people brought in a culture where that sort of thing was deemed a fact on the level of “everybody knows.” KF

  121. Well there you have it in the last paragraph Nick has spelt it out you people don’t understand because you are lazy, incompetent, ignorant and possibly stupid, the hundreds of hours spent on the literature trying to learn and understand means nothing and only because you are lazy, incompetent, ignorant and possibly stupid.

    Circular reasoning is what they call it, me thinks!

  122. I think you can also add Argument from authority too, how many fallacies achieved now in a single thread? Do we have a record?

  123. Nick Matzke, “based on years of personal experience and work in the area” are you in a position to name a single extant mammal species and a single fossil that you are aware of which demonstrates macro-evolution?

    Ideally this would be because the evidence strongly indicates that that fossil in question is a direct, or very close, evolutionary ancestor of the relevant extant mammals. There should also, ideally, be a low probability that the differences between the fossil and the extant species cannot be explained by mere sub-specific variety: so, if artificial selection today (as well as environmental conditions) could reproduce something that closely matches the fossil then that wouldn’t really demonstrate macro-evolution.

    Honest question, honest caveats.

  124. Sorry Nick, I wrote ‘cannot’ instead of ‘can’ above. What I should’ve said was:

    “There should also, ideally, be a low probability that the differences between the fossil and the extant species *can* be explained by mere sub-specific variety”

    Thanks.

  125. Mr Matzke proposes a test:

    Picture, in your head, all 5000 mammal species currently living on the planet. Now think of how many individuals are in each species — some are almost extinct, some have populations of billions. Now think about how each of these individuals lives and reproduces and dies over the years. Now add in how all of these individuals compete with each other, each (eat) each other, etc. Continue this process for millions of years, with species splitting and going extinct,

    That’s the beauty of science Mr. Matzke, we don’t have to ‘picture it in our head’ (i.e. imagine it happening), we can actually look at the fossil record (and other evidence) and see if the pattern you postulate (imagine) for mammals (and all life on earth) is true!

    Darwin’s Legacy – Donald R. Prothero – February 2012
    Excerpt: In my dissertation on the incredibly abundant and well preserved fossil mammals of the Big Badlands of the High Plains, I had over 160 well-dated, well-sampled lineages of mammals, so I could evaluate the relative frequency of gradualism versus stasis in an entire regional fauna. …
    it was clear that nearly every lineage showed stasis, with one minor example of gradual size reduction in the little oreodont Miniochoerus. I could point to this data set and make the case for the prevalence of stasis without any criticism of bias in my sampling. More importantly, the fossil mammals showed no sign of responding to the biggest climate change of the past 50 million years (the Eocene-Oligocene transition, when glaciers appeared in Antarctica after 200 million years). In North America, dense forests gave way to open scrublands, crocodiles and pond turtles were replaced by land tortoises, and the snails changed from those typical of Nicaragua to those of Baja California. Yet out of all the 160 lineages of mammals in this time interval, there was virtually no response.”,,,
    In four of the biggest climatic-vegetational events of the last 50 million years, the mammals and birds show no noticeable change in response to changing climates. No matter how many presentations I give where I show these data, no one (including myself) has a good explanation yet for such widespread stasis despite the obvious selective pressures of changing climate.
    http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-02-15/#feature

    Moreover, the ‘variation within kind’ that we do note in the fossil record is, by all rights, best explained by loss of information not gain of information:

    Dollo’s law and the death and resurrection of genes:
    Excerpt: “As the history of animal life was traced in the fossil record during the 19th century, it was observed that once an anatomical feature was lost in the course of evolution it never staged a return. This observation became canonized as Dollo’s law, after its propounder, and is taken as a general statement that evolution is irreversible.”
    http://www.pnas.org/content/91.....l.pdf+html

    Dollo’s law and the death and resurrection of genes
    ABSTRACT: Dollo’s law, the concept that evolution is not substantively reversible, implies that the degradation of genetic information is sufficiently fast that genes or developmental pathways released from selective pressure will rapidly become nonfunctional. Using empirical data to assess the rate of loss of coding information in genes for proteins with varying degrees of tolerance to mutational change, we show that, in fact, there is a significant probability over evolutionary time scales of 0.5-6 million years for successful reactivation of silenced genes or “lost” developmental programs. Conversely, the reactivation of long (>10 million years)-unexpressed genes and dormant developmental pathways is not possible unless function is maintained by other selective constraints;
    http://www.pnas.org/content/91.....l.pdf+html

    “A Dutch zoologist, J.J. Duyvene de Wit, clearly demonstrated that the process of speciation (such as the appearance of many varieties of dogs and cats) is inevitably bound up with genetic depletion as a result of natural selection. When this scientifically established fact is applied to the question of whether man could have evolved from ape-like animals,’.. the transformist concept of progressive evolution is pierced in its very vitals.’ The reason for this, J.J. Duyvene de Wit went on to explain, is that the whole process of evolution from animal to man ” ‘ . . would have to run against the gradient of genetic depletion. That is to say, . . man )should possess] a smaller gene-potential than his animal ancestors! [I] Here, the impressive absurdity becomes clear in which the transformist doctrine [the theory of evolution] entangles itself when, in flat contradiction to the factual scientific evidence, it dogmatically asserts that man has evolved from the animal kingdom!” —Op. cit., pp. 129-130. [Italics his; quotations from *J.J. Duyvene de Wit, A New Critique of the Transformist Principle in Evolutionary Biology (1965), p. 56,57.]
    http://www.godrules.net/evolut.....vlch15.htm

    A. L. Hughes’s New Non-Darwinian Mechanism of Adaption Was Discovered and Published in Detail by an ID Geneticist 25 Years Ago – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – December 2011
    Excerpt: The original species had a greater genetic potential to adapt to all possible environments. In the course of time this broad capacity for adaptation has been steadily reduced in the respective habitats by the accumulation of slightly deleterious alleles (as well as total losses of genetic functions redundant for a habitat), with the exception, of course, of that part which was necessary for coping with a species’ particular environment….By mutative reduction of the genetic potential, modifications became “heritable”. — As strange as it may at first sound, however, this has nothing to do with the inheritance of acquired characteristics. For the characteristics were not acquired evolutionarily, but existed from the very beginning due to the greater adaptability. In many species only the genetic functions necessary for coping with the corresponding environment have been preserved from this adaptability potential. The “remainder” has been lost by mutations (accumulation of slightly disadvantageous alleles) — in the formation of secondary species.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....53881.html

  126. Nick Matzke:

    There are, though, several states with anti-evolution laws still on the books,

    What a crock! How are those laws anti-evolution, Nick? How are you redefining evolution that makes those laws anti-evolution, Nick?

    Are those laws against a change in allele frequency over time, ie evolution? No.

    Do those laws say that natural selection, ie evolution, doesn’t exist? No

    Do those laws say that descent with modification, ie evolution, doesn’t occur? No.

    So in what way atre those laws anti-evolution? Please be specofoc or admit that you are lying.

  127. Nick Matzke:

    (1) gene duplication doesn’t work, citing an article or two by Gauger & Axe, published in the Discovery Institute’s in-house journal, and ignoring the hundreds of published articles in major mainstream journals giving strong evidence for the origin of new genes via gene duplication.

    No Nick- there isn’t any justification for calling a gene duplication a blind watchmaker process. Dr Spetner went over that in “Not By cHance”

    (2) The (known, extant) T3SSs are derived from the flagellum, a subject which is still up for debate (McLatchie fails to cite an article reaching the opposite conclusion to the 2000 paper he cites, Gophna et al. 2003) fully discussed in Pallen & Matzke and elsewhere by Pallen, and which is not crucial to the basic evolutionary argument.

    The T3SSs are irreducibly complex, Nick. And that means that your position can’t even account for them.

    (3) the T3SS doesn’t have homologs for FliG, MotA, MotB, and FliM. True(-ish), but, as explicitly pointed out in Matzke & Pallen (2006), MotAB have homologs in ExbBD and other systems, Pallen has also discovered and published a homology for FliG, and FliM is basically just a fusion of FliN, which does have a T3SS homolog, and CheC, a chemotaxis protein found in both some flagellar and some nonflagellar systems.

    You conflate homology with homoplasy. Also just being similar does not mean anything. And it definitely doesn’t mean similar proteins can just self-assemble into an IC structure. You need the right amounts of each protein and you need to prevent any and all cross reactions.

    You lose, again, Nick


  128. Creationists do not accept that definition of macroevolution, because it is useless.

    Nick Matzke:

    Why?

    For one, the “species” concept is too ambiguous to be of any use.

    Do you deny that the number of species in existence has gone up and down through geological time?

    What’s a species, Nick?

    The description, estimation, and prediction of the rates of lineage gain and lineage loss in different clades is a huge topic in evolutionary biology right now, with hundreds of papers published in the last few years.

    Great, how many mutations does it take to get a new body part and a new body plan? Don’t know, then what good is it?

    How many mutations does it take to get a new species, Nick?

    This is lineage dynamics, i.e. a form of macroevolution. What is the border between lineages? Speciation. Not so useless after all.

    Yet no one seems to be able to answer any specific questions.

    What you actually meant to say was probably something like:

    Yes Nick, I understand that you are but a child and have to put words in others’ mouths.

  129. Nick Matzke:

    Now add in how all of these individuals compete with each other, each each other, etc. Continue this process for millions of years, with species splitting and going extinct, sometimes randomly, sometimes due to climate change, sometimes due to invasions of other species, etc.

    Hiding behind father time is not scientific, Nick. You need some way to tie the transformations required to the gentic changes and you have nothing. And taht means you don’t have any science.

  130. Recipe for life

    Take some organic matter put it in a hole and give it enough time it will become alive. I love science!!!! Has anybody done this experiment yet? How hard can it be?

  131. If non-intelligence, could make life so easily, surely intelligent minds like ours will find it a breeze to make new life right?

  132. NM, re 118 above:

    This merits to be answered point by point, as it is inter alia, a declaration of confidence in a school of thought and a dismissal of those who dare question its conclusions.:

    >>Picture, in your head, all 5000 mammal species currently living on the planet. Now think of how many individuals are in each species — some are almost extinct, some have populations of billions.>>

    1 –> We can simply observe such, and in so doing we see limited population variations, tending to be rooted in loss of genetic information or very limited potential for increase of functional info per generation; with a serious question-mark over claims that mere incremental accumulations of step by step variations can amount to body plan transformations adequate to account for the Darwinian type tree of life or to reconcile the various divergent molecular trees.

    2 –> What needs to be pictured first, instead, is a warm little pond with a reasonable chemical matrix (or a volcano vent or the like) on a newly formed terrestrial planet, with a reasonable atmosphere and processes. Justify such on astrophysical and geophysical grounds. (Notice, physical and chemical sciences have now come to centre stage in terms of relevance to what needs to be explained.)

    3 –> Next, justify, relative to known chemistry (including inorganic, organic and physical) the formation of credible concentrations of precursors to life, in the context of relevant thermodynamics and reaction kinetics. (The work by Thaxton et al, c. 1984, TMLO, from which modern Design Theory has largely come, starts here. If you are to genuinely understand rather than angrily scorn and dismiss the questions and objections we have, you need to understand where we are coming from. And, unsurprisingly, this is also where prof Tour is coming from. How would you feel, if we were to angrily deride and denounce you in similar terms to those you use as lazily failing to address or being incompetent to address such fields at technical level, and use that to trash your name? [Where, BTW, we are very aware of the tactics that NCSE -- your former organisation -- pursued over the years in support of polarisation, well-poisoning and unjustified career-busting.])

    4 –> Thence, with reference to empirical work that supports the claimed major steps, account for origin of cell based life on the blind watchmaker thesis, especially the code based information systems pivoting on DNA and RNA.

    5 –> As a preliminary to this, in light of information theory and related issues, account for the origin of functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information, by blind watchmaker processes with reference to currently observed cases. (This is required to justify claims that blind chance and mechanical necessity are known to be capable of creating such FSCO/I without intelligent direction. It is blatant that intelligence is so capable.)

    >>Now think about how each of these individuals lives and reproduces and dies over the years. Now add in how all of these individuals compete with each other, each each other, etc. Continue this process for millions of years, with species splitting and going extinct, sometimes randomly, sometimes due to climate change, sometimes due to invasions of other species, etc. Add in continents moving around on the globe, ice sheets advancing and retreating, and tens of thousands of other species of vertebrates plus hundreds of thousands of plant species and millions of insect species.>>

    6 –> And, you need to extend such a projection back to the claimed unicellular life forms, accounting for claimed capacity to generate a tree of life pattern on empirical evidence of known — observed — causal processes compatible with the blind watchmaker thesis.

    7 –> Otherwise, the mere extension of time is incapable of plausibly accounting for origin of body plans. Certainly, without intelligent direction or control by front-loading or otherwise, to provide the required FSCO/I.

    8 –> Where, to implicitly exclude a known capable mechanism, in favour of one that is not shown capable, and in support of the sort of a priori agendas asserted by say Lewontin, is to substitute ideology for science. To wit:

    . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated . . . [["Billions and billions of demons," NYRB, Jan 1997. if you think this is a bit of quote mining or is idiosyncratic to Lewontin, kindly cf here and onwards.]

    9 –> In short, we are back to Tour’s point: complex organic synthesis is known to be hard, very hard indeed. What, then, are the grounds on which it can be confidently suggested — a priori ideology excluded — that blind watchmaker incrementalism is sufficient to account for the major body plans of the world of life?

    10 –> Let prof Tour now speak for himself:

    I do have scientific problems understanding macroevolution as it is usually presented. I simply can not accept it as unreservedly as many of my scientist colleagues do, although I sincerely respect them as scientists. Some of them seem to have little trouble embracing many of evolution’s proposals based upon (or in spite of) archeological, mathematical, biochemical and astrophysical suggestions and evidence, and yet few are experts in all of those areas, or even just two of them. Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”?

    From what I can see, microevolution is a fact; we see it all around us regarding small changes within a species, and biologists demonstrate this procedure in their labs on a daily basis. Hence, there is no argument regarding microevolution. The core of the debate for me, therefore, is the extrapolation of microevolution to macroevolution. Here is what some supporters of Darwinism have written regarding this point in respected journals, and it is apparent that they struggle with the same difficulty.

    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.”

    So the debate between the validity of extending microevolutionary trends to macroevolutionary projections is indeed persistent in evolutionary biology.

    11 –> What troubles me about what we so commonly see, is the repeated glossing over of this serious issue; multiplied by the all to common resort to a priori materialism, typically presented as a mere “reasonable” methodological constraint, especially by contrast with — thumbscrews and racks! — possible supernatural intervention.

    >>Then imagine what this process would look like if all you had was a very incomplete sample with lots of biases, in the form of fossils, most of which are fragmentary.>>

    12 –> This is little more than Darwin’s plea that the data are poor; more or less inescapably so. (Which BTW, should serve to make conclusions drawn therefrom rather tentative and to be presented on a “contribution to a forum of views” basis, instead of being presented in terms that declare “fact” to the level of favourable comparison with the roundness of our planet known through fairly direct observation and calculation since Aristotle’s remark on the shadow Earth casts on the moon in a lunar eclipse, and with a value known to reasonable accuracy since Eratosthenes’ shadow calculations c. 300 BC, or the like.)

    13 –> However: there are now over 1/4 million fossil species from the various categories of life across the globe, with millions of specimens. Where, there is a strongly stamped pattern aptly described by Gould in some of his most famous comments:

    “The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent [--> notice Tour's word] and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution.” [[Stephen Jay Gould (Professor of Geology and Paleontology, Harvard University), 'Is a new and general theory of evolution emerging?' Paleobiology, vol.6(1), January 1980,p. 127.]

    “All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between the major groups are characteristically abrupt.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'The return of hopeful monsters'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI(6), June-July 1977, p. 24.]

    “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils. Yet Darwin was so wedded to gradualism that he wagered his entire theory on a denial of this literal record:

    The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will to a large extent explain why we do not find intermediate varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps [[ . . . . ] He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record will rightly reject my whole theory.[[Cf. Origin, Ch 10, "Summary of the preceding and present Chapters," also see similar remarks in Chs 6 and 9.]

    Darwin’s argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I wish only to point out that it was never “seen” in the rocks.

    Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.” [[Stephen Jay Gould 'Evolution's erratic pace'. Natural History, vol. LXXXVI95), May 1977, p.14. (Kindly note, that while Gould does put forward claimed cases of transitions elsewhere, that cannot erase the facts that he published in the peer reviewed literature in 1977 and was still underscoring in 2002 in his last book, 25 years later, as well as what the theory he helped co-found -- Punctuated Equilibria, set out to do. Sadly, this needs to be explicitly noted, as some would use such remarks to cover over the points just highlighted. Also, note that this is in addition to the problem of divergent molecular trees and the top-down nature of the Cambrian explosion.)]

    14 –> Sometimes, an apparent pattern is strongly stamped from the beginning and persistent across decades and centuries of study for the excellent reason that it reflects reality. Namely, it reflects a law of nature.

    15 –> So, we need to ask ourselves seriously whether sudden appearance and stasis followed by extinction or survival, are reflecting fundamental reality worthy of being recognised in newly identified laws and theories that directly address and cogently explain them rather than marginalising them as problems for advanced study.

    >>Suppose you are interested in doing science, and you want to develop hypotheses about the patterns you observe, and developed the data and statistical methods to rigorously test those hypotheses.>>

    16 –> Of course, this pivots on, what is science.

    17 –> And to that, “applied a priori ideological materialism” is definitely not a good answer. A better, more balanced one can be found in good dictionaries from before the current highly polarised debates:

    science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990]

    scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate, 1965]

    18 –> And yet, we see the following from the US National Science Teachers Association Board as an official policy declaration (one backed up by similar stances taken by say the US National Academy of Sciences, which is known to be dominated by people of atheistical disposition . . . see how issues over motives on a matter like this cut two ways, so why don’t we simply focus on the merits instead?):

    NSTA: The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . .

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [[NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. Emphases added.]

    NAS: In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations. Any scientific explanation has to be testable — there must be possible observational consequences that could support the idea but also ones that could refute it. Unless a proposed explanation is framed in a way that some observational evidence could potentially count against it, that explanation cannot be subjected to scientific testing. [[Science, Evolution and Creationism, 2008, p. 10 Emphases added.]

    19 –> These statements beg a raft of questions and reflect ideological a prioris that will bias conclusions, indeed will decide them before facts are allowed to speak. For instance, what constitutes “nature” and as a result “naturalistic concepts and explanations,” or the like?

    20 –> In particular, we have since Plato at least [in The Laws, Bk X], the understanding that natural can be envisioned as that which proceeds on the basis of chance and mechanical necessity, and we can contrast this to the ART-ificial, which is driven by intelligent action. And surely, it is a reasonable and empirically investigatable question, as to whether here are such things as observable signs of ART vs chance and/or necessity?

    21 –> Where, also the whole focus of Design Theory as a school of thought in science today, is that here is that possibility, and that there are some at least preliminary results in hand regarding certain forms of complexity, specified — especially functionally specific — complexity and function dependent on irreducible complexity of clusters of core parts.

    22 –> Where also, to investigate signs of art in our world, is not properly — let us lay well-poisoning and atmosphere poisoning rhetorical games to one side — the same as to assume an arbitrary and chaotic supernatural intervention that turns an orderly world into a chaos.

    (This is a notorious strawman caricature of theism and science resorted to in the above from NAS and NSTA, but the early scientists of modern times saw themselves as exploring the work of the architect and builder of the world who operates on rational principles, and is the God of Order not chaos. Indeed,t hey saw themselves as thinking God’s creative and sustaining thoughts after him. Indeed, that is the context in which they thought in terms of LAWS of nature, i.e as given by the lawgiver and designer of nature Nor is this solely their view, indeed it traces in some respects to Plato in the same context just referenced, where he makes a cosmological design inference on observing an orderly cosmos.)

    >> Now you’re getting some vague sense of what macroevolutionary studies are really about, why it requires actual training and work to be able to avoid talking nonsense about the topic, and why you can’t just read a popular book or two and blithely assume you know what you are talking about.>>

    22 –> This is a disgraceful strawman caricature, set up and pummelled.

    >>I work in a biology department where we do this stuff every day, on a campus where there are hundreds of people who work on these questions.>>

    23 –> Yes, we are aware of the existence of a major school of thought, the issue is not that, it is whether there is a problem of inadequate mechanisms, and associated, of the sort of subtle a priorism just noted on.

    >>We have several research museums supporting this work, with millions of fossil and nonfossil specimens.>>

    24 –> Yes, and what does Gould have to say on the overall results of such collection? Let us cite his The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (2002), a technical work published just two months before his death; as a “constructive critique” of contemporary Darwinian thought:

    . . . long term stasis following geologically abrupt origin of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists. [[p. 752.]

    . . . . The great majority of species do not show any appreciable evolutionary change at all. These species appear in the section [[first occurrence] without obvious ancestors in the underlying beds, are stable once established and disappear higher up without leaving any descendants.” [[p. 753.]

    . . . . proclamations for the supposed ‘truth’ of gradualism – asserted against every working paleontologist’s knowledge of its rarity – emerged largely from such a restriction of attention to exceedingly rare cases under the false belief that they alone provided a record of evolution at all! The falsification of most ‘textbook classics’ upon restudy only accentuates the fallacy of the ‘case study’ method and its root in prior expectation rather than objective reading of the fossil record. [[p. 773.]

    24 –> We would love to learn, just what has emerged in the past decade and has somehow managed not to be trumpeted in the headlines that overturns these persistent patterns? It seems, from your own remarks above, that the pattern persists.

    25 –> Which immediately grounds the sort of concerns we have raised, and others have raised, especially over the past 25 years; some of it — despite open opposition and exposed behind the scenes machinations (some of it, as you well know, coming from the NCSE) — published in the peer reviewed literature.

    >> Why, for goodness sake, should I ignore everything I know based on years of personal experience and work in the area,>>

    26 –> The assertion of claimed knowledge is a strong claim, one that demands strong warrant. Which is exactly the issue and concern we have raised, the degree of warrant that is actually provided as opposed to the confident assertions of fact and knowledge that we see.

    27 –> Where we are also quite aware that across the centuries, many times, schools of thought in science have been mistaken, despite the confident claims of advocates.

    >> for the uninformed opinions of a few anonymous internet commentators who can’t be bothered to lift a finger to do the minimum due diligence to learn the basics of what they are talking about before declaring my entire field bogus?>>

    28 –> Notice, the further strawman caricatures and polarisation.

    29 –> FYI NM, “bogus” is a claim of fraud. Fraud is well beyond error or lack of warrant or explanatory failure. i do not think you can ground the claim that design thought as a school holds that the dominant school of thought is as a whole guilty of fraud; as opposed to particular incidents or individuals who may have gone the one step too far across time. That is patently a false, ungrounded — and careless, unnecessarily polarising — accusation on your part.

    30 –> I THINK INSTEAD: IT IS FAIR COMMENT TO SAY THAT, AS A SCHOOL OF THOUGHT, DESIGN THEORY HAS HELD THAT THERE IS A QUESTION OF DEGREE OF WARRANT AND EMPIRICAL GROUNDING, THAT MAY HAVE LED TO ERRORS IN ESTIMATING THE DEGREE OF WARRANT FOR CERTAIN SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT ON ORIGINS. Which is fair and raises important points of concern that can be addressed in a reasonable and civil manner. (Where also, given the polarisation and targetting of those who have questioned the dominant evolutionary materialist school of thought, much less have advocated design, and the long and distinguished history of anonymous contributions in science and serious thought generally, the mere issue of anonymity is not sufficient to warrant besmirching or dismissing people.)

    31 –> So, kindly retract this false accusation and correct your thinking. Then, we can proceed to a reasonable discussion on the actual merits in light of what prof Tour has put on the table.

    KF

  133. F/N: I think NM has raised a series of issues worth a separate thread, and intend to put one up shortly. That will allow this one to focus on Dr Tour’s points of concern. KF

  134. Nick Matzke (95):
    “Now, if what he [Professor Tour] meant wasn’t “macroevolution”, but specifically the evolution of developmental systems, i.e. evo-devo — which is what those articles are about — then the request for “chemical details” would make a tiny bit more sense, but it’s still bizarre.”

    Good point Nick! Why would anyone want to understand the chemical details? Bizarre indeed. If only people, like Professor Tour, were able to grasp your concept of macroevolution they would understand how utterly trivial those details really are.

  135. F/N 2: I spoke above, of course on the Fair Comment doctrine. I have now put up the suggested onward thread for discussing the issues Mr Matzke raised, here. KF

  136. Bevets, great to see you. Unfortunately, the streaming is locked out internationally. KF

  137. Nick (101):
    Nope, over in the real-life science of hominid origins, we have hundreds of dated fossils skulls, showing the very gradual, step-by-tiny step acquisition of the features that make up the modern human head, (..)

    You got this completely wrong Nick. Do read ‘Science & Human Origins’. You can find an introductory article, by Casey Luskin here.
    Excerpt: “If human beings evolved from ape-like creatures, what were the transitional species between ape-like hominins and the truly human-like members of the genus Homo found in the fossil record? There aren’t any good candidates.”

  138. 139

    Nick Matzke, “based on years of personal experience and work in the area” are you in a position to name a single extant mammal species and a single fossil that you are aware of which demonstrates macro-evolution?

    Easy. Human ancestors. And why just one fossil? That’s bizarre. We have hundreds:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive.....ini-1.html

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....inids.html

  139. Nick Matzke:

    Easy. Human ancestors. And why just one fossil? That’s bizarre. We have hundreds:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive…..ini-1.html

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq…..inids.html

    Unfortunately there isn;t anything that sez “evolutiondidit” never mind blind watchmaker evolution.

    IOW all Nick haz is “these look like transitionals to us.”

  140. 141

    What’s a species, Nick?

    Operationally, a reproductively isolated gene pool that has been isolated long enough to be detectably different.

    Great, how many mutations does it take to get a new body part and a new body plan? Don’t know, then what good is it?

    You seriously think there is going to be a single number that answers this? What’s your definition of new?

    How many mutations does it take to get a new species, Nick?

    The number could be anywhere from zero (speciation by geographic isolation, adaptive divergence of prexisting genetic variation) to one (chromosomal incompatibility through a chromosomal rearrangement or polyploidy event) to lots (gradual buildup of differences leading to increasing percentages of infertility, until 100% is reached). Many examples of all these cases are known. See Coyne & Orr, Speciation.

    Furthermore, this kind of question reveals stunning naivete and lack of education in the field you so confidently and arrogantly dismiss. Demanding for a single number like that is like demanding that a physicist tell you how many planets go around each star, as if the answer would be the same for each star.

  141. 142

    Unfortunately there isn;t anything that sez “evolutiondidit” never mind blind watchmaker evolution.

    IOW all Nick haz is “these look like transitionals to us.”

    Oh wow gee, transitional fossils just look transitional, but actually they are not. What a stunning rebuttal you’ve got! The previous commentator specifically requested transitional fossils. Sorry for answering his question.

    Yet more evidence of the craven, dishonest intellectual bankruptcy that is par for the course around UD. Apparently no one has the combination of brains and guts to admit the obvious thing: yes, there are a lot of transitional fossils leading to humans, and this, objectively viewed, is an important confirmatory piece of evidence for evolutionary theory.

  142. But Mr. Matzke, shouldn’t all species, including humans, be considered ‘transitional’ within the Darwinian framework?

    These guys believe so:

    “So what are the theological implications of all this? Well Barrow and Tipler wrote this book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, and they saw the design of the universe. But they’re atheists basically, there’s no God. And they go through some long arguments to describe why humans are the only intelligent life in the universe. That’s what they believe. So they got a problem. If the universe is clearly the product of design, but humans are the only intelligent life in the universe, who creates the universe? So you know what Barrow and Tipler’s solution is? It makes perfect sense. Humans evolve to a point some day where they reach back in time and create the universe for themselves. (Audience laughs) Hey these guys are respected scientists. So what brings them to that conclusion? It is because the evidence for design is so overwhelming that if you don’t have God you have humans creating the universe back in time for themselves.” – Michael Strauss PhD. – Particle Physics
    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    quote taken from the the 6:49 minute mark:

  143. Nick Matzke:

    Operationally, a reproductively isolated gene pool that has been isolated long enough to be detectably different.

    Let’s see, Chinese and Americans are detectably different, yet we are the same species. Great Danes and havanese are detectably different yet again the same species.

    Demanding for a single number like that is like demanding that a physicist tell you how many planets go around each star, as if the answer would be the same for each star.

    LoL! I didn’t demand anything, Nick. I was just asking. It is obvious that no one knows anything about it.

    Oh wow gee, transitional fossils just look transitional, but actually they are not.

    Yes Nick. For example a havanese could be considered a transitional form between a smaller dog and a larger dog- it sure looks like a fit, but we know that it ain’t.

    IOW Nick you cannot tell the difference between phenotypic plasticity and a genuine transitional form.

  144. BTW Nick, we have allegedly different species that can interbreed.

  145. of note to post 143, A minor glitch in Barrow’s and Tippler’s dream of humans evolving to point to someday create universes, it seems humans are headed in the wrong direction evolutionarily speaking:

    Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design – Pg. 57 By John C. Avise
    Excerpt: “Another compilation of gene lesions responsible for inherited diseases is the web-based Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD). Recent versions of HGMD describe more than 75,000 different disease causing mutations identified to date in Homo-sapiens.”

    I went to the mutation database website cited by John Avise and found:

    HGMD®: Now celebrating our 100,000 mutation milestone!
    http://www.hgmd.org/

    Human Genome in Meltdown – January 11, 2013
    Excerpt: According to a study published Jan. 10 in Nature by geneticists from 4 universities including Harvard, “Analysis of 6,515 exomes reveals the recent origin of most human protein-coding variants.”,,,:
    “We estimate that approximately 73% of all protein-coding SNVs [single-nucleotide variants] and approximately 86% of SNVs predicted to be deleterious arose in the past 5,000 -10,000 years. The average age of deleterious SNVs varied significantly across molecular pathways, and disease genes contained a significantly higher proportion of recently arisen deleterious SNVs than other genes.”,,,
    As for advantageous mutations, they provided NO examples,,,
    http://crev.info/2013/01/human-genome-in-meltdown/

    Are brains shrinking to make us smarter? – February 2011
    Excerpt: Human brains have shrunk over the past 30,000 years,
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....arter.html

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking? – January 20, 2011
    Excerpt: John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”
    “Shrinking?” I ask. “I thought it was getting larger.” The whole ascent-of-man thing.,,,
    He rattles off some dismaying numbers: Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.”
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-shrinking

    Study suggests humans are slowly but surely losing intellectual and emotional abilities – November 12, 2012
    Excerpt: “Human intelligence and behavior require optimal functioning of a large number of genes, which requires enormous evolutionary pressures to maintain. A provocative hypothesis published in a recent set of Science and Society pieces published in the Cell Press journal Trends in Genetics suggests that we are losing our intellectual and emotional capabilities because the intricate web of genes endowing us with our brain power is particularly susceptible to mutations and that these mutations are not being selected against in our modern society.”
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....l.html#jCp

    Is Human Intellect Degenerating? – February 19, 2013
    Excerpt: A recent study of the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database, although incomplete, indicates that about half of all human genetic diseases have a neurologic component, [6], frequently including some aspect of [intellectual deficiency], consistent with the notion that many genes are required for intellectual and emotional function. The reported mutations have been severe alleles, often de novo mutations that reduce fecundity. However, each of these genes will also be subject to dozens if not hundreds of weaker mutations that lead to reduced function, but would not significantly impair fecundity, and hence could accumulate with time. . .
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....enerating/

  146. “Sigh. You really have no idea at all about this stuff, do you?

    Here’s the issue. Picture, in your head, all 5000 mammal species currently living on the planet. Now think of how many individuals are in each species — some are almost extinct, some have populations of billions. Now think about how each of these individuals lives and reproduces and dies over the years. Now add in how all of these individuals compete with each other, each each other, etc. Continue this process for millions of years, with species splitting and going extinct, sometimes randomly, sometimes due to climate change, sometimes due to invasions of other species, etc. Add in continents moving around on the globe, ice sheets advancing and retreating, and tens of thousands of other species of vertebrates plus hundreds of thousands of plant species and millions of insect species.

    Then imagine what this process would look like if all you had was a very incomplete sample with lots of biases, in the form of fossils, most of which are fragmentary.

    Suppose you are interested in doing science, and you want to develop hypotheses about the patterns you observe, and developed the data and statistical methods to rigorously test those hypotheses.

    Now you’re getting some vague sense of what macroevolutionary studies are really about, why it requires actual training and work to be able to avoid talking nonsense about the topic, and why you can’t just read a popular book or two and blithely assume you know what you are talking about.”

    I don’t dispute your science. Not because I accept it, nor because I deny it, but because I am a learner in this area and don’t feel I have suffient knowledge to discuss intelligently.

    But I do have some comments on the quote above. It seems that what you are saying is that this is difficult. That there is not as much evidence as one would like, that you are have piecing together the theory based on fragments of insight.

    This is understandable. It would be expected there will be error in this process. There will be surprises where theory must be revised. That the scientists involved should be very conservative in their judgments and conclusions.

    The problem is this is the opposite of the approach I see. I see claims that evolution is true, that the evidence is “overwhelming” and similar words from that section of the thesaurus. I see grandiose narratives, speculative interpolation, and so on.

    This is not science as I was taught it. This is not the scientific process I was taught. Good science doesn’t blackball alternative or minority theories or opinions. Good science doesn’t defend, protect, or promote a favored theory. Good science doesn’t discount the opinion of scientists from other fields who note where a general theory isn’t supported by theory within their field. Good science let’s the evidence speak for science rather than scientists.

    But, in the end, the approach I see in evolutionary biology (some of which you have demonstrated in this thread) is damaging, most of all to theory of evolution itself.

    Abuses of the scientific process contribute to increased skepticism – it raises the guard of those who are not informed and see only the human behaviors surrounding the science. And the truth is those behaviors don’t influence whether the science is ‘true’ or not.

    I am still open to the theory of evolution. I still want to learn more and follow the evidence where it leads. But I admit that I am particularly cautious as I research it because of the approach of evolutionists in championing their theory.

  147. 145
    JoeFebruary 20, 2013 at 10:10 am

    BTW Nick, we have allegedly different species that can interbreed.

    Shocker. Speciation is a gradual process, not an all-or-nothing thing at first. It’s almost like gradual evolution is true or something.

    PS: I should have said “detectably isolated” rather than “detectably different”. Humans (like all species) have differences among populations, yes, but they all the populations of humans intergrade very gradually into each other geographically, with geographically intermediate populations having intermediate genetics, so it’s all one big gene pool.

  148. Accidental origins: Where species come from – March 2010
    Excerpt: If speciation results from natural selection via many small changes, you would expect the branch lengths to fit a bell-shaped curve.,,, Instead, Pagel’s team found that in 78 per cent of the trees, the best fit for the branch length distribution was another familiar curve, known as the exponential distribution. Like the bell curve, the exponential has a straightforward explanation – but it is a disquieting one for evolutionary biologists. The exponential is the pattern you get when you are waiting for some single, infrequent event to happen.,,,To Pagel, the implications for speciation are clear: “It isn’t the accumulation of events that causes a speciation, it’s single, rare events falling out of the sky, so to speak.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....tml?page=2

    More from Ann Gauger on why humans didn’t happen the way Darwin said – July 2012
    Excerpt: Each of these new features probably required multiple mutations. Getting a feature that requires six neutral mutations is the limit of what bacteria can produce. For primates (e.g., monkeys, apes and humans) the limit is much more severe. Because of much smaller effective population sizes (an estimated ten thousand for humans instead of a billion for bacteria) and longer generation times (fifteen to twenty years per generation for humans vs. a thousand generations per year for bacteria), it would take a very long time for even a single beneficial mutation to appear and become fixed in a human population.
    You don’t have to take my word for it. In 2007, Durrett and Schmidt estimated in the journal Genetics that for a single mutation to occur in a nucleotide-binding site and be fixed in a primate lineage would require a waiting time of six million years. The same authors later estimated it would take 216 million years for the binding site to acquire two mutations, if the first mutation was neutral in its effect.
    Facing Facts
    But six million years is the entire time allotted for the transition from our last common ancestor with chimps to us according to the standard evolutionary timescale. Two hundred and sixteen million years takes us back to the Triassic, when the very first mammals appeared. One or two mutations simply aren’t sufficient to produce the necessary changes— sixteen anatomical features—in the time available. At most, a new binding site might affect the regulation of one or two genes.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....rwin-said/

  149. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/s.....ations.php

    I don’t dispute your science. Not because I accept it, nor because I deny it, but because I am a learner in this area and don’t feel I have suffient knowledge to discuss intelligently.

    But I do have some comments on the quote above. It seems that what you are saying is that this is difficult. That there is not as much evidence as one would like, that you are have piecing together the theory based on fragments of insight.

    The problem is this is the opposite of the approach I see. I see claims that evolution is true, that the evidence is “overwhelming” and similar words from that section of the thesaurus. I see grandiose narratives, speculative interpolation, and so on.

    The evidence of some big pattern — e.g. common ancestry — can be overwhelming, without every last detail being known. The evidence for plate tectonics is overwhelming, yet we don’t know the position of every grain of sand at every point in time, or even the exact position of every fragment of every tectonic plate at every point in time.

    Science is about making good approximations, not omniscience.

    This is not science as I was taught it. This is not the scientific process I was taught.

    A lot of people were taught an oversimplified and basically fake version of “The Scientific Method”, which was based on the assumption that all science is based on lab experiments and that it follows a black-and-white step-by-step process. The actual process is more like this:

    http://undsci.berkeley.edu/art.....ceworks_01

    Good science doesn’t blackball alternative or minority theories or opinions. Good science doesn’t defend, protect, or promote a favored theory.

    So, you’re in favor of giving equal time in chemistry classes to the idea that Atomic Theory is false. Right? Oh, and homeopathy.

    Good science doesn’t discount the opinion of scientists from other fields who note where a general theory isn’t supported by theory within their field. Good science let’s the evidence speak for science rather than scientists.

    I’ve been the only one citing actual evidence in these macroevolution threads. All the UD regulars are just throwing up objections based on their personal lack of understanding of these topics, and then pretending that they represent huge crucial gaps in the entire field.

    You guys are the ones afraid to follow the evidence wherever it leads. If you were actually brave enough to do so, you would admit that transitional fossils are common, that common ancestry is overwhelmingly supported, etc.

    But, in the end, the approach I see in evolutionary biology (some of which you have demonstrated in this thread) is damaging, most of all to theory of evolution itself.

    Abuses of the scientific process contribute to increased skepticism – it raises the guard of those who are not informed and see only the human behaviors surrounding the science. And the truth is those behaviors don’t influence whether the science is ‘true’ or not.

    I am still open to the theory of evolution. I still want to learn more and follow the evidence where it leads. But I admit that I am particularly cautious as I research it because of the approach of evolutionists in championing their theory.

    I try to be patient. But I’m human. When people who don’t know what they are talking about start declaring my field bogus, and then start blaming it for Nazis etc., I get annoyed. Anyone would be. My advice for you is to keep reading, and start testing the creationist/antievolution claims for yourself. Is it really true that there are no transitional fossils? Start there and then start reading. It won’t be long.


  150. BTW Nick, we have allegedly different species that can interbreed.

    Nick Matzke:

    Shocker. Speciation is a gradual process, not an all-or-nothing thing at first. It’s almost like gradual evolution is true or something.

    Umm all this means is that my initial point is true- that the species concept is ambiguous and so is the accepted definition of macroevolution. By that accepted definition YECs accept macroevolution.

    So what good is it if the word can’t even differentiate between baraminology and universal common descent?

  151. Nick Matzke:

    The evidence of some big pattern — e.g. common ancestry — can be overwhelming, without every last detail being known.

    The evidence of some big pattern — e.g. common design — can be overwhelming, without every last detail being known.

    I’ve been the only one citing actual evidence in these macroevolution threads.

    Perhaps, but then again your definition of “macroevolution” is useless.

    You guys are the ones afraid to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

    All evidence to the contrary of course.

    If you were actually brave enough to do so, you would admit that transitional fossils are common, that common ancestry is overwhelmingly supported, etc.

    Look Nick, your position can’t even get beyond prokaryotes without relying on some magical endosymbiotic events- magical because an engulfed organisms magically evolved into vital organelles- all untestable, of course. Ooops “it looks like…” isn’t science Nick.

    A biological theory requires biological evidence Nick. And right now we do not have any biological evidence that links to the morphological and physiological transformations required.

    For example, we should be able to use targeted mutagenesis and evolve our own fishapod. THAT would be something. Instead we get 50,000+ generations of E. coli with very limited, and very oversold, change.

  152. Umm all this means is that my initial point is true- that the species concept is ambiguous and so is the accepted definition of macroevolution. By that accepted definition YECs accept macroevolution.

    Yep, they do. Good! You’ve learned something today!

    So what good is it if the word can’t even differentiate between baraminology and universal common descent?

    Evolutionists came up with term “macroevolution”. It was designed for scientific purposes, i.e. distinguishing between population genetics and other evolutionary processes.

    It’s not our fault if the creationists developed their own bizarre definition based on their fake field of “baraminology” and then mistakenly assume that the creationist definition applies every time they read the evolutionists using the word “macroevolution”.

  153. For example, we should be able to use targeted mutagenesis and evolve our own fishapod. THAT would be something.

    Dog breeds and many other domestic plants and animals have morphological differences much larger than the “macroevolutionary” differences typically seen between species in a genus or even family. Cue excuse for not accepting the evidence you JUST requested in 3, 2, 1…

  154. Human ancestors: great. Thanks Nick. Please pick your favourite macro-evolutionary worthy fossil, better still, one that you have personal experience of working with.

  155. Nick Matzke:

    Dog breeds and many other domestic plants and animals have morphological differences much larger than the “macroevolutionary” differences typically seen between species in a genus or even family.

    LoL! You just don’t get it, Nick. That supports my claim of transitional form = “it looks like a transitional form to me”- phenotypic plasticity- you can’t tell the difference between an actual transitional and phenotypic plasticity just by looking at the fossils.


  156. Umm all this means is that my initial point is true- that the species concept is ambiguous and so is the accepted definition of macroevolution. By that accepted definition YECs accept macroevolution.

    Nick Matzke:

    Yep, they do. Good! You’ve learned something today!

    LoL! Except YECs argue against macroevolution! However they have and use a better definition of the concept.

    Evolutionists came up with term “macroevolution”.

    So what? My bet is the definition has evolved since its inception. As it stands now, that accepted definition is useless and doesn’t describe nor mean anything.

  157. Umm all this means is that my initial point is true- that the species concept is ambiguous and so is the accepted definition of macroevolution. By that accepted definition YECs accept macroevolution.

    Nick Matzke:

    Yep, they do.

    That means you should be OK with the teaching of baraminology in biology classrooms as it encompasses both micro and macroevolution.

    Please let the NCSE know.

  158. What Creationists say:

    evolution, biological n.
    1) “microevolution”—the name used by many evolutionists to describe genetic variation, the empirically observed phenomenon in which exisiting potential variations within the gene pool of a population of organisms are manifested or suppressed among members of that population over a series of generations. Often simplistically (and erroneously) invoked as “proof” of “macro evolution”
    2) macroevolution—the theory/belief that biological population changes take (and have taken) place (typically via mutations and natural selection) on a large enough scale to produce entirely new structural features and organs, resulting in entirely new species, genera, families, orders, classes, and phyla within the biological world, by generating the requisite (new) genetic information. Many evolutionists have used “macro-evolution” and “Neo-Darwinism” as synonymous for the past 150 years. (bold added)

    Theirs seems to be the more specific definition. Meaning it is a better definition.

  159. 160

    Dr. Matzke: what would serve as falsifying evidence that evolution is a sufficient explanation for the existence of any particular biological feature?

  160. “Human ancestors: great. Thanks Nick. Please pick your favourite macro-evolutionary worthy fossil, better still, one that you have personal experience of working with.”

    LOL, yes Nick, please do so. After all, you can’t beat hands-on Macro-Evolutionary experience.

  161. William J Murray

    what would serve as falsifying evidence that evolution is a sufficient explanation for the existence of any particular biological feature?

    This leaves too much room for frivolity. i.e. ‘If square circles are discovered, I would have to admit my understanding falls short’.

    What evidence would indicate that ID is a better explanation than natural processes alone?

  162. 163

    Bevets:

    Every question leaves room for “frivolity”, if one is determined not to pursue a serious debate.

    I didn’t claim that ID was a better explanation. I asked how evolutionary theory (as it is currently proposed) could be scientifically disqualified as the best (i.e., sufficient) explanation for any particular (not hypothetical) biological feature.

    Surely any good scientific theory provides some means of falsification?

  163. NickMatzke_UD @101

    Thanks very much for your reply. I am not much of an ID proponent, but more of a student. I am here (and on other similar sites) in part to see if I could find out exactly the sort of thing Dr. Tour is unclear about.

    * How well and comprehensively understood are mechanisms of change and adaptation, on a molecular systems level, in living organisms?
    * Are the known/proposed efficient causal mechanisms that introduce change into the genome demonstrably capable of affecting the change necessary for more than just adaptation? (e.g. “macroevolution”)
    * When (if ever) the mechanisms of genomic change are fully understood, will their unguided operation be shown to be either capable or incapable of affecting given types of observed and/or hypothesized change, in whichever given/observed/hypothesized time/environmental contexts, constraints, etc.?
    * more etc. etc.

    Your reply, such as:

    Nope, over in the real-life science of hominid origins, we have hundreds of dated fossils skulls, showing the very gradual, step-by-tiny step acquisition of the features that make up the modern human head, as well as detailed measurements of modern and subfossil variation, modern and ancient DNA, a record of gradually improving tool use, etc.

    …seems more concerned with establishing common descent. I can give you that (for the sake of interesting comments discussions)- that is much less interesting. The questions remain about the actual details. It seems to me remaining agnostic about unknown things makes sense at times.

    How the change in life (the macro sort) is actually manifested in underlying causal terms is still a very much unknown thing it seems to me. Although it does seem as if we are closer to ruling out some mechanisms- such as the “random” mutations part of the synthesis. And in any given context we can of course rule something out, while remaining agnostic, until the work is done.

    Oh, and my analogy does not smuggle in ID. I can rule out what you perceive to be smuggled-in ID by changing the setting to Mount Rushmore on Mars. There are many possible coherent, logically consistent pieces of an explanatory pie:

    * Mars weather
    * Intelligent Martians (past?)
    * Infusion at the level of what we experience as quantum indeterminacies
    -(note: at a selectively biased, superficial level of inquiry this would be indistinguishable from the Mars weather hypothesis. Those proceeding down such investigative paths will be told there is nothing to see or find there.)
    * In the simulation we experience as our universe, the simulation has some margin to deviate from the norm (i.e. natural “laws”) at some level or levels. (and may at “times” do so, for either accessibe or inaccessible reasons (reasons being another matter))
    * Some form of as yet undiscovered Martian granite vitalism
    * Pre-historic, Earth originating Mars colonization
    * etc. etc.

    Point being, within the context of material/efficient causal explanations, until all inquiry paths are exhaustively pursued and explanations are eliminated and/or better ones arise, we should not say we know what we don’t know. Agnosticism.

  164. A great many teachers have historically avoided or minimized the topic of evolution in high school biology, because of creationist laws and other forms of pressure.

    Maybe it was just because they too didn’t understand it.

  165. @Mr. Mosis (164)

    Nick Matzke’s claim about the hominid fossil record is completely wrong.

  166. Nick:

    Suppose you are interested in doing science, and you want to develop hypotheses about the patterns you observe [then imagine all you have is a very incomplete sample with lots of biases], then develop the data and statistical methods to rigorously test those hypotheses.

    There, fixed it fer ya.

    Invent the imaginary and call it science.

  167. Recipe for life

    Take some organic matter put it in a hole and give it enough time it will become alive. I love science!!!! Has anybody done this experiment yet? How hard can it be?

    I was doing the experiment. I was checking the hole every day, but then a highly qualified origin of life researcher told me checking the hole for a new life form actually reduces the probability of seeing one.

    He said he had direct statistical proof that the more often the hole was checked the less likely it was that life would be found in it.

  168. Nick:

    Evolutionists came up with term “macroevolution”. It was designed for scientific purposes, i.e. distinguishing between population genetics and other evolutionary processes.

    So we’ll find no mention of macroevolution prior to when?

  169. Box @ 166, here are some more cites if you want them:

    “We have all seen the canonical parade of apes, each one becoming more human. We know that, as a depiction of evolution, this line-up is tosh (i.e. nonsense). Yet we cling to it. Ideas of what human evolution ought to have been like still colour our debates.”
    Henry Gee, editor of Nature (478, 6 October 2011, page 34, doi:10.1038/478034a),

    Paleoanthropologist Exposes Shoddiness of “Early Man” Research – Feb. 6, 2013
    Excerpt: The unilineal depiction of human evolution popularized by the familiar iconography of an evolutionary ‘march to modern man’ has been proven wrong for more than 60 years. However, the cartoon continues to provide a popular straw man for scientists, writers and editors alike.
    ,,, archaic species concepts and an inadequate fossil record continue to obscure the origins of our genus.
    http://crev.info/2013/02/paleo.....hoddiness/

    Hominid Hype and the Election Cycle – Casey Luskin – September 2011
    Excerpt: Ignoring fraudulent fossils like Piltdown man, the last 50 years have seen a slew of so-called human ancestors which initially produced hype, and were later disproven.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50801.html

    My Pilgrimage to Lucy’s Holy Relics Fails to Inspire Faith in Darwinism
    Excerpt: —”We were sent a cast of the Lucy skeleton, and I was asked to assemble it for display,” remembers Peter Schmid, a paleontologist at the Anthropological Institute in Zurich.,,, “When I started to put [Lucy’s] skeleton together, I expected it to look human,” Schmid continues “Everyone had talked about Lucy as being very modern, very human, so I was surprised by what I saw.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    New study suggests big bang theory of human evolution – U of M Press Release
    Excerpt: “The earliest H. sapiens remains differ significantly from australopithecines in both size and anatomical details. Insofar as we can tell, these changes were sudden and not gradual.”
    University of Michigan anthropologist Milford Wolpoff
    http://www.ns.umich.edu/Releas.....1000b.html

    A Big Bang Theory of Homo – Casey Luskin – August 2012
    Excerpt: To the contrary, she explains, habilis “displays much stronger similarities to African ape limb proportions” than even Lucy. She called these results “unexpected in view of previous accounts of Homo habilis as a link between australopithecines and humans.”
    Without habilis as an intermediate, it is difficult to find fossil hominins to serve as direct transitional forms between the australopithecines and Homo. Rather, the fossil record shows dramatic and abrupt changes that correspond to the appearance of Homo.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....63141.html

    “Dr. Leakey produced a biased reconstruction (of 1470/ Homo Rudolfensis) based on erroneous preconceived expectations of early human appearance that violated principles of craniofacial development,” Dr. Timothy Bromage
    http://www.geneticarchaeology......lieved.asp

    “Something extraordinary, if totally fortuitous, happened with the birth of our species….Homo sapiens is as distinctive an entity as exists on the face of the Earth, and should be dignified as such instead of being adulterated with every reasonably large-brained hominid fossil that happened to come along.”
    Anthropologist Ian Tattersall, The Fossil Trail: How We Know What We Think We Know about Human Evolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 246. (curator at the American Museum of Natural History)

    Man is indeed as unique, as different from all other animals, as had been traditionally claimed by theologians and philosophers.
    Evolutionist Ernst Mayr (What Evolution Is. 2001)

    ” When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor.” Richard Lewontin
    “Human Diversity”, pg.163 (Scientific American Library, 1995)

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview.....208.100202

    Later Hominins: The Australopithecine Gap – Casey Luskin – August 2012
    Excerpt: Paleoanthropologist Leslie Aiello, who served as head of the anthropology department at University College London, states that when it comes to locomotion, “australopithecines are like apes, and the Homo group are like humans. Something major occurred when Homo evolved, and it wasn’t just in the brain.” The “something major” that occurred was the abrupt appearance of the human body plan — without direct evolutionary precursors in the fossil record.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62891.html

    Read Your References Carefully: Paul McBride’s Prized Citation on Skull-Sizes Supports My Thesis, Not His – Casey Luskin – August 31, 2012
    Excerpt of Conclusion: This has been a long article, but I hope it is instructive in showing how evolutionists deal with the fossil hominin evidence. As we’ve seen, multiple authorities recognize that our genus Homo appears in the fossil record abruptly with a complex suite of characteristics never-before-seen in any hominin. And that suite of characteristics has remained remarkably constant from the time Homo appears until the present day with you, me, and the rest of modern humanity. The one possible exception to this is brain size, where there are some skulls of intermediate cranial capacity, and there is some increase over time. But even there, when Homo appears, it does so with an abrupt increase in skull-size. ,,,
    The complex suite of traits associated with our genus Homo appears abruptly, and is distinctly different from the australopithecines which were supposedly our ancestors. There are no transitional fossils linking us to that group.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....63841.html

  170. As well Box,, this study just came out today,,

    Comprehensive Analysis of Chimpanzee and Human Chromosomes Reveals Average DNA Similarity of 70% – by Jeffrey P. Tomkins – February 20, 2013
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....chromosome

  171. Thanks very much Box and BA77 for your links. Perhaps sometime soon I will have time to get into the world of the fossil record. That way I’ll be less inclined to give others common descent for the sake of discussion, as I did above.

    BA77 your service is especially appreciated. On a related note, please let me know if you are available for offline (non-blog-comments) communication sometime if you could.

  172. N.Matzke @150

    “The evidence of some big pattern — e.g. common ancestry — can be overwhelming, without every last detail being known…Science is about making good approximations, not omniscience.”

    This really evades my point, which was that you can’t do these things together:
    1) in one aspect, articulate how difficult and explorative the process of building evolutionary theory is
    2) in a separate aspect, act like these delicate and hard-to-build-and-interpet theories are bulletproof articulate how sound the theory is and how ‘overwhelming’ the evidence is
    3) in a third aspect, act like the theories are beyond reproof, flippantly and rudely rebuffing eminent scientists who have questions.

    One who tries to express these three things at once looks silly.

    - If #1 then not #2. That is, if there is less evidence is desired and there are holes where interpolation is required, then the theory can’t possibly establish the confidence to state #2.
    - If #2 then not #3. That is, if the evidence is overwhelming and the theory is sound, then you are happy to discuss it with other scientists whose fields overlap and you would expect your theory to hold up to those inquiries.
    And so on.

  173. “A lot of people were taught an oversimplified and basically fake version of “The Scientific Method” …”

    This one actually annoyed me a little. I have a PhD in Engineering. I feel sufficiently familiar with the scientific process. You seem to make poor assumptions about those you read – because one has simple or rudimentary knowledge in your area of expertise does not make them simple overall or in other focused areas.

    Two observations based on the link to ‘the real process of science’ which jumps off the page you linked.
    1) There is no room on that graphic for the behaviors I mentioned. Of course science can be interpolative and exploratory. But the interpolation and exploration should still be dictated by the data. When I say grandiose narratives and speculative interpolation, I am saying that in my view some of what I have seen from the evolution community (not you specifically) violates the boundary condition of following rather than leading the data.
    2)I noted in the exploration and discovery phase, the process you provided call the scientist to ‘ask questions’ (and presumably by extension to graciously receieve questions also) and also to share data and ideas (like across disciplinary boundaries (such as, I don’t know, organic chemistry and evolutionary biology). I think I have the process down. Do you (look back over this thread before you answer)?

  174. Thanks again Bornagain77. You are an inexhaustible source of knowledge.

  175. N.Matzke @ 150 again:

    “So, you’re in favor of giving equal time in chemistry classes to the idea that Atomic Theory is false. Right? Oh, and homeopathy.”

    Classrooms? I’m talking about scientific inquiry between credentialed peers.

    “You guys …”
    You guys? Have I not made it clear I am an impartial observer.

    “I try to be patient.”
    In all honesty, if this is you being patient, I would really hate to see you hacked off.

    Through the entire graduate process, across three institutions, I have never, ever seen anyone behave so condescendingly and rudely. Especially from a “Mr.” to an eminent “Dr.”. Even if you are right and he is wrong, the conduct has been shocking.

    If I could make a very sincere recommendation. When I started the dissertation process, my professor made me read a book called “The Craft of Research” by Booth, Colomb, and Williams. Of course I didn’t want to. I want to get going, make some progres, etc.! But I did and it was a valuable experience. In particular there is valuable discussion about the academic conversation and role or researchers on opposite sides of the argument. I recommend you read it. Again, I am very sincere in this – it isn’t a put down.

    I am dead serious. Your style and approach in this argument (starting with your treatment of an eminent scientist who deserves respect and continuing with your conversations here) shows that you don’t really understand these roles.

  176. 177

    @Mr. Mosis (164)

    Nick Matzke’s claim about the hominid fossil record is completely wrong.

    Luskin’s cherry-picking and quote-mining of literature he doesn’t understand isn’t evidence. Here’s the big picture of the data:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....inids.html

    http://pandasthumb.org/archive.....ini-1.html

    Explain again why this isn’t obvious evidence of transitional fossils leading to modern humans. Follow the evidence wherever it leads, please.

  177. 178

    If I could make a very sincere recommendation. When I started the dissertation process, my professor made me read a book called “The Craft of Research” by Booth, Colomb, and Williams. Of course I didn’t want to. I want to get going, make some progres, etc.! But I did and it was a valuable experience. In particular there is valuable discussion about the academic conversation and role or researchers on opposite sides of the argument. I recommend you read it. Again, I am very sincere in this – it isn’t a put down.

    I am dead serious. Your style and approach in this argument (starting with your treatment of an eminent scientist who deserves respect and continuing with your conversations here) shows that you don’t really understand these roles.

    Someone should have explained these rules to Prof. Tour and his fans, since Tour (a) disparaged an entire field with thousands of hardworking scientists in it, based on almost no personal knowledge of or experience in said field, and (b) suggested that evolutionary biology caused the Holocaust.

  178. 179

    N.Matzke @ 150 again:

    “So, you’re in favor of giving equal time in chemistry classes to the idea that Atomic Theory is false. Right? Oh, and homeopathy.”

    Classrooms? I’m talking about scientific inquiry between credentialed peers.

    Oh good. So you think it would unfair and discriminatory for a chemist to dismiss homeopathy as bunk, then?

  179. Mr. Matzke, you claim that Casey doesn’t understand the evidence and is ‘quote mining’,,, Since you are such an expert on the fossils, please do tell me Mr. Matzke if you find me to be ‘quote mining’ (taking out of context) Dr. Ian Tattersall, curator at the American Museum of Natural History, in this following direct quote:

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview.....208.100202

  180. MrMosis @172, my e-mail is at the bottom of this page,

    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....light.html

    I can’t promise I will be prompt in my replies as I don’t check my e-mail everyday.

  181. 182

    bornagain77February 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Mr. Matzke, you claim that Casey doesn’t understand the evidence and is ‘quote mining’,,, Since you are such an expert on the fossils, please do tell me Mr. Matzke if you find me to be ‘quote mining’ (taking out of context) Dr. Ian Tattersall, curator at the American Museum of Natural History, in this following direct quote:

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview…..208.100202

    What’s the definition of “genus”? Surprise, there isn’t one. This is why the field is gradually abandoning ranked Linnean taxonomy as anything other than a very approximate label used for convenience in talking about groups.

    But, some old-school taxonomists, like Tatersall, get very attached to their ranked taxa, though, and they attach various extraneous ideas to them. The problem is particularly bad with “Homo”. Much of the literature that you/Luskin cite is actually just about this rather pointless terminological issue of what falls inside and outside of “Homo”. No matter what decision one reaches about the names, many of the fossil specimens are intermediate, and precisely because of this there will be exceptions and grey areas in any attempt to say what is inside and outside of the genus “Homo”.

  182. Actually Mr. Matzke, though I know how you love playing games with semantics, the man, Ian Tattersall, IS the curator at the American Museum of Natural History, he is directly handles ALL the bones of the fossils in many instances (Not just carefully lined up, and misleading, skulls that you are so enamored with on talkorigins), and He certainly does not rely on words to make the “direct observations” for his “finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”. i.e. It is not a “terminological issue”, it is a gap in actual empirical evidence of the fossils.,,, Perhaps you would like to have lunch with him to so as to straighten him out on how to make observations on fossils?

  183. If anyone’s interested, here’s a another explanation of micro/macroevolution:

    MICROEVOLUTION AND MACROEVOLUTION

    The short-term changes in a population’s gene pool… are often called microevolution. Microevolutionary studies are an important part of evolutionary biology because short-term changes can be observed directly and subjected to experimental manipulations. Studies of short-term changes reveal much about evolution, but by themselves they cannot provide a complete explanation of the long-term changes that are often called macroevolution. Macroevolutionary changes can be strongly influenced by events that occur so infrequently that they are unlikely to be observed during microevolutionary studies. Also, because the way evolutionary agents act changes over time, we cannot interpret the past simply by extending today’s results backward in time. Additional types of evidence must be gathered if we wish to understand the course of evolution over more than a billion years.

    (Emphasis in original – Life The Science of Biology, 3rd Ed. by Purves, Orians, & Heller pg. 418)

  184. 185

    To the best of my (very limited) knowledge, we don’t have very good data between late australopithecines and, say, Homo ergaster. I worry that the transition happened so quickly that we’re not going to get very good data on this, and there’s also the possibility that there could have been so much intermixing and hybridization right around 2.0 mya that a crystal-clear picture of the Australopithecus-to-Homo transition could well be beyond our epistemic reach. Still, every new find helps improve the resolution by just that much!

  185. I’ve been very impressed with esc2 in this thread.

    Matzke? Not so much.

    Nick is in a field of research which is completely dominated by effects created from recorded information, yet he doesn’t have even a clue what the physical requirements are in order to create effects from recorded information.

  186. 187

    186
    Upright BiPedFebruary 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    I’ve been very impressed with esc2 in this thread.

    Matzke? Not so much.

    Nick is in a field of research which is completely dominated by effects created from recorded information, yet he doesn’t have even a clue what the physical requirements are in order to create effects from recorded information.

    What the heck are you talking about? If you are talking about genetic information, just say “genetic information”, and then we can talk about where that comes from and how it increases.

  187. 188

    If you are talking about genetic information, just say “genetic information”

    The fundamental requirements to create concrete physical effects from recorded information are not limited to genetic information.

  188. The reason I asked for just one fossil, Nick, was to see if you personally know of one which can demonstrate, by itself, that it has evolved, by which I mean macro-evolved, into a creature that is alive today.

    Given the fact that you preferred a list, is it true to say that you don’t personally know of any such fossil after all?

  189. NM and ecs2: I have headlined your exchange above, here. KF

  190. …by which I mean macro-evolved…

    @ Nick Matzke:

    Taking one of your examples of macro-evolution – mass extinction – I don’t see this as a difference in kind, just one of degree. Niche emptying and creation can happen on a smaller scale with volcanic acivity and island formation. I suggest calling a long sequence of cumulative reiterative events macro-evolution is fine but can lead others such the producer of the quote above into asking ridiculously and uncomprehendingly daft questions.

    You suggest “macroevolution is just evolution plus time” is wrong?

    Would you say any of the following are wrong?

    Macro-evolution is essentially an accumulation of evolutionary processes.

    Macro-evolution can be considered to be largely an accumulation of evolutionary processes

    Macro-evolution should not be confused with the imaginary concept called saltation.

  191. Nick Matzke:

    What the heck are you talking about?

    That’s what some people have already wasted a fair bit of time trying to establish! :)

  192. @ Nick

    Never mind on my 191 as just read your 79.

  193. Mr Matzke, Andre has cited evidence here,,,

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-447555

    ,,that the Talk Origins FAQ on Human evolution is factually incorrect. Particularly Australopithecus-africanus and Homo Habilis have gone ‘belly up’. Thus the Talk Origins FAQ foundation, upon which you have placed so much faith, “has been found wanting”. Moreover in Homo Erectus (Asia) and Homo Ergaster (Africa) it is found that ‘there is not consensus about your claims!’. This is somewhat all besides the point, for though we can surely argue all day long as to how wide the gap is between humans and monkeys,,,

    “Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether”. Evolutionist Henry Gee, Nature 2001

    Interpreting fossils, whatever your a priori desire for the evidence to be like, is merely a historical science (Not observational science), and as Henry Gee, editor of “Nature” precisely put it here,,

    “No fossil is buried with its birth certificate. That, and the scarcity of fossils, means that it is effectively impossible to link fossils into chains of cause and effect in any valid way… To take a line of fossils and claim that they represent a lineage is not a scientific hypothesis that can be tested, but an assertion that carries the same validity as a bedtime story—amusing, perhaps even instructive, but not scientific.”
    ? Henry Gee – editor of “Nature’, In Search of Deep Time: Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life

    and, more recently, Dr. Gee commented here

    “We have all seen the canonical parade of apes, each one becoming more human. We know that, as a depiction of evolution, this line-up is tosh (i.e. nonsense). Yet we cling to it. Ideas of what human evolution ought to have been like still colour our debates.”
    Henry Gee, editor of Nature (478, 6 October 2011, page 34, doi:10.1038/478034a),

    Thus, to make the study of Human origins not “a bedtime story” but “scientific” we need to rely on direct observational evidence instead of the fossils which are so prone to ‘story telling’ with no basis in reality. But this is precisely where you have the biggest problems Mr. Matzke. For the fact is that it is the observational evidence itself that is what is proving that you have absolutely no viable mechanism to appeal to explain such gross body plan morphogenesis between monkeys and humans, nor such gross changes in DNA sequences between the same,,, This is not a minor matter Mr. Matzke, this IS what science is all about! You, and other Darwinists, have made grand dogmatic claims about validity of Darwinian evolution and have utterly failed, in the direct evidence from the laboratory, to prove even the most trivial instance of creative power within the Darwinian mechanism ,(1 novel functional protein)!, in the laboratory.

  194. Tour (a) disparaged an entire field with thousands of hardworking scientists in it

    And at least ONE book with “Macroevolutionary Theory” in it’s title is on Amazon.com.

  195. Alan Fox:

    Taking one of your examples of macro-evolution – mass extinction – I don’t see this as a difference in kind, just one of degree.

    Yes, folks. Extinction is evolution!

    If only one species goes extinct, it’s microevolution. If an entire genus (not that there any such thing) goes extinct, that’s macroevolution.

  196. You are familiar with the concept of a niche, I guess, mung.

  197. Niches create opportunities, nothing more.

  198. Nick Matzke:

    If you are talking about genetic information, just say “genetic information”, and then we can talk about where that comes from and how it increases.

    Except Nick has no idea where genetic information comes from nor how it increases.

  199. Alan Fox:

    You are familiar with the concept of a niche, I guess, mung.

    Speaking of definitions, Alan still isn’t familiar with the concept of default.

  200. Hi everyone,

    Here’s an excellent link for some very up-to-date (2012) articles on early Homo:

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/666726

    The Australopithecus-to-Homo transition now appears better documented than before. In a nutshell:

    * Wood’s claim that Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis fall outside Homo and belong with Australopithecus now appears incorrect. These two taxa are transitional between Australopithecus and Homo erectus (sensu lato) See the articles by Susan Anton.

    * By the time we get to Homo erectus there’s unambiguous evidence of co-operative breeding: fathers (and possibly grandmothers) helping mothers to feed their offspring.

    * Co-operative breeding was probably what enabled human beings to break through the “gray ceiling” (see “How Our Ancestors Broke through the Gray Ceiling” by Isler and Schaik). As the authors put it:

    The analyses reported here suggest that the inability of survival to keep up with reduced production as brain size increases leads to a reduction in r_max [the maximum population growth rate] in larger-brained organisms. There comes a point where no further increases in brain size are possible because the long-term viability of populations is severely compromised. This point we call the “gray ceiling.” For great apes living a great-ape lifestyle, we put this conservatively at 600–700 cm3. This explains why extant great apes and extinct australopithecines seem to have converged on similar brain sizes, but it makes the “escape” from great-ape level brain sizes by Homo even more striking. Assigning a distinct boundary to a highly fragmentary fossil record is tricky, but Homo rudolfensis (i.e., KNM-ER 1470) is a likely candidate for such a change in lifestyle. The first well-documented hominin to show brains that exceed this size was Homo erectus (= ergaster), which arose in Africa at around 1.8 Ma, occupied savanna habitats, hunted large game, and rather quickly had moved into other geographic regions.

    Enjoy!

  201. Those materialists! You think you know them but then they make you realize you never knew them at all.
    One materialist who is stubbornly unwilling to talk about particles is Kantian Naturalist. I thought he was an exception to the rule. Enter Nick Matze.

    Nick Matze (92): The entire bizarre, naive, and confused idea that explaining macroevolution is a matter of “chemistry”, when it is much more closely connected to ecology, biogeography, environmental change, natural selection, etc.

    Suddenly it is bizarre, naïve and confused to think that chemistry has anything to do with macroevolution. Is Nick just objecting to the alleged improper use of the word ‘macroevolution’, which supposedly covers an entire different research area? Not at all:

    Nick Matze (95): Now, if what he meant wasn’t “macroevolution”, but specifically the evolution of developmental systems, i.e. evo-devo — which is what those articles are about — then the request for “chemical details” would make a tiny bit more sense, but it’s still bizarre.

    Again this qualification: bizarre. There doesn’t seem to be a branch of biology left where one can study the chemical details behind novel traits, novel function or macroevolution. Or does a person who still wants to know have the option to sign up for ‘evo-devo’ – with the acceptance of the fact that he comes across as ‘bizarre’? Not if he is serious:

    Nick Matze (95): What any serious student of the question would look at would be the homologies, genetics, mutations, selection pressures, and functional shifts involved in the origin of a particular structure. Pretending that it’s just “chemistry” that is important, and chemistry only, is just weird. It’s some old-fashioned tidbit of reductionism (…).

    The new materialists have nothing but contempt for old-fashioned reductionism.
    Nick Matze is Kantian Naturalist.

  202. Hello VJTorley, thanks for the link. I’ll check out the articles, but I guess you and I disagree at the moment about common descent as I don’t believe that man and apes share a common ancestor.

    I asked a question about Homo Erectus which probably won’t be answered by any evolutionists (though I hope at least one will try!) Assuming you believe that you and I share a common ancestor in Homo Erectus, maybe you might be able to answer it:

    If we were given our pick of the entire human race, and we were able to apply artificial selection, and possibly some environmental controls, would we be able to create a human who, at some time in his/her life, would have a skeleton that was a morphological match for Homo Erectus?

    If not, why not? What did Homo Erectus have that has been forever lost/improved, as a result of macro-evolution into 21st century humans?

  203. PS. Feel free to substitute “macro-evolution” for your preferred mechanism!

  204. 205
    Kantian Naturalist

    The new materialists have nothing but contempt for old-fashioned reductionism. Nick Matze is Kantian Naturalist.

    Matzke and I do have similar positions and prejudices, but we’re not the same person, I assure you!

  205. Kantian Naturalist (205)

    I stand corrected.
    Are you and Nick Matze setting a new trend? Or is this position already mainstream?
    Do you understand my confusion? It puzzles me when someone bases his worldview on particles, but at the same time doesn’t consider those same particles to be of much importance.

  206. as to Mr. Matzke’s appeal to ‘evo-devo’ (not that evidence ever really matters to Mr. Matzke), but the evidence for evo-devo, particularly the Darwinian reliance on HOX genes to drive major morphological novelties of body plans, has been brought into severe doubt:

    Evo-devo: Relaxed constraints on Hox gene clustering during evolution – B Galliot1
    Excerpt: Hox genes were initially identified in Drosophila as grouped regulatory genes, known as homeotic genes. They encode positional information during development following the colinearity rule, that is, their physical location in the cluster parallels the physical order of their expression along the anterior to posterior (AP) axis of the developing embryo (Lewis, 1978). Some years later, their molecular characterisation in both Drosophila and vertebrates proved that they code for proteins that bind DNA through the homeodomain, a domain of 60 highly evolutionarily conserved amino acids. Furthermore, mammals have the same clustered chromosomal organisation, where four copies of the Hox cluster, homologous to that of Drosophila, were found. Transcriptional analyses performed on sectioned and whole-mount embryos subsequently demonstrated the conservation of the colinearity rule (McGinnis and Krumlauf, 1992). So it seemed that Hox genes might provide a common molecular representation of the body plan at an early stage of the development of all animals. This is referred to as the phylotypic stage, during which embryos from distinct species tend to resemble to each other (Slack et al, 1993). Consequently, it was expected that the Hox gene cluster might have had this crucial developmental role even in the common ancestor of all bilaterally symmetrical animals.

    However, in vertebrates, the spatial colinearity rule turned out to be only part of the story. In mammals, it was shown that the temporal order of activation of the Hox genes during development also corresponds to the order that these genes are arrayed in the genomic cluster (Kmita and Duboule, 2003). This temporal regulation is not observed in Drosophila embryos, where Hox genes are split into two half-clusters and are activated simultaneously. Genetic manipulations in mice show that the clustered organisation of Hox genes is required to implement such a tight temporal control. In contrast, Hox clustering is not necessary to achieve a proper spatial expression in other numerous cases (see in Kmita and Duboule, 2003).,,,
    http://www.nature.com/hdy/jour.....0624a.html

    i.e. Many times evolutionists will mention evo-devo (Evolutionary Developmental Biology) to try to support the Darwinian claim that minor changes/mutations to DNA can drive major morphological novelty fairly rapidly, yet, in this following comment, from a 2005 Nature review article, evolutionary geneticist Jerry Coyne, (certainly no friend to ID), expressed strong skepticism at the proposed mechanism of ‘gene switches’ for evo-devo:

    “The evidence for the adaptive divergence of gene switches is still thin. The best case involves the loss of protective armor and spines in sticklebacks, both due to changes in regulatory elements. But these elements represent the loss of traits, rather than the origin of evolutionary novelties…We now know that Hox genes and other transcription factors have many roles besides inducing body pattern, and their overall function in development – let alone in evolution – remains murky.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....35931.html

    as well,,

    Research on stickleback fish shows how adaptation to new environments involves many genes – April 2012
    Excerpt: A current controversy raging in evolutionary biology is whether adaptation to new environments is the result of many genes, each of relatively small effect, or just a few genes of large effect. A new study published in Molecular Ecology strongly supports the first “many-small” hypothesis.,, “I suspect that as more and more studies use these methods, the tide of opinion will swerve strongly to the view that adaptation is a complex process that involves many genes spread across diverse places in the genome,” says Prof. Hendry.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....genes.html

    As if that wasn’t bad enough for the evo-devo hope Darwinians had placed in HOX genes,,,

    Turns out sharks and skates don’t need HoxC genes – December 2011
    Excerpt: “Our work illustrates the value of studying elasmobranch fishes such as skates and sharks to gain new insights. If elasmobranchs do not need HoxC genes to develop properly, we must consider the possibility that there is more flexibility in the role of the various Hox clusters than we previously thought.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....oxc-genes/

    SHOX2 – Nested Hierarchy violated – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucps091jGh0

    Here is a more thorough critique of evo-devo:

    Nature’s “Gems”: Microevolution Meets Microevolution – Casey Luskin – August 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....37171.html

    But, not that Mr Matzke will ever publicly admit to being a reductive materialist (especially when it does not suit his propaganda purposes), but body plans are not even reducible solely to the information in DNA in the first place as is held in the ‘central dogma’ (modern synthesis) of neo-Darwinism,,,

    In Embryo Development, Non-DNA Information Is at Least as Important as DNA – Jonathan Wells – May 2012
    Excerpt: Evidence shows that non-DNA developmental information can be inherited in several ways. For example, it can be inherited through chromatin modifications, which affect gene expression without altering underlying DNA sequences. Another example is cytoplasmic inheritance, which involves cytoskeletal patterns and localization of intracellular molecules. Still another example is cortical inheritance, which involves membrane patterns.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....60031.html

    “Live memory” of the cell, the other hereditary memory of living systems – 2005
    Excerpt: To understand this notion of “live memory”, its role and interactions with DNA must be resituated; indeed, operational information belongs as much to the cell body and to its cytoplasmic regulatory protein components and other endogenous or exogenous ligands as it does to the DNA database. We will see in Section 2, using examples from recent experiments in biology, the principal roles of “live memory” in relation to the four aspects of cellular identity, memory of form, hereditary transmission and also working memory.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15888340

    The Mysterious Epigenome. What lies beyond DNA – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpXs8uShFMo

    Moreover, as if all the preceding wasn’t devastating enough to evo-devo as envisioned by Neo-Darwinism,

  207. The modern synthesis is a big flop,,

    Peer-Reviewed Paper Concludes that Darwinism “Has Pretty Much Reached the End of Its Rope” – Jonathan M. – February , 2012
    Excerpt: Contrary to the Darwin lobby’s oft-repeated assertion that there are absolutely no weaknesses in Darwinian theory, the paper offers the concession that the modern synthesis has never provided an account of “how major forms of life evolved” — an omission that is not unsubstantial, to put it mildly.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....55941.html

    Moreover, mutations expressed early in embryonic development, as is held in evo-devo, are, by far, the least likely to be tolerated,

    Understanding Ontogenetic Depth, Part II: Natural Selection Is a Harsh Mistress – Paul Nelson – April 7, 2011
    Excerpt: The problem may be summarized as follows:
    – There are striking differences in the early (embryonic) development in animals, even within classes and orders.
    – Assuming that these animals are descended from a common ancestor, these divergences suggest that early development evolves relatively easily.
    – Evolution by natural selection requires heritable variation.
    – But heritable variations in early development, in major features such as cleavage patterns, are not observed.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....45581.html

    Darwin or Design? – Paul Nelson at Saddleback Church – Nov. 2012 – ontogenetic depth (excellent update) – video
    Text from one of the Saddleback slides:
    1. Animal body plans are built in each generation by a stepwise process, from the fertilized egg to the many cells of the adult. The earliest stages in this process determine what follows.
    2. Thus, to change — that is, to evolve — any body plan, mutations expressed early in development must occur, be viable, and be stably transmitted to offspring.
    3. But such early-acting mutations of global effect are those least likely to be tolerated by the embryo.
    Losses of structures are the only exception to this otherwise universal generalization about animal development and evolution. Many species will tolerate phenotypic losses if their local (environmental) circumstances are favorable. Hence island or cave fauna often lose (for instance) wings or eyes.
    http://www.saddleback.com/mc/m/7ece8/

  208. 209
    Kantian Naturalist

    I can’t speak for Matzke, obviously.

    Speaking for myself, since I never even called myself a “materialist” and explicitly distanced myself from Epicurean metaphysics from the get-go, I don’t know where one might have gotten the idea that I base my worldview on particles.

    As a point of methodology, I begin with experience, beginning there with the insights of James, Dewey, Husserl, and Merleau-Ponty — roughly, with the idea that we are embodied beings, a kind of animal, and that our lived animality is the ‘ground-floor’ of our perception and judgment.

    Let’s try this — I’d hoped to introduce the concept without the need for new terms, but apparently it hasn’t worked. Some philosophers make a distinction between “object naturalism” and “subject naturalism,” as follows:

    Object naturalism: the world is the natural world; whatever exists exists “in the natural realm”.

    Subject naturalism: we humans are natural creatures; human knowledge is itself a natural phenomenon.

    Now, it might be that subject naturalism follows from object naturalism — though I worry about this — but regardless, I accept two further claims:

    (1) subject naturalism has methodological priority over object naturalism, because a theory of what there is (object naturalism) requires validation from the human perspective, particularly with regard to how language connects to the world (subject naturalism);

    (2) object naturalism cannot, in fact, be validated by subject naturalism, because any really demanding metaphysical doctrine requires assumptions about the relation between mind (or language) and the world which are undermined by a naturalistic view of our human capacities.

    In other words, a relaxed, naturalized philosophical anthropology is going to be in serious tension with any metaphysics, and in fact is best understood as part of an anti-metaphysical philosophy.

    So it is no part of my project to begin with particles, and then try to make room for non-particles, like persons and alligators and values and numbers. I just begin with a phenomenological grounding of the natural sciences of the human animal and its primate relatives — neuroscience, ethology, ecology, paleontology, etc.

  209. Kantian Naturalist (209)
    So your ‘Cartesian starting point’, your most basic experience of yourself is not being a ‘I’ (a mind), but being a ‘embodied being which is part of nature’?

  210. I forget where Mr. Matzke made the claim, but this following video is interesting to Mr. Matzke’s claims about the fossil record being incomplete. In the following video, from 15:05 minute mark to 19:15 minute mark, Phillip Johnson directly addresses that claim:

    Phillip Johnson – “Gould and Eldridge were experts in an area where the fossil record is most complete, marine invertebrates”, and developed Punctuated Equilibrium in responce to what they saw in the fossil record in that area (interestingly, the greatest claim for transitional fossils (such as ape-men) comes primarily from the area where fossilization is rarest, from land animals) – April 2012 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....age#t=903s

  211. Hi Chris,

    Very short answer, as I’m heading off to work: in theory, yes.

  212. 213
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Box @ 210

    So your ‘Cartesian starting point’, your most basic experience of yourself is not being a ‘I’ (a mind), but being a ‘embodied being which is part of nature’?

    I’m not crazy about the use of ‘Cartesian’ there, because Descartes himself is far more committed to epistemological foundationalism than I am — but yes, that’s not a bad way of putting it.

    Except that “the I” doesn’t go missing here — it’s that my most basic experience of myself, of my ‘I’, is that of an embodied being that is part of nature. In contrast, Descartes’ most basic experience of himself, of his ‘I’, is that of a “thinking thing”, res cogitans, a “mind”.

    As John McDowell, a contemporary philosopher I very much admire, puts it, what we must not do is permit scientism to threaten “the sane belief that a res cogitans is also a res dormiens, a res ambulans, and so forth”. For if we do allow scientism to threaten that perfectly sane belief, then we will lose our grip on the very intelligibility of the idea that a normal mature human being is a rational animal — it will come to seem mysterious how it could be that the very same thing is both rational and an animal.

    Another way of putting the same point, roughly, goes like this: I can understand myself as an kind of animal; that makes sense to me. I can’t do that with thinking of myself as a vast swirling array of particles.

    Here I am, with my capacities of reasoning, deliberation, desire, reflection, moral agency, and so on — and I feel no oddness or weirdness about also thinking of these very capacities as those of an animal whose life has taken shape in a distinctive fashion (i.e. through the acquisition of a language and a culture).

    But if I try to identify myself as a system of particles, I don’t know what to say. I believe the physicists when they tell me that my body is composed of cells, and the cells of molecules, and the molecules of atoms, and the atoms of neutrons, protons, and electrons, and so on. But that’s a purely theoretical, very abstract belief that I cannot connect with my lived experience and which has no bearing on my daily life.

    So I’m a “naturalist” because I don’t need anything that goes beyond the natural world — nothing “supernatural” — in order to make sense of my human capacities of perceiving, thinking, and acting — but I’m not a materialist, in part because I don’t know how to even begin to conceive of myself as a system of particles.

  213. Has Evolution Given Humans Unique Brain Structures? – February 22, 2013
    Excerpt: “We did functional brain scans in humans and rhesus monkeys at rest and while watching a movie to compare both the place and the function of cortical brain networks.,,, we found two networks unique to humans and one unique network in the monkey.”
    “When watching a movie, the cortex processes an enormous amount of visual and auditory information. The human-specific resting state networks react to this stimulation in a totally different way than any part of the monkey brain. This means that they also have a different function than any of the resting state networks found in the monkey. In other words, brain structures that are unique in humans are anatomically absent in the monkey and there no other brain structures in the monkey that have an analogous function.,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....120753.htm

  214. Amazing thing that ‘evolution’ is, :)

  215. @ Kantian Naturalist

    Kantian Naturalist (213) : I can understand myself as a kind of animal; that makes sense to me. I can’t do that with thinking of myself as a vast swirling array of particles.

    Are you not clearly saying that you understand yourself as a ‘whole’? And if so, aren’t you saying that ‘I’, ‘whole’ or ‘kind of animal’ are all conflicting with the materialistic notion that all that exist are particles? And if particles are not all that exist what is the ontological status of the ‘kind of animal’? What is in your philosophy the force that keeps the particles together?

    Kantian Naturalist (213): So I’m a “naturalist” because I don’t need anything that goes beyond the natural world — nothing “supernatural” — in order to make sense of my human capacities of perceiving, thinking, and acting (…)

    The term ‘supernatural’ implies that it is something beyond this world. But what if this world is supernatural? What if the rational animal is something other than ‘swirling array of particles’? What if the natural world has to allow for something other than particles?

    Kantian Naturalist (209): I begin with experience

    And then came Darwinism … You experience yourself as a whole. I would suggest you take that very serious.

  216. I don’t know where one might have gotten the idea that I base my worldview on particles.

    I guess I’m sort of a reductionist. I start with nouns, verbs and particles.

  217. 218

    In re: Box @ 216,

    I don’t really understand the questions you’re asking me here.

    And then came Darwinism … You experience yourself as a whole. I would suggest you take that very serious.

    Take what seriously? Why?

  218. @ Kantian Naturalist (218)
    I’m arguing for a holistic view of man and organisms. I hold these wholes to be real; to exist. This is in accord with the view that organisms have top-down organization. My view is in stark contrast with the metaphysical scientific commitment to explain life from its parts.
    Allow me to quote Stephen L. Talbott:

    Efforts to grasp the nature of the organism as a whole go back to Kant, and commonly involve appeals to (1) a peculiar unity of whole and part, whereby the activities of the parts are in some sense caused by the whole; (2) means-end (“purposive” or “final” or “teleological”) relations; and (3) the mutual (reciprocal) play of cause and effect. All of these suggest the idea of a meaningful coordination of the organism’s activities.
    This raises a question about the usually trite saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. The twentieth-century cell biologist, Paul Weiss, gave strict meaning to the saying by pointing out that, whatever our level of description, we find that the vagaries — the degrees of freedom — allowed at that level are disciplined from a higher level so as to achieve a more well-defined result. The continual reshaping — and even dissolution and reformation — of a cell’s organelles does not prevent the cell as a whole from maintaining its proper shape and function, and the same is true of an entire organ as individual cells die and are born. It’s as if there were an active, coordinating agency working from above downward, subsuming all the part-processes and disciplining their separate variabilities so that they remain informed by the intentions of the whole. Ironically, then, less change at the higher level — the ability of the whole to sustain itself in the presence of lower-level variation — is what shows the whole to be more than the sum of its parts.
    This disciplining of the parts by the whole cannot be achieved by one of the parts being disciplined, such as DNA. As Weiss pointed out, “Life is a dynamic process. Logically, the elements of a process can be only elementary processes, and not elementary particles or any other static units”. And no more can the coordination of the part-processes be explained by one of the part-processes being coordinated.
    Attempts to explain the organism as a result of particular mechanisms are dissolving today into a sometimes bizarre appeal to “regulators” that are “regulated” by other factors that in turn have their own “regulators”…and so on without end. The attempt is still being made to understand organisms by appealing to imaginary, bottom-up mechanisms in disregard of the contextual unities that are unavoidably being cited more and more in the literature. But what we are being driven to is the recognition of living wholes.”

  219. Here is the clip of Phillip Johnson:

    Phillip Johnson –

    What I saw about the fossil record again,, was that Gould and Eldridge were experts in the area where the animal fossil record is most complete. That is marine invertebrates.,, And the reason for this is that when,, a bird, or a human, or an ape, or a wolf, or whatever, dies,, normally it does not get fossilized. It decays in the open, or is eaten by scavengers. Things get fossilized when they get covered over quickly with sediments so that they are protected from this natural destructive process. So if you want to be a fossil, the way to go about it is to live in the shallow seas, where you get covered over by sediments when you die,,. Most of the animal fossils are of that kind and it is in that area where the fossil record is most complete. That there is a consistent pattern.,, I mean there is evolution in the since of variation, just like the peppered moth example. Things do vary, but they vary within the type. The new types appear suddenly, fully formed, without an evolutionary history and then they stay fundamentally stable with (cyclical) variation after their sudden appearance, and stasis (according) to the empirical observations made by Gould and Eldridge. Well now you see, I was aware of a number of examples of where evolutionary intermediates were cited. This was brought up as soon as people began to make the connection and question the (Darwinian) profession about their theory in light of the controversy. But the examples of claimed evolutionary transitionals, oddly enough, come from the area of the fossil record where fossilization is rarest. Where it is least likely to happen. Archaeopteryx would be the prime example. Its a bird so we expect it to rarely be fossilized. Yet it has been exhibit number one in the Darwinian case. There’s nothing else around it. Unlike those marine invertebrates. So you can tell a story of progressive evolution that might not work out at all if you saw through the whole body of things around it. Likewise with the ape-men. That is another area where fossilization is very rare. And where the bones of humans and apes are rather similar anyway. So (someone) can find a variant ape bone, its pretty east to give it a story about how it is turning into a human being. If you tell the story well enough, and successfully, you get your picture on the cover of National Geographic and you become rich and famous. This could effect your judgement. One of the things that amused me is that there are so many fossil candidates for human ancestry, and so very, very, few that are candidates for ancestors of the great apes. There should be just as many (if not more) but why not? Well any economist can give you the answer to that. Human ancestors have a great American value so they are produced at a much greater rate. Now these were also grounds to be suspicious with what was going on. That there was obviously so much subjectivity. ,, The Standard explanation for why the fossil record is not more supportive of Darwinian expectations than it is, if you find that out at all (that the fossil record does not fit Darwinian expectation), is that there are so few fossils, (thus) most things aren’t fossilized. That is why (we are told by Darwinists) that the fossil record has so many gaps. Not that the theory has many gaps but that the fossil record has so many gaps. Yet that is odd if the problem is the greatest where the fossil record is most complete and if the confirming examples are found where fossils are rarest. that doesn’t sound like it could be the explanation. – Phillip Johnson – April 2012 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....age#t=903s

  220. Kantian Naturalist and Box, by ‘chance’ did you guys see Jonathan Wells’ recent article on ENV. I think you guys may be interested:

    This following article from Dr. Jonathan Wells is interesting for, as well as answering why things go in a general ‘evolutionary’ order, from simpler life forms to more complex life forms, this following article gets pretty close to answering my question as to when God forms a human soul.

    Why Does the History of Life Give the Appearance of Evolution? – Jonathan Wells – February 21, 2013
    Excerpt: Fossil evidence suggests that life on earth originated about three and a half billion years ago, starting with prokaryotes (single-celled organisms without nuclei, such as bacteria). Much later came eukaryotes (cells with nuclei), which included algae and single-celled animals (protozoa). Multicellular marine animals appeared long after that. Then came land plants, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates, and finally humans. Not only did living things appear in a certain order, but in some cases they also had features intermediate between organisms that preceded them and those that followed them. Kenneth R. Miller challenges critics of Darwinism to explain why we find “one organism after another in places and in sequences… that clearly give the appearance of evolution.”

    The answer is found in various religious traditions, especially Christianity. “Far from denying life’s progression, tradition provides a reason for it,” wrote Huston Smith in 1976. “Earth mirrors heaven. But mirrors, as we have noted, invert. The consequence here is that that which is first in the ontological order appears last in the temporal order.” Smith explained: “In the celestial realm the species are never absent; their essential forms or archetypes reside there from an endless beginning. As earth ripens to receive them, each in its turn drops to the terrestrial plane.” But “first a viable habitat must be devised, hence the inorganic universe is matured to a point where life can be sustained. And when living beings do arrive, they do so in a vaguely ascending order that passes from relatively undifferentiated organisms… to ones that are more complex.” Thus “man, who is first in the order of worth on the terrestrial plane, will be last in the order of his appearance.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69451.html

    The reason why I had/have a hard time figuring out specifically ‘when’ God creates a human soul is because sequential, temporal, time, as we understand it here on earth, loses any point of reference in the higher, eternal, dimensions:

    The ‘Top Down’ Theistic Structure Of The Universe and Of The Human Body
    Excerpt: “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NhA4hiQnYiyCTiqG5GelcSJjy69e1DT3OHpqlx6rACs/edit

    Psalm 139:16
    You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

    Jeremiah 1:5
    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;”,,

    Notes:

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness (Permanence of Quantum Information)- Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    https://vimeo.com/39982578

    Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8AQgqFqiRQwyaF8t1_CKTPQ9duN8FHU9-pV4oBDOVs/edit?hl=en_US

    The ‘Top Down’ Theistic Structure Of The Universe and Of The Human Body
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NhA4hiQnYiyCTiqG5GelcSJjy69e1DT3OHpqlx6rACs/edit

    What Properties Must the Cause of the Universe Have? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SZWInkDIVI

    The Galileo Affair and the true “Center of the Universe”
    Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe. [15]
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

    Verse and Music

    Psalm 115:2-3 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
    Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

    Steven Curtis Chapman – God is God (Original Version) – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz94NQ5HRyk

  221. 222

    I’ve briefly skimmed some of Talbott’s essays, but now that I’ve looked over his website more carefully, I see he’s got something really interesting going on. I’ve printed off four of his essays so that I can read through them slowly. (One can’t underline a computer screen.) I very much doubt that I’ll find anything in his work with which I’ll disagree.

  222. One can’t underline a computer screen.

    That’s why I prefer to use a highlighter!

  223. @Kantian Naturalist (222)

    That is very good to hear. I’m personally very touched by the way Stephen L. Talbott writes about biology; see for instance The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings. I feel that a deep truth about life is being unfolded.
    Talbott also enters the philosophical arena. Maybe I have to read it again, but my enthusiasm was severely diminished. Do let me know what you think.

  224. 225

    I’ve printed off copies of “Getting Over the Code Delusion,” “The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings,” “What Do Organisms Mean?”, and “Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness”. I believe I have a date with a cappuccino this afternoon.

  225. @ Kantian Naturalist (225)
    :)

    Talbott did put some distance between himself and Intelligent Design.

    S.L.T.: Dawkins and Dennett sometimes seem fixated upon design, presumably as a result of their severely constraining preoccupation with religion and with the “creationism” or “intelligent design” promulgated by some religious folks. You will not find me speaking of design (although the word has its legitimate uses), simply because — as I’ve made abundantly clear in previous articles — organisms cannot be understood as having been designed, machine-like, whether by an engineer-God or a Blind Watchmaker elevated to god-like status. If organisms participate in a higher life, it is a participation that works from within — at a deep level the ancients recognized as that of the logos informing all things. It is a sharing of the springs of life and being, not a mere receptivity to some sort of external mechanical tinkering modeled anthropocentrically on human engineering.

    Several times I have presented Talbott’s holistic view as conflicting with Intelligent Design. Kairosfocus, for instance, is unimpressed. He doesn’t believe that intelligent design excludes holism. Let me know what your view is on this matter.

  226. KN: Get PDF Exchange Viewer, and get Calibre EBook reader. The former is great for marking up PDFs. (What I would love is software that turns PDF into something like Word . . . ) The latter can do some things to other formats. KF

  227. Box: It’s more that the DNA coding for and regulating proteins level is giving foundational support for higher order things. If I were to discuss a PC in terms of flip flops, gates etc, it would sound quite irrelevant. But it is from such that there is enabling of ability to execute high level language, once interpreted or compiled. KF

  228. Kairosfocus (228), I think you have an excellent point. You must have noticed my silence on this matter. Still I’m not totally convinced that I do not have a point.
    What if the whole is somehow constantly involved with everything? What if there is no allowance for any mechanism in the cell to operate on its own? IOW there is a constant control from above on every aspect of the cell.
    If so, would this fact restrict us in making comparisons with computers and other mechanical devices?

  229. Box, perhaps I can help bridge the gap a bit on Talbott’s thinking, here he states:

    organisms cannot be understood as having been designed, machine-like, whether by an engineer-God or a Blind Watchmaker elevated to god-like status.

    And yet, despite Talbott’s reservation towards the design inference, stuff like this recent article on ENV keep popping up:

    Machine Within a Machine: The Ciliary Partitioning System – February 22, 2013
    Excerpt: All these parts not only have to be at the right place at the right time, they must have the right shapes, sizes, and relative positions to work. If one of the nine pores or tunnels is out of alignment, or is too tight, no cilium will be built. If the diffusion barrier did not have the right properties, the parts would either be blocked from delivery, or stray molecules could interfere. If the ring complex were missing, it could not connect the ciliary pore complex to the membrane diffusion barrier.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69271.html

    ,, For me, and I believe for most folks, the implications of design, in such articles from ENV and elsewhere, which keep popping pretty regularly, are overwhelming. It just blatantly obvious that such systems are designed. Moreover, when tested, blindwatchmaker scenarios are demonstrated to be grossly inadequate to explain what appears, by all rights, to be a product of ingenious design. Talbott, as much as I greatly respect the man and his thinking, seems to reveal his philosophical underpinning in the quote which follows the one I listed:

    If organisms participate in a higher life, it is a participation that works from within — at a deep level the ancients recognized as that of the logos informing all things. It is a sharing of the springs of life and being, not a mere receptivity to some sort of external mechanical tinkering modeled anthropocentrically on human engineering.

    i.e. Talbott believes (in a fairly narrowly focused way), if I’m not being too presumptuous), that evidence for God in life will come at the deepest levels of what we find in life, because he holds, as I do, that God is the source of all life. Well he is right in this regard because, as I’ve pointed out many times before, quantum entanglement, which requires a non-local, beyond space and time, cause (God) to explain its existence is now found in life on a massive scale in every protein and DNA molecule at the ‘deepest levels’ of life. “Holding life together”, if you will, to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium.,,, But to bridge the design inference from molecular machines with ‘holistic thinking’ of Talbott a little more, it is found here that the flagellum is shown to be subject to ‘non-local’ quantum effects. Non-local quantum effects simply are not within the classical materialistic framework of neo-Darwinism to explain.

    INFORMATION AND ENERGETICS OF QUANTUM FLAGELLA MOTOR
    Hiroyuki Matsuura, Nobuo Noda, Kazuharu Koide Tetsuya Nemoto and Yasumi Ito
    Excerpt from bottom page 7: Note that the physical principle of flagella motor does not belong to classical mechanics, but to quantum mechanics. When we can consider applying quantum physics to flagella motor, we can find out the shift of energetic state and coherent state.
    http://www2.ktokai-u.ac.jp/~shi/el08-046.pdf

    Here is further confirmation of non-local quantum entanglement in molecular machines:

    Persistent dynamic entanglement from classical motion: How bio-molecular machines can generate non-trivial quantum states – November 2011
    Excerpt: We also show how conformational changes can be used by an elementary machine to generate entanglement even in unfavorable conditions. In biological systems, similar mechanisms could be exploited by more complex molecular machines or motors.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.2126

    Thus, regardless of what I consider to be the short hand that Talbott has dealt to the design inference for molecular machines, the fact is that not only is Intelligent Design the best explanation for how molecular machines came to be, but also Intelligent Design, to the deeper level of ‘logos’ of that ‘sharing of the springs of life and being’ that Talbott alludes to is also reflected in life and in molecular machines.

  230. 231
    Kantian Naturalist

    Well, I’ve read those four essays, and pretty much found myself nodding along in enthusiastic agreement all the way through. I have two minor criticisms:

    (1) The metonymic fallacy. Generally speaking, the metonymic fallacy or fallacy of metonymy occurs whenever we try to explain the features of a whole by attributing those same features to one or some of its parts. (One sees this in neuroscientists who claim that “the brain thinks” or “the brain sees” or “the brain decides”.) Likewise, Talbott has a tendency to say that all the components and sub-components of living things are just as alive as the whole organisms. I’d like to see Talbott confront this worry explicitly.

    (2) The two senses of ‘because’. Talbott distinguishes between the because of law-governed causation and the because of rational explication. This is good, but here I worry that Talbott is, ironically, failing to acknowledge fully the being of organisms by assimilating their agency to the kind of agency distinctive of rational, language-using, sapient beings — namely, beings like us. I suspect that this distinction between “two sense of because” is itself a hold-over from Cartesian dualism, only now it’s a semantico-epistemological dualism instead of a metaphysical one. We might need more than just these two senses of because to do justice to not only how organisms are different from inorganic processes, but also to how rational, sapient animals are different from other kinds of organisms.

    Apart from those points, I liked Talbott’s way of synthesizing some really important insights from molecular biology, genetics and epigenetics, developmental biology, and ecology. And I think that his deep metaphysical intuition — forms arise from and are maintained, to the extent that they are maintained, by constellations of forces — is exactly right.

    As for the question whether Talbott’s view is compatible with design theory — my suspicion is that Talbott’s view of organisms is too “Aristotelian” to be smoothly harmonious with either design theory (which is basically Platonic-Stoic) or with “mainstream” evolutionary theory (which is basically Epicurean, as Dennett and Dawkins make crystal-clear).

  231. Kantian Naturalist (231)

    – KN: The metonymic fallacy. (…) Talbott has a tendency to say that all the components and sub-components of living things are just as alive as the whole organisms.

    The components of the cell are parts of (and in entanglement with) a ‘living context’; the whole. Are the components themselves dead? This is indeed a difficult question. What Talbott is arguing for, I believe, is that one cannot consider the components as being isolated from the living whole.

    - KN: The two senses of ‘because’.

    Talbott’s comparison seems far-fetched, but makes sense somehow.

    Kantian Naturalist, my question to you is from Tallbot: “The mystery in all this does not lie primarily in isolated “mechanisms” of interaction; the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?

    What power holds off that moment?? What is this ‘whole’? What is acting from above upon the components of the cell / organism? What is in control for a lifetime?
    Kantian Naturalist, do you feel, with me, that this question by Talbott goes to the heart of the big mystery called life?

  232. 233
    Kantian Naturalist

    What power holds off that moment?? What is this ‘whole’? What is acting from above upon the components of the cell / organism? What is in control for a lifetime?
    Kantian Naturalist, do you feel, with me, that this question by Talbott goes to the heart of the big mystery called life?

    I’ll answer the last question first: yes, definitely. (My fascination with the mystery of life is what led me to get an undergraduate degree in biology.)

    But about this “top-down” business: on Talbott’s view — or, at any rate, on mine — the holistic integration of organisms (whether single-celled or multi-celled) is ‘top-down’ only the sense that the different parts of the whole can be understood only in terms of the whole of which they are parts. This does not require anything above the cell or organism which does the controlling or organizing of the parts into the whole.

    In other words, I think that everything Talbott is talking about here is fully consistent with the idea that organisms are self-organizing process/systems.

  233. Bornagain77 (230)

    I cannot find the quote, but I’m pretty sure that Michael Behe stated in Darwin’s Black Box that the moleculair level was the final black box to be opened. This was it. We finally had arrived. Life is lived in the details; which means at the molecular level.
    Now you are pointing towards the ‘QUANTUM FLAGELLA MOTOR’ and telling me we have one more level to go?

  234. Kantian Naturalist (233)

    KN: This does not require anything above the cell or organism which does the controlling or organizing of the parts into the whole.

    I agree, the cell (or the organism) as a whole is controlling its own parts. No additional ‘supernatural’ phenomena swirling around.
    My question – Talbott’s question – referred to this cell (or the organism) as a whole.
    Allow me to rephrase the question:
    What power holds off that moment of death? What is this ‘whole’? What is acting top-down upon its components? What is it that is in control of its components for a lifetime?
    In my opinion a wrong answer would be: ‘the components’.

  235. 236
    Kantian Naturalist

    What power holds off that moment of death? What is this ‘whole’? What is acting top-down upon its components? What is it that is in control of its components for a lifetime?

    I suppose I would have to say that what holds off the moment of death is just the integrated metabolic activity of the whole organism — that’s what constitutes the persisting-in-remaining-itself (what Aristotle calls the entelecheia) of the living being.

  236. Box, Yeah!,, Dr. Stephen Meyer, as I’m sure your are well aware, wrote a book entitled “Signature In The Cell” based on the fact that the only known cause in operation for the functional ‘classical information’ we find encoded, sequentially, on DNA is intelligence (i.e. ‘Signature of Intelligence’). And even though the functional information encoded on DNA is orders of magnitude more complex than anything man has ever written in a computer program, and is certainly indicative of what would be expected if God had written the codes in life, atheists/Darwinists are loathe to accept it as proof. Indeed many atheists are willing to redefine science, lie, cuss, back stab, and whatever it takes, to deny that such vastly superior coding is indicative that intelligence had any hand whatsoever in designing life. But finding quantum information/entanglement in DNA (and in proteins and in molecular machines) takes the argument to a whole new level. This is because quantum information/entanglement in life, unlike classical information, simply cannot be held, in any way, shape, or form, as an ‘emergent’ property of any material basis, but requires a beyond space and time cause to explain its existence within space time (within biological life). In my opinion, since classical information provided a “Signature in the Cell” as to intelligence designing life, quantum information went one giant step further and notarized that signature to be from none other than God as to sustaining life.

    It is important to point out that we have very good reason to believe that a very high level of information processing is being accomplished by the quantum information/entanglement within DNA:

    Quantum Computing in DNA – Stuart Hameroff
    Excerpt of Hypothesis: DNA utilizes quantum information and quantum computation for various functions. Superpositions of dipole states of base pairs consisting of purine (A,G) and pyrimidine (C,T) ring structures play the role of qubits, and quantum communication (coherence, entanglement, non-locality) occur in the “pi stack” region of the DNA molecule.,,, We can then consider DNA as a chain of qubits (with helical twist).
    Output of quantum computation would be manifest as the net electron interference pattern in the quantum state of the pi stack, regulating gene expression and other functions locally and nonlocally by radiation or entanglement.
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....InDNA.html

    and it is also interesting to point out that Talbott asked a very important question:

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Steve Talbott
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    In answer to Talbott’s question, we now have good reason to believe that the ‘fragile quantum states’ of quantum coherence within proteins and DNA are lost fairly quickly by biological systems upon death;

    Being the skunk at an atheist convention – Stuart Hameroff
    Excerpt: When metabolic requirements for quantum coherence in brain microtubules are lost (e.g. death, near-death), quantum information pertaining to that individual may persist and remain entangled in Planck scale geometry.
    http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/skunk.htm

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    http://vimeo.com/39982578

    Testing quantum entanglement in protein
    Excerpt: The authors remark that this reverses the previous orthodoxy, which held that quantum effects could not exist in biological systems because of the amount of noise in these systems.,,, Environmental noise here drives a persistent and cyclic generation of new entanglement.,,, In summary, the authors say that they have demonstrated that entanglement can recur even in a hot noisy environment. In biological systems this can be related to changes in the conformation of macromolecules.
    http://www.quantum-mind.co.uk/.....-c288.html

    And, to reiterate, the quantum information that is lost from the body upon death (or any other system) is now shown to be ‘conserved’. i.e. it is shown that Quantum information cannot be destroyed!

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – March 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....onsequence

    of note: IMO, quantum teleportation really brings this ‘conservation’ point home

    Supplemental note:

    ,,,This following research provides solid falsification for the late Rolf Landauer’s decades old contention that the information encoded in a computer is merely physical (merely ‘emergent’ from a material basis) since he believed it always required energy to erase it;

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy. Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    Verse and Music:

    Proverbs 21:30
    There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD.

    Steven Curtis Chapman – Lord of the Dance (Live)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDXbvMcMbU0

  237. Kantian Naturalist (236)

    I think there are two options here:
    - Option 1: Rejection of the existence of the whole a la Daniel Dennett.
    Daniel Dennett: ‘There I something alien and vaguely repellent about this quasi agency we discover at this level – all that purposive hustle and bustle, and yet ‘there is nobody home’

    - Option 2: Acceptance of the existence of the whole; the entelecheia; living being. This implies a rejection of reductionism even as an abstract belief.

    KN (213) But if I try to identify myself as a system of particles, I don’t know what to say. I believe the physicists when they tell me that my body is composed of cells, and the cells of molecules, and the molecules of atoms, and the atoms of neutrons, protons, and electrons, and so on. But that’s a purely theoretical, very abstract belief that I cannot connect with my lived experience and which has no bearing on my daily life.

  238. 239
    Kantian Naturalist

    Dennett isn’t completely wrong here. (He usually isn’t, in my personal estimation.) Agency and purposiveness don’t go all the way down — the nitrogen atoms that partially comprise the molecules of adenosine in the DNA in my cells do not, qua nitrogen atoms, display any more agency or purposiveness than do those elsewhere in the universe. But Talbott is certainly right that, when we go down to the atomic level, what we find there will not illuminate what is distinctive and significant about living beings.

  239. 240
    Kantian Naturalist

    Correction: I meant “adenine,” not “adenosine”. Whoops! :)

  240. @Kantian Naturalist (239)

    KN: Dennett isn’t completely wrong here. (He usually isn’t, in my personal estimation.) Agency and purposiveness don’t go all the way down — the nitrogen atoms that partially comprise the molecules of adenosine in the DNA in my cells do not, qua nitrogen atoms, display any more agency or purposiveness than do those elsewhere in the universe.

    Well I see your point, but let’s agree that Dennett is partly right in a miserable way. Never mind that one could argue that being part of a whole changes a nitrogen atom.

    KN: But Talbott is certainly right that, when we go down to the atomic level, what we find there will not illuminate what is distinctive and significant about living beings.

    So it is option 2 right (see post 238)? Surely there are only two options? ;)

  241. Bornagain77

    Where to start learning about quantum physics when one is not particularly smart and not endowed with any talent for this area?

  242. Box, I don’t know of a ‘place’. ,,, but here is a good video that gets a couple of very important basic points across:

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some of the Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

  243. Thank you :)

  244. 245
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Box @ 241:

    Never mind that one could argue that being part of a whole changes a nitrogen atom.

    Conceivably, yes. But that opens up the following very interesting problem, put in terms of “relations” and “relata” [the things that are related]: do relata change by virtue of the relations they are in? Such that a nitrogen atom in a living being is a different kind of nitrogen atom than one that isn’t? Certainly a DNA molecule in a living cell is radically different from one that’s sitting in a test-tube, all by itself — that difference is part of Talbott’s whole point. But whether the same point applies to the atoms themselves — I just don’t know. I want to say that it doesn’t apply there, but I also don’t know how to explain why it doesn’t.

    So it is option 2 right (see post 238)? Surely there are only two options?

    Yes, I’m in favor of Option 2 above. I tried coming up with a third option, just to see, but nothing came to me.

  245. The Argument From Wholeness:

    Premise 1: A whole exist
    Premise 2: If a whole exist metaphysical reductionism is false.
    Conclusion: Metaphysical reductionism is false.

    Arguments for premise 1:
    - I experience myself as a whole.
    - Descartes shows us that we cannot deny our own existence. I understand Descartes like this: ‘I ‘doubt my existence’ but (to be able) to ‘doubt my existence’ I have to exist … Translation: I think therefor I am.
    - Our thoughts need context. We cannot understand anything without context. Nothing has meaning without context. We can only understand things as being parts of a whole.
    - We see wholes everywhere in life. Talbott shows us that every ‘organism’ is organized by itself – top-down.

  246. Box, re 242:

    Believe it or not, there is a Quantum Physics for Dummies out there (and it has a companion workbook).

    When it comes to a good survey of physics, I like Motion Mountain.

    Hope they help.

    KF

  247. 248

    From the atomic perspective, one wonders what to make of an entity comprised mostly of empty space and indeterminate locations of energy that can, utilizing no more of an understanding any of the principles, forces, materials and mechanisms at work than that by simply applying its will, it can make that universe of space and materials that comprise the human body move upon command. Simply by willing one’s arm to lift, billions upon billions of things happen – at the subatomic level – to make it so, even though the entity applying the will has no understanding of how any of it works or is attached to its will.

    Yet, how can the motion of the atoms through space be accounted for without reference to the will that is guiding it?

  248. KN writes:

    Certainly a DNA molecule in a living cell is radically different from one that’s sitting in a test-tube, all by itself — that difference is part of Talbott’s whole point. But whether the same point applies to the atoms themselves — I just don’t know.

    I respectfully suggest you are wrong (or maybe I am mis-parsing)as I would suggest that any identical DNA sequence is no more distinguishable, with regard to its origin, say, from any another than one electron is distinguishable from another electron.

  249. 250

    Box, I think a much better argument would be pursued “negatively”:

    (1) If a system is mechanical, then it is reducible.
    (2) A system is reducible if the properties of the system can be explained in terms of the parts of the system and the relations between those parts.
    (3) But living things cannot be adequately explained that way, because (e.g.) how regions of DNA are transcribed depends on how they are situated within the chromosome, how the chromosome is situated within the nucleus, etc.
    (4) Therefore, living things are not reducible, and hence they are not mechanical.

    Put otherwise, the relevant questions are:

    (1) are living things irreducibly complex?
    (2) can “Darwinian evolution” (random mutation + natural selection) account for irreducible complexity?
    (3) are there are any “natural” (broadly construed) process that can account for irreducible complexity?
    (4) is intelligent design the best explanation of irreducible complexity?

    To those questions, my answers are, respectively, “yes,” “no,” “probably” and “probably not”.

    So even though I’m not terribly sympathetic to design theory at the end of the day, it’s not because of my answers to (1) and (2) there — I actually think design theorist are right to answer (1) and (2) with “yes” and “no,” respectively. It’s just that I think that self-organization theory is a better alternative to design theory.

    (I would also add that Kauffman’s polite, respectful attitude towards Dembski has been a model for my interactions with folks here.)

  250. KN

    Sorry, but you lost me.

    (2) A system is reducible if the properties of the system can be explained in terms of the parts of the system and the relations between those parts.
    (3) But living things cannot be adequately explained that way, because (e.g.) how regions of DNA are transcribed depends on how they are situated within the chromosome, how the chromosome is situated within the nucleus, etc.

    How is it that “regions of DNA are transcribed depends on how they are situated within …” in (3) is not covered under “the relations between those parts” portion of (2)?

    Stephen

  251. @William J Murray (248)

    WJM: From the atomic perspective, one wonders what to make of an entity comprised mostly of empty space and indeterminate locations of energy (..)

    An entity nonetheless. One can only conclude that here the atomic perspective is utterly inadequate.

    WJM: (..) that can, utilizing no more of an understanding any of the principles, forces, materials and mechanisms at work than that by simply applying its will, it can make that universe of space and materials that comprise the human body move upon command. Simply by willing one’s arm to lift, billions upon billions of things happen – at the subatomic level – to make it so, even though the entity applying the will has no understanding of how any of it works or is attached to its will. (..)

    This is indeed a mystery. One possibility is that consciousness is multi-layered and not all levels are part of conscious experience.

    WJM: Yet, how can the motion of the atoms through space be accounted for without reference to the will that is guiding it?

    Considering their harmony in context of the whole, the motion of all parts, must be causally related to the whole. To my knowledge there is no known concept of such a ‘mechanism’.

  252. 253

    But it’s something we take so for granted … a young child sees its parent do something; the child has absolutely no comprehension about how to work all of the tissues, how to fire the neurons, how to release the chemicals, hot to make quanta leap from one position to another, but all it takes is the willing – the will – and the baby can imitate the parent, smile, wave its hand, walk, begin speaking, learn how with no instructions whatsoever other than just knowing it can be done.

  253. 254
    Kantian Naturalist

    How is it that “regions of DNA are transcribed depends on how they are situated within …” in (3) is not covered under “the relations between those parts” portion of (2)?

    That’s a very good point!

    What I was trying to capture is the difference between, say, a car and a cell.

    In a car, we can examine a part in isolation, determine its properties, and based on those properties, figure out how it interacts with the other parts.

    Whereas in cells, what we learn from the properties of their parts does tell us something about how they work in the cells, but generally speaking, our understanding of biology requires also observing how the parts function in their contexts.

    The thought I was trying to convey is this: in living systems, what each part does will be strongly influenced by its context (spatio-temporal location, what other molecules are nearby, etc.) — to the degree that studying a cell one part at a time won’t tell us much about how the whole thing works together. So in that sense, living things aren’t mechanical.

    Does that make more sense, put that way?

  254. 255
    Kantian Naturalist

    a young child sees its parent do something; the child has absolutely no comprehension about how to work all of the tissues, how to fire the neurons, how to release the chemicals, hot to make quanta leap from one position to another, but all it takes is the willing – the will – and the baby can imitate the parent, smile, wave its hand, walk, begin speaking, learn how with no instructions whatsoever other than just knowing it can be done.

    I’m not clear on just what’s being invoked here as to what needs to be explained. Is it the capacity to imitate or to learn? Is that what needs to be explained?

    Or is it something more basic, like the capacity of a living thing to cause its own movement?

  255. KN,

    I think I see your point. I am not sure I agree. Is “understanding of biology requires also observing how the parts function in their contexts” on our part an intrinsic property of the cell or is it a consequence of our own limitations to produce a complete parts list and a detailed schematic? Besides, even with a machine, given the parts list and an assembly drawing I would have to at least envision the motion of the assembled machine to understand its operation. Looking a pile of parts or even the fully assembled version would require more that thinking about it in its static state alone. See my point?

    Don’t misunderstand my perspective of the situation. I do indeed believe biological systems are very much holisitic. I do not see the cell as being a result of the just the execution of some program within the DNA, for instance.

  256. This is just strange-

    DNA jock:

    Mung, It has already been pointed out (repeatedly) that the bizarre thing about Tour’s request for an explanation of macro-evolution at the chemical level is that he’s asking for analysis at the wrong level.

    Wait a minute- according to the “theory” of evolution the changes occur at the molecular, ie genetic level. That means tehre had to have been mutations which brought about the physical changes. Mutations to the genome, ie the chemical level.

    Tour, and many, many others, just want to know what those mutations are- what genes are affected.

    Yes, molecular biology depends on biochemistry, and biochemistry depends on chemistry, but asking for a chemical explanation of evo-devo makes no sense.

    Umm evo-devo takes place at the molecular level. It depends on chemical reactions. And if you don’t know what those are then you cannot explain it.

    OK so chemical changes are what allegedly drive macroevolution but it isn’t correct to ask about those chemical changes? LoL!

  257. And petrushka’s strawmen keep coming:

    I’d like to see an ID advocate explain how the designer know the effects of proposed changes. Not just the immediate biochemical effects, but also the effects of relative reproductive success and relative competitive success in the larger environment.

    How does the designer acquire this knowledge and where does he store all the data?

    What part of “ID is about the DESIGN not the designer” doesn’t this moron understand?

    Hey petrushka- how do design engineers know what they are designing is going to work? how do they know any future modifications will work? how do they know anything at all?

  258. William J Murray (253)

    In effect you are pointing at the distance between mind and body. You are raising doubt as to whether mind is a candidate for a top-down causal effect towards the atomic level of the body.

    KF (247)
    ‘Quantum Physics For Dummies’ is now in my possession. Thanks for the advice.

  259. What part of “ID is about the DESIGN not the designer” doesn’t this moron understand?

    Design without a Designer? Who’s the moron again?


  260. What part of “ID is about the DESIGN not the designer” doesn’t this moron understand?

    Alvero:

    Design without a Designer? Who’s the moron again?

    It appears that YOU are the moron, Alavero. That is because you can’t even respond to what I actually said.

    ID is about the DESIGN not the designer- note that I never said we could have design without a designer- tat is the evo’s untestable claim.

  261. 262
    William J Murray

    Box @259,

    Exactly. We have all these descriptions of chemical and tissue interactions that occur when we “will” our arm raised, but other than simply “willing”, we have no idea how to operate anything that has been set in motion. We are in fact unaware of it. Every day, from the atomic level, we are orchestrating a universe of activity through nothing more, that we can tell, than will. We don’t even know how our will functions, what it is, how it is attached to any systems, how those systems must be ordered, in what order, to what degree to accomplish the task; but simply willing it so can make it so.

    It like taking a seat in the world’s most fabulous device, with so many features, controls, mechanisms and systems that it makes NASA ground control look like an easy-bake oven, and being able to operate it without ever looking at a manual or even knowing how it works, simply by focusing one’s intent upon the desired action.

    It’s so taken for granted, but what a staggering miracle it is, just to be able to will your arm to rise, and it rises. From this, one wonders what the limits are to what all intent/will can accomplish.

  262. Personally, I really don’t think one needs even a degree in chemstry or any science degree to fathom that life without a creator is just simply impossible. The confounding diversity, each suited to its own habitat so perfectly, even the capacity we possess to wonder at it all, at first left me a believer in a God I didn’t know, longing to find out what the truth really was. But then when I found spiritual love and meaning in Christ, who seems to transcend and defy logic, it seemed to me to be the missing puzzle piece.

    I promise you that if I had found such love with the evolutionists, I probably would have become one, but men without an ultimate and infinite personal ‘anchor’ are void of such sacrificial, unselfish love and focus on getting ahead.

    What’s almost evidence to me of the truth of the fact that there is a creator and that creation occurred is how hostile many of the proponents of evolution become when their doctrine is questioned or challenged, and especially when one suggests that an ultimate personal Divine power is involved.

  263. 264

    Dear Friends;
    I know that matter was made possible by our Creator, or how else can one explain the first energy, which eventually became a proton?
    On evolution; the people in Australia are known to be 86 thousand years behind the rest of the human race, because of the dating of their genitacol matter.
    Also, fussles show arixitoplex )not spelled right, but an anceint small reptile in the dinosour age) show it as no feathers, and with feathers. This would show it to be the anceistor of at least some of our avian specis. Also, the genentical matter in the small primates show a lot of commonality with humans. So we do have much-I only touched on the tip of the evolution ice berg-that supports Darwin type theories. What do we have to disprove the above? I would be interested to find out, but stating I do,or I do no X is not based on a foundation, but on personal interest and studies.
    I go with knowledge from what is shown to be so, and the fussles and their proven ages are still a serious item for us to look at and to study.
    Thank you for your views, just give us something more to hold on to.

  264. From Scientism Worldview, Some things to think about…

    My Don Quixotic mission:
    Un-theosophize religious Science of trade-union-church AAAS.

    It takes a change of culture, of the mode of reactions to circumstances, to effect a change of habit, of genetics. Genetics is the progeny of culture, not vice versa. This applies in ALL fields of human activities, including economics, to ALL personal and social behavioral aspects.

    Since the early 1900’s ALL “science” has been taken over by the Technology Culture of the religious Americans, represented by the trade-union-church AAAS. Plain and simple. There has not been any science in the world since then except “religious-American-science”.

    On the blissful religious science ignorance…:

    USA-World Science Hegemony Is Science Blind

    Since the early 2000s I have been posting many articles on science items surveyed and analyzed by me, without religious background-concepts. I have been doing this because I was deeply disturbed by the religiosity of the 1848-founded AAAS trade-union and by the consequent religious background-tint of its extensive “scientific” publications and activities.

    On my next birthday I’ll be 88-yrs old. I know that I’m deeply engaged in a Don Quixotic mission-war to extricate-free the USA and world Science from the clutches and consequences of the religious-trade-union-church AAAS, adopted strangely by the majority of scientifically ignorant religious god-trusting Americans and by their most other humanity following flocks…

    But I am sincerely confident that only thus it is feasible and possible to embark on a new, rational, Human culture (Scientism) and on new more beneficial and effective technology courses for humanity…

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/
    Energy-Mass Poles Of The Universe
    http://universe-life.com/2012/11/14/701/

    ============================

    Decide Humanity: Scientism Or Natural Selection
    http://www.sciencemag.org/site.....ndex.xhtml http://news.sciencemag.org/sci.....tml?ref=em

    Scientism:
    A doctrine and method characteristic of scientists, and the proposition that scientific doctrine and methods of studying natural sciences should be used in all areas of investigation and in conduct of politics-social-cultural-civil affairs in pursuit of an efficient practical, as fair as possible, civics framework.

    Natural Selection:
    All mass formats, inanimate and animate, follow natural selection, i.e. intake of energy or their energy taken in by other mass formats.
    All politics and economics, local, national and international, are about evolutionary biology, about Darwinian evolution, about survival, about obtaining and maintaining and distributing energy.

    Religion:
    is a virtual factor-component in human’s natural selection. Its target-function is to preserve-proliferate specific cultural phenotypes.
    Natural selection-religion are compatible with technology-capitalism but are obviously incompatible with science-scientism, that targets preservation-proliferation of the genotype.

    Science-scientism is an obvious threat to the survival of a cultural phenotype.

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    Universe-Energy-Mass-Life Compilation
    http://universe-life.com/2012/.....mpilation/
    For A Scientism Culture
    http://universe-life.com/2011/.....m-culture/

    ==================================

    On religion-accommodating AAAS science: How can science be more theosophized than by regarding life-brain-mind-spirituality as being mysteriously apart-different from other mass formats?

    Life is just another mass format. Self-replicating.
    Most phenomena attributed (erroneously) to life only are ubiquitous, including culture, natural selection and (apparent) intelligence…

    Why RNA genes are the heart of medicine…
    Life underneath the academEnglish verbiage…

    Intelliget Life

    Life:
    self-replicating mass format of evolving naturally selected RNA nucleotide(s), which is life’s primal organism.
    Natural selection:
    ubiquitous phenomenon of material, a mass format, that augments its energy constraint.
    Mass-Energy:
    inert-moving graviton(s), the fundamental particle of the universe, inert extremely briefly at the pre-big-bang singularity .
    Intelligence:
    learning from experience.

    Intelligent Life
    Life is an evolving system continuously undergoing natural selection i.e. continuously selecting, intelligently, opportunities to augment its energy constraint in order to survive i.e. in order to avoid its own mass format being re-converted to energy.

    Dov Henis
    (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/

    PS:
    Genome is a base organism evolved, and continuously modified, by the genes, the elementary organisms of their higher organism, as their functional template.
    DH
    ========================

    Virtual Reality And Science

    Virtual = Existing in the mind, a product of imagination..

    From http://lofi.forum.physorg.com/.....18243.html
    15 June 2006
    Science and Religion
    Psychiatrist draws a straight vertical line on a sheet of paper, shows it to the patient and asks: “what do you see?”
    Patient, somewhat excited: “A standing naked woman…”
    The psychiatrist draws a horizontal line, shows it and asks: “What do you see now?”
    Patient, more excitedly: “A lying naked woman…”
    The psychiatrist now draws a 90-deg angle and asks: “And what do you see now?”
    Patient, overcome with excitement: “A naked woman lying with her legs up…”
    “Man”, says the psychiatrist, “You’re sex crazy!”
    “Doc”, says the patient, “It’s you who draws these sexy drawings, not I!”

    Scientists see the lines, religious persons see the drawings…

    Science can deal with every subject. Including virtual reality.

    Virtual reality cultures create real technologies but only virtual sciences.
    http://universe-life.com/2013/.....nce-blind/

    Whatever the genomics impact on the U.S. economy is, it is without the present USA-World science hegemony understanding what is the genome. Imagine , just imagine, what the impact can be if the USA-World science hegemony would have understood what is the genome…
    Conscientious life is a real life with a virtual reality culture, a culture driven by natural selection along roads rolled by survival needs combined with imaginative apprehensions and aspirations.

    Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)
    http://universe-life.com/
    -The Genome is a base organism evolved, and continuously modified, by the genes of its higher organism as their functional template.
    -The 20yrs development, and comprehensive data-based scientism worldview, in a succinct format.

  265. The distinction between universal common descent theory and a mechanism of macro-evolution to produce the necessary transitional species to facilitate universal descent seems to often get ignored in the debate. Optimus’ @ 184 post citing “Life The Science of Biology” is a prime example of how the area of dispute regarding micro and macro evolution is often ignored in attempted definitions.

    If it is the general nature of mutations to be deleterious and we have NO observed mechanism for which to produce the templates of information necessary to produce the necessary genes for transitional species then this is clearly an informational problem (identified area of dispute) and not a time table problem (needing long periods of micro-E to produce macro-E).

    At some point, the “UCD theorists” (correctly identified where observed common descent with modification is not being confused by using the word “evolution”) need to be HONEST enough to identify this area of dispute (and perhaps even be honest enough to stop hiding it from our children in our educational institutions).

    We know why they don’t want to identify this area of dispute and teach it… or do we? (or do they?)

    Question everything.

  266. I am totally convinced that Darwin’s theory of evolution has innumerable problems but I still don’t understand the concept of Intelligent Design.
    I am comfortable saying to anyone who would listen that ID is a set of scientific, convincing arguments which totally destroys Darwin’s theories but beyond that I don’t understand ID. What is your theory? Are you all really really comfortable saying ID explains how evolution happened? Does an absence of other theories really explain Intelligent agent? Like gravity or magnetism can you say there is a intelligent phenomenon or force? If so where can it be observed? I really want to understand ID because I am convinced Darwin is completely wrong.Please explain.

  267. On the topic of Information Theory new DNA information ever possibly coming from random mutation (short answer – not possible), and the implications that logically follow:

    http://www.cosmicfingerprints......od-exists/
    (Perry Marshall audio lecture)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....9D03D88AA5
    (Perry Marshall video series)

  268. If someone has already more thoroughly answered this, I apologize, I don’t have time to read through all of the comments.

    The question has been asked, “What is Macroevolution?”
    Basically, Macroevolution is the generalized Darwinian theory – generalized in that it is not focused on any one individual theory, but is all-inclusive of the various ideas that surround the mentality that this universe and all life miraculously evolved and came about through the series of incidents known as ‘natural selection’ among other names. More specifically it references the spectacular changes that would be required for evolutionary family trees that give you whales from rodents, and dogs from dolphins (yes, I’m being somewhat facetious here, I know that’s not the ‘proper’ progression).

    This is in contrast with Microevolution which is what we actually observe in nature; oddly enough this is also what Darwin observed and recorded. That is that while there are variances in the various kinds, those creatures are still all of the same kind – that the sparrows are still all sparrows, that the dogs are still all dogs, etc, etc, etc.

    In other words, the difference between Macro- and Micro- evolution is in what we actually observe and experimentally reproduce (see the myriads of tests done with fruit flies and other genetic experiments) and what is postulated to have occurred by those that have faith in a Darwinian mindset.

  269. Doesn’t much of this arguments prove that evolution is useless in the pursuit of real science?

    Real science has no use of the theory of evolution… and that’s including biology… :P

    Seems the only use for studying evolution is for people that believe it to have something to make them feel important. It has no scientific worth.

  270. I suppose, science being what it is, that given time and more data a completely different theory or conclusion other than evolution may come about. But let us suppose that “intelligent design” is actually the correct theory. What does that mean? What implications for the advancement of science does that have? and more to the point, how do we agree on whom that designer is? I feel that most people in a western framework assume. when saying “intelligent design” that they are talking about Yahweh but what proof is there of that? It could have been anyone or anything,something for which we have no name and no story. The Tao, or whatever, including super advanced humans from the future who travel back in time somehow and create themselves. I think that the fundamental premise that reality around us exists such as it is because that is its nature to do so, and then to investigate those processes to the best of our ability is the only right headed way to look at things, at least where scientific investigation is concerned. there is, I think, a flaw in a person’s character who needs an omnipresent authority to keep him behaving in a kind and just manner and even more so in those who use there ideas of that authority to persecute others who do not conform to their mold. and maybe, there is, after all, some fatherly figure in the sky who watches out for us and who gave us this, but is it not his gift for us to investigate this wonder. valuable reading for anyone who wants to be literate, but as a way of understanding reality and history, the bible is rubbish.

  271. and further, as nicely and wonderfully complex as nature is, the intelligence that created it is obviously a deranged sadist. If such a character exists i would be wary of attracting his attention.
    Mosquitoes, cancer, man’s inhumanity toward man, winter, disease and birth defects and parasites and viruses, michael bolton, the list of abominations is too long to list.
    (I guess maybe Michael Bolton is a sweet guy and all, but his music is terrible.)

  272. cosmic egg, so if you were God you would design the world differently to accord with your moral tastes? And sense the world does not accord to your personal moral tastes then God did not design the world? And just where do your tastes for moral perfection come from in the first place?

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
    - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

  273. Cosmic Egg @272

    Your response is a tired, illogical statement called “The Argument from Evil”. It’s a sad position only taken when the facts are against the atheist. They then must shift to a type of ad hominem, “Ok. Well, maybe God exists but it is a sadistic and evil God.”

    There one realizes their position is crumbling, so they shift to something to elicit emotion rather than the previously discussed facts.

    Sadly, even the dodge isn’t logically consistent and has been embarrassed time and time again by minds far greater than ours — on this site even.

  274. Looks like the old thread is coming back to life for comments also, makes sense as it is going at near on 1,000 hits per day just now.

  275. F/N: On the current fate of the problem of Evil [phil and theol not sci really . . . ], post Plantinga, cf here in context as a starter. KF

  276. This says it best:

    Loci that are obviously variable within natural populations do not seem to lie at the basis of many major adaptive changes, while those loci that seemingly do constitute the foundation of many if not most major adaptive changes are not variable.- John McDonald, “The Molecular Basis of Adaptaion: A Critical Review of Relevant Ideas and Observation”, 1983

    And I am pretty sure Meyer goes over this in “Darwin’s Doubt”

  277. Another famous chemist is Henry Schaeffer. He should have won the Nobel prize, but he’s an ID proponent.

    Then there is Nobel Prize winning chemist Richard Smalley.

    And even the late Christian Anfinsen whom Larry Moran would likely be calling an IDiot except Moran already wrote glowing praise for Anfinsen’s chemistry work on his website. :shock:

    Oh well, the witness of the talented minority is suppressed by the maneuvering of the Darwinists.

  278. 279
    CentralScrutinizer

    Cosmic Egg: and further, as nicely and wonderfully complex as nature is, the intelligence that created it is obviously a deranged sadist.

    Is this suppose to be a scientific argument?

    Sounds like theology to me.

    Maybe earth is a prison. Maybe the creator intends us to have a less than perfect world. Maybe we chose it. Maybe we deserve.

    There are lots of plausible scenario.

    However, your stupid sophomoric declaration is just that. Stupid and sophomoric. And ignorant.

    And hardly scientific.

  279. 280
    Barry Arrington

    At the risk of piling onto Egg, the “if the creator existed I would not like him; therefore he does not exist” argument seems fairly weak to me.

  280. Cosmic Egg:
    I think, a flaw in a person’s character who needs an omnipresent authority to keep him behaving in a kind and just manner and even more so in those who use there ideas of that authority to persecute others who do not conform to their mold. and maybe, there is, after all, some fatherly figure in the sky who watches out for us and who gave us this, but is it not his gift for us to investigate this wonder. valuable reading for anyone who wants to be literate, but as a way of understanding reality and history, the bible is rubbish.

    Well I invite you to crack your shell by reading chapters 1~4 of Grof’s “Realms Of The Human Unconscious (Observations from LSD Research)”

    See, what you guys are doing is attempting to convert the civilization to your belief in personal annihilation. You actually WANT oblivion at the end at the same time harboring terror of its ‘reality’ in your confused philosophy of living. You despise the idea of the universe not conforming to your ideology but you are terrified deep down, and this drives your personality. Go read up on John Von Neumann; the guy was every bit as genius as Einstein plus was blessed with a photographic memory who could cite the exact wording of any page of every novel he had ever read. He was THE social lion at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, and was a materialist just like you until his long painful slide towards ‘oblivion’ convinced him that maybe materialism isn’t true. And so he courageously and tentatively converted, realizing that his long held philosophy had little logic on his deathbed.

    Now if you get hold of the Grof book, I suggest you have more courage than the materialists to which I have given it, who all recoil in horror at chapter 4 and don’t continue. You should read it over carefully. Grof coined the terms “perinatal” and “transpersonal” in this book and I quote from chapter 4:

    The individual comes to realize, through these [perinatal] experiences, that no matter what he does in his life, he cannot escape the inevitable; he will have to leave this world bereft of everything that he has accumulated and achieved and to which he has been emotionally attached. The similarity between birth and death-the startling realization that the beginning of life is the same as its end-is the major philosophical issue that accompanies the perinatal experiences. The other important consequence of the shocking emotional and physical encounter with the phenomenon of death is the opening up of areas of spiritual and religious experiences that appear to be an intrinsic part of the human personality and are independent of the individual’s cultural and religious background and programming. In my experience, everyone who has reached these levels develops convincing insights into the utmost relevance of the spiritual and religious dimensions in the universal scheme of things. Even hard-core materialists, positively oriented scientists, skeptics and cynics, and uncompromising Marxist philosophers suddenly became interested in a spiritual search after they confronted these levels in themselves. (pages 95-96)

  281. James M. Tour, what a breath of fresh air. The man has guts, a rare specimen in academia.

    Science is 90% guts, 5% sweat and 5% smarts. All of you Darwinists and atheists out there are a bunch of gutless cowards. Take a lesson from Tour and grow some gonads.

  282. Egg’s comment, in paraphrase, “if the creator existed I would not like him; therefore he does not exist” is a non sequitur. Period!

    Part and parcel of the arsenal of equivocation, ad hominem, misrepresentations etc.

    I just wonder who Egg is trying to convince. Us or himself? His gambit had no impact on me. Did it make him feel better?

    Stephen

  283. 284
    junkdnathewhite

    I caught this on facebook, I see Torley is finally getting some air time. My grandfather used to say cream rises. I’m not sure if it does but I know Torley is a beast.

  284. cosmic egg:

    What does that mean? What implications for the advancement of science does that have?

    For one it says that there is more to living organisms than matter, energy and what emerges from their interactions. Meaning information is immaterial, real and what actually guides the processes and also what makes an organism what it is. The information is not the DNA sequence nor the genome.

    Secondly it would tell us there is a purpose to our existence, as opposed to our existence being just because.

  285. vjt quotes Dr. Tour as stating this:
    blockquote>Now, I understand microevolution, I really do. We do this all the time in the lab.

    now I will assume (and someone correct me if they feel I’m wrong) that Dr. Tour is using the term ‘microevolution’ as most ID proponents do, i.e., change within a kind.

    In this light perhaps VJT or BA77 could contact Dr. Tour and ask him to provide his understanding of the chemical basis for the changes we observe in fish……how did a jawless fish change into a jawed fish (or vice versus if you like), or how a swim bladder developed from a lung or even how the fish lung developed from their ‘in kind’ relatives which had no lung?

    If Dr. tour does show up to address these ‘microevoluionary’ changes I have several more examples from the fish ‘kind’ that would be great to have him explain, e.g., the chemical basis for the development of the various retes we observe in fish…from swim bladder inflation, brain heaters, to eyeball warmers all observed in the fish ‘kind’. Reverse temperature effect in some fishes hemoglobin would also be a great topic for him to explain on a chemical basis as would the development of the various air-breathing apparatus that we observe in the fish ‘kind’.

    I eagerly await his arrival as I have dozens of these examples of microevolution that he could provide the chemical/biochemical explanation to all of us.

  286. franklin= From Jerry Coyne:

    “MACROEVOLUTION: ‘Major’ evolutionary change, usually thought of as large changes in body form or the evolution of one type of plant or animal from another type. The change from our primate ancestor to modern humans, or from early reptiles to birds, would be considered macroevolution.

    “MICROEVOLUTION: ‘Minor’ evolutionary change, such as the change in size or color of a species. One example is the evolution of different skin colors or hair types among human populations; another is the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.”

  287. F/N: As this thread is again active, let me clip here on the open invitation to anyDarwinist in the world to post a cogent survey of the Darwinist case on the merits that has been on the table here at UD since the Autumnal Equinox, 2012, and which I attached to my post commenting on the surge in this post:

    provide a 6,000 word feature-length article that justifies the Darwinist tree of life from its OOL roots up through the Cambrian revo — as in Darwin’s Doubt territory — and other major formation of body plans up to and including our own origins, and we will host it here at UD, one of the leading ID blogs in the world. We are perfectly willing to host a parallel post with another site. Only, you must provide thesis and observation based evidence that solidly justifies your conclusions in light of inference to best explanation, the vera causa principle and other basic principles of sound scientific induction. Also, you must actually argue the case in outline, a summing up if you will. You must strive to avoid Lewontin’s a priori evolutionary materialism, and if you would redefine science on such terms you will have to reasonably justify why that is not a question-begging definition, in a way that is historically and philosophically soundly informed. Of course, you may link sources elsewhere, but you must engage the task of providing a coherent, non-question-begging, cogent argument in summary at the level of a feature-length serious magazine article . . . no literature bluffs in short.

    (You may find the just linked OP helpful in setting in context.)

    A sound response of course would also answer to Dr Tour’s question.

    Feel free to link onwards, but the case needs to be made in essence in a feature length article.

    KF

    PS: Let’s say that NCSE’s former publicist has been doubtless aware of this challenge since 2012, but along with many others in the penumbra of design critics that surround UD, he too has refused a free kick at goal. I tend to think these past eighteen months of effective refusal to take up such an offer of a free kick at goal tell us volumes.

  288. so, Joe, in your opinion what, in the fish kind, qualifies as macroevolutionary versus microevolutionary changes?

    to help you answer is the development of a swimbladder from a lung considered micro or macro?

    Is the changes in hemoglobin oxygen binding properties micro or macro?

    is the changes in rete function from heat exchange to swim bladder considered micro or macro?

    you could also address the other examples I provided as to their classification of micro versus macro from an ID perspective.

  289. PS: Before playing dismissive rhetoric games on how OOL is different from Evolution, I suggest you examine the “Modern” Tree of Life from Smithsonian that appears in the linked OP. Likewise before you try the tactic of trying to dismiss use of the terms Macro and micro evolution, etc., I suggest you check the UD weak argument correctives under the resources tab on this and every UD page, at the top. Just scroll up. Similarly, you may wish to look at VJT’s follow-up post on that topic, here. His comment on eye evolution, here, may also help. You may also want to look at P Z Myers’s “cop-out” remark here.

  290. I tend to think these past eighteen months of effective refusal to take up such an offer of a free kick at goal tell us volumes.

    yes, it does speak volumes that the environment here is not conducive to uncensored/unmodified responses. IOW, no one trust you…just look at your (Kf) recent censoring of Dr. Matzke.s responses and your subsequent modification of one of his posts….yes, Kf, it does speak volumes. It also speaks volumes that you refuse to engage those you wish to engage in a forum where they (and you) are free to make uncensored points/opinions.

    You are either against censorship or you are not. Apparently, given your actions and your requests that others be censored elsewhere puts you in the “yes I approve of censorship’ category.

  291. Franklin,

    kindly lay off the talking points loaded with “Creationism in a cheap tuxedo” insinuations.

    You know or should know, that “kind” or “baramin” are Creationist terms, they are not normally used by leading design thinkers, or in the logic of design theory.

    What design thinkers characteristically discuss is accounting for the origin of functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information [let's abbreviate, FSCO/I, a subset of the complex specified information discussed by Orgel and Wicken in the 1970's], including the particular case of irreducible complexity. In that context, the issues operate at levels that run well past the Family level.

    For instance over the past year — through publishing Darwin’s Doubt — Meyer has put on the table the issue of the Cambrian fossil life revolution, which operates at the level of phyla and subphyla. The info challenge implied in this can be seen from the quantum of info to provide a credible minimal genome for a unicellular first common ancestor, 100 – 1,000 k bits, half that in 4-state bases. Then, to get to reasonable estimates on body plans, we are looking at 10 – 100 mn bits each, dozens of times over.

    Where the search space for just 500 bits relative to the number of Chemical fast reaction time events the 10^57 atoms of our solar system can carry out in 10^17 s, is as one straw to a cubical haystack 1,000 light years on the side . . . about as thick as our galaxy’s central bulge. In short a blind chance and/or necessity driven search on that scope cannot reasonably find isolated islands of function, and the need for many well matched properly arranged and coupled parts will impose just such isolated islands of function.

    Scale up to 1,000 bits and the config space to a straw representing the search capacity of the 10^80 atoms of our observed cosmos would be trillions of times bigger than that observed cosmos. That is, the search resources impose a needle in haystack challenge on steroids.

    That easily explains why with extreme reliability in a world full of FSCO/I, we uniformly see it resulting from intelligent design.

    And design theory is that research programme in science that investigates such empirical signs of design.

    The consequence of which discovery of reliable signs is, cell based life is designed, and major body plans and key features such as our own bodies show, are credibly designed.

    That is what is on the table, and that is what you need to cogently address.

    For instance, how, per empirical evidence of gradual transitions and feasible intermediates, do you explain the body plan of bony fishes on blind chance variations cumulatively culled out by differential reproductive success?

    FYI, we are already doing genetic engineering in labs all over the world. Not yet to this level but we have no reason to believe intelligence and diligent effort cannot do the equivalent.

    What actual observations can you provide as vera causa basis for ascribing such engineering feats to blind chance and mechanical necessity?

    KF

  292. franklin,

    What makes you think that every fish is a member of one and only one kind and that each and every variety among fishes is a variation of that singular kind? Do you actually think that is the position you should be trying to attack?

    It is prudent to understand your adversary’s actual position so as not to make yourself to appear the fool. When someone appears to be a fool, there is a tendency to dismiss everything that someone has to say, whether it has merit or not.

    Since you incorrectly start with all fishes being of one kind, all that follows in #289 is gibberish.

    Stephen

  293. kf as to your request:

    ,,,you must provide thesis and observation based evidence,,,

    Clearly you just don’t understand evolution kf! :)

    But seriously, I would be happy if Darwinists could just prove that their theory belongs in the province of science in the first place:

    Darwinism is a Pseudo-Science – Part II

    What the vast majority of Darwinists fail to realize (or ever honestly admit to) is that Darwinian evolution is not even a ‘real’ physical science in any proper sense in the first place but that Darwinian evolution is more realistically thought of as a pseudo-science. Even Jerry Coyne himself, the self-appointed Grand Inquisitor of Darwinian evolution, admits that Darwinian evolution lacks the rigor of a proper physical science:

    “In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics. For evolutionary biology is a historical science, laden with history’s inevitable imponderables. We evolutionary biologists cannot generate a Cretaceous Park to observe exactly what killed the dinosaurs; and, unlike “harder” scientists, we usually cannot resolve issues with a simple experiment, such as adding tube A to tube B and noting the color of the mixture.”
    - Jerry A. Coyne – Of Vice and Men, The New Republic April 3, 2000 p.27 – professor of Darwinian evolution at the University of Chicago

    The main reason why Darwinian evolution is more properly thought of as a pseudo-science instead of a proper science is because Darwinian evolution has no rigid mathematical basis, like other overarching physical theories of science do. A rigid mathematical basis in order to potentially falsify it (in fact, in so far as math can be applied to Darwinian claims, math constantly shows us the Darwinian evolution is astronomically unlikely),,

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    (Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003)

    Oxford University Seeks Mathemagician — May 5th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: “Grand theories in physics are usually expressed in mathematics. Newton’s mechanics and Einstein’s theory of special relativity are essentially equations. Words are needed only to interpret the terms. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has obstinately remained in words since 1859.”…
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....emagician/

    Active Information in Metabiology – Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II – 2013
    Except page 9: Chaitin states [3], “For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have proof that Darwinian evolution works.” In fact, mathematics has consistently demonstrated that undirected Darwinian evolution does not work.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.4

    HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY – WISTAR DESTROYS EVOLUTION
    Excerpt: A number of mathematicians, familiar with the biological problems, spoke at that 1966 Wistar Institute,, For example, Murray Eden showed that it would be impossible for even a single ordered pair of genes to be produced by DNA mutations in the bacteria, E. coli,—with 5 billion years in which to produce it! His estimate was based on 5 trillion tons of the bacteria covering the planet to a depth of nearly an inch during that 5 billion years. He then explained that the genes of E. coli contain over a trillion (10^12) bits of data. That is the number 10 followed by 12 zeros. *Eden then showed the mathematical impossibility of protein forming by chance.
    http://www.pathlights.com/ce_e.....hist12.htm

    Darwin’s Doubt – Chapter 12 – Complex Adaptations and the Neo-Darwinian Math – Dr. Paul Giem – video
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    See also Mendel’s Accountant and Haldane’s Ratchet: John Sanford

    Another primary reason why Darwinian evolution is more realistically thought of as a pseudo-science rather than a proper physical science is that Darwinian evolution does not have a demonstrated empirical basis to support its claims (in fact empirical evidence also consistently shows us that Darwinian evolution is astronomically unlikely),,

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Where’s the substantiating evidence for neo-Darwinism?
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1q-PBeQELzT4pkgxB2ZOxGxwv6ynOixfzqzsFlCJ9jrw/edit

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’ (1 quadrillion years)(Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

    Don’t Mess With ID (Overview of Behe’s ‘Edge of Evolution’ and Durrett and Schmidt’s paper at the 20:00 minute mark) – Paul Giem – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JeYJ29-I7o

    Another reason why Darwinian evolution is more realistically thought of as a pseudo-science rather than a proper physical science is that the two foundational pillars of Darwinian evolution, Random Mutation/Variation and Natural Selection, are both now shown to be severely compromised as to having the causal adequacy that Darwinists have presupposed for them. For instance, although Darwinian evolution appeals to ‘random mutations/variations’ to DNA as the main creative source for all evolutionary novelty, there are now known to be extensive layers of error correction in the cell to protect against any “random changes” happening to DNA in the first place:

    The Evolutionary Dynamics of Digital and Nucleotide Codes: A Mutation Protection Perspective – February 2011
    Excerpt: “Unbounded random change of nucleotide codes through the accumulation of irreparable, advantageous, code-expanding, inheritable mutations at the level of individual nucleotides, as proposed by evolutionary theory, requires the mutation protection at the level of the individual nucleotides and at the higher levels of the code to be switched off or at least to dysfunction. Dysfunctioning mutation protection, however, is the origin of cancer and hereditary diseases, which reduce the capacity to live and to reproduce. Our mutation protection perspective of the evolutionary dynamics of digital and nucleotide codes thus reveals the presence of a paradox in evolutionary theory between the necessity and the disadvantage of dysfunctioning mutation protection. This mutation protection paradox, which is closely related with the paradox between evolvability and mutational robustness, needs further investigation.”
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index....._contradic

  294. Moreover when changes do happen to DNA they are now known to be ‘directed changes’ not ‘random changes’:

    How life changes itself: the Read-Write (RW) genome. – 2013
    Excerpt: Research dating back to the 1930s has shown that genetic change is the result of cell-mediated processes, not simply accidents or damage to the DNA. This cell-active view of genome change applies to all scales of DNA sequence variation, from point mutations to large-scale genome rearrangements and whole genome duplications (WGDs). This conceptual change to active cell inscriptions controlling RW genome functions has profound implications for all areas of the life sciences.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23876611

    Shapiro on Random Mutation:
    “What I ask others interested in evolution to give up is the notion of random accidental mutation.”
    -huffingtonpost

    Having ‘cell-mediated processes’ direct changes to DNA is in direct contradiction to the presupposition of ‘randomness’ which undergirds neo-Darwinian thought.

    Moreover, Natural Selection, that other great pillar upon which Darwinian evolution rests, has also been undermined as having the causal adequacy that neo-Darwinists have attributed to it. i.e. Natural Selection is grossly inadequate to do the work required of it because of what is termed ‘the princess and the pea’ paradox. The devastating ‘princess and the pea’ paradox is clearly elucidated by Dr. John Sanford, at the 8:14 minute mark, of this following video,,,

    Genetic Entropy – Dr. John Sanford – Evolution vs. Reality – video
    http://vimeo.com/35088933

    Dr. Sanford points out, in the preceding video, that Natural Selection acts at the coarse level of the entire organism (phenotype) and yet the vast majority of mutations have effects that are only ‘slightly detrimental’, and have no noticeable effect on phenotypes, and are thus far below the power of Natural Selection to remove from genomes before they spread throughout the population.

    Here are a few more details on this insurmountable ‘princess and the pea’ problem for natural selection:

    Evolution Vs Genetic Entropy (Kimura’s Distribution)– Andy McIntosh – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028086/

    The GS Principle (The Genetic Selection Principle) – Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: The GS Principle, sometimes called “The 2nd Law of Biology,” states that selection must occur at the molecular/genetic level, not just at the fittest phenotypic/organismic level, to produce and explain life.,,, Natural selection cannot operate at the genetic level.
    http://www.bioscience.org/2009.....lltext.htm

    Moreover, as if that were not devastating enough as to undermining any credibility Natural Selection might have had as to providing the causal adequacy to explain the highly integrated levels of overlapping functional information being found in organisms, dimensionally speaking, Natural Selection is now known to not even be on the right playing field in the first place:

    The predominance of quarter-power (4-D) scaling in biology
    Excerpt: Many fundamental characteristics of organisms scale
    with body size as power laws of the form:

    Y = Yo M^b,

    where Y is some characteristic such as metabolic rate, stride length or life span, Yo is a normalization constant, M is body mass and b is the allometric scaling exponent.
    A longstanding puzzle in biology is why the exponent b is usually some simple multiple of 1/4 (4-Dimensional scaling) rather than a multiple of 1/3, as would be expected from Euclidean (3-Dimensional) scaling.
    http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/~dre.....18_257.pdf

    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.,,, The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection.” Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79

    Here is a, according to a Darwinist, ‘horrendously complex’ 4-D metabolic pathway chart:

    ExPASy – Biochemical Pathways – interactive schematic
    http://web.expasy.org/cgi-bin/.....mbnails.pl

    i.e. Dimensionally speaking, Natural Selection is not even on the right playing field so as to do the work required of it. The reason why a ‘higher dimensional’ 4-Dimensional structure would be completely invisible to a 3-Dimensional process, such as Natural Selection, is best illustrated by ‘flatland’:

    Flatland – 3D to 4D shift – Dr. Quantum – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWyTxCsIXE4

    I personally hold that the reason why internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional instead of three dimensional is because of exactly what Darwinian evolution has consistently failed to explain the origination of. i.e. functional information. ‘Higher dimensional’ information, which is bursting at the seams in life, simply cannot be reduced to any 3-dimensional energy-matter basis:

    Information and entropy – top-down or bottom-up development in living systems?
    Excerpt: This paper highlights the distinctive and non-material nature of information and its relationship with matter, energy and natural forces. It is proposed in conclusion that it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.
    A.C. McINTOSH – Dr Andy C. McIntosh is the Professor of Thermodynamics Combustion Theory at the University of Leeds. (the highest teaching/research rank in U.K. university hierarchy)
    http://journals.witpress.com/paperinfo.asp?pid=420

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

    Natalie Grant – Your Great Name – live
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRREa_pQFcs

  295. stephen:

    What makes you think that every fish is a member of one and only one kind and that each and every variety among fishes is a variation of that singular kind? Do you actually think that is the position you should be trying to attack?

    If they aren’t classified as fish what are they then? What classification system should I be using? As much detail as you can muster would be a great help to me undoerstanding your classification system for the various fishes.

    but if it makes you more comfortable just deal with the question I posed that apply to modern teleosts, i.e., retes, hemoglobin/oxygen affinities (including reverse temperature effects), and the variety of the air-breathing apparatus we find in teleosts.

  296. Franklin:

    you just tried an ad hominem atmosphere-poisoning distractor to polarise and divert discussion instead of dealing with a key matter on its merits.

    You full well know that I gave a specific offer to host such an essay in toto, here at UD, and that it could freely be hosted elsewhere in parallel (I suggested TSZ).

    No censorship or manipulation of such a post would be feasible under such circumstances, so you are making a deliberate misrepresentation in the teeth of what you know or should know.

    It is also the case in describing showing hecklers and slanderers the door until they can find a civil tongue in their heads, as censorship.

    Shame on you.

    But then, this sort of diversion, twisting about, poisoning the atmosphere and making of threats is unfortunately all too common in the circles of toxic critics UD has had to deal with.

    For instance, should I take your behaviour just now as willful enabling of the sort of behaviour where some attempted to identify and publicly name my uninvolved wife and minor children? Or, those who tried to reveal my residential address under similar circumstances?

    I would suggest to you and ilk that leaving such information up and entertaining the sort of thug who does that IS enabling, and “freedom of expression” has limits of civility long before we come to libel and slander issues because there are ill willed, maladjusted bullies and crazies like that out there.

    KF

  297. kf:

    You know or should know, that “kind” or “baramin” are Creationist terms, they are not normally used by leading design thinkers, or in the logic of design theory

    all well and all that but the subject of the OP is Dr. tour and hos understanding of the chemical basis for microevolution and his lack of understanding of macroevolution.

    Can you tell me, Kf, which of the observations I asked about are micor versus those which are considered macro in the various species of fish…..from an ID persepective of course. Start with a simple one: hemoglobin/oxygen interactions, i.e., sigmodicity versus hyperbolic dissociation curves as well as things like reverse temperature effects.

    Perhap, before tackling those questions you could present a list (partial if you like) of what is and what is not considered micro changes versus macro changes in fish?

  298. PS: To correct a distortion, the recently Dr Matzke (some time back, I was corrected going the other way, for addressing as Dr, I just learned of his promotion) slandered me a couple of months ago then popped up in a thread yesterday as if nothing happened. I instructed him he was on strike 2 and needed to make amends. He doubled down, and just as I warned, I deleted posts he made beyond that point, to call him to order. He and his ilk know that all he needs to do to return to threads I own is to simply make amends for a toxic false accusation. This, he obviously cannot bring himself to do. Unless and until he makes such amends, I will treat him as a disruptive heckler and will do the online equivalent of calling security to have him removed from premises he has worn out his welcome at through uncivil conduct. That is what Franklin and others are trying to label as censorship in order to smear me for standing up for civil conduct in the teeth of slander, and it shows the fundamental incivility and arrogant rudeness of such. Since Franklin knows or should know better than the smear he just tried to spread, that too is a second order slander. Franklin has just revealed himself as a heckler and enabler of heckling for the world to see.

  299. KF:

    Or, those who tried to reveal my residential address under similar circumstances?

    You should be thanking the person who informed you (via the fever swamp) that your son was posting far more info on the internet than he should have been. They could have easily posted where your son did this (with all of the content and information) but instead they chose the higher road and informed you of his postings so you could deal with the situation. Nothing was revealed and for you to behave in such a matter should bring shame to you.

    Kf your rationalizations for censoring Dr. Matzke is nothing more than that……a rationalization for why you feel censorship is A-OK.

  300. Franklin:

    Strictly, I should now be sending you to Coventry for heckling and false accusation.

    I will forbear for the moment and give you a list with two items, one of which was already given:

    i: Micro — the adaptation of Tomcods in the Hudson to toxic environment by breakdown of a gene, or the similar origin of blind cave fish in Mexican caves.

    ii: Macro — the original origin of bony fishes.

    I note, that these examples are obvious and have been mentioned any number of times.

    KF

  301. Onlookers: Franklin, corrected on heckling, has tried to double down. QED, KF

  302. KF, so according to you micro involves changes in a gene as per your tomcod example. Hemoglobin is certainly a product of gene expression, Does the observed hemoglobin/oxygen affinities in fish represent micro changes or macro changes? Simple question that design thinkers should be able to provide with a one word answer…yes or no.

    KF, you know as well as I do that what I posted about your son and how you were alerted to his activities on the internet is true. If you think it is false post the link to what you take umbrage with in this regard. M

  303. Franklin: I gave an example of a widely accepted and acknowledged distinction. As to attempts to pull my minor son into a discussion (on matters that imply further outing attempts I have hitherto been unaware of) in a context where I pointed out the attempts by openly hostile people to trumpet my residential address, speaks volumes. De higher de monkey climb . . . KF

  304. . As to attempts to pull my minor son into a discussion (on matters that imply further outing attempts I have hitherto been unaware of) in a context where I pointed out the attempts by openly hostile people to trumpet my residential address, speaks volumes.

    errrr, kf, your family was not a topic of conversation up until the point that you brought them into the subject matter of this thread. If you don’t want any discussion of your family then don’t bring them into the conversation. Seems simple to me.

    As for your distinction that you posted on micro versus macro is that it? Design thinkers can go no further than that and cannot make any other determinations of what is and what is not micro versus macro changes in regard to fish and what we observe?

  305. KF, a word of advice. If you don’t want people to know your name don’t link to places on the internet where you give your real name. If you don’t want any information about you and yours to be ‘findable’ on the internet than don’t post any personal information. If you and your family members post information, that you want to keep private, onto the internet than you should not be in the least surprised when other people find it. Pretty much everyone knows that once something is posted to the interwebs there are no take-backs.

    Now can we drop the issue of your family and move onto a discussion of what changes in fish are micro versus macro?

  306. Franklin: There you go, again trying to pull off topic in misleading ways in toxic directions. I spoke to two incidents of cyber harassment targetting my family and tolerated at certain anti-ID sites: attempts to out names of family and to reveal my residential address. Instead of taking to heart the point that such is unacceptable behaviour — verging on crimes, depending on jurisdiction — you have indulged in further enabling. At least, this is plain before the watching world, and should trip pretty serious warning flags for sober minded people to see what is going on. I have already pointed out that the distinction between micro and macro evo is not mine, and that should be enough in light of definitions already given and examples. FYI, the definitions in a nutshell come from “that rabid IDiot” {NOT — see, we know the typical vocabulary of school yard taunting that is too often used], Coyne. Just scroll up when you are finished with your worn out rhetorical pretences and notice that in micro cases we see minor genetic change often due to loss or breakdown of function typically late in embryonic development on; for proposed macro, what is needed is major origin of FSCO/I sufficient to create say a bony fish, or a major organ system such as wings or echolocation in bats and whales, etc. KF

  307. franklin, let’s start with the low-lying fruit-

    Blind watchmaker evolution cannot get beyond prokaryotes without relying on magical endosymbiotic events that turned engulfed prokaryotes into power plants instead of food. Is that still the best explanation for the nucleus or has that become a Jedi hand-wave? “You needn’t concern yourself with the nucleus. Move along.”

    The point being is when you talk about fish you are way ahead of yourself.

  308. sigh…kf posts this:

    Franklin: There you go, again trying to pull off topic in misleading ways in toxic directions. I spoke to two incidents of cyber harassment targetting my family and tolerated at certain anti-ID sites: attempts to out names of family and to reveal my residential address

    Yes, you say this has happened but when asked for the evidence that supports these allegations you fail to provide any. do you wonder why people dismiss this as nothing more than ‘pearl clutching’?

    <blockquote.Just scroll up when you are finished with your worn out rhetorical pretences and notice that in micro cases we see minor genetic change often due to loss or breakdown of function typically late in embryonic development on;</blockquote.

    well you'll have to describe for me what is considered 'minor' genetic change versus 'major'? I'd hardly classify the microevolution of a Beta-lactamase as breaking something.

    for proposed macro, what is needed is major origin of FSCO/I sufficient to create say a bony fish, or a major organ system such as wings or echolocation in bats and whales, etc.

    so by this where does hemoglobin fit in? Is it macro or micro? Why is this question so difficult for design thinkers to answer?

  309. Joe, we were trying to discuss what dr. Tour would be able to explain to us, on a chemical/biochemical basis, given his claim to understand this in regard to microevolution. Regardless of what evolution can and cannot explain we observe differences in hemoglobin/oxygen binding properties in fish. Are these differences considered micro or macro according to design thinkers/IDists?

    If we can get past the hemoglobin issue maybe we can address the other observations and figure out if they are considered micro or macro. But this seems like a difficult topic for IDists to provide some simple categorization in regard to these observations for whatever reason.

  310. Every year we create a largely ineffective flu vaccine because of our totally blind ineptitude at understanding even the most basic of evolutionary observables. This is the stuff we actually CAN observe and test and we cannot even predict with complete accuracy forward 12 months! This is microevolution; and no one understands this fully.

    Perhaps, one day, maybe after another 50-100 years of data gathering we will be able to understand microevolution well enough to make flu vaccines that cover the majority of strains two years in advance. By then, perhaps, we will be able to stay several steps ahead of most pathogens. It’s unlikely we will ever reach 100% accuracy, even on such an insignificantly pathetically finite speck of geological and cosmological timescale.

    In the meantime, macroevolution, the hyperbolic conjecture extrapolated backward over billions of years, based on something we cannot predict well in a twelve month period, is irrelevant. It isn’t science. We can probe after it in a scientifIC manner. We feel compelled to inquire. But it is not scientia.

    So how about this: if there’s someone out there who understands macroevolution and microevolution fully, figure out a cure for prion-infection and generate 100% effective vaccines; and, if anyone falls ill and dies despite your best efforts, you will hold yourself responsible in the criminal and civil cases against you.

    No takers?

    Figures. Hubris is so much easier when there’s nothing on the line and you can waste taxpayer dollars arguing from your blog about the “truth” of spontaneous generation.

  311. “Organ Changes” are “macro” per Dr Tour in OP. Which means he does not understand how. No scientist does per Dr Tour.

  312. ppolish:

    “Organ Changes” are “macro” per Dr Tour in OP. Which means he does not understand how. No scientist does per Dr Tour.

    are blood vessels organs? Are erythrocytes organs? Is hemoglobin an organ?

  313. Franklin

    If you are implying science does not understand “micro” either, I hear you. No argument from me:)

  314. no,my intent was not to imply anything. I want to know what design thinkers consider to be micro changes versus macro changes. You stated Dr. Tour’s stance that organ changes (what does that mean actually?) so I was wondering what did and what did not fall into that category.

    I’ve been asking these basic questions since #286 about but so far the IDist position is non-responsiveness on this issue. I was hoping you could tell be if red blood cells were organs or if hemoglobin is considered an organ. That way there is some framework for discussion. we appear to be stuck at the starting gate!

  315. 316

    Let’s just say, for arguments sake, speciation is the distinguishing characteristic of macroevolution, since the process appears to generally associated with the culmination of a great many genomic edits.

  316. Folks:

    Let us remind ourselves on what triggered the latest stanza on the long running darwinist song of distract, evade, twist about. Namely, the challenge since Sept 23, 2012 to any darwinist in the world, that we would host here at UD an essay that provides cogent, coherent, well-argued grounds for the darwinist narrative:

    provide a 6,000 word feature-length article that justifies the Darwinist tree of life from its OOL roots up through the Cambrian revo — as in Darwin’s Doubt territory — and other major formation of body plans up to and including our own origins, and we will host it here at UD, one of the leading ID blogs in the world. We are perfectly willing to host a parallel post with another site. Only, you must provide thesis and observation based evidence that solidly justifies your conclusions in light of inference to best explanation, the vera causa principle and other basic principles of sound scientific induction. Also, you must actually argue the case in outline, a summing up if you will. You must strive to avoid Lewontin’s a priori evolutionary materialism, and if you would redefine science on such terms you will have to reasonably justify why that is not a question-begging definition, in a way that is historically and philosophically soundly informed. Of course, you may link sources elsewhere, but you must engage the task of providing a coherent, non-question-begging, cogent argument in summary at the level of a feature-length serious magazine article . . . no literature bluffs in short.

    Of course, we would be perfectly willing to host it in parallel with TSZ et al.

    The above reaction by Franklin, to try to poison the atmosphere by falsely accusing me of censorship as an excuse to dodge a duty of warrant that Darwinists should have long since met, compounded by enabling behaviour not only for heckling but actual thuggish threats against my family entertained in the name of freedom of expression or the like, speaks volumes. Doing the equivalent of calling out security to remove a rudely disruptive heckler spewing slanders is not censorship, for those who came in late . . . and unfortunately, we have had to deal with a lot of trollishness and frankly some thuggery making ugly threats and enabling of both.

    We are patently dealing with ideological zealotry that imagines it has a right to resort to any means it deems necessary here. Fanaticism and enabling of bully-boy fanaticism, in short.

    It is also interesting, in light of the highlighted part of the clip to see the latest round on the pretence that speaking of macro- and micro- evolution is some nefarious plot by opponents of darwinist thought.

    Let’s clip Joe from 287, citing leading darwinist advocate Jerry Coyne:

    “MACROEVOLUTION: ‘Major’ evolutionary change, usually thought of as large changes in body form or the evolution of one type of plant or animal from another type. The change from our primate ancestor to modern humans, or from early reptiles to birds, would be considered macroevolution.

    “MICROEVOLUTION: ‘Minor’ evolutionary change, such as the change in size or color of a species. One example is the evolution of different skin colors or hair types among human populations; another is the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.”

    Those are acceptable to us, and highlight the significance of the FSCO/I threshold already outlined by me at 292 supra. Let’s just say that no-one has shown a case where, credibly, by any blind chance and mechanical necessity mechanism, 500 – 1,000 bits of FSCO/I has been created without intelligent injection of what has come to be termed active information. The needle in haystack search challenge reasons are obvious. And the OOL challenge involves 100,000 – 1 mn bits, with origin of body plans involving 10 – 100+ millions dozens of times over. The Cambrian revolution and the OOL conundrum are emblematic cases in point, tied to the root and main branches of the Darwinist Tree of Life. As can be seen from the Smithsonian’s presentation of a modern ToL.

    Onward debate points on the macro-micro talking point, of course, are in the UD weak argument correctives, accessible by scrolling up to the resources tab at the top of this page.

    As we head for 100,000 hits for Dr Torley’s thread, let us see if there are any Darwinists in the world willing to step up to the plate and take up a guaranteed free kick at goal. (They full well know that if they can pull off such an essay, design theory as regards the world of life, would be finished.)

    KF

  317. F/N: For convenience, let me clip 12 and 13 from the UD WAC’s:

    ____________________

    >> 12] Macro-evolution is nothing but lots and lots of “micro-evolution”!

    Such a point of view is simply untenable, and it denotes a complete misunderstanding of the nature of function. Macroevolution, in all its possible meanings, implies the emergence of new complex functions. A function is not the simplistic sum of a great number of “elementary” sub-functions: sub-functions have to be interfaced and coherently integrated to give a smoothly performing whole. In the same way, macroevolution is not the mere sum of elementary microevolutionary events.

    A computer program, for instance, is not the sum of simple instructions. Even if it is composed ultimately of simple instructions, the information-processing capacity of the software depends on the special, complex order of those instructions. You will never obtain a complex computer program by randomly assembling elementary instructions or modules of such instructions.

    In the same way, macroevolution cannot be a linear, simple or random accumulation of microevolutionary steps.

    Microevolution, in all its known examples (antibiotic resistance, and similar) is made of simple variations, which are selectable for the immediate advantage connected to them. But a new functional protein cannot be built by simple selectable variations, no more than a poem can be created by random variations of single letters, or a software written by a sequence of elementary (bit-like) random variations, each of them improving the “function” of the software.

    Function simply does not work that way. Function derives from higher levels of order and connection, which cannot emerge from a random accumulation of micro-variations. As the complexity (number of bits) of the functional sequence increases, the search space increases exponentially, rapidly denying any chance of random exploration of the space itself.

    13] Real Scientists Do Not Use Terms Like Microevolution or Macroevolution

    The best answer to this claim, which is little more than an urban legend, is to cite relevant cases. First, textbooks:

    Campbell’s Biology (4th Ed.) states: “macroevolution: Evolutionary change on a grand scale, encompassing the origin of novel designs, evolutionary trends, adaptive radiation, and mass extinction.” [By contrast, this book defines “microevolution as “a change in the gene pool of a population over a succession of generations”]

    Futuyma’s Evolutionary Biology, in the edition used by a senior member at UD for an upper division College course, states, “In Chapters 23 through 25, we will analyze the principles of MACROEVOLUTION, that is, the origin and diversification of higher taxa.” (pg. 447, emphasis in original). [Futuyma contrasts “microevolution” -- “slight, short-term evolutionary changes within species.”]

    In his 1989 McGraw Hill textbook, Macroevolutionary Dynamics, Niles Eldredge admits that “[m]ost families, orders, classes, and phyla appear rather suddenly in the fossil record, often without anatomically intermediate forms smoothly interlinking evolutionarily derived descendant taxa with their presumed ancestors.” (pg. 22.) In Macroevolution: Pattern and Process (Steven M. Stanley, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998 version), we read that, “[t]he known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphological transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid.” (pg. 39)

    The scientific journal literature also uses the terms “macroevolution” or “microevolution.”

    In 1980, Roger Lewin reported in Science on a major meeting at the University of Chicago that sought to reconcile biologists’ understandings of evolution with the findings of paleontology:

    “The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.” (Roger Lewin, “Evolutionary Theory Under Fire,” Science, Vol. 210:883-887, Nov. 1980.)

    Two years earlier, Robert E. Ricklefs had written in an article in Science entitled “Paleontologists confronting macroevolution,” contending:

    “The punctuated equilibrium model has been widely accepted, not because it has a compelling theoretical basis but because it appears to resolve a dilemma. … apart from its intrinsic circularity (one could argue that speciation can occur only when phyletic change is rapid, not vice versa), the model is more ad hoc explanation than theory, and it rests on shaky ground.” (Science, Vol. 199:58-60, Jan. 6, 1978.)

    So, if such terms are currently in disfavor, that is clearly because they highlight problems with the Modern Evolutionary theory that it is currently impolitic to draw attention to. In the end, the terms are plainly legitimate and meaningful, as they speak to an obvious and real distinction between (a) the population changes that are directly observationally confirmed, “microevolution,” and (b) the major proposed body-plan transformation level changes that are not: “macroevolution.” >>
    ____________________

    That should suffice to adequately answer the problem that needs to be resolved.

    We need to ask some pointed questions on why it is that so often, darwinist advocates feel compelled to make the pretence that terms that are legitimate and in use are somehow suddenly illegitimate, suspect innovations made up out of whole cloth once critics or questioners of Darwinism take them up. (And BTW, no 14 takes up the canard that Darwinism is another case of terms invented by critics. It can also be shown that even “Complex Specified Information” or “specified complexity” are quite close to terms used by OOL researchers such as Orgel and Wicken in the 1970′s.)

    I find it particularly offensive, post the Nye Ham debate, to see the projection tactic that suggests that by using terms like this and summarising meanings, we are like cult founders, with “your” term or “your” definition.

    The implicit ad hominems are unacceptable, and the dishonest tactic should be dropped.

    KF

    PS: Notice, no making amends for false accusation of censorship — a typical pattern. I repeat, the equivalent of calling in security to deal with a heckler spewing false accusations is not censorship.

    PPS: Now that I have heard of some disclosure my son may be making online that reveals what he should not . . . likely linked to the way IT is being taught here, if my “educated guess is close to on target” . . . I will deal with it. Mind you, I found out also from those fever swamps trying to out me and create a cloud of adverse references should I be googled, that when, decades ago my uni insisted that my full name be attached to academic submissions, then it went on and Google Booked such, it enabled the usual cyber harassers.

  318. franklin- what genes are involved in your examples? I ask because:

    Loci that are obviously variable within natural populations do not seem to lie at the basis of many major adaptive changes, while those loci that seemingly do constitute the foundation of many if not most major adaptive changes are not variable.- John McDonald, “The Molecular Basis of Adaptaion: A Critical Review of Relevant Ideas and Observation”, 1983</blockquote?

    That would tell you if the changes in your examples can be accounted for or not.

  319. Joe before we consider what genes are involved in any of the examples let’s first get a commitment from the ID camp on which examples are micr and which are macro changes.

    For example let’s start with hemoglobin in modern teleosts. Is the wide variation in oxygen:hemoglobin binding characteristics (sigmoidal and hyperbolic dissociation curves as well as reverse temperature effects for example). Are these micro changes? Or macro changes?

    Kf it isn’t a false accusation to point out that you’ve censored Dr. Matzke as well as modified his posts. It is available for all to see no matter what rationalization you try to use to jsutify your actions.

  320. Do we know precisely how “hemoglobin in modern teleosts” evolved? If yes – it’s micro. If no – it’s macro.

  321. so, ppolish, is current ignorance the metric and measure micro versus macro?

  322. Franklin, I’m just using the Dr Tour premise that “no scientist understands macroevolution”. If it is understood – it must be micro.

  323. Michael Behe’s book, The Edge of Evolution, addresses this issue in detail when he considers the evolution of resistance to malaria, and malaria’s successful evolutionary counter-attack.

    -Q

  324. Wow!

    Here’s what we need to do:
    Start a crowdfund to raise $1,000,000. Tell Bill Nye that if he:
    > Sits down with Dr. Tour for 1 hour, and discusses evolution with him,
    > Declares in public that Dr. Tour, because he does not hold to Darwinism, should not be welcomed in the scientific, or engineering community, (optionally, and that he should not have the right to vote.)
    >He makes this declaration while attached to a lie detector that confirms that he is telling the truth.

    If Mr. Nye can make this declaration with a straight face, he gets to donate the $1 million fund to his choice of charity. If he cannot, he must recant his public statements, and Dr. Tour gets to donate the fund to his charity.

    If Mr. Nye doesn’t take up the offer, let his rejection be made public, and let Dr. Tour make the donation.

  325. Oh, um, to be fair to Mr. Nye, allow him to bring along one or two of his favorite scientist to support his position.

  326. ppolish, so when something is unknown it is considered macro evolution and when it is known it is considered micro evolution. I know you mentioned that this is in some strange format Dr. Tour’s premise but is it the consensus of the ID camp that this is the proper definition for micro and macro evolutionary changes?

    Querius, does Dr. Behe describe what is considered to be micro versus macro? What does this indicate for hemoglobin in teleost fish? Would he consider it as micro or macro evolutionary changes?

  327. Moose Dr., How would we know what would have been discussed? Dr. tour refused to have the proposed session with Dr. Matzke recorded for posterity (why would he place that restriction on the meeting is beyond me) so how could we obtain an accurate rendition of what was, and wasn’t said?

  328. Franklin,

    The current unknown could be micro or macro. When it becomes known it could be understood as micro or macro.

    Dr Tour says the macro understanding has not happened yet. He is asking to see proof that’s all. That’s good Science.. Not pseudoscience.

  329. Franklin,

    I can understand your point that if you understand micro you will understand macro. And Dr Tour saying he understands one and not the other is therefore bogus.

  330. ppolish, this:

    The current unknown could be micro or macro. When it becomes known it could be understood as micro or macro.

    doesn’t seem to agree with this statement of your’s:

    f it is understood – it must be micro.

    could you clarify this issue for us?

    What metric (once something is understood) is used to separate the micro from the macro? IOW, how would we know one from the other? What is the defining criteria?

  331. Franklin

    “Current unknown” (micro/macro) not the same as “understood” (micro) per Dr Tour.

    Unknown/Known and Micro/Macro splits and how to figure difference in Evolution Theory? Good question. Mountains of Evidence & Peer Review?:)

  332. 333
    CentralScrutinizer

    Franklin: What metric (once something is understood) is used to separate the micro from the macro? IOW, how would we know one from the other? What is the defining criteria?

    A good starting point is a detailed and gap-free accounting for the “emergence” of novel cell types, tissue types, organs and body plans.

  333. Franklin, you are intelligent enough to use a dictionary, so you know or full well should know the difference between doing the equivalent of calling security to deal with a disruptive and slanderous heckler and having and using power to effectively suppress publication of ideas. There is a world of difference between say Mr Obama having a heckler evicted from a meeting such a heckler has disrupted and using policing power to prevent someone from publishing a legitimate criticism — where, of course, there is no right to defame. Your insistence on mislabelling the former as the latter, having been corrected, speaks volumes about your attitudes and motivation. You are enabling a former slander by yourself indulging a slander. Just as, in another thread this afternoon, you sought to insinuate that thinking in terms of product life cycle patterns — a first step in strat marketing — is somehow inferior to doing linear regressions; maybe I should tell you that epidemics, and growing markets or for that matter pyramid schemes start exponentially, but tend to saturate, hence the utility of logistic models, Bass curves and the like or extensions. The pattern of behaviours you have been indulging in haste to poison the well is sadly revealing. KF

  334. Franklin: Similarly, you have been sufficiently informed as to the difference between macro and micro to face the substantial matter, if you were willing. I will only add that in a great many cases the border between related but distinct concepts may be fuzzy. That does not invalidate the distinction. It just means that you have to be careful. And, if you cared to look, you would have seen a threshold relevant to the design inference, the FSCO/I threshold of 500 – 1,000 bits. On needle in haystack grounds, the atomic resources and time accessible in solar system or observed cosmos cannot credibly find FSCO/I beyond that threshold by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity. You have been given adequate information to see why this is relevant to OOL and OO body plans. Nor are you able to provide vera causa to substantiate the blind watchmaker thesis for OOL or OO Body Plans by such blind forces. That means that it is our epistemic right to insist on induction that such forces be ruled out as serious candidate explanations of such things until and unless you or ilk can pass the vera causa test. The notion of extrapolating from micro to macro while imposing ideological a prioris Lewontin style just does not cut it. KF

  335. Hi everyone,

    In view of the lively discussion going on here regarding the distinction between micro- and macro-evolution, may I suggest that those readers who haven’t already read my follow-up post, “Macroevolution, microevolution and chemistry: the devil is in the details” (at http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-details/ ), might like to do so.

    Regarding the definition of a kind or species, Dr. Branko Kozulic has done some very valuable work, which I discuss in my two posts, “The Edge of Evolution?” (at http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/ ) and “Some testable predictions entailed by Dr. Kozulic’s model of Intelligent Design” (at http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-design/ ).

    Dr. Kozulic suggests that the existence of hundreds of chemically unique singleton proteins and genes in each species (not genus or family) of organism can be used to provide a proper definition of what a species really is, in contradistinction to the currently favored biological species concept (which simply uses reproductive isolation as a criterion, regardless of how this isolation may have developed in the first place). In the last post mentioned above, I also discuss some of the more difficult cases, such as cichlid fish and ring species. Cheers.

  336. franklin,

    A preliminary point. By your use of the word “kind” in the context of a Christian’s, Dr. Tour specifically, understandings of the concepts of micro- and macro-evolution, I presumed you were trying to tie your “case studies” to Christian creationism’s (YEC especially) baraminology. I have no idea what Br. Tour’s views are in that regard. I doubt that you do either. I do think, by using “kind” you are conflating the position of a subset of the ID tent with the position of all of it. There is more I could say about baraminology, but I will leave it at that. For the present at least.

    My main reason for posting follows from a little investigation of the subject of hemoglobin in teleost fishes. I went out on the internet and found a paper entitled “Whole-genome duplication and the functional diversification of teleost fish hemoglobins.” I suspect that this is an important foundation for your “grenade” lobbed into he ID strongholds. If not, it really does not matter since I am sure you could trot out a number of similar studies.

    I will be honest and state up front that I have not read and comprehended all the paper has to say. I will, however, venture a few comments on what I take from the paper and how it fits within the IDist’s, at least my own IDist, perspective regarding micro- vs. macro- evolution.

    The paper points out the presence of multiple variations of the hemoglobin gene within species of teleost fishes as well as the differences in those gene copies when compared to other teleost species and even non-teleost species. That is the data. None of that is surprising to or denied by any IDist, not even a member of the baraminolgical creationism subset of the ID tent.

    The issue is the interpretation of that data. The paper’s authors attribute the pattern to common decent of “stuff happening” during the reproductive process.

    In point of fact, most IDist would not likely deny the pattern exists. We may question that similar analysis of different genes within the teleost fishes will all generate a compatible pattern. If it did, there is still no problem, as the IDist, even of the baraminologist type, accepts at least some common decent.

    The real issue is the “stuff happening” part. Now we do not assert that “stuff does not happen”. Rather, the IDist asserts that sometimes “stuff happens for a reason.” By that I mean, there is an inherent capability designed into the holistic makeup of organisms to be adaptive and generate genomic changes during the reproduction process. In addition, we see the organism to be designed to be fault tolerant. We also recognize that when “bad stuff happens” that sometimes an individual may be able to make some lemonade and manage to make do in spite of the lemons.

    You see, all of these situations are micro-evolution. They are all examples of variations of the functioning hemoglobin gene being exploited for the benefit of the individual organism that possesses the variation. As KF might say, “they are all just explorations of the island of functionallity of the basic hemoglobin protein.”

    There is one other important pattern that I identified in the paper. There is not a single teleost fish noted in the paper that lacks a functioning version of the hemoglobin gene. I am not sure what Dr. Tour would ask about this observation. But I know what I want to know. How did the first functional hemoglobin protein producing gene get here? I know it takes a vast array of machinery, (chemicals, in just the right concentrations in just the right solute with no “poisons”, if you have a distaste for the my view of the system as machinery,) to make a protein from a DNA strand. How do you get from a hemoglobin-less universe one day to a ubiquitous-hemoglobin universe the next? (Hyperbole alert!)

    In the case of hemoglobin, that is the micro vs. macro contention. Tweak it, shuffle it, break it, whether accidentally or intentionally vs. INVENT AND MANUFACTURE IT.

    IMHO,
    Stephen

  337. 338

    It is interesting that hemoglobin and chlorophyll have tantalizingly similar chemical architectures, the primary difference being the incorporation of the elements of Fe vs. Mg.

    Common design, or common ancestor, or both? Either way, a very potent cybernetic unit.

  338. Franklin (328), “How would we know what would have been discussed?”
    We don’t need to know what is being discussed. We only need to know if, after the discussion, Mr. Nye is willing to include Dr. Tour when he declare that those who don’t buy neo-Darwinian evolution are not qualified to be scientists, engineers (or even voters.) It is this bombastic statement on Mr. Nye’s part that needs to be challenged.

  339. Not that it matters to Nick, but:

    Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology. It unites all the fields of biology under one theoretical umbrella. It is not a difficult concept, but very few people — the majority of biologists included — have a satisfactory grasp of it.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....ology.html

  340. 341

    Mung, great quote.

    And what a load of nonsense (the first two sentences).

    Probably the third sentence is true, particularly since so many biologists think evolution is able to create highly-coordinated, functionally-integrated, information-rich systems. Which it can’t.

  341. SteRusJon

    My main reason for posting follows from a little investigation of the subject of hemoglobin in teleost fishes. I went out on the internet and found a paper entitled “Whole-genome duplication and the functional diversification of teleost fish hemoglobins.”

    yes, many fish are polyploid and some species (e.g., green sturgeon) have chromosome numbers ranging from 4-8n with a closly related species having 16n. Does this then mean that the observed variation in hemoglobin/oxygen binding properties is representative of micro or macro evolution from a ID perspective.

    I’m really surprised that this is posing such a dilemma for ID proponents to answer.

    I suspect that this is an important foundation for your “grenade” lobbed into he ID strongholds. If not, it really does not matter since I am sure you could trot out a number of similar studies.

    I had no idea that asking about hemoglobin/oxygen binding properties in fish being representative of micro or macro evolution from a ID perspective would be considered ‘lobbing a hand grenade’ into a discussion. I thought it would be a fairly trivial issue and once established the conversation could move on. Evidently, I was mistaken and this issue has really stumped the IDists.

    I’ve read how ID is fine with evolution and all that and that even YEC are OK with micro evolution. Now I’m wondering what this could be based on considering that such a simple question has no answer from theID camp. How do IDers recognize micro versus macro (outside of it being known as ppolish has claimed)?

    There is one other important pattern that I identified in the paper. There is not a single teleost fish noted in the paper that lacks a functioning version of the hemoglobin gene

    must not have mentioned ice fish which have no hemoglobin or erythrocytes. IS that a micro or macro evolutionary event from a ID perspective, i.e., a teleost lacking red blood cells and hemoglobin?

    SteRusJon, you wrote a lot of words but nowhere do I see a definitive answer as to what is and is not a micro versus macro evolutionary event regarding teleost (or just fish) hemoglobin and the variety of oxygen binding properties observed in these species. Could you state your position on this issue?

  342. KF

    Franklin, you are intelligent enough to use a dictionary, so you know or full well should know the difference between doing the equivalent of calling security to deal with a disruptive and slanderous heckler and having and using power to effectively suppress publication of ideas.

    Yes, Kf, I understand that any excuse is better than none at all. It is still censorship on your part and the deliberate modifications of Dr. Matzke’s post also represents a very troubling trend in censoring people who you don’t like.

    KF also says

    Franklin: Similarly, you have been sufficiently informed as to the difference between macro and micro to face the substantial matter, if you were willing

    Yes, I understand you cannot answer the question I posed about hemoglobin variation in oxygen binding properties observed in teleost fish.

  343. Franklin,

    Querius, does Dr. Behe describe what is considered to be micro versus macro? What does this indicate for hemoglobin in teleost fish? Would he consider it as micro or macro evolutionary changes?

    Yes, indeed. Dr. Behe plainly states that he accepts micro evolution, providing examples from his work on malaria and sickle cell anemia. He then traces another human mutation (I believe it originated in New York) that was able to thwart malaria for about 30 years.

    Behe’s The Edge of Evolution is easy to understand and well worth the read. Since you’re obviously interested in the subject, I’d recommend it to you. He builds his case for what evolution can and can’t accomplish, but it requires more than a simple post like this to explain convincingly.

    You might want to email him your question about hemoglobin since that’s a key component in his malaria research. But read his book first so you don’t waste his time.

    -Q

  344. hemoglobin variation in oxygen binding properties observed in teleost fish.

    Could you please expand on what kind of changes are these? ‘Evolution’ is supposed to mean ‘change in time’, so what changed to what exactly? Quick google search left me confused. Thanks.

  345. Querius, you do know that the oxygen binding properties of Hb in SS anemia are a result, principally, of increased levels of 2,3-DPG and Hb aggregation. this is not in any way analogous to the observed variations in oxygen binding, e.g., reverse temperature effect, found in teleost fish.

    thanks for trying, though.

  346. I’m not sure why anyone would think it’s in the faithful evolutionist’s best interest to assume macroevolution is just a whole lotta microevolution. The much more promising prospect is to assume the two have no relation at all.

    Let me say this again: no one understands attenuating the environmental pressures pushing protein folding or misfolding enough to cure prion-infected individuals; and our predictive models for virology are so bad that no one can agree if vaccines are actually reducing risk beyond the reduction in risk from elderly people just getting healthier to begin with. But, let’s again, in the favor of evolutionary faith, assume extremely high accuracy, like, say, 99%.

    Let’s say that someone out there can predict with 99% accuracy what’s going to happen to a given virus in 6 months. No one can, or ever will. But let’s just believe it for a minute. What’s the statistical accuracy as we go to 12 months? 90% What about 18 months? 80% What about ten years? 5%? You can see where this is going. That is one virus, where we actually can have a very good idea of many of the environmental pressures and calculate decently. Now imagine countless species, families, orders, interacting in unobservable unpredictable ways with climatic shifts, atmospheric changes, variable solar cycles, over even 10,000 years. Do you think we could extrapolate at better than 0.000000001% accuracy for all of the biodiversity on the face of the planet? Doubtful. Now imagine 100,000 or a million or billions of years. This is not a straw man. It is a rather hopeful picture of how we might BEST recover the distant. And it is despairingly bleak.

    Even when adding in geological, archaeological and paleontological evidence for intermittent correction, the statistical precision is never going to push the needle higher than a trillionth of a percent, in the very best optimistic scenarios. And frankly, 1% might as well be 0%. Assuming that macroevolution is just a lotta microevolution is not a stay of execution. It is the execution.

  347. jw777

    no one understands attenuating the environmental pressures pushing protein folding or misfolding enough to cure prion-infected individuals

    this comment of yours I found interesting. given that the environment of prions is the organism what environmental pressures are you going to be able to attenuate? If it’s pH your limited to a very narrow range with a well buffered systesm, If it’s going to be temperature the organism ony can function within a narrow range of temperature so I don’t see how that is going to help. If you are talking electrolyte concentration your in a similar pickle with all sorts of problems arising which can be quickly fatal.

    So I guess my question is what do you have in mind when you think that you can attenuate the environment of the prion?

  348. Okay, Franklin, you have confirmed your status as a heckler and enabler of slander who has no regard for truth or fairness when it comes to those you hold in contempt. I hope you are happy with the rather public achievement. KF

  349. Kf

    Okay, Franklin, you have confirmed your status as a heckler and enabler of slander who has no regard for truth or fairness when it comes to those you hold in contempt. I hope you are happy with the rather public achievement. KF

    Kf, I would voice my complaint about censorship were anyone ever to do what you did to Dr. Matzke were done to you….for whatever rational they provide outside of you posting malware or something along the lines of the picture joe posted at TSZ.

    So, sure, whatever you said/think but we will note for the record that you still haven’t answered the question about the micro versus macro hemoglobin/oxygen binding teleost fish question but then again no one else has been able to muster an answer either.

  350. F/N: Onlookers, by the double standard F would impose, if I were to paint over slanderous graffiti plastered over my home or business, or remove a heckler spewing similar slanders and seeking to disrupt, I would be guilty of “censorship.” He has obviously concluded the accusation “censorship” is a useful well-poisoning smear and distractor and cares nothing for truth or fairness or civility, nor is he willing to recognise that just as no one has a free speech right to shout fire in a crowded theatre that has no fire, no one has a free speech right to heckle or slander; both of which his champion indulged. As noted that champion can return to discussion threads I own on a very simple basis: apologising and amending his ways from false accusations. I propose that henceforth, we view him as a proved troll for record, and note that similarly he has no reasonable response on the other distractor he is trying to inject. Notice, unresponsiveness to correction while trying to inject talking points, many of which are laced with snide or toxic insinuations.

  351. PPS: The spin games continue. F knows I would not be going into someone’s blog to falsely accuse them of deceit. He knows I would not heckle. He knows that his words are self-servingly hollow. Enough, sufficient has been said for record.

  352. F/N: Just suppose, for the moment, that we are utterly unable to determine whether purported evolutionary changes in haemoglobin are or are not macro-evolutionary (much less, macroevolutionary by blind watchmaker mechanisms).

    Of what consequence would this be?

    Nil.

    Do we have any good reason other than unwarranted extrapolations, to infer that cumulative genetic accidents culled through differential reproductive success suffice to assemble body plans? No.

    Do we have good reason to infer blind watchmaker common descent as the only valid understanding of or explanation for molecular resemblances? Not in a world where diverse molecular patterns of resemblance mutually irreconcilably conflict and conflict with the long since proposed tree of life on gross anatomy held to be homologous. And, not in a world where studies of mosaic animals show genes that closely resemble others from all sorts of disparate types of creatures, e.g. in the platypus. Worse, not in a world where recent investigations show that vast swathes of the human genome sit there in the genome of a studied kangaroo, a marsupial held to be divergent from placentals 150 MYA. And of course not in a world where whales and bats have been found to have a common gene connected to their sonar system.

    Such a pattern much better fits design based on a library, with code reuse and adaptation to particular cases.

    Especially, where the only empirically warranted, vera causa credible explanation for FSCO/I is design.

    So, first blind watchmaker mechanisms need to be empirically shown capable of explaining FSCO/I in the here and now, before such is reasonably to be admitted in claimed explanation of a remote, unobserved past of origins.

    For sure, we should not be letting a priori materialist ideologues dressed up in lab coats self-servingly redefine what “science” means and how it is permitted to explain. Especially, by violating the vera causa principle.

    In short, yet another distraction and distortion of the balance of material evidence; not to mention, of language and logic of induction.

    KF

  353. Franklin,

    Thank you for highlighting my point. The complexity of attenuation is so grand that we cannot even solve the simplest finite problems in front of us; but we are somehow ready to declare a complete enough knowledge about them as to suppose a specific story over eons.

    I am far too humble to think I could possibly know every pressure one might bring to bear in addressing prions. That was precisely my point. It doesn’t sound like you have a background in biology, but why would you propose electrolytes and variance in temperature? Anything measurable on CBC/CMP and basic diagnostics is largely already being handled by glucocorticoids and immunoglobulins. I’m talking about prions. The most promising avenues (currently imaginable) would be in accelerating proteolytic pathways, glutathione synthesis, and citric acid cycle alterations. Perhaps we need to engender changes in cyclic AMP, or raise serum levels of d-beta hydroxybutyrate, or downregulate triiodothyronine. I don’t know. Nobody does. More importantly, there are all of the things we don’t know that we should perhaps attenuate, and the things that we don’t know that we don’t know. That, my friend, is the very depressing point. I wish that we could declare with vigor all of the mysteries of biology. I want to. But, alas, if we strive for humility, we cannot.

  354. PS: Prediction, F will try to ignore or brush aside the just above without adequately addressing the underlying issue. He needs to attend to Philip Johnson’s correction to Lewontin, in the aftermath of Lewontin’s notorious NYRB a priori materialism article. Let me clip, so we can understand what is really going on:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

  355. JW777: One of the keys to prions is they are alternative foldings of AA chains that are more stable than the biologically normal forms [which IIRC, can in effect trigger cascading misfolding and then clutter up proper function leading to scrapies and the like . . . is this still suspected in Alzheimer's?], and so we have another tier of information in cellular chemistry — guidance into metastable but useful configs. But by extension, that holds for AA chains too, they are notoriously highly endothermic and that is why they are so carefully manufactured under NC control. But then, this PC is similarly manufactured and metastable relative to the ultimate state its contents will achieve in some years from now. KF

  356. jw777

    The most promising avenues (currently imaginable) would be in accelerating proteolytic pathways, glutathione synthesis, and citric acid cycle alterations. Perhaps we need to engender changes in cyclic AMP, or raise serum levels of d-beta hydroxybutyrate, or downregulate triiodothyronine.

    any significant modifications of any of the biochemical pathways you mention have severe limitations and potentially life threatening consequences. Just consider modifications of proteolytic pathways. Surely, you can see the difficulties that this could present to the patient.

    but aside from that I realize you were talking about prions. It was in the quote I copied from your post. Why wouldn’t I recognize that you were talking about prions is beyond me. I mentioned a few physiological concerns only because you did not provide any information about what you meant by ‘attenuating prion environment’.

    You also seem focused on vaccines. Are you questioning the efficacy of vaccines in general or just the f;u vaccines, which, granted, aren’t the berst match in any given year but often provide some attenuation of the magnitude of the disease response. do you think that vaccines for childhood preventable diseases risk is greater than benefit?

  357. Kf

    F/N: Onlookers, by the double standard F would impose, if I were to paint over slanderous graffiti plastered over my home or business, or remove a heckler spewing similar slanders and seeking to disrupt, I would be guilty of “censorship.”

    Any fair reader recognizes that <strongDr Matzke did none of those things in the thread you censored him. He did respond to some, what appears fairly blatant, misrepresentation and false implications, about what he did with private correspondence. You of course did nothing to address that issue but instead focused on Dr Matzke.

    You are attacking a straw man characterization of the events in question which is obvious to all the onlookers.

    but, hey, you have the last word(s) or f/n and ppps and all that.

  358. KF: I’ve done over 40,000 hours of work in the field of macro systems biology and several of my colleagues are Alzheimer’s researchers from the UofM and Chicago. I’d really rather not get into a review of what I do all day every day, so much as point out the inherent incoherence in trying to extrapolate hodie ab ignorantiam to “prove” something in the nearly infinite past. It just cannot be done. Of everyone on here, I want it to be true the most. It is what I live; and I’m telling you it cannot be done. There are too many variables involved.

    And that is the conclusion: there is no such thing as random. Random is merely the word we use to describe something so complex that we cannot yet (and likely never will) wrap our heads around every variable in a meaningful way. Digressing but a little, even the 500 coins illustration can never be explained honestly as random. Each coin, thrown jointly down, will run into the others following physical laws in theoretically predictable ways, bouncing off the surface with a specific friction coefficient, etc. There is no way to describe anything fundamentally as random, because there isn’t anything that is fundamentally random. But there are so many systems so far beyond our wildest dreams that the best we can do is call them random. Others might call the force behind it a mind, a super intelligence so powerful that we might as well label it random, except that it clearly isn’t any such thing as purpose appears to appear from out of the seemingly incomprehensible. I do not yet say either. I just say we don’t know enough yet about the immediate to start making proclamations about the distant.

    Why is a call to humility so offensive?

  359. Good call, kf.

    From my perspective, I gave franklin a good starting point for understanding the practical difference between micro and macro evolution in good faith. Dr. Behe’s The Edge of Evolution provides a clear explanation based on a real-life problem.

    However, by brushing off my reference because it didn’t deal specifically with teleost fish, franklin demonstrated that he’s not interested in an answer at all, but merely looking for opportunities to act obnoxiously and feign mistreatment as a result. So, I’m flushing twice and moving on.

    jw777, thanks for taking the time to write your interesting post.

    I keyed in on your statements regarding randomness. You’re probably aware that any possibility of mechanistic determinism was crushed by chaos theory, in which the slightest variation in initial conditions can result in dramatically different results (aka the butterfly effect). Furthermore, quantum effects are now suspected in several biologic systems (involving hemoglobin, photosynthesis, and DNA) adding to the complexity and unpredictability.

    These factors alone leave a hole in mechanistic determinism large enough to drive a truck through—or for God to be pulling the strings and no one would ever know it!

    -Q

  360. Querious

    From my perspective, I gave franklin a good starting point for understanding the practical difference between micro and macro evolution in good faith. Dr. Behe’s The Edge of Evolution provides a clear explanation based on a real-life problem.

    Of course from your perspective that is how you perceive the situation. However, from my perspective no IDist is capable of making any determination of what is a micro evolutionary event versus a macro evolutionary event….outside the fact that one has a ‘i’ in it an the other an ‘a’.

    Just look, here we are nearly 100 posts later and no one in the ID camp can make a definitive statement that the observed variation of hemoglobin/oxygen binding in teleost fish represents micro evolutionary changes or macro. It is clear that you guys just don’t know how to answer this question!

  361. franklin,

    However, from my perspective no IDist is capable of making any determination of what is a micro evolutionary event versus a macro evolutionary event

    That’s because you’ve already decided that no one will be able to answer your question in spite of your receiving the information that will make it clear if you were interested, which you’re not.

    A third flush. Goodbye.

  362. Let’s try to approach this from a different direction. Maybe something more binary (yes versus no) will make it easier to make the determination of micro versus macro evolutionary change.

    In the group of fish classified as teleosts is the absence of hemoglobin and red blood cells in a species representative of micro or macro evolutionary change from an ID perspective of course?

  363. querious

    That’s because you’ve already decided that no one will be able to answer your question in spite of your receiving the information that will make it clear if you were interested, which you’re not.

    that is because no one has ventured an answer. all it requires is a yes or a no answer. If you think my question has been answered please direct me to the post where this took place. I promise you that if there is a definitive answer, i.e., clearly yes or no, there then I will provide copious apologies for my missing the answer.

    I’m begging for an answer….will you provide it?

  364. franklin, your question isn’t clear to me — which ‘change’ are you talking about? ‘absence’ isn’t ‘change’. What are these species? Got any references? This sounds interesting and I hope to hear something more in-depth

  365. Querius..apologies for misspelling your handle in #364.

    One other point, as in #363, you state the information is so clear then why don’t you just posit an answer to my question(s)?

    I am amazed that this is has proven to be such a difficult question to answer. Who would have thought it!?

  366. Asdf

    franklin, your question isn’t clear to me — which ‘change’ are you talking about? ‘absence’ isn’t ‘change’. What are these species? Got any references? This sounds interesting and I hope to hear something more in-depth

    Your question doesn’t make much sense to me. I never mentioned ‘change in any of my posts. So you can see why I don’t understand what you are speaking about. Perhaps you could clarify?

    What species? Teleost fish? There are lots of species of teleost fish and there are libraries of manuscripts concerning many aspects of these organisms.

    If you want something more in-depth you can use google scholar and use whatever search words you want to pinpoint the subject of interest. If it is teleost fish I’d suggest trying that. If it is fish without red blood cells and hemoglobin try those terms.

  367. franklin, wrt. change I was referring to this:

    In the group of fish classified as teleosts is the absence of hemoglobin and red blood cells in a species representative of micro or macro evolutionary change from an ID perspective of course?

    Could you please clarify which evolutionary change are you refererring to here? Hemoglobin appeared, disappaeared, changed? I think it makes little sense to ask this w/o getting into the specifics. I think you would make a much stronger case if you will provide a specific example to examine. At least I, as a layman, would appreciate that. Thanks

  368. Asdf, teleost fish represent a specific group of fishes with defined characteristics. Within these species there are observed variations in the hemoglobin/oxygen binding properties. Yet in some members of this group of fish there are species which have no hemoglobin and no red blood cells.

    How much more specific case can be made than hemoglobin/oxygen binding characteristics? That seems quite specific to me. As does the reverse temperature effect argument. How do you see these as not being specific?

  369. franklin, thanks for clarification. Why do you think it should be straightforward to deduce what kind of change is it? I think it’s an experimental question — i.e. if hemoglobin can be easily lost or restored within say 1 generation then it’s clearly ‘microevolution’. I don’t understand, maybe you’re implying that this case should be well-known to everybody?

    Could you refer to some data wrt. this variation? What genetic or epigenetic effects are known? Is this a case of genetic redundancy? What are other adaptations specific to non-hemoglobin fish? E.g. do they involve new proteins?

    What’s the ‘reverse temperature effect argument’? I can google the ‘effect’ but i don’t understand what’s your argument?

  370. Asdf

    if hemoglobin can be easily lost or restored within say 1 generation then it’s clearly ‘microevolution’.

    So are you stating that microevolution are the changes that occur, and easily at that, within one generation?

  371. So are you stating that microevolution are the changes that occur, and easily at that, within one generation?

    No, I didn’t state that. I however stated that if changes occur within 1 generation, then it’s microevolution, not the other way round.

  372. Asdf

    No, I didn’t state that. I however stated that if changes occur within 1 generation, then it’s microevolution, not the other way round.

    OK, let me get this straight. If micro evolution is constrained to those changes that occur within one generation does it follow that macro evolutionary changes represent generation 2 and beyond??

  373. If micro evolution is constrained to those changes that occur within one generation does it follow that macro evolutionary changes represent generation 2 and beyond??

    Why is it constrained to those changes? I’ve never said anything like that. So sorry for not being clear here.

  374. franklin:

    Joe before we consider what genes are involved in any of the examples let’s first get a commitment from the ID camp on which examples are micr and which are macro changes.

    Yes I could see where a baby would act like that. What a grown up would do is present the best evidence he/ she has and go from there. That you choose to play games as opposed to doing that just exposes you as a troll.

  375. F/N, FYI — FTR: Any serious commenter intending to be fair would have checked out that NM falsely accused me of deceit in an earlier thread several weeks ago [at roughly Christmas time], as in: “Gish Gallop” . . . as Rational Wiki defines, a very serious accusation of public deceit (and as a rule a patently false accusation, starting with the late Mr Gish himself, who could not have won the vast majority of 3 – 400 debates if he had been doing what he was caricatured as doing by hard core evolutionary materialist ideologues in order to dismiss what he was saying and showing by smearing the messenger, i.e. accuse without good warrant of wholesale “quote mining,” which is itself an informal — and in our experience here at UD, usually false — accusation of deceitful out of context quotation . . . note the in extenso cites I had to give to correct that insinuation and later accusation, regarding especially Gould’s career-long position as a world class expert on what the fossil record actually substantiates and contains). That is the context in which I informed him that absent amends for that, he was not welcome and would be removed as a slanderous heckler, cf. 299 above where I pointed this out to F, and 39 on here, where I summarised what happened to JG . . . with links to the scene of the crime. NM chose to double down, and I took disciplinary action for cause. F’s cleverly misleading half-truth on in the same thread, speaks volumes, sadly revealing volumes. Onlookers, THIS is the COMMON level of behaviour by too many objectors to design thought, and if these unscrupulous hecklers are allowed free reign in UD’s threads, there would be a fever swamp race to the gutter. I do this for the record, not to feed the troll who will predictably continue twisting the matter into pretzels. KF

  376. F/N 2: Observe, how F continues to drum away at his side-track never mind that from 353 it has been shown to be irrelevant and sufficient has been shown to ground the significance of distinguishing micro changes such as blind cave fish, tomcods breaking some biochem to survive in the polluted Hudson, insects resisting insecticide, moth populations shifting with degree of pollution and bird beaks responding to drought conditions etc.

    The contrast of say building dozens of phylum and subphylum level body plans for the Cambrian fossil revo . . . known to Darwin and still very live as body plan level macro evo has been made plain also. We can add getting to our own body plan, with our verbal language and reasoning ability on the table as serious challenges to evolutionary materialism.

    And BTW, the spectrum issue is the reason why design thinkers typically emphasise the utterly clear case of macro evolutionary claims, body plan origin.

    Let’s clip 353, as it is buried in a rush of further comments overnight:

    Just suppose, for the moment, that we are utterly unable to determine whether purported evolutionary changes in haemoglobin are or are not macro-evolutionary (much less, macroevolutionary by blind watchmaker mechanisms).

    Of what consequence would this be?

    Nil.

    Do we have any good reason other than unwarranted extrapolations, to infer that cumulative genetic accidents culled through differential reproductive success suffice to assemble body plans? No.

    Do we have good reason to infer blind watchmaker common descent as the only valid understanding of or explanation for molecular resemblances? Not in a world where diverse molecular patterns of resemblance mutually irreconcilably conflict and conflict with the long since proposed tree of life on gross anatomy held to be homologous. And, not in a world where studies of mosaic animals show genes that closely resemble others from all sorts of disparate types of creatures, e.g. in the platypus. Worse, not in a world where recent investigations show that vast swathes of the human genome sit there in the genome of a studied kangaroo, a marsupial held to be divergent from placentals 150 MYA. And of course not in a world where whales and bats have been found to have a common gene connected to their sonar system.

    Such a pattern much better fits design based on a library, with code reuse and adaptation to particular cases.

    Especially, where the only empirically warranted, vera causa credible explanation for FSCO/I is design.

    So, first blind watchmaker mechanisms need to be empirically shown capable of explaining FSCO/I in the here and now, before such is reasonably to be admitted in claimed explanation of a remote, unobserved past of origins.

    For sure, we should not be letting a priori materialist ideologues dressed up in lab coats self-servingly redefine what “science” means and how it is permitted to explain. Especially, by violating the vera causa principle.

    In short, yet another distraction and distortion of the balance of material evidence; not to mention, of language and logic of induction.

    It should have been clear that the points being pushed by F make no material difference to the main matter.

    But the all too familiar pattern of distractors and side tracks continues, to justify obfuscation and ideological dismissal by clouding and polarising the atmosphere.

    We have seen this tactic dozens of times, hundreds rather, over the years.

    KF

  377. JW777:

    I hear you and your cry from 20+ years of work.

    On randomness, I think the issue is, what does that boil down to. One sense is indeed otherwise unaccounted influences and circumstances that yield some sort of stochastic pattern that fits mathematical distributions.

    More or less.

    Another sense is, the apparent direct randomness of quantum phenomena, with the uncertainty principle locking the door to probing in deeper. This manifests in RA decay etc.

    On the chance variation stuff held to account for novelties cumulatively culled to give rise to descent with alleged unlimited modification in a branching tree pattern, the real challenge, as I pointed out — but as usual the ID point is routinely ignored or brushed aside by ideologues — is the needle in haystack search for islands of function in a world of limited atomic resources and time. 500 – 1,000 bits is enough, and for body plans we are looking at 100 – 1,000 kbits for OOL and 10 – 100+ mn bits for body plans.

    I am not going to smoke my calculator by trying to calculate the size of the haystack relative to the atomic resources of our cosmos, to find islands of function of that magnitude of complexity and specificity. What I will say is that at 500 bits, the 10^57 atoms and 10^17 reasonably available s in our solar system, are as one straw to a haystack in a cube 1,000 light years thick, fatter actually than our Galaxy’s central bulge. Every bit beyond doubles the haystack, leading to at 1,000 bits a haystack that relative to the search capacity of our observed cosmos, is as 1 straw to something trillions of times bigger than the observed cosmos.

    Too much haystack, too few needles and too little search resources.

    Once the DNA info revo was on the table, Darwin was finished.

    Just the ideology is culturally too deeply entrenched for it to go quietly and gently into the night.

    KF

    PS: Sometimes objectors try to dismiss the concept of islands of function in config spaces. They refuse to acknowledge what happens when many components must be organised just so for function, with only a limited range of possible variations, which need also to be compatible. Namely, only some of the many possible configs will work, and the config space will soon explode beyond search by cosmos scope resources. But then since when were ideologies particularly rational things? Do we think that just because it has on a lab coat this one will be any different?

  378. Ah, Joe: it seems there is a viral epidemic of trollishness. I suspect the shock of discovering a chemist of Tour’s eminence has brought the fire ant-nest out a boiling. KF

  379. F/N: The best way to understand a coin is as a physical approximation to a two-sided die. KF

  380. F/N: To see my reasoning behind the FSCO/I concept and its quantification, you may wish to look here on in context. UD also has a lot of stuff in its archives. Try the Weak Argument Correctives and the ID foundations series. KF

  381. BTW, as he is not banned at UD [I have only said and will enforce, that he is unwelcome in threads I own unless he makes amends for outrageous false accusations that I have for cause found to be so offensive and defamatory that he needs to make amends -- enough is enough], NM is perfectly free to show up in this thread if he wants to. KF

  382. I’m not exactly sure what happened in this thread after my last comment.

    I don’t see what headway, Franklin, you hope to make by debating my personal ability to cure prion infection or accurately predict the adaptation of a flu virus. The inability to do so IS my point, which you are only bolstering. Debating my ability to do what I said I am incapable of doing is a distraction and not Germaine to the discussion – and your repeated reference to limited ranges isn’t remotely accurate: in the cathlab we stop patients’ hearts every day; in the ICU I’ve seen IV administration of 7 grams of magnesium (hardly a small change in electrolytes); and many of my good friends pack surgery patients on ice for hours, which literally freezes multiple metabolic cascades to nonexistent. Please don’t get distracted by parroting a non-pertinent factoid from webmd or Wikipedia.

    Back to the matter at hand: what is macroevolution and, even if we agree on some definition of it, is it understandable or probable?

    I already said my piece, which is, in summary, if we take macroevolution to simply be a multiplied accrual of microevolutionary changes (which, again, we don’t understand en toto), it is by definition unrecoverable, the more distant the more unrecoverable. It is not in the faithful evolutionist’s best interest to conflate the two, because it yields a battlefield wherein ANY guess approaches the same statistical probability the farther one extrapolates from the present. Notice, I am not saying macroevolution isn’t real or didn’t happen. I’m merely pointing out that this is not the avenue by which it can be cogently argued, or, if it happened, how to accurately recover it.

    Much more plausible is that macroevolution represents some kind of punctuated equilibrium-like leap whose mechanism we don’t understand at all because we haven’t yet observed it happening.

    Q and kf:

    I do find the actual calculations of OOL and macroevolution intriguing, but largely outside the purview of my expertise. I do have a very good friend who is a professional mathematician and a legitimate stats genius who consults for scholastic and Microsoft; and I’ve asked him many times to educate me on how one might go about calculating spontaneous generation and put a number on it. In short: you can’t. There are too many assumed hypotheticals which do not exist and therefore whose “chances” are zero. Any formula one creates for spontaneous generation or the establishment of phyla, honestly, must include numerous events with a zero probability. Logically they are impossible. Evidentially, they happened or didn’t.

    I have a certain admiration for people who try to put a number on it; and I find Doug Axe’s work fascinating. But two things concern me: 1.) I have been lifelong friends with someone whose undergrad thesis was on the mathematical representation of the optics when your eye sees a termesphere – and his opinion is that spontaneous generation stats always equal zero; and 2.) any calculation not concluding in zero begins by assuming that zero cannot be an answer. That is, to say, Mt. Improbable is actually Mt. Impossible. It is only improbable if you assume it must not be impossible. But following our own observational evidence, it is impossible.

    This, of course, brings us back to the beginning: Dr. Tour’s assertion that no one understands macroevolution. Perhaps the more accurate observation is this: there are people who can imagine fanciful things like macroevolution; but conjectured descriptions of imaginary things do not equate to an understanding of actual factual biological history. More simply: an imagined explanation is not the explanation.

  383. JW777,

    A process which maximizes uncertainty helps the design inference.

    That is, one does not need to have exact details except for the simple observation that uncertain processes will maximizes uncertainty over time — more time implies more uncertainty.

    If an artifact violates the expectation value of an uncertainty maximizing process, we can practically (not absolutely) infer design.

    I explored the issue here with some examples:
    The paradox of almost definite knowledge in the face of maximum uncertainty.

    Thus, having more details isn’t necessarily what is needed to make a design inference.

    Btw, I very very much enjoyed reading what you said.

    Sal

  384. Regarding some of the posts here:

    “The technique of feigning ignorance often goes hand in hand with the tactic of feigning innocence. When disordered characters use this technique they will either simply act like (or loudly protest) that they have done nothing wrong and have nothing to feel guilty about or ashamed of. If there’s no way they can deny doing something you can prove they did, then they might claim that they had no malicious intent and that any harm that came of what they did was unintended. This tactic serves the purpose of obscuring the true character of their actions.”
    - George Simon, PhD, Clinical Psychology

    However, the faux naif technique or tactic is not necessarily evil, and can sometimes be playful, depending on the motive behind it.

    In a sinister form, a person using faux naif can be termed “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” A person with a more honorable motive, might be a “Lt. Columbo,” or someone using the Socratic method of teaching.

    Again, I strongly recommend Behe’s book, The Edge of Evolution, for a insightful and practical look at what evolution can and cannot do—micro versus macro evolution.

    Incidentally, after reading Behe’s book, it seemed to me that horizontal (or lateral) gene transfer from gut bacteria to animal host would be a interesting avenue for further study as a significant factor in speciation.

    -Q

  385. jw777,

    I’d like to add my appreciation for your posts and insights to Sal’s. Thank you!

    -Q

  386. Q: Most insightful and — sadly — relevant. KF

  387. JW777:

    Important points.

    I have not tried to assess a probability, I have taken a much more modest target.

    We know that the genome expresses information, and we can also see that the complex functional organisation of the living cell also expresses information. We cannot directly estimate the latter, but the former is a definite component and it is enough for our purposes.

    The storage capacity used in the genome is easily assessed on the known 4 states per character, which can be modified in light of variations form flat random distribution as are inevitable in any practical comms system. However, it turns out that the 2 bits each is good enough for initial purposes, as we are going to overwhelm.

    A minimal first cell will be in the 100 – 1,000 kbits range, and it can be seen why a body plan would be 10 – 100+ mn bits.

    We are going to work with 500 bits as a threshold, orders of magnitude below such complexity. We are not going to estimate a probablility but illustrate a basic sampling needle in haystack blind search phenomenon that seems to be given short shrift by many who do or should know better. (For instance, it is what lies underneath traditional hypothesis testing that looks on likelihood of finding oneself in a far skirt zone of a distribution. When all the hootin and hollerin is done, the point is still valid.)

    Take the 10^57 atoms of our solar system, and give each a tray of 500 fair coins. Toss same every 10^-14 s, about as fast as ionic reactions go and yes I know organic ones are usually much slower. Do the tossing for 10^17 s. Take the ratio of sample to the config space of possibilities for 500 bits, 3.27 * 10^150.

    The comparison I used to make this vivid is to make the latter equivalent to a 1-gram straw then compare the latter as a haystack of straws of that size. That is where the 1,000 LY on the side cubical haystack comes from. That’s fatter than our Galaxy’s central bulge.

    Now, blindly sample one straw form the haystack, first superposing the haystack on our galactic neighbourhood. With practical certainty, we will pick up the overwhelming bulk, straw, and not anything else.

    Blind chance and/or mechanical necessity is not a credible means of finding isolated islands of function in such a config space, for the obvious reasons of the needle in haystack search challenge.

    Go up to 1,000 bits and let our search now be across the 10^80 atoms of our observed cosmos for the same interval.

    In this case, the haystack will be trillions of times larger than the observed cosmos. You could have millions of universes of similar size in it, and you predictably would only pick a straw.

    And this is an overwhelmingly simpler search challenge than the one just highlighted for the genome. For instance, the space of possible configs for 100k bits is 9.99*10^30,102. That is a lot of pages of zeros after the 999. The size of the haystack for that is beyond belief.

    In short, blind chance and mechanical necessity cannot credibly find isolated zoned in config spaces of relevant scale, where we know these zones are isolated as the need for multiple well matched properly organised and coupled parts to achieve function will sharply confine possibilities. That is why we can so easily tell real English text from the typical product of random typing. So far random text exercises have got to 24 ASCII characters, what we are looking at requires 73 or so for 500 bits, 143 or so for 1,000. That length of code is trivial for any serious program that is going to do a serious job. As a matter of fact 100 – 1,000 kbits is really tight code for what a cell does.

    You may see that this is easily accessible to one with modest background and has in fact been repeatedly pointed out to the circle of objectors we are dealing with.

    They refuse to admit the relevance.

    But by setting up a toy needle in haystack example we have shown that the atomic resources in our solar system cannot support the sort of body plan origin being discussed under any reasonable chance variation hyp, as any and all of them would be dominated by the simplicity of the task we have looked at.

    For OOL, the 1,000 bit case shows the cosmos being overwhelmed.

    Too much haystack, too few needles, too little search effort possible.

    And if you want to say we have instead that life is written into the laws of physics, cosmology and chemistry, that is fine tuning on steroids, a design position. Where already the fine tuning to get to a cosmos with carbon, oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and associated things in water zone terrestrial planets orbiting stars in galactic habitable zones, as a platform for cell based life, is sufficient fine tuning that we have only one serious explanation, design. The multiverse proposals, in the end, are not really serious.

    So, the issue is not probability but search.

    Where if you want to say we lucked out on search you need to see that the search for a search across a config space is a selection from sub sets, leading to going to choosing searches from the power set of the already immense config space. For a set with c members, the power set, the set of sub sets has 2^c members. How big, for instance is 2^[3.27*10^150]?

    That is why under the relevant circumstances there is no free lunch, search for search then higher order searches will run you into challenges that will smoke your calculator.

    Blind chance variation and incremental changes as a result, can explain moving around within an island of function, but it cannot credibly explain getting to such in config spaces of the scale we are dealing with.

    And that has been on the table for years.

    No wonder determined objectors want to discuss anything but such.

    Hope this helps.

    KF

  388. Regarding the representation of information in a design, I’d like to point out that the information embodies in a good design far exceeds the mathematics of it’s specification.

    For example, in my spare time, I like to design and build things around the house as well as other personal projects. For example, the final design of an arbor or a swoopy walkway includes dozens of rejected designs, many design parameters, modifications, design prioritizations, (for things that I have manufactured) issues for manufacturability (including the price and availability of parts, and required tolerances) and maintenance, and so on.

    The bits of information in the final design don’t account for the *majority* of these other, vital factors.

    -Q

  389. F/N: Let me again cross-post, on micro vs macro evo:

    __________

    >> wiki struggles mightily to paper over the problems.

    Article, microevolution:

    Microevolution is the changes in allele frequencies that occur over time within a population.[1] This change is due to four different processes: mutation, selection (natural and artificial), gene flow, and genetic drift.

    Population genetics is the branch of biology that provides the mathematical structure for the study of the process of microevolution. Ecological genetics concerns itself with observing microevolution in the wild. Typically, observable instances of evolution are examples of microevolution; for example, bacterial strains that have antibiotic resistance.

    Microevolution over time may lead to speciation or the appearance of novel structure, sometimes classified as macroevolution.[2] Contrary to claims by creationists however, macro and microevolution describe fundamentally identical processes on different time scales.[2][3] . . . .

    Microevolution can be contrasted with macroevolution, which is the occurrence of large-scale changes in gene frequencies in a population over a geological time period (i.e. consisting of extended microevolution). The difference is largely one of approach. Microevolution is reductionist, but macroevolution is holistic. Each approach offers different insights into the evolution process. Macroevolution can be seen as the sum of long periods of microevolution, and thus the two are qualitatively identical while being quantitatively different.

    Let’s draw out a few observations, in steps:

    1 –> Wiki is forced to acknowledge the existence and use of the terms as legitimate terms. So much for the, it’s only those dumb or dishonest Creationists . . .

    2 –> It identifies that micro evo describes pop changes regarding allelle frequencies, where allele means: “one of a number of alternative forms of the same gene or same genetic locus.[1][2] It is the alternative form of a gene for a character producing different effects. Sometimes, different alleles can result in different observable phenotypic traits, such as different pigmentation. However, many genetic variations result in little or no observable variation.”

    3 –> So, if in a pop of moths, we move from mostly mottled white to mostly mottled black, that is “evolution.” (Never mind the varieties were there all along and never mind later reversion to the original dominance once cleanup happened.)

    4 –> The observed cases of “evolution” are overwhelmingly micro. (That is already a significant point, macro is inferred or assumed as cumulation of micro, not generally directly observed.)

    5 –> Cases of micro seem to take up the usual trumpeted cases of observation, so it is in the interests of adherents to extrapolate.

    6 –> Has anyone actually seen the most relevant form of macro, formation of body plans? Nope.

    7 –> So, then, how do we know macro is simply mostly linear accumulation across the tree of life? We don’t, it is a built in assumption.

    8 –> Also, is it generally so that one can modify a complex functional object incrementally into something quite disparate, preserving advantageous function every step of the way . . . no long range foresight allowed? Not generally, this is an extremely constraining assumption.

    9 –> So the extrapolation thesis, once we move beyond the often debatable species etc level . . . think Red Deer and American Elk turning out to be interfertile in New Zealand, or the interfertility discovered across Galapagos species in the ’80s, etc . . . to creating major novel body plan features such as flight with wings [Wallace, co-founder of Evolutionary theory cited this case in his book arguing intelligent evolution], muscles, feathers and control systems, or vision, or the like.including the human verbal language and reasoning capacity.

    10 –> We are back to the challenge to actually empirically ground the tree of life icon.

    11 –> And we have only touched on how even macro evo is compatible with a design view, and how the challenge to empirically show blind watchmaker macro evo at body plan level is unmet>>
    _________

    This should serve as a bottomline for the talking point that tries to pretend that micro vs macro evo is not a real matter.

    KF

  390. Eric:

    Mung, great quote.

    Thanks, but I cannot take credit. It was brought to my attention in an email from a compatriot.

    What better way to respond to someone who directs us to the holy scriptures of talk origins as the be all and end all of debate on macro-evolution than quoting it back to them?

  391. A process which maximizes uncertainty helps the design inference.

    One could likewise argue that a process which minimizes uncertainty helps the design inference.

    So what “the design inference” is left with as potential falsification is a process which neither maximizes uncertainty nor minimizes uncertainty.

  392. I am intrigued by the design inference, as I have increasingly noticed that an obligatory stance against “mind” necessarily concludes with “random”. As I stated, I do not believe in random. And my apprehension about random is furthered when one considers how random-of-the-gaps strangely parallels Greek polytheism, wherein all of the hierarchy of our illusorily personified Nature is embodied by various totems and owing ultimately to the primordial god Chaos. Random-of-the-gaps strikes me not as a scientific inference, but the type of notion a Screwtape, if ever he existed, might plant in men’s minds when humility cannot be stomached.

    Nonetheless, I still feel like putting a number on it is an appeasement. Either we will discover how our physical laws necessitate the construction of life or not, which of course doesn’t explain why they should be that way. As it stands, macroevolution and spontaneous generation do not presently occur; and a reasonable man can either position himself agnostic or confidently declare they never have. A less reasonable man, who might require their existence for intellectual fulfillment, should at the very least admit that we don’t know how they occurred.

    Put more simply, why are electrons obligated to create human brains? If they aren’t obligated, why do they choose to? And if they don’t choose, and they aren’t obligated, the explanation is not grounded in anything meaningful. Randomness, for which my faulty material “mind” (cation exchange in neuronal pathways) has created an illusion of pattern? That is not scientific inquiry; it’s just more random-of-the-gaps.

    It seems to me the dividing line between life and non-life is, at the very least, life AIMS to perpetuate itself through some means (longevity, survival, replication, progeny, etc.). But we can see the problem almost immediately. Non-life would not create life.

    You see, reductionism provides no compelling notion with regard to the big questions in biology. Biology is a gestalt; and we keep trying to come to grips with it by climbing down into gluons and bosons. It cannot be done.

    But returning, for a moment, to the notion of gaps. Acquiring Knowledge is like cutting the head off the Hydra. Every acquisition is done only for temporary relief and a doubly difficult battle afterwards. The very fact that some of our best minds are retreating into imaginary universes is all the proof one needs that perpetual digging might not help humans come to grips with reality.

  393. A process which maximizes uncertainty helps the design inference.

    One could likewise argue that a process which minimizes uncertainty helps the design inference.

    So what “the design inference” is left with as potential falsification is a process which neither maximizes uncertainty nor minimizes uncertainty.

    ‘Helping’ isn’t confirmation and doesn’t guarantee confirmation. Similarly, ‘not helping’ isn’t falsification and doesn’t guarantee falsification.

  394. VJT, I am thinking that there is now a settling down to steady need for reference in a much wider circle. As such I am suggesting a post appendix tot he OP above, on where to go for resource materials on ID and related topics — online and offline. You will note too that in-thread I have pointed out Wiki’s article on Micro evo which puts to rest a canard that tries to pretend that such a term does not exist and in trying to argue that “Creationists” misuse, the errors made reveal much inadvertently. The talking point that macro is just accumulated micro needs to be definitively put to pasture, as a context for Dr Tour’s point. Your article in follow up here will be important and should be first on the appendix, and your article on a case study the eye should be second, third being your recent piece on Myers regarding abiogenesis copouts, with the UD weak argument corrective a close follow on (along with the glossary and the definition of ID) . . . all from the resources tab top of our pages, as well as maybe IDEA’s wider FAQ, here. Right after, I would put up the NWE article on intelligent design. Doubtless, there are others out there that you would want. KF

  395. JG, the design inference on reliable empirical signs such as FSCO/I in whatever guise, is accessible as a simple induction or at more formal level as an abductive inference to best current explanation. It is falsifiable by showing a case where FSCO/I on our observation, at or beyond the 500 – 1,000 bit threshold, comes about by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity; however we may construe chance as an extension of tossed dice or coins, or as something analogous to RA decay or sky noise. Mechanical necessity is by analogy of heavy unsupported objects initially falling at 9.8 N/kg near Earth’s surface, then tending to a terminal velocity shaped by air resistance and the characteristics of the object that interact with the air like that. Many many tests have been done, all failed to falsify. We live in a world with billions of directly observed cases in point all underscoring the induction from FSCO/I to design as most credible cause. This is backed up by needle in haystack sampling space analysis that shows why that is overwhelmingly likely to hold. All we then need to point out is that cell based life and major body plans are cases in point. A fairly similar case can be pointed out regarding the fine tuning of the physics of the observable cosmos that sets up a world that facilitates C-chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based life. KF

  396. Q: back to the drawing board is indeed a lesson for us all. KF

  397. jw777,

    Great observations!

    My view of science is the development of a series models that successively approximate observed behavior with increasing precision and synergy.

    Our approximations are asymptotic to reality, but as models, they can never actually be reality.

    The observed chaotic qualities (referring to Chaos theory as pioneered by Edward Lorenz) and quantum uncertainties at the edges of counteracting forces, prevent mechanistic determinism from a human perspective, but can at least theoretically provide foreknowledge in the sense that the same coordinates on a Mandelbrot set always produce the same results, but are impossible to duplicate under human control since the coordinates will be irrational numbers. I agree that true randomness doesn’t exist.

    http://fractalfoundation.org/r.....os-theory/

    Divine Design incorporated the true laws of nature, not our models, so our perceptions of design in nature will always be incomplete at some level.

    Applicability to biologic systems and pathologies has been considered by researchers. For an example, Google a paper titled Assessment of Chaos in a Hemodynamic Model of Sickle Cell Disease in the Microcirculation byAkwasi Asare Apori (2001).

    It tempting to speculate that these thoughts might eventually be extrapolated to incorporate Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

    -Q

  398. KF,

    Q: back to the drawing board is indeed a lesson for us all. KF

    Pressing on . . .

    According to industrial design luminaries, the difference between a well-designed object and a poorly designed one is intuitively obvious to people at an unconscious level. Thus, people react to a great design as “cool” or “beautiful” without being able to quantify their reaction. Perhaps that’s why we find nature cool or beautiful.

    My point is that the bits of information (as currently defined) attributed to a “klunky” design versus a “cool” design might be the same, but shouldn’t be.

    -Q

  399. Q: beauty, that’s another challenge altogether! How do you measure style? Symmetry is measurable, novelty within symmetry that creates focal points is measurable, but style? Maybe, we can fingerprint a pattern and then look at closeness in some form of Hamming distance measure, but style is a real hard one. KF

    PS: For our purposes, understanding the challenge posed by islands of function in vast config spaces to search, then the search for search in power sets of the config spaces, and onwards, a metric of config spaces and of functional specificity is enough. That is why, working in answer to Patrick May/Mathgrrl*, with VJT and Paul Giem, I modded Dembski’s 2005 metric by doing a log reduction and then spotting the threshold complexity metric. To capture specificity, I used a dummy variable S set to 0 as default, 1 when we have objective evidence of such specificity [generally based on observation] yielding:

    Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the 50-bit solar system threshold. I is the info metric which can be estimated in various ways, in light of I = – log p, p a probability for a config, but also on things like counting bit holding devices or arrays, or reducing more complex storage elements to bit holding capacity, or with codes, we can use metrics based on symbol frequencies . . . e is about 1/8 of English text . . . and we can in every case reduce a complex spatially arranged entity into a 3-d representation as a collection of strings, turned into one grand string [as AutoCAD etc do] and so analysis on strings is WLOG. The net effect is, DNA is designed, cells are designed, body plans are designed, all are well beyond the threshold where blind watchmaker mechanisms are not credible as causes. The objectors of course are dismissive.

  400. F/N: News highlights an exchange at Reddit in which one of the participants points to the Talk Origins discussion of “macroevolution” here.

    Also note that notorious site’s discussion of microevo here, which begins:

    >>Microevolution and macroevolution are different things, but they involve mostly the same processes. Microevolution is defined as the change of allele frequencies (that is, genetic variation due to processes such as selection, mutation, genetic drift, or even migration) within a population. >>

    Of course TO tries the same linear extrapolation stunt as Wiki but it is significant that it admits the reality and distinction of macro and micro evo. Where micro evo is a case of being too vague in many respects, but it does cover an empirical phenomenon. Macro is an extrapolation that too often is loaded with questionable assumptions.

    Creation Wiki’s rebuttal to TO raises some relvant issues:

    Evolutionists seem rather obstinate in defining evolution as any change in ‘gene frequencies’ among a population. If evolution is defined so broadly then creationists might as well be known as theistic evolutionists. Macroevolution and microevolution should be put into their respective categories. Microevolution in itself isn’t sufficient to establish that macroevolution has occurred because every single observation that is made, is in accord with the created kinds.

    Microevolution: the name used by many evolutionists to describe genetic variation, the empirically observed phenomenon in which exisiting potential variations within the gene pool of a population of organisms are manifested or suppressed among members of that population over a series of generations. Often simplistically (and erroneously) invoked as “proof” of “macro evolution”

    Macroevolution: the theory/belief that biological population changes take (and have taken) place (typically via mutations and natural selection) on a large enough scale to produce entirely new structural features and organs, resulting in entirely new species, genera, families, orders, classes, and phyla within the biological world, by generating the requisite (new) genetic information. Many evolutionists have used “macro-evolution” and “Neo-Darwinism” as synonymous for the past 150 years.

    I think that expansion is much less loaded, and it is straightforward about the points at debate.

    The focal level for discussion is body plan origination by claimed blind watchmaker macroevo, which takes us beyond about the level of the family in the taxonomy hierarchy. (I suspect that about the level between a dog and a cat is about right in many cases for the Creationist “kind” too.)

    Dr Tour is right to be concerned, and to tie the tree of claimed branching to the roots in OOL, and to raise questions about the whole.

    KF

  401. PS: Let me adjust wiki and CW to form a synthesis that gives a better focus to my concerns:

    Microevolution: a term used to describe genetic variation, the empirically observed phenomenon in which existing potential variations within the gene pool of a population of organisms and/or those formed through mutations shift the proportions of varieties among members of that population over a relatively short series of generations, or even within a single generation.

    Macroevolution: the theory/inference that:

    1 –> biological population changes take (and have taken) place (typically via cumulative mutations and culling by differential reproductive success — aka natural selection — held to be leading to Darwin’s “descent with modification”) across deep time;

    2 –> on a large enough scale to produce entirely new structural features and organs, resulting in entirely new species, genera, families, orders, classes, and phyla within the biological world,

    3 –> by incrementally and cumulatively generating the requisite (new) complex genetic information manifested in a branching tree of life pattern inferred from the fossil record, and held to be reflected in homologies at gross anatomy and gene/molecular levels.

    I think this is less subtly loaded than the sort of thing we find at Wiki, captures the range of phenomena being addressed [notice, from species to phyla], and highlights that one is observed the other largely inferred.

  402. PPS: Let us remember the nigh on 1 1/2 year old challenge on the table:

    provide a 6,000 word feature-length article that justifies the Darwinist tree of life from its OOL roots up through the Cambrian revo — as in Darwin’s Doubt territory — and other major formation of body plans up to and including our own origins, and we will host it here at UD, one of the leading ID blogs in the world. We are perfectly willing to host a parallel post with another site. Only, you must provide thesis and observation based evidence that solidly justifies your conclusions in light of inference to best explanation, the vera causa principle and other basic principles of sound scientific induction. Also, you must actually argue the case in outline, a summing up if you will. You must strive to avoid Lewontin’s a priori evolutionary materialism, and if you would redefine science on such terms you will have to reasonably justify why that is not a question-begging definition, in a way that is historically and philosophically soundly informed. Of course, you may link sources elsewhere, but you must engage the task of providing a coherent, non-question-begging, cogent argument in summary at the level of a feature-length serious magazine article . . . no literature bluffs in short.

    Let us see if there will be someone willing to step up tot he plate, or whether we will see ever more of evasions, twist-about attack rhetoric and the like.

    This, in a context where the principle of the dog that didn’t bark and then charge and bite is highly relevant to Dr Tour’s point.

  403. KF @ 396

    I’m not sure why you responded to my comment (two above yours) with that. Note that my comment contains two nested quotes, and it was a response to Mung responding to Sal.

  404. JG: Forgive if my comment was not helpful. KF

  405. Macroevolution is somehow intertwined with the belief in common ancestry, either as cause or conclusion (I can never seem to tell which articles of evolutionary faith are presuppositions and which are conclusions, since they are usually offered as both).

    Pointedly, what I am wondering is if our analysis of Tour’s claim should land squarely on macroevolution, given that common ancestry is no longer tenable. What is the contemporary evo-apologetics argument to square our current understanding of organismal makeup and epigenetics concerning common ancestry?

    Specifically, given that, though we are 1 trillion cells, we are 100 trillion bacteria, and among our 1% makeup (the cells) not all of the form and function is dictated by DNA, thus the alleged 98% genetic similarity (which was already in question) with chimps actually amounts to 98% of ???% (the non-epigenetic share) of 1% = .03-.7% biological similarity. Between gene sequencing and paleontology, there are numerous “upside down” ancestral trees anyway. Why should anyone accept the common descent hypothesis anymore? It seems like an archaic artifact of a bygone era. And, if that is no longer a strong case, should anyone bother searching the macroevolutionary mechanism (cause or conclusion) for a common ancestry which likely doesn’t exist?

  406. jw777 noted

    And, if that is no longer a strong case, should anyone bother searching the macroevolutionary mechanism (cause or conclusion) for a common ancestry which likely doesn’t exist?

    In a word, it provides hope. An in-place, mechanistic explanation for life has just gotta be available. The alternative is horrifying and unthinkable! ;-)

    -Q

  407. I was certain that people still believed the common ancestry. But I am legitimately asking what the current evo-apologetics squaring is. I can’t find any books or publications from the top evo-apologists that square these evidentiary refutations. I just don’t have the imagination to think up a tale of how to square them.

    What is the tale?

  408. 409
    junkdnathewhite

    KF @ 395, I would say UB’s semiotic should be on whatever list you propose.

  409. JD: As in as summarised by BA clipping UB, here? (BTW, one of the top ten) KF

  410. 117,426

  411. F/N: Let us remember the nigh on 1 1/2 year old challenge on the table, which was last put up at 403 above.

    Observe, too, the absence above of proponents of evolutionary materialism on the material issue once Wiki and TO have been brought to bear and addressed on the micro/macro evo distinction; and notice how, previously there was a false cry of censorship which seems to have vanished here once the significance of the offer of parallel posting was put on the table — at minimum, I think there are UD contributors with posting privileges at TSZ. Let us just note that heckling is not protected speech, and that ugly attacks against persons or threats to out uninvolved family including attempted revealing of addresses of minor children are beyond bounds of civility (but that is what I have had to try to deal with).

    Bottomline, the fundamental (and still not cogently answered) challenge to evolutionary materialism advocates . . . and, remember, we will freely host including in parallel with other sites . . . is to provide a cogent answer to the now almost 1 1/2 year old (it will reach that at the vernal equinox later this month) pro-darwinism, tree of life essay challenge:

    provide a 6,000 word feature-length article that justifies the Darwinist tree of life from its OOL roots up through the Cambrian revo — as in Darwin’s Doubt territory — and other major formation of body plans up to and including our own origins, and we will host it here at UD, one of the leading ID blogs in the world. We are perfectly willing to host a parallel post with another site. Only, you must provide thesis and observation based evidence that solidly justifies your conclusions in light of inference to best explanation, the vera causa principle and other basic principles of sound scientific induction. Also, you must actually argue the case in outline, a summing up if you will. You must strive to avoid Lewontin’s a priori evolutionary materialism, and if you would redefine science on such terms you will have to reasonably justify why that is not a question-begging definition, in a way that is historically and philosophically soundly informed. Of course, you may link sources elsewhere, but you must engage the task of providing a coherent, non-question-begging, cogent argument in summary at the level of a feature-length serious magazine article . . . no literature bluffs in short.

    Let us see if there will be someone willing to step up tot he plate, or whether we will see ever more of evasions, twist-about attack rhetoric and the like.

    This, in a context where the principle of the dog that didn’t bark and then charge and bite is highly relevant to Dr Tour’s point. Recall, his core thesis is:

    … I will tell you as a scientist and a synthetic chemist: if anybody should be able to understand evolution, it is me, because I make molecules for a living, and I don’t just buy a kit, and mix this and mix this, and get that. I mean, ab initio, I make molecules. I understand how hard it is to make molecules . . . . I don’t understand evolution [i.e. as a molecular level process], and I will confess that to you. Is that OK, for me to say, “I don’t understand this”? Is that all right? I know that there’s a lot of people out there that don’t understand anything about organic synthesis, but they understand evolution. I understand a lot about making molecules; I don’t understand evolution . . . . Now, I understand microevolution, I really do. We do this all the time in the lab. I understand this. But when you have speciation changes, when you have organs changing, when you have to have concerted lines of evolution, all happening in the same place and time – not just one line – concerted lines, all at the same place, all in the same environment … this is very hard to fathom.

    Where, using the synthesis on micro/macro evo above, we may focus the issue in a way that brings out the force of the explanatory gap Dr Tour . . . the nanocar man, and one of the ten most cited chemists in the world . . . is highlighting:

    Microevolution: a term used to describe genetic variation, the empirically observed phenomenon in which existing potential variations within the gene pool of a population of organisms and/or those formed through mutations shift the proportions of varieties among members of that population over a relatively short series of generations, or even within a single generation.

    Macroevolution: the theory/inference that:

    1 –> biological population changes take (and have taken) place (typically via cumulative mutations and culling by differential reproductive success — aka natural selection — held to be leading to Darwin’s “descent with modification”) across deep time;

    2 –> on a large enough scale to produce entirely new structural features and organs, resulting in entirely new species, genera, families, orders, classes, and phyla within the biological world,

    3 –> by incrementally and cumulatively generating the requisite (new) complex genetic information manifested in a branching tree of life pattern inferred from the fossil record, and held to be reflected in homologies at gross anatomy and gene/molecular levels.

    Now, how can it be shown, empirically today, that micro [which is commonly observed as a loss of info/breakdown of function that in particular stressed environments (think blind/sighted forms of essentially the same cave fish) confers a local advantage and shifts population] can and does accumulate into macro . . . the vera causa test?

    Where, for Dr Tour, this specifically involves the challenge of co-ordinated molecular synthesis and self-assembly of novel structures for new body plan structures and where this goes back also to the first body plan, the suggested first cell based life.

    Where, absent vera causa, there is a serious inductive reasoning challenge to resorting to mechanisms not shown here and now to cause a type of effect, in proposing a best explanation candidate for events in the deep unobserved past of origins.

    Where also, we have abundant cases in point that the only observed and needle in haystack blind search plausible cause of FSCO/I . . . functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information (think, the text elements that make up this post or the components of the PC you are reading this on) . . . is intelligent design.

    So, evo mat advocates, what is your case in a nutshell, and what are its factual (observed!) and inductive logic grounds that pass the vera causa test in light of the molecular chemical challenges and information and organisation challenges involved?

    KF

  412. 413

    Jerry Coyne once wrote:

    When, after a Christmas visit, we watch grandma leave on the train to Miami, we assume that the rest of her journey will be an extrapolation of that first quarter-mile. A creationist unwilling to extrapolate from micro- to macroevolution is as irrational as an observer who assumes that, after grandma’s train disappears around the bend, it is seized by divine forces and instantly transported to Florida. (Nature 412:587, 19 August 2001.)

    As rational people we know what normal train transportation is capable of, or if additional engineering would be necessary as with the Chunnel if Grandma went from France to the UK. But for the train analogy to actually work, knowing what is necessary for macroevolution, we would need to extrapolate that a train could take Grandma from Miami to Mars. This is what is irrational. Beyond this we would also need to be prepared to say goodbye to Grandma forever. Macroevolution is a one way trip, microevolution is not…

  413. In all reality, given starting populations of prokaryotes, blind and unguided physical processes cannot get beyond variations of those. And it definitely cannot get to eukaryotes from there.

    Sad, but true…

  414. 415

    KF @410, yes that is the argument. I also noticed you mentioning the heat thrown your way, that much surface to air fire generally means you’re above the target.

  415. The problems with the Darwin they trying to go against the very creator Himself,and that is God who is the creator of heavens and earth, which He told us that He is the creator of mankind Genesis 1v1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. now when they looking at this beautiful Earth and heavens which we have here and the Earth is the only planet design to sustain life, and for something like that to just created it demand a creator for it to be design it demand a designer, you cannot built a building without an architect , is the same way you cannot start to explain human being without the great God of heavens,The bible say there is one lawgiver and that is God James 4:12 and because they are trying to push God out of the things which clearly seen by all of them and this God creation ,heavens and Earth and He give their minds to this Romans 1:17-32 For in this the righteousness of God is revealed in from faith to faith:as is it written the just shall live by faith.For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.Because what they maybe known of God is manifested in them,for God has shown it to them.For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made,even His eternal power and Godhead , so that they are without excuse.Because, although they knew God , they did not glorify Him as God,nor were thankful,but become futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.Professing to be wise,they became fools.And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and bird and four footed animals and creeping things.Therefore God gave them up to uncleanness,in the lusts of their hearts.to dishonor their bodies among themselves,who exchanged the truth for the lies,and worshiped and serves the creature rather then the creator,who is blessed forever.Amen.For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.For even their woman exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.Likewise men leaving the natural use of woman burned in their lust for one another men with men committing what is shameful, are receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge ,God gave them up to a debased mind , to do those things which are not fitting.being filled with all unrighteousness,sexual immorality,wickedness,covetousness,maliciousness:full of envy,murder,strife,deceit,evil-mindedness,they are whisperers,backbiters,haters of God,violent,proud,boaters,inventors of evil things,disobedient to parents,undiscerning ,untrustworthy ,unloving,unforgiving,unmerciful,,who,Knowing the righteousness judgement of God,that those practice such things of death, not only those who do the same but also approve of those who practice them…..my friends this is why Darwin is so far from the truth and thats why they cannot answer the question.

  416. So I haven’t had the ultimate pleasure of time that allowed me to get through every single comment, so I apologize if this has already been explained….

    I get the doubt on evolution. I like the challenge of figuring out what really happened, but I haven’t seen any alternative presentation. If I am to walk away from evolution, what are the alternative explanations?

    What is the corresponding evidence for these theories?

    Most of what I have seen is skepticism, but I haven’t seen alternative proofs. Is there a good place to start?

  417. Had a quick squiz at Tours website … hes a creationist!
    Why is it so predictable ?.

  418. So I haven’t had the ultimate pleasure of time that allowed me to get through every single comment, so I apologize if this has already been explained….

    I get the doubt on evolution. I like the challenge of figuring out what really happened, but I haven’t seen any alternative presentation. If I am to walk away from evolution, what are the alternative explanations?

    Eric, then welcome to the skeptics club.

    That’s one step in the right direction.

    There are two other alternative explanations. One is Intelligent Design, but it is not very well defined in the specifics. In the ID community, there is no consensus on how the Designer was involved. It is all very sketchy and it cannot really be ascertained scientifically, but the evidence clearly points to the involvement of Intelligence.

    A second alternative explanation would not qualify as science. It would be the creationist explanation based on the Bible where God creates original kinds and then these original kinds branched out to form the various species within the kinds simply be a shuffling of the volumes of information originally stored in that first created pair. So you would not have common descent, but a lot of small trees.

    This is a common ploy of evolutionists. They claim that we only ever criticize and don’t put forth our own theory. Well, if God was involved, then it cannot be a scientific theory can it? But, simply because God was involved in the creation of life doesn’t mean the theory is wrong.

    If evolution is full of holes, then whether or not there is a new and better theory, you should still distance yourself from the theory so others will begin to work on a new and better one. So, while I understand what you are saying, it won’t help evolutionists here with their sinking theory.

  419. EricF, excuse me if this seems flippant, but let’s try an experiment with your statement by switching one word:

    I get the doubt on ‘pink unicorns’. I like the challenge of figuring out what really happened, but I haven’t seen any alternative presentation. If I am to walk away from ‘pink unicorns’, what are the alternative explanations?

    Get the drift? In order to conclude that an idea is absurd you don’t necessarily have to have an alternative explanation to conclude that the idea is absurd?

    A lot of times Darwinists will also object that ID ‘has no mechanism’. But that objection fails now because,,,

    “we see intelligent agents manipulating the information in DNA all the time.”
    As the skeptic was a philosopher, he was apparently unaware of the burgeoning field of genetic engineering”
    - Responding to the Challenge that Intelligent Design Lacks a “Mechanism”
    Casey Luskin May 23, 2012
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....59941.html

    Moreover, despite what Darwinists seem to believe, ‘random chance’ has never been shown to be a causally adequate ‘mechanism’ within itself:

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    “To personify ‘chance’ as if we were talking about a causal agent,” notes biophysicist Donald M. MacKay, “is to make an illegitimate switch from a scientific to a quasi-religious mythological concept.”

    Similarly, Robert C. Sproul points out: “By calling the unknown cause ‘chance’ for so long, people begin to forget that a substitution was made. . . . The assumption that ‘chance equals an unknown cause’ has come to mean for many that ‘chance equals cause.’”

    Nobel laureate Jacques L. Monod, for one, used this chance-equals-cause line of reasoning. “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, [is] at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution,” he wrote. “Man knows at last that he is alone in the universe’s unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance.” Note he says: ‘BY chance.’ Monod does what many others do—he elevates chance to a creative principle. Chance is offered as the means by which life came to be on earth.

    In fact, dictionaries show that “chance” is “the assumed impersonal purposeless determiner of unaccountable happenings.” Thus, if one speaks about life coming about by chance, he is saying that it came about by a causal power that is not known.
    per UD blogger Barbara

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis – preeminent Chemist of the first half of last century

    “Bertalanffy (1968) called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology.”
    Charles J. Smith – Biosystems, Vol.1, p259.

    Here is one alternative explanation to the ‘pink unicorn’ theory of Darwinism that fits the evidence very well:

    A. L. Hughes’s New Non-Darwinian Mechanism of Adaption Was Discovered and Published in Detail by an ID Geneticist 25 Years Ago – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – December 2011
    Excerpt: The original species had a greater genetic potential to adapt to all possible environments. In the course of time this broad capacity for adaptation has been steadily reduced in the respective habitats by the accumulation of slightly deleterious alleles (as well as total losses of genetic functions redundant for a habitat), with the exception, of course, of that part which was necessary for coping with a species’ particular environment….By mutative reduction of the genetic potential, modifications became “heritable”. — As strange as it may at first sound, however, this has nothing to do with the inheritance of acquired characteristics. For the characteristics were not acquired evolutionarily, but existed from the very beginning due to the greater adaptability. In many species only the genetic functions necessary for coping with the corresponding environment have been preserved from this adaptability potential. The “remainder” has been lost by mutations (accumulation of slightly disadvantageous alleles) — in the formation of secondary species.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....53881.html

    Supplemental note:

    Darwinian Evolution is a Pseudo-Science – Part II
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oaPcK-KCppBztIJmXUBXTvZTZ5lHV4Qg_pnzmvVL2Qw/edit

  420. G2: I find it unsurprising that you failed to mention, molecular nanocar guy and one of the top ten cited Chemists. As in, poster boy for why Nye was wrong headed and wrong hearted. Now, personalities and ideological dismissiveness aside, can you kindly update us on the observed evidence on the merits at molecular level regarding blind watchmaker macro-evo mechanisms? KF

  421. JW777,

    If you are still reading this thread, there is an answer to your comment below.

    I already said my piece, which is, in summary, if we take macroevolution to simply be a multiplied accrual of microevolutionary changes (which, again, we don’t understand en toto), it is by definition unrecoverable, the more distant the more unrecoverable.

    A great deal of macro-evolution should be recoverable. Not everything but a great amount. If we restrict ourselves to the genome, realizing that there may be many other epigenetic processes, the information should be there.

    Lets take two very close species (again hard to define) and look at the genomic differences. Most of the genome should be the same but there will be some alleles that are different. Where did these alleles come from? The best answer given by those proposing a natural process is that some non-coding parts of the genome mutated into the allele. But evidence of this mutation process must also be in the related species without the allele. In other words the mutation process failed to produce a functional allele in the other species but because the two species could originally inner breed there must be remnants of the failed process in the other species. So one of the two related species has a functional protein the other doesn’t.

    I just used one allele as a basis but in reality there must be many others. As one works their way backwards in time through whatever process seems appropriate the more successes and corresponding failures there should be. For every successful new allele there should be evidence of the failure in the related species. This process takes a long time so evidence has to be in both species. So if gradualism is true, the evidence should be in the genomes and there should be tens of thousands of examples.

    Till recent this was an impossible task but with current technology it could be done and when it is, the question will be answered definitively. My guess is that there will be no such proof but if gradualism is true, it must be there.

  422. Philip, isn’t there a compelling coincidence of various forms of evidence for the Big Bang, supported by iron-clad mathematical proofs? Not evidence. Proofs.

    I understand that the Big Bang posits a stream of photons from the primordial Singularity; photons, which, are mathematically proven to be non-local. Is it normal for scientists to omit to draw obvious conclusions of such importance? It seems to be for the atheists.

    In their half-baked way, the atheist-establishment contemporaries of Planck, Bohr and Einstein seemed to have accepted quantum mechanics(at least as unavoidable woo-woo), long before it had been confirmed as the definitive paradigm of the microcosm world, as it appears to us, because now mathematically proven to be unimprovable.

    So, how is it that they are able to make their living on the back of quantum mechanics, yet return to a world of theoretical physics that takes no account of modern science’s most successful findings? As if mathematics, as the guarantor of physical truth, needed to be peer-reviewed on a case-by-case basis?

    Time and space were evidently created, but what did they evolve from? Matter? No. Don’t laugh….

    If this were a kind of West World, they’d still be loony-toons, but not quite as foolish. The third dimension surely requires the fourth. Were it possible for random chance to have any kind of causative capacity (like its miraculous cousin, Nothing, (the great ‘I Am Not’), one might imagine random chance being responsible for creating a two-dimensional tableau, on a substrate, without, however, a third dimension.

    So, not only is abiogenesis incapable of producing life, it is a farcical concept in relationship to space-time, itself – those dimensions in which everything around us exists. Our world is not a one or two dimensional tableau.

  423. In a nutshell, Philip, when is the bellicosely-secular, indeed, totalitarian, scientific establishment going to cease subjecting mathematical findings to case-by-case peer-reviews?

    No wonder God takes a dim view of them. They even manage to take the presumption to the weirdest level of high farce. Lucifer saw himself as God’s peer, indeed a tad more august.

  424. axel as to:

    “Philip, isn’t there a compelling coincidence of various forms of evidence for the Big Bang, supported by iron-clad mathematical proofs? Not evidence. Proofs.”

    I believe you are thinking of Vilenkin’s work:

    “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” -
    Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Boston – paper delivered at Stephen Hawking’s 70th birthday party (Characterized as ‘Worst Birthday Present Ever’)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....beginning/

    Mathematics of Eternity Prove The Universe Must Have Had A Beginning – April 2012
    Excerpt: Cosmologists use the mathematical properties of eternity to show that although universe may last forever, it must have had a beginning.,,, They go on to show that cyclical universes and universes of eternal inflation both expand in this way. So they cannot be eternal in the past and must therefore have had a beginning. “Although inflation may be eternal in the future, it cannot be extended indefinitely to the past,” they say.
    They treat the emergent model of the universe differently, showing that although it may seem stable from a classical point of view, it is unstable from a quantum mechanical point of view. “A simple emergent universe model…cannot escape quantum collapse,” they say.
    The conclusion is inescapable. “None of these scenarios can actually be past-eternal,” say Mithani and Vilenkin.
    Since the observational evidence is that our universe is expanding, then it must also have been born in the past. A profound conclusion (albeit the same one that lead to the idea of the big bang in the first place).
    http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27793/

    The Universe Is Not Eternal – Johanan Raatz – March 1, 2014
    Excerpt: One thing known for certain about quantum gravity is something called the holographic principle. Precisely put, the holographic principle tells us that the entropy of a region of space (measured in terms of information) is directly proportional to a quarter of its surface area. The volume of this region is then actually a hologram of this information on its surface.
    Except this tells us something interesting about the universe as well. Entropy, or the amount of disorder present, always increases with time. In fact not only is this law inviolate, it is also how the flow of time is defined. Without entropy, there is no way to discern forwards and backwards in time.
    But if the holographic principle links the universe’s entropy and its horizon area then going back in time, all of space-time eventually vanishes to nothing at zero entropy. Thus Carroll’s argument is unsound. We already have enough knowledge about what happens beyond the BVG theorem that Craig cites. The universe is not eternal but created.
    It is interesting to note that this also undermines claims made by atheists like Hawking and Krauss that the universe could have fluctuated into existence from nothing. Their argument rests on the assumption that there was a pre-existent zero-point field or ZPF. The only trouble is that the physics of a ZPF requires a space-time to exist in. No space-time means no zero-point field, and without a zero-point field, the universe can not spontaneously fluctuate into existence.
    http://blog.proofdirectory.org.....t-eternal/

    and yes, some Atheists have done their level, dishonest, best to try to say Vilenkin’s work does not mean what he himself says it means:

    William Lane Craig posts full Vilenkin e-mail (that was dishonestly) misrepresented by Krauss in their debate – Sept. 23, 2013
    http://winteryknight.wordpress.....ce-krauss/

  425. The difficulty is that what we actually observe in nature:

    - Allele frequencies reflect adaptation to ecosystems, some of these are expressed quickly (the next generation)

    - Some alleles completely disappear from the genome as a result, increasing genetic “brittleness”

    - Genetic burden in some organisms such as humans is increasing with every generation (rather than holding relatively steady as might be expected)

    - Observed “beneficial mutations” do not increase complexity, only degrade complexity

    - Similar genes show up in the darndest places

    - Some organisms reproduce extremely quickly (bacteria)—we would expect that they should be orders of magnitude more highly evolved than other organisms

    - There don’t seem to be enough generations in so-called higher animals to explain their diversity within the time allotted using mutation and various transcription errors, insertions, deletions, etc.

    - The fossil record indicates advanced structures at an extremely early point (a trilobite doesn’t seem to be profoundly less competent than a tadpole shrimp Notostraca Triopsidae or even a common woodlouse)

    If we were to take these and other, similar observations, what would we realistically hypothesize if we could ditch Darwinism and start fresh?

    -Q

  426. ba77@425 notes that

    Entropy, or the amount of disorder present, always increases with time. In fact not only is this law inviolate, it is also how the flow of time is defined. Without entropy, there is no way to discern forwards and backwards in time.

    Your whole post is interesting, but I’d like to speculate wildly on the above snippet in the context of quantum erasure.

    Can adding information to a system (by observing it and collapsing uncertainties) decrease entropy and therefore make time go backwards in a specific quantum interaction?

    -Q

  427. Querius, Johanan Raatz who wrote that piece, and who I am friends with on facebook, would be much more qualified than I to answer any specific questions, I put your question to him, he may answer it here, but perhaps it would be easier for you to ask him directly on his FB page:

    Johanan Raatz
    https://www.facebook.com/johanan.raatz.3?fref=ts

  428. Thank you, Philip. I only glean a general sense, from discursive verbal explanations, so it’s good to know there are guys who understand and can confirm the technical nitty-gritty of the science.

  429. So there isn’t any real alternative. I don’t need more negation, I need a direction.
    The god argument is no better than the pink unicorn argument. Both are pretty bullshit, I get that.
    So there is a designer out there and we’ll never know much about how this all happened? Or do we have a way of figuring out this kind of information?

    I’m sorry that these are direct questions. I don’t doubt the theory of evolution is flawed, but all the reading I’ve done is all negative. Is there a site that explains more of alternative theories?

  430. EricF,

    Meyer covers all the known alternatives in his book and lists hundreds of scientific references.

  431. Meyer covers all the known alternatives in his book and lists hundreds of scientific references.

    Meyer debunks each of these theories but he references their works and articles about them so you can go read these researcher’s own words which obviously will not be negative.

    Meyer concludes like most of us here that some sort of intelligence is the cause of the information necessary for life and it’s changes over time. Not everything but a lot. That is why I said the issue is resolvable by examining related genomes which should provide evidence of success and failure in the origination of new alleles.

    If there was any sort of gradualism it must be written in both successful and unsuccessful genomic sequences. These sequences take millions of years to become fully functional and will have been in the gene pool of both the successful species and the very closely related unsuccessful species.

  432. Querius, in regards to your question @ 427 Johanan Raatz answered:

    “Possibly, I’m unsure though. I had never heard of that idea before.”

    Here are a few notes that may help:

    Physicists describe method to observe timelike entanglement – January 2011
    Excerpt: In “ordinary” quantum entanglement, two particles possess properties that are inherently linked with each other, even though the particles may be spatially separated by a large distance. Now, physicists S. Jay Olson and Timothy C. Ralph from the University of Queensland have shown that it’s possible to create entanglement between regions of spacetime that are separated in time but not in space, and then to convert the timelike entanglement into normal spacelike entanglement. They also discuss the possibility of using this timelike entanglement from the quantum vacuum for a process they call “teleportation in time.” “To me, the exciting aspect of this result (that entanglement exists between the future and past) is that it is quite a general property of nature and opens the door to new creativity, since we know that entanglement can be viewed as a resource for quantum technology,” Olson told PhysOrg.com.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....ement.html

    Here’s a variation of Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiment, which highlights quantum information’s transcendence of time so as to effect ‘spooky action into the past’;

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    Qubits that never interact could exhibit past-future entanglement – July 30, 2012
    Excerpt: Typically, for two particles to become entangled, they must first physically interact. Then when the particles are physically separated and still share the same quantum state, they are considered to be entangled. But in a new study, physicists have investigated a new twist on entanglement in which two qubits become entangled with each other even though they never physically interact.,,
    In the current study, the physicists have proposed an experiment based on circuit quantum electrodynamics (QED) that is fully within reach of current technologies. They describe a set-up that involves a pair of superconducting qubits, P and F, with qubit P connected to a quantum field vacuum by a transmission line. During the first time interval, which the scientists call the past, P interacts with the field. Then P is quickly decoupled from the field for the second time interval. Finally, F is coupled to the field for a time interval called the future. Even though P and F never interact with the field at the same time or with each other at all, F’s interactions with the field cause it to become entangled with P. The physicists call this correlation “past-future entanglement.”
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-q.....ement.html

    In the following study, they cleared up some loose ends in relativity concerning time’s relation to space. Loose ends that had been ample fodder for much of the speculation of time travel being possible in relativity:

    Physicists continue work to abolish time as fourth dimension of space – April 2012
    Excerpt: “The rate of photon clocks in faster inertial systems will not slow down with regard to the photon clocks in a rest inertial system because the speed of light is constant in all inertial systems,” he said. “The rate of atom clocks will slow down because the ‘relativity’ of physical phenomena starts at the scale of pi mesons.”
    He also explained that, without length contraction, time dilation exists but in a different way than usually thought. “Time dilatation exists not in the sense that time as a fourth dimension of space dilates and as a result the clock rate is slower,” he explained. “Time dilatation simply means that, in a faster inertial system, the velocity of change slows down and this is valid for all observers.,, Our research confirms Gödel’s vision: time is not a physical dimension of space through which one could travel into the past or future.”
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-p.....space.html

  433. One minor observation:

    - The fossil record indicates advanced structures at an extremely early point (a trilobite doesn’t seem to be profoundly less competent than a tadpole shrimp Notostraca Triopsidae or even a common woodlouse)

    Trilobites are not found at an extremely early point in the fossil record, only in the last 20% of it.

    Roy

  434. EricF wants an alternative to something tat can’t even produce a testable model? Are you serious?

  435. Hi Roy, Unfortunately no one knows how old the earth’s sediments are. And blind watchmaker evolution cannot explain trilobites.

  436. Yeah. I like to understand how things work. It’s good to show that something is unlikely or unprovable, but the alternatives should then be the opposite. I’ll take a look at Meyers book. it sounds like a good place to start. I’m skeptical of replacing one bad theory with a worse one. While the actual mechanics of evolution turn out to be bunk, the advantage it has had over everything else is that is that it appears to make sense.
    It sucks to now have to say, I don’t know. Worse to imagine that we may never.

  437. How does differing accumulations of genetic accidents make sense?

  438. The Marxist theory of history makes perfect sense. Intuitive, simple, possible to implement in the real setting.

    It has only one problem.

  439. ba77@433,

    Thank you for checking with Johanan Raatz. The information you provided is provocative.

    I suspect that there’s a possibility of space dimensions separate from time dimensions. The plural is intentional.

    Here’s an example. You’re downloading a large file, and then the timer indicates that you have so many real-time minutes left. However as you know, the timer can speed up, slow down, or even go backwards as the estimates for completion change. The timer measures how much information is being added to your computer.

    Continuing my wild speculation, perhaps mass-energy also might have multiple dimensions as well. Virtual matter production might simply be the result an additional mass-energy dimension that that we’re moving through intersecting with our dimensions.

    Good for a science fiction story if nothing else. ;-)

    -Q

  440. Roy@434,

    Yes, I should have said “The fossil record indicates advanced structures at an extremely early point relative to where we would reasonably expect them.”

    For example, it would not be surprising at all for trilobites to have eyes that can sense only light and dark. This would help validate Darwinism, but it’s not what we find.

    Although they were not the first animals with eyes, trilobites developed one of the first sophisticated visual systems in the animal kingdom. The majority of trilobites bore a pair of compound eyes (made up of many lensed units).

    See http://www.trilobites.info/eyes.htm for the whole article with microscopic views, diagrams, variations, and Darwinist speculation.

    Particularly interesting were the wide range of configurations, and the design allowing the images to be focused using a rigid crystalline lens.

    Be sure to read the disclaimer! Also note that “perfect” designs are not possible. As any engineer knows, even the best designs are compromises. Imagine designing the lightest bike possible . . . for mountain biking.

    What’s the best design for leaves? Expensive evergreen or throwaway deciduous?

    -Q

  441. All eyes first appeared during the Cambrian in a relatively short period of time and have not been improved much since then. It was a relatively short time after multi-celled organisms first appeared.

  442. Yeah, Joe. It appears to make sense. A cursory glance shows a variety of flora and fauna with differing levels of complexity. It’s very easy to conceptualize that they begat each other. We can see how small mutations lead to advantages and disadvantages as these lifeforms interact with this planet’s environment. You can extrapolate that this has happened a lot over billions of years.
    I’m not saying that means it is right. I just think that’s the easier pill to swallow.
    So now, everyone has shown these weaknesses, and I’m looking for the correct theory.

  443. Yeah, EricF, if imagination was science or evidence you would have a point. OTOH seeing that no one knows what makes an organism what it is then the imagination meets reality and comes crashing down:

    Loci that are obviously variable within natural populations do not seem to lie at the basis of many major adaptive changes, while those loci that seemingly do constitute the foundation of many if not most major adaptive changes are not variable.- John McDonald, “The Molecular Basis of Adaptation: A Critical Review of Relevant Ideas and Observation”, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics: 14, 1983, p77-102

    And blind watchmaker evolution can’t even account for those non-variable genes. It is stuck with the given prokaryotes and can’t get beyond that.
    The there is the fact that the genes responsible for small changes are not the same genes responsible for large changes

  444. Quirius,

    Yes, I should have said “The fossil record indicates advanced structures at an extremely early point relative to where we would reasonably expect them.”

    That would depend on expectations, which are worldview and knowledge dependent – and on what counts as “advanced”. YECs would expect advanced structures from day one (or rather day 3). I’d expect such “advanced” structures to appear relatively rapidly after active predation, and bot to be dependent on environmental pand population pressures. When would an intelligent designer switch from designing monocellular creatures to multicellular ones, and then to complex differentiated multicellular ones? If ’twere me I’d not have waited nearly so long.

    For example, it would not be surprising at all for trilobites to have eyes that can sense only light and dark. This would help validate Darwinism, but it’s not what we find.

    As your link says, trilobite eyes weren’t the earliest. That the complex trilobite eyes were preceded by simpler ones is consistent with evolution.

    What’s the best design for leaves? Expensive evergreen or throwaway deciduous?

    Depends on the context.

    Roy

  445. While it may be true that there is no scientist alive today who understands macroevolution, there are plenty of us dead scientists who understand it perfectly.

  446. Some :moron wrote:

    The god argument is no better than the pink unicorn argument. Both are pretty bullshit, I get that.

    I’ve never encountered a pink unicorn. Have you?

    There are MILLIONS, even BILLIONS of people who profess to believe in a God or gods, as compared to how many who profess belief in a Pink Unicorn or pink unicorns?

    The two are only equivalent to the irrational “skeptic.” The moron.

    Maybe you’re not the moron I think you are. Perhaps you have a way to establish the equivalence of the two. But I doubt it.

  447. Roy@445,

    That the complex trilobite eyes were preceded by simpler ones is consistent with evolution.

    The problem is that in about a quarter of a billion years, if we saw a progression in the trilobite to better and better eyes, it would be consistent with Darwinism. However, if we don’t see a progression in about a quarter billion years, it apparently also would be consistent with Darwinism. Darwinism can explain anything, but rarely seems to correctly predict anything.

    As I said, a trilobite doesn’t seem to be profoundly less competent than a tadpole shrimp Notostraca Triopsidae or even a common woodlouse, but trilobites are extinct and tadpole shrimp aren’t. What do they have to show for a quarter of a billion years of evolution?

    The author of http://www.trilobites.info/eyes.htm seems to think that one cannot worship a God whose designs aren’t perfect. There are no perfect designs possible on the Earth, only reasonably optimal designs for a range of habitats.

    That’s why I asked the question about whether expensive evergreen leaves or throwaway deciduous leaves were a better design, to which you responded

    Depends on the context.

    Yes, exactly!

    Maybe that’s why in the Genesis, it says that God saw it was “good” or even “very good” but not perfect.

    -Q

  448. OT: podcast – Molecular Data Wreak Havoc on (Darwin’s) Tree of Life – Casey Luskin
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....7_31-07_00

  449. Querius:

    The problem is that in about a quarter of a billion years, if we saw a progression in the trilobite to better and better eyes, it would be consistent with Darwinism.

    Your own source describes massive variation in trilobite eyes, including the Devonian trilobite with massive cylindrical shade-topped eyes that are far more impressive than anything from the early Cambrian. Why does this not count as a progression?

    Anyway, why are you hung up on “Darwinism”? You seem to think evolution is all about “progression” – it isn’t and hasn’t been for decades. Adaptation to changing environmental circumstances wouldn’t necessarily result in a steady progression in one direction, and short term studies (e.g. on sticklebacks) show that minor variations in environmental conditions – such as presence or absence of certain predators – result in changes in selection pressure that lead to decidedly non-linear variation in traits over successive generations.

    As I said, a trilobite doesn’t seem to be profoundly less competent than a tadpole shrimp Notostraca Triopsidae or even a common woodlouse, but trilobites are extinct and tadpole shrimp aren’t. What do they have to show for a quarter of a billion years of evolution?

    Continued existence. They’ve done far better than most. Again you seem to think evolution requires that creatures evolve grossly different morphology. That’s not so.

    The author of http://www.trilobites.info/eyes.htm seems to think that one cannot worship a God whose designs aren’t perfect. There are no perfect designs possible on the Earth, only reasonably optimal designs for a range of habitats.

    I read that as him being unable to accept a tinker god, rather than one who couldn’t produce perfection. But if your reading is correct, he’s wrong for the reasons you imply.

    So how long would you expect an intelligent designer to take to progress from single-celled organisms to multicellular ones?

    Roy

  450. Roy,

    Please tell us how to test the claim the vision system arose via blind and undirected physical and chemical processes. Thanks.

  451. Roy,

    The arrangements of the compound eyes show spectacular variation, but apparently not the design of the individual eyes, which I was referring to.

    Continued existence.

    Yes, I think that’s much more reasonable. However, trilobites ceased to exist and tadpole shrimp continued to exist from that time to the present. I can’t observe any reason for this outside of mechanical extinction.

    Again you seem to think evolution requires that creatures evolve grossly different morphology. That’s not so.

    So where did creatures with grossly different morphologies come from? ;-)

    Anyway, why are you hung up on “Darwinism”? You seem to think evolution is all about “progression” – it isn’t and hasn’t been for decades.

    Precisely because we can observe variation, which as you pointed out facilitates adaptation. I think of natural selection as fine tuning, and in that sense it is progression (although alleles might be lost in the process). But a major branch of Darwinism imagines a grand Tree of Life that tries to identify last common ancestors, extrapolating back to the origin of life. This is what I’m “hung up” on as wildly improbable, and disruptive to scientific investigation.

    So how long would you expect an intelligent designer to take to progress from single-celled organisms to multicellular ones?

    Great question! Here’s another question. Why would we think that “progress” is necessarily from single-celled organisms to multi-celled ones? In human technology, miniaturization often represents progress. If fossilized telephones were discovered, would we arrange them generally from smallest to largest demonstrating symbiotic specialization of components?

    To contain all an organism’s functions within a single cell is pretty amazing, but single-celled organisms have a much greater number of generations within a given period of time, so we would expect a lot more adaptation and refinement. Is this what we observe? We (including myself) have been conditioned to accept a single-cell origin of life, strata being laid down in horizontal sediments (rather than at an angle through laminar flow of a suspension of silt, sand, and gravel), specialization through symbiotic relationships, and somehow several complex codes magically forming inside a semi-permeable protective membrane, perhaps a coacervate. I think it’s more reasonable to believe that the Earth was seeded. And if the Earth was indeed seeded, what would we observe that’s inconsistent with this idea?

    Thank you for your previous, thoughtful answer.

    -Q

  452. Querius:

    The arrangements of the compound eyes show spectacular variation, but apparently not the design of the individual eyes, which I was referring to.

    Again, your own source states that trilobite eyes varied in the external shape of the lens (hexagonal vs circular), the shape of the internal layer boundary, and the extent of corneal coverage.

    Continued existence.

    Yes, I think that’s much more reasonable. However, trilobites ceased to exist and tadpole shrimp continued to exist from that time to the present. I can’t observe any reason for this outside of mechanical extinction.

    I have a vague memory that the reason proposed for why one group of arthropods survived one of the major extinctions was because it included species that had adapted to living in polar areas and their ability to ‘hibernate’ through six months of darkness gave them advantage in surviving atmospheric dust from impact or eruption blocking sunlight, while other creatures couldn’t. Would that be what you meant by mechanical extinction?

    Again you seem to think evolution requires that creatures evolve grossly different morphology. That’s not so.

    So where did creatures with grossly different morphologies come from?

    Evolution, of course. Evolution includes gross morphological changes, but it doesn’t require every species to undergo them. Just like geology includes the possibility of volcanic islands, but doesn’t require every lake to have one.

    Precisely because we can observe variation, which as you pointed out facilitates adaptation. I think of natural selection as fine tuning, and in that sense it is progression (although alleles might be lost in the process). But a major branch of Darwinism imagines a grand Tree of Life that tries to identify last common ancestors, extrapolating back to the origin of life. This is what I’m “hung up” on as wildly improbable, and disruptive to scientific investigation.

    Ok, but that wasn’t what I meant. You’re casting everything in the light of becoming better, but as you rightly said about leaves there’s no perfect design since different environments have different requirements for survival, so evolution doesn’t necessarily mean becoming better, only becoming different.

    So how long would you expect an intelligent designer to take to progress from single-celled organisms to multicellular ones?

    Great question! Here’s another question.

    … but not an answer. You said “The fossil record indicates advanced structures at an extremely early point relative to where we would reasonably expect them.” by which I think you’re referring to the evolutionary timescale. But if intelligent design doesn’t even produce expectations, isn’t it useless?

    Why would we think that “progress” is necessarily from single-celled organisms to multi-celled ones?

    I wouldn’t. I don’t. I was referring to the progression of the designer, not their designs.

    To contain all an organism’s functions within a single cell is pretty amazing, but single-celled organisms have a much greater number of generations within a given period of time, so we would expect a lot more adaptation and refinement. Is this what we observe?

    Yes. Single-celled organisms can survive in many places where no multicellular ones can, and many of them have highly streamlined genomes.

    We (including myself) have been conditioned to accept a single-cell origin of life, strata being laid down in horizontal sediments (rather than at an angle through laminar flow of a suspension of silt, sand, and gravel),…

    Check out cross-bedding for strata being laid down angularly

    … specialization through symbiotic relationships, and somehow several complex codes magically forming inside a semi-permeable protective membrane, perhaps a coacervate. I think it’s more reasonable to believe that the Earth was seeded. And if the Earth was indeed seeded, what would we observe that’s inconsistent with this idea?

    I can’t answer this – it would surely depend on the nature and timing of the seeding. There’s a massive difference between the consequences of a single seeding of microsopic life vs the consequences of repeated seedings of diverse multicellular life-forms at different times.

    Thank you for your previous, thoughtful answer.

    And thank you for your integrity.

    Roy

  453. It’s been interesting to see this thread continue; however, it doesn’t seem that anyone has yet proposed how we might extrapolate from microevolution (which we don’t fully understand) to some macro function (which we’ve never observed), or (in my opinion more likely) an unrelated mechanism for macroevolution that would help us fill the punctuated equilibrial gaps.

    There is not good reason to believe a lot of little changes add up to specified complexity over time. This is highly problematic hopeful thinking. Someone needs to instead propose a viable mechanism of quick broad evolutionary leaps. Also of interest, we have recently found a Milky Way -like dying galaxy whose entire cycle of birth to dying is shorter than half the proposed age of the earth: http://www.swin.edu.au/media-c.....years.html

    Let us not pretend that finds like these don’t throw an enormous monkey wrench into our broader timetable presuppositions.

  454. Hi Roy,

    The hexagonal shapes are certainly due to the molding effect of the adjacent lenses, much the same as can be shown occurring when bees create the cells in a honeycomb. Without the tightly packed adjacent structures, they would be round as shown, and the corneal coverage is also dependent on the packing. You can see why the tessellations are hexagonal here:

    http://www.livescience.com/382.....rfect.html

    Yes, I saw the variation in the internal boundary of the doublet lenses. I don’t know how significant the boundary surface is and whether it’s size dependent. Perhaps studying the formation of double calcite lenses in brittlestars, which have an amazing optical surface (fused?), might provide some clues.

    See http://www.nature.com/news/200.....23-11.html

    I have a vague memory that the reason proposed for why one group of arthropods survived one of the major extinctions was because it included species that had adapted to living in polar areas and their ability to ‘hibernate’ through six months of darkness gave them advantage in surviving atmospheric dust from impact or eruption blocking sunlight, while other creatures couldn’t.

    This type of explanation, often found in textbooks, is highly speculative. How would we know whether trilobites hibernated or even needed sunlight? Take a look at this video concerning tadpole shrimp. I think you’ll be as amazed as I was.

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

    Would that be what you meant by mechanical extinction?

    Yes, non-uniformitarian changes from meteor impacts, widespread volcanism, dramatic changes in water turbidity, salinity, or temperature, mega floods and tsunamis, etc.

    Evolution includes gross morphological changes, but it doesn’t require every species to undergo them. Just like geology includes the possibility of volcanic islands, but doesn’t require every lake to have one.

    Right. But as you know, such gross changes are maintained by environmental changes. I’m not sure you’d be willing to say that there were no significant environmental changes over 250 million years (otherwise similar plants and animals wouldn’t have gone extinct). Thus, the ability for what are popularly misnamed “living fossils” must be either due to some detectable genomic blessing, or extremely lucky sets of mutations at just the right times.

    You’re casting everything in the light of becoming better, but as you rightly said about leaves there’s no perfect design since different environments have different requirements for survival, so evolution doesn’t necessarily mean becoming better, only becoming different.

    Not intentionally . . . although for a relatively static environment, gross morphological changes would indeed tend to get better suited for that environment, hence better.

    So how long would you expect an intelligent designer to take to progress from single-celled organisms to multicellular ones?

    To answer your question directly, (A) I don’t think it’s necessarily “progress” to move from single-celled organisms to multi-cellular ones, and (B) Without preconceptions, a case can be made that the less genetically “streamlined” multicellular organisms came first.

    In a more realistic evolutionary model, it gets a lot more complicated since it’s probably more correct to think of an evolving ecosystem (a sort of evolutionary version of succession) than merely the individual constituent species.

    There’s a massive difference between the consequences of a single seeding of microscopic life vs the consequences of repeated seedings of diverse multicellular life-forms at different times.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts why, especially assuming multiple seedings. Incidentally, you probably know that lab experiments on populations of simple ecosystems of microorganisms demonstrate that they are inherently unstable and require buffer species to survive.

    -Q

  455. I would like to share may article regarding Evolution:

    http://theunprofitableblog.blo.....fraud.html

  456. Whenever threads such as this erupt on a forum, there always seems to be a curious mix of agendas upheld from those who post.
    Some love to see their name up in lights but lack the appropriate degree of education to contribute positively, others know jack-sh!t but they remain undeterred as they babble on trying to look ‘intelligent’.
    These people like to utilise words that ‘look’ good or give the impression the author knows what he / she is talking about – it actually accomplishes the opposite.
    There’s an appropriate saying that seems to fit well, ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ … well, it may not be dangerous but it sure makes people look silly when it’s obvious they have little to no clue as to what’s relevant.

    The most pernicious agenda is the religious one because it subverts any ethos reliant upon reason and seeks to impose a set of rules and behaviours that is completely divorced from a rational approach.
    Faith begins where knowledge ends … if you think about those five words, and I mean, really think about them, free from agenda, then the truth will begin to ooze out …. have fun !!!
    Peace …

    UD Editors: Robbo, you missed your chance. You could have dropped a science bomb on the ID movement and obliterated it. For example, you could have shown a plausible naturalistic pathway from non-living to living things. Instead, you just sneered. A sneer is not an argument. Write that down.

  457. 458

    @Robbo: Your profile name links directly to a medical page with nasty and not so nasty vaginas. Love the “Sexy virgins with monster fake dicks!” video!

  458. Wow – such passionate responses, I’m reeling from such a turn of wit as exampled by some of you.
    Alas, my point has been made and cannot be unread but looking over the responses, I think it safe to say any observations I made were somewhat understated.
    Peace out :)

    UD Editors: And our observation that you have apparently nothing to add to the discussion but sneers has been confirmed. Peace back atcha.

  459. Thanks for your contribution, brorico.

    I read what you wrote in your linked blog. The atheists in the debate that you mentioned also have to have faith, because they have no way to prove that God doesn’t exist—in fact, the evidence is quite to the contrary.

    The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Psalm 14 (KJV)

    I respect people who try to find natural explanations because I believe that God created, designed, and uses nature. In many places, Genesis included, God creates things out of other things.

    To me, it’s wonderful to discover and try to understand all the wonderful organisms and mechanisms that God created.

    Kind regards my brother,

    -Q

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