Home » Intelligent Design » Back to School Part VI

Back to School Part VI

Evolutionists are adamant that science must be free of religion or anything that smacks of religion. And while that sounds good, evolutionists are all-the-while driven by religion. They are sure all of biology is a fluke because of their religious convictions. Religion is both the source of evolution’s certainty and the target of its wrath. While not proclaiming that science must be free of religion, evolutionists make a wide spectrum of religious claims that mandate their theory.  Read more

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100 Responses to Back to School Part VI

  1. Yah, man, it is religion. The good news is heresy is more fun. The man on the street responds to ID with joy because he’s weary of the dead-bang serious pronouncements of the textbook writers. After all, the ruling class can’t win their war on common sense forever.

  2. They are sure all of biology is a fluke because of their religious convictions.

    That’s a patently false statement.

    Also, why is it that so many creationists/ID proponents try to tarnish evolution with the label “religion” when almost all of them are themselves religious and primarily object to evolution because it is incompatible with their religious convictions?

  3. G’day AMW,

    We are not trying to ‘tarnish’ evolution, just making people aware of how religious evolutionists may be. Evolution is not all science. Evolution is markedly religiously-based and this is drawn from over 150 years of positing ideas without the evidence and, hoping through their faith, that what they believe will turn out.

    Evolution is based on a supposition. That supposition is not entirely science-founded. Read through the pages here and you will notice the religiosity of the evolutionist laid bare.

    That many IDers and all creationists are religious just shows that one person’s religion is tolerated and another’s is targetted. ID wants to examine the science and, I believe, leave the religion at the door. You may find that difficult to believe, but the religion of evolutionists don’t want that to happen.

  4. That USAToday article by Jerry Coyne was from an entirely religious perspective.

    Further, when one says science cannot recognize God, then claim that science proves God does not exist, then one is not only simply being a man of faith but a delusional man of faith.

  5. Hi, AussieID.

    Perhaps you could clarify to me what you mean by “religious” and “religion.” In your first paragraph you imply that evolution is a religion, because it’s persisted as a belief for a long time without evidence. Christianity is a religion. Does this mean it has also persisted for a long time without evidence?

    Regarding your second paragraph, what would you say is the supposition that evolution is founded on? I will have to disagree with you that the evolutionists on this site come across has highly religious. In my (admittedly limited) experience, that has not been the case. Unless we’re working from different definitions of religion.

    Finally, I find it hard to accept that ID wants to leave religion at the door. Dembski is on record saying that ID is “the Logos of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” And Phillip Johnson is on record equating ID with the reality of God. To me, that suggests that religion is at the very core of ID.

    Cheers,

    AMW

  6. AMW,

    Perhaps you could clarify to me what you mean by “religious” and “religion.” In your first paragraph you imply that evolution is a religion, because it’s persisted as a belief for a long time without evidence. Christianity is a religion. Does this mean it has also persisted for a long time without evidence?

    Religion can have evidence, as Christianity does, or it can be believed in spite of the evidence, as macro-evolution is.

    Regarding your second paragraph, what would you say is the supposition that evolution is founded on? I will have to disagree with you that the evolutionists on this site come across has highly religious. In my (admittedly limited) experience, that has not been the case. Unless we’re working from different definitions of religion.

    My experience, which is not limited given that I am the Moderator, is that evolution is believed blindly, with evidence being stretched to fit the idea, instead of the idea coming from the evidence. The supposition it is founded upon is that intelligent design, and/or special creation are entirely off the table, and thus evolution must be true by default as an explanation of the diversity of life. It’s a supposition based on a metaphysical prejudice of anything not reducible to material happenstance explanations. In my experience this has exactly been the case.

    Finally, I find it hard to accept that ID wants to leave religion at the door. Dembski is on record saying that ID is “the Logos of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” And Phillip Johnson is on record equating ID with the reality of God. To me, that suggests that religion is at the very core of ID.

    Bill Dembski has also said that the Designer need not be God at all. He’s also said that it may have nothing at all to do with God. If there is correlation with scripture, I see no reason to deny this, it doesn’t mean that the one entails the other, it only means that there is a similarity, which might be worth investigating. If religion were at the core of ID, you would have to explain how Bradly Monton, and David Berlinksi, an atheist and an agnostic, support ID.

    Cheers,

    Clive

  7. AMW,

    Finally, I find it hard to accept that ID wants to leave religion at the door. Dembski is on record saying that ID is “the Logos of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” And Phillip Johnson is on record equating ID with the reality of God. To me, that suggests that religion is at the very core of ID.

    Richard Dawkins is on record saying that Darwin made it “possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist” And speaking from the evolutionary highground, Monod tells us of the “fundamental postulate” which is that “there is no plan, that there is no intention in the universe” and he goes on the say that this is “basically incompatible with virtually all the religious or metaphysical systems”.

    Following your logic, shall we equate belief in evolutionary theory with atheism?

    And since these are men speaking through the enlightened authority of science, perhaps they can produce the results from testing atheism for its falsifiability.

  8. Hi AMW, science is the endeavor to find and articulate consistencies in nature.

    Religion is the attempt to explain why there is nature and how we should behave with regard to it which includes of course our fellow occupants of it.

    Science must never be dogmatic since the observed consistency may be eventually be found to be inaccurate or incomplete regardless of how certain it seems.

    Religion, of course, must be dogmatic, ironically for the same reason.

  9. Hi, Clive.

    Religion can have evidence, as Christianity does, or it can be believed in spite of the evidence, as macro-evolution is.

    If religion can be based on evidence or not, then it’s a pretty hollow statement to label evolution a religion. So I’m still mystified why creationists/ID proponents seem to like to make that claim.

    The supposition [evolution] is founded upon is that intelligent design, and/or special creation are entirely off the table, and thus evolution must be true by default as an explanation of the diversity of life.

    Taking ID or special creation off the table wouldn’t make evolution true. One could simply be left with a gap in knowledge.

    Bill Dembski has also said that the Designer need not be God at all. He’s also said that it may have nothing at all to do with God. … If religion were at the core of ID, you would have to explain how Bradly Monton, and David Berlinksi, an atheist and an agnostic, support ID.

    Regarding Dembski, he has also come out as an old earth creationist. It’s pretty clear that he thinks he knows exactly who the designer is. And he is not in the minority in ID circles.

    As for Monton and Berlinski, it’s possible for a movement to have fellow travelers who don’t fall in line with its core beliefs. Finland sided with the Axis Powers not out of any sense of racial superiority or affinity for fascism, but because they had just lost the Winter War to the USSR. (And before anybody gets Godwin on the phone, I’m not trying to equate ID with Hitler, or any such nonsense. This is just the most apt historical example I could think of.)

    So I’ll grant you Monton and Berlinski. That doesn’t make the ID movement a broad-based, secularly minded affair. What fraction of ID proponents would you say are agnostic or atheist?

  10. Hi, Upright BiPed.

    Dawkins and others certainly claim evolution as a tool for debunking religion. You could easily find dozens or hundreds of such individuals (though most wouldn’t be of nearly as high a profile).

    Let me state my argument a bit plainer. Let X be the fraction of those who advocate evolutionary theory as a means to “kill” God. Let Y be the fraction of those who advocate ID/special creation as a means to “prove” God. My claim is that X is smaller than Y, and probably by a very wide margin.

  11. Hi, tribune7.

    I’m with you right up to through your third paragraph, but the fourth throws me for a loop. Why must religion be held dogmatically?

  12. AMW,

    “Evolution is promoted by its practioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion – a full fledged alternative to Christianity, with its meaning and morality,,, Evolution is a religion.”
    Michael Ruse – National Post 5-13-2000

    William Provine Lays Out The True Implications Of Evolution – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4109249

    but the main point AMW, the point that trumps all other points, is that Darwinian evolution is completely false scientifically.

    Nothing In Molecular Biology Is Gradual – Doug Axe PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5347797/

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

  13. 13

    AMW,

    1) You are no where near correct based upon nothing but the numbers.

    2) It doesn’t matter.

    3) The evidence for ID, and against an unguided origin of Life, remains unchanged by cultural distractions.

  14. AMW:

    I would just say that both X and Y are making a bad use of scientific arguments (they are obviously entitled to use their arguments in a philosophical context, but that is not a scientific argument).

    The problem is probably that darwinists are using their scientific “authority”, and not reasonable arguments, to counter the different scientific vue which is ID. That is very much evident in a lot of contexts.

    I don’t believe that ID has used any religious argument in its official formulations, at least in the most accurate. Dembski has always clearly separated his scientific arguments from his philosophical ot theological arguments. I am really amazed that he is so often attacked only because he is not only a mathematician and scientist, but also a theologian. What’s wrong in that?

    There is nothing wrong in Dawikins being a “philosopher” when he writes biiks like “The God delusion”. The problems are two:

    a) He is a very bad philosopher

    b) He implicitly supports his bad philosophy with false scientific authority.

    In the end, ny point is thyat it is wrong to use some supposed “authority” from the scientific “consensus” to impose one’s philosophical views. That’s what official science has been doing veru often, especially in the last decades. That’s scientism, and not science.

    One example? Methodological naturalism is a philosophy of science. It is not science. And yet, it is imposed as a necessary scientific premise. Again, that is a philosophical position. I am not arguing here if it is true or false (but I do believe it is philosophically false). I am just saying that it is wrong to present it as science.

    ID is not doing that. You must not judge the personal positions of many people. You must judge the theory. Nowhere in the theory there is any philosophical imposition out of any suppsoed authority or “consensus”. I would definitely say that the theory, good or bad that it may be, strongly rests on its own merits.

    So, ID is not using any dogmatic assumptions in its reasonings. Official “science”, instead, does that very often, and supports that with false concepts of “scientific authority” and “scientific consensus”.

  15. AMW:

    A good example of what I mean could be Gerald Joyce’s definition of life:

    “Life is a self-sustained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution”.

    Can you imagine a better example of incorporating so many philosophical assumptions in a supposed “scientific” definition?

  16. Thanks to trib, Upright, Clive, BA77 and gpuccio … this ‘being on the other side of the world thing’ really stalls flowing conversation!

    G’day AMW,

    The others have basically answered what I would have noted and much more. If I could just point to one aspect of your 2nd post: “Unless we’re working from different definitions of religion.” I believe we are.

    There are some of us who are deeply religious and admit to this as an aspect of our adherence to ID, also realising that ID does identify The Creator/a creator/any something, but posits that the Darwinian synthesis is wildly lacking. Others have been led here from the secular world understanding that the gulf between what Darwinian evolution ‘says’ and what is ‘possible’ is incomparable. Where the theory is stitched together is where its ‘religious’ adherents are found. We all have the same evidence. It is your belief system – your religious convictions – that tie ends together. This is where the science is hazy and the religion comes to the fore.

    You will believe what you believe.

    The most irate of the evolutionist stock are critically religious and, as you noted, although you haven’t had much experience here discussing origins, the first thing you have to ask is ‘why’ you believe what you do. ‘The evidence!’ is the cry. Evidence doesn’t speak … it is spoken for, it is interpreted, and from your perspective or mine, our beliefs – our religiousity – will determine WHERE the evidence leads.

    Good to have you here AMW.

  17. Again, welcome AMW and I ditto AussieID.

    Religion must be dogmatic because the moment it stops being dogmatic it stops being a religion — just as when science starts being held dogmatically it stops being science.

    The purpose of religion is to give a definitive answer to the big questions what is the purpose of existence, how did all this come about, why am I here etc.

    Obviously not all religions are right, and the better religions don’t attempt to provide a definitive answer about everything such as the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

    But there comes a point in any religion where certain things must not be questioned.

    The more dogmatic something is the more the sign one is dealing with a religion.

  18. Hello, all. I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know I’ve read your responses, but don’t have time this weekend to formulate one of my own. I’ll write back when I can.

    Cheers,

    AMW

  19. Bornagain77,

    Do you have a link to the original Ruse piece? I ask, because I’ve been unable to find a copy of it on the web.

    I don’t doubt that the quotation is accurate, but I have a feeling that taken in its original context, Ruse is not accusing the theory of evolution of being religious by its very nature. I also doubt that he is accusing the scientific community at large of being religious in their acceptance and use of evolutionary theory. I’d like to confirm or refute these suspicions by reading the full article.

  20. Upright BiPed,

    I’m not convinced that I’m wrong based on the numbers. The theory of evolution is almost universally accepted among biologists, paleo-anthropologists and the like. But the scientific community is about evenly split between theists and atheists. That would put the extreme upper bound of X at somewhere around 50%. Do you think that only around half of ID proponents think of it as a way to confirm that there is a God?

  21. gpuccio,

    I agree with your broader point that one can’t just use the mantle of scientific authority to silence discussion on non-scientific matters. But then, reading Phillip Johnson’s Darwin on Trial, I get the sense that this is exactly what he is trying to do.

    I have to part company with you regarding methodological naturalism in the pursuit of scientific knowledge. It seems like a solid starting point to me. Science is the study of nature. Appeals to the supernatural may explain any number of phenomena. But then, appeals to the supernatural don’t really tell us much about nature.

  22. tribune7,

    I utterly reject the notion that religion requires one to stop asking questions at a certain point, or to refrain from asking questions about a particular topic. One might as well define religion as a cognitive bias.

    My religious convictions are subject to change on the basis of reason and evidence. (Though, perhaps, they are not so subject as I would like.)

  23. AMW, here you go,,,

    Ruse, Michael, “Saving Darwinism from the Darwinians,” National Post (May 13, 2000), p. B-3
    http://www.omniology.com/HowEv.....igion.html

    Further notes:

    Evolution Is Religion–Not Science
    by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
    http://www.icr.org/article/455/

    What about Darwinism, evolution, and religion? In fact, those most ardent to turn evolution into a religion have tended not to be Darwinians. Herbert Spencer and Thomas Henry Huxley in the nineteenth century and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in the twentieth. But the simple fact of the matter is that, use language as you like or not, the fact remains that for many evolutionists – some Darwinian and some not – evolution does function as a secular religion. The creationists are right about this. The right move is to recognize this fact and to move forward, not to deny it.
    http://atheism.about.com/b/200.....ligion.htm

  24. AMW

    I utterly reject the notion that religion requires one to stop asking questions at a certain point

    Oh, asking the questions is fine. You just have to agree with the answers :-)

    Seriously, it’s basically a syllogism. A Muslim believes Muhammad to be the prophet. I don’t believe Muhammad to be a prophet. I am not a Muslim.

    I suspect that your religion holds as dogma that God is tolerant, forgiving and loving.

    Suppose you come to conclude that God demands legalistic perfection? Could you still be part of the religion you now hold?

    Fortunately, if my suspicion is correct, you have a faith that holds to the proper dogma, at least in some regards.

  25. AussieID,

    Within a certain margin, I’ll agree that we tend to interpret the facts to fit our model. But as the facts that run contrary to our model builds up, eventually it is the model that is the casualty. Someone who never reaches that eventual rejection of the model (assuming he’s seen the facts) is mentally or morally deficient.

    You seem to be saying that belief is a frictionless feedback loop. “You will believe what you believe.” But unless you have never changed your mind on any topic, you know that not to be the case.

    Cheers,

    AMW

  26. tribune7, huzzah on your “agreeing with the answers” quip. It had me smiling like your emoticon.

    But then you go on to say:

    A Muslim believes Muhammad to be the prophet. I don’t believe Muhammad to be a prophet. I am not a Muslim.

    I could just as easily say, “Keynesians believe that wages rarely fall during recessions because workers suffer from money illusion. I do not believe that workers suffer from money illusion. Therefore, I am not a Keynesian.” It doesn’t follow that Keynesian macroeconomics is a religious proposition.

    What’s more, I don’t even think that Keynesian macroeconomics becomes a religion if one, many, or all of its adherents refuse to update their beliefs in the face of facts to the contrary. And to say that such a refusal is synonymous with religion seems quite a smear against religion.

  27. bornagain77,

    Thanks for the link! Now that you’ve provided one that I wanted to read, maybe I’ll have to stop ribbing you about the ones I consider superfluous.

    My prediction about the quotation was that:

    taken in its original context, Ruse is not accusing the theory of evolution of being religious by its very nature. I also doubt that he is accusing the scientific community at large of being religious in their acceptance and use of evolutionary theory.

    After reading the full article, I’d say it confirms my first doubt. Sample quotations (all emphases mine):

    “Evolutionary ideas were to undergo a great transformation in the 1930s and 1940s, when a professional science of evolutionary studies was developed — a professional science which stood on its own legs by its own merits, having no need for an alternative career as secular ideology. But this secular ideology or religion hardly folded its tents and crept away.”

    “Today, professional evolution thrives. But the old religion survives and thrives right alongside it.”

    “There is no need to make a religion of evolution. On its own merits, evolution as science is just that — good, tough, forward-looking science, which should be taught as a matter of course to all children, regardless of creed.”

    However, my second doubt appears to be refuted. Ruse seems to draw no distinction between “evolutionists” who accept the theory as scientists and those who fuse evolution with (ir)religious convictions. Or, even if he implicitly draws that distinction, he certainly spends all his time talking about the latter group.

  28. AMD –“Keynesians believe that wages rarely fall during recessions because workers suffer from money illusion. I do not believe that workers suffer from money illusion. Therefore, I am not a Keynesian.” It doesn’t follow that Keynesian macroeconomics is a religious proposition.

    And you are correct in that Keynesian macroeconomics is not a religious proposition albeit Paul Krugman may certainly make one wonder.

    Not all dogmas are religious but all religions at some point must have a dogma.

  29. AMW, I apologize for the AMD.

    And I’m not even thinking about getting a new computer :-)

  30. 30

    I haven’t had time to read through all the posts here, so if someone has already addressed this, please move on. :)

    AMW, when Dembski refers to the Logos of John, he seems more interested in the application of an ancient Greek philosophical concept concerning information, which has implications for ID.

    The term’s use in philosophy begins with Heraclitus, who asserted that change is central to the universe. He also believed that all things come into being from logos (word, reason or account). John’s gospel referred to the term in pretty much the same way, only applying the term quite explicitly to the divine.

    So what Dembski is actually asserting is that information required for life is in line both with John’s gospel and with the underlying ancient Greek concept found in logos.

    There is nothing peculiarly religious in such an observation. Many non-Christians have made similar observations about the universe and life, including Einstein and even Steven Hawking, when he asserts that the universe is governed by the laws of science. One has to ask where these laws derive, and logos as a concept seems to touch on this. Physical laws seem to be tied to the account required for existence. The laws themselves are not the account, but simply our way of describing a certain order we find in the cosmos. That there is this order seems to suggest that there is an underlying informational account for such order.

  31. AMW,

    I consider many of the neo-Darwinists I have run across on the net to be the most dogmatic of religious types that I can imagine. They have such blind faith, in the power of material processes to generate staggering levels of unmatched complex information in life, that it would make a suicide bomber blush. They harbor this extreme unscientific blind faith even though no one has demonstrated the generation of any prescriptive information whatsoever (Abel; null hypothesis) by purely material processes. If you don’t believe me on this level of religious zeal displayed by Darwinists perhaps you care to meander over to PZ Meyers echo chamber and voice a few doubts about Darwinism, and see what kind of response you receive for doubting the almighty power of Darwinism to explain all life on earth.

  32. 32

    AMW,

    I also extend the welcome.

    I would suggest reading two other threads here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....yllogisms/

    And it’s continuation at:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ign/15288/

    The two threads begin with an observation of something Darwinists typically omit – that is that issues of design detection are legitimate except where they pertain to living things. At the end of the first thread we’re discussing methodological naturalism and how it is insufficiently defined such as to be meaningless.

    For more in-depth information on these issues, I refer you to UD’s FAQ: “Frequently Raised But Weak Arguments Against Intelligent Design,” particularly 5, 6, 7, 16, 17, 18 and 19, found here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/faq

    I hope this helps.

  33. 33

    BA and AMW,

    “If you don’t believe me on this level of religious zeal displayed by Darwinists perhaps you care to meander over to PZ Meyers echo chamber and voice a few doubts about Darwinism, and see what kind of response you receive for doubting the almighty power of Darwinism to explain all life on earth.”

    Good idea. Play Devil’s advocate over there and see where that gets you. :)

  34. OT, Frank Turek has a recently uploaded video:

    Frank Turek – I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist – 2 hr. video – recorded October 9th
    http://vimeo.com/15918981

    as well there are a few other videos on the channel that were part of the October Biola apologetics conference.

  35. G’day AMW,

    You certainly are a civil interlocuter. What a change!

    Anyway, I almost totally agree with what you posted @ 25. What we are seeing now, (the crystal ball comes out) is the part of the show where the questions surrounding the scientific merits of Darwinian processes are being scrutinised more than ever before, and the ‘Big Science’ statements are being judged more than ever before too.

    You note: “Someone who never reaches that eventual rejection of the model (assuming he’s seen the facts) is mentally or morally deficient” But again it’s more than the facts: the facts interpretation is tantamount to one’s belief. Are rival theoretical constructs allowed over the same pieces of evidence? The availability to allow discussion on tertiary/university campuses to this degree is missing. Does science only permit one voice?

    Side issue: Dr Gavriel Avital, Israel’s Education Minister, has been sacked because he didn’t tow the party line. He said, “If textbooks state explicitly that human beings’ origins are to be found with monkeys, I would want students to pursue and grapple with other opinions.” He wasn’t denying the teaching of evolution, because he saw that students would be learning it from textbooks, but he wishe that an alternate view be aired – the scientific argument argued – but the alternate view here is being censored … by the evolutionists. Their religion is being questioned so the upstarts must be persecuted and silenced. Hmmm. “Expelled Again” the sequel?

    Back to it: Our minds do change, our thoughts get molded, and I see that this is a point in time where the evolutionary zealousness for their theory is not in sync with what the evidence provides.

    Evolutionists have never been able to give a satisfactory answer to the problem of where new information comes from that evolution requires for turning a microbe into a mailman. They have no direct experimental evidence for this claim. And when you start trying to hypothesise (and that’s all they can do!) about information at the meta-level: the transcription machinery (which needs to continually copy information for ongoing use) and the replication machinery (which needs to unzip the the DNA double-helix and replicate a copy back onto each of the separated strands) then a mindless, random process to beget such things is border-line hallucinatory.

    When evolutionists forget their religion and look toward this Mount Impossible, then steps towards understanding will be possible, but not before. They will have to forget their faith to find the answer …

    So sayeth AussieID. Ommmmmm.

  36. This is interesting for ‘Back to School”:

    Harvard University Charter 1636

    Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17.3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him (Prov. 2, 3). Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein.
    http://kevincraig.us/barton-education.htm

    I think I also read somewhere that 104 out of the 108 major universities in America had a Christian denomination found their origination

  37. Here’s a better reference:

    History of America’s Education
    Universities, Textbooks and Our Founders
    Last of Three Parts
    Excerpt: 106 of the first 108 colleges were started on the Christian faith. By the close of 1860 there were 246 colleges in America. Seventeen of these were state institutions; almost every other one was founded by Christian denominations or by individuals who avowed a religious purpose.

    Harvard College, 1636 – An Original Rule of Harvard College: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, (John 17:3), and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.”

    William and Mary, 1691 – The College of William and Mary was started mainly due to the efforts of Rev. James Blair in order, according to its charter of 1691, “that the Church of Virginia may be furnished with a seminary of ministers of the gospel, and that the youth may be piously educated in good letters and manners, and that the Christian religion may be propagated among the Western Indians to the glory of Almighty God.”

    Yale University, 1701 – Yale University was started by Congregational ministers in 1701,”for the liberal and religious education of suitable youth…to propagate in this wilderness, the blessed reformed Protestant religion…”

    Princeton, 1746 – Associated with the Great Awakening, Princeton was founded by the Presbyterians in 1746. Rev. Jonathan Dickinson became its first president, declaring, “cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”
    http://www.american-partisan.c.....1/0312.htm

  38. Hi, CannuckianYankee. Is there a full-text version of the article where Dembski talked about the Logos. I can find the snippet I quoted easily enough, but the full article escapes me.

    Regardless of that article, though, you can see an independent sample here of Dembski promoting ID as a tool of theism:

    Even so, there is an immediate payoff to intelligent design: it destroys the atheistic legacy of Darwinian evolution. Intelligent design makes it impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. This gives intelligent design incredible traction as a tool for apologetics, opening up the God-question to individuals who think that science has buried God.

    Oddly enough, in the paragraph immediately preceding that one he claims that:

    Intelligent design is a modest position theologically and philosophically. It attributes the complexity and diversity of life to intelligence, but does not identify that intelligence with the God of any religious faith or philosophical system.

  39. bornagain77,

    I’m not arguing that Dawkins, Meyers et al. don’t have their own echo chambers. What I’m struck by is that creationists/ID proponents equate such echo chambers with religion, when they are almost universally religious people themselves and are largely interested in creationism/ID for its religious implications.

  40. Hi, AussieID,

    At the educational level, I can fully understand the desire to look at multiple theories. But the competing theories should have some semblance of parity before they are taught to schoolchildren side by side. Some people aren’t convinced that the Incas could have built Machu Picchu, because it was such a complex and massive undertaking. Their alternative theory is that extra-terrestrials built it for the Incas, or assisted them with it. Should they get to teach their theory in publicly funded schools?

    Evolutionists have never been able to give a satisfactory answer to the problem of where new information comes from that evolution requires for turning a microbe into a mailman.

    Mutation changes the genome, and therefore changes the information contained therein. If I’m not mistaken, recombination of DNA during meiosis can also introduce alterations in the sequence.

    Cheers,

    AMW

  41. AMW,

    Perhaps you would mind explaining to me exactly why Dawkins, Meyers et al. refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence for design if it is not for personal ‘religious’ reasons? Does not the heavily ‘anti’ Christian rhetoric coming from such ‘luminary figures’, contrasted against the charlatan science they promote, give you pause to at least ask,,”What in the world are these ‘scientists’ thinking if not hatred for God?” As for myself, I can think of nothing more fascinating than ascertaining our true origins with rigorous evidence, and since I find compelling evidence that God is the true source for origins science, does that make me any more or less religious than Dawkins or Meyers who insist that we are accidents???

  42. AMW,

    Do please present just one example of ‘functional prescriptive information increasing in any genome.

  43. bornagain77,

    They probably refuse to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence for design because they (like most theist scientists in the relevant fields) don’t find it so overwhelming. And for every PZ Meyers there’s a Francis Collins or Ken Miller who accepts the science while rejecting the atheism. So it really doesn’t give me pause at all.

    And before I try to offer an example of “functional prescriptive information increasing,” could you please provide me some guidelines of what would count? New structures, new abilities, etc? Also, are you talking about an increase to a single genome in a population, or to the population’s aggregate genome?

  44. AMW:

    Please look up Weak Argument Corrective no 7, on exactly this point.

    The book preview is online here. (Cf pp. 88 ff) The original First things article is listed in the archives for that magazine here, but there is no hot link.

    Idea Center’s discussion here gives more details.

    What is really going on here is that a comment is taken out of its own context — a theological reflection on the worldview level implications of ID thought, and projected onto the empirical methodology, which is separately established on its own merits. Dembski, aside from his PhDs in Math and Phil, has a Masters in theology.

    A remark in the WAC 7 is worth pondering:

    Dembski’s reference to John 1:1 ff. underscores how a worldview level or theological claim may have empirical implications, and is thus subject to empirical test.

    For, in that text, the aged Apostle John put into the heart of foundational era Christian thought, the idea that Creation is premised on Rational Mind and Intelligent Communication/Information. Now, after nineteen centuries, we see that — per empirical observation — we evidently do live in a cosmos that exhibits fine-tumed, function-specifying complex information as a premise of facilitating life, and cell-based life is also based on such functional, complex, and specific information, e.g in DNA.

    Thus, theological truth claims here line up with subsequent empirical investigation:a risky empirical prediction has been confirmed by the evidence. (Of course, had it been otherwise – and per track record — many of the same critics would have pounced on the “scientific facts” as a disconfirmation. So, why then is it suddently illegitimate for Christians to point out from scientific evidence, that on this point their faith has passed a significant empirical test?)

    A very similar game has been played with the so-called wedge document.

    In fact, what is going on is little more than a turnabout strawman caricature based accusation by those whose own imposition of evolutionary materialism on origins science they would not wish to have critically examined, as I have done in brief here at UD today.

    GEM of TKI

  45. Hi, kairosfocus.

    I’m open to the possibility that Dembski’s quote is taken out of context. Unfortunately, the preview version of the book you linked to doesn’t include pages 88-89. But I believe I own a copy of it, so maybe I can look that up at home.

    But beyond that quotation from Dembski, do you doubt my central contention that the ID community is predominantly made up of religious (i.e., theist) individuals who see ID as a good way of bolstering their religious beliefs?

  46. On a side note, according to WAC 9, the theory of evolution (including universal common descent) is completely compatible with ID. I doubt many of the bloggers and commenters here at UD have read that one.

    Shoot, now I don’t even know what there is to argue about around here.

  47. F/N: Excerpting Ruse in his own words, from the linked article in Canada’s National Post:

    _______________________

    >> I still remember arguing in the Arkansas court house with one of the most prominent of the literalists (now generally known as creationists). Duane T. Gish, author of the best-selling work, “Evolution: The Fossils Say No!,” resented bitterly what he felt was an unwarranted smug superiority assumed by us from the side of science.

    “Dr Ruse,” Mr. Gish said, “the trouble with you evolutionists is that you just don’t play fair. You want to stop us religious people from teaching our views in schools. But you evolutionists are just as religious in your way. Christianity tells us where we came from, where we’re going, and what we should do on the way. I defy you to show any difference with evolution. It tells you where you came from, where you are going, and what you should do on the way. You evolutionists have your God, and his name is Charles Darwin.”

    At the time I rather pooh-poohed what Mr. Gish said, but I found myself thinking about his words on the flight back home. And I have been thinking about them ever since. Indeed, they have guided much of my research for the past twenty years. Heretical though it may be to say this — and many of my scientist friends would be only too happy to chain me to the stake and to light the faggots piled around — I now think the Creationists like Mr. Gish are absolutely right in their complaint.

    Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion — a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint — and Mr. Gish is but one of many to make it — the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today . . . .

    Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity. It stressed laws against miracles and, by analogy, it promoted progress against providence . . . .

    The important point is that we should recognize when people are going beyond the strict science, moving into moral and social claims, thinking of their theory as an all-embracing world picture. All too often, there is a slide from science to something more, and this slide goes unmentioned — unrealized even. >>
    ________________________

  48. AMW:

    The empirically based design inference stands on its own merits as an epistemic, scientific procedure.

    As a Christian, I am unsurprised to see the book of nature lining up with the doctrine of God as taught in say Jn 1, Rom 1, Col 1, Heb 1 etc. I also see precisely the point of a risky affirmation in Jn 1, confirmed by empirical science.

    But the core warranting argument of the Christian faith is the living witness of millions, starting with the 500 in 1 Cor 15:1 – 11, who have come to personally know God in the face of Christ. Knowing God in life-transforming, miracle working power.

    You might find the account of Pascal of his encounter with God Nov 23, 1654, a good case in point of how this has so often intersected with the path of history.

    GEM of TKI

  49. So…Can I take that as a “yes” to my question?

  50. 50

    AMW,

    Dembski’s famous statement comes from an article he wrote for Touchstone Magazine. Volume 12, Issue 4: July/August, 1999 entitled “Signs of Intelligence: A Primer on the Discernment of Intelligent Design.”

    I’m not certain if the article is at all available online. However, Dembski has since published an expanded version of the article in book form available here:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....51-2588967

    Regarding your comments,

    William Dembski as both a mathematician, philosopher and theologian is quite free to use ID as a tool to promote theism. I think you are conflating implication from invokation here. ID does not invoke a deity, the results of design detection implies a deity for many. So it is quite within the purview of a theologian to speak on these issues. And even without a theological degree, since human authority is not necessarily the purveyor of truth, any Christian or non-Christian theist is quite free to use the implications as a tool for that purpose, as are Darwinists free to use Darwinism as a tool to promote atheism. And furthermore, if ID lends itself to atheism, the atheist is also quite free to use ID for such a purpose. This does not render ID as a scientific theory void, since it lends itself to a particular metaphysic. This is why I suggested you read the other two threads I mentioned. We’ve been engaged there in much discussion on this very topic.

    Dembski is quite right that ID does not identify the designer as the God of any particular faith – nor can it. Those issues are up to theology and philosophy to determine. This is why he states that ID is “modest theologically and philosophically.” It doesn’t have a particular theological or philosophical POV. But on the other hand, a theologian can look at ID and find parallels with her/his particular theological POVs in certain areas.

    Try to look at it like this: In Genesis we read that the Earth at one time was “formless and void.” While this may strike us as a rather primitive statement, it is a POV, which seems to agree with science. We don’t discount the science simply because it agrees with something from a religious text. Neither do we discount any scientific theory because it agrees with a religious text. If we did, we should have to do away with a whole lot of science, not just ID.

    In reference to his statement regarding the Logos; it has meaning on several levels – sort of like how certain cartoons are entertaining to children, yet have layers of meaning that only an adult would understand (Rocky and Bullwinkle, for example). There are many layers of meaning with the logos reference. There may be an underlying religious layer of meaning – and that would certainly be the most obvious, since he mentioned John’s gospel, but there is also a very subtle secular layer of meaning as well. That layer runs deep into philosophy, and in fact, has been a central issue of philosophers for millennia, as well as for scientists when grappling with the metaphysical implications of nature.

    In fact, as I pointed out, John seems to have borrowed from the ancient Greeks his concept of the Logos.

    Now when we apply this to ID, logos begins to lend an even deeper layer of meaning, which philosophical sensibilities have grappled with from antiquity. That is: could information be the key to life and the cosmos?

    We can get into the theological issues here, and I’m certain they would be very interesting, but I think you can see that it’s not as simple an issue to say that ID is merely for example, a new form of religious Creationism, invoking a Creator, and then fitting the evidence into such a paradigm. It is not in the least.

    I doubt if you will find an in-depth discussion of Dembski’s reference to the logos (well perhaps – I haven’t read the entire article myself to know). However, the statement is largely subtextual, and the average person who knows the subtext of logos would seem to understand apart from him having to spell it out. If you know what ID implies about information, you sort of know what he means by logos, and he mentions that it is the logos “in the idiom of information theory.” As soon as I read this statement initially, I knew exactly what he was referring to, and I did not associate it as particularly religious, even though he tied it to a religious text.

    The Darwinists are the one’s who have made this statement famous as a quote mine – you can find it on Wikipedia, Rational Wiki, and many articles by Darwinists in order to show that there is an underlying religious motivation behind intelligent design. However, they are discounting the science of ID based on that, and they are ignoring the underlying subtext, as well as the issue of discounting science because it agrees with a religious text. It’s a form of fallacy called association.

  51. AMW,

    Wasn’t Machu Picchu built by aliens? OH!

    I understand where you are coming from, but then imagine that a school was to teach that life could arise from non-life! Oh, wait, they do! Scientific evidence? None.

    As BA requests at 42, please give an example. This is the heart and soul (Pardon the religious overtone there)of the argument.

    No time to talk. Back to teaching!

  52. CannuckianYankee,

    I think I’m being misunderstood here. I’m not arguing that ID=Religion and therefore IDScience and therefore IDtruth.

    I’m saying ID proponents are mostly religious folks who think that ID has religious implications. So why is it that these same folks call evolution a religion as a means of denigrating it?

    If we define religion such that Religion=Dogmatically Held Beliefs, then that cuts against the religious convictions of ID proponents, too.

  53. Enjoy class, AussieID.

    I don’t remember abiogenesis in any of my high school or college science classes, but I didn’t take that many of them. In any event, life did come from non-life. Only the mechanism is in question, and that holds whether one is a theist or an atheist. So I guess the question is, what alternative theory would you offer to the going theories of abiogenesis?

    And if I can get an example of what “counts,” I’ll see if I can furnish an example.

    Cheers,

    AMW

  54. F/N: AMW, my acceptance of the design inference has much more to do with my scientific background and interests in the question of empirical warrant than my particular relationship with God, which stands on far more direct grounds: I am a living case of many, many miracles in action in answer to prayer, or I would not even be alive.

    From my studies and work as an applied physicist, I know what information and digital systems look like, and what they take to be put together. that such could come about by chance plus mechanical necessity, on the gamut of our observed cosmos is frankly absurd, given that experience.

    So, my agreement with and eventual advocacy of the design inference is not a case of seeking confirmation or looking for a bulwark to shore up a faith that otherwise lacks warrant.

    G

  55. AMW, this statement of yours is false:

    ‘In any event, life did come from non-life. Only the mechanism is in question, and that holds whether one is a theist or an atheist’

    The first life on earth may have been made out of ‘lifeless’ matter, but the central question of whether the first life was intended by an Intelligence or not is what dramatically separates Theists and atheists.

    notes:

    By the way, there is a one million dollar ‘Origin-of-Life’ prize being offered:

    “The Origin-of-Life Prize” ® (hereafter called “the Prize”) will be awarded for proposing a highly plausible mechanism for the spontaneous rise of genetic instructions in nature sufficient to give rise to life.
    http://www.us.net/life/index.htm

    To reiterate, the problem for the origin of life clearly turns out to be explaining where the information came from in the first place:

    “The problem of the origin of life is clearly basically equivalent to the problem of the origin of biological information.”
    Origin of life theorist Bernd-Olaf Kuppers in his book “Information and the Origin of Life”.

    Book Review – Meyer, Stephen C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
    Excerpt: As early as the 1960s, those who approached the problem of the origin of life from the standpoint of information theory and combinatorics observed that something was terribly amiss. Even if you grant the most generous assumptions: that every elementary particle in the observable universe is a chemical laboratory randomly splicing amino acids into proteins every Planck time for the entire history of the universe, there is a vanishingly small probability that even a single functionally folded protein of 150 amino acids would have been created. Now of course, elementary particles aren’t chemical laboratories, nor does peptide synthesis take place where most of the baryonic mass of the universe resides: in stars or interstellar and intergalactic clouds. If you look at the chemistry, it gets even worse—almost indescribably so: the precursor molecules of many of these macromolecular structures cannot form under the same prebiotic conditions—they must be catalysed by enzymes created only by preexisting living cells, and the reactions required to assemble them into the molecules of biology will only go when mediated by other enzymes, assembled in the cell by precisely specified information in the genome.
    So, it comes down to this: Where did that information come from? The simplest known free living organism (although you may quibble about this, given that it’s a parasite) has a genome of 582,970 base pairs, or about one megabit (assuming two bits of information for each nucleotide, of which there are four possibilities). Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search. Yet here we have a minimal information string which is (if you understand combinatorics) so indescribably improbable to have originated by chance that adjectives fail.
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/docume.....k_726.html

    Natural selection cannot explain the origin of life
    Excerpt: “DNA is not a special life-giving molecule, but a genetic databank that transmits its information using a mathematical code. Most of the workings of the cell are best described, not in terms of material stuff — hardware — but as information, or software. Trying to make life by mixing chemicals in a test tube is like soldering switches and wires in an attempt to produce Windows 98. It won’t work because it addresses the problem at the wrong conceptual level.” Paul Davies
    http://creation.com/ns-origin-of-life

    “The existence of a genome and the genetic code divides the living organisms from nonliving matter. There is nothing in the physico-chemical world that remotely resembles reactions being determined by a sequence and codes between sequences.”,,,”The belief of mechanist-reductionists that the chemical processes in living matter do not differ in principle from those in dead matter is incorrect. There is no trace of messages determining the results of chemical reactions in inanimate matter. If genetical processes were just complicated biochemistry, the laws of mass action and thermodynamics would govern the placement of amino acids in the protein sequences.”
    Hubert P. Yockey: Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life, page 2 and 5

    H.P. Yockey also notes in the Journal of Theoretical Biology:
    It is important to understand that we are not reasoning by analogy. The sequence hypothesis applies directly to the protein and the genetic text as well as to written language and therefore the treatment is mathematically identical:
    “Self Organization Origin of Life Scenarios and Information Theory,” J. Theoret. Biol.

    “Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day.”
    Norbert Weiner – MIT Mathematician – Father of Cybernetics

    The main problem, for the secular model of neo-Darwinian evolution to overcome, is that no one has ever seen purely material processes generate functional information.

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  56. F/N 2: Forgot to add: I have separate grounds for seeing that evolutionary materialism is not only a question-begging imposition on science, but also outright self-referentially incoherent. It is necessarily false.

    As to the idea that evolutionary materialistic chemical evo led to life [we only need to figure out the mechanism], I find that utterly incredible.

    Indeed, you are sounding ever more like a case of a priorism [as I address here], so that something like that MUST have happened, on worldview commitments.

    G

  57. AMW ,, More on point:

    Here is a peer-reviewed paper that points out the fact that many arguments for Darwinian evolution turn out to be primarily theological arguments at their core:

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning
    Excerpt: A remarkable but little studied aspect of current evolutionary theory is the use by many biologists and philosophers of theological arguments for evolution.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....037038134/

    On the Vastness of the Universe
    Excerpt: Darwin’s objection to design inferences were theological. And in addition, Darwin overlooked many theological considerations in order to focus on the one. His one consideration was his assumption about what a god would or wouldn’t do. The considerations he overlooked are too numerous to mention here, but here’s a few:,,,
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-362918

  58. PS: Finally, I would think that most design thinkers or supporters who have taken a few hours to investigate, will be very familiar with the point made in WAC 9, that the inference to design is separate from the question of just what mechanisms and time scale were used to effect the design, and even the degree of common descent involved. For just one instance [without advocating it], front-loaded common descent and designed adaptation is a proposed mechanism, at many different levels. (Indeed, one Young Earth Creationist objection to contemporary design thought pivots on precisely this compatibility with use of evolutionary mechanisms to effect design across deep time.)

    That we may infer design on reliable signs is entirely compatible with the point that there is more than one way to skin a cat[-fish]. G

  59. bornagain77,

    I guess you’re assuming that an intelligence automatically qualifies as “life” as we would recognize it via biology. I’m not sure that’s the case. But if an intelligence (e.g., God) counts as life, then your distinction is accurate: the materials from which life in the universe arose were non-living, while the intelligence was. I wasn’t making that distinction.

    At any rate, can you tell me what you would count as “functional prescriptive information increasing in a genome,” so I can see if I can find an example? You may have included that in your most recent posts, but I’ll be honest: I stop reading them once I get to the notes.

    AMW

  60. 60

    AMW,

    “I’m saying ID proponents are mostly religious folks who think that ID has religious implications. So why is it that these same folks call evolution a religion as a means of denigrating it?”

    Yes, I understand your point and the question you raise, which is a very good one. The reason is because evolutionists do not believe that their theory has underlying religious assumptions, which it does. For them to hark on ID as having the very same underlying religious assumptions seems to be a bit of a double standard.

    Darwinian religious assumptions come in certain forms. Darwin himself formed his theory based on such an assumption – namely, that teleological arguments are mistaken, because a god would not have designed with the anomalies apparent in biology. This is not a scientific observation, but a religious assertion.

  61. As to the idea that evolutionary materialistic chemical evo led to life [we only need to figure out the mechanism], I find that utterly incredible.

    Indeed, you are sounding ever more like a case of a priorism [as I address here], so that something like that MUST have happened, on worldview commitments.

    I just mean that all biological life is composed of matter. At one point in time, that matter wasn’t organized into life. Hence, it got organized into life somehow. That may have been through natural chemical processes, or it may have been through intentional design processes. But one way or another, it happened.

    If we’re going to discuss the origin of life in schools, it’s helpful to have some theories about how it might have happened. Mainstream science has a couple of candidates. I’m wondering what AussieID’s rival candidate is.

  62. further note:

    The GS (genetic selection) Principle – David L. Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: Stunningly, information has been shown not to increase in the coding regions of DNA with evolution. Mutations do not produce increased information. Mira et al (65) showed that the amount of coding in DNA actually decreases with evolution of bacterial genomes, not increases. This paper parallels Petrov’s papers starting with (66) showing a net DNA loss with Drosophila evolution (67). Konopka (68) found strong evidence against the contention of Subba Rao et al (69, 70) that information increases with mutations. The information content of the coding regions in DNA does not tend to increase with evolution as hypothesized. Konopka also found Shannon complexity not to be a suitable indicator of evolutionary progress over a wide range of evolving genes. Konopka’s work applies Shannon theory to known functional text. Kok et al. (71) also found that information does not increase in DNA with evolution. As with Konopka, this finding is in the context of the change in mere Shannon uncertainty. The latter is a far more forgiving definition of information than that required for prescriptive information (PI) (21, 22, 33, 72). It is all the more significant that mutations do not program increased PI. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces formal function. No increase in Shannon or Prescriptive information occurs in duplication. What the above papers show is that not even variation of the duplication produces new information, not even Shannon “information.”
    http://www.us.net/life/index.htm

    “Charles Darwin said (paraphrase), ‘If anyone could find anything that could not be had through a number of slight, successive, modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.’ Well that condition has been met time and time again. Basically every gene, every protein fold. There is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in a gradualist way. It’s a mirage. None of it happens that way. – Doug Axe PhD.

    Experimental Evolution in Fruit Flies – October 2010
    Excerpt: “This research really upends the dominant paradigm about how species evolve”.,,, as stated in regards to the 35 year experimental failure to fixate a single beneficial mutation within fruit flies.
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....ruit_flies

    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’’ (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

    Nothing In Molecular Biology Is Gradual – Doug Axe PhD.
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5347797

    etc… etc… etc…

  63. … from one class to the next …

    So, if I were to say that ‘God’ created someting out of nothing then I would be religiously motivated and that would nullify my statement. If I were to say ‘evolution’ did it, then I would be congratulated, although my religious motivations should also be obvious. Although neither can show an iota of scientific evidence.

    Abiogenesis is an interesting area, and I am loathe to make anyone teach a God-did-it, but I would want to also push that the evidence is purely hearsay for a naturalistic approach … gotta go. Hope some of this makes sense!

  64. “I’m saying ID proponents are mostly religious folks who think that ID has religious implications. So why is it that these same folks call evolution a religion as a means of denigrating it?”

    Because it’s FUNNY! Haven’t you got a sense of HUMOR?! Darwinists like Dawkins are people whose whole smug narcissistic persona is based on being “free thinkers” and never darkening the door of a church.

    AND THEY’RE JUST AS RELIGIOUS AS A FUNDAMENTALIST NUT LIKE MYSELF!

    Now, that’s funny!

    And come to think of it, your missive is kind of funny. What could be funnier than someone who’s dead-bang serious about a joke?

  65. Actually pushing the materialistic framework solely in schools, while banishing and ridiculing the Theistic framework, in these questions of origins leads to absurdity in the beginning of investigations as well as far greater absurdities when the materialistic framework is pushed to extremes:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    As well information is shown to be its own unique independent entity in quantum teleportation and entanglement experiments. A unique independent entity that is separate from matter and energy, especially with the falsification of ‘local’ realism by Aspect and company. i.e. Transcendent Information demonstrates dominion of matter and energy regardless of considerations of space and time.,,, The base layer of the ‘physical’ universe reduces to information and indeed creates the ‘chemical blackboard’ upon which another layer of this ‘domineering’ transcendent information is encoded so as to produce life from the ‘inanimate’ matter of the chemical blackboard:

    Information and entropy – top-down or bottom-up development in living systems? A.C. McINTOSH
    Excerpt: 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.
    http://journals.witpress.com/p.....038;jID=19

    further note:

    Is evolution pseudoscience?
    Excerpt:,,, Thus, of the ten characteristics of pseudoscience listed in the Skeptic’s Dictionary, evolution meets nine. Few other?pseudosciences — astrology, astral projection, alien abduction, crystal power, or whatever — would meet so many.
    http://creation.com/is-evolution-pseudoscience

  66. So … Seriously, bornagain77, are you going to give me some examples of what would pass for an increase in functional information, or are you going to just cut and paste some more links?

  67. AussieID,

    As far as I’m aware, nobody claims that evolution made something out of nothing. Abiogenesis theories posit that life arose from non-living matter. Evolution says that the earliest life, over the aeons, evolved into all of the diverse forms of life we see today. Neither requires something from nothing.

    Also, since I’m starting to despair of bornagain77 giving me examples of what would count as an increase in functional information (or some such) in a genome, would you mind stepping into the gap on that one?

  68. Finally, I would think that most design thinkers or supporters who have taken a few hours to investigate, will be very familiar with the point made in WAC 9, that the inference to design is separate from the question of just what mechanisms and time scale were used to effect the design, and even the degree of common descent involved.

    For crying out loud, the name of the blog is Uncommon Descent. Uncommon Descent. Uncommon Descent.

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills here.

  69. G’day AMW,

    The link between evolution & abiogenesis was much clearer in the past when the namer of this idea, Huxley, noted:”I should expect to be a witness of the evolution of living protoplasm from non-living matter.” The ‘primordial soup’ was back then the obvious evolutionary step, but then the tools of science showed through Pasteur that spontaneous generation was a falsifiable and fallacious concept. Has the ‘primordial soup’ theory gone away? No. But a schism between abiogenesis and evolution has developed. Of course evolution is unworkable when there is nothing to evolve, but the concept that undirected chemicals must be the forebear of all things living is the only framework because of what the religion of evolution dictates. Abiogenesis & Evolution are inextricably linked.

    Don’t despair of BA77! He researches a lot of stuff and provides you with a place to go and see what can’t be put here. Have a read and a think …

    Anyway, I’m sure others can jump in and add to what I’m saying. I’d prefer to say what ISN’T an increase in functional information. Information content is measured by the specified complexity of a base sequence or protein amino acid sequence. A mutation, being a random change in highly specified information within the nucleic acid base sequence, only cofuses the information. The totality of the information is reduced.

    Now, a new trait can arise from the loss of information (say a molecile is lost so a new colour arises) but although a new colour may be observed in an individual and be adopted into a species that still doesn’t generate an increase in new functional information.

    The loss of specified complexity is generally deleterious, but even the beneficial loss of wings of a beetle on a wind-swept island giving it more of a chance to live and procreate and produce more wingless beetles is still a loss of functional information.

    A friend of mine researched antibiotic, herbicide and insecticide resistance and tried to find anything that, at the DNA level/biochemical level, displayed an increase in SC. Nothing. New traits emerged, some very interesting and others quite toxic, but each one was a mutation that lost information. Even gene duplication must be remembered as, say, puchasing two magazines and thinking that you have twice as much information. That’s not how it works.

    It would be easier (!) for you to give an example of where new functional information arises and put us out of our misery forever defending something that we see as quite logically defendable.

    I really don’t know of anything that shows an increase in functional information because everything I have studied, and many much more worthy before me, has never met the criteria.

    Back at ya!

  70. AMW asks:

    ‘So … Seriously, bornagain77, are you going to give me some examples of what would pass for an increase in functional information, or are you going to just cut and paste some more links?’

    AMW,

    I would consider the origination of a new protein fold, or a new gene, as origination of new functional information:

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

    This following video is a bit more clear for explaining exactly why mutations to the DNA do not control Body Plan morphogenesis, since the mutations are the ‘bottom rung of the ladder’ as far as the ‘higher levels of the layered information’ of the cell are concerned:

    Stephen Meyer on Craig Venter, Complexity Of The Cell & Layered Information
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4798685

    etc… etc… etc…

  71. Mornin’ AMW:

    Just a few footnotes . . .

    1 –> The threshold of functional complexity that would be relevant to falsifying the design inference in the biological world would be the empirically observed spontaneous — blind chance plus necessity only — of say 500 – 1,000 bits worth [about 250 - 500 bases, or at the upper end about 150 codons] of novel functional genetic information.

    2 –> Creation of a novel protein fold domain would fill the bill nicely.

    3 –> Underlying, life on evo mat theses, had to originate by such material causal factors, and had to fulfill the requisites of a Von Neumann self-replicating entity from chemicals mixing in whatever warm little pond or other scenario. Codes [i.e. language], algorithms, storage media, processing machinery, functional organisation all had to be there at once or there would be no self-reproducing life relevant to what we observe today. (So-called self-replicating reaction sets or the like do not count. Dawkins’ replicator is still a just-so story. And, the underlying chemical environment has to be physically reasonable.)

    4 –> Novel varieties of life at body plan level have to have much the same, and require that the new architecture is embryologically feasible. To jump from unicellular organisms to get the sort of body plans in and around the Cambrian life revo, we are looking at 10′s – 100′s+ millions of new bases. Dozens of times over, and in a narrow window of time of dozens of MY, on just one planet of 6*10^24 kg, most of which is not accessible for that evo.

    4 –> By now you should be familiar with why we point out that just 1,000 bits implies 1.07*10^301 possible configs, and the observed universe accounts for ~10^150 Planck-time states [~10^-44 s or so] across its thermodynamically credible lifespan, ~ 50 mn times the 13.7 BY said to have elapsed since the singularity. So the whole observed cosmos cannot sample 1 in 10^150 of the states specified by 1,000 bits. On very generous measures!

    4 –> That is why we focus so strongly on the need to account for complex functional organisation and associated information, especially digitally coded, algorithmically functional information. There is but one known and credible, empirically warranted source for such dFSCI: intelligence. So, we infer that dFSCI is a signature of intelligence, and we have a right to infer to intelligent cause when we see it.

    5 –> As to the common descent issue, a name does not make much, especially when it is an act of wit. When I wear a SD hat, I know that Cuba [700 mi long] is a Small Island Developing State, and so are countries that are actually coastal continental states, like Belize. Behe, for instance, believes in universal common descent and is a leading design theorist. here at UD, GP is much like that. (I am pretty agnostic on such matters, even trending skeptical about the possible degree of warrant we can have: we weren’t there, we cannot observe what actually happened, and we had better be humbly provisional in our inference- to- best- explanation- of- what- we- can- observe- in- the- present knowledge claims. I find Job 38:1 – 4 a stunning rebuke to our intellectual pride on origins.)

    6 –> No need for crazy pills, just an awareness that movements of very independent-minded people are not that easy to buttonhole. When you got a Paul Nelson, a Jonathan Wells, a Mike Gene, A Michael Behe and a David Berlinsky in much the same fold, it will not be neatly categorisable.
    _____________

    Back to constitutional crises; at least this will get me in a writing frame of thought.

    GEM of TKI

  72. AMW you are right, Darwinism is NOT a religion. It is a Cult.

    “…you don’t get to use the influence of government to help promote your cult.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....39541.html

    Misrepresentation of the First Amendment, which was intended to prohibit government enforcement of orthodoxy and to protect free inquiry, has been atheists’ primary cudgel to suppress challenges to their cult in public schools. (promote their own orthodoxy and suppress free inquiry)

  73. Hi, all. Like AussieID, I teach classes, and today is my busiest of the week. So I won’t be able to respond until sometime tomorrow or Friday.

    bornagain77, you say:

    I would consider the origination of a new protein fold, or a new gene, as origination of new functional information

    So I can assume you want genetic data, correct? A new structure/pathway/behavior/etc. isn’t enough. You want to see an example where a genome either gets a new gene or the genome changes such that a new protein fold is coded for in the organism. Is that correct?

  74. Oh, and the above means you want to see changes in a protein coding portion of a genome or changes in a non-coding portion such that a section of it starts coding for a protein. Correct?

  75. AMW I want actual empirical evidence of ‘vertical’ evolution, not evolutionary ‘just so stories’ saying sequence/protein y came from sequence/protein x:

    notes:

    For a broad outline of the ‘Fitness test’, required to be passed to show a violation of the principle of Genetic Entropy (to show vertical evolution), please see the following video and articles:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – ‘The Fitness Test’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248

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

    Thank Goodness the NCSE Is Wrong: Fitness Costs Are Important to Evolutionary Microbiology
    Excerpt: it (an antibiotic resistant bacterium) reproduces slower than it did before it was changed. This effect is widely recognized, and is called the fitness cost of antibiotic resistance. It is the existence of these costs and other examples of the limits of evolution that call into question the neo-Darwinian story of macroevolution.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....s_wro.html

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

    Dollo’s law, the symmetry of time, and the edge of evolution – Michael Behe – Oct 2009
    Excerpt: Nature has recently published an interesting paper which places severe limits on Darwinian evolution.,,,
    A time-symmetric Dollo’s law turns the notion of “pre-adaptation” on its head. The law instead predicts something like “pre-sequestration”, where proteins that are currently being used for one complex purpose are very unlikely to be available for either reversion to past functions or future alternative uses.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....f_tim.html

    Severe Limits to Darwinian Evolution: – Michael Behe – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: The immediate, obvious implication is that the 2009 results render problematic even pretty small changes in structure/function for all proteins — not just the ones he worked on.,,,Thanks to Thornton’s impressive work, we can now see that the limits to Darwinian evolution are more severe than even I had supposed.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2......html#more

    This following study recently confirmed the severe limit for evolution found by Dr Behe:

    Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness – Ann K. Gauger, Stephanie Ebnet, Pamela F. Fahey, and Ralph Seelke – 2010
    Excerpt: In experimental evolution, the best way to permit various evolutionary alternatives, and assess their relative likelihood, is to avoid conditions that rule them out. Our experiments, like others (e.g. [40]), used populations of cells growing slowly under limiting nutrient conditions, thereby allowing a number of paths to be taken to higher fitness. We engineered the cells to have a two-step adaptive path to high fitness, but they were not limited to that option. Cells could reduce expression of the non-functional trpAE49V,D60N allele in a variety of ways, or they could acquire a weakly functional tryptophan synthase subunit by a single site reversion to trpAD60N, bringing them within one step of full reversion (Figure 6). When all of these possibilities are left open by the experimental design, the populations consistently take paths that reduce expression of trpAE49V,D60N, making the path to new (restored) function virtually inaccessible. This demonstrates that the cost of expressing genes that provide weak new functions is a significant constraint on the emergence of new functions. In particular, populations with multiple adaptive paths open to them may be much less likely to take an adaptive path to high fitness if that path requires over-expression.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.2

    Response from Ralph Seelke to David Hillis Regarding Testimony on Bacterial Evolution Before Texas State Board of Education, January 21, 2009
    Excerpt: He has done excellent work showing the capabilities of evolution when it can take one step at a time. I have used a different approach to show the difficulties that evolution encounters when it must take two steps at a time. So while similar, our work has important differences, and Dr. Bull’s research has not contradicted or refuted my own.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9951

    Lenski’s e-coli – Analysis of Genetic Entropy
    Excerpt: Mutants of E. coli obtained after 20,000 generations at 37°C were less “fit” than the wild-type strain when cultivated at either 20°C or 42°C. Other E. coli mutants obtained after 20,000 generations in medium where glucose was their sole catabolite tended to lose the ability to catabolize other carbohydrates. Such a reduction can be beneficially selected only as long as the organism remains in that constant environment. Ultimately, the genetic effect of these mutations is a loss of a function useful for one type of environment as a trade-off for adaptation to a different environment.
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....n-bacteria

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  76. I want actual empirical evidence of ‘vertical’ evolution, not evolutionary ‘just so stories’ saying sequence/protein y came from sequence/protein x

    Okay, I think I understand. But am I right that what you want is info at the actual genome (or genotype) level? You want to see a new gene or protein fold arising in a population, right? As opposed to a new physical trait (or phenotype) that we might infer comes from a genetic change?

  77. AMW, any novel protein will do. A molecular machine originating by evolutionary processes would have me over on PZ’s echo chamber talking about all those IDiots on UD.

  78. A molecular machine originating by evolutionary processes would have me over on PZ’s echo chamber talking about all those IDiots on UD.

    Gee, I sure hope not. In the first place, name-calling never convinces anyone but the choir. And on top of that, PZ is kind of a, well, sphincter cavity.

    Anyway, it’ll probably take me a little time to find an example for your consideration. But just keep checking back here and I’ll try to get one for you.

    Cheers,

    AMW

  79. AMW, please ask yourself, Why in the world will you not be able to produce even one novel functional protein originating by evolutionary processes??? If evolution were true for why all the amazing diversity of life exist on earth then you should have thousands upon thousands of examples. As well you should have a fairly substantial list of molecular machines arising from evolutionary processes!!! Yet you have none!!! Why is this AMW??? And why in the world do you buy into a theory that has not even met this minimum level of integrity??? Maybe perhaps you thought you had/have evidence??? Could you please present what YOU think is the strongest piece of evidence for Darwinism so that we may see exactly what deception you have bought into???

  80. bornagain77,

    I’ve got a day job and my degree isn’t in molecular evolutionary biology, so I don’t have an encyclopedic command of the literature. I’ve seen some links to some promising papers, but haven’t had time to pursue them yet. I’ll get back to you once I’ve been able to do so.

    Stay classy.

    AMW

  81. bornagain 77,

    If you’re checking into this thread any longer, try checking out the following study.

    In a lab environment, the authors took biophages and replaced one of their gene domains with random DNA strings 139 amino acids in length (that would be 417 base pairs, I believe).

    The gene in question codes for a coat protein without which the phages have a lot of difficulty infecting host cells. But with a phage library of 1,000,000, the phage population increased in infectivity by 17,000 times. The gene domain that had been scrambled did not revert to its original DNA code. Instead, it appears to have developed into a novel domain.

    Read the full article. I’d be interested in your thoughts.

    Cheers,

    AMW

  82. AMW, that is not an evolutionary process, and does not violate Genetic Entropy. i.e. the highly complex preexisting information in the cell is ‘calculating’ a response, and the resultant strain will be slightly less fit than the original parent strain was at the beginning of the experiment. What the experiment did was take advantage of what was already present in the genome to repair itself to solve a fairly simple ‘hill climbing’ problem, while completely ignoring, and without explaining where the complex multi-tiered correction mechanisms in the genome came from in the first place!

  83. further note AMW, what they have done is similar to what some evolutionists try to do when they try to claim the immune system is proof of the ‘marvel’ of ‘evolutionary processes’:

    notes:

    In computer science we recognize the algorithmic principle described by Darwin – the linear accumulation of small changes through random variation – as hill climbing, more specifically random mutation hill climbing. However, we also recognize that hill climbing is the simplest possible form of optimization and is known to work well only on a limited class of problems.
    Watson R.A. – 2006 – Compositional Evolution – MIT Press – Pg. 272

    Response to Kathryn Applegate – Caroline Crocker PhD.- cell biologist and immunologist – October 2010
    Excerpt: Diversity of antibodies generated by B cells is due to deliberate, cell-engineered changes in the DNA sequence, not random mutations. In fact, I have never before heard the process whereby functional antibodies are formed (before they encounter antigen) described as mutation. And it is well-known that the appearance of functionality as a result of a mistake-mutation is extremely rare. Of course, after encountering antigen the hypervariable regions of the antibody DNA do undergo somatic hypermutation, but again this is in particular places and is controlled by enzymes.,,, ‘It is possible that mutations occur during this process (Sperm and Egg Meiosis) and these are passed on to the offspring, but note that there is NO deliberate excision and splicing of genetic material, no production of antibodies, in fact virtually no similarity between this process (Meiosis) and that of B cell antibody production. In fact, the only similarity between these processes is that both are marvels of precise engineering and nanotechnology.’
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....more-15176

  84. AMW here is a video of the assembly of a phage:

    The Virus (Bacteriophage) – Assembly Of A Molecular Lunar Landing Machine – Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4023122/

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4205494/

  85. AMW, this is why your experiment is not an example of an evolutionary process:

    from your paper:

    ‘For each generation, we prepared a mutant library from the parental population enriched at the previous generation and continued the iterative enrichment process until the increase in infectivity seemed to cease. We used the enriched population as the parental population for the next generation,’

    Thus AMW they were ‘intelligently guiding’ the process for each of the +20 generations of the experiment. As well taking into consideration that the exponent for population size, for each generation, (10^2, 10^4, 10^6 etc..) will add to each of the previous generations per each ‘prepared library’ of the experiment, then the rarity of functional protein will quickly approach, even surpass, what Doug Axe found in his work.

  86. the highly complex preexisting information in the cell is ‘calculating’ a response, and the resultant strain will be slightly less fit than the original parent strain was at the beginning of the experiment.

    I thought your original argument was that mutation and selection cannot increase information in a genome, no? That appears to be what happened here. Start with a phage, P. Scramble a domain in one of it’s genes, and call the resulting phage P’. Through mutation and selection of P’, a phage P” is derived.

    Now, your argument seems to be that the information content in P” is less than that in P, so we have a net loss in information at the end of the experiment. But the fact remains that the information content in P” is greater than that in P’. That means that mutation and selection did indeed increase the information content, as it brought it from a level consistent with P’ to a level consistent with P”.

    Eager to hear your response.

    Cheers,

    AMW

  87. I posted comment #86 before I read comment #85. Responding to that one will take some extra time, as I’ll have to go back into the paper.

  88. AMW, as well my observation that the information has to be implemented ‘top down’ instead of ‘bottom up’, as Darwinists maintain, holds. In fact the necessity of ‘top down’ implementation should, by all rights, be immediately obvious to you. Please look at the videos of the Bacteriophage that I listed. The first thought I had when I saw the bacteriophage virus is that it looks similar to the lunar lander of the Apollo program. The comparison is not without merit considering some of the relative distances to be traveled by the virus, and that the virus must somehow possess, as of yet unelucidated, orientation, guidance, docking, unloading, loading, etc… mechanisms. And please remember this level of complexity exists in a world that is far too small to be seen with the naked eye. The video gives a excellent small glimpse at the intricate, and even humbling, complexity that goes into crafting the “simple” non-living bacteriophage virus. How anyone can not see the need for ‘top down’ design is beyond me AMW. Especially given the fact that genetic entropy has never been violated by evolutionary processes:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance Evidence For Evolution? – The Fitness Test – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248/

  89. AMW, here is a link I just ran across. It seems Doug Axe has had to defend his work against a far higher level of criticism than the paper we are talking about:

    Shortcuts to new protein folds. – October 2010
    http://idintheuk.blogspot.com/.....folds.html

  90. money quote:

    Axe concludes that all of these putative shortcuts are dead ends. The Darwinian search mechanism is not capable of finding new protein folds by random sampling and all the shortcuts to new folds are dead ends.

  91. AMW if you want to read it here is one of Dr. Axe’s latest papers:

    The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds – Douglas Axe – 2010
    Excerpt Pg. 11: “Based on analysis of the genomes of 447 bacterial species, the projected number of different domain structures per species averages 991. Comparing this to the number of pathways by which metabolic processes are carried out, which is around 263 for E. coli, provides a rough figure of three or four new domain folds being needed, on average, for every new metabolic pathway. In order to accomplish this successfully, an evolutionary search would need to be capable of locating sequences that amount to anything from one in 10^159 to one in 10^308 possibilities, something the neo-Darwinian model falls short of by a very wide margin.”
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.1

  92. ‘For each generation, we prepared a mutant library from the parental population enriched at the previous generation and continued the iterative enrichment process until the increase in infectivity seemed to cease. We used the enriched population as the parental population for the next generation,’

    Thus AMW they were ‘intelligently guiding’ the process for each of the +20 generations of the experiment.

    The “enrichment process” they refer to appears to be mutation and selection. That doesn’t suggest intelligent guidance by normal ID standards. When improvement stagnated, they increased the populations of the clones, but didn’t alter their DNA. So all sources of change to the population genome (after the initial scrambling of the one gene domain) were due to mutation and selection.

  93. AMW,

    You still have to add the exponent of the population each time they stepped in to ‘prepare a mutant library’, which even if the population was only 10^2, which it wasn’t, would give a sequence rarity of 10^40, hardly a number to warm a Darwinist heart.,,, But this is all besides the point, the only function of this protein is to provide a ‘lubricating coating’ to better enable infection,,, and clearly the ability to somewhat sufficiently lubricate was apparently already within the random sequence,,, or else the phage would most likely have no ability to infect whatsoever as a result.,,, Thus AMW they solved a simple ‘hill climbing problem’ that improved a already existent function within a population of 10^40 (yet still the improvement was slightly below what the parent coating was),,, Clearly this example is a far cry from explaining where the complex functional information for building the phage came from in the first place AMW. ,,, And is clearly far short of explaining where completely novel functional proteins come from that must do something besides simply lubricate.

  94. You still have to add the exponent of the population each time they stepped in to ‘prepare a mutant library’, which even if the population was only 10^2, which it wasn’t, would give a sequence rarity of 10^40, hardly a number to warm a Darwinist heart.

    No, that’s incorrect. The maximum starting population for any generation was 10^6. They didn’t increase the population by a factor of 10^2 each generation, which I presume is how you come to a population of 10^40.

    Even if they started with 10^6 clones in the first generation, that would mean a population of 20*10^6, or 20 million. That’s a pretty far cry from 10^40, or ten thousand trillion trillion trillion.

    the only function of this protein is to provide a ‘lubricating coating’ to better enable infection,,, and clearly the ability to somewhat sufficiently lubricate was apparently already within the random sequence

    True, fitness was not equal to zero. If it had been, the phages would have gone extinct in the first generation. Evolution doesn’t begin at zero fitness.

    As for the fact that the function was “only” to provide a lubricating coating, I’m not sure what the significance of that is. You’ve never before specified that certain kinds of functions are impressive, while others are not. Was your original hypothesis that mutation and selection can account for increases in functional information if the function is simple enough?

    Anyway, the fact remains that they scrambled a gene domain to near uselessness, and it evolved into a new domain that improved the phage’s fitness exponentially. The resulting domain was complex, in that it was very unlikely to arise due to chance alone. It was specified in that the experimenter had side information about what the domain should do: assist in infectivity. If that doesn’t count as an increase in functional complex specified information, I’d be hard pressed to think of what does.

    Thus AMW they solved a simple ‘hill climbing problem’ that improved a already existent function

    That was not a simple hill-climbing problem. The algorithm may have been a simple hill-climbing one, but the landscape it was searching had many local maxima. (See Figure 5 on page 5.) Besides, who said that evolution will always find the global maximum?

    Clearly this example is a far cry from explaining where the complex functional information for building the phage came from in the first place AMW.

    That’s not the challenge you posed. You said new protein fold or new gene. I daresay some new protein folds occurred when the functionality of the scrambled gene domain improved.

    And is clearly far short of explaining where completely novel functional proteins come from

    The resulting protein was novel. The DNA sequences were not the same as the original wild-type, nor were they the same as the randomized sequence.

  95. AMW, The exponent addition is simple math. Thus you are incorrect in that regards as to the search space covered. As far as you claiming new function, you are claiming proof for the generation of a completely novel function when clearly some preexistent functionality of lubrication existed prior to the ‘hill climbing’. Thus you are merely seeing/imagining what you want to see in this example, and are clearly extrapolating far past your basis! But all this is completely beside the point. Why in the world are you desiring so badly to say that the highly integrated programming, which we find in the simplest cells on the earth, which far exceeds what man can do in his most advanced computers, can arise from the simple Darwinian RM+NS ‘hill climbing’ scenario? It is completely without any basis, or merit, in rationality to hold that such stunning complexity can be had for ALL of life through such a trivially simplistic process!,,, AMW if you want to believe your example of hill climbing proves your point, then by all means go ahead and believe it, but I think I will wait until Abel’s null hypothesis is violated until I put any faith whatsoever in material processes generating functional ‘prescriptive’ information.

    The main problem, for the secular model of neo-Darwinian evolution to overcome, is that no one has ever seen purely material processes generate functional information.

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

  96. AMW, by the way there is a million dollar Origin of Life prize for showing how purely material processes can give rise to genetic instructions (prescriptive information):

    “The Origin-of-Life Prize” ® (hereafter called “the Prize”) will be awarded for proposing a highly plausible natural-process mechanism for the spontaneous rise of genetic instructions in nature sufficient to give rise to life.’
    http://www.us.net/life/

  97. AMW, may I recommend a book to you that will do a far better job than I of explaining the insurmountable barrier that Darwinism is up against in regards to explaining the information we find in life:

    Programming of Life – October 2010
    Excerpt: “Evolutionary biologists have failed to realize that they work with two more or less incommensurable domains: that of information and that of matter… These two domains will never be brought together in any kind of the sense usually implied by the term ‘reductionism.’… Information doesn’t have mass or charge or length in millimeters. Likewise, matter doesn’t have bytes… This dearth of shared descriptors makes matter and information two separate domains of existence, which have to be discussed separately, in their own terms.”
    George Williams – Evolutionary Biologist
    http://scienceintegrity.net/ProgrammingofLife.aspx

    ———–

    notes on finding a truly ‘novel protein’ and on the complexity of ‘simple life’:

    Without enzyme, biological reaction essential to life takes 2.3 billion years: UNC study:
    In 1995, Wolfenden reported that without a particular enzyme, a biological transformation he deemed “absolutely essential” in creating the building blocks of DNA and RNA would take 78 million years.“Now we’ve found a reaction that – again, in the absence of an enzyme – is almost 30 times slower than that,” Wolfenden said. “Its half-life – the time it takes for half the substance to be consumed – is 2.3 billion years, about half the age of the Earth. Enzymes can make that reaction happen in milliseconds.”
    http://www.med.unc.edu/www/new.....=Wolfenden

    “Phosphatase speeds up reactions vital for cell signalling by 10^21 times. Allows essential reactions to take place in a hundreth of a second; without it, it would take a trillion years!” Jonathan Sarfati http://www.pnas.org/content/100/10/5607.abstract

    Three Subsets of Sequence Complexity and Their Relevance to Biopolymeric Information – David L. Abel and Jack T. Trevors – Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling, Vol. 2, 11 August 2005, page 8
    “No man-made program comes close to the technical brilliance of even Mycoplasmal genetic algorithms. Mycoplasmas are the simplest known organism with the smallest known genome, to date. How was its genome and other living organisms’ genomes programmed?”
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/c.....2-2-29.pdf

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.” – R. C. Wysong
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-363647

  98. AMW, The exponent addition is simple math. Thus you are incorrect in that regards as to the search space covered.

    Then I would be much obliged if you would go through that simple math for me, step by step. You seem to be assuming that they start with a population of 1,000, and in each generation they multiply that population by 1,000. That will get you to a population of 10^40. If you’re making some other set of assumptions, please let me know.

    As far as you claiming new function, you are claiming proof for the generation of a completely novel function when clearly some preexistent functionality of lubrication existed prior to the ‘hill climbing’.

    I’m not claiming new function. I’m claiming new information. Or, rather, increase in functional information.

    Why in the world are you desiring so badly to say that the highly integrated programming, which we find in the simplest cells on the earth, which far exceeds what man can do in his most advanced computers, can arise from the simple Darwinian RM+NS ‘hill climbing’ scenario?

    Well, first of all, I can look to experiments like the one I linked to, that show that fitness can improve through mutation and selection, and this fitness improvement can be through increasing complexity to the genome.

    Next, I can notice that lab experiments such as these are conducted over very short timescales, geologically speaking. So even if only modest gains in complexity and fitness can be seen over a year, or decade, or even a human lifetime, those gains are likely to add up when we extend the timescale to millions of years.

    Finally, when thinking about unicellular vs. multi-cellular organisms, I can see that expecting simplicity in one and complexity in the other sets up a false dichotomy. If all living organisms share a common ancestor, then they’ve all been on their own evolutionary paths for about the last 3.5 billion years. If single-celled organisms have been evolving for that long, why wouldn’t they be complex?

  99. AMW,

    The exponent addition per ‘prepared generation’ works like this:

    In your paper it states:

    Although it was shown to be possible for a single arbitrarily
    chosen polypeptide to evolve infectivity, the evolution stagnated
    after the 7th generation, which was probably due to the small mutant library size at each generation. Therefore, we have extended in vitro molecular evolution by increasing the library size
    gradually from 10^2 to 10^6.,,,
    One generation of our evolutionary study consisted of one cycle of
    mutation and enrichment processes.”

    ,,,Each time they step in and ‘intelligently’ enrich a protein sequence they are in fact ‘intelligently’ increasing the search space they are covering. To properly find sequence space ‘effectively’ covered they must add the exponent of the last generation to the newly ‘enriched’ generation. Thus,,,,

    10^1
    10^1
    10^1
    10^1
    10^1
    10^1
    10^1
    10^2
    10^3
    10^3
    10^3
    10^3
    10^3
    10^4
    10^4
    10^5
    10^5
    10^5
    10^6
    10^6
    ——
    10^59 total ‘effective’ sequence space searched by the experiment

    AMW you then state:

    ‘I’m not claiming new function. I’m claiming new information. Or, rather, increase in functional information.’

    AMW, It is not an increase of functional information above what was already present in the phage i.e. it is not a violation of the principle of Genetic Entropy! In fact the ‘new’ protein was slightly less ‘functional’ than the original one they had removed! Thus if the overall experiment is looked at honestly they have actually lost a little information from what they originally had! Look at this fitness test one more time,,,

    Is Antibiotic Resistance Evidence For Evolution? – The Fitness Test – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248/

    ,,, AMW that test is the ‘gold standard’ that you must pass to show a gain in functional information/complexity above what was already present. That is the test that you will have to pass against a ‘parent strain’ in order to show a violation of the principle of genetic entropy! For you to accept anything less as ‘proof of evolution’,,, as a ‘gain’ in functional information is slightly less than forthright on your part to put it mildly!

    AMW you then state:

    ‘Next, I can notice that lab experiments such as these are conducted over very short timescales, geologically speaking. So even if only modest gains in complexity and fitness can be seen over a year, or decade, or even a human lifetime, those gains are likely to add up when we extend the timescale to millions of years.’

    AMW The fitness test has NEVER been passed by any ‘slight increase’ of fitness above the fitness of the parent strain no matter how much time is given. I could use Lenski’s long term experiment on e-coli to illustrate this point, but better than Lenski’s ‘slow slide to genetic meltdown’, I will show the results for extremely ancient bacteria that have lived completely in the wilds of nature,,, facing all the glories of neo-Darwinian evolution:

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

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

    Evolutionists were so disbelieving at this stunning lack of change that they insisted the stunning similarity was due to modern contamination in Vreeland’s experiment. Yet the following study laid that objection to rest by verifying that Dr. Vreeland’s methodology for extracting ancient DNA was solid and was not introducing contamination because the DNA sequences this time around were completely unique:

    World’s Oldest Known DNA Discovered (419 million years old) – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: But the DNA was so similar to that of modern microbes that many scientists believed the samples had been contaminated. Not so this time around. A team of researchers led by Jong Soo Park of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, found six segments of identical DNA that have never been seen before by science. “We went back and collected DNA sequences from all known halophilic bacteria and compared them to what we had,” Russell Vreeland of West Chester University in Pennsylvania said. “These six pieces were unique”,,,
    http://news.discovery.com/eart.....vered.html

    These following studies, by Dr. Cano on ancient bacteria, preceded Dr. Vreeland’s work:

    “Raul J. Cano and Monica K. Borucki discovered the bacteria preserved within the abdomens of insects encased in pieces of amber. In the last 4 years, they have revived more than 1,000 types of bacteria and microorganisms — some dating back as far as 135 million years ago, during the age of the dinosaurs.,,, In October 2000, another research group used many of the techniques developed by Cano’s lab to revive 250-million-year-old bacteria from spores trapped in salt crystals. With this additional evidence, it now seems that the “impossible” is true.”
    http://www.physicsforums.com/s.....p?t=281961

    Dr. Cano’s work on ancient bacteria came in for intense scrutiny since it did not conform to Darwinian predictions, and since people found it hard to believe you could revive something that was millions of years old. Yet Dr. Cano has been vindicated:

    “After the onslaught of publicity and worldwide attention (and scrutiny) after the publication of our discovery in Science, there have been, as expected, a considerable number of challenges to our claims, but in this case, the scientific method has smiled on us. There have been at least three independent verifications of the isolation of a living microorganism from amber.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-357693

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

    Thus, the most solid evidence available for the most ancient DNA scientists are able to find does not support evolution happening on the molecular level of bacteria. In fact, according to the fitness test of Dr. Cano, the change witnessed in bacteria conforms to the exact opposite, Genetic Entropy; a loss of functional information/complexity, since fewer substrates and fatty acids are utilized by the modern strains. Considering the intricate level of protein machinery it takes to utilize individual molecules within a substrate, we are talking an impressive loss of protein complexity, and thus loss of functional information, from the ancient amber sealed bacteria. Here is a revisit to the video of the ‘Fitness Test’ that evolutionary processes have NEVER passed as for a demonstration of the generation of functional complexity/information above what was already present in a parent species bacteria:

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – ‘Fitness Test’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248

    According to prevailing evolutionary dogma, there ‘HAS’ to be ‘major genetic drift’ to the DNA of bacteria within 250 million years, even though the morphology (shape) of the bacteria can be expected to remain exactly the same. In spite of their preconceived materialistic bias, scientists find there is no significant genetic drift from the ancient DNA. In fact recent research, with bacteria which are alive right now, has also severely weakened the ‘genetic drift’ argument of evolutionists:

    The consequences of genetic drift for bacterial genome complexity – Howard Ochman – 2009
    Excerpt: The increased availability of sequenced bacterial genomes allows application of an alternative estimator of drift, the genome-wide ratio of replacement to silent substitutions in protein-coding sequences. This ratio, which reflects the action of purifying selection across the entire genome, shows a strong inverse relationship with genome size, indicating that drift promotes genome reduction in bacteria.
    http://genome.cshlp.org/conten.....091785.109

    I find it interesting that the materialistic theory of evolution expects there to be a significant amount of genetic drift from the DNA of ancient bacteria to its modern descendants, while the morphology can be allowed to remain exactly the same with its descendants. Alas for the materialist once again, the hard evidence of ancient DNA has fell in line with the anthropic hypothesis.

    AMW as well the overall pattern of the fossil record is completely contrary to the neo-Darwinian model of gradual change. The actual fossil record is consistently characterized by sudden appearance and stagnation. Thus for you to try to cling to the slow gradual model for evolution is really a bit old fashion and does not fit the evidence.

  100. AMW, Gould’s ‘punctuated equilibrium’ model just took a couple of hits also:

    Fantasy Island: Evolutionary Weirdness Does Not Favor Islands – July 2010
    Excerpt: “We concluded that the evolution of body sizes is as random with respect to ‘isolation’ as on the rest of the planet,” he said. “This means that you can expect to find the same sort of patterns on islands and on the mainland.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100708b

    Amazing Insects Defy Evolution – October 2010
    “India spent tens of millions of years as an island before colliding with Asia. Yet the fossil record contains no evidence that unique species evolved on the subcontinent during this time,
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20101026a

    further notes:

    Ancient Fossils That Have Not Changed For Millions Of Years – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4113820

    “LIVING” FOSSILS OF MARINE CREATURES – unchanged for millions of years – (Pictures – Including a 500 million year old starfish specimen)
    http://www.hyahya.org/books/da.....III_03.php

    THE FOSSILS IN THE CREATION MUSEUM – 1000′s of pictures of ancient ‘living’ fossils that have not changed for millions of years:
    http://www.fossil-museum.com/f.....8;limit=30

    Fossils Without Evolution – June 2010
    Excerpt: New fossils continue to turn up around the world. Many of them have an amazing characteristic in common: they look almost exactly like their living counterparts, despite being millions of years old,,,
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100618a

    Punctuated Equilibrium and Patterns from the Fossil Record – Casey Luskin
    Excerpt: “The Cambrian Explosion is by no means the only “explosion” in the fossil record. One evolutionist concedes that for the origin of fishes, “this is one count in the creationists’ charge that can only evoke in unison from paleontologists a plea of nolo contendere [no contest].” Plant biologists have called the origin of plants an “explosion,” saying, “the … radiation of land (plant) biotas is the terrestrial equivalent of the much-debated Cambrian ‘explosion’ of marine faunas.” Vertebrate paleontologists believe there was a mammal explosion because of the few transitional forms between major mammal groups: “There are all sorts of gaps: absence of gradationally intermediate ‘transitional’ forms between species, but also between larger groups — between, say, families of carnivores, or the orders of mammals.” Another study, “Evolutionary Explosions and the Phylogenetic Fuse,” found a bird (as well as a mammal) “Early Tertiary ‘explosion’” because many bird and mammal groups appear in a short time period lacking immediately recognizable ancestral forms. Finally, others have called the origin of our own genus Homo, “a genetic revolution” where “no australopithecine (ape) species is obviously transitional” leading one commentator to call it, like others called the Cambrian Explosion, a “big bang theory” of human evolution.”
    http://www.ideacenter.org/cont.....hp/id/1232

    The following evolution friendly article was quite honest about the inadequacy of Darwinian evolution to account for novel forms appearing in the fossil record:

    Saltational Evolution: Hopeful Monsters are Here to Stay – Günter Theißen – 2009
    “While we already have a quite good understanding of how organisms adapt to the environment, much less is known about the mechanisms behind the origin of evolutionary novelties, a process that is arguably different from adaptation. Despite Darwin’s undeniable merits, explaining how the enormous complexity and diversity of living beings on our planet originated remains one of the greatest challenges of biology.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38581.html

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