Home » Culture, Design inference, Extraterrestrial life, Intelligent Design » Can we distinguish human v. natural excavations?

Can we distinguish human v. natural excavations?

Large geometric shapes are being discovered beneath the Amazon forest. Have the discoverers evaluated their origins correctly? If so, why? Is there any way to distinguish between artifacts caused by human and extraterrestrial agents?
Once Hidden by Forest, Carvings in Land Attest to Amazon’s Lost World By SIMON ROMERO January 14, 2012

RIO BRANCO, Brazil — Edmar Araújo still remembers the awe.
As he cleared trees on his family’s land decades ago near Rio Branco, an outpost in the far western reaches of the Brazilian Amazon, a series of deep earthen avenues carved into the soil came into focus.
These lines were too perfect not to have been made by man,” said Mr. Araújo, a 62-year-old cattleman. . . .
The deforestation that has stripped the Amazon since the 1970s has also exposed a long-hidden secret lurking underneath thick rain forest: flawlessly designed geometric shapes spanning hundreds of yards in diameter.

Alceu Ranzi, a Brazilian scholar who helped discover the squares, octagons, circles, rectangles and ovals that make up the land carvings, said these geoglyphs found on deforested land were as significant as the famous Nazca lines, the enigmatic animal symbols visible from the air in southern Peru.

“What impressed me the most about these geoglyphs was their geometric precision, and how they emerged from forest we had all been taught was untouched except by a few nomadic tribes,” said Mr. Ranzi, a paleontologist who first saw the geoglyphs in the 1970s and, years later, surveyed them by plane.

Hundreds of Geoglifos Discovered in the Amazon 2010.01.20

Geoglifos is the term applied in Brazil to geometric earthworks discovered after recent deforestation. Geoglyphs are not new in South American archaeology, but these are different—massive earthworks of tropical forest soil rather than desert surface alterations. The Amazon Geoglifos present geometric forms; circles, squares, ellipses, octagons, and more, with individual forms up to several hundred meters across. Some are connected by parallel walls. Their distribution spans hundreds of kilometers, and much of the area remains forested jungle.

POSTCARDS FROM THE AMAZON: Massive clues of Amazon area’s past 2010

The geoglyphs in Acre were made by digging ditches into the earth to create shapes like circles, squares, and diamonds. They are outlined by ditches up to 20 feet deep and range from 300 to 1,000 feet in diameter.

Squares

Circles

Ranzi geoglyphs Google search

—————————————-

For a serious discussion see Kairosfocus’ comment

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228 Responses to Can we distinguish human v. natural excavations?

  1. Here’s a chance for ID research to come into its own. What does ID say about these shapes – designed or not?

  2. I’ve had several different requests for any ID proponent to use ID principles to tell the difference between randomness and design for quite some time now. I can provide links if anyone would like to try.

    If you can’t tell the difference between random and design, then how can you tell the difference between two designs?
    —————–
    {OgreMk5 – please address the post above. On random v. design start by addressing the explanatory filter.
    The issue is whether there exist at least some cases where CSI – complex specified information can be detected – not whether all cases can be. In many cases of large strings, it can be very difficult to find the CSI. e.g. the NSA spends billions of dollars to try to decipher strings.
    DLH}

  3. Geez OgreMk5, archaeologists, forensic scientists and SETI researchers say they know how to tell design from non-design.

    It is all about cause and effect relationships.

    And I have seen your “challenge” and it is total BS, just as I have told you.

  4. Is there any way to distinguish between artifacts caused by human and extraterrestrial agents?

    Perhaps gpuccio or KF could calculate the dFSCI in the artifacts in question?

    Those that have none are not designed. Those that have some are (presumably) designed. And perhaps there will be a big difference in the values between Earth and Alien dFSCI, which would make sense as by definition the Aliens would be more advanced as them visiting us!

    So once the calculation is done and if we do see a big difference then perhaps that could be the way to determine Alien and Human artifacts in some cases.

  5. Joe,
    Could you go into a little detail?

    With regard to the origin of proteins, what was the “cause” you mention, and what is the “effect” there?

  6. Actually they claim to be able to match MOs. In other words they try to match objects with the work of known designers.

    In all those fields there are arguments about false positives.

    And that is considering that you have samples of the designer’s work and know the designer’s methods and capabilities.

    You still have arguments about false positives.

  7. But isn’t the OP about distinguishing between two sets of designers?

  8. That’s a good point.

    Archaeologists relate their artifacts to a “designer” they already know about. Humans, or their ancestors.

    Joe, we know many things about the designers archaeologists ascribe the creation of artifacts to. That’s why then can assign such.

    What do we know about the “designer” that allows you to, with such certainty, talk about “cause and effect” relationships?

    What property does your designer have that allows you to ascribe the creation of, for example, proteins, to it?

  9. Well Peter if there were any evidence, ANY at all that proteins could spontaneously arise (no, not instantly but without the help of a living organism), then we wouldn’t be having this talk.

    As for as anyone knows to get proteins you need a ribosome and proteins and DNA and transcription, translation- quite a bit.

    The point being is that there aren’t any known stochastic processes that can produce a protein from amino acids.

  10. 10

    Elizabeth,

    But isn’t the OP about distinguishing between two sets of designers?

    Indeed it is, but you have to wonder why DLH asks that question when the simple detection of design has yet to be shown in any rigorous manner, rigor sufficient to silence the majority of critics anyway as per the first comment.

  11. Peter:]

    Archaeologists relate their artifacts to a “designer” they already know about. Humans, or their ancestors.

    TThey don’t know who designed it. They can assume human but that is about it until they start investigating and gathering data.

    Joe, we know many things about the designers archaeologists ascribe the creation of artifacts to. That’s why then can assign such.

    Cause and effect relationships Peter- ya see if an archaeologist says she found an artifact and another scientists demonstrates taht erosion can produce it then it ain’t an artifact.

    What do we know about the “designer” that allows you to, with such certainty, talk about “cause and effect” relationships?

    The way archaeologists find out about their designers is by studying the design and all other evidence left behind.

    That said with Newton’s First Rule all design inferences can be refuted just by demonstrating stochastic processes can account for the thing being investigated.

  12. Peter,

    Design detection is used successfully in many fields. You and Ogre are confused.

  13. 13

    Hi Joe,

    Well Peter if there were any evidence, ANY at all that proteins could spontaneously arise (no, not instantly but without the help of a living organism), then we wouldn’t be having this talk.

    Who, exactly, is making the claim that proteins spontaneously arise?

    As far as I can tell, it’s you making that claim! I.E. that functional proteins are so rare that they only way the can exist is to be brought into existence by a designer directly.

    As for as anyone knows to get proteins you need a ribosome and proteins and DNA and transcription, translation- quite a bit.

    Sure, but that’s not how you “get” a protein is it? That might be how you work with them but what I’m asking his how that specific configuration was identified as functional?

    The point being is that there aren’t any known stochastic processes that can produce a protein from amino acids.

    Sure, if you have amino-acid–>RANDOM PROCESS–>protein then I agree. But I’m not claiming that and I don’t know anybody who is.

    And anyway, I’m asking you about your claim, made with great specificity just a moment ago. That you can tell design from non-design because of “cause and effect” relationships.

    Could you go into a little more detail about how, for example, cause and effect relationships would allow you to tell which protein was random and which was functional out of a given two? Or even address the topic of the post, and tell us how to determine design in the patterns observed?

  14. Peter:

    Who, exactly, is making the claim that proteins spontaneously arise?

    People against ID and Creation- what is the alternative?

    That you can tell design from non-design because of “cause and effect” relationships.

    That is how ALL design detection is done- no exceptions.

    Could you go into a little more detail about how, for example, cause and effect relationships would allow you to tell which protein was random and which was functional out of a given two?

    Dude there isn’t any evidence that a protein can spontaeously arise (and buy a dictionary because spontaneous means more than instantly)

    As for the OP well I would have to go there and look- then try to determine what could cause the effect in question.

  15. 15

    Joe,

    They don’t know who designed it. They can assume human but that is about it until they start investigating and gathering data.

    So who do you assume the designer is?

    ya see if an archaeologist says she found an artifact and another scientists demonstrates taht erosion can produce it then it ain’t an artifact.

    Well erosion *and* design can produce similar artifacts sometimes. So just because erosion can produce something means that that something is not an artifact in each and every case?

    No, don’t think so. That would mean that bridges are not artifacts!

    The way archaeologists find out about their designers is by studying the design and all other evidence left behind.

    And what have you determined so far?

    That said with Newton’s First Rule all design inferences can be refuted just by demonstrating stochastic processes can account for the thing being investigated.

    I don’t see how that follows. For example, I claim that invisible elf beings create flagellum. Until it can be shown that stochastic processes can account for them my claim stands as the best explanation?

    I’m sure you can see that makes science into a joke and I’m assuming you can’t really be serious! After all, if you don’t know anything about the designer then how can you connect the “cause” of the designer with the “effect” of the design?

  16. Peter:

    No, don’t think so. That would mean that bridges are not artifacts!

    That’s just obtuse. Erosion does not produce the same type of bridge that humans do.

    That said with Newton’s First Rule all design inferences can be refuted just by demonstrating stochastic processes can account for the thing being investigated.

    I don’t see how that follows. For example, I claim that invisible elf beings create flagellum.

    Good for you. I don’t see how that is even relevant.

    But anyway you need to go out and read pro-ID literature as it is obvious you don’t know anything about it.

  17. OgreMk5 brings up an interesting point- just not the one he thought.

    Ya see evos need a methodology to determine design from non-design otherwise their whole position is baseless.

  18. 18

    Joe,

    People against ID and Creation- what is the alternative?

    Please provide a citation to a biologist making the claim that proteins spontaneously arise.

    That is how ALL design detection is done- no exceptions.

    What about dFSCI. That metric appears to indicate design and it’s nothing to do with cause and effect.

    Dude there isn’t any evidence that a protein can spontaeously arise (and buy a dictionary because spontaneous means more than instantly)

    So, there’s no evidence that protiens can arise via natural processess?

    Another joke, right? You are fooling with me!

    Recent systematic surveys indicate that protein evolution is not determined exclusively by selection on protein structure and function, but is also affected by the genomic position of the encoding genes, their expression patterns, their position in biological networks and possibly their robustness to mistranslation. Recent work has allowed insights into the relative importance of these factors. As such we know quite a lot about protein evolution.

    A simple search in google scholar would not doubt disabuse you of the notion that proteins cannot arise naturally.

  19. 19

    Joe,
    Who is saying it is not? The point is that in each and every one of those cases experts in those “many fields” do not say “The designer was an unknown entity that we know nothing about” do they? That would not be a very good case of design detecting!

    They instead point to a designer that we have prior knowledge of – humans. In each and every case. Each and every.

    So “design detection” there is not the same “design detection” as used here.

    And in any case, why do you have to travel to the locations in the OP to determine design? What will you find out there you could not find out online? What it smells like? Could you designer perhaps be a smell?

  20. 20

    Joe,

    That’s just obtuse. Erosion does not produce the same type of bridge that humans do.

    Perhaps you can settle this objectively then.

    Could you calculate the FSCI for a naturally eroded bridge and a man-made bridge?

    You can choose which ones.

    That said with Newton’s First Rule all design inferences can be refuted just by demonstrating stochastic processes can account for the thing being investigated.

    Some bridges can be accounted for by stochastic processes. Therefore according to you no bridges are designed?

    Tell me, what “type” of bridge is a naturally created (eroded) bridge and what “type” of bridge is man-made? What factor can be used, each and every time, to tell these two bridges apart? Be specific!

    Good for you. I don’t see how that is even relevant.

    But anyway you need to go out and read pro-ID literature as it is obvious you don’t know anything about it.

    It’s relevant because you have no reason to prefer your designer over my elf. We both have exactly the same amount of evidence on our side. None at all. Or can you tell me something unique about your designer? It’s just that it sounds silly when I say elf but you’ve got so used to “designer” it no longer sounds silly!


  21. People against ID and Creation- what is the alternative?

    Peter:

    Please provide a citation to a biologist making the claim that proteins spontaneously arise.

    So they are all IDists then. OK

    That is how ALL design detection is done- no exceptions.

    What about dFSCI. That metric appears to indicate design and it’s nothing to do with cause and effect.

    Wow, just wow. On a fishing trip?

    Peter:

    So, there’s no evidence that protiens can arise via natural processess?

    Not without the existence of other proteins. IOW your position has to start out with all the stuff that needs to be explained in the first place.

    So show us this protein arising without a living organism and other proteins.


  22. That’s just obtuse. Erosion does not produce the same type of bridge that humans do.

    Perhaps you can settle this objectively then.

    People have. Obviously you have issues though.

    Could you calculate the FSCI for a naturally eroded bridge and a man-made bridge?

    Wrong tool for the job. {snip }

    Some bridges can be accounted for by stochastic processes. Therefore according to you no bridges are designed?

    {snip OT DLH}

    Tell me, what “type” of bridge is a naturally created (eroded) bridge and what “type” of bridge is man-made? What factor can be used, each and every time, to tell these two bridges apart? Be specific!

    Counterflow, ie signs of work.

    It’s relevant because you have no reason to prefer your designer over my elf.

    {snip – cut the abuse} I don’t have a preference and and totally OK with being a descedent of an acient astronaut- as in we are the remains of interplanetary colonists.

  23. Peter,

    Science tells us that in the absence of direct observation or designer input, the only possible way to make any scientific determination about the designer(s) or specific processes used is by studying the design and all other evidence left behind.

    That is exactly how it works in all those fields.

    Again cause and effect relationships in accordance with Newton’s First Rule- you seem to not know how science operates.

    Typical.

    Why do I have to go there? I need to look up close, for signs of counterflow. However I am sure that is all in good hands.

  24. As has been said over and over again- yes I know that Dembski once dissed it- the explanatory filter is a process that forces any investigator to adhere to Newton’s First rule. And it is also a process that would help us answer one of science’s three basic questions- “How did it come to be this way/ the way it is?”.

  25. Joe, you are confused.

    If you assume that we need to tell design from non-design, then you are admitting that natural selection (and other evolutionary principles) are effective designers.

    This negates the entire ID argument, because there is not “I” in anything that is required by “ID”. Evolution would be a perfectly valid designer if this is this case.

    So, if you really would like to go down this road, then you are defeating the entire ID presupposition. If you don’t want to go down this road, then you don’t have an argument.

    Remember Joe (as Peter pointed out), only CREATIONISTS are assuming that EVERYTHING is random. Scientists, on the other hand, only think parts are random and the rest is selection.

  26. Perhaps you can settle this objectively then.

    People have. Obviously you have issues though.

    SHOW US!!!!!

    This is the same thing we’ve been asking you for years Joe (and all IDists). Quit telling us it’s been done and show us it has.

    Where was it done?
    Who did it?
    When?
    Where was it published?

  27. All this is very interesting. But the initial question remains.

    Can ID principles tell the difference between a designed thing and a non-designed thing of the same size and class?

    If not, then how can anyone draw any conclusions about things that were designed vs. evolved?

    Don’t answer the second question unless you can answer the first one. Once you can use an ID principle (and show your work) to successfully distinguish between random and designed, then we can start a discussion about evolved vs. designed. It would be easy to give you guys that challenge as well (there are designed genes and genes we know evolved*).

    But, I’m giving you an easy test of ID first.

    All you have to do is use ID principles to tell us if this sequence is designed or random. Use whatever ID tools you like.

    Here it is:

    0111010000110110010101110101000001001001011000110111101001011010010101
    0001000101010101100100110100110101010100110100010001011000001011100010
    0000001000000101000101100100001101000111011100100000011100110111000100
    1110000101010000110001001000000101001101100111011000100100111000100000
    0111101001000100011100000111011000110000011011100010000001101001010101
    00010011000110100100110011001000000100000101001101010100110011001001010
    00001101011001110010111010001100101001100100101010000100000001101000100
    01000110010001100011001000000110001001101010001101000010000001010100011
    11000001000000100110000110011010100010011010100110010010101110011011101
    110011001000000011100100110011011101000010000001000011001110000111010000
    111001011110100101001001101110001000000100000101000001010110100110100100
    1000000011000001001011011000100100110001000110011011100101001000100000011
    010110110011001000010010000010010000001001110001100010111010100100000011
    0101101000111001000000100111101111001010101100011100001111010010101000010
    1011011100000010000000110100011110010110111100100000011011100111001000110
    00101010010011011110100010001100001010010110011010101010010001100000010111
    00010000000100000011001110111010101010000011100010101010101111000010011010
    0100000011101100100100101110100011011000010000000110100001010110110111101
    00100001101000001000000110100001100101001010110110111001101101001110000110
    11100100111001110111001000000110011001101000011110000101100101110011010011
    110111010001001000001101100010000000111001011101100101010101000111001100010
    111010001001001010101110101100100110110010101000100111101100010001000000110
    111101011010010000100110111100111001001000000100010000110100011011010110111
    000100000010010000010111101101011001000000110001101101010011110010111011001
    001011001000000111001001011010001101110010000001001000010010000111100001101
    100001000000111001001001001001100010111000101010110010010010010111100100000
    0100000100110100010101100010000001000101001101100111000101001000001010110101
    0111010010110110110101100101011010000010000001100110011101000100011000100111
    0111001000101111001000000100010001010000010100100011000101001101011011100010
    1011011101010110010000110001010100010010000001011000011100000100100000100000
    0101010101110001001101110111001001101100010010000111100000101100001000000101
    01010110110000110101011001010100001000100000001110000110001000101011001100100
    0100000011000010110001101001011011011000100010000100000001101100100011001010
    10101001011010001010101010001001100010100100110100001000011011010110110110001
    11010100100000011001010110001101111000011100010110101101000011011001000100011
    000111001001101110010000001100100001101100110011001000101010110000010000000110
    100001110000101011001000101010000100101001001100101001000000101011101100110011
    110100101011101011001010010110101011101111001001011100000110100001010000011010
    000101000111001011101110101011001100100001000000011001100110100011000100110101
    000101100001000000110010001100100010010000010000000111000011101110111010101001
    011011110100101100101000010010100100110100101001011011101100010000001110011010
    110000100101001001001001000000011001000101111010100110011000001010011001000000
    1001110011110000110100000110101001100100111011000100000010010010110001101110010
    0010000001010001011101010010111101110110011010000100010000110001001000000101100
    0010110000100111100110001001000000100110101111001011010100111101000111001011001
    1001110000001000000011100001001000010110100101100100100000001100000011100101010
    0010011001001010001001000000111100101001111011001010100011101001010010100010010
    0000001110000100111001101011001101010111101001011001010000100111000000100000011
    01101011100010011000001010001011100000100001101100010010011000011010001010001001
    1000100101100001000000111000001100010011110100010000001001101001011110101011100
    1000000011000101001101011001110010111100110011010100110100010101010101011100100
    01101000111011000100000010001010011100001010010001000000100111101111000011001110
    10110010010000001100100011001000111001000101111001000000101101000110110010010000
    10110010110111000110110010011100010000001100010011010100100111100100000011000010
    111000101000001010001110100111100100000010010000011001001110101010010000101001100
    10000000110001010010000110010001101100001000000101010001101111001100110101001000
    1100110010000001010110011000110011100001110011011110010010000001101000010100010100
    110100110000001000000111011001011000001101000101101001100111001011110010000001101
    100011000100011000100100000010100100110101000110101010000100010000000110101010010
    110110101000100000011001110101100101000010011000110110111000110001010101010100100
    001000110010101010011010000110110001000000100111001001000011001000010000001010100
    011010010010101101000111001000000101000000110011010110010011010101000001011001100
    0101110

    Now, You will all say that we can’t know whether it was designed or random without knowing what it does or who did it or “how did it come to be this way”?

    You know what it does. Convey information (yes, information, not meaning).

    You know who did it. Me.

    How did it come to be this way? Well, that’s the whole question isn’t it. The entire point of ID (according to Joe) is to make that determination. So, how did this sequence of numbers come about… was it random coin flips resulting in a random sequence of bits? Is it merely a conversion of some data into binary? Use the tools of ID to tell us.

    *How do we know? Because every step was observed and documented… no designer was involved, yet the sequence changed in a fundamental way.

  28. 28

    Joe,

    So they are all IDists then.

    If by spontaneously you mean naturally then all IDists are Darwinists.

    That is how ALL design detection is done- no exceptions.

    What, design is ascribed to a being we know nothing about?

    Is it? Really?

    Wow, just wow. On a fishing trip?

    I’m not sure what you mean. I’ve seen several references to it’s use as a reliable metric to determine design in the last few dozen comments alone.

    Not without the existence of other proteins.

    So proteins require proteins to exist before they can exist?

    Ok….

    IOW your position has to start out with all the stuff that needs to be explained in the first place.

    Ah, I see. Your position is that until the origin of life is explained nothing else can be?

    Ok….

    So show us this protein arising without a living organism and other proteins.

    No, Joe, that’s your claim. Your position is that a protein can be created for a specific purpose directly without a living organism and other proteins.

  29. 29

    Joe,

    Erosion does not produce the same type of bridge that humans do.

    Tell me how I can reliably determine bridges created by erosion from bridges created by humans.

    What is the general case?

    According to your twisted mind, maybe. Each case is treated differently.

    Can you give me an example of two bridges and how you would determine one is designed and one is not?

    Counterflow, ie signs of work.

    Please include that in your example!

    I don’t have a preference and and totally OK with being a descedent of an acient astronaut- as in we are the remains of interplanetary colonists.

    Huh? Given the fossil record we observe it’s an unlikely coincidence they arrived here just as the local life evolved into exactly the same species as those aliens.

    Why would you prefer to believe in aliens colonizing the earth, a position with no evidence at all to support it, rather then in one in which even a single piece of evidence should swing your opinion in it’s favor, as the other has nothing to support it.

    Yet you consistently spout the alternative.

    And I thought you’d “follow the evidence”!

    Are you perhaps a scientologist?

  30. 30

    Joe,

    only possible way to make any scientific determination about the designer(s) or specific processes used is by studying the design and all other evidence left behind.

    And what have you discovered so far?

    However I am sure that is all in good hands.

    On what specifically do you base that? Is blind belief that it is good enough for you? Personally I require a little more then that if I’m going to go around trying to sell that line to people.

    When are you expecting the first ‘scientific determination about the designer(s) or specific processes used’ to be published?

    5 years?

    10 years?

    Dembski has just noted it probably wont happen in his lifetime in a recent interview I read here. Some goal.

  31. 31

    Joe,
    Would it be possible for you to give a demonstration of the Explanatory filter?

    Perhaps you could use bridges? Natural(eroded) and man-made? Run an example of both through it and *show* you working!

    Alternatively perhaps you could give a fully worked example of the explanatory filter for something else? Take your pick.

    I’m interested to see the inner working of the legendary EF.

    If *any investigator* uses it then that should not be a problem!

  32. 32

    Joe,
    So who do you assume the designer is? You noted that in all the “design detection” examples you gave we start off assuming the designer is a human.

    They can assume human but that is about it until they start investigating and gathering data.

    So you’ve been investigating and gathering data for some time now. Do you have a reason to assume a designer other then human at this point?

  33. Peter,

    Obviously you are confused and have no idea what ID is about.

    Strange that you and your ilk can say that evolution and abiogenesis are separate, even though evolution is dependent on how life arose, and yet you act like little children when IDists say that the detection and study of design, ie ID, is separte from the designer(s) and processes.

    You should just focus on your lame position because it is your failure that has allowed ID to stay around.

  34. Kevin,

    The confusion is all yours.

    Darwin is the one that said natural selection is a design mimic and evos have been repeating that unsupported nonsense ever since.

    Also you can’t grasp the fact that ID is not anti-evolution- so you have some mental issues there.

    Also “selection” isn’t- you are sadly and pathetically mistaken. natural selection is merely a result- it is differential reproduction due to heritable variation. It has never been observed to design anything.

    To sum up, Kevin, your position thinks it can determine design from non-design and says it has done so, albeit without any evidence.

  35. Peter:

    If by spontaneously you mean naturally then all IDists are Darwinists.

    And you are clueless.

    So proteins require proteins to exist before they can exist?

    that is what the evidence says.

    Ah, I see. Your position is that until the origin of life is explained nothing else can be?

    Clueless, as I said. No Peter, it is just that if the ooL was a design event then the safe bet is organisms were designed to evolve.


    So show us this protein arising without a living organism and other proteins.

    No, Joe, that’s your claim.

    Your position requires it.

  36. Kevin,

    If you don’t know how to tell a manmade bridge from an act of erosion perhaps you shouldn’t be discussing science.

  37. Kevin,

    As I have already told you yours is a strawman.

    It has NOTHING to do with what ID is about.
    {snip – cut the at hominem. DLH}

  38. Peter,

    I am not uinterested in discussing this with you.

    Ya see if your position had any evidence, any at all, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    So go focus on your position.

  39. Peter,

    How do you think scientists do it? That is how do they determine a cause?

  40. There is evidence for ancient astronauts. More evidence for taht then your position has! :razz:

  41. 41

    Joe,

    Strange that you and your ilk can say that evolution and abiogenesis are separate, even though evolution is dependent on how life arose, and yet you act like little children when IDists say that the detection and study of design, ie ID, is separte from the designer(s) and processes.

    So evolution and abiogenesis are separate as evolution is dependent on how life arose but the designer and the design are separate?

    How very convenient! But why?

  42. 42

    Joe,
    What position is that? I’m asking *you* about claims *you* are making about *ID* on an *ID* blog.

    And as yet all you’ve shown is a great belief in ID but no particular reason for it. And then abuse.

    So I’d offer your own advice right back at you. Go focus on your position!

  43. 43

    This is a blog about ID. When I ask you about ID you get evasive and eventually abusive.

    And then I read your blog. And all became clear.

    Why are you so scared of clowns Joe?

  44. 44

    Joe,

    How do you think scientists do it?

    I’ve never heard a scientist mention the EF.

    That is how do they determine a cause?

    I’ve never heard a scientist determine a cause to be an entity we cannot investigate.

    You have determined the cause of life to be an entity that we cannot investigate, as ID only investigates the design and not the designer. As you have said several times already.

    So what’s left to determine? You know it all now.

    I prefer a theory that investigates both the design and the designer.

    Evolution is the designer you are looking for Joe! You have just been repressing it all these years! Perhaps it’s those chemicals you’ve been drinking (I’ve read your blog!)

  45. There are two possibilities here.

    1) You didn’t actually read what I wrote, which explains why this is merely the first step in a scientific investigation of ID claims.

    2) You can’t actually do it.

    Joe, if something is designed, the opposite of ‘designed’ is ‘not-designed’. Since ID proponents (including yourself) have declared that everything from termite mounds to DNA to every lab experiment ever done (and ever will be done) are designed, then the only possible null hypothesis is pure randomness.

    Therefore, this simple test is directly relevant to the design hypothesis. If you can’t distinguish between design and not-design, then your entire proposition falls apart.

  46. Ah, classic Joe. When you can’t answer a question, throw the old “if your position had any evidence”.

    According to the AtBC timelog, then I posted this exact quote 1 hour before you posted it here as a prediction of your behavior.

    I’m not attacking you here, I’m just pointing out an observable pattern of behavior.

    All we’re doing is asking you to present the evidence you have claimed to have. What’s the harm in that?

  47. What is this evidence?
    Where is it?
    Who published it?
    When?

    You keep saying you have evidence for things, but you never actually publish it or link to it? Why?

  48. Ogre

    you printed lots of marks and spaces above , to use old terminology.
    What point are you trying to make?

  49. H’mm:

    Ignoring the many side tracks above, this is a very interesting case. One obviously more akin to Stonehenge than to the Giant’s causeway. 15 – 20 ft ditches, in geometrically defined structures 100′s of metres across plainly bespeaks intelligence as the best explanation. So strong is this, that it is those who would propose a natural mechanism of chance and necessity capable of this, who would have to produce a very solid answer, especially in an area where there is just earth there, no big stones.

    One of the linked articles has a fascinating discussion, one that is worth it for its own value, and for how it underscores just how provisional scientific reconstructions of the remote and unrecorded past — hint, hint . . . — are:

    The geoglyphs in Acre were made by digging ditches into the earth to create shapes like circles, squares, and diamonds. They are outlined by ditches up to 20 feet deep and range from 300 to 1,000 feet in diameter.

    It was only after Severino and others arrived here and began clearing the land for agriculture and pasture that people began to see the geoglyphs, which had been hidden by the dense rain forest . . . .

    there are more than 300 geoglyphs in Acre, with more discovered every day in the surrounding region.

    I went to get to know the geoglyphs with professor Alceu Ranzi, from the Federal University of Acre, who has studied the geoglyphs for more than 30 years. He thinks they date from around 1200 AD.

    While many questions remain as to who made these earthworks and why, their discovery forces us to question some of the most basic assumptions we have about the history of the Amazon basin and its inhabitants.

    When most people think about the Amazon before the arrival of European explorers (and even today), we envision nomadic bands of indigenous tribes living off the forest. After all, where are the enduring testaments to an advanced civilization, such as the Mayan temples in Mexico or the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru?

    The geoglyphs challenge this vision of an unsettled and ageless Amazon rain forest. Small bands of nomads would have been spending much of their time and effort securing food and shelter; they would not have had resources to devote to building such massive structures. Such an undertaking requires a large, organized population with a sizable work force with a steady supply of food, characteristics of an advanced civilization.

    They also show, Ranzi says, that this area, which is now Amazon rain forest, was a different sort of ecosystem in the not so distant past. It would have been nearly impossible to clear the large areas of forest to make these massive earthworks without steel or stone tools. These materials were not available in the Western Amazon, leading Ranzi to believe that “the forest was much smaller or was a sort of savanna.”

    The lack of stone is interesting to note for another reason: The awe-inspiring works of the Mayans and Incas are still intact today because they were made with stone, a long-lasting building material.

    Those structures are also well-preserved thanks to their locations in dryer or cooler climates. In this part of the Western Amazon, however, there is no stone, and everything but the earth itself is quickly worn down by the rains, humidity and heat, as well as the ravenous insects, animals, and fungi that immediately go to work eating any mention of human existence, aside from pottery shards.

    In this challenging context, researchers must search for other ways to understand the past.

    I went out with Ranzi and American researcher William Balee to a geoglyph in the middle of the forest. We made square transects of about 50 feet by 50 feet in the middle of the geoglyph. The team will catalog all of the trees in each transect to see if there are some species that would indicate that people used to live there.

    Balee, who is an expert in the ways humans alter their environment, knows how to identify an astounding variety of plants in the forest, and is able to discern the plants associated with human habitation — both those that people plant and those that come after a settlement has been abandoned.

    Although we often think of the forest, especially the Amazon rain forest, as a place devoid of human intervention, Balee is able to see the forest as a landscape that has been constructed not only by nature, but also by years of conscious management and use.

    The geoglyphs of Acre bring up more questions than answers, but Ranzi and his colleagues are confident they are on the right track with these sorts of new techniques.

    In the meantime, the mysterious geoglyphs force us to question not only how long the Amazon rain forest has been a true forest, but also our image of the wandering Indian searching the forest for food.

    When Portuguese and Spanish explorers pushed to the center of the Amazon long after encountering Indians along the coast and main rivers, they often encountered small groups of Indians. They did not know that their European diseases had preceded them throughout the region, wiping out the majority of the Indians, who had no immunity, before they even arrived. They encountered the decimated survivors on the run, not a civilization at its apex.

    The rain forest quickly consumed and covered the physical remnants of indigenous society, which were made from wood and other biodegradable materials. The soil upon which they lived and fashioned into geoglyphs is one of the few vestiges of these Pre-Colombian civilizations.

    The estimate of the indigenous population of the Amazon basin, once thought to be mostly uninhabited, is now generally accepted to have been in the millions. It is hard to imagine large cities of native people living on open savanna that has now become a sparsely populated forest, but this is one of many possible depictions of the past . . .

    If the forest succession and erosion etc point to 1200 AD or so, that is only a few hundred years before the explorers came by.

    How transient and fading is glory!

    And, how easily lost and then dismissed is the real history; when it does not fit our prejudices.

    Oh yes, Newton’s famous rules of reasoning in [presumably, Natural] Philosophy, from Principia (Joe you need to give links, tut, tut . . . ), commentary by Wiki:

    Perhaps to reduce the risk of public misunderstanding, Newton included at the beginning of Book 3 (in the second (1713) and third (1726) editions) a section entitled “Rules of Reasoning in Philosophy”. In the four rules, as they came finally to stand in the 1726 edition, Newton effectively offers a methodology for handling unknown phenomena in nature and reaching towards explanations for them. The four Rules of the 1726 edition run as follows (omitting some explanatory comments that follow each):


    Rule 1: We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.

    Rule 2: Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.

    Rule 3: The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.

    Rule 4: In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, not withstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.

    This section of Rules for philosophy is followed by a listing of ‘Phenomena’, in which are listed a number of mainly astronomical observations, that Newton used as the basis for inferences later on, as if adopting a consensus set of facts from the astronomers of his time . . . .

    it appears that Newton wanted by the later headings ‘Rules’ and ‘Phenomena’ to clarify for his readers his view of the roles to be played by these various statements.

    In the third (1726) edition of the Principia, Newton explains each rule in an alternative way and/or gives an example to back up what the rule is claiming. The first rule is explained as a philosophers’ principle of economy. The second rule states that if one cause is assigned to a natural effect, then the same cause so far as possible must be assigned to natural effects of the same kind: for example respiration in humans and in animals, fires in the home and in the Sun, or the reflection of light whether it occurs terrestrially or from the planets. An extensive explanation is given of the third rule, concerning the qualities of bodies, and Newton discusses here the generalization of observational results, with a caution against making up fancies contrary to experiments, and use of the rules to illustrate the observation of gravity and space.

    Isaac Newton’s statement of the four rules revolutionized the investigation of phenomena. With these rules, Newton could in principle begin to address all of the world’s present unsolved mysteries. He was able to use his new analytical method to replace that of Aristotle, and he was able to use his method to tweak and update Galileo’s experimental method. The re-creation of Galileo’s method has never been significantly changed and in its substance, scientists use it today.

    The first rule is a rule that proposed causes must be adequate and economical. This can easily be extended form the world of specifically natural phenomena to empirical phenomena, that include the possibilities of cause by intelligences acting by art, such as Plato discussed.

    Now, these geoglyphs are comparable in scope to small streambeds or gullies, i.e. there is a source of energy and motive power in nature sufficient to cause a 15 – 20 ft deep ditch, with lengths on this scale or longer. But, this leaves out the gap between natural stream courses and the like, and the specific patterns involved here.

    Obviously, no direct digital code is involved, but we are dealing with a nodes and arcs 3-d framework. Constancy of cross section, sustaining of a path specified by a figure such as a circle, etc, are all relevant. In effect, a natural gully will not maintain a steady cross section, on the scale of a few metres, and it will normally deviate in the usal meandering zig-zag way. So, we can fairly easily specifiy a metre-scale mesh, and define a certain resolution that is acceptable, then use the structured yes/no questions to distinguish a natural streambed or the like, from a dry or wet ditch.

    That gives us an information metric, that will estimate the information implied by the structures. For the scope of entities we are looking at, this easily exceeds 500 bits, and we have clear functional specification: fitting geometrical images that are known to appeal to intelligences. A calculation could be done, but we do not have enough details on the cross section. But to sustain a circular path, metre by metre for something 100 m across, is going to already be 300 Y/N decisions, plus a further set of decisions as to the trajectory taken. Well beyond 500 bits, if even we think of taking eight possible tracks per metre for the onward path, i.e 4 bits per nodal point, and over 300 nodal points. 1200 bits, minimum, on just the circular track. Ciruclarity, i.e. a tight specification, so this is specified, the dummy variable goes to 1.

    In short, even a simple calculation on nodes and arcs will strongly support the intuitive inference, design. (BTW, this is similar to how we would make a decision as to whether if there had actually been a network of ditches on Mars like this, that would have pointed to a Martian civilisation.)

    So, we see Chi_500 = [1200*1] – 500 = 700 bits beyond the solar system threshold.

    Design.

    And, inferred from the artifact, not from a priori knowledge of designers in situ.

    THAT TWEREDUN IS REASONABLY SETTLED.

    What about whodunit?

    Ditches of the scope are feasible for a reasonably settled and sustained agricultural community with hundreds to thousands of people, whether for military or ritual reasons or whatever. (Remember,the trenches of WW I ran for 400 miles and were hand dug.)

    So, we have an adequate and credibly effective cause: the people whose descendants and survivors still live in the general area. let’s hope there can be enough found to identify the civilisation further. The reconstruction of its history must be a fascinating endeavour.

    But also, the hitherto unexpected discovery of a large scale civilisation in a region long thought to be virgin forest, is fascinating. And, BTW, I gather that similar ditches are in the eastern end of Amazonia too, forming canals.

    I trust the sort of mocking undertone and subtext in many of the anti-design comments above, will be surrendered. And, I trust a little more respect will be had for the ways in which we can infer the information content and specificity of an object.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  50. Peter:

    Perhaps you can settle this objectively then.

    Could you calculate the FSCI for a naturally eroded bridge and a man-made bridge?

    You can choose which ones.

    Joe:

    People have. Obviously you have issues though.

    What people?
    Where is the FSCI calculation published?
    Is it on the internet or in a book (or both)?
    Give us a link or a page number and title…

    or you can admit that no one has ever actually calculated FSCI and other ID buzzword.

    I predict that you will do neither. But feel free to show that I’m wrong.

  51. Kevin,

    Geologists and archaeologists can tell the difference. And FSCI would be the wrong tool to use-{snip}

  52. So, {GEM}

    the string of numbers I published (a hair over 500 bits) is designed. Is that correct?

    Question, why 500 bits? Is a system with 500 bits designed and one with 499 non-designed? Why?

    What is the probability for those 500 bits to be exactly setup the way they are in my challenge?
    ——————
    OgreMk5 – GEM has asked that his name not be posted. Honor it! DLH

  53. Geez given what you accept as evidence for your position- but I will help you.

  54. Peter:

    I’ve never heard a scientist mention the EF.

    Again what other process forces you to adhere to Newton’s First Rule? They don’t need to call it by name but it is what it is. And obvioulsy it is the only game in town.

    I’ve never heard a scientist determine a cause to be an entity we cannot investigate.

    We can’t investigate the designers of Stonehenge. We can only assume they were human. We can’t investigate the designers of the Antikythera mechanism.

    You know how we know someone had the capability to design them? Because they were left behind for us to study.

    You have determined the cause of life to be an entity that we cannot investigate, as ID only investigates the design and not the designer. As you have said several times already.

    So what’s left to determine? You know it all now.

    Wow, just wow. Just because ID doesn’t care about the designer doesn’t mean the designer is out of bounds. That is what other research may hope to determine- all that stuff that ID doesn’t cover.

    We study the design to uncover all its secrets- geez it’s as if you have never investigated anything in your life.

    Also ID is not anti-evolution- your equivocation is duly noted.

  55. Kevin,
    {snip} Your test is irrelevant for the same reasons I have already told you and you have ignored-

    1) It is based on a strawman

    2) CONTEXT as in if someone went into a cave and saw both of your patterns carved into the wall it would be an indicator that some agency was there and did it

    THAT is what it is about- when is agency required and when can nature, operating freely, account for it.

    And BTW stop with your lies as I have never claimed that everything from termite mounds to DNA to every lab experiment ever done (and ever will be done) are designed

    termite mounds- yes- obviously they are the product of termites, duh. DNA? Not all DNA has to be designed and as for the experiments, well again you just pulled that from your strawman.

  56. Kevin,

    I and others have produced plenty of evidence in support of ID. All you do is choke and say “That thar ain’t no evidence!”

    And yes it is true- the design infernec goes THROUGH your position- Newton’s First Rule and all. I thought you knew something about science?

  57. Peter,

    You are asking me questions that are irreleavant to the discussion and are personal in nature.

    I don’t know you well enough.

    And if you have read my blog then you would know that I have presented plenty of reasoning for my acceptance of ID. And taht includes seeing and understanding the total failure of your position.

    What is your position? As far as I can tell yours is the position of a belligerent howler.

  58. Ogre:

    For excellent reason, I have asked that my actual names not be used in internet discussions. There are denizens and hangers on at a certain hate site and a penubra of enabling sites who keep on violating a very simple request; obviously wishing to do harm.

    I ask you to cease and desist.

    If you cannot have enough respect to do so, then there is nothing to discuss.

    Good night.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: If you genuinely want to find out the whys and wherefores of the design inference [instead of playing at outing games], you may want to start here on, as those who are serious could easily enough find out, including a discussion of the 500 bit solar system threshold; the solar system being the practical universe for us for chemical interactions. In case you don’t know, the threshold is very conservative, as 98% of the mass of our solar system is locked up in the dynamics of the sun. So, rabbit trail side tracks on well what about 498 or 501 bits are utterly irrelevant.

  59. Ah well, since Joe is doing the same thing to me in this very thread and you didn’t jump on him, I assumed that was acceptable behavior.

    I will refrain if you will also censure JoeG. Thanks.

    From your link:

    xxiii: And, this raises the controversial question that biological examples such as DNA — which in a living cell is much more complex than 500 bits — may be designed to carry out particular functions in the cell and the wider organism.

    That “may” is a pretty big qualifier there. But that’s not really important here. The important bit is that le’s say we have a piece of totally random bits (1s and 0s) that totals to exactly 500. Then, let’s say that we have a phrase about 90 words long. Let’s further say that we specifically design that phrase to have exactly 500 bits and then convert it to binary.

    If we run ANY calculations on those two strings of bits. We will get exactly the same answer (+- 2% for sampling, it’s not a very big sample).

    So, the implication here is that anything over 500 bits is designed, even if it is pure randomness.

    I’ll just continue using the solar system example from your link…

    I quote

    But 10^150 possibilities is 10^48 times as much as that, so our solar system could not search out more than a negligible fraction of 10^150 possibilities. Where, we can see that a string of 500 bits has 2^ 500 = 3.27*10^150 possible configurations. For just 500 bits [[~ 72 ASCII characters], on the gamut of our solar system, there is just too much haystack to reasonably expect to find the proverbial lost needle.

    This makes way too many poor assumptions. The first, and obviously wrong is that each atom is equivalent to one bit of information. That’s totally bogus. I’m willing to bet you couldn’t adequately describe a single atom in less than 500 bits. You would need to describe present position in three dimensions (with additional figures for uncertainty), reference frame, motion in three dimensions (with additional figures for uncertainty, type of atom, state of atom (ionization, excited electrons, etc) and you’re still leaving a lot out.

    All that isn’t even considering that information is not comparable to atoms.

    So, we have basically a false equivalency which is pretty meaningless to the real world.

    But let’s take it a step further, because there is another fundamental mistake made on in that link.

    It’s very simple. The things being described ARE NOT RANDOMLY ASSEMBLED. That’s a major problem.

    Sure, you could easily designate a protein sequence of more than 500 bits and throw a bunch of aminos into a vat and wait for the sequence you designated to appear. I don’t think that there is a scientist on the planet that would disagree that it is effectively impossible. Heck, it’s even very likely that your designated sequence is impossible. There are a variety of chemical and physical restrictions on amino acid assembly.

    But what about the protein sequence that makes the A blood antigen in my blood cells? Did that just randomly assemble from a vat of amino acids? Of course, not. That protein was assembled by several molecular systems, the instructions for both the assembly systems and the protein came from my DNA which is, except for a miniscule percentage of random mutations, exactly the same as my parent who also had the ‘A’ allele.

    That all being said, those miniscule mutations can have dramatic effects on expressed traits as can be shown by any number of peer-reviewed articles.

    In conclusion:
    1) You need to hold all visitors to the same standards.
    2) The details of the linked article do not hold up to the simplest scrutiny.
    3) It’s all based on a fundamental mistake anyway.

    Tell me GEM (or Joe), what is the shortest RNA strand that is known to have catalytic functions?

  60. Thanks Kairosfocus for your excellent introduction.

    As a reminder, on natural vs human causes:

    The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.

    So the issue on ID is whether these geometric features in the Amazon forests are best explained by an intelligent cause or by an undirected natural process. Readers should refresh themselves on the Explanatory Filter.

    First does a key aspect of the object have a law-like natural regularity?
    kirosfocus mentions the Giant’s Causeway which has the appearance of a system of geometric objects. See:
    Mystery Of Hexagonal Column Formations Such As Giant’s Causeway Solved With Kitchen Materials

    ” . . .thesis project of PhD student Lucas Goehring. Cooling lava sometimes forms strange column-shaped formations with a remarkable degree of order.”

    So though they are geometric, a natural explanation based on well known scientific principles has been provided.

    By comparison, Stonehenge in Britain is a large scale circular collection of very large stones.

    In its first phase, Stonehenge was a large earthwork; a bank and ditch arrangement called a henge, constructed approximately 5,000 years ago. It is believed that the ditch was dug with tools made from the antlers of red deer and, possibly, wood. The underlying chalk was loosened with picks and shoveled with the shoulderblades of cattle. It was then loaded into baskets and carried away. Modern experiments have shown that these tools were more than equal to the great task of earth digging

    The large Amazonian circles and other large geometric artifacts have no known natural causes. Rather, similar human excavation is known from other archeological excavations where artifacts have been discovered corresponding to known human activities.

    Natural water flows are known to form erosion networks with measurable properties. e.g. see: Spatial structures of stream and hillslope drainage
    networks following gully erosion after wildfire

    The explosion of Mt. St. Helens in 1980 resulted in rapid deposition damming a lake followed by a catastrophic breach of the dam and resultant rapid formation of a canyon.
    RAPID EROSION AT MOUNT ST. HELENS
    Natural water flows are understood. However there are no ways known for natural water flows to form large circles.

    The next issue is whether the object exhibits “complex specified information.”
    In this case, we have a circle that can nominally be defined by a few parameters:
    X, Y location of the origin, and the radius. In these excavations, the cross section of the perimeter adds further parameters e.g. a trapezoid with depth, width at base and width at the surface.

    The next test is whether this could have been made by chance?
    kirosfocus provides the interesting insight of breaking the design down into an assemblage of components with decisions being made for each one. On that basis, it has much greater CSI than initially considered.

    For those wondering about the 500 bits, see the discussion at:
    Is the CSI concept well-founded mathematically, and can it be applied to the real world, giving real and useful numbers?

  61. Peter
    re

    I’ve never heard a scientist determine a cause to be an entity we cannot investigate.

    That happens all the time in forensics, arson investigations, cold case files etc. There is often evidence for an un-natural cause that shows that an arson or murder etc has occurred.
    However, there are numerous unsolved cases where the agent remains unknown.

  62. Peter Griffin

    Can you give me an example of two bridges and how you would determine one is designed and one is not?

    Try applying the Explanatory Filter

    See: Definition: A natural arch, bridge or tunnel

    is a void beneath still standing bedrock, usually of short extent, and allowing human passage from one end to the other, at least part of the time.

    A natural arch is an arch of rock formed by erosion (weathering).
    A natural bridge a bridge of rock spanning a ravine or valley and formed by erosion.
    A tunnel is a nearly horizontal cave open at both ends, fairly straight and uniform in cross-section.

    The principles are well known and obvious to those who study them. See the Natural Arch and Bridge Society.

    The principles of engineering bridges are also well known and examples of applying those principles are well recognized.
    Compare: Images Bridges
    with
    Images Natural Bridges

    Can you detect which bridges are natural and which engineered?
    Perhaps you can begin by “counting the ways” and the reasons by which you can tell the differences.

    Test: By inspection, can you tell the difference? Examine this bridge
    Is it a product of natural law? or does it exhibit evidence of engineering?

  63. Unsolved in the sense thar the perplex might be a ghost, or an alien, or Satan?

    I think you mean that the specific human is unknown.

    But we know some things about criminals. We can distinguish between human and animal attacks. We know a lot about the capabilities and motives of each.

    What makes ID distinctive is the complete lack of attributes assignable to the designer and the complete lack of theories of how design might be done. No one has demonstrated that biological molecules can be designed without using evolution.

  64. Ogre:

    Threadjack, compounding outing behaviour that you plainly try to “justify.” You have used up your welcome.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

    And, BTW, I am not the troll mod so I don’t follow every post, Joe does seem to be slipping again on language coarseness, and needs to clean up. As tot he attempt to dismiss the 500 bit limit, it simply refuses to acknowledge that this is saying, what is the upper limit for possible changes in an atomic system of 10^57 atoms? (And 1,000 bits carries that to A SYSTEM OF 10^80 ATOMS. That refusal to think responsibly is diagnostic; understand that I am through with such.)

    Nor, do you seem willing to see that say a living cell is a system that at its heart has in it 100,000+ bits of information as a lower end estimate.

    All of this shows that the purpose of your talking points is to play rhetorical games, not to responsibly seek the truth. (Such as, your bit string, if functionally specific, would probably be beyond the limit [I am not bothering to count, as it is obviously not serious], but the issue is not whether the design inference can catch any and all cases of design, but if when the filter does rule design, it does so reliably, which it plainly does, the case of the geoglyphs in Amazonia being yet another case in point. That conservative approach is enough to ground a scientific revolution you are so desperate to resist by all means, fair or foul.)

    Game over.

  65. DLH, thanks. KF

  66. DLH Nice post!(12.2)

    That said, I think it was Peter who said this:

    “with Newton’s First Rule all design inferences can be refuted just by demonstrating stochastic processes can account for the thing being investigated.”

    I am inclined to agree with him, but I think this is where the evolution story falls apart. You cannot demonstrate that stochastic processes can account for life, for the information in the cell, for the origin of the big bang(if there ever really was one), or even for transitions from one kind of animal to another that require multiple mutations/changes all the same time in order for the new animal to be able to survive. One example would be the transition from the dinosaur lung to the avian lung.

    Oh sure, there are a lot of guesses out there as well as just so stories. Some even claim the theory works on the computer, but it has not been demonstrated apart from lots of little changes within groups of animals. Plus, by far, most of the documented changes are ones in which there is a loss of genetic information or a resurrection of previous traits that went dormant or still existed in the genome of some of the population. There should be trillions of changes like this and they should be easy to identify, yet how many do we know of? Very few I’m sure, if any at all. The hard evidence just isn’t there.

  67. DLH:

    Very nice.

    I add that in the IOSE I have taken up the concept of a nodes and arcs mesh as a way to look at 3-d structures, Wicken wiring diagrams, etc. (Cf section d here of the introsumm, esp. the discussion surrounding figs I.2 and I.3. Notice, I am strongly suggesting that the integrated metabolic network of chemical reaction flows in the cell is designed. If you have not yet seen it, expand the full scale chart in fig I.2 (b). Amazing comparison to say a petroleum oil refinery! But this is within 20 microns or so, not acres!)

    Even a flat faced cuboidal monolith made from polycrystalline materials, has recognisable FSCO/I pointing to design. As of course is pivotal in a certain famous Sci Fi movie.

    All best

    KF

  68. TJG:

    That is where the Planck time quantum state resources of our solar system or the wider cosmos come into play. Just 500 bits worth of specified complexity is enough to effectively rule out stochastic processes as reasonably able to explain, as the max sample size to search space ratio maxes out at a skinny zero: 1 in 10^48 is only going to be credibly able to hit the BULK of the set of possibilities, if driven by blind chance as dominant force.

    That bulk of possibilities, of course, for good reason explained elsewhere, will be non-functional gibberish. (Let the naysayers show that they can think their way out of a wet paper bag to figure out why. This UD thread is still open if they are serious.)

    And, if there is a set of laws of nature out there that FORCES something like emergence of life in suitable environments, that is as strong a sign of cosmological design as you could want, especially sitting on top of the fine tuning of the cosmos that already led to the cosmological design inference.

    BTW, we know the sort of dynamics at work in say stream processes — dunes are irrelevant here — and they are pointing to a characteristic distribution of stream beds, gullies etc that points away from circles, diamonds and squares. We know that organised intelligence does do this sort of thing. We know such was feasible in the neolithic era of technology.

    We point to a way this can be expressed mathematically, and what is the response?

    Duck it, duck the huge raft of implications on what we know about history and science, and even the current climate change debates, and try to play rhetorical attack games. That tells me more and more that we are dealing with irresponsible agendas and ideologies, not those who are docile before the truth. (FYI, TWT & Anti Evo et al, docile here speaks of humble “teachableness.”)

    Let’s discuss what this discovery means for how we think about some serious things, including even how we think we can reconstruct the unobserved or unrecorded past based on traces in the present.

    I am sick of and fed up with irresponsible darwinista debate games.

    Let us free ourselves to think about what the design paradigm can allow us to do with all sorts of scientific and related fields.

    We have a revolution to build.

    Hey, let me climb off that soapbox.

    Let’s have some good clean intellectual fun, instead of letting trolls spoil the party. (I like that about, say, Watts’ climate change “skeptic” site.)

    GEM of TKI

  69. 69

    DLH,

    Try applying the Explanatory Filter

    Perhaps you could give me an example usage, as you appear to believe it’s possible to use in this situation. I don’t know how personally, but it seems that you do so please do so.

    Test: By inspection, can you tell the difference? Examine this bridge
    Is it a product of natural law? or does it exhibit evidence of engineering?

    It sounds perfect for the EF! Please demonstrate the EF with regard to determining if a given bridge is natural or man-made.

  70. 70

    DLH

    That happens all the time in forensics, arson investigations, cold case files etc. There is often evidence for an un-natural cause that shows that an arson or murder etc has occurred.
    However, there are numerous unsolved cases where the agent remains unknown.

    No, there is no evidence that ghosts murder people nor set fires.

    Yes, there is evidence that a fire occurred. And yes, there are cases where the “agent” remains unknown. But there is no example of an arson investigator going “well, we can’t investigate this any further because the agent is of an type unknown to us and we cannot investigate it any further” is there?

    Whereas with ID any questions regarding the “agent” are rejected as “ID does not investigate the designer, only the design”.

    So your arson investigation analogy fails. The specific cause of a set fire might be unknown but the fact that it was set by a physical entity is known from the start, be that entity a human or a ray of light focused through a window that starts a fire. The point is to determine which it was. And assigning blame to an unknown entity of an unknown type simply does not happen.

    When your designer starts to set fires and we determine that no material cause could have started it then perhaps your analogies will make sense, but until then, no.

  71. 71

    KF,

    Let us free ourselves to think about what the design paradigm can allow us to do with all sorts of scientific and related fields.

    We have a revolution to build.

    Please do so! Where do you intent to start? Why have you waited so long? Does this mean that you’ll be publishing in the peer reviewed literature from now on? There are plenty of pro-ID journals that would publish your work.

  72. 72

    Joe,
    Then why are you unable to produce that evidence when asked?

    E.G. do you have any evidence that ATP synthase is designed other then “cause and effect relationships”?

    Which is a claim, not evidence.

    Highly effiecient, irreducibly complex, and no way- physiochemcially to get the two subunits to come together-> there’s no attraction and no coupling.

    If you really believe you know what you are talking about then why not publish your “evidence” in a ID friendly journal?

  73. Geez Peter, the OoL and its evolution are directly linked in that if the OoL was designed then its evolution was also by design.

    And design does not depend on who the designer is.

  74. Peter, I have produced the evidence and if you don’t like the design inference wrt ATP synthase then just demonstrate that it can arise via stochastic processes.

    Oh and the evidence for its design is already in peer-reviewed journals.

    However it is note-worthy that not one evo has published how it evolved via accumulations of random mutations. But that is because no one can even produce a testable hypothesis for such a claim.

  75. Peter, stop with your ignorance already. ID does NOT prevent anyone from trying to figure out who the deigner is or how the design was implemented.

    Just because ID is not about that does not mean it is forbidden, duh.

  76. To OgreMk5-

    The point of ID is to determine whether or not agency involvememt was required to bring about the thing being investigated. That is why CONTEXT is necessary as I have tried to explain to you many times already.

  77. 77

    Joe,
    And what have you discovered so far then?

    Anything at all?

  78. 78

    Joe,

    Oh and the evidence for its design is already in peer-reviewed journals.

    Citation please.

  79. 79

    Joe,
    Yet the design depends on the designer, exclusively.

    So you want to conflate evolution with the origin of life but won’t accept the same when it’s applied to your position?

    Why?

  80. PG. Maybe it has never dawned on you that I have no interest in playing the journals game, my angle is educational mostly. And, there is now a collection of something like 50 peer reviewed items out there to show this is serious, even in the teeth of the determined opposition that does not shun to stoop to censorship and expulsion. Of course, you are being tangential with hints of subtexts, you know the precise problem that even this thread is showing. KF

  81. PG: Your string of comments just above is revealing subtexts that show the problem we are talking about. That tweredun, on empirically tested and reliable sign is a significant point, and in response to a challenge above, I have supplied a case. The matter is ignored and the next line of attack is taken up as though nothing significant happened. That is NOT due docility before evident and highly material truth. KF

  82. How does the design depend on the designer? We do not have to know the designer before we can determine design or not.

    And I don’t want to conflate them- evolution and the ooL, it is just that they cannot be separated.

    As I said the ONLY reason to infer evolution via stochastic processes is if the ooL is via stochastic processes. Logic 101

  83. Nothing I care to discuss with you.

  84. I cited the research in my blog article you read, duh.

  85. 85

    From what I’ve seen so far Joe you are not capable of actually having a discussion.

  86. Not with intellectual cowards such as yourself, anyway.

  87. 87

    Joe,
    How does evolution depend on the origin of life? We do not have to know the origin of life before we can examine evolution.

    And I don’t want to conflate them- evolution and the ooL, it is just that they cannot be separated.

    Darwin himself separated them explicitly. He explained the origin of species, not the origin of life.

    As I said the ONLY reason to infer evolution via stochastic processes is if the ooL is via stochastic processes. Logic 101

    Please tell me a *single fact* about the origin of life that ID has uncovered that Darwinism has not.

    If you can’t then I’ll stick with what we know already, logic 101.

  88. 88

    I read those papers and saw no mention of mention of “ATP was designed” or “An intelligent designer must have done this” or just “ID” or “Intelligent Design”.

    Please provide a quotation that supports your claim from those papers.

  89. 89

    Then I’m not sure how you intend to meet your goals of

    Let us free ourselves to think about what the design paradigm can allow us to do with all sorts of scientific and related fields.

    We have a revolution to build.

    Yet you won’t be able to educate anybody until your claims have been tested, like all scientific claims are tested. Saying that because it’s “education” does not give you a free pass for accuracy.

  90. 90

    Then it seems to me what you need to do is publish your work in a peer reviewed journal, and then when critics come along you can simply ask them to address your already published work and rebut that.

    This is a blog. Not a journal. You can give “cases” forever and it won’t stop the same questions being asked each and every time.

    Whereas if you published just the once you can wait until critics address that instead leaving you free to carry on with the ID research.

  91. Peter:

    Yet you won’t be able to educate anybody until your claims have been tested, like all scientific claims are tested.

    LoL! The claims of your position can’t be tested! That is the whole point…

  92. The evidence points to design, Peter. The EVIDENCE in those papers.

    Notice there isn’t anything in any peer-reviewed paper taht supports accumulations of random mutations didit.

    So by your “logic” your position has absolutely nothing.

  93. 93

    Joe,

    The evidence points to design, Peter. The EVIDENCE in those papers.

    Funny how you are the only person in the world that can see it then. I guess you are just special!

    Notice there isn’t anything in any peer-reviewed paper taht supports accumulations of random mutations didit.

    That’s because only you are making that claim. Nobody else is.

    So by your “logic” your position has absolutely nothing.

    Except the support of 99.9% of all working biologists.

  94. Wrong again Peter- many millions of people accept design and see the evidence for it in peer-review.


    Notice there isn’t anything in any peer-reviewed paper taht supports accumulations of random mutations didit.

    That’s because only you are making that claim. Nobody else is.

    The theory of evolution makes that claim Peter. What is wrong with you?

    And those biologists don’t have any evidence to support their claims.

  95. 95

    Joe,

    Wrong again Peter- many millions of people accept design and see the evidence for it in peer-review.

    Yet you can’t provide a single quote from a published paper that supports you claim that ATP is designed.

    Very telling.

    Notice there isn’t anything in any peer-reviewed paper taht supports accumulations of random mutations didit.

    That’s because nobody is making that claim.

    The theory of evolution makes that claim Peter. What is wrong with you?

    The please provide a citation.

    And those biologists don’t have any evidence to support their claims.

    Would these be the same biologists who claim that “accumulations of random mutations didit”?

    It’s funny how every single word in the paper that you claim supports ID is accurate yet those very same biologists suddenly don’t know what they are talking about with regard to how ATP came to be.

    Very strange. Can you explain why you support biologists who say what you want to hear and then claim that they have no evidence when they say what you don’t want to hear?

  96. I got it thanks. You can’t determine if something is random or not.

    How then should you even begin to determine if something is designed by humans, aliens, or God?

  97. 97

    Joe,

    Not all DNA has to be designed

    Can you give an example?

    And does this un-designed DNA have dFSCI present?

  98. So requesting equivalent behavior is threadjacking. Got it, thanks for the double standard.

    So, I asked a couple of directly relevant questions about CSI and all that stuff, but you aren’t going to answer them because you are offended.

    This is the best evidence that ID has nothing.

    If I had a new notion that had evidence (as JoeG claims) and can be used to figure out all kinds of stuff, I for one, would be telling everyone. I’d be telling random people on the street.

    But you can’t even determine if a single string is random or designed.

    Furthermore, you guys don’t even know the difference between calculations of information on a random string or a non-random string.

    Finally, you cannot explain anything about the actual calculation. As we’ve already shown, it’s meaningless because of the strawman you guys have erected.

    It is indeed a good day.

  99. 99

    Joe,

    They can assume human but that is about it until they start investigating and gathering data.

    SO when I ask who you are assuming the designer is with regard to ATP that’s personal is it?

    If funny how you can make all these claims but when asked to support them you run away.

    And taht includes seeing and understanding the total failure of your position.

    Yet 99.9% of all working biologists disagree with you.

    Even Behe accepts common descent, which you do not.

    What is your position? As far as I can tell yours is the position of a belligerent howler.

    While your position appear to be making claims about papers that the authors themselves do not make then getting all huffy when asked to support your position.

  100. 100

    KF,

    Even a flat faced cuboidal monolith made from polycrystalline materials, has recognisable FSCO/I pointing to design. As of course is pivotal in a certain famous Sci Fi movie.

    Do you have a specific FSCO/I value for that you can give me?

    If not, how do you know it has *any* at all, if you can’t put a figure on it.

  101. So, if you think it’s designed, then you know it’s designed.

    If you think it’s not designed, then you know your calculation is wrong.

    Got it thanks.

    In other words, the principles of ID are useless. They don’t actually tell you anything you didn’t already know before.

    I wrote this a while ago, why ID isn’t used in forensics.

    “Well man, considering that there are 14 bullet holes in him, blood splattered all over the room, and bloody fingerprints that are not the victims all over the room… the design inference is that he was murdered.

    Unfortunately, design principles prevent us from looking into the nature of the designer. See you later. Bye now.”

    Tell us Joe, what is the context of a protein that is used to determine design? What is the context of an organism that is used to determine design?

  102. ogre:

    got it thanks. You can’t determine if something is random or not.

    No, obviously you don’t get it.

    How then should you even begin to determine if something is designed by humans, aliens, or God?

    By the evidence left behind. Ya see we can and do tell if agency involvement was required.

  103. 103

    Joe,

    By the evidence left behind. Ya see we can and do tell if agency involvement was required.

    Can you give me an example where it was determined that the agency involved was of an *unknown* type like your purported designer is? Otherwise your analogy is pointless.

    “We have determined that agency was involved in the murder, but it’s a particular type of agency that is immune to further investigation so we’ll just leave it at that”.

    That’s called a science-stopper right there.

  104. Peter:

    Yet you can’t provide a single quote from a published paper that supports you claim that ATP is designed.

    The EVIDENCE says it is designed. I don’t need a quote.

    The theory of evolution posits a mechanism of accumulations of random mutations, Peter. If you need a citation for that then you are just a useless dolt.

    I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change — led to new species.-Dr Lynn Margulis

  105. Stonehenge- no one knew humans did it until after many, many years of investigation. And we still don’t know for sure.

    “We have determined that agency was involved in the murder, but it’s a particular type of agency that is immune to further investigation so we’ll just leave it at that”.

    Nice strawman.

  106. So, if you think it’s designed, then you know it’s designed.

    {snip}

    “Well man, considering that there are 14 bullet holes in him, blood splattered all over the room, and bloody fingerprints that are not the victims all over the room… the design inference is that he was murdered.

    Unfortunately, design principles prevent us from looking into the nature of the designer. See you later. Bye now.”

    {snip }
    The design inference does NOT prevent anyone from trying to determine who, how, when or where. Dembski says this in “No Free Lunch”.

    Tell us Joe, what is the context of a protein that is used to determine design? What is the context of an organism that is used to determine design?

    The same stuff I have already told you- namely that chance and/ or necessity cannot produce it and it meets the design criteria.

    IOW the lack of evidence for your position is key in the design inference and that bothers you. Good.
    ——————-
    Joe lay off the ad hominems and focus on substance with polite discourse. Do not accuse of moral failing without serious evidence. DLH

  107. Yes it would be nice if evos published evidence for their claims in peer-review. But that ain’t going to happen, is it?

  108. 108

    Joe,

    The EVIDENCE says it is designed. I don’t need a quote

    So quote the EVIDENCE instead.

    The theory of evolution posits a mechanism of accumulations of random mutations, Peter. If you need a citation for that then you are just a useless dolt.

    That’s not from “the theory of evolution”, that’s quote from a single person. And in any case, you’ve just disproved your own claim!

    Please provide evidence that “evolution” mandates that the sole mechanism of evolution is “accumulations of random mutations”.

    Perhaps you don’t realize that claims made in the past can become inaccurate the more is found out. So perhaps it was once thought that accumulations of random mutations were the totally of evolution, but things have moved on.

    But that is a somewhat nuanced position that given our interactions over the last day or two I don’t expect you to be able to appreciate.

    And you disproved your own claim because the quote your provided inferred that was no longer the case, hence your claim is invalid. Lynn might have been taught that when she was originally studying but that is no longer taught. And hence you undermine your own claim!

    So I’d suggest that your knowledge of what evolution is is perhaps 25 years out of date??

  109. And Christian de Duve must also be pushing a strawman:

    A majority of biologists subscribe in one form or another to the main tenets of the theory, first proposed by Charles Darwin, that biological evolution is the outcome of accidentally arising genetic variations passively screened by natural selection according to the ability of the variants to survive and reproduce progeny under prevailing environmental conditions.- Christian de Duve in Mysteries of Life: Is there “Something Else”?

  110. 110

    Joe,
    You don’t *get* published unless you provide evidence for your claims.

    That’s kinda the whole point of it. It’s also why ID supporters write so many books. Books don’t have to pass peer review. You don’t have to allow others to examine your evidence in a book.

  111. Peter,

    I posted the evidence on my blog.

    That’s not from “the theory of evolution”, that’s quote from a single person.

    A claim of an expert. And you are absolutely nothing.

    Please provide evidence that “evolution” mandates that the sole mechanism of evolution is “accumulations of random mutations”.

    Ask dawkins. Ask Coyne. Ask any evolutionary biologist.

    So what else isd there Peter? Please provide any citation that refutes my claim.

  112. 112

    Joe,

    The design inference does NOT prevent anyone from trying to determine who, how, when or where. Dembski says this in “No Free Lunch”.

    And what have you discovered so far?

    The same stuff I have already told you- namely that chance and/ or necessity cannot produce it and it meets the design criteria.

    So presumably you have a complete knowledge of physics in order to be able to make this determination?

    What is gravity Joe?

    IOW the lack of evidence for your position is key in the design inference and that bothers you. Good.

    Your delusion that lack of support for A provides support for B is, as ever, vastly amusing.

    Tell me Joe, why is B special? Why cant B provide it’s own positive evidence?

  113. Peter,

    Your position doesn’t have any evidence for its claims. {snip Lay off the abuse DLH}

  114. 114

    Joe,

    Stonehenge- no one knew humans did it until after many, many years of investigation. And we still don’t know for sure.

    Really? Citation please.

    Nice strawman.

    It’s no strawman. In an arson investigation when a suspect is identified that suspect is investigated. You can’t do that with ID can you? So how it is a strawman?

  115. Peter:

    Your delusion that lack of support for A provides support for B is, as ever, vastly amusing.

    {snip}

    Newton’s First Rule MANDATES that chance and/ or necessity be ruled out before even considering a design inference. And seeing taht your position is nothing but chance and/ or necessity it fits in with what I said.
    ——————
    Joe – exercise patience or take a break. DLH


  116. Stonehenge- no one knew humans did it until after many, many years of investigation. And we still don’t know for sure.

    Really? Citation please.

    Really, Google Stonehenge and start reading

    “We have determined that agency was involved in the murder, but it’s a particular type of agency that is immune to further investigation so we’ll just leave it at that”.

    Nice strawman.

    It’s no strawman. In an arson investigation when a suspect is identified that suspect is investigated.

    Not every murder or arson has a supect that can be investigated. You have to first determine murder or arson BEFORE looking for a suspect, duh.

  117. 117

    Joe,

    If that is what you infer then you are a dolt.

    It’s your own words! You’ve said quite plainly that knocking down Darwinism supports ID!

    What did you mean then, if I’ve misunderstood you?

    Newton’s First Rule MANDATES that chance and/ or necessity be ruled out before even considering a design inference. And seeing taht your position is nothing but chance and/ or necessity it fits in with what I said.

    And how have you ruled out chance and necessity with regard to ATP?

    Show your working!

  118. 118

    Joe,

    The evidence points to design, Peter. The EVIDENCE in those papers.

    Not according to the authors, who I suspect know a bit more about it then you.

    Notice there isn’t anything in any peer-reviewed paper taht supports accumulations of random mutations didit.

    As your understanding of what evolution actually proposes seems to both start and end with that concept then I guess you need to study some more, nothing I can say will matter if your actual knowledge is so diminutive.

    So by your “logic” your position has absolutely nothing.

    Except the suport of 99.9% of all working biologists and a few dozen peer reviewed papers a day.

  119. It’s your own words! You’ve said quite plainly that knocking down Darwinism supports ID!

    I said it is key to the design inference and explained why.

    What is wrong with you?

    And how have you ruled out chance and necessity with regard to ATP?

    Biologists have- just read the peer-review- or lack thereof, duh.

  120. 120

    Joe,

    Your position doesn’t have any evidence for its claims. So stuff it.

    That’s because the “claims” you think are being made are in fact figments of your imagination (such as it is).

    So let’s get this straight. ID was the default worldview for thousands of years and then an idea comes along with no evidential support whatsoever (according to you) and promptly supplants ID as the default.

    Why?

  121. Peter:

    Not according to the authors, who I suspect know a bit more about it then you.

    Please reference the quote that says the authors believe it arose via accumulations of random mutations.

    As your understanding of what evolution actually proposes seems to both start and end with that concept then I guess you need to study some more, nothing I can say will matter if your actual knowledge is so diminutive.

    Seeing that you cannot produce anything that refutes my claim and I have produced support for my claim, it is clear you are lying/ bluffing.

    And those biologists cannot support their claims. Go figure…

  122. Peter,

    Stop with your false accusations. You cannot produce anything taht says the theory of evolution has other mechanisms besides accumulations of random mutations.

    Why was ID supplanted? Obviously it wasn’t in the minds of the majority…

  123. What Causes Mutations?:

    Mutations in DNA sequences generally occur through one of two processes:
    1. DNA damage from environmental agents such as ultraviolet light (sunshine), nuclear radiation or certain chemicals

    2. Mistakes that occur when a cell copies its DNA in preparation for cell division.

    Causes of Mutations:

    1. DNA fails to copy accurately
    Most of the mutations that we think matter to evolution are “naturally-occurring.” For example, when a cell divides, it makes a copy of its DNA — and sometimes the copy is not quite perfect. That small difference from the original DNA sequence is a mutation.

    2. External influences can create mutations
    Mutations can also be caused by exposure to specific chemicals or radiation. These agents cause the DNA to break down. This is not necessarily unnatural — even in the most isolated and pristine environments, DNA breaks down. Nevertheless, when the cell repairs the DNA, it might not do a perfect job of the repair. So the cell would end up with DNA slightly different than the original DNA and hence, a mutation.

    DNA Replication and Causes of Mutation:

    DNA replication is a truly amazing biological phenomenon. Consider the countless number of times that your cells divide to make you who you are—not just during development, but even now, as a fully mature adult. Then consider that every time a human cell divides and its DNA replicates, it has to copy and transmit the exact same sequence of 3 billion nucleotides to its daughter cells. Finally, consider the fact that in life (literally), nothing is perfect. While most DNA replicates with fairly high fidelity, mistakes do happen, with polymerase enzymes sometimes inserting the wrong nucleotide or too many or too few nucleotides into a sequence. Fortunately, most of these mistakes are fixed through various DNA repair processes. Repair enzymes recognize structural imperfections between improperly paired nucleotides, cutting out the wrong ones and putting the right ones in their place. But some replication errors make it past these mechanisms, thus becoming permanent mutations. These altered nucleotide sequences can then be passed down from one cellular generation to the next, and if they occur in cells that give rise to gametes, they can even be transmitted to subsequent organismal generations. Moreover, when the genes for the DNA repair enzymes themselves become mutated, mistakes begin accumulating at a much higher rate. In eukaryotes, such mutations can lead to cancer. (bold added)

    ?
    And finally:

    The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity- Nobel Laureates Iinitiative

    September 9, 2005

    Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.

    IOW once again it appears that some/ most of the inernet poseurs don’t even understand their own position.

    It looks like IU teaches a strawman version:

    Biological Evolution is essentially the process whereby new species arise from earlier species by accumulated changes. IU

  124. 124

    Joe,
    So when I ask how you’ve ruled out chance and necessity with regard to the origin of ATP you say:

    Biologists have- just read the peer-review- or lack thereof, duh.

    So please provide a quote that supports your claim!

    There is plenty of research into the evolutionary origins of ATP, for example:

    Heterotrophic organisms generally face a trade-off between rate and yield of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. This trade-off may result in an evolutionary dilemma, because cells with a higher rate but lower yield of ATP production may gain a selective advantage when competing for shared energy resources. Using an analysis of model simulations and biochemical observations, we show that ATP production with a low rate and high yield can be viewed as a form of cooperative resource use and may evolve in spatially structured environments. Furthermore, we argue that the high ATP yield of respiration may have facilitated the evolutionary transition from unicellular to undifferentiated multicellular organisms.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont.....4.abstract

    I’m sure you’ll have some spurious reason, without even reading the paper itself, as to why it’s invalid or why it in fact supports design (despite the fact it’s unambiguously about the evolution of ATP). But the 400 odd citations to that paper would appear to undercut that particular response.

    Got any similar published papers regarding the Intelligent Design of ATP?

  125. Peter,

    There isn’t anything in peer-review that demonstrates ATP synthase is reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity. Nothing.

    There isn’t anything in your citation that says “accumulations of random mutations didit”- there isn’t even a testable hypothesis for the claim.
    ————–
    {Joe see {snip} above – take a break – cool off – learn to control your language – stop abusive and ad hominem language DLH}

  126. 126

    Joe,
    We both know there is more to it then that.

    Mutation, migration (gene flow), genetic drift.
    The random nature of genetic drift and the effects of a reduction in genetic variation;
    Variation, differential reproduction, and heredity result in evolution by natural selection.
    Different species can affect each other’s evolution through coevolution.

    To name just a few. I believe Allen MacNeill has a list of around 50.

    Why was ID supplanted? Obviously it wasn’t in the minds of the majority…

    No, only in the minds of those who make the effort to understand it without rejecting it out of hand because of religious reasons. Quite telling that…

  127. 127

    Joe,
    I’m not sure what you think you are proving. You’ve in fact just destroyed your own argument.

    Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.

    Your original claim was that the mechanism of evolution is random mutation.

    Now you are providing quotes that talk about selection? Why? You never mention selection at all, ever, except to say it’s a tautology. Yet the scientist you’ve just quoted does not agree!

    So once again you use quotes from others to support your argument but ignore the fact that the quotes really undercut your argument.

    So Joe, for clarity, can you please provide a citation that shows that random mutations are the only mechanism of evolution.

    IOW once again it appears that some/ most of the inernet poseurs don’t even understand their own position.

    Yet it’s not me making the claim that the be all and end all of evolution is random mutation. That would be you.

  128. 128

    Joe,

    Please reference the quote that says the authors believe it arose via accumulations of random mutations.

    This is good evidence that in your mind the only mechanism of evolution that exists is “accumulations of random mutations” otherwise why insist on having that reference? Why mention it at all unless it’s the only thing you really know?

    You simply don’t understand what it is you think you understand about evolution. If you think that people are going round looking at biology and thinking “now how do I account for this solely in terms of random mutations” then you are sorely confused.

  129. 129

    Joe,
    Earlier you referenced “the theory of evolution” but now you are giving me quotes from all over the place.

    Could this mean that in fact there is no centralized “The book of the theory of evolution” at all?

    And it’s sweet that your try and explain to me, via those quotes, how mutations come about and how they are really random, but that just provides yet more evidence for my contention that you are fixated on “random mutations” to the exclusion of anything else.

    There is much more to the theory of evolution then random mutations.

    There are many more mechanisms for change then random mutation.

    But I guess it’s simpler just to concentrate on a single, relatively understandable, idea and hang onto that whatever comes.

    Yet you’ve been saying the same things over and over for years, and the world has moved on.

    In Darwin’s day you would have been the worlds greatest expert on DNA, as nothing was known at all. Today? Not so much…

  130. Peter
    It appears you have failed your test.

    You appear unable to discover, understand or apply principles that are well known to those who study and photograph natural bridges and those who design and photograph engineered bridges.

    Here is a clue
    Natural bridges are formed by fluid erosion.

    Engineered bridges apply design methods that are detectable.

    Now lets see if you can apply high school physics.

    Alternatively, can you apply elementary school observation?
    e.g. take one hundred pairs of photos one each from “natural bridges” and from “engineered bridges.”

    Then take a survey of one hundred elementary school children and ask them on each photo if it was natural or man made.

    Then compile the statistics.

    If elementary school children can do it, that may give a clue that you could learn to do it as well.

    Take the test and come back with the results. You might be surprised at the results!

  131. Onlookers, how this man and his ilk would love to be able to dismiss the well-warranted facts and figures in front of their eyes; in the teeth of the evident meaning of these, they wish to see meaninglessness. And, he should know that regardless of what others may do, two wrongs have never yet made a right. If Joe did something wrong to him, that does not excuse his doing something wrong to me, oreven back to Joe. That resistance to correction on basic civility is telling. Good day. KF

  132. Peter:

    Mutation, migration (gene flow), genetic drift.

    Genetic drift is one way mutations accumulate. As is gene flow.

    Variation, differential reproduction, and heredity result in evolution by natural selection.

    That is another way mutations accumulate.

    Thank you for agreeing with what I said even though it is obvious that you think you refuted it somehow.

    And BTW I reject the theory of evolution due to a lack of scientifically verifiable evidence.

  133. Peter,

    Natural selection is just one way mutations accumulate.

    And when I say “accumulations of random muations” that includes ALL of the ways they do so.

    Again, what is wrong with you?

    Muations are said to be random in that they are not planned and have no purpose in mind and don’t even care if they kill their host. They just happen- and yes sometimes there are some things that make sure they happen (mutagens).

  134. Peter,

    The phrase “accumulations of random muations” includes all the ways they do so. It also includes all types of genetic changes. It is all inclusive.

    Ya see Peter, according to the theory of evolution all genetic changes are random in that they have no purpose and basically “just happen”.

    OTOH Intelligent Design claims they are not and the bulk are most likely controlled by the cell’s/ organism’s internal program, much like programs control computers.

    Got that?

  135. Hi OgreMk5,

    You set an interesting code challenge. I’m a bit busy at the moment, but here’s what I’ve turned up.

    Conversion of binary to text yields the following:

    t6WPIczZTEVM5SDX. Qd4w sq8T1 SgbN zDpv0n iTLi3 AMS2Pk9te2T 4Ddc bj4 Tx L3Q52W7s 93t C8t9zRn AAZi 0KbLFnR kfBA N1u kG OyV8zT+p 4yo nr1RoDaK5R0. guPqUxM vItl 4+oHh he+nm8nNw fhxYsOtH6 9vUG1tIWY6TOb oZBo9 D4mn H/k cjyvK rZ7 HHxl rI1qVI/ A4V E6qH+WKmeh ftF’r/ DPR1Mn+ud1Q XpH Uq7rlHx, Ul5eB 8b+2 acKlD 6FUKETLRhCklu ecxqkCdF97 d6fEX 48VEBRe WfzWYKWy.

    9wVd 34bj, ddH 8wuKzYBRiKv sXJI 2/S0S Nxh52v Icr Qu/vhD1 XXO1 Myjz9fp 8HZY 09Q2Q yOeGJQ 8Nk5zYBp mq0QpCbL4Q1, pbz M/W 1Mg/3SEUr4v E8R OxgY ddr/ Z6HYn6N bjO aqAGO H2uHS 1Hdl To3R3 Vc8sy hQM0 vX4Zg/ lb1 Rj5B 5Kj gYBcn1UHFU46 NHd Ti+G P3Y5Af.

    Text statistics:

    Friedman IC: 0.9891
    Kappa-PT: 0.038
    Words: 86
    Upper Case: 197
    Lower Case: 188
    Numbers: 92
    Spaces: 86
    Newlines: 2
    Symbols: 24
    Other: 0

    I went to http://smurfoncrack.com/pygenere/pygenere.php (Automatic Vigenère Decoder/Solver)

    This is what I got:

    I think the original codeword was “PCFQHMTZAZDRZVQX”

    I know very little about codes, so I’ll let someone else run with the ball on this one.

  136. Yup Behe accepts universal common descent. Unfortunately the same tests for it can be used to support a common design.

    And I don’t know who the designer is and who the designer is is irrelevant to whether or not design exists.

    Also if those alleged 99.9% could support their claims I would still be an evolutionist.

    Evidence Peter. The evidence points to design. The scientists who wrote the paper may disagree with that but unfortunately they cannot demonstrate that stochastic processes (all inclusive Peter) didit.

  137. Onlookers,

    observe the pattern of successive tangents that distract from a significant issue.

    To try to put this to bed, we may note that the Neo_darwinian synthesis views evolution as a cumulative process of descent with modification, based on chance variation [predominantly random mutastions] linked to differential reproductive success in niches. CV + DRS/”NS” so-called –> evo, cumulatively macro-evo.

    Various mechanisms of chance variation have b3en proposed, but all are non foresighted and all of them are supposed to create incremental advantages, at various levels of increment.

    In the actual empirical field, the observation has been fairly minor variations, assigned various taxonomic levels but up to say different beak sizes and shapes of finches, or circumpolar gulls, or red deer and north american elk.

    But, ask about say how the avian lung — a body plan level change — originated, we meet silence. But without this and similar explanations for other key organs, we do not have a cogent account of the origin of birds. And, this can be extended across the world of body plans, all the way back to the first ones, for cell based life.

    Where did the von Neumann self replicator with coded, stored string based information and algorithms with implementing machines, as well as metabolic machines for energy and components come from? Which BTW, also includes at some stage the ATP molecule and the synthase enzyme when we explain eukaryotes.

    No answer.

    Just, a priori materialism and just so stories with illustrations that do not substantiate the claims.

    And, coming back to focus, we have above a demo on just how we may distinguish agency and nature on empirical signs.

    So, do we see a serious response.

    No.

    As usual.

    KF

  138. Peter,

    Regarding CSI and the explanatory filter, the following posts of mine might help:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....formation/

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-csi-lite/

    I hope they convince you that CSI can be meaningfully calculated.

    See also this post by kairosfocus:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....l-numbers/

    I hope that helps.

  139. But, ask about say how the avian lung — a body plan level change — originated, we meet silence.

    umm, I’ve seen replies to that question on this site, so that claim is demonstrably untrue – the record that contradicts you is right here, on this site … simply ignoring, or refusing to look at things does not cause them to stop existing.

  140. Perhaps you can find a reference to non-random mutations, which BTW, would support Dr Spetner’s “non-random evolutionary hypothesis” put forth in his book “Not By Chance”.

    So have at it- show us this reference that says genetic change is not random, not an accident, not an error nor a mistake.

    No one is going to believe you until you do. I provided my references and I can always get more.

  141. What you have seen are speculations based on the assumption. The “silence” refers to actual scientifically verifiable evidence.

  142. With respect to the OP and the artifacts:

    Why do I have to go there? I need to look up close, for signs of counterflow. However I am sure that is all in good hands.

    Peter:

    On what specifically do you base that? Is blind belief that it is good enough for you? Personally I require a little more then that if I’m going to go around trying to sell that line to people.

    Read the article linked in the OP. There are scientists investigating the site. – points and laughs-

  143. Helps what? ;)

    “When I was younger, so much younger than today-a-a
    I never needed anybody’s help in any way”

  144. 144

    I’m hesitant to point this out because I’m not a particularly qualified defender of ID. But ID is not cryptography. Design can be deliberately obscured to look like non-design, which may or may not be the case in your example.
    Yes, the purpose of ID is to distinguish between design and non-design. If your intent is to “fool” it by showing that it cannot distinguish between the two, then fool it into producing a false positive.

    I read earlier that ID is about “cause and effect.” I’d hate to be the person defending that. Any implementation of intelligent design can have any number of causes. ID involves only one aspect of the cause, intelligent agency.

    If we say that ID is “cause and effect” then one could rightly ask what the cause for a given effect is. “Intelligence” is not a sufficient answer.

    ID identifies an ingredient, not the recipe. The counterargument is that one cannot identify a single ingredient without knowing the recipe or the source of the ingredient.

    In this case the ingredient in question, intelligence, is abstract. One could determine that a given alloy contains lead without first determining the source of the lead. It’s not so simple when the ingredient is an abstract concept. (Am I wrong to say that? I hope not. But ID allows for intelligence while leaving its implementation unknown, which seems like the definition of abstract.)

    What is the issue? Is is whether “intelligence” is sufficiently well-defined that it carries weight even as an abstraction? What precedents exist? Is it not reasonable to say that identifying an instance of an abstraction is not the same as identifying its implementation? Isn’t that solid reasoning for accepting the one and leaving the other as unknown/TBD?

    I’m not claiming to know the answer – just thinking aloud and putting my thoughts into words.

  145. 145

    So there are multiple ways mutations accumulate.

    Tell me Joe, have we discovered all the ways that mutations interact or just some of them?

  146. Yup Behe accepts universal common descent. Unfortunately the same tests for it can be used to support a common design.

    Aye, you say this a lot. An awful lot. Unfortunately, at the molecular level, this disintegrates. Commonality in every nook and cranny, in the hundreds of inversions and deletions and silent substitutions and synonymous sequences and untranscribed, unbound, phenotypically silent DNA? All there because it contributes to functional design in all the compared organisms? And yet resolves to a tree of phylogeny, as if to fool us? Do you actually think there is such a thing as nonfunctional DNA? Anywhere?

    Molecular systematists worldwide are crapping themselves that they’ve been rumbled by this bloke on the internet.

  147. 147

    Joe,

    Yup Behe accepts universal common descent. Unfortunately the same tests for it can be used to support a common design.

    Then it’s odd that Behe explicitly said “common descent” and not “common design”.

    Why do you suppose that is Joe?

    And I don’t know who the designer is and who the designer is is irrelevant to whether or not design exists.

    Also if those alleged 99.9% could support their claims I would still be an evolutionist.

    They have supported their claims sufficiently to convince Behe of the reality of common descent.

    Evidence Peter. The evidence points to design. The scientists who wrote the paper may disagree with that but unfortunately they cannot demonstrate that stochastic processes (all inclusive Peter) didit.

    What evidence is that? The evidence in that paper, where “intelligent design” was not mentioned once, Or some other secret, hidden evidence?

    That paper was about the evolution, not the creation, of ATP. The entire paper supported the idea that it all evolved.

    That was what it was about Joe! How it evolved (the one I linked to anyway).

    Yet somehow in your mind that supports design?

    Whatever…

  148. I believe that there is a thread of ID thought that holds the view that ALL papers about evolution, if looked at in the correct way, support intelligent design.

  149. So there are multiple ways mutations accumulate.

    Yup.

    Tell me Joe, have we discovered all the ways that mutations interact or just some of them?

    I don’t know- what’s your point? Or are you admitting tat your position is based on ignorance…

  150. How can universal common descent be tested? ight now it is just small change plus eons of untestable time.

    ID is not anti-evolution Peter. The paper says nothing about how random mutations accumualted and produced it.

  151. 151

    Joe,

    So have at it- show us this reference that says genetic change is not random, not an accident, not an error nor a mistake.

    Why should I? It’s your claim that mutations are not random (think targetted search).

    Mutations are random with respect to fitness.

    JOE: Mutations are all there is to evolution.
    ME: NO, there is more to it then that?
    Joe: So Mutations are not random then? Prove it?

    So have at it- show us this reference that says genetic change is not random, not an accident, not an error nor a mistake.

    It’s simple. Selection. Selection is not random. Mutations are, selection is not.

    As Allen MacNeill notes:

    So, next time you hear or read a creationist or IDer cite “RM & NS” as the sole explanation for evolutionary change, point out to them and everyone else that there are at least 47 different sources of variation (including “random mutations”), and at least three different processes that result from them: natural selection, sexual selection, and random genetic drift.

    47 sources of variation, and counting.

    So it seems that your version of evolution is naught but a strawman created from your own misunderstandings.

  152. 152

    Joe,

    Why do I have to go there? I need to look up close, for signs of counterflow. However I am sure that is all in good hands.

    So perhaps you can share with me the details of the counterflow you discovered when you determined that ATP was designed?

  153. {snip}

  154. Peter,

    Selection is just a result- it is differential reproduction due to heritable random variation. There isn’t anything non-random about it as whatever works good enough will do.

    And those 47 sources of variation are all stochastic, according to evolutionary biologists. Yet they say that without any evidence.

    BTW I never said mutations are all there is YOU are a LIAR and a coward.

    DLH I am sick of false accusations

  155. Peter the strawman humper:

    JOE: Mutations are all there is to evolution.
    ME: NO, there is more to it then that?
    Joe: So Mutations are not random then? Prove it?

    No Peter. I have never said, implied nor thought that mutations were all there is to evolution.

    You are obvioulsy a loser.

  156. 156

    vjtorley,
    Thanks for the links. However currently I’m specifically only concentrating on gpuccios claim that dFSCI can be calculated exactly for an arbitrary text (e.g. Hamlet).

    However I did find this of interest

    First, as I explained earlier in part (vi), CSI is not a purely physical property. It is a mixed property – partly semiotic and partly physical.

    So it seems that in order to make a design determination via CSI you need to know additional information about the artifact in question.

    So in this case you cannot take some text and determine if it was written by a computer or not soley based on on the text. Which is what I’m interested in.

    So let’s put it another way.

    Is there a general case for the calculation of CSI for example texts, as gpuccio claims?

  157. 157

    {snip}

  158. They are indeed. They illustrate how you can get from one lung to another by known evolutionary mechanisms, and in doing so addresses the claim ‘it cannot evolve’ by exploring how it could.

    Now hows about we try the same speculation about how the designer designed these things – Oh, wait, I forgot, it is forbidden.

  159. 159

    Joe,

    Peter,

    Selection is just a result- it is differential reproduction due to heritable random variation. There isn’t anything non-random about it as whatever works good enough will do.

    Laughable. Does the environment not provide a non-random playing field? Is the environment totally random then?

    Whatever works will do, whatever works better will come to dominate, whatever does not work will be out reproduced until it is gone.

    Yeah, nothing to see here, move along.

    And those 47 sources of variation are all stochastic, according to evolutionary biologists. Yet they say that without any evidence.

    We can examine mutation rates statistically. They *are* random.

    What eveidence do you have that they are not? Perhaps I should read “not by chance”? That well known scientific peer reviewed book that has failed to set the world alight.

    BTW I never said mutations are all there is YOU are a LIAR and a coward.

    No, what else is there then? According to you selection is meaningless, so what other component of evolution is there that you know about?

    DLH I am sick of false accusations

  160. 160

    Joe,
    So as selection is impotent what other mechanisms exist?

    What else is there to evolution other then mutations Joe?

    Please, enlighten me. You’ve never mentioned anything else so it’s a reasonable assumption.

  161. 161

    Joe,

    How can universal common descent be tested? ight now it is just small change plus eons of untestable time.

    You said earlier that common design has passed all the same tests that common descent has.

    Now you are claiming there are no tests?

    Make up your mind!

    ID is not anti-evolution Peter. The paper says nothing about how random mutations accumualted and produced it.

    The clue is in your own words.

    The accumulated randomly. And then selection filtered them.

    How can ID not be anti-evolution when you claim that evolution is impotent? selection is irrelevant, the right mutations are so unlikely as to be impossible etc etc?

    And *your version* of ID is not anti-evolution? Hardly. According to you the designer is everywhere all the time making slight changes – none too big however or outside of what evolution could accomplish (if it was not so impotent).

    When you take papers that actual working scientists have created and say “I agree with everything here except their conclusion” then you are really just making yourself into a joke Joe. You can’t take others work and snip out the parts that you disagree with. You can’t say that the work is fine but the foundational premise it’s all based on is worthless!

    Well, you can. But then who is going to take you seriously?

  162. 162

    GCU,

    They illustrate how you can get from one lung to another by known evolutionary mechanisms

    This is certainly not the case. I asked countless times for an explanation of any such thing, even something simpler, using evolutionary mechanisms, and nothing was offered.

    Dig up any one of the so-called explanations and you will certainly find that the evolutionary mechanisms are precisely what are missing from each of them. The mechanisms of evolution are variation (which may include many things) and selection. What we are offered are speculative narratives of several phenotypic changes with the assertion that these evolutionary mechanisms would be the underlying causes.

    Prove me wrong.

  163. 163

    Scott

    This is certainly not the case. I asked countless times for an explanation of any such thing, even something simpler, using evolutionary mechanisms, and nothing was offered.

    I have offered one. Mechanism used are within the capabilities of evolution, incremental change in a working system.

    Dig up any one of the so-called explanations and you will certainly find that the evolutionary mechanisms are precisely what are missing from each of them. The mechanisms of evolution are variation (which may include many things) and selection.

    What, specifically, in the outline I gave is missing?

    The mechanisms of evolution are variation (which may include many things) and selection. What we are offered are speculative narratives of several phenotypic changes with the assertion that these evolutionary mechanisms would be the underlying causes.

    Prove me wrong.

    Not going to. We’ll never know in detail many things about how some structures came to be. Yet that does not mean we cannot gain a good understanding of possible pathways.

    Tell me, can you give me an example of what would satisfy you in this regard?

    Would it be a list of single mutations and the effect on the organism?

    Would it be a complete DNA sequence from one type of lung to another?

    What sort of evidence would you accept as an explanation?

  164. 164

    Joe,

    I don’t know- what’s your point? Or are you admitting tat your position is based on ignorance…

    From our interactions it seem that you are describing yourself there.

    To deny the role of selection in evolution is like claiming black is white. You cannot seriously critique evolution (Darwinism, neo-Darwinism etc) without actually understanding it first.

  165. 165

    Peter,

    Tell me, can you give me an example of what would satisfy you in this regard?

    Would it be a list of single mutations and the effect on the organism?

    Would it be a complete DNA sequence from one type of lung to another?

    What sort of evidence would you accept as an explanation?

    That’s a fair question. Obviously the first one would do the trick. But even if that’s exactly what happened it wouldn’t be reasonable to ask for such a reproduction.

    Here’s my position: It’s not my hypothesis, so I have no need to formulate a test to determine whether or not it’s correct. Does that preclude me from weighing proposed evidence and finding it inadequate? Not at all. What a convenient situation that would be! Accept this inadequate evidence or devise my own tests. I choose neither. (Yes, that’s convenient, too.)

    I am reasonable. I’m not going to point out any particular baffling phenomenon in nature and demand the evolutionary blow-by-blow. The trouble is that the evidence offered to support the capability of evolutionary mechanisms is always missing the evolutionary mechanisms. I’ve seen what many accept as evidence, and they are plainly making allowances for what is not there. I can demand better evidence, but I don’t have any reason to think that anyone is withholding anything. Why would they?

    Perhaps it’s just a stalemate. I don’t think that you can make a case for the causative effects of variation and selection with evidence that omits both. Whether it’s too difficult has nothing to do with it. You seem to accept such evidence. We can point fingers and insist that I have other reasons for ignoring the evidence or that you have reasons for not critically analyzing it. But that’s only relevant if we make it relevant, and I’d rather not. The evidence succeeds or fails on its own merits.

  166. Have you read the Koonin and Shapario books (the ones promoted by this website, and which were offered free)?

    What kinds of mechanisms would be needed that have not been observed?

  167. 167

    Petrushka,

    What kinds of mechanisms would be needed that have not been observed?

    Needed? There is no need. Perhaps the observed mechanisms are sufficient. But an adequate case has not been made.

  168. Joe, selection is highly stochastic. You might have perfect camouflage yet be stepped on by a blind man. You might have terrible camouflage, but the luck of the Irish.

    “Selection”, or as you rightly call it “differential reproduction” is a highly stochastic process, and can only be described in terms of probability distributions (just as with mutations).

    In other words both variant generation and heritable differential distribution are highly stochastic. But neither have flat probability distributions. Genetic ariants – at least viable variants) that do something similar to the original are much more likely that variants that do something radically different (including nothing) and phenotypes that inherit certain variants are slightly more likely to breed successfully than phenotypes that inherit others.

    But the whole thing is highly stochastic.

  169. Selection is not random. Mutations are, selection is not.

    I beg to differ :)

    “Random” is a highly ambiguous term anyway. As I just said to Joe, both selection and mutation are highly stochastic processes, but they do not have flat distributions. Viable variants (neutral variants) are far more probable than beneficial or deleterious variants (in the current environment), and beneficial variants are those that lead to statistically greater probability of successful breeding.

    However, the key point, to which your claim crudely approximates, is that variant generation is without any foresight – beneficial (in the current environment) variants are no more likely to be produced than deleterious ones (actually, for a well-adapted population, rather less). Whereas “selection”, by definition, is related to what works. What tends to result in breeding success tends to become more prevalent.

    Apart from that, agree with all you say :)

  170. Btw, Elizabeth, Since you dodged it in the other thread. Do you read either German, Chinese or Russian? It should be a painless admission of fact.

    I ask because the rudimentary philosophy of science you display (Anglo-centric) keeps dribbling in your speech.

    Those who ‘love wisdom’ (i.e. study philosophy) rather than specialised sciences, often seek some kind of synthesis, while you seem to rather desire chaos and randomness than order and purpose.

    Natural selection and human (cf. Darwin ‘artificial’) selection are obviously quite different themes.

  171. You might be interested in papers like this:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....03716.html

  172. Gregory, it is very tiresome to be accused “dodging” – to have people’s default inference to be lack of integrity – when one doesn’t respond to a post.

    This is not forum software, it is blog software, and there is no way, unless one is constantly clicking on the front page, to notice whether there has been a response that one needs to address.

    So I won’t apologise for not addressing your post, but if you give me the link now I will address it specifically.

    In answer to your question, no, I do not read German, Chinese or Russian. I have a little French, and a little Latin, and a smattering of Italian.

    As for the rest of your post, I don’t really have anything to say. Obviously you have come to some conclusion about the way I think. It doesn’t seem to reflect the view from this end much.

    I have no “desire” for “chaos and randomness”, but I am certainly interested in stochastic models of the world, because they tend to work rather well.

    That certainly does not mean that I do not think (or desire) order or purpose. In fact, my field of study is intention, purpose, and decision-making.

    So it seems that there has been a glitch in communication somewhere along the line.

    It happens.

    Cheers

    Lizzie

  173. Hi Elizabeth,

    “it seems that there has been a glitch in communication somewhere along the line.”

    Yeah, might be. I’m big on communication, but constantly fall short (gaps in transmission) as every human does (even scientists!).

    Sorry about the dodgy ‘dodged’ language. Like you, I am a Dr. So I can’t respond to everything. Time & place press.

    “Obviously you have come to some conclusion about the way I think.”

    Actually, I’ve come to a conclusion about the way you don’t think. ; ) Regarding philosophy, mainly.

    “I am certainly interested in stochastic models of the world…”

    Not me, I’m mainly interested in other ‘models.’ Are you a scientific gambler, rather than a scientific planner then?

    “…because they tend to work rather well.”

    Sure, yes, they explain or describe some things. While other things are left completely untouched by stochastic models. I’m sure you’ll agree.

    “my field of study is intention, purpose, and decision-making.”

    Fancy that, so is mine! : )) It is a bit ironic, and also quite understandable why you would reject ‘design’ then as a meaningful term in your vocabulary.

    Plan, purpose, design, decision-making – is it not a communicative family?

    But I hear a dehumanising tone in your voice, Elizaveth. Like the spirit of humanity is somehow lost. As if you would claim to believe that we don’t have souls. As if Ayn Rand might have had an impact, suggesting that ‘spirit’ is just (reducible to) ‘consciousness.’ Well, we would disagree about that.

    Back to brains, then Lizzie. Warm wishes. Unglitch.

  174. 174

    Starbuck,

    Yes, that is perfect example of what I mentioned at 27.1.1.1.1. Thank you.

  175. In terms of mechanism, you may want to look into the work of Peter Ward:

    http://www.amazon.com/Out-Thin.....0309100615

  176. Peter,

    The alleged tests for universal common descent do not test for universal common descent. Strange isn’t it?

    How can ID not be anti-evolution when you claim that evolution is impotent?

    That isn’t what I claim. You have serious issues.

    And *your version* of ID is not anti-evolution?

    It isn’t.

    According to you the designer is everywhere all the time making slight changes – none too big however or outside of what evolution could accomplish (if it was not so impotent).

    And another lie. Geez Peter you have turned out to be quite the little liar.

    When you take papers that actual working scientists have created and say “I agree with everything here except their conclusion”…

    what conclusion do I disagree with? The papers cited do not conclude accumulations of random mutations didit.

    You are a liar peter.


  177. BTW I never said mutations are all there is YOU are a LIAR and a coward.

    No, what else is there then?

    As I aid there are various ways in which they accumulate.

    And what is the evidence that all mutations are random in any sense of the word? How was it determined?

    Show your workings…

  178. 178

    The mechanism is a combination of genetic variation and selection. Ward cannot specify any individual genetic variations. This should be obvious as he’s working with fossils. If he cannot specify any genetic variations, how can he explain why any were selected?

    This is more of the same. The changes depicted are phenotypic. That they are the result of incremental genetic variations and selection is assumed, not demonstrated.

    The observation is that various forms possessed the lungs they needed to survive in their respective environments (i.e. more or less oxygen.) To make the leap that selection was the cause would be circular. Whatever survives got that way by selection because selection is the way everything gets what it needs to survives. Dinosaurs having the lungs needed to survive in their atmosphere just adds to the mountain of evidence.

    The mechanisms is genetic variation and selection of variations. You cannot have evidence for them that omits them.

    Allow me to illustrate. I show you a series of before-and-after pictures – really fat people who are now really skinny. I have mountains of evidence that the primary agent of change was the addition of grapefruit to their diet.

    Except as you page through my mountains of evidence, it contains no mention of anyone eating grapefruit. There are pages on the potential effects of grapefruit based with hundreds of chemical reactions documented in laboratories. There are also hundreds of pages documenting the subjects’ gradual loss in weight.

    I’ve demonstrated numerous chemical properties of grapefruit. (I melted a fat cell in petri dish full of grapefruit juice.) I’ve demonstrated that people can gradually lose weight. I may have even stated outright that the weight loss was caused by the chemical effects of grapefruit. But I neglect to mention how much each subject ate or when, or even whether they ate any at all. I just allude in every few paragraphs to the weight-loss effects of grapefruit, mentioning that grapefruit is the known cause of weight loss.

    That’s more than enough for some people. They’ll run to the store and stock up. But you can’t have evidence of weight loss caused by grapefruit without people eating grapefruit. And you can’t have evidence of change by genetic variation and selection that omits them.

  179. Peter,

    The Origin of Theoretical Population Genetics (University of Chicago Press, 1971), reissued in 2001 by William Provine:

    Natural selection does not act on anything, nor does it select (for or against), force, maximize, create, modify, shape, operate, drive, favor, maintain, push, or adjust. Natural selection does nothing….Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection. Such talk was excusable for Charles Darwin, but inexcusable for evolutionists now. Creationists have discovered our empty “natural selection” language, and the “actions” of natural selection make huge, vulnerable targets. (pp. 199-200)

    Thanks for the honesty Will.

    Natural selection is an after-the-fact statistic. Not only that you can’t tell if natural selection was involved! It is all after-the-fact guess-work.

  180. Peter,

    There are still various ways in which mutations accumulate.

    And yes I have ALWAYS said that you liar.

  181. 181

    Elizabeth,

    I beg to differ :)

    Thanks for expanding on my poorly phrased point. I think what I was trying to reinforce there was just the idea that the environment is not *random* or, more precisely, does not usually greatly differ from one moment to the next and so can act as a source of information. Some of the sources of variation I mentioned included the environment.

    Looking back at the thread I can’t really see why I was even trying to do that as Joe seems to be arguing that it’s not random anyway, or rather that I can’t prove that it is so it’s not, according to Joe. Either way, I’m wrong!

    I’m only an interested amateur, so please feel free to correct me again in the future, especially when the correction also expands my understanding rather then just tells me I’m wrong as Joe has done today.

    I just had to sign on today as I saw some of the quite unbelievable things that Joe has been saying and could not let them stand unchallenged – for some reason nobody on the ID supporting side ever challenges Joe. So today I did :P

  182. 182

    Describe evolution to me, as best you can. What it is, what it can do. How long it takes.

    Or point me towards the best description of our current understanding that you think is accurate.

  183. 183

    Joe,
    I’m surprised it took you that long to pull that quote out. You must be feeling very pleased with yourself!

    So, Joe, if “natural selection” can be removed from the equation with no effect then what is left?

    You’ve already said that mutations are not random.

    Everything must be preordained in that case. Your designer must be very busy, going around the Galápagos Islands. Trapping finches, making their beaks big when required to crack nuts and then shrinking them down again. You’d think such an entity would have better things to do. Or that it could design a system to do it for it. But no. Joe says evolution don’t do squat, so down in the woods it is.

    So, Joe, for the evolution that you must admit happens (micro evolution) what actual mechanisms are in play there? Or is that Intelligent Design all the way down too? Did Lenski miss the “designer” sneaking into his lab?

    Having natural selection select is nifty because it excuses the necessity of talking about the actual causation of natural selection.

    Sure you want to go down that rabbit hole Joe? I can only lead you to the entrance, others will have to take you all the way down. As I just said, I’m no expert. But I know enough to skin this rabbit…

  184. 184

    Joe,

    The alleged tests for universal common descent do not test for universal common descent. Strange isn’t it?

    Citation please.

    That isn’t what I claim. You have serious issues.

    So what *can* evolution do Joe?

    And another lie. Geez Peter you have turned out to be quite the little liar.

    We observe changes. According to you evolution is impotent. Therefore those changes must be interventions – what alternative is there?

    what conclusion do I disagree with? The papers cited do not conclude accumulations of random mutations didit.

    Neither do they conclude an intelligent designer did it, yet you insist that the paper supports that conclusion.

    Tell me Joe, given that it was a paper that had “Evolution of ATP” or *in the title of the paper* and evolution is accepted by all to be *random* what mental hoops do you have to jump through in order to make the claim that in fact the papers do not support the idea that random mutations did it?

    The only person saying X did it is you. ATP was designed. That’s the extent of what you can say about it.

    Yet if you throw off those mental blinders you can do work like this:

    Heterotrophic organisms generally face a trade-off between rate and yield of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. This trade-off may result in an evolutionary dilemma, because cells with a higher rate but lower yield of ATP production may gain a selective advantage when competing for shared energy resources. Using an analysis of model simulations and biochemical observations, we show that ATP production with a low rate and high yield can be viewed as a form of cooperative resource use and may evolve in spatially structured environments. Furthermore, we argue that the high ATP yield of respiration may have facilitated the evolutionary transition from unicellular to undifferentiated multicellular organisms.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont...../504.short

    You are a liar peter.

    Whatever Joe. Whatever! The trail that led us to this point is all here for anybody to read.

    Perhaps ATP might turn out to be even more interesting then first thought!

    Based on these observations it is suggested that ATP may have played a directing role in early evolution, i.e. in a primitive metabolism without genetics. To say it differently, due to its self-activating properties ATP might have been able to stick out of the chemical ‘noise’ present on the early earth. In this way ATP might have participated in paving the way for a genetically based ‘RNA World’.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....9300923429

  185. 185

    Joe

    And what is the evidence that all mutations are random in any sense of the word? How was it determined?

    Experiments are being performed all the time!

    The lacI system of Escherichia coli provides a method for monitoring mutational events at a large number of sites. Using this system, we have previously determined the mutational spectra for ?-ray and ?-particle emissions resulting from the decay of tritium. Analysis of these mutational spectra reveals that base substitution mutations induced by ionizing radiation are distributed nearly randomly throughout the lacI gene and include all detectable substitution events. The distribution of ionizing radiation-induced mutagenesis is similar to the low frequency of occurrence mutational events induced by other SOS-dependent mutagens. The lack of an apparent nonrandom or high frequency of occurrence component seen with other SOS-dependent mutagens can be best explained as the result of the random interaction of ionizing radiation with the DNA bases leading to production of a variety of base substitutions.

    http://www.rrjournal.org/doi/abs/10.2307/3576404

    In this proof-of-concept study, we attempt to determine whether the cause-mutation relationship defined by randomness is protein dependent by predicting mutations in H5N1 neuraminidases from influenza A virus, because we have recently conducted several concept-initiated studies on the prediction of mutations in hemagglutinins from influenza A virus. In our concept-initiated studies, we defined the randomness as a cause for mutation, upon which we built a cause-mutation relationship, which is then switched into the classification problem because the occurrence and non-occurrence of mutations can be classified as unity and zero. Thereafter, we used the logistic regression and neural network to solve this classification problem to predict the mutation positions in hemagglutinins, and then used the amino acid mutating probability to predict the would-be-mutated amino acids. As the previous results were promising, we extend this approach to other proteins, such as H5N1 neuraminidase in this study, and further address various issues raised during the development of this approach. The result of this study confirms that we can use this cause-mutation relationship to predict the mutations in H5N1 neuraminidases.

    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....13jl70r06/

    Recently, we defined the randomness within a protein as an important force engineering mutations. Thereafter we build a cause–mutation relationship, where one side is the quantified randomness and the other side is the occurrence or non-occurrence of mutation.

    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....6747348m1/

    So, Joe, it seems to me that the reason you are unware of much of the evidence that in fact exists is simply that you have not gone and looked for it

    You don’t look, you don’t find. Ignorance may be bliss but if you wave it about on the internet then expect somebody to put you right!

  186. Scott, you don’t need a video of each mutation occurring to be able to look at the evidence and infer what likely occurred. Also, many creationists have abandoned the “selection is a tautology” canard, what he’s saying is that the low oxygen levels caused those organisms with a more efficient respiratory system to win out, and that in turn, gave rise to birds. It is not just assumed, he looks at evidence from anatomy to chemistry and makes what I would say is a compelling case.

  187. Gregory, thanks for your gracious response :)

    No problem. Sorry I got shirty.

    “Obviously you have come to some conclusion about the way I think.”
    Actually, I’ve come to a conclusion about the way you don’t think. ; ) Regarding philosophy, mainly.

    OK, try me :)

    “I am certainly interested in stochastic models of the world…”

    Not me, I’m mainly interested in other ‘models.’ Are you a scientific gambler, rather than a scientific planner then?

    I don’t think either would describe me. I’m not even sure what either of those would mean. I’m a conventional scientist who tests hypotheses. But most of the phenomena a deal with are stochastic, and so we do not hypothesise precise values but predict the frequency distribution of observations using stochastic models. This is at the core of statistical data analysis.

    “…because they tend to work rather well.”

    Sure, yes, they explain or describe some things. While other things are left completely untouched by stochastic models. I’m sure you’ll agree.

    Can you give an example?

    “my field of study is intention, purpose, and decision-making.”

    Fancy that, so is mine! : )) It is a bit ironic, and also quite understandable why you would reject ‘design’ then as a meaningful term in your vocabulary.

    But I don’t! Sheesh. I even trained as a designer. And I write music. I really think there is a communication glitch here! You are reading stuff into what I write that simply is not there.

    Out of interest: what is your field exactly? (Mine is cognitive psychology/cognitive neuroscience)

    Plan, purpose, design, decision-making – is it not a communicative family?

    Not sure what you mean.

    But I hear a dehumanising tone in your voice, Elizaveth. Like the spirit of humanity is somehow lost. As if you would claim to believe that we don’t have souls. As if Ayn Rand might have had an impact, suggesting that ‘spirit’ is just (reducible to) ‘consciousness.’ Well, we would disagree about that.

    The “dehumanising tone” is not there. And while you might call me a “reductionist” it is not what I would call myself. I’m not a dualist, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think we have souls. It’s just that we may describe them differently. FWIW, the theologian I have most respect for, and who influenced me more than any other, was a monist. Also a Thomist. Actually one of the English translators of the Summa.

    Back to brains, then Lizzie. Warm wishes. Unglitch.

    And to you :)

  188. Oh, it wasn’t poorly phrased, it’s how a lot of people phrase it, and it conveys an important point: the generation of variance has no absolute bias in favour of what works (although for a well-adapted population there may be a bias against what works, simply because of ceiling effects). In contrast, selection could be described as a bias in favour of what works. Put the two together and you have the recipe for innovative adaptation, which is your point :)

    I don’t know what Joe is arguing. He seems confused. He just knows we are wrong.

  189. Natural selection is an after-the-fact statistic.

    Not only that you can’t tell if natural selection was involved!

    True! At least, except under very careful experimental conditions.

    It is all after-the-fact guess-work.

    Absolutely! Like the guess that cigarettes cause lung cancer! No wonder those tobacco companies held out against it for so long!

    You are absolutely right, Joe. Science is a matter of informed guesswork, followed by trial of our guesses, which, if they seem to be getting us warmer, we elaborate and try further.

    It’s the way science has always worked, and always will work. It got us into space, it allows us to have confident that most of our children will live to adulthood, and it even lets us communicate across half way across the world!

    Don’t knock informed guessing and testing. It works.

  190. 190

    Starbuck,

    No, videos are the evidence of last resort. We hang cameras so we won’t have to do science.

    Nonetheless, nothing you’ve cited contain so much as a single genetic variation or its selection. It starts from the conclusion that such transitions result from genetic variations and selections and builds from there. And that’s fine, as long as that conclusion is supported elsewhere.

    But whatever that “elsewhere” is, you didn’t cite that. You cited the avian lung evolution paper. Which means you thought that paper supported the causative power of variation and selection. It doesn’t. It’s not even about that. I’m supposed to enjoy this, but it’s hollow and depressing.

  191. A “Yes!” was ommitted after the first quotation for some reason. Must have mistyped a tag.

  192. I for one can agree if you go on one step further and recognise the simple fact that selection leading to innovation is choice contingent. Nature (i.e. necessity and chance contingency) cannot select for potential function simply because it has no intent or purpose. Nature can only select eliminatively. Bona fide innovation comes from choice contingency, in other words, intelligence.

  193. I for one can agree if you go on one step further and recognise the simple fact that selection leading to innovation is choice contingent.

    What does this mean exactly?

    Nature (i.e. necessity and chance contingency) cannot select for potential function simply because it has no intent or purpose.

    “It” can’t select for potential function (well, except in very specific ways, involving population level selection, but let’s not go down that path right here) and of course it’s not really an “it” anyway. Rather, current function is selected in the next generation by the simple truism that well-functioning parents will leave genes in more offspring than poorer functioning parents.

    Be careful not to anthropomorphise the process, then complain that the process is not an anthropos!

    Nature can only select eliminatively.

    Not true, even if we allow for the anthropomorphisation of Nature. A new variant (or an old variant in a new environment) that does exceptionally well may leave an unprecedently large number of offspring, whose genes rapidly come to dominate the population. That is not “eliminative selection”. Unless you mean that its peers are eliminated – which may not even be the case, although it might be if there is competition for resources. But then that would make your point moot.

    Bona fide innovation comes from choice contingency, in other words, intelligence.

    Well, you haven’t demonstrated this :)

    Explain what “choice” has over “selection”. In many languages (your own?) they are the same word. How are you distinguishing them, and why does it matter, given the above?

    You are certainly right that at within-population level, potential function is not selected. But that is not the Darwinian argument.

  194. 194

    Scott,
    Can you give me an example of what you are looking for in a separate field.

    E.G. A legitimate request (according to the norms in that field) and a legitimate response that satisfies your request.

    What I’m trying to get to is what I mentioned earlier, which you did address, what would you accept as legitimate. But a specific example.

    For example, at what point would the evidence for how the continents move and their arrangement in the earth have been of sufficient level of detail and equaled the level of detail you are asking for here? At what point would you have said “ok, that’s how it is!”?

    Given that there remains come controversy over the basic details even now do currently accepted explanations and evidence satisfy you?

  195. I didn’t site the fossil paper to show the causitive power of variation and selection, I cited it to show evidence that the avian lung evolved. But if you want papers on molecular mechanisms of lung evolution, you can look at these:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20607136

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....ool=pubmed

  196. 196

    Peter,

    I’m going to assume you mean well, but if only I had a dollar for each time someone tried to work around the bare lack of evidence by comparing the question to a simpler one with a better answer, I could at least upgrade to a better Netflix plan and watch more movies.

    I understand why you ask for an example. Nothing that comes to mind is a fair comparison, so I won’t waste more time thinking about it. Evolution claims to reduce all biology to the operation of a few specific mechanisms. What other historical “explanation” can compare?

    Given that there remains come controversy over the basic details even now do currently accepted explanations and evidence satisfy you?

    I haven’t put a great deal of time into reading about plate tectonics. The evidence that the continents were once joined or adjacent seems reasonable enough. It follows that a thing that was in once place and is now in another got there by moving. There is uncertainty over how or why they move. What moves them a short distance may reasonable be extrapolated to have moved them greater distances.

    What’s refreshing is that there is controversy at all. One can doubt or question a certain cause without being cast as an ignorant Pangaea-denier.

    Hopefully you aren’t imagining that the two have much in common. Extrapolating all of the complexity of life on earth from the differences between neighboring populations of gulls is not even in the ballpark of extrapolating movement from movement (at the risk of oversimplifying.)

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but it sounds as if you’re asking (in a polite, roundabout way) whether I generally accept scientific evidence of things I can’t see, as if denying full-scale darwinian evolution amounts to a rejection of all science.

    The answer is yes, I do. But I also distinguish and discern. In the case of darwinism, first it’s off at face value. Everything it claims to explain defies explanation by darwinian mechanisms. But not all things are intuitive, so I look and ask for explanations by darwinian mechanisms and find none. But it’s worse than finding none. Dozens of people forward links to papers and say ‘here it is,’ despite the fact that the papers almost universally omit references to specific instances of those mechanisms, frequently gloss over even the mention of them, and occasionally explicitly challenge them.

    Now I know that no one wins a toaster or a trip to Mexico if they convince me, but I can tell when someone’s trying to sell me something. It happens in politics, economics, and ideology. It doesn’t mean that anyone is insincere. But if there was an offer of money attached I’d keep my hand in my pocket wrapped around my wallet. Not only have I been shown nothing, but now I’ve observed a determination to make me see what isn’t there. I’ll let someone else figure out the motivations. But added to the lack evidence, the more someone doubles down and cranks up the sales pitch the more skeptical I become. I look harder at the fine print and check for double-stitching. And if the evidence didn’t do well with the first pass it’s crumbling under even greater scrutiny.

    Holy cow, I wish I could see how long this was when I was halfway done.

  197. 197

    Starbuck,

    These papers contain nothing of the sort. You can’t show the causative power of genetic variation and selection without showing individual genetic variations. You cannot show the selection of variations without specifying the variations.

    The frequent shell game is to swap out phenotypic changes for genetic changes. After all, they results from genetic changes, don’t they? So rather than a genetic variation getting selected its a phenotypic variation that gets selected. But that depends upon the foundation of change through genetic variation and selection. Replacing one with the other replaces the foundation with something derived from it.

    If you understood what I was saying then why did you post those second two links?

  198. Scott, please read my links and don’t shoot from the hip, those papers actually do discuss several molecular steps and specify some key players in the evolution of lungs.

  199. 199

    I read through them, even some of the papers they referenced. It’s common for papers to analyze differences between signaling or regulation in related species, and, having quantified them, assert that the difference constitute a potential evolutionary pathway. What’s missing? Again, the actual evolution. The differences are observed and the bridges between them is assumed.

    In each case they point to the possibility of common descent, not to the mechanisms of change. If birds descended from dinosaurs it would still require explanation, and darwinism has not provided it.

  200. The papers actually point to the mechanisms of change, in the effects of hypoxia on genes, for example. Ultimately, it looks like you do want a blue-ray dvd of the evolutionary change happening before your very eyes.

  201. Peter,

    All you have done, if anything, is show that some mutations are random- and that is because the researchers refuse to accept that organisms are designed.

    Ya see peter, the only way to say that all mutations are random in any sense of the word is to demonstrate stochastic processes can produce living organisms- IOW just as I have been telling you the origins is essential to understanding any subsequent evolution.

  202. Defining “evolution”:

    Finally, during the evolutionary synthesis, a consensus emerged: “Evolution is the change in properties of populations of organisms over time”- Ernst Mayr page 8 of “What Evolution Is”

    Biological (or organic) evolution is change in the properties of populations of organisms or groups of such populations, over the course of generations. The development, or ontogeny, of an individual organism is not considered evolution: individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are ‘heritable’ via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportions of different forms of a gene within a population, such as the alleles that determine the different human blood types, to the alterations that led from the earliest organisms to dinosaurs, bees, snapdragons, and humans.
    Douglas J. Futuyma (1998) Evolutionary Biology 3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc. Sunderland MA p.4

    Biological evolution refers to the cumulative changes that occur in a population over time. PBS series “Evolution” endorsed by the NCSE

    Biological evolution, simply put, is descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations) UC Berkley

    In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.
    Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974

    Evolution- in biology, the word means genetically based change in a line of descent over time.- Biology: Concepts and Applications Starr 5th edition 2003 page 10

    What do YOU have Peter? Anything at all?

  203. A change in allele frequency- ie evolution- can occur in one generation.

    A change from prokaryote to eukaryote- no one knows how long it would take and no one knows if such a thing could occur- no way to test it.

    A change from fish to amphibian- again no one knows if such a transformation is possible- no way to test it.

    What can it do? Apparently not too much, that is if we go by experiments and observations.

  204. Peter:

    I’m surprised it took you that long to pull that quote out. You must be feeling very pleased with yourself!

    I have been using that for a long time Peter. Again your ignorance is amusing.

    So, Joe, if “natural selection” can be removed from the equation with no effect then what is left?

    That would be your problem, not mine, duh.

    Peter:

    You’ve already said that mutations are not random.

    Liar.

    Everything must be preordained in that case. Your designer must be very busy, going around the Galápagos Islands. Trapping finches, making their beaks big when required to crack nuts and then shrinking them down again. You’d think such an entity would have better things to do. Or that it could design a system to do it for it. But no. Joe says evolution don’t do squat, so down in the woods it is.

    You are truly demented and a liar to boot. No intervening required, duh. ID accepts mutations happen.

    You are one dense dude.

    And Peter, you couldn’t lead anyone anywhere. You are nothing but a strawman creating liar.

    Go pound sand- if you ever come up with a testable hypothesis for anything your position claims I would be interested in that.

  205. I like science. However your position has nothing to do with science.

  206. The point is (as we all saw) was that ID principles cannot be used to determine if a sequence of anything is random or designed. That sequence is either designed (by me) or a random data set generated by atmospheric white noise at random.org. If ID proponents can’t determine which it is, then how can they expect to tell a thing that is purposefully designed from one that is designed by environmental pressure and random mutation of the genome?

    People like JoeG claim that evolution is random. ID claims to be able to determine design.

    Therefore my test is directly relevant to the claims of ID proponents. Either their claim is wrong or ID is totally useless (or, most likely, both).

  207. Ogre the strawman humper:

    The point is (as we all saw) was that ID principles cannot be used to determine if a sequence of anything is random or designed.

    As I told you your challenge doesn’t have anything to do with ID as ID does not make the claim you state.

    That sequence is either designed (by me) or a random data set generated by atmospheric white noise at random.org.

    Which uses a MAN-MADE random noise generator.

    People like JoeG claim that evolution is random.

    No I do not. You are very mistaken.

    ID claims to be able to determine design.

    As do many other venues, including archaeology and forensic science.

    Therefore my test is directly relevant to the claims of ID proponents.

    no it isn’t for the reasons provided- the reasons you keep ignoring as if your ignorance means something.

    A I told you CONTEXT is everything and we do not see a string of 1s and 0s in the atmosphere. You are a moron, plain and simple. And very dishonset too.

    Either their claim is wrong or ID is totally useless (or, most likely, both).

    By that “logic” archaeology, forensic science, insurance fraud, forgery, et al. are all wrong and useless as they would also fail Kevin’s “test”.

    It would also mean the theory of evolution is nonsense because evis claim to be able to tell the difference between design and random also.

  208. Dr Liddle,

    Unfortunately, truisms don’t take one very far. I can refer you to D. Abel “The first gene”. It is a very good read.

  209. To Ogre/ Kevin-

    The claim of Intelligent Design is to determine agency involvement from nature, operating freely.

    Nature, operating freely cannot construct a termite mound- it takes the agency of termites to do so.

    Nature, operating freely cannot produce a string of 1s and 0s. It takes an agency to do that.

    So your test displays agency involvement for BOTH strings of 1s and 0s.

    But it is strange taht you didn’t realize that your “test” and your “conclusion” trash forensic science and archaeology. It’s as if you are in your own little anti-ID world with all your anti-ID strawmen.

  210. Truisms can remind us of the obvious. Sometimes worth doing.

    And although I haven’t read the book you mention, I have read quite a number of Abel’s paper, and find them singularly unpersuasive.

    Can you summarise the case he makes that you find persuasive?

  211. Strange you would say that as your position doesn’t have anything that is persuasive. If it did I would still be an evolutionist…

  212. Dr Liddle,

    Give us at least one demonstrable example of emerging control, semantics or formalism in nature unaided by intelligent agency APART from life which is the focus of the argument.

    As far as I can tell watching your dialog with UprightBiped, you have failed to do so, so far. However, I can comfort you by saying it is not only you who could not do it. Nobody can, even world class scientists like Prigogine, Eigen or Kauffman. Crystallisation of life on the edge of chaos is a myth and it takes an incredible amount of faith to remain materialist at the face of reality.

  213. Well, we will hit the same problem as I did with Upright BiPed unless you can give me an operational definition of:

    “emerging control, semantics or formalism in nature unaided by intelligent agency”

    But please note, I am NOT claiming that “semantics” can emerge without intelligent agency. I think that would be an oxymoron. But that’s where I got bogged down with UBP. So I think we will have to abandon that line of discussion.

  214. Not only have I been shown nothing, but now I’ve observed a determination to make me see what isn’t there.

    As one of those who you may accuse of such sales-tactics, I must make some small protest here. I’m not quite sure how I could convince you of my bona fides, however. Once you start to suspect the motives of the ‘salesman’, all further offerings are viewed with elevated suspicion. It couldn’t possibly be that the proponent has a perspective with merit, and that merit is what drives their argument. It does not do what you want it to do; the only conclusion: flimflam.

    A first-year biology class sits and listens to the prof’s explanations. They are keen to learn – they have exams to pass. So they make the effort to understand. It doesn’t always come easy – despite its inherent simplicity, evolutionary theory takes 3-4 years to get a degree-level understanding, same as any other discipline. If they stay in science, they have careers to pursue, but you don’t get very far by sticking to ideology. Unless, that is, one subscribes to the notion that darwinism is an atheistic conspiracy. But that simply does not fly (just what a conspirator would say). Science is so intimately interlinked, it would be impossible to sustain a wrong theory while allowing all the ‘good stuff’ through – scientific results interact in often surprising ways.

    But someone who just folds his arms and says “Show me”, then harrumphs as a series of quite involved concepts are paraded before him … understanding something takes effort on the part of the recipient, as well as the dispenser of the information.

    You are quite right, we cannot provide the historical selective advantage of even one fixed gene, let alone a whole series of them leading to complexity. The reason for that is embedded in neo-darwinian theory itself – as soon as a gene is fixed, the rivals against which its selective advantage would be displayed are eliminated. Gone. Dead.

    But, you have decided that, due to the enthusiasm with which darwinists pursue their argument, it looks like ideology. It appears to you that its adherents have nothing but blind faith to go on. They take the trouble to try and explain the thinking behind their position, and it simply is not good enough for you. Which is fair enough. But impugning their motives is something else again.

  215. Dr Liddle,

    I would not like to delve into time wasting arguments. I totally argee with UB on this issue. And BTW, I find “The first gene” very educating. All those things you are asking about are defined there. I am happy with those definitions. Those who remain determined not to notice the fundamental difference between self-ordering and self-organisation do so willfully.

    There is no operational definition of “naturally emergining control” because there is no such thing in reality since control in reality is an artefact. As soon as we talk about control, utility considerations come up. Empirical observations suggest that nature is inert to utility, as has been noted many times. You are welcome to refute it by showing at least one phenomenon where it does not hold.

    The burden of proof lies on “naturalists” to show control can emerge gradually without intelligence. The burden of proof is on “naturalists” to show how physical reality alone can show intent to change utility.

  216. 216

    Chas,

    It’s not even a question of motives. Like I said, no one gets a toaster or a trip to Mexico for convincing me.

    And I can’t lump everyone together.

    What I observe looks more like people trying to convince themselves. What am I to understand when one person after another posts links to one research paper after another, apparently not realizing that it doesn’t even claim to support what they say it does? It’s not even a problem with the research. But they cite it as evidence for this and that, and those things aren’t even addressed in the papers.

    Someone posted a paper in defense of variation and selection. In one paragraph, no quote-mining, the author explicitly stated that his results challenged the fundamental premise that natural selection selects variations that confer benefit.

    I find the behavior baffling. Why are people so desperate to prove themselves right that they will embarrass themselves by posting what they apparently haven’t even read? It seems to confirm the notion that people simply believe that the evidence exists because there are lots of research papers and don’t critically analyze it.

    I understand that a few people determined to win a debate are not representative of the entire scientific community.

    I’m not really interested in how long a degree takes. Much of what is called “evolution” is really just biology and genetics. Again, look at the papers with “evolution” in the title that are actually about biology, taxonomy, genetics, regulation, and so on.

    It reminds me of workplace programs with fancy names like Six Sigma. People attend trainings, achieve levels with names like “black belt,” and then go forth applying new terminology to the common sense business of looking for inefficiencies and fixing them. Anyone could say the same thing, but people listen to a Six Sigma Black Belt. I am not making this up.

    That’s what I see. It’s just an opinion. Some people love anything with the word “evolution” in it. It makes the research more significant. It makes the flowers smell better and keeps the cereal crunchy.

    Nonetheless, I don’t dismiss anything because of who says it. But I’m seeing a remarkably poor track record for what is supposed to be the cornerstone of biology. If there’s any conspiracy at all it could only be to avoid putting their best foot forward.

  217. Those who remain determined not to notice the fundamental difference between self-ordering and self-organisation do so willfully.

    Well, if you think it’s important, do try to explain the difference.

    There is no operational definition of “naturally emergining control” because there is no such thing in reality since control in reality is an artefact.

    Well, give me an operational definition of “emerging control, semantics or formalism” then.

    Empirical observations suggest that nature is inert to utility, as has been noted many times

    Please explain what “nature is inert to utility” means. Also perhaps link to some empirical observations of this.

    The burden of proof lies on “naturalists” to show control can emerge gradually without intelligence. The burden of proof is on “naturalists” to show how physical reality alone can show intent to change utility.

    In that case, provide your operational definition of “control”. Also explain what you mean by “intent to change utility”.

    Thanks.

  218. But I’m seeing a remarkably poor track record for what is supposed to be the cornerstone of biology. If there’s any conspiracy at all it could only be to avoid putting their best foot forward.

    Well, I’m not trying to push any ‘consensus omnium‘ argument in support of evolution. And yet, for 99%+ of the people who study biology, evolution is the cornerstone of biology. Perhaps biology attracts the gullible. I know that seems to be what the ‘hard science’ critics seem to think, with their 10-minute contemplation of the subject. The time taken to master the subject may not seem relevant to you, but the egregious errors of fundamental biology I see again and again from critics, yourself included, can be hair-tearing. And it matters. Trying to explain speciation to someone who is convinced that they are compartmentalised in time as well as at a particular moment … Yeesh. They have to be, they must be, it’s gotta be true, and anyone who is trying to persuade me otherwise must be trying to deceive me for nefarious purposes. Their determination can’t be simple frustration at obtuseness, can it? It must be ulterior.

    Your standards relate to demonstrations of the role of selection in actual history. Not whether it can explain X or Y in principle, but whether it does explain X or Y in fact. If it doesn’t, then all those evolutionary principles, worked out and examined in minute detail, are worthless, and it must be design.

    Yet design can only explain X or Y in principle, and not in fact. Your decision that the avian lung is unevolvable has no bearing on whether it was in fact evolved or designed.

    I understand that a few people determined to win a debate are not representative of the entire scientific community.

    I think you’re wrong on that. I think you would get a debate from any member of the scientific community if you waded in and tried to tell them that the standards of their field are so much hogwash, and here’s a much better idea we just cooked up at home.

  219. 219

    Chas,

    And yet, for 99%+ of the people who study biology, evolution is the cornerstone of biology.

    I disagree. If biologists can write entire research papers with “evolution” in the title and only add the idea of evolution as an afterthought to the actual content then apparently it is a “narrative gloss,” not a foundation.

    And I’ve seen it myself more times than I can count. As self-contradictory as this sounds, it doesn’t appear that evolution is even the cornerstone of evolution, let alone the rest of biology.

    Their determination can’t be simple frustration at obtuseness, can it? It must be ulterior.

    Didn’t I plainly state that I didn’t think this to be the case? You say you’re not appealing to authority, but you are. So many people can’t be wrong, because that would mean they’re either evil, morons, or both. I don’t think they’re either. If authority can’t be wrong then why is appeal to authority a logical fallacy?

    Yet design can only explain X or Y in principle, and not in fact.

    That’s true. I’ve said so myself numerous times, but I like your wording better.

    Your decision that the avian lung is unevolvable has no bearing on whether it was in fact evolved or designed.

    Of course not. Reality is what it is, not what we decide. Your decision that it is evolvable likewise has no bearing. Neither does a consensus.

    I think you would get a debate from any member of the scientific community if you waded in and tried to tell them that the standards of their field are so much hogwash, and here’s a much better idea we just cooked up at home.

    There are a few things to untangle here. This is where it gets shadier and the line between people trying to convince themselves and issuing propaganda blurs.

    The premise that most everything in biology results from iterations of variation and selection is not a relevant “standard” in most biology. How could this be more evident when evolutionary biologists write papers about evolution without incorporating it into their explanations? If you can explain evolution itself without the mechanics of evolution, how does it follow that 99% of biology depends upon them?

    Biology is mostly full of credible science, and evolution seeks to borrow that credibility. If you’ve ever watched Seinfeld, it’s like the guy who silently appears next to Elaine at work and shares the credit for everything she does.

    A ‘better idea’ or any other idea has nothing to do with it. That’s yet another fallacy. If this idea is so bad, what’s the better one? No explanation at all is better than a bad one. Sometimes the bad one keeps people from looking for a better one.

  220. It’s a shame that you don’t see what JoeG sends directly to me.

    For example

    Fuck you Kevin- I never claimed evolution was random. I have claimed ID is not anti-evolution. And I have claimed that intelligent design evolution is not random.

    Not only that archaeology claims to be able to determine design from not. Forensic science claims to be able to do the same.

    YOUR position claims to be able to determine design from not you moron.

    But thanks for dropping by UD and proving that you are a clueless dolt.

    It’s also a shame that JoeG doesn’t understand that when he says

    Peter,

    Stop with your false accusations. You cannot produce anything taht says the theory of evolution has other mechanisms besides accumulations of random mutations.

    Why was ID supplanted? Obviously it wasn’t in the minds of the majority…

    my emphasis

    means that he thinks there is nothing but randomness involved, even in natural selection.

    Of course, JoeG offers this quote to support his position

    The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity- Nobel Laureates Iinitiative

    September 9, 2005

    Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.

    Again, he sees the word random, and totally unsure of the rules for grammer and sentence structure in the English language thinks that this means that natural selection is random too. Forgetting the definition of that ‘selection’ word.

    Joe again, a little further down

    Peter,

    Natural selection is just one way mutations accumulate.

    And when I say “accumulations of random muations” that includes ALL of the ways they do so.

    Again, what is wrong with you?

    Muations are said to be random in that they are not planned and have no purpose in mind and don’t even care if they kill their host. They just happen- and yes sometimes there are some things that make sure they happen (mutagens).

    Here, JoeG says ‘mutations accumulate by natural selection’, then says that ‘accumulations of random mutations’ include ALL the ways (including natural selection).

    So logically we have A = B and B = C, therefore A=C

    JoeG, you are right, you may never have actually said the phrase “evolution is totally random”. However, what you do actually say, is the same thing.

    More JoeG

    Selection is just a result- it is differential reproduction due to heritable random variation. There isn’t anything non-random about it as whatever works good enough will do.

    Again, I’m not sure of Joe’s skill with the English Language, but that there is saying that everything is random in selection.

    Since Joe says mutations are random and selection is random, then the entirety of evolution, according to Joe, is random. (quotemine worthy, right there)

    Again, Joe might not have claimed evolution was random, but that’s what he keeps saying.

    He never claimed that ID is anti-evolution, but the statements of the leaders of ID show that ID is anti-evolution.

    Archeology and forensics also know who the ‘designer’ is, what he/she/it is capable of and the methods by which the design is accomplished. You don’t know any of that for ID… still.

    Yes, we do, because we can see the changes in the genome and how they affect the organism.

    I’m sure, this post will upset you. I’d like to note here that there is nothing in this post that is offensive, except for direct quotes from JoeG to me. If you find that offensive, then you might want to think about who is supporting ID on this site.

    I think I’m done here. But thanks for letting me kill a few hours. I may be back when I’m bored.

  221. Chas: Their determination can’t be simple frustration at obtuseness, can it? It must be ulterior.

    Scott: Didn’t I plainly state that I didn’t think this to be the case? You say you’re not appealing to authority, but you are. So many people can’t be wrong, because that would mean they’re either evil, morons, or both.

    Well, I could have sworn you did suggest suspicion at motive – replacing trying to convince you for trying to convince themselves remains some kind of rationalisation for others’ behaviour that they do not themselves perceive.

    Authorities can all be wrong, but you should understand why they think they are right if (say) you want your position to be given equal weight in the curriculum. I guess I don’t know how to make that point without it appearing as an appeal to authority. It doesn’t mean they are cleverer than you, but they may know more than you, and what they know is relevant to whether or not the evolutionary algorithm is a viable explanation. Is that a problem?

    There’s no getting away from the fact that people who have studied a subject in depth are better equipped to consider aspects of it than those who have not. I am not offering that as a reason to agree with them (an appeal to authority) but as a suggestion that arguing without detailed understanding will get you nowhere outside the realms of internet argumentation. Which may be all you are after; I don’t know.

    Biology is mostly full of credible science, and evolution seeks to borrow that credibility.

    Just … no. How do you separate the ‘credible science’ of biology, that provides extensive classificatory detail of the vast diversity of living and fossil organisms in terms of relationship, from this feeble philosophical carbuncle that you seem to think evolution is. It’s not just some vague notion dreamed up by a Victorian gent in a vacuum, who then tried to find a couple of examples that fit.

    The vast classificatory detail feeds directly into the theory of evolution. The core of the theory is that organisms appear related because they are related. Variation and selection are mechanistic considerations that are up for grabs, but relationship is not. Relationship is the cornerstone of biology, not the ‘variation-and-selection’ that you seem to think evolution means. I hope you’re not going to offer some ‘common design’ moonshine to explain the genetic relationship.

  222. 222

    Well, I could have sworn you did suggest suspicion at motive – replacing trying to convince you for trying to convince themselves remains some kind of rationalisation for others’ behaviour that they do not themselves perceive.

    Yes, but that’s hardly ulterior.

    Authorities can all be wrong, but you should understand why they think they are right if (say) you want your position to be given equal weight in the curriculum.

    Are you implying that I should understand what they are saying before I disagree with them? Let me carefully consider that… yes, I think we agree there.

    You miss the point, though. It’s not about why they think they’re right. It’s about getting them to say what it is they think is right. Never specifying the operation of any darwinian mechanism makes right or wrong very hard to pin down.

    You don’t even notice yourself doing it. Now you’re telling me that having ‘equal weight in the curriculum’ is the measure of validity. Am I to understand that the curriculum is the measure of itself?

    I guess I don’t know how to make that point without it appearing as an appeal to authority.

    It looks like that because it is that. So you can’t.

    Variation and selection are mechanistic considerations that are up for grabs, but relationship is not. Relationship is the cornerstone of biology, not the ‘variation-and-selection’ that you seem to think evolution means.

    I’m afraid that position isn’t given equal weight in the curriculum.

    I hope you’re not going to offer some ‘common design’ moonshine to explain the genetic relationship.

    I wasn’t going to. But the mechanisms are ‘up for grabs’ as long as we can start with some ground rules on what they aren’t? Fine, if we can’t make it better we can at least make it faster.

  223. Kevin,

    You are a lying fool.

    YOUR position says that evolution is random.

    Intelliigent Design says evolution is not random.

    But again you think that Intelligent Design is anti-evolution, which means you are a fool.

    Kevin sez:

    He never claimed that ID is anti-evolution, but the statements of the leaders of ID show that ID is anti-evolution.

    You mean statements like these:

    Intelligent Design is NOT Creationism
    (MAY 2000)

    Scott refers to me as an intelligent design “creationist,” even though I clearly write in my book Darwin’s Black Box (which Scott cites) that I am not a creationist and have no reason to doubt common descent. In fact, my own views fit quite comfortably with the 40% of scientists that Scott acknowledges think “evolution occurred, but was guided by God.”- Dr Michael Behe

    Dr Behe has repeatedly confirmed he is OK with common ancestry. And he has repeatedly made it clear that ID is an argument against materialistic evolution (see below), ie necessity and chance.

    Then we have:

    What is Intelligent Design and What is it Challenging?- a short video featuring Stephen C. Meyer on Intelligent Design. He also makes it clear that ID is not anti-evolution.

    Next Dembski and Wells weigh in:

    The theory of intelligent design (ID) neither requires nor excludes speciation- even speciation by Darwinian mechanisms. ID is sometimes confused with a static view of species, as though species were designed to be immutable. This is a conceptual possibility within ID, but it is not the only possibility. ID precludes neither significant variation within species nor the evolution of new species from earlier forms. Rather, it maintains that there are strict limits to the amount and quality of variations that material mechanisms such as natural selection and random genetic change can alone produce. At the same time, it holds that intelligence is fully capable of supplementing such mechanisms, interacting and influencing the material world, and thereby guiding it into certain physical states to the exclusion of others. To effect such guidance, intelligence must bring novel information to expression inside living forms. Exactly how this happens remains for now an open question, to be answered on the basis of scientific evidence. The point to note, however, is that intelligence can itself be a source of biological novelties that lead to macroevolutionary changes. In this way intelligent design is compatible with speciation. page 109 of “The Design of Life”

    and

    And that brings us to a true either-or. If the choice between common design and common ancestry is a false either-or, the choice between intelligent design and materialistic evolution is a true either-or. Materialistic evolution does not only embrace common ancestry; it also rejects any real design in the evolutionary process. Intelligent design, by contrast, contends that biological design is real and empirically detectable regardless of whether it occurs within an evolutionary process or in discrete independent stages. The verdict is not yet in, and proponents of intelligent design themselves hold differing views on the extent of the evolutionary interconnectedness of organisms, with some even accepting universal common ancestry (ie Darwin’s great tree of life).
    Common ancestry in combination with common design can explain the similar features that arise in biology. The real question is whether common ancestry apart from common design- in other words, materialistic evolution- can do so. The evidence of biology increasingly demonstrates that it cannot.- Ibid page 142

    And from one more pro-ID book:

    Many assume that if common ancestry is true, then the only viable scientific position is Darwinian evolution- in which all organisms are descended from a common ancestor via random mutation and blind selection. Such an assumption is incorrect- Intelligent Design is not necessarily incompatible with common ancestry.- page 217 of “Intelligent Design 101”

    Next Kevin sez:

    Archeology and forensics also know who the ‘designer’ is, what he/she/it is capable of and the methods by which the design is accomplished.

    That is false. We still don’t know who designed and built stonehenge and there are plenty of unsolved crimes.

    Yes you are done here, done exposing your ignorance, that is.

  224. So to recap, Kevin gets his strawman exposed, spews a bunch of lies for a distraction and then rolls it all up in one ignorant rant.

    You rock Kev…

  225. Chas:I guess I don’t know how to make that point without it appearing as an appeal to authority.

    Scott: It looks like that because it is that. So you can’t.

    I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    “Most of what authority a has to say on subject matter S is correct.
    a says p about S.
    Therefore, p is correct. “

    Try substitution:

    “Most of what (biologists) say on (biology) is correct.
    (Biologists) say (evolution is true) about (this aspect of biology).
    Therefore, (evolution is true). “

    Mine was not an argument of that form – pointing to a particular individual or group of individuals and inferring accuracy in all their opinions on the subject.

    or:

    ” (biologists) hold that (evolution) is true
    (biologist X) is a legitimate expert on the subject.
    The consensus of experts agrees with (biologist X).
    Therefore, there’s a presumption that (evolution is true). “

    Neither conforms with what I said. I am not asserting any truth for evolution based upon the number of adherents or their expertise. But the possession of a thorough grounding in biology is vital for a sensible critique of evolutionary theory. The fact that biologists are overwhelmingly OK with it might conceivably point to an error in your conception. That is, I’m not saying evolution is true because biologists say it is, but that learning the biology might provide clarification. It’s not just what-they’re-saying, it’s why-they’re-saying-it. And I don’t mean lazy positions such as “‘cos they’re all atheistic ideologues”.

    If, possessed of it, you continued to disagree, your criticism would at least avoid the errors that plague most dialogue – getting the biology right is rather central, don’t you think? If I had $1 for every anti-speciationist that misunderstood the role of meiosis and syngamy …

    Chas: Relationship is the cornerstone of biology, not the ‘variation-and-selection’ that you seem to think evolution means.

    Scott: I’m afraid that position isn’t given equal weight in the curriculum.

    Which curriculum? High school? University? Genetics? Evolutionary Biology? Microbiology? Botany? Zoology? Ecology? Taxonomy? Anthropology?

    here are some courses at Stanford. Many mention evolution. Which do you think so only in terms reducible to “variation & selection” (ie ignoring descent, relationship and diversity)?

    But the mechanisms are ‘up for grabs’ as long as we can start with some ground rules on what they aren’t? Fine, if we can’t make it better we can at least make it faster.

    I expect that’s clever, but I’m afraid it is beyond me.

  226. 226

    Chas,

    We’ve veering into obfuscation. One need not dig very deep on the subject of evolution to know that the primary mechanisms by which it is thought to operate are variation and selection. I don’t say that to oversimplify. I know that there are others. I know that the term “variation” encompasses more than point mutations.

    I also understand that the term “evolution” is not rigidly specific to the origin of species or to the effects of variation and selection. Loss of function is evolution.

    The trouble is that these terms are all so plastic that must either spell them out in boring detail, post after post, because the moment you don’t, someone is waiting to pounce and bog you down by pointing out a more specific or general meaning of a term.

    That is why I may use the terms “genetic variation and selection” over and over and over like a broken record.

    Which curriculum? High school? University? Genetics? Evolutionary Biology? Microbiology? Botany? Zoology? Ecology? Taxonomy? Anthropology?

    We are talking about the fundamentals of evolution. Not the fine details, but the fundamentals. Why would there be a difference?

    Nonetheless, variation and natural selection are held to be a key mechanisms of evolution. You can add more into the mix, and I can understand the desire to supplement them. But regardless of the ensemble they are the stars of the show, not the extras.

    That is, I’m not saying evolution is true because biologists say it is, but that learning the biology might provide clarification. It’s not just what-they’re-saying, it’s why-they’re-saying-it.

    How condescending and pointless to assume that if I disagree with what they say I must not understand why they are saying it. In other words, I disagree with them because I don’t know what they know, and if I did know I wouldn’t disagree. That’s a hybridization of appeal to authority and begging the question.

    ‘Why they are saying it’ is actually the very dead center of this debate, and so far no one wants to go there. They prefer to post links to the research papers containing ‘what they are saying.’ After I object a dozen times pointing out that these are the ‘what’ not the ‘why,’ you kindly point out the importance of understanding the ‘why.’ I’ve been asking ‘why’ for hundreds of posts. So have others. How nice to know that I’ve finally gotten the question across.

    Sorry for being a bit cross, but I’m exasperated at all of this back-and-forth only to have my own question thrown back at me. And I find it oddly convenient that it should take you countless posts to suddenly decide that the subject cannot be properly discussed among lay people. Perhaps you’re right, but if you had said so fifty posts ago it wouldn’t sound like a retreat.

    If you wish to shift the subject from the role of evolution in biology to the role of natural selection in evolution then there are plenty of darwinists on hand to debate with you. I think they’ll be inclined to let it slide, though, because spreading the causative power around to more and more vaguely specified mechanisms just takes more pressure off everyone and makes the central dogma of evolution seem like less of a dead end.

  227. So that is it? We get Kevin’s strawman, followed by Kevin’s lies, followed by Kevin running away.

    Sweet…

  228. In typical evo fashion Kevin ran away from here only to spew more nonsense (notice that he, once again, doesn’t provide any support for his claim):

    Of course the denizens of UD misrepresent the design inference all the time, but no one calls them to the carpet on that.

    Ah well… hypocrisy, thy name is ID.

    What do you to with people like that?

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