Home » Intelligent Design » ecs2 responds to the same Nick Matzke “he said it” clipped and commented on yesterday

ecs2 responds to the same Nick Matzke “he said it” clipped and commented on yesterday

One of the great things about UD is the insights that often come up in the comment boxes, by design and inadvertently. And here (at 147 in the Chemist speaks out thread) we have ecs2 responding to the same “he said it” clip I highlighted yesterday. He then continues later in the thread, in response to NM at 150.

Let us watch:

_________________

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

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

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

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

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

ecs2: >>I don’t dispute your science. Not because I accept it, nor because I deny it, but because I am a learner in this area and don’t feel I have sufficient knowledge to discuss intelligently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[--> NM replies at 150, which ecs2 then excerpts. It should be noted that (as far as I have seen in following the exchanges) there has been no accusation of general fraud -- what "bogus" means -- in the field of evolutionary biology, though there have been concerns over bias, error and the inherent limitations of science especially where the objects of research, cannot be directly observed. Also, of course, there have been noteworthy hoaxes and frauds, such as Piltdown and apparently the Feathered Dinosaurs of the late 1990's.  In addition, there have been serious errors such as not only the Nebraska man of the 1920's "reconstructed" from the tooth of a pig, but also the suggested early whale of the 1990's that turned out to be nothing like the early reconstructions. Also, there have been notorious debates and contentions such as over KNM-ER 1470 and related dating of isochron radioactive samples. Here, the fundamental challenge is that we face the deep and unobservable past of origins, and may only examine traces from that past that is forever gone from our direct reach. Thus, we make models and explain on patterns of cause and effect that we may observe in the present that give rise to similar effects to the items we find as traces from the past.  NM's declaration that we are dismissing his field as "bogus" was corrected already, but unfortunately, it appears again.  This therefore seems to be a polarising and generally unfair misrepresentation of the questions and challenges being raised, one maintained in the teeth of headlined correction, and it should cease. There are also several other serious distortions that call for editorial notes like this, following.]

NM, 150: >> http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/s…..ations.php

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

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

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

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

Science is about making good approximations, not omniscience.

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

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

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

[Insert image:]

A simple summary of Science, as highlighted by NM as inadequate

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

So, you’re in favor of giving equal time in chemistry classes to the idea that Atomic Theory is false. Right? Oh, and homeopathy. [--> with all due respect, this is a strawman caricature of ecs2's remarks]

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

I’ve been the only one citing actual evidence in these macroevolution threads.  All the UD regulars are just throwing up objections based on their personal lack of understanding of these topics,

[--> A strawman caricature, hasty generalisation and dismissal of serious and well-known objections, some of which are in fact citing evidence, others of which are addressing interpretation issues regarding well known evidence such as the pattern of sudden appearances, stasis and disappearance in the fossil record and cases such as the Cambrian fossils.]

and then pretending that they represent huge crucial gaps in the entire field.

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

[--> In fact, as NM knows or should know, design theory is neutral on the question of common descent, as can be seen from the view of Michael Behe, one of the two leading design theorists, who accepts common descent; as do many supporters of Design thought here at UD. What it is raising, is the question as to whether, via Common Descent, front loading or otherwise, there are signs in the world of life and in the cosmos more broadly that point -- on empirical testing -- to design as a key causal feature of our world. That is, we must distinguish (a) limited common descent, (b) universal common descent and (c) blind watchmaker thesis universal common descent; if we are to be fair to the various view out there. E.g. even, many modern Young Earth Creationists hold that "species" is an ambiguous concept and speak of "created kinds" or "baramins,"  which go up to the level of a Family or the like in typical taxonomical categories and would see common descent as active through variation and adaptation within the kind. Moreover, what I have just summarised is immediately accessible and directly observable, even well known here and now in the present. NM, if you -- with your background of having been a public relations person for the NCSE (a leading Darwinism advocacy group), cannot be trusted to accurately and fairly summarise what we can all directly see here and now, how can we trust you to be objective and fair on traces and interpretations on  events that may lie 500+ to 3,500+ MYA? And, does this not constitute "fear of facing evidence," easily accessible evidence?]

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

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

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

I try to be patient. But I’m human. When people who don’t know what they are talking about start declaring my field bogus, and then start blaming it for Nazis etc., I get annoyed. Anyone would be.

[--> As noted, this is a strawman caricature of objections. In addition, no-one has been

Logo, 2nd Int’l Congress, Eugenics Movement, 1921, showing claimed scientific roots [HT: Wiki]

raising the issue of the ethical challenges of materialism and of scientific racism that was deeply connected to Darwinism in Germany and elsewhere that did contribute beyond reasonable dispute to the rise of eugenics and did historically contribute to the genocides carried out by Nazi Germany. A responsible view of the ethical responsibilities of science in society, would frankly address such troubling issues from history. And, without trying to use this as an atmosphere-poisoning distractor, as this comment by NM plainly opens up.]

My advice for you is to keep reading, and start testing the creationist/antievolution claims for yourself.

[--> NM/NCSE know or should know, that design theory is not equivalent to creationism, or to antievolutionism. However, this rhetorically convenient conflation has consistently been used, despite repeated correction.  In addition, serious concerns on the limitations of evolutionary materialistic, blind watchmaker thesis narratives of the past of origins, are too often brushed aside as " creationism" or the like.]

Is it really true that there are no transitional fossils? Start there and then start reading. It won’t be long.

[--> This ducks the issues just above, and fails to address the vexed question of the dominance of the fossil record at its various levels, of suddenness of appearance, stasis and disappearance. If the fundamentally gradualist, incrementally emergent tree of life model were true, from the root up, and if this were overwhelmingly evident to the point that we are justified in teaching High School students and the general public that this is a "fact," the overwhelming majority of the fossil record should be of the many, many transitional forms -- samples do strongly tend to reflect the bulk of a distribution, however crudely; and, arguably, many such should be quite evident in the world today. In addition, there is a basic challenge that from the root on up, the Darwinist three of life needs to be a tub that stands on its own bottom. That is, we need to see good warrant for the blind watchmaker thesis narrative on origin of life. We need to see good evidence on the pattern of chance variation and differential reproductive success in ecological zones, leading tot he descent with unlimited modification that accounts for the various tree of life models [I here advert to the inconsistencies between traditional trees and the various molecular ones]. It also needs to credibly account for the origin of human language and mind as a knowing, reasoning, perceiving entity required for such a theory to exist and have credibility.  NM knows or should know that the 6,000 word UD Darwinism essay challenge of Sept 23 on, is still standing, coming on five months without a serious response, though at least one has been promised. ]>>

ecs, 173: >>N.Matzke @150

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

This really evades my point, which was that you can’t do these things together:

1) in one aspect, articulate how difficult and explorative the process of building evolutionary theory is

2) in a separate aspect, act like these delicate and hard-to-build-and-interpet theories are bulletproof articulate how sound the theory is and how ‘overwhelming’ the evidence is

3) in a third aspect, act like the theories are beyond reproof, flippantly and rudely rebuffing eminent scientists who have questions.

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

- If #1 then not #2. That is, if there is less evidence is desired and there are holes where interpolation is required, then the theory can’t possibly establish the confidence to state #2.

- If #2 then not #3. That is, if the evidence is overwhelming and the theory is sound, then you are happy to discuss it with other scientists whose fields overlap and you would expect your theory to hold up to those inquiries.

And so on. >>

ecs2, 174: >>

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

[--> In context, this is dismissing ecs2's views on the methods of science as ill-informed; cf. a 101 here on this at IOSE, especially the expanded description of scientific methods; also here on on the debate in Kansas on scientific methods as taught in schools, in which NM's former institution, NCSE, played a significant part. Bottomline: the "method" traditionally commonly taught in schools is somewhat simplistic, but it does capture some major and characteristic features of scientific investigation. In addition those trained in pure and applied sciences to graduate level are inculcated in a tradition of research that goes beyond what any description or definition can summarise -- experience based expertise.]

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

Two observations based on the link to ‘the real process of science’ which jumps off the page you linked.

1) There is no room on that graphic for the behaviors I mentioned. Of course science can be interpolative and exploratory. But the interpolation and exploration should still be dictated by the data. When I say grandiose narratives and speculative interpolation, I am saying that in my view some of what I have seen from the evolution community (not you specifically) violates the boundary condition of following rather than leading the data.

2)I noted in the exploration and discovery phase, the process you provided call the scientist to ‘ask questions’ (and presumably by extension to graciously receieve questions also) and also to share data and ideas (like across disciplinary boundaries (such as, I don’t know, organic chemistry and evolutionary biology). I think I have the process down. Do you (look back over this thread before you answer)?>>

_________________

A word or two to the wise, and food for thought. END

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220 Responses to ecs2 responds to the same Nick Matzke “he said it” clipped and commented on yesterday

  1. “I have a PhD in Engineering. I feel sufficiently familiar with the scientific process.” – KF/GEM

    There is not a single entity called ‘THE’ scientific process. There are multiple processes. Studies in history, philosophy and sociology of science (HPSS) have revealed this.

    Words to the wise and food to be eaten or thrown away by activist-IDists.

    You haven’t studied HPSS, have you KF/GEM? If you had, you would easily adjust your chosen terms of communication to speak about multiple ‘scientific processes.’

    There are many stories to be heard about engineers who think they are natural scientists.

  2. Ah yes, Gregory, insert your own emphasis on his words to change their semantic meaning! Brilliant! The NCSE has need of a young go-getter like yourself to keep those damn IDiots down!

    Even better, you not only shift the meaning to a more genial field for defense (read: build a strawman), you also proceed to knock the hell out of of it with a giant bat, even though you surely know, based on the totality of his comments, that he concedes the point that there are myriad views on the scientific method.

    For good measure, you also toss in some Adhom (“activist-IDists”, which is a churched up version of IDiot)! You are awesome! Keep up the great work! The NCSE will have a job offer in your email box by noon!

    (And Darwinists wonder why people like me–non-religious, open to debate–find Darwinists and their ilk absolutely insufferable and functionally dishonest…because they are.)

  3. Gregory:

    Did you notice, that I was citing a claim made by ecs2? (In short, you have put another person’s words in my mouth.Words I endorse as wise counsel — bearing in mind, ec2s’ emphasis on civility especially — and food for thought, as opposed to asserted, absolute truth to be taken without question.)

    Here (as I linked in the OP), FYI, is how I discuss science and its methods:

    . . . let us give a working definition of science as it should be (recognising that we will often fall short):

    science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive, observational evidence-led pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on:

    a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical — real-world, on the ground — observations and measurements,

    b: inference to best current — thus, always provisional — abductive explanation of the observed facts,

    c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein's favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments],

    d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and,

    e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, “the informed” is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.)

    As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world.

    In addition, origins questions are freighted with major consequences for our worldviews, and are focused on matters that are inherently beyond our direct observation.

    So, since we simply were not here to see the deep past, we are compelled to reconstruct it on more or less plausible models driven by inference to best explanation. This means that our results and findings are even more provisional than are those of operational science, where we can directly cross check models against observation. That further means that origins science findings are inherently more prone to controversy and debate than more conventional theories in science.

    I think that I am willing to defend this summary of an ideal model [with its clear statement of limitations], noting that many methods of inquiry and warrant are entailed by the above. If you will read on down, you will see Newton’s remarks that are the roots of the traditional school definition.

    You will also notice my remark on provisionality in scientific knowledge claims.

    Let me add, that if one unpacks the above, one will find therein, reflections of the history and philosophy of science, wider epistemology, logic and metaphysics, some ethics, and an awareness of not just pure and applied natural sciences — what “Science” in US usage normally means [which I have adopted for discussion] — but also social and behavioural sciences; in particular, economics.

    KF

    PS: ECMIM, pardon a moment, but I think G is actually some exotic variety of theistic evolutionist, and may not be a Darwinist; though there are such things as theistic darwinists. If, he is not simply a sock puppet.

  4. Gregory,

    There is a single entity for science…. To observe what causes what…. that is science and that is all that science should ever concern itself with, what’s the cause and what’s the effect, and lastly can I repeat it?

  5. Wish I had proofread more closely. Sorry about the typos.

  6. ecs2: Not to worry, we understand. KF

  7. Gregory,

    I think these comments are a little unfair on me.

    1) I agree engineers can overstep their scientific qualifications – in my experience this is true of experts of all stripes actually. I have made a point of appropriately bounding my comments. See my very first sentence above – I refrain from commenting for exactly the reason you stated – to approach an area where my scientific knowledge is limited (but growing) humbly and respectfully.

    2) Regarding scientific processes, I agree with you and the words I used were intended to convey a similar point. If I had used the term scientific method I could see your complaint, but by scientific process I was envisioning something dynamic and multi-dimensional composed of multiple sub-processes. My words may have been clumsy but my intent was in-family with your usage, I think. My complaint was that my observation was summarily discounted by Mr. Matzke on a faulty assumption I am uninformed.

    3) I am not necessarily an active IDer (although the more often my words are twisted into a strawman the more sympathetic I am to the claim that proponents of a minority opinion are suppressed). I am more in the ‘teach the controversy camp.

    Eric

  8. [ecs2]I don’t dispute your science. Not because I accept it, nor because I deny it, but because I am a learner in this area and don’t feel I have sufficient knowledge to discuss intelligently.

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

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

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

    From Dr. Michael Denton’s book, “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” regarding the completeness of the fossil record. His research showed:

    97.7% of of living orders of terrestrial vertebrate recovered from the fossil record.

    79.9% of of living families of terrestrial vertebrate recovered from the fossil record.

    87.8% of of living families of terrestrial vertebrate recovered from the fossil record (excluding birds).

    …so…

    Seems to me that if those high of percentages of fossils are represented by LIVING vertebrates, then the fossil record has done a really good job. We should expect equitable percentages at all time periods in the past.

    I’d think gap’s in gradation patterns (i.e. the details) should be the exception, not the norm. Seems stasis is also the norm.

    Not overwhelming evidence of macro evolution, imho.

  9. From Dr. Michael Denton’s book, “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” regarding the completeness of the fossil record. His research showed:

    97.7% of of living orders of terrestrial vertebrate recovered from the fossil record.

    79.9% of of living families of terrestrial vertebrate recovered from the fossil record.

    87.8% of of living families of terrestrial vertebrate recovered from the fossil record (excluding birds).

    …so…

    Seems to me that if those high of percentages of fossils are represented by LIVING vertebrates, then the fossil record has done a really good job. We should expect equitable percentages at all time periods in the past.

    So, what do you think the percentages of genera and species are recovered from the fossil record?

    And do you really think it is reasonable to think that we will have an equal quality of fossil record, as we go further and further back in time?

  10. 10
    Anhar Hussain Miah

    And do you really think it is reasonable to think that we will have an equal quality of fossil record, as we go further and further back in time?

    That would suggest the data is to weak, futher no real inference could be made.

    As an analogy one would not take a pixelated and extremely low quality CCTV footage of a man wearing a mask; and then claim to be 100% positive on the identification. This clearly would be foolish.

  11. 11
    sagebrush gardener

    ecs2: I have a PhD in Engineering.

    I find it interesting that so many Darwin skeptics have backgrounds in engineering or computer science. (I see that Dr. Tour, in addition to his expertise in chemistry, is also a professor of computer science and mechanical engineering.) In these fields, we have to design complex systems with reliable and reproducible results. I think this ingrains in us a manner of thinking that is not found in fields where storytelling and hand-waving generalities are the accepted norm. We know that functional complex systems with multiple interacting subsystems (themselves made of other complex subsystems, almost ad infinitum) do not “just happen”, they do not “arise”, and they do not “emerge”. We know that every detail, down to the smallest pixel on a computer screen or the tiniest bearing in an airliner, is there because someone designed it that way. And the more we learn of the complex molecular machinery of biology, the more it looks like it was designed.

    We who have spent our careers designing complex systems are not throwing up our hands and saying “Oh, it is too complicated for us to understand — God must have done it.” We infer a designer because we do understand how complex systems are designed and we recognize the evidence of design in biology.

  12. Eric and KF/GEM,

    “Did you notice, that I was citing a claim made by ecs2?” – KF/GEM

    Nope, that one tricked me. My apology to ecs2 for mistaking his words for KF/GEM’s.

    ecs2 wrote in #7, “Regarding scientific processes, I agree with you and the words I used were intended to convey a similar point. If I had used the term scientific method I could see your complaint, but by scientific process I was envisioning something dynamic and multi-dimensional composed of multiple sub-processes.”

    That’s o.k. – I taught English language for several years and just out of habit correct people when mistakes are made. There are multiple methods and processes, so a singular is simply wrong. Surely with this you agree.

    When people today speak of ‘THE scientific method,’ they demonstrate a lack of familiarity with philosophy of science (PoS) advances in recent years. That is understandable since PoS in the USA is highly underdeveloped and under-taught. People who have studied PoS know that there are multiple methods, multiple processes and that a single ‘THE scientific method’ or ‘THE scientific process’ is a myth. Even some people who haven’t studied PoS know this, while others repeat such a myth as reality.

    “My words may have been clumsy but my intent was in-family with your usage, I think.” – ecs2

    Thank you, yes, I see that now.

    “I am not necessarily an active IDer” – ecs2

    Yeah, me neither. I reject IDism as a wishful scientistic fantasy. ID is claimed to be a natural-science-only theory, which is laughable.

    ‘Teach the controversy’ is likewise unfortunately riddled with IDM propaganda and politics.

    Folks like KF (applied physics, voice software), who parade FSCO/I like it’s a natural scientific proof directly from the Creator discredit the Movement. I can understand why you hesitate to become part of it, ecs2, while accepting your humble and respectful sympathy towards IDism.

    You are, as an engineer, a small-d ‘designer’ after all and IDM-ID theory makes no claim that you even exist because ID theory cannot study ‘designers’. ID theory is indifferent to the study of designers and designing processes, with which surely you are quite familiar. Indeed, ID theory is actually one of the most dysanthropic theories to have confronted the Academy in recent years. People need to be warned about this, but not “summarily discounted” as if they are “uninformed.”

  13. someone designed it that way.” – sg

    That ‘someone’ = a human being. Right? Which ‘someone/anyone’ are you refering to if not a human being(s)?

    Otherwise you are attempting to universalise or drastically extend the concept ‘design’ to non-humans, even to gods.

    KF is fond of beavers. But beavers didn’t create the origins of life or the origins of biological information or human origins, which is the IDM’s main (oftentimes exclusive) focus.

    Human designers themselves (e.g. engineers, programmers, architects, artists, etc.) are rarely professional/vocational theorists of human designing; that’s part of the disconnect here.

    “do not “just happen”, they do not “arise”, and they do not “emerge”.” – sg

    Have you thought to inquire with actual, living theorists of human design and intentionality, almost none of whom inhabit biological fields?

  14. Gregory:

    IDM-ID theory makes no claim that you even exist because ID theory cannot study ‘designers’.

    *snort*

    Credibility–;

    And the TOE makes no claim that any of us exist because it cannot study OOL. Obviously, any theory that cannot study everything it suspect, right?

  15. I merely claimed that ID theory is dysanthropic.

    Calm down, IDist. I’m not an evolutionist. It does seem like you’ve *snorted*.

  16. Gregory:

    Otherwise you are attempting to universalise or drastically extend the concept ‘design’ to non-humans, even to gods.

    The concept ‘design’ has already been universalized and drastically extended beyond humans, even to ‘nature.’ This ‘nature’ so exceeds humans in its ability to design and produce that it might as well be labelled a god. Is it so strange that ecs2 or sg should be skeptical?

  17. ecs2

    Absolutely wondeful post Eric, real brain candy. And I think Nicks response was inadequate, even though I agree with him and disagree with what you’re implying. It really seems to me though that you’ve gotten to the heart of the question of how we know what we know in science. I think your post deserves a very long and carefully thought out response.

    RodW

  18. Gregory: I am thread owner, and you have some outstanding issues. One and only warning. KF

  19. And do you really think it is reasonable to think that we will have an equal quality of fossil record, as we go further and further back in time?

    It’s a sampling question, isn’t it, really? One needs to look at number of specimens, as well as numbers of species. There are about 250K fossil species, far less than even the modern total – so many don’t get fossilised: many are just not suited to preservation anyway, of course. But how much less than the overall total is that, without assuming the mechanism?

    Estimate some millions of catalogued specimens in each major natural history museum, and one gets a total of some tens of specimens, crudely averaged, for each named fossil species.

    There are about 30 T. rex fossils (ie one species, not genus or above), spread across western North America – so they are fortuitously preserved it seems, unlike say a dozen or so Archaeopteryx which are all from one classy deposit. There are “large numbers” of Iguanadon from across Eurasia and North Africa, all now designated to one or maybe two species.

    Bob Bakker considered the sampling of fossil dinosaurs adequate enough to estimate predator/herbivore ratios and make his hypothesis that dinosaurs were warmblooded.

    Hyracotherium (dawn horse as was) is of course newer, and is known from hundreds of specimens across the Northern hemisphere – but all are from only one species. The whole equine tree has some 30 genera (and rather more species) over 50 million years.

    But may suggest a bizarrely weighted preservation pattern (Many Tyrannosaurus, Iguanadon, Hyracotherium specimens from single species across the world – yet not even one specimen of their immediate precursors or descendants). Or it may rather reflect a genuine pattern of stasis and rapid or saltational change, where all we see is the stasis and the change is always happening off the fossil record.

    To me Neodarwinian gradualism, at least, doesn’t look good on that showing, because the pattern should usually be individual specimens of very many species, not many specimens of few (when they are not found together, of course).

    So it’s not just the paucity, but the pattern, of the fossil record that suggest that major change is rapid and intermittent.

  20. Gregory:

    I merely claimed that ID theory is dysanthropic.

    Claimed as in made an unsupported assertion?

    ID theory hates humans like the TOE hates life. Which is to say that there are things about which both are agnostic.

  21. Gregory is right. And wrong. What’s new?

    I wonder which of the numerous and varied “scientific methods” Gregory think ID falls under.

    And let’s not forget that Gregory seems to think that humans and human activities are not natural, and thus fall outside the natural sciences.

    I suppose that helps him in his argument that human artifacts are only analogous to the artifacts we find elsewhere in nature.

  22. 18
    Jon GarveyFebruary 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    And do you really think it is reasonable to think that we will have an equal quality of fossil record, as we go further and further back in time?

    It’s a sampling question, isn’t it, really? One needs to look at number of specimens, as well as numbers of species. There are about 250K fossil species, far less than even the modern total – so many don’t get fossilised: many are just not suited to preservation anyway, of course. But how much less than the overall total is that, without assuming the mechanism?

    Estimate some millions of catalogued specimens in each major natural history museum, and one gets a total of some tens of specimens, crudely averaged, for each named fossil species.

    There are about 30 T. rex fossils (ie one species, not genus or above), spread across western North America – so they are fortuitously preserved it seems, unlike say a dozen or so Archaeopteryx which are all from one classy deposit. There are “large numbers” of Iguanadon from across Eurasia and North Africa, all now designated to one or maybe two species.

    Bob Bakker considered the sampling of fossil dinosaurs adequate enough to estimate predator/herbivore ratios and make his hypothesis that dinosaurs were warmblooded.

    Hyracotherium (dawn horse as was) is of course newer, and is known from hundreds of specimens across the Northern hemisphere – but all are from only one species. The whole equine tree has some 30 genera (and rather more species) over 50 million years.

    But may suggest a bizarrely weighted preservation pattern (Many Tyrannosaurus, Iguanadon, Hyracotherium specimens from single species across the world – yet not even one specimen of their immediate precursors or descendants). Or it may rather reflect a genuine pattern of stasis and rapid or saltational change, where all we see is the stasis and the change is always happening off the fossil record.

    To me Neodarwinian gradualism, at least, doesn’t look good on that showing, because the pattern should usually be individual specimens of very many species, not many specimens of few (when they are not found together, of course).

    So it’s not just the paucity, but the pattern, of the fossil record that suggest that major change is rapid and intermittent.

    So — given the biases and holes in the fossil record that you have admitted — is it reasonable for people to demand, before they accept that the fossil record supports evolution, that evolutionists produce a complete ancestor-descendent chain for the origin of any major group of interest, using only exact direct ancestors, and completely ignoring all information from what are thought to be close side-branches? Yes or no?

  23. ‘There is not a single entity called ‘THE’ scientific process. There are multiple processes. Studies in history, philosophy and sociology of science (HPSS) have revealed this.’

    Absolutely, Greg. Unfortunately, UDers are not ‘au fait’ with the new, more tenuous and subtle field of retroscience. If they were, the blackguards would probably call it ‘retroconjecture’!

  24. Or ‘”directed” retroconjecture’! (‘directed’ being underlined!)

  25. Mr Matzke, though I could quote from numerous experts on the overall suddenness and extreme stasis of the fossil record, I would like to address a more fundamentally crushing problem that you have. That fundamentally crushing problem that you have relates to the naturalistic/materialistic (atheistic) presupposition that you have going into these discussions about Darwinism. You see Mr. Matzke, even if the fossil record (and phylogenetic evidence) were to give you the smooth gradual branching tree-like pattern that you imagine them to give, (they don’t but if they did), this still would not be enough for you to prove that it happened by a purely naturalistic/materialistic (atheistic) account as is held in strict neo-Darwinian thinking.,,, But that is the beauty of modern science Mr Matzke (modern science which was founded within the matrix of Christian Theism by the way!).,, We can ask ourselves, Mr Matzke, if the base of reality is a materialistic foundation that is dependent on nothing else but itself to explain its continued existence within space-time (as the classic atheistic materialist has held for thousands of years), or we can ask ourselves if the material foundation of reality is sustained from ‘beyond space and time’ by a transcendent cause (as has been held by Theism for thousands of years).,, And the beauty of all this is that modern science has finally, after countless heated arguments, shined a light directly on this age old question Mr. Matzke!

    Quantum Evidence for a Theistic Universe
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1agaJIWjPWHs5vtMx5SkpaMPbantoP471k0lNBUXg0Xo/edit

    Thus Mr. Matzke, according to the best science we now have our hands on from quantum mechanics, we can be extremely confident in our belief that we live in a Theistic universe, and the atheistic version of neo-Darwinism, which you, by hook or by crook, cling so tenaciously to, is an excercise in futility (to put it mildly)!,,, I could probably go much farther into the details, than you care to hear now, as to the ultimate cause of ‘randomness’, and such things that you appeal to as to your ultimate cause, but suffice it to say that your atheistic belief is neatly crushed by the findings of modern science from quantum mechanics.,,,

    Of note: the following is a rather easy way to get the basic point across that we live in a Theistic universe:

    The Galileo Affair and the true “Center of the Universe”
    Excerpt: The Galileo Affair and the true “Center of the Universe”
    Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe. [15]

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

    Music:

    Kutless – Strong Tower
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NawddLbdqLA

  26. corrected link:

    Kutless – Strong Tower
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOxeyj7itJE

  27. So, what do you think the percentages of genera and species are recovered from the fossil record?

    And do you really think it is reasonable to think that we will have an equal quality of fossil record, as we go further and further back in time?

    Less at the species level. I would expect that a fair measure would be to take those percentage to the fifth power. Which would still be in the range ~50% to ~85% representation. That is still very high and where we would expect no significant pattern of gaps, and enough to be statistically sure that most of what can be found has already been found. Shouldn’t we expect to find more variety than less of the same fossils over & over?

    Yes. Why should one reject uniformity? There are already more fossils found in the lower strata than would have been expected. If you expect more at the lowest level, then don’t you only expecting to compound the problem against Darwin’s theory & required gradation.

  28. Nick Matzke:

    So — given the biases and holes in the fossil record that you have admitted — is it reasonable for people to demand, before they accept that the fossil record supports evolution, that evolutionists produce a complete ancestor-descendent chain for the origin of any major group of interest, using only exact direct ancestors, and completely ignoring all information from what are thought to be close side-branches? Yes or no?

    No.

  29. But Nick, I would say that a fair number of us here at UD are convinced that you cannot identify ancestors and descendants in the fossil record. It follows that you cannot identify a chain of such.

    So perhaps they are not seeking this impossible level of confirmation that you claim and you’ve only managed to erect a straw-man.

    Now, did Jon actually ask you to identify ancestors and descendants and put them in a chain?

    You can admit, can’t you, that no one can look at the fossil record and say that one species is ancestral to another?

  30. Well, they can say it, and often have, but that just don’t make it so.

  31. Using a giant table full of fossils which represent the variety of all creatures that are living today, I wonder what various kinds of imaginary ancestorial progressions could be constructed.

  32. Sagebrush Gardener you said;

    “We who have spent our careers designing complex systems are not throwing up our hands and saying “Oh, it is too complicated for us to understand — God must have done it.” We infer a designer because we do understand how complex systems are designed and we recognize the evidence of design in biology.”

    Touche! I’m also an Engineer.

  33. This mess of a discussion makes me imagine a bunch of scientists working on a 10,000 piece puzzle that they decide to split up into 100 segments. When they reach in the bag full of mixed up puzzle pieces they just happen to pull out 1 piece from each segment. And when all those segments have that one piece they tell everyone what the puzzle is a picture of!

  34. Forjah.

    I see you have a piece from a rare segment. :D

  35. Mung @ 29
    Thank you for identifying the key issue. I don’t think I’ve seen Nick address this one head on without falling back on defensive invective. This question (i.e. Can ancestor-descendant relationships be established using fossil similarity?) is really the what has to be addressed. If it isn’t, then one can spend an eternity speculating about which australopithecine goes where, who belongs in a side branch, etc and not really make any progress.

  36. I’ve always been bothered by the breezy confidence with which some paleontologists make assertions about the characteristics of some long extinct organism. If we only have part of a skeleton left over, how would we determine its really important traits (e.g. ontology, age of sexual maturity, gestation, parental practices, nocturnal or diurnal, diet, predators if any, susceptibility to disease, hunting ability, group behavior)? Much less – how could we know its connection to other organisms that existed millions of years before or after?

  37. Should read ‘ontogeny’
    Oops:-/

  38. So — given the biases and holes in the fossil record that you have admitted — is it reasonable for people to demand, before they accept that the fossil record supports evolution, that evolutionists produce a complete ancestor-descendent chain for the origin of any major group of interest, using only exact direct ancestors, and completely ignoring all information from what are thought to be close side-branches? Yes or no?

    No.

    But by the same token, that means the record is insufficient to give more than loosely corroborative evidence for any theory, when what is required of “support for evolution” is more, depending on what definition of “evolution” is supposed. So the obvious conclusion from the existing fossil record would be, on a first pass, agnosticism with a broad suggestion of descent with modification as opposed to de novo species creation, but probably (from what I suggested above) showing a pattern of stasis and rapid development needing to be accommodated in any hypothesis.

    I guess the demand for more evidence, which you rightly say is not possible, will be justified if more is claimed for the actual evidence than is warranted, eg that it proves Neodarwinism to be a “fact like gravity” etc. Then it becomes less a demand for the impossible, but a rhetorical way of saying “Don’t claim what the evidence can’t show.”

  39. The Earth was so young 300 million years ago, the first land animals had yet to evolve into dinosaurs, most scientists believe.

    LOL!

    Enjoy… because more than an interesting application of possible ID inference… this one’s going into everyone’s pipe:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....27424.html

    …..

  40. Gregory:

    ID is claimed to be a natural-science-only theory…

    What does that even mean, Gregory? Science is science and the adjective “natural” is unnecessary.

    Gregory:

    You are, as an engineer, a small-d ‘designer’ after all and IDM-ID theory makes no claim that you even exist because ID theory cannot study ‘designers’.

    LoL! Theories cannot study anything, Gregory, PEOPLE do. And IDists, ie PEOPLE, can study designers if those designers are ammendable to being studied.

    ID theory is indifferent to the study of designers and designing processes, with which surely you are quite familiar.

    You have no clue, eh, Gregory? Archaeology must also be indifferent to studying designers and the processes they used. Can we study the designers of Stonehenge? No. Can we study the processes they used? No, because we don’t have any idea what those were.

    But I digress- ID is about the DESIGN, as in detecting and then studying it and all relevant evidence. Gregory would have known that if he were as eductated in Intelligent design as he has been telling us. That Gregory is obvioulsy ignorant of the basics of ID tells me either he skipped those classes or is just too stupid to have grasped what was said.

  41. JGuy- Awesome find!

    So let’s see- it couldn’t have been made by humans because humans were not around 300 million years ago. And seeing there aren’t any other designers that means nature didit and that is that!

    LoL!

  42. No no no, Joe. If an observation or experiment throws up the wrong result then it can only mean that the sample has been contaminated!

  43. Chris-

    Have you been reading the comments @ the Huffington Post? Some think that the gear piece was pressed in during shipment of the coal or some other such excuse.

    “It can’t be real- it just can’t I tell you!”

    LoL!

  44. Realistically, there’s an overwhelming chance that close investigation would show it matches some piece of Russian mining equipment, or that the metallurgy pins it down to a particular foundry in Slovenia … and fraud is a lot more common, especially in these technical days, than alien miners. Therefore it’s most likely to disappear mysteriously and become an internet legend for the gullible.

    But the interesting thing is what would happen if a reasonable explanation proved impossible. It would still be an impossible find, an anomaly that could only lead to shrugging rather than to any paradigm change in understanding. So instead of disappearing, it would lie forgotton in a museum somewhere, displayed as a freak, and still become an internet legend.

    Thus we go wherever the facts lead us, but the facts come from our worldview.

  45. Dang it Jon Garvey, why did you have to ruin it for me? :)

    AWOLNATION – “SAIL” (Official Music Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPtSKimbjOU

  46. Whats with you BA – you got George Adamski and you want alien coal miners too?

  47. Ha! I’ll check out those comments, Joe. Always good to see the outbursts that stem from cognitive dissonance. Better not mention those darn trees that they find in coal deposits either…

  48. But by the same token, that means the record is insufficient to give more than loosely corroborative evidence for any theory…

    I think it’s fair to say that there are no theories that explain the current snapshot (remember that fossil finds continue, the evidence base is always growing and always confirming current theory – no Cambrian rabbits) even remotely as well as evolution. Saltation (or front-loading) doesn’t explain niche adaptation for example. ID theory? nada! Creationism? Fingers-in-ears!

  49. Jon Garvey @ 44

    It seems it was found inside the coal by a geologist. The Russian article: http://tv.kp.ru/daily/26013/2936837/

    Fraud? Possible. But finding a manmade artifact in coal wouldn’t be inconsistent with my world view (YEC). The thing that makes me second guess it most are the composition, and the fact that it seemingly just a nibble of something probably larger. Aluminum would require a lot of energy to produce. Unless the created world had free aluminum :P or pre-flood humans had figured out how to process it from bauxite (possible, genetically healthier humans). But aluminum that also speaks a bit against it being a piece of mining machinery (i.e. too soft), at least against any parts meant to remove the coal…but more problematic if it actually was found inside the coal.

    Composition: “98 percent aluminum and 2 percent magnesium”

    I agree that even if it was proven to be impossible to be explained as from a modern source, it would be discarded. Seems to me, the thing to do is actually figure out where it came from, if possible, and search for more pieces.

  50. From the Russian article (translated by google). Not sure what to make of this excerpt. Perhaps, pertains to the ratio of composition {AL 98%, Mg 2%}:

    “- The most interesting – continues scientist – and we know, the earth, the aluminum? As far as the science of today, there is extraterrestrial aluminum-26, which decays into magnesium-26. Do not space in the coastal magnesium discovery?”

  51. I think it’s fair to say that there are no theories that explain the current snapshot (remember that fossil finds continue, the evidence base is always growing and always confirming current theory – no Cambrian rabbits) even remotely as well as evolution.

    I think it’s also fair to say that you’ve made your point by blurring the more careful description I gave of “evolution” in my two posts.

    I suggested (and maintain) that the record is quite good enough to disconfirm the original Darwinian phyletic evolution, and the filling of gaps in the fossil record has confirmed that in spades unless you can counter the specific examples I gave from it (chosen more or less at random, actually, by looking up my favourite dinosaurs and mammals).

    So the fossil record is complete enough now to give support to stasis and sudden change – but that puts some pressure on currently accepted mechanisms even decades after Gould. The new concepts of evolutionary stress triggering massive reorganisation of the genome along internally-teleological lines (Shapiro) fits the fossil record better than classic population genetics +/- random point mutations.

    I guess YECs might expect to find a Cambrian rabbit (or Carboniferous hi-tec mining), but for most other people that’s about as childish an example as the Creationist who asks why we don’t see dogs turning into frogs.

    So if “confirming evolution” only means irreversible change over time, fossils are actually just “not disconfirming”. Except that it seems they are increasingly disconfirming the gradualism Darwin considered central – but that’s fine so long as it’s spelled out.

  52. JGuy

    Were I working from a YEC perspective, I’d be asking why Cainite people were wandering around in swamps losing their best tools in fallen trees … quite apart from the silence of Genesis 4 on “Kibosh, the father of all those who trade with Turkey for bauxite and smelt aluminium alloys…”

  53. O/T: Ever wondered what would happen if someone discovered a rabbit bone in the Cambrian era layers? [Same thing in effect as happened when dinosaur soft tissues, blood vessels and bone and blood cells were found in layers said to be c. 70 MY old.] Cf the linked at H-P for that. More seriously, the teeth strongly suggest functionally specific complex organisation, and the object is readily recognised as gear teeth similar to the rack on a microscope; notice, there is little debating that. Notice, we can infer design without need to know provenance and that we do it on FSCO/I. Now as to whodunit, when and where, I know not. Mebbe, the coal is soft enough for something to get pressed in. Al-Mg Alloy is not going to be found in nature (even as a lump), and to find it in a gear form is decisive. As to the objection, that this hit the press before it hit the journals, that seems — sadly — to be routine these days. KF

  54. Alan Fox:

    I think it’s fair to say that there are no theories that explain the current snapshot (remember that fossil finds continue, the evidence base is always growing and always confirming current theory – no Cambrian rabbits) even remotely as well as evolution.

    What “evolution”, Alan? Blind watchmaker evolution doesn’t explain anything but deterioration and break-downs.

    So please to be providing at least one testable hypothesis for your “evolution” so we can see if it explains anything at all.

    Saltation (or front-loading) doesn’t explain niche adaptation for example.

    Sez who? Front-loading specifically addresses niche adaptation, Alan.

    ID theory? nada!

    What’s your “theory” again, Alan?

    Sometimes populations change and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they change a lot and sometimes they change very little. Sometimes the little changes add up to big changes and sometimes they don’t. Natural selection keeps the good, however the bad and the ugly also stick around. You just never know. So you take all that and add eons of time and here we are.

    Is that about right? Or can you point us to where someone has written it down. You know like Einstein did with relativity.

    Creationism? Fingers-in-ears!

    Wrong again- they have baraminology, ie the Creation model of biological evolution. It is the only model that actually predicted reproductive isolation. The “theory” of evolution just tries to explain it.

  55. Alan @ 48

    I think it’s fair to say that there are no theories that explain the current snapshot (remember that fossil finds continue, the evidence base is always growing and always confirming current theory – no Cambrian rabbits) even remotely as well as evolution. Saltation (or front-loading) doesn’t explain niche adaptation for example. ID theory? nada! Creationism? Fingers-in-ears!

    LOL! Well, no fingers in ears here.

    Such adaptations are not inconsistent with ID or creationism.

    Meanwhile, you are parading the flag for a theory which can adapt to or accommodate new data and it’s opposite. In that sense, it explains nothing.

    Warning for Darwinisns, “Fingers in ear!!”

    Fossil Snapshot:
    —————
    Large Morphological Gaps:
    Explainable by creationism.
    Explainable by ID.
    Not explainable by Darwinian evolutionary. Accommodates only.

    Sudden Appearance:
    Explainable by creationism.
    Explainable by ID.
    Not explainable by Darwinian evolutionary. Accommodates only.

    Convergence:
    Explainable by creationism.
    Explainable by ID.
    Not explainable by Darwinian evolutionary. Accommodates only.

    Lack of clear phylogeny:
    Explainable by creationism.
    Explainable by ID.
    Not explainable by Darwinian evolutionary. Accommodates only.

    Stasis:
    Best Explanation: creationism or ID.
    —————

    The fossil record is one of the biggest witnesses against Darwinian evolution.

    “All clear! Fingers out!”

  56. Mr. Fox,

    “I think it’s fair to say that there are no theories that explain the current snapshot (remember that fossil finds continue, the evidence base is always growing and always confirming current theory – no Cambrian rabbits) even remotely as well as evolution. Saltation (or front-loading) doesn’t explain niche adaptation for example. ID theory? nada! Creationism? Fingers-in-ears!”

    Not that Cambrian rabbits would present a problem anyway. Ditto Cambrian dogs, Cambrian elephants or even a Cambrian Ford 150 it seems. Counter evidence? Nada! Refutation? Fingers in ears, eyes and just about everywhere else!

  57. Along with the reductionist attitude that organisms are nothing more than vessels to carry their genes came the extrapolation that the tiny genetic and phenotypic changes observed in fruit flies and lab rats were sufficient to explain all of evolution. This defines all evolution as microevolution, the gradual and tiny changes that cause different wing veins in a fruit fly or a slightly longer tail in a rat. From this, Neo-Darwinism extrapolates all larger evolutionary changes (macroevolution) as just microevolution writ large. These central tenets – reductionism, panselectionism, extrapolationism, and gradualism – were central to the Neo-Darwinian orthodoxy of the 1940s and 1950s and are still followed by the majority of evolutionary biologists today.

    Prothero, Donald R. Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters. 2007.

    Perhaps Nick will consent to dissent.

  58. Sometimes it’s interesting what is not said.

    Checking the Index of Doubting Darwin? Creationist Designs on Evolution by Sahotra Sarkar. No entry for either microevolution or macroevolution, no entry for evolution!

    I am not sure what to make of this, lol. I think I’ll pull this out next time someone says ID is anti-evolution or that Creationists are anti-evolution.

    Maybe they will be able to explain it.

  59. Creationists usually concede that evolutionary theory provides a satisfactory explanation of micro-evolutionary processes, but they dig in their heels when it comes to macro-evolution. Here, creationists are using the distinction that biologists draw between evolutionary novelties that arise within a species and the appearance of traits that mark the origin of new species.

    Sober, Elliott. Evidence and Evolution: The Logic Behind the Science. 2008.

    If someone can point me to where Sober defines micro-evolution and macro-evolution I would be indebted.

    I’d also sincerely appreciate some explanation of what he means by “evolutionary novelties that arise within a species and the appearance of traits that mark the origin of new species.” You mean there’s a difference?

    How does one identify traits that mark the origin of a new species? Do you mean to tell me that these traits have no relationship to biochemical changes?

  60. Sapp, Jan. The New Foundations of Evolution: On the Tree of Life. 2009.

    No entry in the Index for either macro or micro evolution.

  61. Smith, Cameron M. The Fact of Evolution. 2011.

    No entry in the Index for either macro or micro evolution.

    That makes me laugh.

    Good thing the book isn’t about the fact of microevolution or the fact of macroevolution.

  62. Rogers, Alan R. The Evidence for Evolution. 2011.

    No entry in the Index for either macro or micro evolution.

    Is it just me, or is there a pattern here?

    Perhaps we’re ignorant of macroevolution because evolutionist authors refuse to define it and talk about it.

  63. I hope I have made someone else smile, because I am sure smiling. :)

  64. What really excites people – biologists and paleontologists among them – are transitional forms: those fossils that span the gap between two very different kinds of living organisms. Did birds really come from reptiles, and land animals from fish, and whales from land animals? If so, where is the fossil evidence? Even some creationists will admit that minor changes in size and shape might occur over time – a process called microevolution – but they reject the idea that one very different kind of animal or plant can come from another (macroevolution).

    Coyne, Jerry A. Why Evolution Is True. 2009.

    Notice that for Coyne a transitional is a fossil that somehow connects two living groups of organisms. Note his reliance on kinds. One has to wonder how he defines kinds.

    microevolution – minor changes in size and shape over time

    macroevolution – the idea that one very different kind of animal or plant can come from another

  65. …we shouldn’t expect to see more than small changes in one or a few features of a species – what is known as microevolutionary change. Given the gradual pace of evolution, it’s unreasonable to expect to see selection transforming one “type” of plant or animal to another – so-called macroevolution – within a human lifetime. Though macroevolution is occurring today, we simply won’t be around long enough to see it. Remember that the issue is not whether macroevolutionary change happens – we already know from the fossil record that it does – but whether it was caused by natural selection, and whether natural selection can build complex features and organisms.

    Coyne, Jerry A. Why Evolution Is True. 2009.

    Hilarious.

  66. 66

    Mung why do you think I left evolution 3 years ago lol.

  67. Mung,

    Macroevolution is just what happens when lineages become seperate, so “microevolutionary” changes in each lineage can start accruing, and, in time, create large scale differences between them. From a operational standpoint, there is little point trying to explain differences among anciently-diverged lineages with within-population tools like population genetics, so we use other tools (like phylogenetic methods, comparative methods etc) so understanding these processes, even if they are ultimately reducible to plain old microevolution

  68. WD, there is a major issue of body plan information origination, step by incremental step; with empirical warrant per observation, for the claimed incrementalism . . . and tracing back to the origin of the very first cell based life body plan. To see just one facet, consider how in many insects with complete metamorphosis, the larval body plan vanishes without reproduction and is replaced by another through a transformational stage; where the new plan is the one that reproduces. KF

  69. wd400:

    Macroevolution is just what happens when lineages become seperate, so “microevolutionary” changes in each lineage can start accruing, and, in time, create large scale differences between them.

    That is still too vague to be of any use.

    And seeing all you have is to throw father time around as if that is scientific, it is clear that you have nada.

  70. From the septic zone:

    How does ID “explain” macroevolution?

    I was unaware that ID had to explain macroevolution, seeing that there isn’t any evidence for it.

    However if macroevolution did occur then ID would say it occurred by design- see Dawkins’ “weasel”

  71. macroevolution need a new machine. a new machin in car)air condition)need minimum2-3 parts. the biological mashin also. that give us 2-3 protein or a chance of 1 in 2^200 tryes for 2 proteins 100 aa long

  72. To see just one facet, consider how in many insects with complete metamorphosis, the larval body plan vanishes without reproduction and is replaced by another through a transformational stage; where the new plan is the one that reproduces.

    Metamorphosing insects evolved from direct developers like grasshoppers bugs etc. They just compact their developmental in one stage (the pupa) – splitting the development like this, insteaed of letting it run out across many “nymphs” allowed more radical changes in each form to evolve – but the adult insect is not “a new plan”.

  73. WD: Kindly, contrast a caterpillar and a butterfly. While at it, describe what happens/would be seen if you cut open a pupa at various stages. (Cf. vid.)KF

  74. wd400:

    Metamorphosing insects evolved from direct developers like grasshoppers bugs etc.

    Just how the heck can we test that claim?

  75. Lots of ways, Joe.

    Here’s one nice study looking at one aspect, then read about juvinile hormone, consider the presence of imaginal discs in the caterpillar (something for KF to think about too, actually).

    As we get more insect genomes this will become more and more interesting, for now we have only a few holometabolous insects, and those are mainly flies.

  76. In fact, these a rather nice review of the whole idea which is open acssess – see especially the last section about genetic evidence for this idea.

  77. wd400 @75:

    Just curious how we should conclude that “Metamorphosing insects evolved from direct developers like grasshoppers bugs” when the cited article simply points to the fact that a gene in one insect is also involved in a function in a different insect.

    I presume the other evidence is along similar lines: noting similarities between insects.

  78. wd400, the trouble with all your genetic similarity evidence, that you have placed so much confidence (faith) in, is that you don’t actually have any empirical evidence that Darwinian processes can fixate even a single unambiguously beneficial mutation in insects, much less account for the massive amounts of new genetic information (ORfan genes) being found in forthcoming genome studies:

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

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

    Response to John Wise – October 2010
    Excerpt: But there are solid empirical grounds for arguing that changes in DNA alone cannot produce new organs or body plans. A technique called “saturation mutagenesis”1,2 has been used to produce every possible developmental mutation in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster),3,4,5 roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans),6,7 and zebrafish (Danio rerio),8,9,10 and the same technique is now being applied to mice (Mus musculus).11,12 None of the evidence from these and numerous other studies of developmental mutations supports the neo-Darwinian dogma that DNA mutations can lead to new organs or body plans–because none of the observed developmental mutations benefit the organism.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38811.html

    New genes in Drosophila quickly become essential. – December 2010
    Excerpt: The proportion of genes that are essential is similar in every,, age group that we examined. Under constitutive silencing of these young essential genes, lethality was high in the pupal (later) stage and (but was) also found in the larval (early) stages.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont.....2.abstract

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

    Moreover, even if you did have a demonstrated mechanism (which you don’t), metamorphosis occurs far earlier in the fossil record than Darwinists would predict:

    The Enigma of Metamorphosis Is Hardly Limited to Butterflies – October 2011
    Excerpt: Even more mysteriously, it appears that the most ancient phyla were metamorphic from the beginning, based on the few larval forms that have been preserved. This suggests that these Cambrian animals had not one but two or more developmental stages at the outset,,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51541.html

    Metamorphosis Is Widespread – Ann Gauger – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkD-jd1imaI

    A mathematician with years of experience programming computers, reflects on the problem facing the unguided, non-foresighted, Darwinian scenario with metamorphosis:

    A Mathematician Explains the Irreducible Complexity of Metamorphosis – Granville Sewell – November 2011
    Excerpt: Now we are not talking about climbing Mount Improbable, we are talking about building a bridge across an enormous chasm, between caterpillar and butterfly. ,, Until construction of this extremely long and complicated bridge is almost complete, it is a bridge to nowhere. Unless a butterfly (or another organism capable of reproduction) comes out at the end, the chrysalis only serves as a casket for the caterpillar, which cannot reproduce. Now we do not have to simply imagine uses for not-quite-watertight vacuum chamber traps, we have to imagine a selective advantage for committing suicide before you are able to reproduce, and that is a more difficult challenge!
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52461.html

    Hey wd400, I have a ‘metamorphosis’ that you can actually believe in. In the bible it says:

    Matthew 17:1-13
    After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

    And in the bible it also says:

    1 John 3:2
    Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.

    wd400, Is it really reasonable to believe that there can be ‘metamorphosis’ of us into beings of light?? Well, there is a ‘seed of butterfly light’ permeating our entire ‘wormy’ being that surely doesn’t dampen the prospect of it being reasonable:

    Humans Glow in (Emit) Visible Light – July 2009
    Excerpt: Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light,
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32.....ble-light/

    Moreover it is common for Near Death Experinecers to report as follows

    Vicki’s Near Death Experience (Blind From Birth)
    Quote ‘I was in a body and the only way that I can describe it was a body of energy, or of light. And this body had a form. It had a head. It had arms and it had legs. And it was like it was made out of light. And ‘it’ was everything that was me. All of my memories, my consciousness, everything.’ -
    Vicky Noratuk

    Verse and Music:

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”-

    Brooke Fraser- “C S Lewis Song”
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=DL6LPLNX

  79. wd400,

    I am astonished that insect metamorphosis would be touted as an example of the power of evolution. I just had to follow your first link and I landed on this gem:

    We found that it [broad gene] is expressed throughout the nymphal stages, and that it is also required for change,” said Deniz Erezyilmaz, a UW biology research associate. “So it looks like metamorphosis evolved in insects by restricting the expression of the broad gene to a short but intense period of change at the transition from larva to pupa.

    Wow! I now see the error of my ways. How could I have been so thick? lol.

    Seriously, does anyone really think it is just that easy? Metamorphosis is such an all-or-nothing transition that it is akin to asking evolution to leap across the Grand Canyon. There are no offspring to try again until evolution get it completely right. Metamorphosis is the nigh icon for intelligent design.

    Stephen

  80. Eric Anderson,

    Metamorphosing insects are all more closely related to each other than they are to direct developers, as evidenced by pretty much every phylogentic study of insects ever.

  81. sterusjon,

    I didn’t say metamorphosis was “an example of the power of evolution”. Someone who evidently knows nothign about it cited it as a problem for evolution, and I simply mentioned it’s not the problem they think it is when you understand that (1) normal insect development often involves considerable change from start to finish (think dragonfly nymphs – which start as under-water predators!) and (2) much of the biological basis for this change is homologous to the pupal stage in metamorphosing insects.

    Once you understand that, it ought to be clear that, even if metamorphosis in a modern insect is an all or nothing affair, the evolution of the trait needn’t jump any unspannable gaps.

  82. So we test the claim that metamorphosis evolved by assuming it and loking for similar genes?

    How do we test the claim that insect development evolved? Do brine shrimp go through such a developmental process?

    Ya see wd400, you cannot use one thing tat you cannot explain- ie insect development- to try to explain the evolution of something else that you cannot explain.

    Maybe, someday, someone will take some of these developing insects and see if they can get one to evolve into a metamorhosizing insect via trageted mutagenesis and artificial selection.

  83. wd400 tries to whittle evolution down to bite size nuggets for metamorphosis (an apparent miracle of entirely new body plan morphogenesis that even a child can grasp) and then finishes off his excuse making foray for his religion of Darwinism with this,,,

    Once you understand that, it ought to be clear that, even if metamorphosis in a modern insect is an all or nothing affair, the evolution of the trait needn’t jump any unspannable gaps.

    Such as the unspannable gap of transforming a single protein to a new function wd400?

    The Evolutionary Accessibility of New Enzyme Functions: A Case Study from the Biotin Pathway – Ann K. Gauger and Douglas D. Axe – April 2011
    Excerpt: We infer from the mutants examined that successful functional conversion would in this case require seven or more nucleotide substitutions. But evolutionary innovations requiring that many changes would be extraordinarily rare, becoming probable only on timescales much longer than the age of life on earth.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2011.1

    When Theory and Experiment Collide — April 16th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model [3], we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied.
    http://www.biologicinstitute.o.....nt-collide

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

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

    supplemental note:

    Bernard d’Abrera on Butterfly Mimicry and the Faith of the Evolutionist – October 5, 2011
    Excerpt: For it to happen in a single species once through chance, is mathematically highly improbable. But when it occurs so often, in so many species, and we are expected to apply mathematical probability yet again, then either mathematics is a useless tool, or we are being criminally blind.,,, Evolutionism (with its two eldest daughters, phylogenetics and cladistics) is the only systematic synthesis in the history of the universe that proposes an Effect without a Final Cause. It is a great fraud, and cannot be taken seriously because it outrageously attempts to defend the philosophically indefensible.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51571.html

    wd400, I know what your problem, as a Darwinist, is. You Darwinists simply have no way to to differentiate impossible from plausible. Being the helpful guy I am here is a paper along that line:

    The Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM) & Principle (UPP) – Abel – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Mere possibility is not an adequate basis for asserting scientific plausibility. A precisely defined universal bound is needed beyond which the assertion of plausibility, particularly in life-origin models, can be considered operationally falsified. But can something so seemingly relative and subjective as plausibility ever be quantified? Amazingly, the answer is, “Yes.”,,,

    c?u = Universe = 10^13 reactions/sec X 10^17 secs X 10^78 atoms = 10^108

    c?g = Galaxy = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^66 atoms = 10^96

    c?s = Solar System = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^55 atoms = 10^85

    c?e = Earth = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^40 atoms = 10^70

    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/6/1/27

    Programming of Life – Probability – Defining Probable, Possible, Feasible etc.. – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Pr.....ckv0wVBYpA

    You see wd400, in science, it helps to be able to tell when you are wrong in your hypothesis! Hopefully the paper I listed will help you down the right track! :)

  84. BA,

    It helps to be able to forumate a test of your hypothesis. Ax and Gauger’s biochemical crocoduck is no a test of any mainstream idea in evolutionary biology.

  85. wd400 you claim that testing for the ability of proteins to evolve into new function, “is no a test of any mainstream idea in evolutionary biology”.

    Yet the truth is that protein evolution, or severe lack thereof, is a major concern of ‘evolutionary’ biology,,,

    Proteins Did Not Evolve Even According to the Evolutionist’s Own Calculations but so What, Evolution is a Fact – Cornelius Hunter – July 2011
    Excerpt: For instance, in one case evolutionists concluded that the number of evolutionary experiments required to evolve their protein (actually it was to evolve only part of a protein and only part of its function) is 10^70 (a one with 70 zeros following it). Yet elsewhere evolutionists computed that the maximum number of evolutionary experiments possible is only 10^43. Even here, giving the evolutionists every advantage, evolution falls short by 27 orders of magnitude.
    The theory, even by the evolutionist’s own reckoning, is unworkable. Evolution fails by a degree that is incomparable in science. Scientific theories often go wrong, but not by 27 orders of magnitude. And that is conservative.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....d-not.html

    Belgian Waffle – Douglas Axe – January 18, 2013
    Excerpt:,, an article from Ghent University in Belgium claims a recent scientific paper has rescued evolutionary theory by solving the problem of evolutionary innovation.,,,
    Here’s the concession:
    “An important unanswered question in Darwin’s theory of evolution is how new characteristics seem to appear out of nowhere.”
    Hmmm. Yes, I can see how this could be a problem for a theory of biological origins.,,
    ,,,here’s the plain statement:
    “The preduplication [i.e., ancestral] ancMalS enzyme was multifunctional and already contained the different activities found in the postduplication [i.e., evolved] enzymes, albeit at a lower level.”
    So, all we have here is a demonstration of what we already knew — that evolution can adjust somewhat the relative preferences enzymes show for the molecules they already work on. Those aren’t new activities, though, and this isn’t a new result either.
    What would be really new and welcome would be for evolutionary biologists to begin taking the word new seriously.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....68421.html

    Nature Paper,, Finds Darwinian Processes Lacking – Michael Behe – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: Now, thanks to the work of Bridgham et al (2009), even such apparently minor switches in structure and function (of a protein to its supposed ancestral form) are shown to be quite problematic. It seems Darwinian processes can’t manage to do even as much as I had thought. (which was 1 in 10^40 for just 2 binding sites)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....hes_t.html

    Stability effects of mutations and protein evolvability. October 2009
    Excerpt: The accepted paradigm that proteins can tolerate nearly any amino acid substitution has been replaced by the view that the deleterious effects of mutations, and especially their tendency to undermine the thermodynamic and kinetic stability of protein, is a major constraint on protein evolvability,,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19765975

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

    Related notes:

    A unsubstantiated Darwinian presupposition for the ability of proteins to evolve to new functions is simply ‘not even wrong’:

    The Humpty-Dumpty Effect: A Revolutionary Paper with Far-Reaching Implications – Paul Nelson – October 23, 2012
    Excerpt: Put simply, the Levinthal paradox states that when one calculates the number of possible topological (rotational) configurations for the amino acids in even a small (say, 100 residue) unfolded protein, random search could never find the final folded conformation of that same protein during the lifetime of the physical universe.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65521.html

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    What’s your non-local, beyond space and time, cause for protein folding wd400? or is that “noT a test of any mainstream idea in evolutionary biology.”

  86. wd400 @81:

    Someone who evidently knows nothign about [metamorphosis] cited it as a problem for evolution, and I simply mentioned it’s not the problem they think it is when you understand that (1) normal insect development often involves considerable change from start to finish (think dragonfly nymphs – which start as under-water predators!) and (2) much of the biological basis for this change is homologous to the pupal stage in metamorphosing insects.

    With all due respect, perhaps you don’t understand the metamorphosis argument. The argument is not that (i) other insect processes don’t involve significant change, or that (ii) there aren’t homologous aspects in the pupal stage.

    It is objectively true that normal insect development does not mirror metamorphosis in all significant respects and that a few superficially-similar homologous aspects of the pupal stage don’t provide answers to metamorphosis.

    That being said, one of the real problems for traditional evolutionary theory is that evolution is supposed to work through slight, successive steps. So we have a living, breathing organism that by all accounts is doing just fine. And yet for some reason it encloses itself in a cocoon, which, absent yet further development, would be an evolutionary dead end. And for some additional reason it then literally dissolves its body, which would be an evolutionary dead end. And for some additional reason is able to rebuild itself with a new body plan. And then escape the cocoon.

    Each of these steps is obviously useless without the other steps in place. Worse than useless — deadly.

    So the existence of metamorphosis demonstrates the futility of trying to bring this system about through slight, successive changes. [We should note that many other systems also show this futility, but with metamorphosis it is perhaps a bit more stark.]

    So, yes, metamorphosis is a significant problem for traditional evolutionary theory.

    Now if someone wants to recur to saltation, or imaginary just-so stories, or plain old declarations of homage to the power of evolution, then the existence of metamorphosis is not likely to shake their deeply-held faith any more than the numerous other examples in biology would.

    But to an objective observer who is not wedded to an a priori commitment to a materialist creation myth, yes, metamorphosis is a significant conundrum.

  87. Each of these steps is obviously useless without the other steps in place. Worse than useless — deadly.

    Sure. So what? You are looking a modern organisms, not how they traits it modern organisms could evolve and what intermediate forms would look like.

    The evolution of metamorphosis isn’t all worked out, which is one of th reasons it is so interesting, but comments like yours and KF’s don’t seem to be informed by what we do know about the process.

  88. WD:

    I notice, that you did not directly address the specific irreducible complexity and functionally specific, complex information challenges implied in my earlier note. But, those are pivotal, whatever one wants to make of circularity ridden just so stories about genetic reconstructions and concentrations of development processes in one stage. (And, remember the logic of too many genetic/molecular reconstructions is circular, assuming what is to be proved, and that is before we get to the problem of the contradictory trees of claimed descent that are obtained in general.)

    I want to emphasise the molecular soup aspect of the pupation phase, with particular reference to caterpillars, as this implies an outright breakdown of cellular continuity from embryo to adulthood, which obviously is NOT the case for incomplete metamorphosis.

    In short, I am highlighting the transformational aspect, even as the old kid’s song puts it: “Bullfrogs and butterflies, both been born again . . . “

    Let me cite Ann Gauger (Developmental Biologist) and Paul nelson on the subject, from the video that accompanies the full form of the linked video preview. I have some hope that you will at least open your eyes to see that there is a challenge here that is being glossed over — as seems all too usual:

    _____________

    >> . . . it appears that the most ancient phyla were metamorphic from the beginning, based on the few larval forms that have been preserved. 6 This suggests that these Cambrian animals had not one but two or more develop-
    mental stages at the outset, a small and free-swimming larva, and a bot-tom-dwelling adult with little or no re-semblance to its earlier form. But how such transitions could have evolved, and from what, is completely unknown.

    In contrast, insects arrived on the scene much later, in the late Silurian or early Devonian, and apparently devel-oped metamorphosis secondarily. The most ancient insects were wingless, terrestrial animals that developed directly into mini-adults, and lacked any metamorphosis (this is called ametabolous—literally, “without changing”—development) . . . .

    It appears, based on some fossilized nymphs and adults and from what we know of their modern relatives, that from the beginning these insects had a partial form of metamorphosis (hemi-metabolous—literally, “part changing”—development). The nymphs resemble adults in many respects, but lack wings and reproductive structures. Through several successive molts their wings grow gradually, with fully developed wings and reproductive organs appear-ing only in the adult. Other familiar hemimetabolous groups include grass-hoppers and crickets.

    Insects that undergo complete metamorphosis, such as beetles, flies and ants, did not appear until the late Carboniferous or early Devonian. These insects have been fabulously successful. In fact, nearly 85 percent of all modern insect species have holometabolous—literally, “all changing”—development . . . .

    What distinguishes holometabolous species is their strikingly different life stages. The major stages of holome-tabolous (abbreviated Holo) metamor-phosis are (a) egg, (b) larva (often given a different name, such as “cater-pillar”), (c) pupa (or chrysalis), and (d)adult, in that sequence . . . . from an evolutionary stand-point, the problem of the origin of but-terfly metamorphosis—in particular, of the pupal stage—is really the problem of the origin of holometabolous meta-morphosis generally, not just in Lepi-doptera . . . .

    When an egg of a female Monarch butterfly is fertilized by the sperm of a male, that cell, and its many daugh-ter cells, set out on a long, targeted pathway: A to B to C—and so on, to Z, where Z is the adult form capable of reproduction, thus starting the whole cycle again. The pathway aims at the target of reproductive capability. Keep that in mind, because we’ll come back to it shortly when we consider the logic of natural selection.

    But there’s another important fea-ture to development—in all animals, not just butterflies—too little grasped, even by many biologists . . . . Developmental biologists know this “magic bridge” aspect to animal development ntimately. Early em-bryos, for instance, are often described by isolating fate maps for particular groups of cells. A fate map shows the ultimate or terminal destination, in the adult form, of cell lineages that first arise in the em -bryo, in positions that often scarcely resemble their final target. But to get to that target, the cells must follow a prescribed path, with unerring trajectories . . . . The entire process is re-quired; it can neither stop nor go off track. An embryo whose development is arrested midway or distorted in a major way will die: the end goal of re-productive adult will be lost.

    Butterfly development exhibits these precise pathways, but with the additional aspect of crossing a bridge of astonishing delicacy: namely, the chrysalis. Here, the Indiana Jones magic bridge dimension really does take one’s breath away, because dur-ing the pupal stage (in the chrysalis), the tissues and structures of the cat-erpillar are almost entirely dissolved away, digested by cell death processes (known as apoptosis and autophagy) into a molecular soup. The walker on the bridge crosses on a lane just wide enough for each footstep, with a chasm of death on either side—and the walker must keep moving. Out of the soup arises the adult form, with its wings,
    legs, proboscis, genitalia, eyes, anten-nae, and so forth.

    Could this developmental pathway have evolved via the natural selection of randomly arising variation, as pos-ited by neo-Darwinism? To answer that question, we need to look at what the process of natural selection requires—
    and what it cannot do, in principle . . . .

    Because natural selection de-pends (with condition 1, random varia-tion) on whatever happens to vary in a species, or not—and there’s no way of knowing before the variations occur, or even if they will occur—the process cannot look into the future. Unlike hu-man designers, therefore, who can visualize a distant target, the process of selection “sees” only the variations randomly arising in each generation, and their immediate selective out-comes.

    Thus, “life never evolves with foresight,” . . . . If a biological system requires multiple independent changes, for instance, no one of which individually confers a selective advantage, natu-ral selection cannot be the process by which that system came to be. That’s it: full stop . . . .

    A caterpillar-like species would never evolve in the direction of forming a chrysalis, dissolving its vital tissues in the process, unless—some-how—the variations were also occur-ring, and being preserved by natural selection, which would also enable that species to make it out of the chrysalis stage. And to leave offspring: condition 3 of natural selection, heritability, re-quires that variations be transmitted to one’s progeny. But as we inspect the pathway of metamorphosis, what we see is a magical bridge, where literally thou-sands of independent decisions need to be chained together for the process of transformation as a whole to work.

    Reproductive capability—one of the necessary conditions of natural selec-tion—lies on the far side of the gorge we are crossing. The caterpillar can’t leave offspring. Only the adult butterfly can do that.

    But to reach the adult, we need the caterpillar, and then we need to dis-solve it into a soup—inside a chrysa-lis where it cannot feed, move, or do much of anything, other than turn into a butterfly.

    If one wanted an example of a biological system that could never be explained by natural selection, butter-fly metamorphosis would stand at the head of the line. >>
    ____________

    That is what needs to be cogently explained, explained on Blind Watchmaker Mt Improbable incrementalism, backed up by adequate observational evidence. TWO body plans, only one of which is reproductive, and to be bridged by a process that reeks of astonishing irreducible complexity and massive functionally specific complex organisation and information involving not a prebiotic soup, but indeed a molecular soup.

    The Blind Watchmaker, Mt Improbable explanation for such is _____________ . It is backed by the following observed evidence that answers to the above issues ____________ .

    And, on the assumption that the evidence of the Cambrian fossils speaks to similar cases, the similar explanation of how we move to such from the universal common ancestor is _______, and this is backed up by actual observational evidence such as ________ that indicates ____________ .

    Could you kindly fill in these blanks for us?

    KF

  89. F/N: Granville Sewell, Mathematician, summarises the logical puzzle for us in his ENV comment here:

    The process of transforming a caterpillar into a butterfly is surely far more complex than anything ever accomplished by man. The information needed to control this process, stored somewhere in the caterpillar’s cells, must be far greater than that stored in any man-made computer program. And explaining how this enormous program arose through many “5 or 6 character” improvements is even more challenging here, because now the intermediate stages are not just useless, they are fatal. Metamorphosis involves the destruction of the caterpillar: the butterfly, with an almost completely new body plan, is constructed from dissolved and recycled tissues and cells of the caterpillar. Now we are not talking about climbing Mount Improbable, we are talking about building a bridge across an enormous chasm, between caterpillar and butterfly . . . .

    Until construction of this extremely long and complicated bridge is almost complete, it is a bridge to nowhere. Unless a butterfly (or another organism capable of reproduction) comes out at the end, the chrysalis only serves as a casket for the caterpillar, which cannot reproduce. Now we do not have to simply imagine uses for not-quite-watertight vacuum chamber traps, we have to imagine a selective advantage for committing suicide before you are able to reproduce, and that is a more difficult challenge!

    The answer to this logical puzzle is _________, and the observational evidence that adequately warrants such an amazing claim beyond reasonable doubt is ______________ .

    KF

  90. KF, you’re just repeating the same rubbish as everyone else here. Yes, metamorphosis in modern insects is all or nothing, but that’s because metamorphosing insects have had 300 million years to create a greater distinction between the larval and adult forms.

    As for the rest of it. The caterpillar isn’t “outright breakdown of cellular continuity from embryo to adulthood” adult tissues (imaginal discs) sit inside larvae, and adults can remember things that learned as larvae. It’s not trute that things can only evolve if every step in a given path is advantageous, in fact, I’d happily wager much complexity arises from slightly detrimental mutation. The evolutionary secenario doesn’t claim there was ever a caterpillar-like creature that added a butterfly-like stage to its life (a really bizarre idea if you know much about insects, actually).

    Given everything you’ve got wrong in the set up, I’m not going to dance to silly little “fill in the blanks” game. I’ve linked to papers that describe current thinking about the origin of metamorphosis, why don’t you read them.

  91. wd400 you make this ‘wager’

    I’d happily wager much complexity arises from slightly detrimental mutation(s).

    And you would sadly lose whatever you wagered! Which is, IMHO, far more than you think it is!

    Pascal’s Wager – The Unavoidable Bet Everyone Makes In Life – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4224424

    The Argument from Pascal’s Wager
    Excerpt: Most philosophers think Pascal’s Wager is the weakest of all arguments for believing in the existence of God. Pascal thought it was the strongest. After finishing the argument in his Pensées, he wrote, “This is conclusive, and if men are capable of any truth, this is it.” That is the only time Pascal ever wrote a sentence like that, for he was one of the most skeptical philosophers who ever wrote.
    Suppose someone terribly precious to you lay dying, and the doctor offered to try a new “miracle drug” that he could not guarantee but that seemed to have a 50-50 chance of saving your beloved friend’s life. Would it be reasonable to try it, even if it cost a little money? And suppose it were free—wouldn’t it be utterly reasonable to try it and unreasonable not to?
    http://www.peterkreeft.com/top.....-wager.htm

    Notes:

    Let’s look at Lenski’s Long Term Evolution Experiment and see what we can find after 50,000 generations, which is equivalent to somewhere around 1,000,000 years of human evolution.

    Richard Lenski’s Long-Term Evolution Experiments with E. coli and the Origin of New Biological Information – September 2011
    Excerpt: The results of future work aside, so far, during the course of the longest, most open-ended, and most extensive laboratory investigation of bacterial evolution, a number of adaptive mutations have been identified that endow the bacterial strain with greater fitness compared to that of the ancestral strain in the particular growth medium. The goal of Lenski’s research was not to analyze adaptive mutations in terms of gain or loss of function, as is the focus here, but rather to address other longstanding evolutionary questions. Nonetheless, all of the mutations identified to date can readily be classified as either modification-of-function or loss-of-FCT.
    (Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51051.html

    Mutations: when benefits level off – June 2011 – (Lenski’s e-coli after 50,000 generations)
    Excerpt: After having identified the first five beneficial mutations combined successively and spontaneously in the bacterial population, the scientists generated, from the ancestral bacterial strain, 32 mutant strains exhibiting all of the possible combinations of each of these five mutations. They then noted that the benefit linked to the simultaneous presence of five mutations was less than the sum of the individual benefits conferred by each mutation individually.
    http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1867.htm?theme1=7

    Now something is going terribly wrong here wd400! Tell you what wd400, let’s just forget trying to observe evolution in the lab, I mean it really is kind of cramped in the lab you know, and now let’s REALLY open the floodgates and let’s see what the almighty power of neo-Darwinian evolution can do with the ENTIRE WORLD at its disposal!

    A review of The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism
    The numbers of Plasmodium and HIV in the last 50 years greatly exceeds the total number of mammals since their supposed evolutionary origin (several hundred million years ago), yet little has been achieved by evolution. This suggests that mammals could have “invented” little in their time frame. Behe: ‘Our experience with HIV gives good reason to think that Darwinism doesn’t do much—even with billions of years and all the cells in that world at its disposal’ (p. 155).
    http://creation.com/review-mic.....-evolution

    Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pg. 162 Swine Flu, Viruses, and the Edge of Evolution
    “Indeed, the work on malaria and AIDS demonstrates that after all possible unintelligent processes in the cell–both ones we’ve discovered so far and ones we haven’t–at best extremely limited benefit, since no such process was able to do much of anything. It’s critical to notice that no artificial limitations were placed on the kinds of mutations or processes the microorganisms could undergo in nature. Nothing–neither point mutation, deletion, insertion, gene duplication, transposition, genome duplication, self-organization nor any other process yet undiscovered–was of much use.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....20071.html

    Verse and Music:

    John1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    Empty (Empty Cross – Empty Tomb) – Music Inspired by The Story
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=F22MCCNU

  92. WD:

    I am sorry but that is beyond the pale.

    There is an issue to be addressed, of the origin of FSCO/I, in the context of an irreducibly complex system. THAT ISSUE IS NOT “RUBBISH.”

    To dismiss it in such terms, rather tells me that you have no answer and are simply spewing an ideologically driven dismissal. Of course, if we assume a priori materialism, or if we accept that however life originated must be compatible with the trumpeted claims of that school of thought, then there MUST be some sort of Blind chance + necessity, incrementalist mechanism, regardless of evidence. And in that context, the slightest hint will carry the day.

    But, sorry, you are not in that ideological cocoon here.

    We have a reasonable right to evidence that warrants the claims being advanced.

    Perhaps, you are unaware that Gauger actually was orally assessed by James Truman, who seems to be a key proposer of the Juvenile Hormone model. In her oral viva in the 1980′s, he asked her about “how I might account for the evolution of complete metamorphosis in insects.” She had no answer, and asked him afterwards. Many theories, no decisive evidence. In 1999, with Lynn Riddiford, he proposed the Juvenile Hormone, concentrated change theory you alluded to above.

    This is what the authors I have been citing go on to say regarding that model:

    ______________

    >> In this scenario, the development of adult structures, that appear gradually during the nymphal stages of a Hemi species, is “telescoped” into the pupal stage—giving rise to true holometabo-lous metamorphosis . . . . Juvenile hormone (JH) in particular maintains the status quo in holometabolous insects. In broad out-line, the story is that if JH is constant, the larva molts to another larval stage. When JH is withdrawn in the presence of other hormones, the larva moves to the next stage of development . . . .

    In Hemi species, the pronymph (PN, the first stage of [a]) is a non-feeding stage. Thus, if the development of the pronymph is going to be prolonged, to allow it to become a larva, it must si-multaneously evolve the ability to feed. “The ability of this stage [PN] to feed would seem to be an essential pread-aptation for it to evolve into the larva.” 14 . . . .

    this evolutionary story requires a new kind of pronymph, one capable of feeding. Otherwise, remaining a pronymph is a death sentence, not an advantage.Thus requirement 15, evidence of relevant variation, has not been met.

    A second, related problem is that if you expose a hemimetabolous embryo to high JH, you don’t get holometabo-lous development, you get a mess.15 Such embryos develop inappropriate nymphal rather than pronymphal char-acters and/or terminate development prematurely, depending on the tim-ing of the hormone application. This is because these hormones act by regu-lating a complex network of particular downstream genes. As a result, mess-ing with the timing or level of expres-sion of a hormone is in general detri-mental or lethal, not transformative . . . .

    But the biggest problems come because delaying development in the caterpillar requires that all of adult development be compressed into a single pupal stage. This is the point of transition between steps (d) and (e). In Holo species, there is considerable dis-solution of cells and tissues during the pupal stage and adult structures are constructed during this phase. For this to work, there must be some way to set aside cells that will build the adult tissues (wings, eyes, antennae, etc.) and to trigger their development into the right structures at the appropriate time. How this is done varies among different types of tissues. For example, some caterpillars reuse leg epidermal cells to contribute to the development of adult legs; this means that these cells must be able to produce two different kinds of cuticle. But caterpillars also use cells (called imaginal primordia or disks) that were set aside in the embryo just for mak-ing adult structures; these cells may remain quiet in the caterpillar and only begin to grow and produce adult struc-tures in the final larval stage and in the pupa. How do cells acquire the ability to carry out two different, sequential programs in response to hormonal signals? How do cells get set aside for future use? And how do you coordinate the two sets of cells to make fully functional adult structures?

    The flip side of the pupal riddle is that there also must be a way to specify and coordinate which larval cells will self-destruct. Programmed cell death is com-mon enough in development as a way of remodeling tissues into their final form (how natural selection can produce a process like programmed cell death is another question), but only in metamorphosis is pro-grammed cell death so wide-spread and catastrophic. Insects with hemimetabolous development change gradually with each molt and so do not require ex-tensive remodeling, but insects with holometabolous development remake themselves in one compressed stage. In response to the hormonal cues that trigger pupation, the majority of caterpillar cells initiate a cel- lular program that leads to their destruction—essen-tially, they commit suicide in order to make room for the new adult structures. >>
    ______________

    Those are not trivial concerns, they describe a major, step by step process, that is tightly co-ordinated with specific differentiation that has to be co-ordinated: cell types X, Y,Z . . . must die and disintegrate, but P, Q, R must be preserved in the soup to make the new body structures and organisation of the adult form.

    All at once, and right the first time.

    So, I repeat:

    That is what needs to be cogently explained, explained on Blind Watchmaker Mt Improbable incrementalism, backed up by adequate observational evidence. TWO body plans, only one of which is reproductive, and to be bridged by a process that reeks of astonishing irreducible complexity and massive functionally specific complex organisation and information involving not a prebiotic soup, but indeed a molecular soup.

    The Blind Watchmaker, Mt Improbable explanation for such is _____________ . It is backed by the following observed evidence that answers to the above issues ____________ .

    And, on the assumption that the evidence of the Cambrian fossils speaks to similar cases, the similar explanation of how we move to such from the universal common ancestor is _______, and this is backed up by actual observational evidence such as ________ that indicates ____________ .

    Could you kindly fill in these blanks for us?

    And, on the notion that the slightly detrimental gives rise to advances, could you kindly inform us on how such is fixed in populations via differential — advantageous — reproductive success; and how it gives rise to the scale of body plan transformation to say create a whale out of a cow-like animal or the like, with relevant observational evidence that addresses this issue?

    KF

  93. wd400:

    It helps to be able to forumate a test of your hypothesis.

    Yet no one can formulate a test of the hypothesis that accumulations of genetic accidents didit.

  94. Joe: it most definitely is possible to produce tests that FSCO/I and IC can and have been produced by blind watchmaker, Mt Improbable incrementalist mechanisms, or by wider blinde chance and necessity mechanisms. Remember, a reasonable threshold is 500 bits of functionally specific info, about 250 base pairs of D/RNA worth of storage. What I think is the real challenge is that to date, the only empirically credible, observed source of such, is design. So, Evo mat advocates, unlike design theorists, are not in a position to argue “like causes like.” Indeed, a lot of the objecting rhetoric I have seen is designed to distract from or dismiss that very cogent appeal. And, ironically, if they were to succeed, all they would then be able to show is that such features can be produced by BOTH blind mechanisms and design. So, this cannot be where the decision would be made. And that is a best case they have not been able to deliver on, with the earliest challenge being Cicero’s c. 50 BC. That’s a mighty long time to be drilling away obsessively at a dry hole! KF

  95. wd400:

    The evolutionary secenario doesn’t claim there was ever a caterpillar-like creature that added a butterfly-like stage to its life (a really bizarre idea if you know much about insects, actually).

    Rather, it claims that there was creature that included both a caterpillar-like stage and a butterfly-like stage at the outset?

    And how did this system come about?

  96. “And how did this system come about?”

    Don’t change the subject to religion Eric! Don’t you see that wd400 is talking strictly science by proclaiming evolutiondidit without offering a demonstration? :)

  97. You can falsify evolution by finding a crockoduck in the Cambrian.

  98. When an egg of a female Monarch butterfly is fertilized by the sperm of a male, that cell, and its many daughter cells, set out on a long, targeted pathway: A to B to C—and so on, to Z, where Z is the adult form capable of reproduction, thus starting the whole cycle again. The pathway aims at the target of reproductive capability.

    Sounds like teleology to me!

  99. Until construction of this extremely long and complicated bridge is almost complete, it is a bridge to nowhere.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridge_to_Nowhere

  100. Jguy writes:

    Large Morphological Gaps:
    Explainable by creationism.
    Explainable by ID.
    Not explainable by Darwinian evolutionary. Accommodates only.

    Sudden Appearance:
    Explainable by creationism.
    Explainable by ID.
    Not explainable by Darwinian evolutionary. Accommodates only.

    Convergence:
    Explainable by creationism.
    Explainable by ID.
    Not explainable by Darwinian evolutionary. Accommodates only.

    Lack of clear phylogeny:
    Explainable by creationism.
    Explainable by ID.
    Not explainable by Darwinian evolutionary. Accommodates only.

    Stasis:
    Best Explanation: creationism or ID.
    —————

    Assuming for the sake of argument that “Large Morphological Gaps” and “Sudden Appearance” are coherent concepts and not imaginary, what Jguy has omitted from his list of assertions is any brief summary of the appropriate hypotheses. What is the Creationist hypothesis of events? What is the ID hypothesis? Are they the same? What does Creationism explain and how? What does ID explain and how? In what way do creationist explanations differ from ID explanations?

  101. Alan, almost anything is a better explanation than “it just happened, that’s all.”

  102. Alan, almost anything is a better explanation than “it just happened, that’s all.”

    Well, no. But what has that got to do with anything I asked? Do you know of an ID explanation of anything?

  103. Oops

    Alan, almost anything is a better explanation than “it just happened, that’s all.”

    Well, no. But what has that got to do with anything I asked? Do you know of an ID explanation of anything?

  104. I’m tempted to offer a free lunch to an accredited expert in ID theory who would be prepared to explain ID theory to me. :)

  105. ok, but none of that French stuff.

  106. Alan Fox:

    Do you know of an ID explanation of anything?

    And around and around we go.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....p-by-step/

  107. Actually, my wife is a superb cook in several genres, especially Mediterranean and particularly Moroccan. She also does a mean Rice and Peas if Mr. M wants to try an explanation of FCSId/Oh.

    But I digress. Mung’s link does not lead to any ID explanation that I can see. Is Upright Biped an acknowledged spokesman for the ID movement?

  108. All at once, and right the first time.

    This is the bit that makes your argument rubbish. It doesn’t follow that because modern holometabloud insects undergo a complete transformation that their ancestors did.

  109. ( I should probably say large transformation, and not complete, as there are adult tissues in larvae, and larval memories are retained by adults)

  110. Rather, it claims that there was creature that included both a caterpillar-like stage and a butterfly-like stage at the outset?

    Not quite. Just a direct developer, which, like a dragonfly, could be very different from first-nymph to adult. If, rather than going through a series of nymphal moults it could cut it’s development in two – a fattening up stage and a reproductive one – the difference would be marked.

    And how did this system come about?

    Most likely through the developmental and biochemical cutes for nymphal being supressed and various stages, untill the whole adult development was crammed into one stage.

    Once the two-stage life cycle was in effect natural selection can act (do a point) separately on each stage, meing the difference btween each would become much greater.

    I’m not trying to claim every step of this process is well understood – simply the the people who make the most noise about metamorphosis being a knock-down argument don’t seem to understand current thinking with regards metamorphosis

  111. WD: With all ue respect, repeating an ill-founded and brusquely dismissive objection — as you just did — does not suddenly confer warrant upon it. It does, however, abundantly show to onlookers that the goods are not there behind the confident manner declarations. KF

  112. 112

    Is Upright Biped an acknowledged spokesman for the ID movement?

    Certainly not. They wouldn’t have me.

    But then again, in relation to the truth value of my argument, it doesn’t matter. This is something your side constantly forgets (and sometimes my side as well). In relation to the truth, who I am simply doesn’t matter; my affilations (if I had any) don’t matter; my education doesn’t matter; if I should come to my argument only after a spectral flash of light, it does not matter. The only thing that matters is the evidence itself, which is unrefuted and will remain so. Protein synthesis is semiotic, and its origin will require a mechanism capable of establishing a semiotic state prior to the onset of both information-based organization and Darwinian evolution.

  113. Certainly not. They wouldn’t have me.

    “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member” perhaps?

    The only thing that matters is the evidence itself, which is unrefuted and will remain so.

    I still admire your self-confidence. However, you will at some stage need to detail some evidence and then explain how that leads on to or otherwise supports an ID explanation for the pattern of diversity of life that exists and has existed on Earth. (And perhaps outline an ID explanation.)

  114. wd400, contrary to the gradual (atheistic/materialistic) process you would prefer to believe in, as far as the fossil record can tell us, insects with the ability to undergo ‘complete metamorphosis’ appeared abruptly with the signature complex larval stage, indicative of ‘complete metamorphosis’, already present from the very beginning of their existence on earth:

    Humble bug plugs gap in fossil record – August 2012
    Excerpt: One day 370 million years ago, a tiny larva came to a sticky end when it plunged into a shrimp-infested swamp and drowned.,,
    Named Strudiella devonica, the eight-millimetre invertebrate – while in far from mint condition – is thought,, to be the world’s oldest complete insect fossil.
    http://www.news24.com/SciTech/.....d-20120801

    Moreover wd400, despite your snide comment here:

    the people who make the most noise about metamorphosis being a knock-down argument don’t seem to understand current thinking with regards metamorphosis

    The fact is that the scientists included in the film ‘Metamorphosis’ include:

    Ronald Boender is the founder and managing partner of Butterfly World in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It is the first park of its kind in North America and the largest butterfly exhibit in the world. Boender is one of the foremost experts on the rearing of butterflies and their host plants. He is also the founder of the Passiflora Society International and the Endangered Species Laboratory at the University of Florida.

    and:

    Thomas C. Emmel is a professor of zoology and entomology at the University of Florida and the Director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the Florida Museum of Natural History. He received his doctorate in population biology from Stanford University and was a postdoctoral fellow in genetics at the University of Texas. Emmel is the author of nearly 400 publications, including 35 books on biology, evolution, genetics, behavior and ecology of butterflies. He has led Lepidoptera expeditions to more than 40 countries.
    http://www.metamorphosisthefilm.com/scientists.php

    You can see the trailer of the movie here (as well as download a free e-book)

    http://www.metamorphosisthefilm.com/

    Blow it off is you must wd400, but do not pretend that Metamorphosis is not a big deal to evolution (as if it did not have problems enough already!)

  115. AF: I think Berlinsky lives in France. KF

  116. …do not pretend that Metamorphosis is not a big deal to evolution…

    Researching phenomena like metamorphosis is a big deal. Evo-devo is a very productive branch of research in this area. What is the current thinking about metamorphosis in, say, insects among ID researchers?

  117. AF: I think Berlinsky lives in France.

    Paris, apparently. He’d be welcome chez Fox. But is he still an ID advocate, if he ever was?

  118. What is the current thinking about metamorphosis in, say, insects among ID researchers?

    http://www.metamorphosisthefilm.com/

  119. The Metamorphosis of Plants

    The Mystery of Metamorphosis: A Scientific Detective Story

    Insect Development: Morphogenesis, Molting and Metamorphosis

    Somewhere in storage I have some books on this topic if anyone near Seattle is interested, lol.

    (Not the above books. I don’t recall the titles.)

  120. So the ID explanation of insect metamorphosis, according to mung’s link is “it’s a miracle!”

    Is that it?

  121. 121

    “I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member” perhaps?

    I sure its nothing quite as poingent as that. I should have inserted a :) I suppose.

    I still admire your self-confidence.

    As I just indicated, my confidence has nothing to do with it. Like charges repel, while opposite charges attract. That is the demonstrated nature of reality. You have nothing more to admire than I would in admiring your decision not jump off a cliff and start flapping your arms.

    However, you will at some stage need to detail some evidence and then explain how that leads on to or otherwise supports an ID

    I am sure there are many things I must do, one of them is to seek out those whom might challenge the details of my argument, without succumbing to the pretense that I havent provided any details.

    cheers…

  122. I am sure there are many things I must do, one of them is to seek out those whom might challenge the details of my argument, without succumbing to the pretense that I havent provided any details.

    Leaving aside the difficulty that the general consensus is that you have yet to formulate a coherent argument, let alone marshal any supporting evidence for it, in order to get people’s attention, you may need to venture beyond the confines of UD.

  123. So the ID explanation of insect metamorphosis, according to mung’s link is “it’s a miracle!” Is that it?

    Indeed, everything about the natural world is miraculous. Or haven’t you noticed?

    And at least miracles are caused. Yes, I’ll take that over “it just happened, that’s all.”

  124. 124

    Alan, the “general consensus” you speak of is held only by those who couldn’t refute the evidence, and chose to ignore it in order to protect their ideology.

    You are left to your own manner of avoiding it, as you’ve demonstrated above.

  125. That right, and a recent argument Alan put forth was that no one would ever claim that Darwinian evolution did not require a genotype/phenotype distinction (or some such nonsense).

  126. Spot on, UB. M. Renard even confuses ‘genres’ with ‘cuisine’, me semble-t-il’. Ce qui est diabolique, pour un renard evidemment francais.

    Renard, truly and beyond all peradventure, failure to accept Intelligent Design is the ultimate hallmark of folly. And all, to protect a world-view and/or life-style! Such simple-MINDED folly.

  127. As to Mr Fox’s appeal to evo-devo, ’ (not that evidence ever really matters to him), but the evidence for evo-devo, particularly the Darwinian reliance on HOX genes to drive major morphological novelties of body plans, has been brought into severe doubt:

    Evo-devo: Relaxed constraints on Hox gene clustering during evolution – B Galliot1
    Excerpt: Hox genes were initially identified in Drosophila as grouped regulatory genes, known as homeotic genes. They encode positional information during development following the colinearity rule, that is, their physical location in the cluster parallels the physical order of their expression along the anterior to posterior (AP) axis of the developing embryo (Lewis, 1978). Some years later, their molecular characterisation in both Drosophila and vertebrates proved that they code for proteins that bind DNA through the homeodomain, a domain of 60 highly evolutionarily conserved amino acids. Furthermore, mammals have the same clustered chromosomal organisation, where four copies of the Hox cluster, homologous to that of Drosophila, were found. Transcriptional analyses performed on sectioned and whole-mount embryos subsequently demonstrated the conservation of the colinearity rule (McGinnis and Krumlauf, 1992). So it seemed that Hox genes might provide a common molecular representation of the body plan at an early stage of the development of all animals. This is referred to as the phylotypic stage, during which embryos from distinct species tend to resemble to each other (Slack et al, 1993). Consequently, it was expected that the Hox gene cluster might have had this crucial developmental role even in the common ancestor of all bilaterally symmetrical animals.

    However, in vertebrates, the spatial colinearity rule turned out to be only part of the story. In mammals, it was shown that the temporal order of activation of the Hox genes during development also corresponds to the order that these genes are arrayed in the genomic cluster (Kmita and Duboule, 2003). This temporal regulation is not observed in Drosophila embryos, where Hox genes are split into two half-clusters and are activated simultaneously. Genetic manipulations in mice show that the clustered organisation of Hox genes is required to implement such a tight temporal control. In contrast, Hox clustering is not necessary to achieve a proper spatial expression in other numerous cases (see in Kmita and Duboule, 2003).,,,
    http://www.nature.com/hdy/jour.....0624a.html

    i.e. Many times evolutionists will mention evo-devo (Evolutionary Developmental Biology) to try to support the Darwinian claim that minor changes/mutations to DNA can drive major morphological novelty fairly rapidly, yet, in this following comment, from a 2005 Nature review article, evolutionary geneticist Jerry Coyne, (certainly no friend to ID), expressed strong skepticism at the proposed mechanism of ‘gene switches’ for evo-devo:

    “The evidence for the adaptive divergence of gene switches is still thin. The best case involves the loss of protective armor and spines in sticklebacks, both due to changes in regulatory elements. But these elements represent the loss of traits, rather than the origin of evolutionary novelties…We now know that Hox genes and other transcription factors have many roles besides inducing body pattern, and their overall function in development – let alone in evolution – remains murky.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....35931.html

    as well,,

    Research on stickleback fish shows how adaptation to new environments involves many genes – April 2012
    Excerpt: A current controversy raging in evolutionary biology is whether adaptation to new environments is the result of many genes, each of relatively small effect, or just a few genes of large effect. A new study published in Molecular Ecology strongly supports the first “many-small” hypothesis.,, “I suspect that as more and more studies use these methods, the tide of opinion will swerve strongly to the view that adaptation is a complex process that involves many genes spread across diverse places in the genome,” says Prof. Hendry.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....genes.html

    As if that wasn’t bad enough for the evo-devo hope Darwinians had placed in HOX genes,,,

    Turns out sharks and skates don’t need HoxC genes – December 2011
    Excerpt: “Our work illustrates the value of studying elasmobranch fishes such as skates and sharks to gain new insights. If elasmobranchs do not need HoxC genes to develop properly, we must consider the possibility that there is more flexibility in the role of the various Hox clusters than we previously thought.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com…..oxc-genes/

    SHOX2 – Nested Hierarchy violated – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucps091jGh0

    Here is a more thorough critique of evo-devo:

    Nature’s “Gems”: Microevolution Meets Microevolution – Casey Luskin – August 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....37171.html

    Moreover, body plans are not even reducible solely to the information in DNA in the first place as is held in the ‘central dogma’ (modern synthesis) of neo-Darwinism,,,

    In Embryo Development, Non-DNA Information Is at Least as Important as DNA – Jonathan Wells – May 2012
    Excerpt: Evidence shows that non-DNA developmental information can be inherited in several ways. For example, it can be inherited through chromatin modifications, which affect gene expression without altering underlying DNA sequences. Another example is cytoplasmic inheritance, which involves cytoskeletal patterns and localization of intracellular molecules. Still another example is cortical inheritance, which involves membrane patterns.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....60031.html

    “Live memory” of the cell, the other hereditary memory of living systems – 2005
    Excerpt: To understand this notion of “live memory”, its role and interactions with DNA must be resituated; indeed, operational information belongs as much to the cell body and to its cytoplasmic regulatory protein components and other endogenous or exogenous ligands as it does to the DNA database. We will see in Section 2, using examples from recent experiments in biology, the principal roles of “live memory” in relation to the four aspects of cellular identity, memory of form, hereditary transmission and also working memory.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15888340

    The Mysterious Epigenome. What lies beyond DNA – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpXs8uShFMo

  128. Moreover, as if all the preceding wasn’t devastating enough to evo-devo as envisioned by Neo-Darwinism, The entire ‘modern synthesis’ is, despite its hype through the years, a big flop,,

    Peer-Reviewed Paper Concludes that Darwinism “Has Pretty Much Reached the End of Its Rope” – Jonathan M. – February , 2012
    Excerpt: Contrary to the Darwin lobby’s oft-repeated assertion that there are absolutely no weaknesses in Darwinian theory, the paper offers the concession that the modern synthesis has never provided an account of “how major forms of life evolved” — an omission that is not unsubstantial, to put it mildly.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....55941.html

    Moreover, mutations expressed early in embryonic development, as is held in evo-devo, are, by far, the least likely to be tolerated,

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

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

  129. Mr Fox states:

    So the ID explanation of insect metamorphosis, according to mung’s link is “it’s a miracle!”

    Is that it?

    It seems Mr. Fox believes in miracles too, he just labels the miracles ‘random’ and supposedly he becomes ‘scientific’ (although he commits epistemological suicide in the process):

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: The situation calls to mind a widely circulated cartoon by Sidney Harris, which shows two scientists in front of a blackboard on which a body of theory has been traced out with the usual tangle of symbols, arrows, equations, and so on. But there’s a gap in the reasoning at one point, filled by the words, “Then a miracle occurs.” And the one scientist is saying to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”
    In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) -
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

  130. wd400 @110:

    Most likely through the developmental and biochemical cutes for nymphal being supressed and various stages, untill the whole adult development was crammed into one stage.

    Once the two-stage life cycle was in effect natural selection can act (do a point) separately on each stage, meing the difference btween each would become much greater.

    OK. Yet metamorphosis had to arise at some point. So if I’m understanding you, you don’t view metamorphosis as having come about through slight successive changes preserved by natural selection (you mention natural selection acting after the whole is in place, but not before).

    So presumably metamorphosis came about through slight successive changes that were not preserved by natural selection? Meaning they were preserved just by chance (drift, silent/neutral mutations, and the like)?

    Just trying to make sure I understand how you think the overall system would have come about . . .

  131. I’m sure selection also favoured the “truncation” of nymphal development into a pupal stage. I think “metamorphosis had to arise at some point” is a bit like saying “night has to start at some pont” – we can all agree day turns to night, but an argument about the precise moment this happens is probably not useful.

    The major difference with that anaology and evolutionary questions is that we often don’t have intermediate species to look at, so are left with the big gaps that millions of years of independent evolution create.

    (as you say, I’m sure that the greater distinction between larval and adult stages also arose as the result of selection.)

  132. wd400, I know you are enamored with imagining all sorts of unsubstantiated ‘just so’ stories for Darwinism, but to reality check you for a moment as you go off spinning tales of how a butterfly got its wings,, I have a simple question,,, what’s with all the stasis of insects in the fossil record?

    What the Fossils (Don’t) Show

    Winged insects such as dragonflies and mayflies appeared in the late Devonian or early Carboniferous. Scientists generally agree that all winged insects came from a single lineage, but debate still rages in the scientific community about how it happened. It appears, based on some fossilized nymphs and adults and from what we know of their modern relatives, that from the beginning these insects had a partial form of metamorphosis (hemimetabolous — literally, “part changing” — development). The nymphs resemble adults in many respects, but lack wings and reproductive structures. Through several successive molts their wings grow gradually, with fully developed wings and reproductive organs appearing only in the adult. Other familiar hemimetabolous groups include grasshoppers and crickets.

    Insects that undergo complete metamorphosis, such as beetles, flies and ants, did not appear until the late Carboniferous or early Devonian. These insects have been fabulously successful. In fact, nearly 85 percent of all modern insect species have holometabolous — literally, “all changing” — development.

    Butterflies and moths were among the last to appear on the scene. Their order, the Lepidoptera — literally, “scaly wings” — first appeared in the fossil record in the Jurassic, and more significantly in the Cretaceous. These insects have a dramatic — and well-known — holometabolous life history.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....51541.html

    That’s millions of years with basically no change in body plans for each different group of insects since the first abruptly appeared in the fossil record!,,, but do you see the problem wd400??? You should have, if darwinism were actually true, countless intermediate steps (failed experiments and such) as the ‘primitive’ insects, which are still basically the same as when they first appeared in the fossil record, as they tried to cross the bridge to nowhere (Sewell) to become a butterfly. But we don’t have that do wd400? We have the sudden appearance ‘out of nowhere’ of butterflies with no connection to the ‘primitive’ insects, which still look the same today, that preceded them by millions of years.

    “Stasis is data” – Gould

  133. Thanks, wd400 @131:

    I think “metamorphosis had to arise at some point” is a bit like saying “night has to start at some pont” – we can all agree day turns to night, but an argument about the precise moment this happens is probably not useful.

    I’ll bite on the analogy, but not the conclusion. Yes, night has to start at some point. But, no, no-one is asking for a precise moment when it happens (that is essentially a definitional question that can be agreed upon if necessary). However, we do very clearly understand and can explain in detail the mechanism for the onset of night.

    No-one is asking for a precise moment in time when metamorphosis arose. We are talking about the mechanism, not some precise moment in time.

    And with regard to the mechanism, no-one is even demanding absolute detail about every step of what actually did occur. I for one would be satisfied with a moderately complete outline of an objectively possible mechanism for what realistically could have occurred. Enough to get past the hand waving and the declarations of faith in evolution so that we can actually talk about the kinds of steps that must be involved in building such a system.

    At the end of the day Evolution has the following possible mechanisms available:

    1a. A sequence of slight successive changes preserved by natural selection. We might call this the classical Darwinian mechanism.

    1b. A sequence of slight successive changes preserved by something other than natural selection (essentially, by chance accumulation or by some kind of law-like process).

    2. Something other than slight successive changes: saltation, Goldschmidt’s hopeful monster, etc.

    Are you taking the position that metamorphosis could have come about via #1a or only #1b or #2?

  134. Alan Fox:

    Do you know of an ID explanation of anything?

    Yes, I do.

    Do you know of a blind watchmaker explanation of anything?

  135. Alan Fox:

    Researching phenomena like metamorphosis is a big deal. Evo-devo is a very productive branch of research in this area.

    Reference please. Evo-devo still has nothing- heck it can’t even tell us what makes an insect and insect.

  136. Greg, it’s very simple: if you do not believe in Intelligent Design, you are an atheist. It doesn’t matter a jot if you claim adherence to a recondite, putatively Abrahamic cult.

    It’s not rocket science.

  137. AF: What explains the car you may drive? The apartment or house where you live? The computer or whatever device — note the very name — you use to post? The Internet and the blog site? Etc, etc? Do you not see that design exists, it is a known causal factor with a lot of power, and that it often leaves characteristic signs that mark it out as recognisably distinct from things arising by blind chance and mechanical necessity acting on plausible initial circumstances? And so forth? Thence, do you not see that if we see such tested and found reliable signs we are entitled — per our rights under inductive reasoning and related epistemology — to infer that like causes like, even if that makes materialists uncomfortable? KF

  138. Guys, the free lunch was predicated on someone having a go at explaining what ID is and does.

  139. Alan Fox:’

    Guys, the free lunch was predicated on someone having a go at explaining what ID is and does.

    Intelligent Design is the detection and study of design in nature.

    Intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause?- Wm Dembski

    Dr Behe adds:

    Intelligent design is a good explanation for a number of biochemical systems, but I should insert a word of caution. Intelligent design theory has to be seen in context: it does not try to explain everything. We live in a complex world where lots of different things can happen. When deciding how various rocks came to be shaped the way they are a geologist might consider a whole range of factors: rain, wind, the movement of glaciers, the activity of moss and lichens, volcanic action, nuclear explosions, asteroid impact, or the hand of a sculptor. The shape of one rock might have been determined primarily by one mechanism, the shape of another rock by another mechanism.

    Similarly, evolutionary biologists have recognized that a number of factors might have affected the development of life: common descent, natural selection, migration, population size, founder effects (effects that may be due to the limited number of organisms that begin a new species), genetic drift (spread of “neutral,” nonselective mutations), gene flow (the incorporation of genes into a population from a separate population), linkage (occurrence of two genes on the same chromosome), and much more. The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.

    “Thus, Behe concludes on the basis of our knowledge of present cause-and-effect relationships (in accord with the standard uniformitarian method employed in the historical sciences) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.

    In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed”- Pg. 72 of Darwinism, Design and Public Education

    IDists say that we can and do differentiate between nature, operating freely and agency invovement, and more importantly that such a determination makes a huge difference to any subsequent investigation.

    WRT biology a design inference would mean that we have ruled out reductionism and emergence, meaning there is something else. And perhaps that something else is software, ie non-material information.

  140. 140

    IMO, some people are fundamentally incapable of understanding what ID is and what it addresses, which is why they insist it must be about something other than what it is, regardless of how many times one instructs them.

    That’s the charitable version.

  141. No free lunch for you then, William!

    …regardless of how many times one instructs them.

    So what does ID attempt to explain and how?

  142. “So what does ID attempt to explain and how?”

    Things like this:

    ExPASy – Biochemical Pathways – interactive schematic
    http://web.expasy.org/cgi-bin/.....mbnails.pl

  143. I can see I need to be clearer for Phil, at least. Can anyone tell me how ID explains something. That would involve some sort of explanation.

  144. …the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.

    But how is it explained as a reslt of an “intelligent cause”?

  145. Mr. Fox, please tell me, without recourse to your own intelligence, exactly ‘how’ you wrote your last post since it exceeds what can reasonably be expected from purely material processes:

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

    To clarify as to how the 500 bit universal limit is found for ‘structured, functional information’:

    Dembski’s original value for the universal probability bound is 1 in 10^150,

    10^80, the number of elementary particles in the observable universe.
    10^45, the maximum rate per second at which transitions in physical states can occur.
    10^25, a billion times longer than the typical estimated age of the universe in seconds.

    Thus, 10^150 = 10^80 × 10^45 × 10^25. Hence, this value corresponds to an upper limit on the number of physical events that could possibly have occurred since the big bang.

    How many bits would that be:

    Pu = 10-150, so, -log2 Pu = 498.29 bits

    Call it 500 bits (The 500 bits is further specified as a specific type of information. It is specified as Complex Specified Information by Dembski or as Functional Information by Abel to separate it from merely Ordered Sequence Complexity or Random Sequence Complexity; See Three subsets of sequence complexity)
    Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information – Abel, Trevors
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/2/1/29

    Arguing God from Teleology? (William Dembski) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGTOQ-fUNMY

    Sequences Probability Calculator v.1.1
    http://progettocosmo.altervista.org/spc.php

    This short sentence, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is calculated by Winston Ewert, in this following video at the 10 minute mark, to contain 1000 bits of algorithmic specified complexity, and thus to exceed the Universal Probability Bound (UPB) of 500 bits set by Dr. Dembski
    Proposed Information Metric: Conditional Kolmogorov Complexity – Winston Ewert – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm3mm3ofAYU

    Here are the slides of preceding video with the calculation of the information content of the preceding sentence on page 14
    http://www.blythinstitute.org/.....t_info.pdf

  146. 146

    Alan Fox:

    Although you have shown yourself immune to any explanation, it suits my purposes to offer this:

    Darwinism assumes that materialist/naturalist (chance & necessity) operatives are ultimately sufficient to explain how mechanism X produces effect Y. ID challenges that notion and instead theorizes that materialist/naturalist operatives (necessity & chance) are insufficient to explain Y.

    The Darwinist believes they have rendered a sufficient explanation for, say, an operating bacterial flagellum by pointing at mechanisms (selection, mutation, drift, co-option, time, populations, etc.); however, the begged-question assumption inherent in that “explanation” is whether or not materialist operatives alone (necessity & chance) have sufficient power, working through those mechanisms, to produce the effect in question.

    ID proposes that a third operative (besides necessity & chance) – artifice, or ID – is necessary to provide a sufficient explanation for the effect in question, even if that third operative works through the same mechanisms. This means that a description of the mechanisms alone is not enough because one cannot simply assume that only materialist operatives are involved.

    We know this to be true in some cases (computers & battleships), and theorize it to be the best explanation for some other things, such as the bacterial flagellum.

    When Darwinists ask “where is the designer”, or “what are the mechanisms of the designer” or “who is the designer” or “how did the designer do it”, they demonstrate that they don’t comprehend the nature of the argument. Show me chance or necessity (physical law)? How does physical law or chance get materials and forces to do anything? Who is chance? Where are the laws written?

    Those are all questions that only demonstrate ignorance of the nature of the debate. When things happen, we ascribe them to 3 basic descriptive categories or mixtures thereof (which I call operatives): natural law (necessity), chance, and artifice (intelligent agency). We know all three are suitable descriptions of operative forces for various phenomnena; ID is making the rather pedestrian and trivial claim that, like natural law and chance, artifice is an identifiable and measurable descriptive commodity.

    Why scientists and otherwise reasonable and intelligent people can’t get that is in itself a rather astounding phenomena.

  147. Although you have shown yourself immune to any explanation…

    In eight yearts of following the fortunes of the ID movement, I’ve never been given any sort of explanation that didn’t involve “Darwinism cannot explain…” as indeed I see your comment does.

  148. Alan Fox:

    In eight yearts of following the fortunes of the ID movement, I’ve never been given any sort of explanation that didn’t involve “Darwinism cannot explain…” as indeed I see your comment does.

    Alan, it doesn’t matter what you call it, any and all design inferences must first clear the necessity and chance hurdles. That is science, Alan and it is very telling that you didn’t know that.

    IOW it wouldn’t matter if Darwinism didn’t exist. ID would still have to see if necessity and chance can account for it.

    Can anyone tell me how ID explains something.

    Exactly how I have been telling you for years-> via our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    But anyway, it appears that you are proud to be willfully ignorant and even stranger that you use it as some sort of refuting argument.

  149. Mr. Fox in years of asking materialists/atheists to give a demonstration of information arising by purely material processes (such as just one functional protein), I’ve never been given a demonstration of any non-trivial information arising by purely material processes. And yet you yourself, in your own posts demonstrate the ability of intelligence to easily exceed what can be reasonably expected by purely material processes over the entire history of the universe. I was hoping you would try to give an account of ‘how’ you generated the information in your posts without recourse to your own intelligence, because I REALLY want you to explain exactly where the ‘free will’ choice, to write your posts, arose from in you materialistic scenario. I also want to know exactly where the information is stored in the brain that you accessed to formulate your post once you decided to write your post:

    notes:

    in the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is falsified by the fact that present conscious choices effect past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past?

    A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
    Excerpt: For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories (information) inside the brain, so far without success.,,,,So we need a functioning brain to receive our consciousness into our waking consciousness.
    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel.....sponse.htm

    Hmm, and to back that assertion up,,,

    Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth – November 2010
    Excerpt: They found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study: …One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-2708.....2-247.html

    And computers with many switches have a huge problem with heat,,,

    Supercomputer architecture
    Excerpt: Throughout the decades, the management of heat density has remained a key issue for most centralized supercomputers.[4][5][6] The large amount of heat generated by a system may also have other effects, such as reducing the lifetime of other system components.[7] There have been diverse approaches to heat management, from pumping Fluorinert through the system, to a hybrid liquid-air cooling system or air cooling with normal air conditioning temperatures.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....chitecture

    yet the brain, though have as many switches as all the computers on earth, does not have a problem with heat,,,

    Appraising the brain’s energy budget:
    Excerpt: In the average adult human, the brain represents about 2% of the body weight. Remarkably, despite its relatively small size, the brain accounts for about 20% of the oxygen and, hence, calories consumed by the body. This high rate of metabolism is remarkably constant despite widely varying mental and motoric activity. The metabolic activity of the brain is remarkably constant over time.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/99/16/10237.full

    THE EFFECT OF MENTAL ARITHMETIC ON CEREBRAL CIRCULATION AND METABOLISM
    Excerpt: Although Lennox considered the performance of mental arithmetic as “mental work”, it is not immediately apparent what the nature of that work in the physical sense might be if, indeed, there be any. If no work or energy transformation is involved in the process of thought, then it is not surprising that cerebral oxygen consumption is unaltered during mental arithmetic.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....4-0127.pdf

    Does Thinking Really Hard Burn More Calories? – By Ferris Jabr – July 2012
    Excerpt: So a typical adult human brain runs on around 12 watts—a fifth of the power required by a standard 60 watt lightbulb. Compared with most other organs, the brain is greedy; pitted against man-made electronics, it is astoundingly efficient.
    http://www.scientificamerican......d-calories

    Moreover, the heat generated by computers is primarily because of the erasure of information,,,

    Landauer’s principle
    Of Note: “any logically irreversible manipulation of information, such as the erasure of a bit or the merging of two computation paths, must be accompanied by a corresponding entropy increase ,,, Specifically, each bit of lost information will lead to the release of an (specific) amount (at least kT ln 2) of heat.,,, Landauer’s Principle has also been used as the foundation for a new theory of dark energy, proposed by Gough (2008).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L....._principle

    Thus the brain is either operating on reversible computation principles no computer can come close to emulating (Charles Bennett), or, as is much more likely, the brain is not erasing information from its memory as the material computer is required to do,, because our memories are stored on the ‘spiritual’ level rather than a material level,,,

    To support this view that ‘memory/information’ is not stored in the brain, one of the most common features of extremely deep near death experiences is the ‘life review’ where every minute detail of a person’s life is reviewed:

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    Thus Mr. Fox, once again I ask you to give me, without recourse to your own intelligence, a detailed materialistic account as to exactly ‘how’ you wrote your posts???

  150. 150

    In eight yearts of following the fortunes of the ID movement, I’ve never been given any sort of explanation that didn’t involve “Darwinism cannot explain…” as indeed I see your comment does.

    What difference does that make? If one is proposing that an operative is necessary in addition to Darwinism, then of course such a proposal would necessarily include in the argument/theory that Darwinism is insufficient to explain the effect in question.

  151. Alan Fox @147:

    In eight yearts of following the fortunes of the ID movement, I’ve never been given any sort of explanation that didn’t involve “Darwinism cannot explain…”

    We thus have three possibilities, either: (i) you do not really follow the ID debate as closely as you would like to think, (ii) you do not understand what you have followed, or (iii) you are purposely twisting things.

    The case of ID is first and foremost a positive case, based on our vast experience with intelligent agents designing things and our understanding of cause-and-effect in the world. That is the primary case for design and it has nothing to do with evolution or Darwinism. This has been expressed very clearly by prominent ID proponents and multiple times on this site.

    However, as an additional consideration, the primary competing explanation — naturalistic evolution — has been examined and found wanting. Examining competing explanations is a perfectly valid and appropriate way to conduct historical science and is in fact necessary in order to draw an inference to the best explanation.

    —-

    Now, let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a moment.

    Contrary to your assertion about ID, and ironically, the evolution paradigm is heavily focused on demonstrating that there is not design even when things look designed (Dawkins even defined biology in these very terms.) Indeed, one of the primary currents of thought underlying evolutionary explanations is “it doesn’t make sense for it to be designed this way.” This is absolutely pervasive, in Darwin’s writings all the way to today.

    Those of us who are skeptical about evolution’s grand creative power keep patiently asking for explanations about how things could actually have come about in practice. The responses we get typically come in two flavors: (i) no designer worth his salt would design it this way, or (ii) stuff happens.

  152. 1a. A sequence of slight successive changes preserved by natural selection. We might call this the classical Darwinian mechanism.

    1b. A sequence of slight successive changes preserved by something other than natural selection (essentially, by chance accumulation or by some kind of law-like process).

    2. Something other than slight successive changes: saltation, Goldschmidt’s hopeful monster, etc.

    Are you taking the position that metamorphosis could have come about via #1a or only #1b or #2?

    Eric, Mostly 1a, and maube a little 1b. I latter because when you are navigating “adaptive landscapes” changes fixed by chance can open or close paths to adaptive traits, even if they themselves aren’t fixed as a result of selection. That’s why the “every step must have been fixed by selection” mantra is a little tiresome (largely the fault of Richard Dawkins and the generation of evolutionary biologists he was writing about, I reckon ;)

  153. You know wd400, I know you probably think it beneath you to actually have to prove Darwinism true, but could you produce ANY evidence that ANY materialistic mechanism you wish to invoke can produce ANY non-trivial functional information,, say enough for a single novel functional protein?

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

  154. If one is proposing that an operative is necessary in addition to Darwinism, then of course such a proposal would necessarily include in the argument/theory that Darwinism is insufficient to explain the effect in question.

    Oh! So “Darwinism” is not wrong,then, just insufficient. ID is not an alternative, just an adjunct to “Darwinism”. Is everyone on board with that or is this William’s personal ID idea?

  155. Doesn’t seem to tally with Eric’s

    The case of ID is first and foremost a positive case, based on our vast experience with intelligent agents designing things and our understanding of cause-and-effect in the world. That is the primary case for design and it has nothing to do with evolution or Darwinism.

  156. Alan Fox,

    Actually darwinism would be part of Intelligent Design, as in accidental changes do happen and may accumulate. However over all the scenario is evolution by design- as in living organisms were designed to evolve and evolved by design, with random effects thrown in:

    As Dr Behe said:

    Intelligent design is a good explanation for a number of biochemical systems, but I should insert a word of caution. Intelligent design theory has to be seen in context: it does not try to explain everything. We live in a complex world where lots of different things can happen. When deciding how various rocks came to be shaped the way they are a geologist might consider a whole range of factors: rain, wind, the movement of glaciers, the activity of moss and lichens, volcanic action, nuclear explosions, asteroid impact, or the hand of a sculptor. The shape of one rock might have been determined primarily by one mechanism, the shape of another rock by another mechanism.

    Similarly, evolutionary biologists have recognized that a number of factors might have affected the development of life: common descent, natural selection, migration, population size, founder effects (effects that may be due to the limited number of organisms that begin a new species), genetic drift (spread of “neutral,” nonselective mutations), gene flow (the incorporation of genes into a population from a separate population), linkage (occurrence of two genes on the same chromosome), and much more. The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.

    And as Dembski and Wells said:

    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

    8 years in this debate and you don’t know anything about Intelligent Design. What do you think that says about you?

    Also what Eric said is true and has also been explained to you on numerous occasions.

  157. wd400 as to Butterflies, perhaps you may be interested in this:

    From butterflies’ wings to bank notes — how nature’s colors could cut bank fraud
    Excerpt: According to Kolle: “We have unlocked one of nature’s secrets and combined this knowledge with state-of-the-art nanofabrication to mimic the intricate optical designs found in nature.”,,,”These artificial structures could be used to encrypt information in optical signatures on banknotes or other valuable items to protect them against forgery. We still need to refine our system but in future we could see structures based on butterflies wings shining from a £10 note or even our passports,” he says.
    http://www.physorg.com/news194418476.html

    Butterfly wings inspire new high-tech surfaces – November 7, 2012
    Excerpt: The researchers wanted to test how butterfly wings and rice leaves might display some of the characteristics of other surfaces they’ve studied, such as shark skin, which is covered with slippery, microscopic grooves that cause water to flow smoothly around the shark. They also tested fish scales, and included non-textured flat surfaces for comparison. After studying all the textures close up, the researchers made molds of them in silicone and cast plastic replicas. To emulate the waxy coating on the rice leaves and the slippery coating on shark skin (which in nature is actually mucous), they covered all the surfaces with a special coating consisting of nanoparticles. In one test, they lined plastic pipes with the different coated textures and pushed water through them. The resulting water pressure drop in the pipe was an indication of fluid flow. For a pipe about the size of a cocktail straw, a thin lining of shark skin texture coated with nanoparticles reduced water pressure drop by 29 percent compared to the non-coated surface. The coated rice leaf came in second, with 26 percent, and the butterfly wing came in third with around 15 percent. Then they dusted the textures with silicon carbide powder – a common industrial powder that resembles natural dirt – and tested how easy the surfaces were to clean. They held the samples at a 45-degree angle and dripped water over them from a syringe for two minutes, so that about two tablespoons of water washed over them in total. Using software, they counted the number of silicon carbide particles on each texture before and after washing. The shark skin came out the cleanest, with 98 percent of the particles washing off during the test. Next came the rice leaf, with 95 percent, and the butterfly wing with about 85 percent washing off. By comparison, only 70 percent washed off of the flat surface. Bushan thinks that the rice leaf texture might be especially suited to helping fluid move more efficiently through pipes, such as channels in micro-devices or oil pipelines. As to the Blue Morpho’s beautiful wings, their ability to keep the butterfly clean and dry suggests to him that the clapboard roof texture might suit medical equipment, where it could prevent the growth of bacteria.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-11-b.....faces.html

    along that same line:

    Engineers mimic how peacocks do color for screen displays – Feb 12, 2013
    Engineers trying to mimic the peacocks’ color mechanism for screens have locked in structural color, which is made with texture rather than chemicals.
    Excerpt: In a peacock’s mother-of-pearl tail, precisely arranged hairline grooves reflect light of certain wavelengths. That’s why the resulting colors appear different depending on the movement of the animal or the observer. Imitating this system—minus the rainbow effect—has been a leading approach to developing next-generation reflective displays.
    The new research could lead to advanced color e-books and electronic paper, as well as other color reflective screens that don’t need their own light to be readable. Reflective displays consume much less power than their backlit cousins in laptops, tablet computers, smartphones and TVs.
    http://earthsky.org/science-wi.....n-displays

    Fishy Physics:,, Silvery Fish Reflect Light Without Polarization, May Help Them Evade Predators (Oct. 21, 2012)
    Excerpt: Previously, it was thought that the fish’s skin — which contains “multilayer” arrangements of reflective guanine crystals — would fully polarize light when reflected. As the light becomes polarized, there should be a drop in reflectivity.
    The Bristol researchers found that the skin of sardines and herring contain not one but two types of guanine crystal — each with different optical properties. By mixing these two types, the fish’s skin doesn’t polarize the reflected light and maintains its high reflectivity.
    Dr Roberts said: “We believe these species of fish have,, this particular multilayer structure to help conceal them from predators, such as dolphin and tuna. (The designer of) These fish,, (has) found a way to maximize their reflectivity over all angles they are viewed from. This helps the fish best match the light environment of the open ocean, making them less likely to be seen.”,,,
    As a result of this ability, the skin of silvery fish could hold the key to better optical devices. Tom Jordan said: “Many modern day optical devices such as LED lights and low loss optical fibres use these non-polarizing types of reflectors to improve efficiency. However, these human-made reflectors currently require the use of materials with specific optical properties that are not always ideal. The mechanism that,, is,, in fish overcomes this current design limitation and provides a new way to manufacture these non-polarizing reflectors.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....133911.htm

    But what’s the point of having awesome optics if you don’t have awesome eyes to see with??

    Mantis shrimp eye could improve high-definition DVDs, holographic technology – June 2011
    Excerpt: The eye of the peacock mantis shrimp has led an international team of researchers to develop a two-part waveplate that could improve CD, DVD, blu-ray and holographic technology, creating even higher definition and larger storage density. Peacock mantis shrimp are one of only a few animal species that can see circularly polarized light — like the light used to create 3-D movies. Some researchers believe the mantis shrimp’s eyes are better over the entire visual spectrum than any man-made waveplates.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....-dvds.html

    Fly Eyes Inspire Better Video Cameras, Motion Detection – May 2010
    Excerpt: That pesky fly’s eyes hold an important blueprint for creating better video cameras, military target-detection systems, and surveillance equipment, Australian researchers say.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.....amera.html

    Amazing Animals: Design Vs. Darwinism – Christopher Ashcraft – Excerpt video (please note the “lobster eye” camera that can see through walls.)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4214676/

    Thinnest ever camera sees like a trilobite – December 2010
    Excerpt: An unusual arthropod eye design that maximizes image resolution has inspired the design of the thinnest stills and video camera yet made.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....nline-news

    Does anything really need to be added to that wd400?

  158. 158

    Alan Fox said:

    Oh! So “Darwinism” is not wrong,then, just insufficient. ID is not an alternative, just an adjunct to “Darwinism”. Is everyone on board with that or is this William’s personal ID idea?

    First, no ID advocate (that I know of) would ever claim that there are no Darwinistic forces involved in evolution, such as random mutation, natural selection, adaption, etc. What they would argue, however, is that those forces are insufficient as explanations for something like the bacterial flagellum.

    I’ve often told you that you should read the FAQ here so that you could at least be informed about what you are arguing about. From #31:

    Similarly, evolutionary biologists have recognized that a number of factors might have affected the development of life: common descent, natural selection, migration, population size, founder effects (effects that may be due to the limited number of organisms that begin a new species), genetic drift (spread of “neutral,” nonselective mutations), gene flow (the incorporation of genes into a population from a separate population), linkage (occurrence of two genes on the same chromosome), and much more. The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.

    Clearly, the ID advocates here agree that yes, Darwinistic biological forces are at work in evolution, but they argue that such forces are insufficient.

  159. wd400 @152:

    Eric, Mostly 1a, and maube a little 1b. I latter because when you are navigating “adaptive landscapes” changes fixed by chance can open or close paths to adaptive traits, even if they themselves aren’t fixed as a result of selection. That’s why the “every step must have been fixed by selection” mantra is a little tiresome (largely the fault of Richard Dawkins and the generation of evolutionary biologists he was writing about, I reckon.

    Thanks. So given that we are dealing with slight successive changes, then in order to ascertain whether there is a realistic probability of the system being built through a purely natural and material process we would need some sense as to what changes are needed and the probabilities of those changes occurring in a population within the timeframe allotted. And noting that a homologous gene exists in some other insect or that another process looks superficially similar does not tell us either (i) how those systems came about or (ii) whether our particular system could come about through a series of slight successive changes.

    The evolutionary explanation for metamorphosis as it currently stands is that an unspecified series of changes over time resulted in the system. Yet I’m sure you’ll acknowledge that this is not an explanation, rather just a restatement of the theory: namely, that new and novel systems can be built through a series of slight successive changes over time. I also trust that your students have been taught to think critically about this and to recognize that a restatement of the theory does not count as an explanation for the system in question (which would then be seen as confirmatory evidence of the theory, in a circular fashion).

    To put it in a more objective light, the current evolutionary explanation for metamorphosis is the following:

    Some unknown organism at some unknown point in the past experienced an unknown change that was incorporated in an unknown manner into an unknown system of that organism and then preserved in an unspecified manner (perhaps by natural selection, drift or simple chance) eventually being reflected in an unspecified way in the organism’s phenotype, and the above process was repeated an unknown number of times in an unknown series of unspecified changes until we ended up with the complete functioning metamorphosis system we see today.

    You’ll appreciate that some of us find such an explanation to be, shall we say, wanting. And you’ll forgive us, I’m sure, if those who have actually tried to look into some of these unknown changes and ascertain whether they could actually be expected to occur in the timeframe and with the available resources have concluded that the system likely did not come about through such a purely natural and material process.

    Thanks,

    —–

    Incidentally, your handle just reminded me that I need to go to the hardware store today and get some more WD40. Any chance that has anything to do with your handle? :) Just curious.

  160. Eric:

    The responses we get typically come in two flavors: (i) no designer worth his salt would design it this way, or (ii) stuff happens.

    I seem to have been concentrating entirely too much on the latter. We’ll chalk that up to a case of bad design. Thanks for the course correction. I the future I shall try to be more balanced. Unless something just happens to change my mind.

  161. Alan Fox:

    Oh! So “Darwinism” is not wrong,then, just insufficient. ID is not an alternative, just an adjunct to “Darwinism”. Is everyone on board with that or is this William’s personal ID idea?

    lol. You’ve been following ID, religiously, for 8 years?

    And yet you managed to miss:

    The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism

    We just can’t take you seriously as a “critic” of ID Alan, because you’re not serious.

  162. Eric @159. Priceless.

    I nominate that for the UD hall of fame.

    Feel free to nominate one of my posts for the UD hall of shame in return.

  163. Mung, you’re too kind!

  164. Joe quoting Michael Behe:

    The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.

    So Behe’s “Edge of Evolution” can be read as the current ID thinking on evolution.

    Just to confirm, ID theory is not an explanatory theory per se. It is just needed as an ‘ID of the gaps’ argument when the suite of current evolutionary theories is deemed inadequate. Is that right? Accepting ID involves accepting the theory of evolution as far as it goes? Am I right?

    Bill Dembski accepts evolutionary theory and the age of the Earth at around 4.7 billion years? Any ID dissenters?

  165. We just can’t take you seriously as a “critic” of ID Alan, because you’re not serious.

    I’m nobody. Convincing me would not affect the way ID is perceived (or noticed at all) by main-stream scientists. What fascinates me is the sociological aspect of the interchanges between the various groups and individuals. Though the fact that no ID proponent has yet come up with any kind of coherent scientific argument other than “here’s a gap which ID fills by default” does make me continue to wonder where the emperor’s clothes are. (Sorry that metaphor does get overused.)

  166. Those of us who are skeptical about evolution’s grand creative power keep patiently asking for explanations about how things could actually have come about in practice. The responses we get typically come in two flavors: (i) no designer worth his salt would design it this way, or (ii) stuff happens.

    Who have you asked, Eric, and where? I am being told to read Behe’s “Edge of Evolution” as the best explanation of “Intelligent Design” (Aside to William, the UD FAQ appears to be written by someone writing in a foreign language and then using Google Translator, plus it is un-endorsed by Behe, Dembski, Meyer etc.) I got that recommendation from visiting an ID-friendly website. I haven’t seen you at Pandas Thumb or WEIT, for example.

    I agree that “no designer would do it that way” is a daft response to – well, what did you ask? – because nobody is giving the designer any attributes on which to base any supposition about the motives of any “designer or “agent”. “Stuff happens” is not much help either. What did you ask to get that response? On the other hand, scientific theories start with observations. So in one way that is indeed where one would start with an attempt to understand a phenomenon. This is where ID cannot be considered scientific because it doesn’t take this approach; it puts the conclusion before the hypothesis!

  167. …come up with any kind of coherent scientific argument other than “here’s a gap which ID fills by default”

    Sorry, this could be misconstrued. I obviously don’t think that “here’s a gap which ID fills by default” is a valid scientific argument either!

  168. Some unknown organism at some unknown point in the past experienced an unknown change that was incorporated in an unknown manner into an unknown system of that organism and then preserved in an unspecified manner (perhaps by natural selection, drift or simple chance) eventually being reflected in an unspecified way in the organism’s phenotype, and the above process was repeated an unknown number of times in an unknown series of unspecified changes until we ended up with the complete functioning metamorphosis system we see today.

    I appreciate this is an attempt at satire but, seeing what some people come up with in comments, there might be the chance that you actually do mis-comprehend evolutionary theory to this extent. Or you are writing tongue-in-cheek and others who only get their information from sites like UD may take your comment as bearing on reality. And you lot talk about me not taking ID seriously!

  169. Aaln Fox:

    Just to confirm, ID theory is not an explanatory theory per se.

    Wrong again, as usual.

    By Alan’s “logic” archaeology and forensic science are not explanatory venues.

    Though the fact that no ID proponent has yet come up with any kind of coherent scientific argument …

    YOU wouldn’t know what a coherent argument is. Evolutionism definitely does NOT offer up any coherent arguments.

    And nice to see tat Alan still doesn’t understand what “default” means.

    Look Alan, you are just a clueless chump on some anti-ID agenda and your posts prove that.

    Nice job, ace

  170. And Alan continues to talk about the “theory” of evolution yet it is very telling that he cannot provide a refeerence to the peer-reviewed paper said “theory” can be found.

  171. Alan Fox:

    This is where ID cannot be considered scientific because it doesn’t take this approach; it puts the conclusion before the hypothesis!

    Only someone completely ignorant of ID would say something like that. And here we have Alan Fox.

    ID starts with observations, Alan. And the design inference is based on our KNOWLEDGE of cause and effect relationships.

    This is unlike evolutionism, which is based on imagination.

  172. Mr. Fox, In perusing through the posts, I noticed that you did not address my question to you here,,

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-448241

    ,, as to exactly ‘how’ you are writing you posts without any intelligence! Though Joe would probably argue that no intelligence is evident in your posts, and it would be tempting to say that and leave it there, I hold that it is impossible for you to give a coherent account as to exactly ‘how’ you wrote your posts without reference to your own intelligence.

  173. 173
    William J Murray

    Apparently, Alan Fox – like Nick Matzke, Gregory and so, so many other others – is simply immune to having his misunderstandings about ID corrected.

  174. 174

    [SNIP!] Fox?

    Computerist, don’t do anything like this again. KF

  175. Yes, computerist, that sums it up rather nicely.

  176. Alan Fox @166 and 168:

    I agree that “no designer would do it that way” is a daft response to – well, what did you ask? – because nobody is giving the designer any attributes on which to base any supposition about the motives of any “designer or “agent”. “Stuff happens” is not much help either. What did you ask to get that response?

    The first is an absolutely pervasive answer given by evolutionists. There is a whole line of argumentation based on the alleged poor design of biological systems. The vestigial organs line of argumentation is also based on this concept. Many of the key anti-design arguments focus on this approach, including the famous “backwards” wiring of the mammalian eye and “junk” DNA . Darwin used the argument throughout The Origin as a mainstay of his position; Dawkins uses it all the time; it regularly comes up in books and commentary.

    The second (“stuff happens”) is my paraphrase of the so-called “explanations” we often hear. Some evolutionists have, thankfully, chastised their colleagues for their liberal use of “just-so” stories. Yet these stories continue — sometimes explicitly, often implicitly. There may be fancy language used; there may be scientific terminology employed; there may be wonderful stories put forth; but at the end of the day, so very many of the “explanations” for how or why a system came to exist, once we boil away all the fancy verbiage, do in fact essentially amount to “stuff happens.”

    I appreciate this is an attempt at satire but, seeing what some people come up with in comments, there might be the chance that you actually do mis-comprehend evolutionary theory to this extent. Or you are writing tongue-in-cheek and others who only get their information from sites like UD may take your comment as bearing on reality.

    I was using a bit of artistic flair, but I was not being satirical. What I wrote is quite literally the state of the evolutionary explanation for nearly every biological system that exists. With only scant exceptions for some simple systems or processes, almost all of which would be properly categorized as microevolutionary, the explanation is precisely as I wrote it.

    Again, it is important to keep in mind that noting the existence of a homologous structure here or a similar structure there somewhere else in the biosphere is not in any way an explanation for the system in question.

    —–

    I have provided you with some absolutely critical keys to understanding the evolution/ID debate (although I am certainly not the first nor the only one to articulate these points). To summarize, these keys are:

    - Observations of homology or similarity in other systems do not constitute an explanation of the system in question.

    - Many pro-evolution and anti-design arguments are based on assumptions about what an alleged designer would or would not do.

    - Many other “explanations” are not explanations, but essentially amount to an unsupported reassertion of the theory that unknown changes happening in an unknown way in an unknown sequence over time can result in the system.

    I don’t expect you to necessarily appreciate these points at this time because it requires a bit of a paradigm shift to see. But I remain hopeful that at some future point when you are hearing or reading an evolutionary argument or explanation something will click and you will realize that what you are hearing is as I have described. That will be the beginning of an exciting journey of discovery.

  177. Hi Alan Fox,

    I’d just like to make a brief comment about how ID explains some effect.

    First, it explains that effect by nominating an adequate cause for that effect: an intelligent agent.

    Second, it identifies the precise features of the effect itself that only an agent could have produced – any pattern which is highly specified but at the same time enormously improbable.

    Third, it encourages research on the functionality of the effect in question, which may eventually help to answer the question of why it was designed.

    Fourth, the “where” and “when” of the design in question can usually be ascertained through standard procedures used in scientific investigation (e.g. laboratory dating).

    Fifth, the “how” question can sometimes be answered by attempting to reverse-engineer the designer’s work. Sometimes we find that idiosyncratic features or apparent inefficiencies in the effect we observe are either necessary design features, or suboptimal due to the need to satisfy multiple constraints.

    Sixth, identification of the constraints in question can tell us more about the designer’s modus operandi.

    Seventh, we can examine the designed object or process to see whether its design violated any of the laws of physics. An affirmative answer would tell us that the Designer was not bound or constrained by the laws of physics, and hence not part of what we call Nature.

    Those are a few steps in the right direction.

  178. vjtorley:

    That is a pretty decent list and well stated.

    However, I’d suggest taking #7 off the list. I don’t even know what is being suggested by some design “violating laws of physics.” Obviously if something exists in our real world, then it doesn’t violate any laws of physics. And if it was built into a physical medium then it was built without violating any such laws. There may be some unique design approach or design technique at work, but presumably not something that violates any laws of physics.

    Maybe I’m just unclear on what you are referring to and am having a hard time thinking of any design that could possibly violate any laws of physics in practice . . .

  179. Alan Fox:

    I’m nobody.

    No, you are some body. But you have no argument against ID and you have no argument for your own position, which means you don’t offer much in the way of actual substance.

    And when you do have something to say about ID it turns out to be wrong, in spite of your eight or so years of following the debate.

    So not nobody. But not much either.

  180. Hi Eric,

    Thank you for your post. Re violating the laws of physics: what I have in mind is a structure whose formation would have been impossible (or at least astronomically improbable) given the laws of physics – either because of some energy hurdle that would have needed to be surmounted, or because the second law of thermodynamics rules out the formation of such a structure. That was all I had in mind. Of course, one would need to find several of these structures, in order to scientifically confirm that their formation was physically impossible.

  181. vjtorley @180:

    I hear you. I’m still struggling to figure out what this hypothetical structure [that "violates" the laws of physics] could even be in principle.

    . . . what I have in mind is a structure whose formation would have been impossible (or at least astronomically improbable) given the laws of physics . . .

    We already have evidence of many of these kinds of structures.

    But it doesn’t phase the committed materialist in the slightest because they are literally blind to the facts. They are fully capable of putting fingers in both ears and just repeating their standard explanation for the structure in question: chance + time. Or phrased in more layman’s terms: Stuff happens.

    . . . or because the second law of thermodynamics rules out the formation of such a structure.

    Well, if such a structure exists then — by definition — the second law doesn’t rule it out. The “laws” of physics, after all, are simply descriptions of what we understand to be possible in the universe. If we find a new structure that doesn’t fit, then our understanding of the laws will be updated accordingly.

    Consider that at one point in time many people thought that heavier-than-air flight was impossible. And they had lots of good “laws” and explanations from physics for why it should be impossible. But when they were proved wrong it didn’t mean that something “violated” any laws of physics. It just meant that they had to rethink their understanding of the laws and how the laws interact with other known forces, such as aerodynamics, thrust, lift, etc.

    I just don’t think there is any mileage to be gained from talking about things violating the laws of physics. I realize you don’t perhaps mean it in the way it comes across, but anti-design folks latch onto such phraseology and laugh at the idea of ID people claiming that things can violate the laws of physics.

    Personally, I don’t know of anything that violates the laws of physics. And if such a thing were found, we would just update our understanding of the laws of physics. It simply isn’t helpful to talk about design potentially violating laws of physics. It would seem to be a lot more productive to focus on what you said you really mean: something that is extremely improbably and/or has an energy hurdle (and I would add, information hurdle). It seems that is where the rubber meets the road and where the discussion and the terminology should focus.

  182. So Eric, I understand what you are saying, but with respect to say, Jesus and/or Peter walking on water, would you say that violated the laws of physics or that it only appeared to violate the laws of physics? Both, neither?

  183. Mung @182:

    That is an excellent question, and one that probably deserves more than a simple response. Maybe I can outline my thoughts by stating a couple of background principles I might work from:

    - There are hierarchies of laws. Some have stronger, or more pervasive, or more lasting effect than others.

    - Laws do not exist in a vacuum, but must be understood in the particular context and in their specific interaction with other laws. For example, if we look at gravity, although we understand it to be a universal law that holds at all places in the universe, objects in the environment will behave quite differently, depending on whether I am floating serenely in so-called “zero G,” or standing on the Earth at our familiar 1G, or being sucked over the event horizon of a black hole. Indeed, for the person who is only familiar with 1G at the surface of the Earth, the behavior of objects at either extreme – the calm of weightlessness or the horrific stresses at the event horizon — would seem to contradict their understanding of gravity. And yet, with our current understanding, we don’t view any of these three situations as being a “violation” of the law of gravity, just different manifestations of the same broader principle.

    - I do not view everything as the result of purely natural causes. In other words, agency is real. Intelligent agents can and do cause things to occur that would not occur by purely natural processes. And they do it, not by violating any natural laws, but by understanding and utilizing natural laws. Like my airplane analogy: lighter-than-air flight doesn’t violate gravity, but it takes advantage of other forces: thrust, lift and so on, to bring about a particular effect.

    My wife took me to see David Copperfield in Vegas last year. He did things and caused effects that clearly appeared to be violations of natural laws as we understand them (indeed, that is the whole point of the show). Yet I fully accept that he did not in fact violate any natural laws — he just used principles that he understands well (lighting, sound, the speed of human visual perception, and so on) to bring about effects that, to the person not familiar with all such principles, seemed miraculous.

    Please note, I am not in any way suggesting that God is to be thought of as some powerful magician performing at a whim. But there is a very real sense in which God knows and understands everything that would be necessary to bring about a particular effect: not only all the natural laws that are applicable, but also how they interact with each other — and how things will be perceived by the observer.

    - What we understand as a miracle may in many cases be a manifestation of a higher law, or an interaction of laws, that we are not familiar with. And it may be done by someone who knows all laws to the full extent and has the ability to utilize those principles to the fullest extent possible.

    —–

    I apologize if that is a bit long. I think different miracles in the Bible probably fall into a few different buckets: (i) things that perhaps didn’t really happen in physical reality, but that caused the observer to perceive something in their mind (or fail to perceive something), (ii) things that actually happened on the basis of laws or on the basis of the interaction of different laws that we don’t yet quite understand, and (iii) real intentional action on the part of God as a volitional agent to bring about a specific effect (again, I would not view this as a violation of natural laws, rather an astute use of those laws, including ones we don’t yet understand).

    —–

    In the current discussion on this thread, however, we have a much more narrow focus than miracles generally. Rather than the miracles of the Bible, which were generally one-off events, vjtorley was talking about structures that actually exist, such as in biological systems. And presumably those structures continue to exist in biology by virtue of their instantiation in matter and by virtue of the fact that they get reproduced in each subsequent generation of organisms in much the same way that other structures get reproduced.

    The question is whether the existence of such structures violates any laws of nature. I think it should be clear that the answer to that question must be no and that we should not expect to find any structures that violate the laws of nature.

    In his response, vjtorley clarified what he really meant: not something that violates natural laws, but something that is highly improbable or would not, through purely natural and material processes, be expected to arise on its own.

    We have evidence for lots of those kinds of systems.

  184. @Eric Anderson

    Eric Anderson (183): I do not view everything as the result of purely natural causes. In other words, agency is real. Intelligent agents can and do cause things to occur that would not occur by purely natural processes. And they do it, not by violating any natural laws, but by understanding and utilizing natural laws.

    Since something other than a natural process – agent – is a cause, there is a breach of physical causal closure, right? How can this be done without violating natural law?

  185. Eric,

    Just to be clear, I did not think you were denying miracles. I just thought I’d bring them up as a possible counter. The book of Daniel also comes to mind wrt violating laws of physics. :)

    Personally I question whether such laws even exist, or in what sense they exist. Are the laws of physics imposed from outside on the objects that must obey the laws? Or are they just regularities expressed due to the nature of the objects themselves?

    So then the question would not be one of laws of physics but of laws of nature/essence.

  186. Box @184:

    Since something other than a natural process – agent – is a cause, there is a breach of physical causal closure, right? How can this be done without violating natural law?

    How can it be done with violating a natural law?

    Humans are intelligent agents. They can design and build things that don’t come about through purely natural processes. What natural laws were violated during the building of, for example, the Space Shuttle?

  187. Mung @185:

    I think you raise some good questions and miracles are a possible counterexample, but only because the circumstances/processes surrounding miracles are such that we don’t (and with current knowledge can’t) know. So we can’t say that natural laws definitely were violated in the performance of miracles. Indeed, I argue that there is good reason to think that at least in many cases they weren’t.

    Personally I question whether such laws even exist, or in what sense they exist. Are the laws of physics imposed from outside on the objects that must obey the laws? Or are they just regularities expressed due to the nature of the objects themselves?

    Well said. At some level they are descriptive rather than proscriptive. Which is why when we discover something new in science that counters our prior expectations we don’t think some natural law was violated. Instead we just adjust our understanding of the natural laws.

  188. F/N: Biblical theology in Heb 1 suggests that the world is held together by the word of power of God.

    That implies that what we call natural laws are not autonomous powers — that is a peculiarly modern idolatry, to make the means and evident ways autonomous, and to refuse to acknowledge that laws imply law giver — but instead are the general pattern of God’s providence for an orderly and life facilitating world.

    A miracle is not a violation of the law, as though the law of nature were a royal person whose will we cannot break, but that for good reasons of his own God may order circumstances to speak or create a way, or he may act beyond the usual course of the universe. The most important case in point being the resurrection of Jesus from death, with over 500 witnesses, of whom none could be broken, not in the face of whips, fire, sword and crosses. Cf. here on in context.

    This adequately warrants a worldview that sees that nothing that cannot live with a prophesied and fulfilled messiah who comes to the people of covenant and the wider world at just the right time, and who dies on a cross, is buried, rises and is witnessed, energising a church and its good news for 2000 years now, can be considered a reasonable world view.

    If you deny the historicity and crucifixion of Jesus, you are in an absurdly selectively hyperskeptical dismissal of facts that are as firmly, adequately grounded as any from history of consequence will be. This is a basic test of rationality about history and fact and warrant.

    A pons asinorum, if you will.

    Beyond, on the 500 witnesses and the steady stream of transforming power ever since, if you cannot face the reality of miracles, especially in the name of the one who rise with 500 witnesses, that brings your worldview under severe challenge as patently rooted in a priori assertions and dismissals, multiplied by deification of an alleged inviolable natural order, which simply cannot be warranted by reasonable inductive argument.

    let us be plain: Scientism is idolatry and is also absurd, as the claim or assumption or inference that only science gives credible knowledge is an epistemological knowledge- claim, i.e. a philosophical claim to be knowledge. Hence the self-referential and self refuting absurdity of Lewontin’s notoriously declared aim that he people come to see science as the only begetter of truth.

    And so forth.

    KF

  189. I’d just like to make a brief comment about how ID explains some effect.

    First, it explains that effect by nominating an adequate cause for that effect: an intelligent agent.

    “An intelligent agent” in general, OK. Let’s be more specific, where evolutionary theory is currently unable to give an adequate explanation for some observed phenomenon, we must not say “we don’t know the explanation for this phenomenon and are therefore able to default to “action by an intelligent agent”. I have to stick with “we don’t yet know” because “an intelligent agent” adds precisely nothing to our knowledge and gives no insight or handle on further investigation.

    Second, it identifies the precise features of the effect itself that only an agent could have produced – any pattern which is highly specified but at the same time enormously improbable.

    Well, that’s the claim to be supported if ID has any utility, I guess.

    Third, it encourages research on the functionality of the effect in question, which may eventually help to answer the question of why it was designed.

    Research, observation, experiment and hypothesizing have worked very well in elucidating many phenomena. “Why it was designed” seems to assume the point at issue. That is whether design by an unobserved agent is or has occurred. Without some hypothesis of what “an intelligent agent” is and does, where, when and how, speculation on why seems a little premature.

    Fourth, the “where” and “when” of the design in question can usually be ascertained through standard procedures used in scientific investigation (e.g. laboratory dating).

    Has it? Example?

    Fifth, the “how” question can sometimes be answered by attempting to reverse-engineer the designer’s work. Sometimes we find that idiosyncratic features or apparent inefficiencies in the effect we observe are either necessary design features, or suboptimal due to the need to satisfy multiple constraints.

    Whether “the designers work” is a real or imaginary phenomenon is still the point at issue. I suggest we are far from being able to claim such “work” is observable.

    Sixth, identification of the constraints in question can tell us more about the designer’s modus operandi.

    Well it might, if there were some hypothesis to test.

    Seventh, we can examine the designed object or process to see whether its design violated any of the laws of physics. An affirmative answer would tell us that the Designer was not bound or constrained by the laws of physics, and hence not part of what we call Nature.

    I think talking of the laws of Physics is not how reality is. Particles and entities that consist of particles have properties that we observe. These properties are regular. Assuming that they are also fixed and universal is the current consensus view and works very well in a practical way. Observing an irregularity or discontinuity would certainly raise eyebrows and strengthen the argument for something beyond reality. It would certainly be a start if ID proponents could come up with something along these lines.

    Those are a few steps in the right direction.

    They might be. Take that first step and who knows where you might end up!

  190. KF

    I saw a TE using Aquinas as justification for the idea of nature’s “autonomy”, so i went back to the passage he’d cited in Aquinas (actually he cited Haught, who cited the passage – easier to recycle interpretetaions than check old books!)

    It was clear that to Aquinas, “autonomy” meant the equivalent of giving nature its particular rules to follow. So the modern trick has been to change “God’s special regulations for stars, gravity to abide by” etc to “the regulations God has to abide by regarding stars, gravity” etc.

  191. Mr. Fox, you make an erroneous claim here:

    “An intelligent agent” in general, OK. Let’s be more specific, where evolutionary theory is currently unable to give an adequate explanation for some observed phenomenon, we must not say “we don’t know the explanation for this phenomenon and are therefore able to default to “action by an intelligent agent”. I have to stick with “we don’t yet know” because “an intelligent agent” adds precisely nothing to our knowledge and gives no insight or handle on further investigation.

    The fact of the matter is that science cannot be rationally practiced without theistic presuppositions:

    notes:

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8462821

    Taking God Out of the Equation – Biblical Worldview – by Ron Tagliapietra – January 1, 2012
    Excerpt: The details filled a book, but the basic concept was simple and elegant. He summed it up this way: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.” For this reason, his proof is also called the Incompleteness Theorem.
    Kurt Gödel had dropped a bomb on the foundations of mathematics. Math could not play the role of God as infinite and autonomous.
    http://www.answersingenesis.or...../equation#

    Gödel’s theorem says: “Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory.”

    *The Church-Turing thesis says that a physical system can express elementary arithmetic just as a human can, and that the arithmetic of a Turing Machine (computer) is not provable within the system and is likewise subject to incompleteness.

    *Any physical system subjected to measurement is capable of expressing elementary arithmetic. (This extends Godel’s incompleteness theorem to elementary particles of the universe and is born out in quantum computation)

    *Therefore the universe is capable of expressing elementary arithmetic and like both mathematics itself and a Turing machine, is incomplete.

    i.e. Any material particle you can draw a circle around cannot explain its own continued existence within space-time. Moreover, this incompleteness principle for material particles has now been born out on the empirical level:

    ,,,Quantum Mechanics has now been extended by Anton Zeilinger, and team, to falsify local realism (reductive materialism) without even using quantum entanglement to do it:

    ‘Quantum Magic’ Without Any ‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ – June 2011
    Excerpt: A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....111942.htm

    i.e. Material particles cannot explain their own continued existence within space-time without referring to a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain their continued existence within space-time.

    Of note, Theists have always maintained that God, who is beyond space and time, sustains and upholds this universe in its continued existence, whereas materialists, ever since the Greeks, held that the ‘atom’ was the foundation of reality i.e. that the material particle was ‘self-sustaining’.

    Revelation 4:10-11
    They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

    Further empirical confirmation of Godel’s incompleteness theorem as it applies to the universe is found here:

    “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.” -
    Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Boston (paper delivered at Hawking’s 70th birthday party)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....beginning/

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.”
    (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970
    http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/bigbang.html

    As well, Godel’s incompleteness theorem, since it does indeed apply to ANY material system in the universe, and the material universe itself, is excellent logical proof for Craig’s Kalam Cosmological argument, as well I hold it as excellent logical proof for Aquinas’s First, Second, and Third way of his ‘the five ways’:

    Of course, Mr. Fox, you could opt for the insanity inherent within Boltzmann’s Brain and Plantinga’s “Evolutionary argument against naturalism” to try to preserve your atheistic belief that ‘randomness’ created and sustains everything, but then you yourself have undermined any claim that you have as to being rational in these discussions, and thus why should we ever consider anything you have to say as to be anything other than the ramblings of a madman??,,,

    As to your claim that Theism gives no insight to further investigation, perhaps you should read up on Jaki??

    The Origin of Science
    Jaki writes: Modern experimental science was rendered possible, Jaki has shown, as a result of the Christian philosophical atmosphere of the Middle Ages. Although a talent for science was certainly present in the ancient world (for example in the design and construction of the Egyptian pyramids), nevertheless the philosophical and psychological climate was hostile to a self-sustaining scientific process. Thus science suffered still-births in the cultures of ancient China, India, Egypt and Babylonia. It also failed to come to fruition among the Maya, Incas and Aztecs of the Americas. Even though ancient Greece came closer to achieving a continuous scientific enterprise than any other ancient culture, science was not born there either. Science did not come to birth among the medieval Muslim heirs to Aristotle. ….
    The psychological climate of such ancient cultures, with their belief that the universe was infinite and time an endless repetition of historical cycles, was often either hopelessness or complacency (hardly what is needed to spur and sustain scientific progress); and in either case there was a failure to arrive at a belief in the existence of God the Creator and of creation itself as therefore rational and intelligible. Thus their inability to produce a self-sustaining scientific enterprise.
    If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, how did it come to its unique viable birth? The beginning of science as a fully fledged enterprise took place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at the local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on March 7, 1277, condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of creation.
    These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences. The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence; and so it has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Indeed the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos.
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/aug.....rigin.html

    Music:

    Johnny Cash and Rosanne Cash – September When It Comes – song about life and mortality
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2WilM6ljUg

  192. AF:

    Why do you insist on saying things like:

    189: we must not say “we don’t know the explanation for this phenomenon and are therefore able to default to “action by an intelligent agent”. I have to stick with “we don’t yet know” because “an intelligent agent” adds precisely nothing to our knowledge and gives no insight or handle on further investigation.

    At this stage — after years, that is the willful building and knocking over of a strawman, in disregard for duties of care to easily accessible truth, hoping to profit rhetorically by the distortion being perceived as truth.

    Kindly, stop it. Now.

    Here’s why:

    1 –> Your very post above is proof by example that intelligent agents exist and design and implement objects that manifest observable and quantifiable characteristics that distinguish them from products of blind mechanical necessity and/or chance.

    2 –> Namely, functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information, FSCO/I. Just the clip above shows 306 ASCII characters in contextualied, English text, at 7 bits per character (ignoring the usual parity check bit).

    3 –> The configuration space for that many characters is 6.41 * 10^644. The blind chance + necessity capacity of the 10^80 atoms of the observable universe could not sample as much as 1 in 10^490 of that space, rendering specific, special zones functional like the above utterly inaccessible for practical purposes, to the whole universe acting as a blind search device.

    4 –> As a designing intelligence, you probably tossed that off in minutes as an implemented design.

    5 –> So, you see a direct example of how FSCO/I works as an inductively strong sign of design as cause, and with such reliable signs, we have every epistemic right to trust the sign to speak truly even if we did not observe or could not observe the actual cause in action.

    6 –> By contrast, I am confident that you cannot show us a case of a similar effect, FSCO/I without intelligence and design involved in the causal chain as material factor.

    7 –> Moreover, you know or should know, that the per aspect design inference filter works just the opposite to inferring design as a default. There are indeed two defaults, if mechanical necessity can account for an event that is a preferred explanation, and if chance can work without the sort of ridiculous appeal that would be required above with the sample of text, that too is preferred.

    8 –> Nor is “unknown cause” an acceptable fourth node in the explanatory filter. We here have a sign, with a KNOWN, abundantly and reliably observed cause.

    9 –> What you really mean here is that on ideological a priori grounds, you are unwilling to consider the possibility of a designer being present in relevant cases that put your preferred worldview under challenge. And in defence of that, you are evidently perfectly willing to indulge in the sort of willful, truth disregarding distortions I have just corrected.

    ____________

    Surely, you can do better than this.

    Kindly do so, now.

    KF

  193. JG: It looks like intentional or inadvertent strawman games are ever so common on these issues, as I just pointed out. Sad. KF

  194. @Eric Anderson (186)

    Box (184): Since something other than a natural process – agent – is a cause, there is a breach of physical causal closure, right? How can this be done without violating natural law?

    Eric Anderson (186):
    How can it be done with violating a natural law?
    Humans are intelligent agents. They can design and build things that don’t come about through purely natural processes. What natural laws were violated during the building of, for example, the Space Shuttle?

    What happens when an agent lifts a finger? Lifting a finger is partly a chain of physical events, but what happens at the start of these physical events when the agent imposes his decision on physical processes? What happens when we design and build a space shuttle? Must we not override natural processes?

    Eric Anderson (183):Intelligent agents can and do cause things to occur that would not occur by purely natural processes.

    If natural processes were not on their way to make a space shuttle. How do we force them to comply without violating them?

  195. Box: Engineering, by definition is the skilled and knowledgeable use of the materials and forces of nature, intelligently and economically for the advantage of man. The only “miracle” involved is that of the mind, and you may see here for a discussion of that, and here at an exploration at UD on how mind and math are embedded in nature. KF

  196. KF

    Enlisting orthodox theologians of the past to add clout to modern ideas is a bit of a cottage industry nowadays. It’s the exception when their views are properly represented, but it does sound convincing when you say “Irenaeus agrees with me – it was just the Western-Church/Popes/Calvinists/ who messed everything up,” provided no-one has a copy of Irenaeus’s writings.

    I have.

  197. These days, anyone can have the Ante Nicene Fathers, Aquinas etc. Electronically. KF

  198. True enough – it’s still easier to take someone’s word for it, though, especially as these guys wrote long books.

  199. Alan Fox:

    Let’s be more specific, where evolutionary theory is currently unable to give an adequate explanation for some observed phenomenon, we must not say “we don’t know the explanation for this phenomenon and are therefore able to default to “action by an intelligent agent”.

    Wrong again, as usual. First there isn’t any “evolutionary theory”. Second you still do not understand the word “default”. And third the design inference is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships- unlike your position.

    I have to stick with “we don’t yet know” because “an intelligent agent” adds precisely nothing to our knowledge and gives no insight or handle on further investigation.

    Only someone completely ignorant of investigations would say something like that. Saying Stonehenge was designed added quite a bit- for starters it told us how to direct the investigation. Yes, Alan, investigations change depending on the cause of then effect being investigated.

    Research, observation, experiment and hypothesizing have worked very well in elucidating many phenomena.

    There aren’t any experiments nor hypothses that support evolutionism.

    The rest is all blah, blah, blah, typical Alan Fox nonsense.

    Come on Alan- show us all how evolutionsim does it. Give us something that we can compare. Or just admit that you are just an ignorant jerk on an anti-ID agenda.

  200. Eric Anderson

    I have provided you with some absolutely critical keys to understanding the evolution/ID debate (although I am certainly not the first nor the only one to articulate these points). To summarize, these keys are:

    - Observations of homology or similarity in other systems do not constitute an explanation of the system in question.

    - Many pro-evolution and anti-design arguments are based on assumptions about what an alleged designer would or would not do.

    - Many other “explanations” are not explanations, but essentially amount to an unsupported reassertion of the theory that unknown changes happening in an unknown way in an unknown sequence over time can result in the system.

    The anti-Designer argument that I see is often one of ridicule because it is even now, post-Dover, still touted as a scientific rather than religious view. Seeing the mask come of more regularly here is encouraging.

    I don’t expect you to necessarily appreciate these points at this time because it requires a bit of a paradigm shift to see. But I remain hopeful that at some future point when you are hearing or reading an evolutionary argument or explanation something will click and you will realize that what you are hearing is as I have described. That will be the beginning of an exciting journey of discovery.

    I am very comfortable with the answer “we don’t yet know” and much prefer that to “we know the answer but you are not intelligent enough to grasp it”. Prepare for me to be astonished when ID brings something positive or additional to the scientific table.

  201. Sorry messed up quote tags in previous comment. Here it is again!

    Eric Anderson

    I have provided you with some absolutely critical keys to understanding the evolution/ID debate (although I am certainly not the first nor the only one to articulate these points). To summarize, these keys are:

    - Observations of homology or similarity in other systems do not constitute an explanation of the system in question.

    - Many pro-evolution and anti-design arguments are based on assumptions about what an alleged designer would or would not do.

    - Many other “explanations” are not explanations, but essentially amount to an unsupported reassertion of the theory that unknown changes happening in an unknown way in an unknown sequence over time can result in the system.

    The anti-Designer argument that I see is often one of ridicule because ID is even now, post-Dover, still touted as a scientific rather than religious view. Seeing the mask come of more regularly here is encouraging.

    I don’t expect you to necessarily appreciate these points at this time because it requires a bit of a paradigm shift to see. But I remain hopeful that at some future point when you are hearing or reading an evolutionary argument or explanation something will click and you will realize that what you are hearing is as I have described. That will be the beginning of an exciting journey of discovery.

    I am very comfortable with the answer “we don’t yet know” and much prefer that to “we know the answer but you are not intelligent enough to grasp it”. Prepare for me to be astonished when ID brings something positive or additional to the scientific table.

  202. First there isn’t any “evolutionary theory”.

    This is an example of why it is pointless responding to some commenters here. Evolutionary theory maybe wrong, incomplete or incoherent, but it does exist as a positive theory that can be tested by observation and experiment.

  203. Alan Fox you state:

    “still touted as a scientific rather than religious view”

    Please tell me exactly how naturalism can ground the practice of science, then perhaps the hypocrisy of your statement would not be so obvious!

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter”.
    J. B. S. Haldane ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

    Evolutionists Are Now Saying Their Thinking is Flawed (But Evolution is Still a Fact) – Cornelius Hunter – May 2012
    Excerpt: But the point here is that these “researchers” are making an assertion (human reasoning evolved and is flawed) which undermines their very argument. If human reasoning evolved and is flawed, then how can we know that evolution is a fact, much less any particular details of said evolutionary process that they think they understand via their “research”?
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....their.html

  204. “(Darwinism is) a positive theory that can be tested by observation and experiment.”

    and it is found wanting:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

  205. AF:

    It has long since been adequately shown that Judge Jones — a lawyer not a scientist or philosopher of science — was out of his depth, sided with manipulative advocates who willfully misled him to copy blunders and gave a ruling under false colours of law (remember you are here speaking to one whose ancestors were victims of major abuses of the power of law) that is an embarrassment to the judiciary, much less having any credibility as a matter of science and phil of science.

    As a measure of just how out of depth he was, he evidently watched Inherit The Wind in the run-up to dealing with the case, to give him what he considered an appropriate perspective. ITW is utterly unhistorical, is manipulative and is outright strawmannish in its caricature of Bryan, the issues at stake and what resulted in 1925 – 6

    But, it appears from where I am sitting, that the narrative on Jones fits your agenda, so you are willing to be irresponsible again. Sad.

    Sorry, you are sinking faster and faster in any reasonable estimation at this point.

    Please, think again.

    Think about the implications of functionally specifc, but highly contingent complex nodes and arcs patterns, whether textual or system wiring diagram or exploded view and assembled view, etc.

    And, take the time to actually address the known cause-effect patterns that were already described. To refuse to acknowledge what is well warranted because it does not fit an ideology uncomfortable with the possibility of design and with inductively strong evidence of same in the deep past, is to fail at the bar of intellectual duties.

    Please, think again.

    KF

  206. Alan Fox @201:

    I am very comfortable with the answer “we don’t yet know” and much prefer that to “we know the answer but you are not intelligent enough to grasp it”.

    It has little to do with raw intelligence and more to do with a willingness to be open to the evidence, without an a priori commitment to a materialist explanation.

    I am glad to see that you are willing to acknowledge that you don’t know yet. That is the first step.

    The next step is to acknowledge that design is a rationally possible explanation.

    Then the next step is to objectively analyze both possible explanations.

    Once you get to that point you will have a much better grasp of the issues and will be taken more seriously by those who have already traversed this intellectual path.

    It is not a question of intelligence. You just need to be willing to take the journey.

  207. Alan Fox:

    Evolutionary theory maybe wrong, incomplete or incoherent, but it does exist as a positive theory that can be tested by observation and experiment.

    Then it is strange that you cannot provide a reference to said theory nor tell us how it can be positively tested.

    Come on Alan, provide a reference to this alleged theory of evolution or admit that you have no idea- ie you just do not know if one exists but you are sure it does- wink, wink

    Alan is a perfect example of why it is pointless in responding to anti-IDists.

  208. I am very comfortable with the answer “we don’t yet know” and much prefer that to “we know the answer but you are not intelligent enough to grasp it”.

    It has little to do with raw intelligence and more to do with a willingness to be open to the evidence, without an a priori commitment to a materialist explanation.

    Perhaps I was being too subtle in alluding to the casually insulting way people here generally refer to people with whom they disagree.

    I am glad to see that you are willing to acknowledge that you don’t know yet. That is the first step.

    The next step is to acknowledge that design is a rationally possible explanation.

    Then the next step is to objectively analyze both possible explanations.

    Once you get to that point you will have a much better grasp of the issues and will be taken more seriously by those who have already traversed this intellectual path.

    It is not a question of intelligence. You just need to be willing to take the journey.

    First someone has to come up with some sort of alternative to look at. ID needs a theory or even just a hypothesis. Otherwise were can you take me on a journey? Into the imagination?

  209. KF

    I think you have addressed some remarks to me but I find the red colour makes them almost impossible to read. There is an option to change this on your dashboard, I think.

  210. AF: Not that I am aware of. Of course, I stand to be corrected. (Perhaps someone may do me the favour of either correcting me or reposting for me, so AF can find a colour he is willing to read.) KF

  211. Alan Fox:

    Perhaps I was being too subtle in alluding to the casually insulting way people here generally refer to people with whom they disagree.

    No Alan. It isn’t that people just disagree. It is the way they go about it. It is the way YOU go about it.

    You say you have been into this for 8 years and yet it is obvious that you don’t know the first thing about Intelligent Design- beyond how to spell it.

    For example:

    First someone has to come up with some sort of alternative to look at.

    Alternative to what? What do YOU have that we can look at Alan?

    ID needs a theory or even just a hypothesis.

    And what is your theory or even a hypothesis?

    Ya see Alan, until you ante up we won’t know what it is that you will accept. And that means no amount of evidence will ever be good enough because you can just keep moving the goalposts.

    Look Alan, it is clear that for people like you the only evidence taht you will accept is a meeting with the designer(s) so you can have a demonstration. IOW you don’t give a [snip -- language] about science, and it shows.

  212. Evolutionary theory maybe wrong, incomplete or incoherent, but it does exist as a positive theory that can be tested by observation and experiment.

    No, it doesn’t. And no theory that is “incoherent” (your word) can be “a positive theory that can be tested by observation and experiment.” That’s just absurd.

    Modern Evolutionary “Theory” is actually a smorgasbord of competing and at times conflicting hypotheses. It’s “explanations” are a shell game.

    The Biotic Message

  213. F/N: It is now evident that the assertion by AF above, of finding comments in red unreadable above is a rhetorically convenient statement for purposes of not answering to serious issues and concerns.

    How do I know this?

    Simultaneously with the above, AF is engaging Mr Arrington in the Ya can’t . . . thread here, and he cites from a red comment at 15 and then another at 18, and in so doing says:

    20 Alan FoxMarch 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Barry:

    [BA, from 15 in the thread] Of course I accept that Alan. I don’t know anyone on either side of the Darwinism debate that disputes that.

    Hmm. I realise you are a busy man but you have BA77 here posting unadulterated Creationism! And what about Joe? OK nobody takes Joe seriously but still…
    21
    Alan FoxMarch 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    [BA, from 18 in the thread} Alan, you are precious to us. Thank you so much for posting.

    Barry, we are going to have to start talking rates.

    That is, the matter — sadly — is one of remarks to hoped for rhetorical advantage, not any clear and consistent problem. We may thus translate the above freely: AF has no cogent reply and intends to ignore correction.

    Let us bear this in mind, in assessing what he has made of the claimed eight years of observing the controversy over Intelligent Design and the design inference on inductive, tested, reliable sign.

    AF, please, do better next time.

    KF

  214. AF, you are asserting a want of hypothesis and theories on the part of design, and yet when the inductive principle of inference to design on observable sign is presented, you find excuses not to address it on the merits that do not hold up on simple comparison to another thread going on at the same time. Why are you acting like that? KF

  215. First someone has to come up with some sort of alternative to look at. ID needs a theory or even just a hypothesis. Otherwise were can you take me on a journey? Into the imagination?

    Intelligent design is not at all sufficiently developed to be considered a theory in the scientific sense of the word. Nevertheless, testable ID hypotheses have been discussed.
    I raised this point in a previous response:

    Alan Fox:

    What you should realise is that I am curious to establish if anyone can honestly lay out a positive theory of “Intelligent Design” but the daily fodder is almost invariably something about the inadequacies of Darwinism.

    Here: http://www.evcforum.net/dm.php.....38;t=16487

    In that brief essay, I provide a cursory overview of an ID hypothesis of the design of molecular machines.

    Mike Gene has also written quite a bit on the ID hypothesis of front-loading, a positive ID hypothesis.

    Yes, the “daily fodder” often does consist of attacking Darwinian evolution. But there are some independent ID thinkers out there who are far more interested in developing ID into a rigorous hypothesis than in critiquing Darwinian evolution.

    Having said that, I would strongly encourage other ID proponents to devote much more time to developing rigorous ID hypotheses than simply attacking Darwinian evolution. Sure, it’s fine to critique the inadequacies of a theory, but we’re ID proponents, and that means the bulk of our focus should be on ID, not Darwinian evolution.

  216. Genomicus @215:

    Intelligent design is not at all sufficiently developed to be considered a theory in the scientific sense of the word.

    I’ve heard this expressed, but it seems to depend a lot on what we mean by a scientific theory. ID has been very well described and outlined in a fair amount of detail by the leading ID proponents (e.g., Dembski, Behe, Meyer). As a tool to understand historical artifacts and to draw an inference of design, it is quite clearly laid out. And in that sense, is very valuable in its own right and is every bit as much a scientific theory as many others.

    Now, if we want to consider where ID could go in terms of additional research, or in terms of producing bench results, or in terms of answering additional questions, that is also a legitimate exercise. And I agree that there is much fruitful work that can still be done. However, some of the questions arising from the initial design inference and leading to additional research are being pursued.

    Behe has focused recently on understanding the boundary “edge” of what requires intelligent design and what can be produced by purely natural and material causes. This is an excellent contribution to our scientific knowledge and is a question that was only really asked due to ID (evolutionists are typically blind to even asking the question because, under their paradigm, everything happens by blind undirected processes). Meyer has focused on the origin of information in biology, whether specific information in DNA or large-scale information infusion, such as the Cambrian explosion. Wells has used principles of ID to pursue cancer research. Axe and others are also pursuing research. Our very own UB has proposed focusing on the semiotic aspects of the DNA content and retrieval/translation processes. You have put forth some ideas for research, and also mentioned Mike Gene.

    All of these things arise from a design-centric paradigm.

    So, yes, modern intelligent design work is quite young and there is much exciting work left to be done. Carrying out research in what is essentially a hostile academic and publishing market is challenging, but is being actively pursued.

    So I would argue that intelligent design is a scientific theory every bit as much as many other scientific theories, both in terms of the limited initial design inference, as well as the research it is inspiring. Is there more to be done? Absolutely. And it is an exciting time for young, budding researchers who are courageous enough to put up with peer persecution in order to pursue some of the most exciting and interesting questions in science.

  217. I’m interested in the human dimension of intelligent design.

    :)

  218. 218
    William J Murray

    Intelligent design is not at all sufficiently developed to be considered a theory in the scientific sense of the word.

    When Darwin proposed the theory of evolution, he had no mechanism, no experimental predictions, most of his case was theological (bad design, evil design) and was only a retroactive interpretation of, at best, circumstantial evidence. Most of the “evidence” he provided for unguided evolution was via guided evolution – what humans could do by deliberately breeding living organisms over relatively short periods of time.

    Is String Theory “developed enough” to be a scientific theory? The Multiverse theory? It seems to me that the scientific establishment has a bit of a double-standard when it comes to theories that support design.

  219. …I would strongly encourage other ID proponents to devote much more time to developing rigorous ID hypotheses than simply attacking Darwinian evolution.

    Fair point, Genomicus.

    Thanks for the link to EVC. I’d forgotten about the forum and haven’t posted there since 2007. I see you registered there in 2012. I’ll respond there when I get time.

  220. Thanks for the link to EVC. I’d forgotten about the forum and haven’t posted there since 2007. I see you registered there in 2012. I’ll respond there when I get time.

    EvC is cool, so do come back :D

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