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Epigenetic Inheritance: Can Evolution Adapt?

Given how routinely evolution fails to explain biology, it is remarkable that scientists still believe in the nineteenth century idea. One of the many problems areas is adaptation. Evolution holds that populations adapt to environmental pressures via the natural selection of blind variations. If more fur is needed, and some individuals accidentally are endowed with mutations that confer a thicker coat of fur, then those individuals will have greater survival and reproduction rates. The thicker fur mutation will then become common in the population.

This is the evolutionary notion of change. It is not what we find in biology. Under the hood, biology reveals far more complex and intelligent mechanisms for change, collectively referred to as epigenetic inheritance. You can read more about the challenge that this form of inheritance poses for evolution here. The take home message is that adaptation is routinely found to be not blind, but rather responsive to environmental pressures. The fur becomes thicker not by accident, but via cellular mechanisms responding to a need.

There is still much to learn about this phenomenal built-in adaptation capability, but it now is clear, and has been for many years, that epigenetic inheritance is a dramatic departure from evolutionary expectations. Indeed, this sort of adaptation is closer to the ideas of the long disgraced French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829). Lamarck’s idea was that offspring inherit traits or characteristics that were acquired by the parents. Although epigenetic inheritance is far more complex than anything Lamarck imagined, he was remarkably close to what is now being discovered. You can see a recent review of what has been learned here. Only a few years ago positive references to Lamarck drew heated response. Such ideas were not tolerated. Now his name appears regularly in the epigenetics literature.

This leaves evolutionists in an awkward position, to say the least.

Continue reading here.

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298 Responses to Epigenetic Inheritance: Can Evolution Adapt?

  1. Eva Jablonka, coauthor of that paper, also talks about epigenetics in “Evolution in Four Dimensions”, which she co-authored and which is advertised on Mike Gene’s Telic Thoughts blog. I’ve read it and it’s an interesting book, but it’s no threat to Darwin.

    Darwin didn’t say that mutations to DNA were the only factor in evolution, in fact he didn’t know what DNA was or how heredity worked. But he did realize that something caused variations in offspring and some of those variations could be inherited. He also realized that sexual selection played a big part in evolution. Epigenetics is just one more factor.

    Strictly materialistic, no Intelligent Designer here.

  2. “Evolution in Four Dimensions” discusses epigenetics.

    It is very interesting how the SAME genetics can lead to very different forms- just look at our bodies- same DNA yet the cells can look very different from each other and carry out very different tasks.

    It also discusses behavior- as in behavior can trump genetics.

    I say BOTH of these are issues for the theory of evolution.

    If an organism can alter its behavior to deal with a genetic “disability” then natural selection is thwarted.

  3. Dr Hunter,

    If it is hertiable variation that is being selected, it is still evolution. Darwin himself had some odd ideas in this area. You are pointing out that the principle that all information flows in one direction (from genotype to phenotype) and from one source (the sequence of DNA letters) has exceptions.

  4. Nakashima,

    “Evolution” is NOT being debated.

  5. 5

    If an organism can alter its behavior to deal with a genetic “disability” then natural selection is thwarted.

    Why?

  6. 6

    Evolution is left with the unlikely explanation that evolution constructed elaborate adaptation mechanisms …

    This seems likely, even intuitive. Indeed, if evolution is to occur there must to be adaptive mechanisms. If there were none, that would be conclusive evidence against it. Interestingly, epigenetic inheritance now sits along side germline mutation.

  7. Winston,

    The reasoning is that with the behavioral change the organism would normally die.

    The behavioral change allowed the organism to live thereby thwarting NS.

  8. Oops-

    The reasoning is that withOUT the behavioral change the organism would normally die.

  9. There’s a guy who goes by the handle “supersport” who’s done a lot of research in epigenetics and lamarckism. One of his hypotheses is that brown bears will turn into polar bears after a few generations in the arctic. I’m a bit skeptical, but it does make you wonder why such an experiment has *never* been performed.

  10. Check out this post on Pharyngula from April 2008 about the rapid changes in some lizards on an Adriatic island over 30 years (developed cecal valves, etc.). It is quite comical:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyn.....lizard.php

    Basically, for the first couple hundred comments, the “PZ Patrol” pound their chests about the indisputable confirmation of their theory, mocks any who disagree, etc. They even laugh hysterically at “creationists” remarking that it seems like a Lamarkian-style development rather than a Darwinian one. This continues for a couple days (couple hundred comments), until the hoardes moved on to the next batch of posts. The sensible ones that remained finally said, “okay, let’s be honest, there’s no way these were novel features developed randomly” (as PZ triumphantly cheered over and over in his initial post). They then decided (because their worldview required them to) that the features developed in a Darwinian fashion thousands or millions of years ago, went dormant, and were somehow re-activated on the new island. Excellent “science”

  11. Dr. Hunter,
    As I’m sure you’re aware, Darwin was pretty vague on a mechanism for heritable variation in Origin of Species. However, what little he does propose is close to Lamarck’s idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics. THis is one of the reasons the book fell out of favor until the genetic revolution provided a clear mechanism. So, taking what you’ve written about epigenetics at face value, it seems that these new discoveries only show that Darwin’s ideas about inheritance weren’t as off-base as we thought. so how does this pose a problem for evolution?

  12. Mr Joseph,

    “Evolution” is NOT being debated.

    I’m sorry, I get a different perspective from Dr Hunter:

    You can read more about the challenge that this form of inheritance poses for evolution here.

    This leaves evolutionists in an awkward position, to say the least.

    If you think Dr Hunter should choose his words more carefully, I fully support you.

  13. 13
    Cornelius Hunter

    Khan:

    I agree with you that Darwin was a bit vague on a mechanism for heritable variation. But you’ll have a difficult time defending this:

    what little he does propose is close to Lamarck’s idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics.

    Although Darwin was a bit vague, what is important is that his idea required blind variation, versus Lamarck’s responsive variation.

    Epigenetic inheritance falsifies evolution’s prediction about adaptation and evolutionists are in denial about both the evidence, and its implications.

    They deny the evidence, and then when that is no longer possible, they say it doesn’t matter. (Then why did they deny the evidence?)

    You can read more about it here:

    http://www.darwinspredictions......_variation

  14. Cornelius,

    It’s actually very easy to defend that statement. Darwin postulated a theory called pangenesis, in which gemmules from somatic cells, responding to use and disuse, would be spread throughout the body, sometimes accumulating in germline cells. in this way, acquired characteristics (for example, giraffes reaching for higher leaves) could be passed on. He argues this in “the variation of plants and animals under domestication.” so what you are describing here matches Darwin’s predictions.

  15. 15

    Khan,

    Please cite a source for us to check.

  16. PFan,

    I did. Charles Darwin’s book the variation of plants and animals under domestication. or if you’re pressed for time just google “pangenesis” and you’ll find multiple sources.

  17. 17

    Passing on information through teaching and/or communication is a good way to get around deficiencies caused through bad mutations. If one has the ability to teach and learn, then one can avoid many natural problems of bone and flesh.

  18. Nakashima-san,

    Please read Equivocation and Evolution

  19. 19
    Cornelius Hunter

    Khan:

    Good point! I was thinking of the blending idea of heredity. As for your question:

    So, taking what you’ve written about epigenetics at face value, it seems that these new discoveries only show that Darwin’s ideas about inheritance weren’t as off-base as we thought. so how does this pose a problem for evolution?

    It is a problem for evolution because Darwin’s ideas have long since been dropped with the integration of Mendelian genetics.

    The predictions that epigenetic inheritance falsify are not minor problems that are reasonably explained under evolution. For instance, one can’t merely resurrect pangenesis, or some such, to explain what we now know.

  20. “The take home message is that adaptation is routinely found to be not blind, but rather responsive to environmental pressures. The fur becomes thicker not by accident, but via cellular mechanisms responding to a need.”

    Um, epigenetic changes are every bit as random and haphazard, when it comes to the specific genetic targets of such changes, as so-called genetic changes.

    If one is going to argue that epigenetic changes are contrary to evolutionary mechanisms, one needs to bring to the table evidence that shows that a particular epigenetic change was aimed at one and only one target, and not to an array of loci, one or more of which happened to provide some advantage. Absent such evidence, then we’re still talking about Darwinism – natural selection acting on random variation.

    (As indicated in the preceding, Darwin had no way of knowing about genetic vs epigenetic mechanisms.)

  21. 21

    Arthur Hunt,

    ——”(As indicated in the preceding, Darwin had no way of knowing about genetic vs epigenetic mechanisms.)”

    Didn’t he postulate gemmules instead? Little grains that are secreted by the body’s organs and collected in the male’s reproductive organ?

  22. PFan, Dr. Hunter:

    Hiram Caton’s “Getting Our History Right: Six Errors about Darwin and His Influence” paper says:

    The Exhibition also ignores the Pangenesis theory and its influence on Darwin’s shift to substantial Lamarckian explanation in the 5th and 6th editions of Origin. Indeed, it implicitly denies Darwin’s Lamarckism by baldly stating that “Charles Darwin offered the world a single, simple scientific explanation for the diversity of life on Earth: evolution by natural selection [bold face in original].

    and later

    In the 5th edition of Origin [...] [he] also ascribed a greater weight to Lamarckian inheritance (“use and disuse”) than he had in previous editions.

    (Caton also claims that some famous early supporters of Darwin including Haeckel and Thomas Huxley were even further from full orthodoxy on natural selection than Darwin himself was.)

    T. Ryan Gregory’s post “Lamarck didn’t say it, Darwin did.” offers a similar argument with some relevant Origin quotations.

    My eye also happened to fall on this quotation

    http://darwin-online.org.uk/co.....ageseq=155

    from the first edition Origin

    The eyes of moles and of some burrowing rodents are rudimentary in size, and in some cases are quite covered up by skin and fur. This state of the eyes is probably due to gradual reduction from disuse, but aided perhaps by natural selection.

    which in context (p. 137, Ch. 5 on “Use and Disuse”) appears to acknowledge the reality of inherited loss from disuse as an evolutionary mechanism, distinct from natural selection.

  23. Cornelius,

    Good point! I was thinking of the blending idea of heredity. As

    I’m glad you agree with me. Now, are you going to fix your website? bc it explicitly states there that Darwin rejected Lamarckism.

    http://www.darwinspredictions......_variation

    The predictions that epigenetic inheritance falsify are not minor problems that are reasonably explained under evolution.

    so do you think that epigenetic inheritance falsifies Mendelian inheritance? i see no problem with both co-existing.

  24. Khan say:

    so do you think that epigenetic inheritance falsifies Mendelian inheritance? i see no problem with both co-existing.

    Indeed. And how on earth could any mechanism or process of change be a problem for “evolution”?

    I could understand if the claim was that such things were a problem for stasis.

  25. iconofid,
    yep, and blending inheritance (~incomplete dominance) is in the mix, too. pun intended.

  26. Of course the theory of evolution is OK with epigenetics.

    It’s OK with every form of change.

    It’s like the blob- it just keeps consuming everything in its path.

    Can evolutionists explain it? No, but they will incorporate it.

    Very different cells and organisms with the SAME DNA? Oh yeah natural selection, no problem.

  27. BTW epigenetics is good confirmation of Dr Spetner’s “built-in responses to environmental cues”- which is part of his non-random evolutionary hypothesis- see “Not By Chance”…

  28. 28

    The reasoning is that withOUT the behavioral change the organism would normally die.

    But, of course, this behavioral change (which is heritable) is also selectable.

  29. Mr Joseph,

    Very different cells and organisms with the SAME DNA? Oh yeah natural selection, no problem.

    No, that is called differentiation and development. You can 150 cell types in your body and they all have the same DNA.

  30. Hey guys,

    Sorry to jump into the middle of the conversation.

    I think the differences between RV + NS are two-fold, and these may not have been explicitly stated yet.

    First, adaptive variation is not random with respect to fitness; it is directed at improving fitness. So if we find variation triggered by environmental cues, it isn’t meaningful to talk about random variation.

    Secondly, Natural Selection would lose its primary importance in spreading a trait, since the trait could spread without common inheritance, in an environmentally induced “horizontal” method (not to be confused with Lateral Gene Transfer, in which actual genetic information is passed along.) If organisms relied solely on NS to spread a trait from a common ancestor, the process would take a certain number of generations, depending on reproductive rate and other factors. With a directed-adaptive response, it would be possible to fix a new trait in a large population within a single generation. (Meaning, the parents of one generation are exposed to some factor, and all the children in the next generation are then born with a trait. Obviously, this could work much faster than NS.)

    I’m guessing Dr. Hunter’s point is this: RV + NS predicts a distribution of variation and speed of transmission different from a built-in adaptive directed evolutionary model. Since they predict different speeds and distributions, the evidence will support one or the other in specific cases (or their interplay.) If adaptive directed evolution explains the facts most of the time, then RV + NS will have to be demoted as the dominant mode of evolution. This is my guess as to what his basic argument is.

    If I’m misrepresenting anyone, I apologize. I just wanted to share some thoughts that may clarify the issue. If they muddle it, please disregard.

    Atom

  31. Mr Macchi,

    Mr Joseph – The reasoning is that withOUT the behavioral change the organism would normally die.

    But, of course, this behavioral change (which is heritable) is also selectable.

    Yes, and far from thwarting natural selection, it is simply selecting for something else, the basis of the behavioral trait that allowed survival!

  32. 32
    Cornelius Hunter

    Arthur:

    Um, epigenetic changes are every bit as random and haphazard, when it comes to the specific genetic targets of such changes, as so-called genetic changes.

    No, epigenetic change is not random.

    If one is going to argue that epigenetic changes are contrary to evolutionary mechanisms,

    That is not possible, because evolutionary mechanisms always adapt to the latest findings. We can only compare findings to previous predictions, not current theory. Currently envisioned mechanisms are always capable of explaining biology, just as geocentrists are always capable of explaining physics.

    one needs to bring to the table evidence that shows that a particular epigenetic change was aimed at one and only one target, and not to an array of loci, one or more of which happened to provide some advantage. Absent such evidence, then we’re still talking about Darwinism – natural selection acting on random variation.

    Right, this is a good example of a new and improved version of evolution, where variation is not blind to environmental pressure.

    Anon:

    from the first edition Origin

    The eyes of moles and of some burrowing rodents are rudimentary in size, and in some cases are quite covered up by skin and fur. This state of the eyes is probably due to gradual reduction from disuse, but aided perhaps by natural selection.

    That’s in the 6th ed too. If memory serves, Darwin provides one of his powerful theological arguments a few sentences later, at the end of that passage.

    Khan:

    I’m glad you agree with me. Now, are you going to fix your website? bc it explicitly states there that Darwin rejected Lamarckism.

    Yes, some word-smithing is in order, thanks. I say “word-smithing” because the prediction itself is certainly accurate (ie, variation is blind to environmental pressures), but with Darwin it is vague, as you point out. The prediction became clear in the 20th century.

    The predictions that epigenetic inheritance falsify are not minor problems that are reasonably explained under evolution.

    so do you think that epigenetic inheritance falsifies Mendelian inheritance? i see no problem with both co-existing.

    Agreed. My point is merely that yet another evolutionary expectation went wrong.

  33. Atom,
    Your points are more perspicacious than Dr. Hunter’s, but still ultimately mistaken. THe simplest way to put it is this: you can not escape natural selection. even if epigenetics is shown to be the main mode of inheritance (very doubtful), selection still has to operate on the machinery responsible for the adaptive variation. This has been a hot topic in evol bio for a few decades now; here is a nice review paper to get you started:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....44f77ffc19

  34. 34

    This following study is clear genetic evidence of the “limited and rapid variation from parent kind” predicted by the Genetic Entropy model:

    African cichlid fish: a model system in adaptive radiation research:
    excerpt: “The African cichlid fish radiations are the most diverse extant animal radiations and provide a unique system to test predictions of speciation and adaptive radiation theory(of evolution).——-conclusion of the study?—— the propensity to radiate was significantly higher in lineages whose precursors emerged from more ancient adaptive radiations than in other lineages”
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....d=16846905

    Cichlid Fish – Evolution or Variation Within Kind? – Dr. Arthur Jones – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1TDNHNvZRk

    In fact the Genetic Entropy model fits this following evidence also:

    The following article is important in that it is one of the few papers showing the principle of Genetic Entropy being obeyed in the fossil record for Trilobites, over the 270 million year history of their life on earth (Note: the Trilobites appeared abruptly at the base of the Cambrian explosion with no evidence of transmutation from the “very simple” creatures that preceded them, nor is there any evidence that they ever produced anything else besides other trilobites during the entire time they were in the fossil record).

    Excerpt from article:”From an evolutionary perspective, the more variable a species is, the more raw material natural selection has to operate on,”….(Yet Surprisingly)….”There’s hardly any variation in the post-Cambrian,” he said. “Even the presence or absence or the kind of ornamentation on the head shield varies within these Cambrian trilobites and doesn’t vary in the post-Cambrian trilobites.” University of Chicago paleontologist Mark Webster; commenting on the “surprising and unexplained” loss of variation and diversity for trilobites over the 270 million year time span that trilobites were found in the fossil record, prior to their total extinction from the fossil record about 250 million years ago.
    http://www.terradaily.com/repo.....s_999.html

    Evolution vs. Trilobites – Prof. Andy McIntosh – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P-gHO2Vl5g

  35. Cornelius,

    Agreed. My point is merely that yet another evolutionary expectation went wrong.

    this was not just an evolutionary expectation, but one of all biology, based on rigorous experimentation (e.g. cutting the tails off of of rats for 20 generations and seeing that their offspring still had tails). given those types of data, biologists were absolutely right to reject Lamarckism. or should they have just ignored the data and caused the starvation of an entire country like Lysenko in Russia?

  36. 36
    Cornelius Hunter

    Atom:

    I’m guessing Dr. Hunter’s point is this: RV + NS predicts a distribution of variation and speed of transmission different from a built-in adaptive directed evolutionary model. Since they predict different speeds and distributions, the evidence will support one or the other in specific cases (or their interplay.) If adaptive directed evolution explains the facts most of the time, then RV + NS will have to be demoted as the dominant mode of evolution. This is my guess as to what his basic argument is.

    Not quite. My point is simply that an important prediction of evolution has been falsified. As I discuss here:

    http://www.darwinspredictions......_variation

    Khan:

    this was not just an evolutionary expectation, but one of all biology, based on rigorous experimentation (e.g. cutting the tails off of of rats for 20 generations and seeing that their offspring still had tails). given those types of data, biologists were absolutely right to reject Lamarckism. or should they have just ignored the data and caused the starvation of an entire country like Lysenko in Russia?

    At issue here is not the rejection of Lamarckism, per se, but the expectation that biological variation is not responsive to environmental pressures, but rather is random with respect to those pressures (or, is random with respect to fitness).

  37. There mere continued presence of selection operating at some level in evolutionary theory is not enough to maintain the state some people are arguing for here – just as the mere truth of “some kind of evolution” is not enough to validate all evolutionary perspectives as Darwinism. Lynn Margulis, for example, absolutely accepts “natural selection” plays a role in evolution. And yet the scope of that role, as argued by her, was enough to label her views unorthodox. Though she’s not an ID proponent, her case is instructive: Not all views of NS are equal.

    Some people here are attempting to lower the bar so much they may as well say “So long as organisms die, Darwin was basically right!” It’s not sufficient – and people should realize that, much like common descent, “natural selection” still plays a role in the views of various ID-friendly or ID-proposing thinkers (Michael Behe, Michael Denton, Mike Gene – man, what’s with all the Mikes?). Does that mean these three are all Darwinian?

    If so, then “Darwinism” has finally reached the point where it means nothing much at all. If not, then it’s clear that the mere presence of selection in a theory simply isn’t enough to make it compatible with Darwinism. The existence of mechanisms and states of nature which may innately provide direction – even “natural direction” – to evolution run risk of making evolution look rather more teleological and directed than fundamentally “random” in any meaningful sense.

    Or, put another way: Not all mechanisms are necessarily the kind that fit well with Darwinism, either scientifically or metaphysically (the latter being particularly hard to defend.)

  38. Cornelius,

    I say “word-smithing” because the prediction itself is certainly accurate (ie, variation is blind to environmental pressures), but with Darwin it is vague, as you point out.

    First, I thought we just agreed that the prediction is not accurate- Darwin thought use/disuse could be passed down.
    Second, I said Darwin was vague in Origin of Species. he develops his ideas of inheritance more fully in his other works.
    i’ll check your website periodically to see how the word smithing goes and offer suggestions.
    here is one:
    “While Darwin’s quasi-Lamarckian idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics was flatly rejected by biologists in the early 20th century due to an abundance of negative experimental data, recent evidence has shown that it may, in some cases, have merit after all.”

  39. Khan,

    I mentioned that both forces can be involved (hence why I mentioned their interplay), but if built-in adaptive evolution is the primary method of new trait development, the pattern of trait emergence would be rapid and “horizontal”, even if NS was present at the same time. NS would become a secondary effect and would be obscured by the more dominant mode of transmission.

    Dr. Hunter,

    Sorry if I got your main point wrong. I did mention the difference between random variation and adaptive variation however. In either case, sorry if I misrepresented you.

    Atom

  40. 40
    Cornelius Hunter

    Khan:

    I thought we just agreed that the prediction is not accurate- Darwin thought use/disuse could be passed down.

    No, take a look at the Prediction section in Section 5.2, where you can read representative statements by evolutionists (J. Huxley and Monod). They clearly state that variation is to be random with respect to fitness.

    http://www.darwinspredictions......_variation

    I appreciate your pointing out my weak description of Darwin’s thought which I will clarify, but with neo Darwinism the prediction became more obvious, as indicated with the example statements by Huxley and Monod.

  41. Cornelius,

    At issue here is not the rejection of Lamarckism, per se, but the expectation that biological variation is not responsive to environmental pressures, but rather is random with respect to those pressures (or, is random with respect to fitness).

    and, once again, Darwin did not espouse this idea. the players in the modern synthesis did, because they rejected Lamarckism (rightly, given the data at the time). without a mechanism for inheritance, variation in response to need could not be considered a part of evolution.

    so, in short:
    1) Darwin hypothesized a modified version of Lamarckism (including variation being influenced by need)
    2)this hypothesis was not supported by any of the experiments performed to test it, and was rightly rejected
    3) new data show that in some cases variation may be influenced by need

    conclusion:

    Darwin was right.

    since your website is called “Darwin’s predictions”, I’m sure you’ll be adding something to this effect soon.

  42. Cornelius,

    No, take a look at the Prediction section in Section 5.2, where you can read representative statements by evolutionists (J. Huxley and Monod). They clearly state that variation is to be random with respect to fitness.

    I’m sorry, is either of those people named Charles Darwin? was either of those people even alive when OoS was published? perhaps you might want to include something by the man himself, given that you are explicitly claiming it to be Darwin’s prediction.

  43. 43
    Cornelius Hunter

    Khan:

    Darwin hypothesized a modified version of Lamarckism … I’m sorry, is either of those people named Charles Darwin?

    The purpose of the website is to provide a sample tally of falsified predictions of evolutionary theory (see Section 1), which could be used in support of a larger theory evaluation exercise, for instance, and to explain why evolutionists claim their theory is a fact.

    I don’t think Darwin’s views on heredity count as particularly important, when it comes to important predictions of the theory. Some predictions do go all the way back to Darwin himself, but some don’t. There are of course plenty of false predictions to choose from. I chose the ones I thought were interesting and important.

  44. Arthur:

    Um, epigenetic changes are every bit as random and haphazard, when it comes to the specific genetic targets of such changes, as so-called genetic changes.

    No, epigenetic change is not random.

    Just so we are clear, epigenetic changes are not targeted exclusively to the particular locus that may be of adaptive value. The strategy of life when it comes to adaptive changes, be they epigenetic or genetic, is rather akin to carpet bombing – lots of changes, some of which may be of adaptive value but most of which will be of no consequence. It’s hard to see how this is friendly to ID.

    It’s quite curious to see people claim that some sorts of heritable variation fall outside of the purview of Darwinism. That’s sort of like saying that plants fall outside of the purview of evolution. Just doesn’t make sense.

  45. Cornelius,
    the only way anyone is going to take you seriously is if you present accurate information. this is anything but that:

    Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was a radical break from Lamarckianism, or any idea that biological change occurs in response to need

    in any case, the website is full of mistakes and distortions like that. for example, in “SImple beginnings” you cite Michael Sherman’s paper in Cell Cycle as if it was representative of a prominent idea among evolutionary biologists. In 2 years, it has not been cited once in a peer-reviewed paper.

    I think the idea of the website is fine (I use many of the examples in my own Evolution class), but you need to be much more careful with your scholarship.

  46. More apropos to the discussion, Huxley and Monod did not have access to the research on epigenetic effects and adaptive variability that you cite. It is something of a bait and switch to cite a text from 1953, and then knock it down with current research.

    The overall point is that Darwin’s thesis of evolution through heritable variation and selection is agnostic on the source of variation, and even whether the variation is uniformly or non-uniformly distributed across the heritable material.

    Your concluding parapgraphs in that section of your web page actually come close to making that clear. While the concept is simple the operational details in real biology are not. Even in these suprising and exceptional areas, there is a clear, naturalistic explanation for the information pathway.

  47. Cornelius Hunter:

    The purpose of the website is to provide a sample tally of falsified predictions of evolutionary theory (see Section 1), which could be used in support of a larger theory evaluation exercise, for instance, and to explain why evolutionists claim their theory is a fact.

    Theories aren’t facts, Cornelius, by definition. The claim you’re probably thinking of “evolution is a fact”.

    And after a brief look at your page, the failed hypotheses you list don’t seem to be failed predictions of evolutionary theory, anyway. They are failed hypotheses that would have led to theories within the theory, if successful, or to abiogenesis/chemical evolution theories.

    All branches of science are littered with failed hypotheses, as you know. It’s the nature of the beast!

  48. Indeed. That whole “evolution and nature is unguided and without purpose” thing is a failed hypothesis, after all. Just the way science is! ;)

    (I kid of course. Such a statement isn’t scientific at all – it’s metaphysics, and necessarily excluded from the science.)

  49. 49
    Cornelius Hunter

    Khan:

    the only way anyone is going to take you seriously is if you present accurate information. this is anything but that:

    Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was a radical break from Lamarckianism, or any idea that biological change occurs in response to need

    in any case, the website is full of mistakes and distortions like that. for example, in “SImple beginnings” you cite Michael Sherman’s paper in Cell Cycle as if it was representative of a prominent idea among evolutionary biologists. In 2 years, it has not been cited once in a peer-reviewed paper. [...] you need to be much more careful with your scholarship.

    Full of mistakes and distortions? Let’s see, you found two paragraphs you didn’t like, which have absolutely no bearing on the respective falsified predictions, and now the entire document is “full of mistakes and distortions.” If this was just you Khan it might be funny, but this is quite typical for evolutionists. I see this repeatedly. Evolutionists complain about whatever they can, and avoid the main points of the criticism.

    We’ve already discussed your first complaint. I agree with you that some clarification will help to indicate it is 20th c. evolution, not 19th c. evolution that makes the break. But a distortion?? You’ve got to be kidding me. It is clear in the remainder of the section that the failed prediction arises from neo Darwinism, and furthermore the ambiguity has absolutely no effect on the point of the section.

    When I wrote that section I had more recent evolutionists in mind rather than Darwin, and failed to read that sentence with Darwin in mind, as you did. You had not read the Introduction, and took the website to be addressing Darwin rather than evolution more generally. Fair enough, that’s an understandable mistake given the name of the website. And your feedback is helpful. But this sort of dismissal based on a word-smithing problem is uncharitable. Here is an uncontroversial failed prediction, and you focus on an ambiguity in the introduction that has no bearing on the prediction itself or its falsification.

    In your second example you say I cite Sherman “as if it was representative of a prominent idea among evolutionary biologists.” In fact, I write “The feasibility of this hypothesis may be difficult to determine.” It certainly is not a mainstream hypothesis, and I can do more to clarify that further. Your feedback is helpful but, again, this has non bearing on the falsified prediction and certainly is not a distortion. There are evolutionists talking about ideas such as this, there is a paper out in a peer reviewed, respectable journal, and I cited it as an example reaction (which are hard to find by the way for the problem of early complexity). This is a classic example of how evolutionists react to scientific problems.

  50. To Winston and Nakashima,

    “Natural selection is therefore a result of three processes, as first described by Darwin:

    Variation

    Inheritance

    Fecundity

    which together result in non-random, unequal survival and reproduction of individuals, which results in changes in the phenotypes present in populations of organisms over time.”- Allen McNeil

    Notice that “behavior” is NOT part of natural selection.

    IOW even if some organism has a genetic advantage that does NOT necessarily mean it has the best chance for survival.

    IOW natural selection is made even more trivial- pretty much a do-nothing mechanism.

  51. Very different cells and organisms with the SAME DNA? Oh yeah natural selection, no problem.

    No, that is called differentiation and development.

    I know what it is. I also know that it is a form of epigenetics.

    And it is a fact that evos just call on natural selection to explain it.

    You can 150 cell types in your body and they all have the same DNA.

    And my point is that evos point to NS as an “explanation”. That is without any evidentiary support.

  52. iconofid:

    All branches of science are littered with failed hypotheses, as you know.

    And the alleged “theory” of evolution can’t even muster a testable hypothesis.

    For example:

    How can one test the premise that a bacterial flagellum can evolve from a population that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

    By trying to answer that question you will see the hopelessness of your position.

    And by ignoring my question you will prove my point.

  53. Mr Joseph,

    At least you are getting your definitioins from a better source now! Please go on and trust the rest of Allen says.

    Behavior is part of the phenotype built by the genotype. That is why Dawkins’ book on the subject is called “The Extended Phenotype”.

    Are you saying that you do not believe that animal behavior has a genetically determined component? Spiders are taught to spin webs by their mothers, or by small angels whispering in their ears?

  54. Mr Joseph,

    How can one test the premise that a bacterial flagellum can evolve from a population that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

    By trying to answer that question you will see the hopelessness of your position.

    Take populations of sessile bacteria, devise a protocol that rewards motility. Run experiment. No guarantee you will get the same flagellar structure of course! No need for hopelessness. :)

  55. A couple of small contributions to this exciting debate.

    Let’s be clear – Epigenetics is not the same thing as Lamarckism. This has been touched on above but not I think made clear. Epigenetics is simple inheritance by methods other than DNA. Lamarckism is inheritance of acquired characteristics by any method – including DNA. Cornelius web site and post seem to muddle the two.

    It appears that both epigenetics and Lamarckism have more of a role than biologists of 50 years ago realised. Nevertheless these are still natural not designed processes. Scientists looked at the evidence and altered the hypothesis in the light of the data – no design needed.

    What this does show is that the deduction that goes:

    “Result X is wildly improbable based on random permutations of DNA therefore X was designed”

    is even not valid even if the premise were true. Inheritance is not just DNA, and inheritance may not be entirely random. And it all happen without design.

  56. Cornelius,

    But this sort of dismissal based on a word-smithing problem is uncharitable. Here is an uncontroversial failed prediction, and you focus on an ambiguity in the introduction that has no bearing on the prediction itself or its falsification.

    that’s the problem, it is not an uncontroversial failed prediction- Darwin himself predicted it. or do you not consider Darwin an “evolutionist”?

  57. should say, Darwin himself correctly predicted it.

  58. 58

    Mark Frank:

    “Result X is wildly improbable based on random permutations of DNA therefore X was designed”
    is even not valid even if the premise were true. Inheritance is not just DNA, and inheritance may not be entirely random. And it all happen without design.

    If it’s not random, and also happened without design, then where did this system of innovative and inherited self-improvement come from? From some unknown natural law that wants threatened water fleas to have spikes? Between chance, design, and natural laws, what am I leaving out?

  59. ScottAndrews – I guess you are talking Lamarckism not epigenetics. AS I am sure you know, Lamarck’s proposal is that if an organism develops a characteristic in the course of its life then that characteristic might be inherited. If true, this could greatly accelerate the speed with which an organism can acquire useful characteristics when the environment changes. There is no requirement for design if this process works – although we may not currently understand the mechanism.

    More generally it shows that there are potentially different ways in which evolution can happen through natural mechanisms (and possibly others we have not even thought of). If design wants to put itself forward as a theory of evolution it needs to find evidence other than the supposed improbability of one specific natural theory – let’s call it RM+NS (and do remember in the ID world “information” is defined as the improbability of the result given RM+NS – so using the presence of “information” as evidence is the same as using the improbability of RM+NS as evidence)

  60. 60

    Mark Frank:

    if an organism develops a characteristic in the course of its life then that characteristic might be inherited.

    I don’t think there’s any argument that organisms inherit characteristics. But this explanation seems to gloss over the part where they develop them. What explains how they develop what their offspring inherit?

    If design wants to put itself forward as a theory of evolution it needs to find evidence other than the supposed improbability of one specific natural theory

    There’s some helpful information on this site to acquaint yourself with ID.
    I said that water fleas without spikes get spikes. That’s neither Lamarckism nor epigenetics – it’s just what water fleas do.

  61. Reading over these comments reminds me of my youtube evolution arguments. Neodarwinism explains everything and it’s opposite. It doesn’t matter that some part of Larmarck’s work might be legitimate, Neodarwinians knew that already. Because they never believed Neodarwinism anyways, they were always in Darwins camp, and he was a Lamarckian. Nevermind the fact that epigenetics has no solid foundation, nor does Lamarck, nor does Darwin. The Neodarwinist will point to whatever new issue comes up and retroactively adapt to the change. They won’t just adapt, they RETROACTIVELY adapt, they were always right. When ID has firmer footing, which is as sure as the sun will rise, they will have “never been sold on Darwin”.

    Darwin was not “right” necessarily, as has been trumpeted above. He MIGHT be right in the future if it’s found that his lamentations about not stressing epigenetics in his OOS amount to something. Those above who claim darwin was “right” with his later in life hybrid emphasis, are you saying you already know the answers?

  62. Nakashima:

    Behavior is part of the phenotype built by the genotype.

    I guess evolutionists will say anything.

    Are you saying that you do not believe that animal behavior has a genetically determined component?

    A crew was observing an albino croc from birth. They thought no way this thing could survive.

    Not only did it survive it did as well as all the other crocs around.

    It changed its attack habit from surface skimming to coming up from the bottom.

    Spiders are taught to spin webs by their mothers, or by small angels whispering in their ears?

    Do we have evidence of spider moms teaching their young?

  63. Mr ScottAndrews,

    Mark Frank:

    “Result X is wildly improbable based on random permutations of DNA therefore X was designed”
    is even not valid even if the premise were true. Inheritance is not just DNA, and inheritance may not be entirely random. And it all happen without design.

    If it’s not random, and also happened without design, then where did this system of innovative and inherited self-improvement come from? From some unknown natural law that wants threatened water fleas to have spikes? Between chance, design, and natural laws, what am I leaving out?

    The water flea spines are an epigenetic response to stress. Some chemical, a hormone perhaps, modifies the state of the eggs formed in the female after exposure to the stress.

    What you are ‘leaving out’ is a leap from how the adaptation is used to how the adaptation is formed. The ability to develop spines in the presence of predators was adaptive for some fleas. Away from the predators, it was maladaptive and turned off. An epigenetic switch evolved that could turn the expression back on, again a positive adaptation.

  64. How can one test the premise that a bacterial flagellum can evolve from a population that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

    By trying to answer that question you will see the hopelessness of your position.

    Nakashima:

    Take populations of sessile bacteria, devise a protocol that rewards motility. Run experiment. No guarantee you will get the same flagellar structure of course!

    That is what Dr Behe has said and evolutionists have balked at the very suggestion.

    He even provided a similar caveat.

    But anyway if no flagellum or similarly complex structure arises is the premise falsified?

  65. Mr Joseph,

    No, spiders are not taught by their mothers. The behavior is encoded in their genes. Similarly with bird migration.

  66. 66

    Nakashima-san, you may be interested in a book of children’s literature called Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. The baby spiders at the end of the story have no mother to teach them. So sad. :-( Thank goodness for spider genes!

  67. 67
    Cornelius Hunter

    Khan:

    that’s the problem, it is not an uncontroversial failed prediction- Darwin himself predicted it.

    That would be quite a rewrite of history. It would be a stretch to cast pangenesis as (i) intelligently responding to environmental pressures and (ii) a prediction of evolution. Darwin was struggling to formulate a mechanism of heredity. He certainly needed the mechanism not to contradict evolution, but it wasn’t any sort of an important prediction of evolution.

    Mark Frank:

    Let’s be clear – Epigenetics is not the same thing as Lamarckism. This has been touched on above but not I think made clear. Epigenetics is simple inheritance by methods other than DNA. Lamarckism is inheritance of acquired characteristics by any method – including DNA. Cornelius web site and post seem to muddle the two.

    Thanks for emphasizing that distinction, but no, I do not muddle the two.

  68. no more of a stretch than it is to call anything on your website a prediction of evolution. or a prediction of Darwin. words mean something, Cornelius, particularly when, in the absence of data or even hypotheses, it is all you have.

  69. 69
    Cornelius Hunter

    Khan:

    no more of a stretch than it is to call anything on your website a prediction of evolution. or a prediction of Darwin.

    Anything on my website a prediction of evolution?? This is an example of the kind of denial I mentioned in the blog. Evolutionists just dismiss falsified predictions as though they don’t exist.

    It is not difficult to find falsified predictions of evolution. Each of the thirteen predictions on http://www.DarwinsPredictions.com is straight out of the literature and unequivocal. Citations are given and each one is prediction is from mainstream evolutionary thought.

  70. Cornelius,
    what you list on that site are a series of hypotheses within the theory of evolution. just say some of them out loud and you’ll see what I mean. for example, would you ever say “I predict that eukaryotes evolved from prokaryotes”? sounds pretty awkward, yes? you would say “I hypothesize that eukaryotes evolved from prokaryotes.” then your prediction would be that, for example, a phylogenetic tree would show proks as basal to euks. if your prediction is not supported, then oh well.. maybe some data you picked up along the way points to a better answer. as a scientist, i’m sure you know the difference between a theory, hypothesis and prediction.. you should really apply it to your website.

  71. Prof Kellogg,

    First Old Yeller, now Charlotte’s Web. Don’t anybody get the idea to recommend I read White Fang, Call of the Wild, Shane, or Captain’s Courageous, because I did those already.

  72. ScottAndrews:

    I don’t think there’s any argument that organisms inherit characteristics. But this explanation seems to gloss over the part where they develop them. What explains how they develop what their offspring inherit?

    The point was that it appears that sometimes organisms inherit acquired characteristics (I don’t believe spines on water fleas fall into this category – see Nakashima #63). This is different from regular RM+NS. We may or may not understand how it happens – does this justify the conclusion it was designed? The point is that the whole case for ID is built on attacking one specific model of how inheritance takes place – random mutation of DNA with all mutations equally probable. I don’t believe this attack works. But Cornelius has reminded us there are other models for inheritance which we only partially understand. So we cannot deduce that if RM+NS fails, it must have been designed by a designer with undefined powers and motives.

    There’s some helpful information on this site to acquaint yourself with ID.

    I have been following this debate for several years now. Please point me to the part of the site that gives evidence for ID other than by trying to show the improbability of RM+NS (bearing in mind that “information” is just another way of talking about the improbability of RM+NS).

  73. Mark Frank,

    You want evidence for ID-

    Read the floowing:

    Intelligent Design in biology textbooks

    ID in biology textbooks cont

    That’s just a small tip of a very large iceberg.

    I look forward to your evidence that nature, operating freely produced what I posted.

  74. Nakashima:

    No, spiders are not taught by their mothers. The behavior is encoded in their genes. Similarly with bird migration.

    Do you have ANY evidence for that?

    I seriously doubt it.

    I say your claim is about as bogus as they come.

  75. Mr Joseph,

    My claim is as bogus as this:

    The genetics of bird migration: stimulus, timing, and direction
    PETER BERTHOLD 1 ANDREAS J. HELBIG 1
    1 Max-Planck-Institut fürVerhaltensphysiologie, Vogelwarte, Scftloss Moeggingen, D(W)-776o Radolfzell, Germany
    Copyright 1992 British Ornithologists Union
    ABSTRACT
    The extent to which genetic factors are directly involved in the control of bird migration and the mode of inheritance involved has been studied systematically over the past 15 years in the Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla by cross-breeding and selective breeding. Results have also been obtained from a few experimental and field studies on Robins Eritfiacus rubecula, Blackbirds Turdus merula and Song Sparrows Melospiza melodia. Cross-breeding of migrants with nonmigrants has resulted in the partial transmission of migratory activity into the F, generation indicating that the urge to migrate is inherited and is based on a multilocus system with a threshold for expression. Migratoriness and sedentariness in obligate partial migrants is probably inherited in a similar way, suggesting that the decision to migrate also has a strong genetic basis. Both traits can be selected to phenotypic uniformity within 3–6 generations indicating an extremely high evolutionary potential. Orientation behaviour can also be transmitted to the offspring of a nonmigratory population by cross-breeding. Cross-breeding individuals with different migratory directions produced offspring with phenotypically intermediate directional preferences, suggesting that the migratory direction is also a predominantly heritable character. In the current development of novel migratory habits in those Central European Blackcaps that now winter in the British Isles, the inheritance of the novel migratory direction may be crucial. Genetic variation in migratory events seems to be sufficient to allow for many microevolutionary processes.

    ——————————————————————————–

    DIGITAL OBJECT IDENTIFIER (DOI)
    10.1111/j.1474-919X.1992.tb04731.x About DOI

  76. So the first birds with this genetic trait or traits just started flying in some direction?

    And the birds who flew in the right direction were lucky enough to survive and produce offspring with the same genes?

    Did they get the genes that allowed them to return at the same time they got the genes that told them to leave and where to go?

    Or did the first bird with these genes just fly off and never came back?

    Has anyone isolated these migration genes?

    My money is on the programming- the same programming that tells the genes what to do, when to do it and where the products go.

  77. Joe,

    Atheistic Darwinian evolutionists suggest that, because many (if not all) organisms from the very simple to the more complex, demonstrate fixed patterns of behaviour that are not taught or learned, these patterns must exist in the organism in some form which is heritable. You seem not to accept this.

    Does ID have an alternative hypothesis?

    BTW did you see someone has managed to synthesize functional ribosomes. This, according to the poster at Telic Thoughs, is evidence for ID.

    Go figure!

  78. I must be a mutant.

    I am the only gym-rat in my family even though my brothers were also atheletes.

    I changed my behavior- I mean my genes changed my behavior such that I was able to change my phenotype!

    And here I am thinking I was controlling what I do but Nakashima has demonstrated it is all in the genes.

    No more murderers- it’s all in the genes so we can’t blame the person.

    No more criminals at all- just think of the money we could save by not having all those prisons.

    We just need to work harder of gene therapy.

  79. Alan Fox:

    Atheistic Darwinian evolutionists suggest that, because many (if not all) organisms from the very simple to the more complex, demonstrate fixed patterns of behaviour that are not taught or learned, these patterns must exist in the organism in some form which is heritable. You seem not to accept this.

    As I said earlier this morning I say it is the PROGRAMMING not the genes nor the DNA.

    That is an ID hypothesis.

    And I doubt behavior is fixed. The croc changed his behavior.

    BTW did you see someone has managed to synthesize functional ribosomes. This, according to the poster at Telic Thoughs, is evidence for ID.

    Yes Alan we have been over this already.

    And yes when intelligent agencies construct something it is evidence for ID as nature, operating freely sure as heck didn’t do it.

    THAT is the point behind ID that some things are NOT reducible to matter, energy, chance and necessity.

    And to refdute the design inference all you have to do is demonstrate it is.

  80. Alan,

    I read what you posted on Telic Thoughts and you are a real PoS.

    I say that because I qualified my statement about non-functional ribosomes by saying they will not function until someone learns how to program them.

    It looks like they figured that out in their synthesizing process- most likely an accidental byproduct.

    However the synthesized ribosome can only make one product.

    Do you really think that helps your position? (I am sure you do but then again any and everything supports your position in your mind)

  81. 81

    Mark Frank:

    The point was that it appears that sometimes organisms inherit acquired characteristics…This is different from regular RM+NS. We may or may not understand how it happens – does this justify the conclusion it was designed?

    The key word there is “acquired.” If RM+NS is the old explanation, what is the new one?
    I’m not arguing against any new model of inheritance. But this only shifts the question from “How do undirected natural forces produce these adaptations?” to “How do undirected natural forces produce organisms that produce these adaptations?” Take your pick – there’s no explanation for either.

    But Cornelius has reminded us there are other models for inheritance which we only partially understand.

    Perhaps our understanding of inheritance will change. This has nothing to do with explaining the origin of the inherited traits.

    Please point me to the part of the site that gives evidence for ID other than by trying to show the improbability of RM+NS

    See the headings under Frequently raised but weak arguments against Intelligent Design.

  82. Joseph,

    And yes when intelligent agencies construct something it is evidence for ID as nature, operating freely sure as heck didn’t do it.

    I’m not sure why the evos don’t understand the logic. Maybe a more specific example would help: Every time Boeing assembles a 747, that is evidence that nature operating freely can’t do it.

    According to wikipedia, there have been 1,416 747′s built, so the chances of one arising through a “tornado in a junkyard” scenario must be less than 1/1,416, otherwise we would have observed one already. By independence, the probability that 747′s cannot arise through chance and necessity is 1 – (1/1,416)^1,416 which is 1 according to my calculator.

  83. #81 Scott Andrews

    “See the headings under Frequently raised but weak arguments against Intelligent Design.”

    There are 38 items – which particular ones did you have in mind?

  84. Scott,

    The key word there is “acquired.” If RM+NS is the old explanation, what is the new one?

    you seem to not understand that the mode of inheritnce is not critical to whether evolution works or not. Darwin himself thought that acquired traits were inherited. so random mutation and quasi-Lamarckism are not mutually exclusive. there’s apparently a mix of both.

  85. Maybe a more specific example would help: Every time Boeing assembles a 747, that is evidence that nature operating freely can’t do it.

    According to wikipedia, there have been 1,416 747’s built, so the chances of one arising through a “tornado in a junkyard” scenario must be less than 1/1,416, otherwise we would have observed one already. By independence, the probability that 747’s cannot arise through chance and necessity is 1 – (1/1,416)^1,416 which is 1 according to my calculator.

    I don’t think this is going to help anyone understand anything! You seem to be suggesting that you can somehow reduce the probability of something being created through natural causes simply by building more of them artificially. If this line of reasoning held the potential would be enormous. Worried about the chances of a pandemic virus? Quickly create an artificial harmless virus pandemic and reduce the odds – in fact do it multiples times to keep reducing the odds.

    You may think it is unlikely that event X will happen without intelligent intervention. However, making event X with intelligent intervention has no effect on that probability whatsoever.

  86. herb,

    But if you take a series of tornados, each coming from a different direction…

  87. Khan:

    you seem to not understand that the mode of inheritnce is not critical to whether evolution works or not.

    The question isn’t about “evolution”.

    Darwin himself thought that acquired traits were inherited.

    Darwinism is not anti-Lamark.

    I believe that position “evolved” over time into the non-lamarkian neo-darwinian position.

    Not everything acquired is inherited- that seems fairly obvious by now.

    But does the premise of unguided processes predict that the SAME genetic ingredients can give rise to the diversity we observe it does?

    Absolutely not.

  88. 88

    Hunter, good thread! This goes right to the heart of the Design Inference idea. Are well really to believe that an intelligence didn’t play in a role in the development and origination of systems exhibiting this level of specified complexity?

    No way.

  89. 89

    Khan:

    The method of inheritance is not a relevant issue at all.
    Neither RM+NS nor Lamarckism explains the origin of what gets inherited.
    If organisms change in response to their environment, then how? What natural force interprets an organism’s needs, determines an appropriate solution, and then manipulates its genes accordingly?
    I’m not denying the possibility. But the adaptations require explanation. If the answer is that they came from the built-in adaptation mechanism, then that mechanism requires explanation.
    The mode of inheritance doesn’t affect evolution. It doesn’t affect ID either.

  90. Another note to Alan Fox:

    Life: What a concept!

    Start a search on “ribosome”-

    Then stage three, which I would say is the most mysterious, began when these two systems started to collaborate. It began when the invention of the ribosome, which to me is the central mystery. There’s a tremendous lot to be done with investigating the archaeology of the ribosome. I hope some of you people will do it.-Freeman Dyson

    I hope so too.

    As I have said it appears the only way to convince people of ID is the total failure of their position. No other evidence will suffice.

    On page 51 Craig Venter says the following which was the basis of what I originally said to Alan:

    These things get down to basic definitions of life. The lay press likes to talk about creating life from scratch. But while we can create and develop new species, we’re not creating life from scratch. We talked about the ribosome; we tried to make synthetic ribosomes, starting with the genetic code and building them — the ribosome is such an incredibly beautiful complex entity, you can make synthetic ribosomes, but they don’t function totally yet. Nobody knows how to get ones that can actually do protein synthesis. But starting with an intact ribosome is cheating anyway right?

    That is not building life from scratch but relying on billions of years of evolution.- Craig Venter

    So even though a ribosome has been synthesized that does produce a protein product, according to Venter also, it is “cheating”.

    But that is not even the point.

    The point is the ribosome is evidence for ID because of what it does- it translates- it is a genetic compiler.

    The fact that nature, operating freely cannot account for it just strengthens the design inference.

    IOW I don’t infer the ribosome was designed because it isn’t reducible.

    That it isn’t reducible (or hasn’t been found to be yet) just strengthens that initial inference based on its functionality and composition.

  91. Scott,

    If organisms change in response to their environment, then how? What natural force interprets an organism’s needs, determines an appropriate solution, and then manipulates its genes accordingly?

    it sounds like the “natural force” you’re describing is the process of adaptation- variation, heritability and differential reproductive success .or am i missing something?

  92. Re: herb’s “tornado in a junkyard” probability calculation:

    The “tornado” scenario is that the 747 assembles spontaneously, that it is not assembled in steps.

    Does the Boeing manufacturing scenario also assume that the aircraft is not assembled in steps, but all at once? If not, then you really aren’t comparing the two scenarios properly. Instead, in order for the the ‘tornado’ scenario to be an accurate “model” of evolution, the 747 should be built in steps, each step having a stochastic and/or deterministic aspect. Otherwise, IMO, the calculation as well as the comparison is invalid and misleading.

  93. 93

    Khan:
    Which of these elements are you now claiming is not natural?

  94. Scott, they’re all natural. i put quotes around “natural force” bc adaptation really isn’t a force, but a process.

  95. 95

    Khan:
    Yeah, that didn’t sound right when I typed it.
    Here’s the revised post:

    The method of inheritance is not a relevant issue at all.
    Neither RM+NS nor Lamarckism explains the origin of what gets inherited.
    If organisms change in response to their environment, then how? What natural process interprets an organism’s needs, determines an appropriate solution, and then manipulates its genes accordingly?
    I’m not denying the possibility. But the adaptations require explanation. If the answer is that they came from the built-in adaptation mechanism, then that mechanism requires explanation.

  96. Scott, ok, but the answer remains the same. do you understand the process of adaptation (I am not being snarky, I am just asking)?

  97. herb:

    I’m not sure why the evos don’t understand the logic. Maybe a more specific example would help: Every time Boeing assembles a 747, that is evidence that nature operating freely can’t do it.

    Absolutely. And every time I dig a ditch, that is evidence that nature operating freely can’t do it. That logic is as solid as the Grand Canyon.

    According to wikipedia, there have been 1,416 747’s built, so the chances of one arising through a “tornado in a junkyard” scenario must be less than 1/1,416, otherwise we would have observed one already. By independence, the probability that 747’s cannot arise through chance and necessity is 1 – (1/1,416)^1,416 which is 1 according to my calculator.

    Wow. With that probabilistic reasoning, I think you might have just stolen Dr. Dembski’s crown.

  98. Dave Wisker,

    Re: herb’s “tornado in a junkyard” probability calculation:

    The “tornado” scenario is that the 747 assembles spontaneously, that it is not assembled in steps.

    Hmm—well, I don’t think I’m making any assumptions about how the tornado(s) managed to assemble the 747. It could go in a number of steps as well as in one fell swoop. As Joseph mentioned (facetiously, I think) there could be several tornadoes acting in concert, say one rotating along each coordinate axis; that could make the likelihood of assembly somewhat higher, but it would still be absurdly low, IHMO.

  99. hI HERB,

    Hmm—well, I don’t think I’m making any assumptions about how the tornado(s) managed to assemble the 747. It could go in a number of steps as well as in one fell swoop. As Joseph mentioned (facetiously, I think) there could be several tornadoes acting in concert, say one rotating along each coordinate axis; that could make the likelihood of assembly somewhat higher, but it would still be absurdly low, IHMO.

    I think, if that is the case, then the entire analogy is suspect. Certainly not worth basing a probability calculation on it. Sometimes analogies become so strained it becomes time to just chuck them in the dustbin.

  100. 100

    Khan:

    Scott, ok, but the answer remains the same. do you understand the process of adaptation (I am not being snarky, I am just asking)?

    Loosely, adaptation is change to improve fitness or survivability.
    As for what processes result in adaptation, that’s the unknown that we’re discussing.

  101. Mr Joseph,

    And here I am thinking I was controlling what I do but Nakashima has demonstrated it is all in the genes.

    Only if you are admitting you are a spider. :)

  102. Scott,
    the process of adaptation is not unknown at all. it is one of the fundamental processes of biology. it can be broken down into 3 conditions:
    1) organisms vary in expression of a trait (through mutation, recombination, epigenetics, maybe more)
    2) that variation is heritable (can be passed down from parent to offspring (through genes or epigenetic effects)
    3) this variable expression results in differential survival and reproductive success; i.e. individuals with one version of a trait survive and reproduce better than those with a different version of that trait

    if these 3 conditions are met, then adaptation by natural selection occurs. it seems simple, but it is a very difficult process to get your head around. really the best way to understand it is to take an evolution class or at least read some texts.

  103. 103

    Khan @102:
    It’s not difficult to understand at all. If I’m not mistaken, there is even documented evidence of the changes such processes can effect upon the shapes of bird’s beaks and the survivability of certain species of bacteria.

    organisms vary in expression of a trait (through mutation, recombination, epigenetics, maybe more)

    Your definition of evolution begins with “expression of a trait” and ends with “variations of that trait. I’m not disagreeing. You are describing exactly what evolution does. (What’s that strange feeling – could it be my head wrapping the difficult process?)

  104. Mr Fox,

    Your link to the ribsome synthesis story is broken.

  105. Scott,
    then what exactly is your question?

  106. 106

    Khan @105:
    The original point goes back a thread including #72, in which Mark Frank said:

    The point is that the whole case for ID is built on attacking one specific model of how inheritance takes place – random mutation of DNA with all mutations equally probable.

    The posts go on to suggest that epigenetic inheritance negates ID because it’s not random like RM+NS.
    My point is that 1) ID makes a positive inference. It is an alternative to any strictly natural process, not just RM+NS. 2) Epigenetic inheritance (EI?) may explain some adaptations, but a trait that manipulates genes and produces new traits in response to the environment requires an explanation of its own. It has to know a) what the environmental pressure is, b) what modification would help, and c) how to manipulate the genes to produce that modification.
    I guess there was no question. Just an observation.

  107. Re #106

    My point is that 1) ID makes a positive inference.

    ScottAndrews

    You were going to point me to the part of the site that gives evidence for ID other than by trying to show the improbability of RM+NS. You got as far as pointing me to 38 articles but failed to indicate which one.

  108. 108

    Mark Frank @107:
    You did say that you’ve been following this debate for several years.
    Try #3, which links to some research. Yes, some of them mention competing theories and even contrast with them. Also try “Intelligent Design” in the glossary. It explains the basis for the positive inferences ID makes.

    There’s not much point in rehashing probabilities. Sometimes great improbability doesn’t mean small possibility. If means never, ever, ever. But people are either married to it or they own stock in it, and so they put faith in it.

  109. Re #108

    You did say that you’ve been following this debate for several years.

    Yes in all that time I have never come across positive evidence for ID. The only evidence I have ever seen is based on CSI or IR – both of which are at core based on the improbability of RM+NS.

    Try #3, which links to some research.

    When I link to #3 I get a complete blank. No doubt a technical error but poignant all the same!

    Instead of vague references to search on this or look at this list can you not just direct me to a piece of writing that makes a positive case for ID. Or don’t you know of any such piece?

  110. Arigatou gozaimashita Nakashima san.

  111. Mark Frank writes:

    Yes in all that time I have never come across positive evidence for ID. The only evidence I have ever seen is based on CSI or IR – both of which are at core based on the improbability of RM+NS.

    I can echo what Mark says. I just can’t manage to glimpse the emperor’s new clothes, either, despite having followed the fortunes of the ID movement over the last three or four years. “Where’s the beef?”

  112. Instead, in order for the the ‘tornado’ scenario to be an accurate “model” of evolution, the 747 should be built in steps, each step having a stochastic and/or deterministic aspect. Otherwise, IMO, the calculation as well as the comparison is invalid and misleading.

    Plus should not each intermediate be viable enough to survive as a functional entity? :)

  113. Joe writes:

    Alan,

    I read what you posted on Telic Thoughts and you are a real PoS.

    Person of science, paragon of sense, pinnacle of sanity?

    I say that because I qualified my statement about non-functional ribosomes by saying they will not function until someone learns how to program them.

    What would you call mRNA?

    It looks like they figured that out in their synthesizing process- most likely an accidental byproduct.

    However the synthesized ribosome can only make one product.

    With all necessary ingredients available, a ribosome will translate the mRNA sequence to which it attaches.

    Do you really think that helps your position? (I am sure you do but then again any and everything supports your position in your mind)

    I don’t have a position to defend. Like Mark Frank, I am curious to see positive evidence that there can be something called scientific intelligent design. I am an optimist!

  114. Onlookers:

    We should remember that UD is currently experiencing a wave of Darwinist advocates pumping out their rhetorical talking points.

    A few quick notes:

    1 –> Natural selection may in part explain the SURVIVAL of the fittest, it does not explain their ARRIVAL.

    2 –> The material issue is that for first life and for major novel body plans, the quantum of functionally specific, complex information required is well beyond the reasonable probabilistic resources of the observed universe. (To see details cf first the weak argument correctives the advocates want you to overlook, above right.)

    3 –> For, even 1,000 bits of functional info takes in a contingency space that is 10 times the SQUARE of the 10^150 quantum states of all the atoms of our universe shifting at the Planck time, for the thermodynamically plausible duration of the universe since the Big Bang and onward.

    4 –> First life requires credibly 600,000 bits of information [9.9 * 10^180,617 states in the config space . . . . ], and novel phylum level body plans look like coming in at 10′s – 100′s of mega bits of novel, embryologically feasible bio-information. (Which of course brings in epigenetic factors.)

    5 –> That isolation of functional islands in the config spaces on that scope, is why Hoyle’s 747 in a junkyard formed by a tornado is amn aptr comment, and the problem with focussign attention on hill climbing through cumulative selection to reach teh top of Mt Improbable, is that one first has to get tot he shores of isle of fucntion int eh sea of non-funciton.

    6 –> And, as to the issue of positicve evidence, we see it all around us: IN EVERY CASE OF KNOWN ORIGIN (and the ‘net provides MILLIONS of easily accessed cases in point . . . . ], FSCI IS THE PRODUCT OF INTELLIGENCE, I.E. FSCI IS AN EMPIRICALLY RELIABLE SIGN OF INTELLIGENCE.

    7 –> So given the statistical thermodynamuics issues that lurk under the 747 in a junkyard example, we are entitled — per the inference to best explanation/ abduction reasoning that underlies the praxis of science (and especially origins science) — to confidently infer from sign to the signified cause of the entity exhibiting the sign.

    8 –> So, the endlessly repeated “no positive evidence” talking point reflects closed-minded, question-begging selective hyperskepticism in the teeth of easily available facts. A selective hyperskepticism that is driven by Lewontin’s a priori commitment to materialism [and here, "methodological materialism" soon reduces to philosophical materialism]:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [NYRB, 1997]

    GEM of TKI

  115. I say that because I qualified my statement about non-functional ribosomes by saying they will not function until someone learns how to program them.

    Alan Fox:

    What would you call mRNA?

    The nucleotide sequence that gets translated into a string of amino acids.

    It looks like they figured that out in their synthesizing process- most likely an accidental byproduct.

    However the synthesized ribosome can only make one product.

    With all necessary ingredients available, a ribosome will translate the mRNA sequence to which it attaches.

    The synthesized ribosome only makes ONE product.

    And yes once the proper programming is in place a ribosome shopuld follow its instructions.

    Do you really think that helps your position? (I am sure you do but then again any and everything supports your position in your mind)

    I don’t have a position to defend.

    That is a sure sign of an intellectual coward- a person who won’t take a stand.

    Like Mark Frank, I am curious to see positive evidence that there can be something called scientific intelligent design.

    And I have provided more than enough evidence for that.

    Just because people like you and Mark choose to ignore the evidence doesn’t mean anything to me and it sure as heck doesn’t make the evidence go away.

  116. Positive evidence for ID can be found by following the links in comment 73

    If you don’t think that is evidence for ID then please provide the evidence that would demonstrate unguided processes can produce such a thing- or admit that you a FoS and don’t have a case against ID.

  117. Mr Joseph,

    PoS, FoS? What do these acronyms mean? I can’t find them in my Japanese-English dictionary?

  118. Mr Joseph,

    The synthesized ribosome only makes ONE product.

    I think you are confusing what they actually have done with the ribosome with the limits of what it can do. Luciferase is a common test protein because it can be detected easily (by machine) if it is correctly synthesized.

    I can only find repetitions of the original press report on the web, no reference to a scientific paper. Have you read a paper on this, or are you relying on the same press reports? If so, I would be careful making any positive claim about what the synthetic ribosome can or cannot do.

  119. Positive evidence for ID can be found by following the links in comment 73

    Orly? The links are to your own blog, where you, presumably unaided, have written stuff. Evidence for ID I don’t see.

    If you don’t think that is evidence for ID then please provide the evidence that would demonstrate unguided processes can produce such a thing- or admit that you a FoS and don’t have a case against ID.

    I haven’t seen any positive evidence that ID is science. By asking me to convince you that RM + NS is a workable scientific hypothesis, you merely underline the negative aspect of ID. It is not searching the available evidence, suggesting testable hypotheses or experimenting.

    I don’t have a case against ID because there is no substance to scientific ID.

    The plan is to have barbecued Toulouse sausage for supper and then I shall be “Full of Sausage”.

  120. #117

    I don’t understand. Your links are excerpts from biology text books. You don’t even offer an argument as to why these are evidence for design. All you do is quote the analogies the authors used to explain the process.

    Your second paragraph is irrelevant to the argument.

  121. 122

    Mark Frank:

    Yes in all that time I have never come across positive evidence for ID.

    I must have left it right next to all the evidence for speciation via RM+NS. Can you help me find it?

  122. I must have left it right next to all the evidence for speciation via RM+NS. Can you help me find it?

    This is my (and, I think Mark’s) point. Let us suppose for the sake of argument RM + NS is a very poor hypothesis, what is the positive evidence for ID as science?

  123. Scott,
    exactly what kind of evidence are you looking for?

  124. 125

    Alan Fox:

    This is my (and, I think Mark’s) point. Let us suppose for the sake of argument RM + NS is a very poor hypothesis, what is the positive evidence for ID as science?

    Are you asking whether ID is science? That’s covered in the FRWA FAQ.

    Sometimes I forget what I’m up against – the belief that random chance is the best possible explanation for all that exists, and that any alternative must measure up to it.
    If we rule out design, the only rational answer left is that we haven’t a clue.

  125. Re #125

    Are you asking whether ID is science? That’s covered in the FRWA FAQ.

    No. For the third (or is it the fourth?) time I am asking you to give me positive evidence for ID. You can do this by either describing the evidence itself or by directing me to an article that does so. But please don’t direct me to 38 articles and tell me it is in there somewhere. Or point me to a paper which “contains” some links to the research. You are convinced that there is positive evidence for ID – just describe whatever convinced you.

    To put a bit of flesh on the request. Consider some of the arguments that have been put forward as evidence for RM+NS.

    1) Microevolution. The process of RM+NS has been observed to produce small changes in the genotype and phenotype over small periods of time – both in the lab and the in the field. While this does not conclusively prove macroevolution it is evidence for it.

    2) NS+artificial selection. This analogous process has produced rather larger changes in genotype and phenotype over longer periods.

    3) Computer simulations. While these do not simulate all aspects of RM+NS they do show how surprising complexity can arise from a simple process of mutation and selection over a long period of time.

    I could mention others – but this will do to make my point.

    I do not want to debate these arguments. That has been done many times ad nauseam on this forum. My point is that these are all about RM+NS, how it works, what its consequences are, etc. To the best of my knowledge there is no corresponding discussion of ID. All ID does is go over the same arguments and tries to refute them. In then calls it CSI or IC.

  126. 127

    Mark Frank:

    1) Microevolution. The process of RM+NS has been observed to produce small changes in the genotype and phenotype over small periods of time – both in the lab and the in the field. While this does not conclusively prove macroevolution it is evidence for it.

    Evolution from a bacteria to the same type of bacteria. To call it evidence of macroevolution is a wish.
    And after the thread in epigenetic inheritance, how can you even claim to know which mechanism caused the changes? Maybe it was different one. Maybe random guessing and selection will produce the right answer.

    2) NS+artificial selection. This analogous process has produced rather larger changes in genotype and phenotype over longer periods.

    Intelligence required. Dogs to dogs. This would solve the problem if all life on earth were dogs.

    3) Computer simulations. While these do not simulate all aspects of RM+NS they do show how surprising complexity can arise from a simple process of mutation and selection over a long period of time.

    Requires intelligence. Changes shapes of antennas. Doesn’t invent antennas or receivers or transmitters. Varies, does not innovate.

    I could mention others – but this will do to make my point.

    Presumably what you’ve held back is the really good stuff.

    Here’s a tiny piece of evidence. It stacks up well against nothing.
    There has never been observed or documented any source of complex, specified, information other than intelligent agents anywhere.
    Intelligence is the only known, documented cause.
    Feel free to elaborate on how wrong you think that is. But it’s the best explanation available. The alternative is random chance, and that’s not to be taken seriously.

  127. Scott,

    There has never been observed or documented any source of complex, specified, information other than intelligent agents anywhere.

    However, there has never been observed or documented any source of intelligent agency other than the ones we have on earth. nor have there been observed or documented any cases of time travel where in humans could have invented the genetic code, etc. so that kind of “evidence” works both ways.

  128. 129

    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers:

    We should remember that UD is currently experiencing a wave of Darwinist advocates pumping out their rhetorical talking points.

    This is followed by 477 words largely recycled from previous posts. Sadly, as usual.

    Who, exactly, is “pumping out their rhetorical talking points”?

  129. 130

    Khan @128:
    The intelligence has not been observed, but can be inferred. When a planetary body moves in a manner consistent with an unknown gravitational force, we infer a moon or another planet. Or if we are philosophically opposed to moons we could say, that’s stupid, we don’t see a moon so that can’t be it.
    It’s an inference based on evidence. The alternative is a grab bag of natural forces, some real, some hypothetical, all of which trace back to random chance. It’s not a rational explanation.

  130. Scott,
    we know that many moons and planets exist because we have seen them and know their effects on gravitational pull. so we can infer their presence. we do not know of any intelligent agents besides ourselves (and some other animals) and we can not travel back in time. so your analogy doesn’t work.

  131. 132

    Khan @131:
    Correct. We have no reason to believe such intelligence exists, except for the evidence that it does.
    This is an interesting rule you’ve formulated – an inference may only lead us to what we already know. Not a very useful tool, is it?
    If we disregard the evidence of the only rational theory available, the alternative is to admit that we just don’t know. I’ll choose that over science fiction any day.

  132. Scott,

    This is an interesting rule you’ve formulated – an inference may only lead us to what we already know. Not a very useful tool, is it?

    you misunderstood me. we know there are many planets and moons because we have seen many. in a specific case, we can safely infer that a planet exists in a particular spot because we know there are many planets. this is a very useful inference. we are not inferring that there are many planets bc there are many planets. by contrast, we do not know that there are many sources of intelligence. do you see the difference?

  133. 134

    Khan @133:
    Consider dark matter. We know only one thing about it. It has the mass. No one has seen it or knows much else about it.
    Perhaps not everyone agrees it. But would you rule it out on the basis that no one knows anything about any such matter?
    The evidence indicates intelligence. We can say, “But what intelligence? Let’s learn more,” or we can say, “That’s ridiculous, I’m limited to explanations that include what I already know, with the sole exception of natural processes that behave intelligently but aren’t intelligent.”
    How is random chance that behaves intelligently a better explanation than unknown intelligence?

  134. Scott,
    first,intelligence and matter are two entirely different things. intelligence on its own is not capable of anything. it needs to be able to physically make things. so we are left with two possibilities. the first is a supernatural being. the existence of this being would call into question everything we know about well, everything in science. the second is space aliens. in the absence of any physical evidence, I am not convinced that they exist. maybe you are. but I would like to see some some rigorous, quantitative evidence of not only intelligence but also the means to physically carry out intelligent acts. by contrast, dark matter fits in well with what we know of the universe and is supported by multiple consilient lines of evidence. so really there is no comparison.

  135. 136

    Khan @138:
    Now we’re somewhere between straw man and argument from incredulity territory.
    If you truly believe that random chance is a better explanation for apparent design than intelligence, then you have already chosen the mathematically impossible over the reasonable. Evidence no longer has meaning. Believe according to your preference.

  136. Scott,
    I recognize this is going nowhere, but what is your vision of the designer? dark matter physicists at least put forward a physically plausible hypothesis. what is yours?

  137. 138

    Dark matter has been posited from a number of observations. There are models of how much dark matter Should exist. Experimental efforts to observe dark matter directly are ongoing; some have claimed success but others are skeptical.

    By contrast, this “intelligence” is not measurable and no attempts are made to observe it directly. ID just points to really complex things and says that intelligence is the answer.

  138. 139

    Khan @137,
    In terms of matter or form, I honestly have no idea.

  139. 140

    David Kellogg @138:
    Your argument fails to invalidate the logic of the design inference.
    If intelligence is not the only cause of complex, specified information then why has no other ever been observed or documented?
    I’m not pointing to some mysterious unknown force, you are.

  140. Re #127

    ScottAndrews

    As I said I am not going to reiterate the arguments about the evidence for RM+NS. The point is that they are all part of a detailed discussion of RM+NS – looking at how it might work and its consequences. Where is the equivalent discussion of ID?

    You are not going to produce it are you?

    All you can manage is:

    “There has never been observed or documented any source of complex, specified, information other than intelligent agents anywhere.
    Intelligence is the only known, documented cause.
    Feel free to elaborate on how wrong you think that is. But it’s the best explanation available.”

    As I said “complex specified information” is another term for “very unlikely assuming RM+NS”. So to claim that life includes CSI is simply to attack RM+NS. It is not positive evidence for ID.

    You can see this most clearly if you imagine that it is shown to your satisfaction RM+NS does account for life. Then you have no reason left for believing in ID.

    Your problem is that it is not possible to have positive evidence without saying something about the nature of the designer. A designer of unspecified power and motives can explain everything; and nothing can count as evidence against it or for it. You invite me to elaborate on how wrong the ID explanation is. I can’t begin because there is no content to criticise.

    In one thing you are absolutely right. If you feel that RM+NS is not a satisfactory explanation for life then the logical conclusion is – we don’t how it arose.

  141. David Kellogg:

    ID just points to really complex things and says that intelligence is the answer.

    Add ID to the vast list of things Kellogg is ignorant of.

    It isn’t mere complexity that drives the design inference.

    I have been telling you that for the past year and you choose to ignore it.

    And in the end to refute the design inference all YOU have to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely can account for it- IOW support YOUR position.

    All you and your ilk can do is say “No one has shown us the designer therefor it evolved via unguided processes”.

  142. Alan Fox,

    It is obvious that the ONLY evidence you and your ilk will accept for ID is a meeting with the designer(s).

    IOW you ain’t intereted in science.

    You may know how to spell it (science) but that is about all.

    Ya see proof-reading, error-correction both require knowledge of what is supposed to be.

    And there isn’t any evidence that unguided processes can produce such a thing. We have plenty of evidence of agencies producing it.

    Therefor the design inference rules until someone can scientifically demonstrate that nature, operating freely can produce it.

    You say that you don’t have a position yet your posts prove that you are lying when you make that claim.

  143. OK Alan, Khan and Mark Frank,

    Here’s the challenge.

    In comment 73 I have provided links to evidence for ID.

    If you don’t think that is evidence for ID then please provide the evidence that would demonstrate unguided processes can produce such a thing.

    Those things exist and there are only two possibilities- designed or not- so have at it or admit that you don’t have anything.

  144. Joe says:

    In comment 73 I have provided links to evidence for ID.

    No, you haven’t.

  145. Joseph,
    those links just go to your blog, where you provide some quotations from textbooks comparing biological processes to sports cars. that is not evidence for anything.

  146. 147

    Mark Frank:
    ID examines the cause of a phenomenon, not the mechanism, just as one can examine the effects of gravity without knowing how it operates. RM+NS offers a mechanism that cannot function without a cause, and yet by definition cannot have one.
    To be honest, any conversation that begins with the premise that life arose and adapted accidentally cannot proceed logically. It’s already driven off the cliff. I can’t argue against a contrived fantasy.

  147. Re #148

    Do I take it you have given up trying to provide positive evidence for ID?

  148. Scott,
    you’re peddling false equivalencies again. we can quantitatively measure gravity’s effects on numerous scales throughout the universe. by contrast, there is no quantitative way to measure the effects of intelligence. unless you have one that everyone else in ID has been hiding?

  149. —-David Kellogg: “By contrast, this “intelligence” is not measurable and no attempts are made to observe it directly. ID just points to really complex things and says that intelligence is the answer.”

    —-Joseph writes: “Add ID to the vast list of things Kellogg is ignorant of.”

    —-David responds: “Joseph, I choose, on the whole, to ignore you, not what you say, becuase your behavior alternates between childish and thuggish.”

    Well then, if you are going to ignore his “thuggish behvior” and “not what he says,” why did you evade both him and his refutation.

    In any case, ID does not attempt to measure “intelligence,” rather it measures the “effects” of intelligence. Second, ID does not suggest that “complexity” alone provides any evidence for design.

    Since you are obviously uninformed about [or hostile toward] basic ID definitions and terms, you may also be unfamiliar with the definition of the term, “straw man.” As a community service, therefore, I will provide the relevant information from Wikipedia:

    “A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by substituting a superficially similar proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.”

    Hopefully, you will now accept the refutation gracefully since, as everyone knows, I, far from being a thug, am a real sweetie pie.

  150. StephenB,
    Can you give me a quantitative way to calculate the effects of intelligence? you can use an example, say, a flagellum if you’d like.

  151. Alan Fox,

    If you don’t think that what I posted is evidence for ID then please by all means demonstrate how it arose via unguided processes.

    That you refuse to do so just proves my point that you are FoS.

  152. Khan,

    If you don’t like the design inference then please provide the evidence that unguided processes can account for it.

    Failure to do so will just further expose you as an ignorant person on an agenda.

  153. Khan,

    Can you give me a quantitative way to calculate the effects of unguided processes?

    How many genetic accidents does it take to go from single-cell to metazoan?

    What’s the calculation?

    Instead of griping about ID all YOU have to do is to actually support YOUR position.

    It is very telling that you choose not to.

  154. —-Khan: “Can you give me a quantitative way to calculate the effects of intelligence? you can use an example, say, a flagellum if you’d like.”

    Of couse. I can show you how ID calculates the probability that a given phenomenon was a product of an intelligent agency, and I will be happy to do that with a very simple example. I will not, however, indulge you until you show me some evidence that you understand DK’s misrepresentation of ID’s main argument, which you are apparently trying to provide cover for. Do you understand his error and are you willing to acknowledge it?

  155. 156

    Stephen, yes, I know, it’s not complexity per se, it’s complexity plus specification, etc., none of which can be measured and none of which leads to anything beyond pointing to something and saying “intelligence did it because I don’t have a better answer.”

    In fact, despite your vast training in philosophy, there was no straw man, because I was merely pointing out that the ID is not analogous to dark matter, as dark matter has legitimate scientific support for it.

  156. 157

    StephenB, taking Joseph’s side in anything is a Faustian bargain. Even on the rare occasions when he’s right he’s still a playground bully. Don’t go there: you’ll demean yourself. I say this as someone who finds you all right, despite our disagreements.

  157. David Kellogg,

    You have it all backwards.

    I am fighting BACK against playground bullies- YOU included.

    As for the design inference, it can be tested.

    And again all YOU have to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely can account for it and the design inference- ie ID- falls.

    However it is clear that you cannot. Because if you really want to shut me up that is all you have to do.

    That you cannot support your position and instead want to say “No it isn’t designed because you haven’t produced the designer”, just makes me who I am.

    IOW I am the product of your ignorant and childish approach to this debate. And you embody the whole anti-ID movement.

  158. Stephen,
    WHy would I acknowledge someone else’s error? that is just bizarre, esp. since I wasn’t trying to cover for him.. he can do just fine by himself. now, can you please show me how to calculate the effects of intelligence?

  159. 1- We have experience with designing agencies

    2- We have experience with nature, operating freely

    3- Experience tells us that it matters a great deal to any investigation whether or not that which is being investigated arose via nature, operating freely or agency involvement.

    Stonehenge- some stones in some pattern. Why did geologists give up looking for a geological cause?

    Because of 1 & 2.

    ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    The design inference is based on observation and experience. Also it is testabile. What else do you want besides absolute proof?

  160. 161

    Joseph,

    I am the product of your ignorant and childish approach to this debate.

    Somebody is responsible for you, but it’s not me.

  161. Khan:

    now, can you please show me how to calculate the effects of intelligence?

    You don’t calculate the effects of intelligence, you observe them.

    You can then test your design inference against nature, operating freely.

    For example the Sci-Fi channel has a show called “Ghost Hunters”. These guys go around checking for evidence of the supernatural and testing everything they find against what is commonly known to cause whatever is observed.

    Most things are easily explained away. Some aren’t so easy and some, if what we see can be believed, definitely fit the “paranormal” category-for example a chair that moves about 1 foot when no one is in the room.

    So there you have it- you make an observation and one of the main questions that science asks is “How did it come to be this way?”.

    And then you find a way to test your inference.

  162. 163

    Why did geologists give up looking for a geological cause [for Stonehenge]?

    Give up? Did they ever seek one?

  163. David Kellogg:

    Somebody is responsible for you, but it’s not me.

    You are not solely responsible. But what I am is due to the accumulated effects of you and your ilk.

    People like you make me sick so its payback time.

    Again if you don’t like it you have the power to change it.

  164. 165

    People like you make me sick so it[']s payback time.

    What do you mean by “payback time”?

  165. Why did geologists give up looking for a geological cause [for Stonehenge]?

    David Kellogg:

    Give up? Did they ever seek one?

    So they gave up without even trying? That’s pathetic.

    So scientists just jumped right to a design inference. And everyone was OK with that?

    What is it that prevents nature, operating freely from producing such a simple thing as Stonehenge?

    Transcription and translation have more design earmarks than Stonehenge yet you froth from the mouth over a biological design inference.

    Strange…

  166. 167

    People, who have experience moving rocks around into patterns, see rocks arranged in patterns: see things, in other words, in line with their knowledge of what people do. So, they think, people did that. It’s not a big leap. It’s a much bigger leap to infer from the arrangement of life itself that a designer or designers, about whom nothing is known, must have done it.

  167. 168

    David Kellogg,

    ——”People, who have experience moving rocks around into patterns, see rocks arranged in patterns: see things, in other words, in line with their knowledge of what people do. So, they think, people did that. It’s not a big leap. It’s a much bigger leap to infer from the arrangement of life itself that a designer or designers, about whom nothing is known, must have done it.”

    This is what ID is, seeing a pattern in nature that you’re already familiar with. The arrangement of life falls into familiar patterns, just like Stonehenge. It should not be ruled out because ID is seen in a cell instead of a rock formation David. Unless you have an a priori prejudice against finding ID in the cell (maybe it hits too close to home), the inference is just as obvious, if not more obvious, (once the complexity of the cell is grasped) than the design inference of Stonehenge.

  168. —-David Kellogg: “Stephen, yes, I know, it’s not complexity per se, it’s complexity plus specification, etc., none of which can be measured and none of which leads to anything beyond pointing to something and saying “intelligence did it because I don’t have a better answer.”

    OK, so when you said that ID attempts to make a design inference from “complexity,” a common anti-ID strawman, that was what, an oversight or a misrepresentation? When you said that ID cannot measure “intelligence,” as opposed to the effects of intelligence, that was what, a typo, misrepresentation, or misapprehension?

    When you now say that none of this can be measured, do you mean to suggest that simpler models cannot be measured, that more complex models cannot be measured, or literally that none of this can be measured? Or is this another instance in which you just happened to leave out the decisive qualifying adjective?

  169. I can answer your question with a question. Suppose you visited the planet Mars and decided do research at three locations. [Assume that no earthly humans have ever visited there.] At the first location, you notice a large boulder marked by a total of 136 jagged edges and cavities. At the second location, you notice another large boulder that also contains 136 images, which, upon further examination form the following sequence of letters and spaces: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mean are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” At the third location, you notice a boulder marked by three curves lines that appear to read OOO.

    What would you conclude about these three boulders and the mathematical probability that any or all were designed?

  170. —-khan: “now, can you please show me how to calculate the effects of intelligence?”

    My comments at 170 are for you.

  171. Stephen,
    you claim that the effects of intelligence can be measured. can you please show me how, using a real biological example? in turn, I will tell you how to calculate something in evolutionary biology, let’s say how to distinguish between positive and purifying selection in DNA sequences. deal?

  172. Khan:

    in turn, I will tell you how to calculate something in evolutionary biology, let’s say how to distinguish between positive and purifying selection in DNA sequences.

    What does that have to do with evolutionary biology? Absolutely nuthin’.

    Show us how to calculate how many genetic accidents it takes to produce novel body parts and novel protein machinery.

    For example the bacterial flagellum- from none to one in how many mutations?

  173. David Kellogg:

    People, who have experience moving rocks around into patterns, see rocks arranged in patterns:

    Mike Shermer calls it “patternicity”. He applies it very selectively though.

    Glaciers move rocks, big rocks.

    It’s a much bigger leap to infer from the arrangement of life itself that a designer or designers, about whom nothing is known, must have done it.

    Hello? The only way we know anything about the people around Stonehemge is by studying the evidence they left behind.

    As a matter of fact in the absence of direct observation or designer input the ONLY way to make ANY scientific determination about the designer(s) or the specific process(es) used is by studying the design in question.

    That you refuse to understand that says quite a bit about you and your motives.

    That said we only have experience with life begetting life. Anything beyond that is science fiction.

  174. 175

    “The only way we know anything about the people around Stonehemge is by studying the evidence they left behind.”

    Actually, we know something by looking at ourselves. Because they were people like us. Point is, the flagellum comes before the existence of any intelligent life on earth. So: intelligence before intelligence!

  175. Joseph,

    What does that have to do with evolutionary biology? Absolutely nuthin’.

    actually, distinguishing between positive and purifying selection would be a good way to get at the types of questions you’re asking. but i guess you’re the expert, so I’ll defer to you.

  176. —khan: “you claim that the effects of intelligence can be measured. can you please show me how, using a real biological example? in turn, I will tell you how to calculate something in evolutionary biology, let’s say how to distinguish between positive and purifying selection in DNA sequences. deal?”

    I am not interested in biology at the moment, and you will notice that I said nothing about it. The words “effect of design” are not synonymous with biology. My first task is to find out if you understand the general principles involved. That was the substance of my question @170 and that question remains unanswered.

  177. Stephen,
    I am not interested in analogies. I am interested in biology, not hypothetical words written on Mars, which are irrelevant because they are not biological organisms. so please get back to me when you want to talk about biology. again, just take any biological structure you want and explain to me how you calculate the effects of intelligence.

  178. —-khan: “I am not interested in analogies. I am interested in biology, not hypothetical words written on Mars, which are irrelevant because they are not biological organisms. so please get back to me when you want to talk about biology. again, just take any biological structure you want and explain to me how you calculate the effects of intelligence.”

    My question @170 is not an analogy. You challenged my general statement about measuring the “effects of design,” which had nothing to do with biology. At the moment, I can prove my point much more easily outside of biology than inside biology, so that is the course I choose to take. It is, after all, my point, not yours; so I am the only one who knows where it is going. If, on the other hand, you are not prepared to follow up on your own challenge, then perhaps you should wait before issuing another one. My question @170 is very easy and you should be able to answer it.

  179. Stephen (179),

    Can you give me your answer to your own question, with explanations (i.e. no marks unless you show the working out!)?

  180. Khan:

    actually, distinguishing between positive and purifying selection would be a good way to get at the types of questions you’re asking.

    Vey, very doubtful.

    And seeing that you have proven to be deceptive I would say that you are just plain lying.

  181. “The only way we know anything about the people around Stonehemge is by studying the evidence they left behind.”

    David Kellogg:

    Actually, we know something by looking at ourselves.

    Two things wrong with that:

    1- We wouldn’t even know they existed if it wasn’t for the artifacts

    2- They did not watch TV or drive automobiles. IOW they weren’t like us at all with the only exception that they were human.

    Point is, the flagellum comes before the existence of any intelligent life on earth.

    The bac flag on Earth that is.

    And again all YOU have to do to refute the design inference pertaining to the bac flag is to demonstrate it can arise via an accumulation of genetic accidents!!!

    Imagine that you have the power and yet you choose ignorance.

    So: intelligence before intelligence!

    You mean intelligence in the universe before intelligence on Earth.

    But I understand that you are very limited in the use of vocabulary…

  182. Khan:

    I am interested in biology

    Then start by supporting YOUR position.

    Tell us how it was scientifically determined that the bacterial flagellum arose from a population that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    Failure to do so will just further expose your agenda as one of deception and strawman arguments.

  183. Stephen,
    I asked for a biological example in my original question bc that is what I am interested in. Given that detecting intelligence in biology is one of the fundamental goals of ID, it seems like you should be able to just give me an equation and a solved example with your eyes closed.

  184. #182

    And again all YOU have to do to refute the design inference pertaining to the bac flag is to demonstrate it can arise via an accumulation of genetic accidents!!!

    Joseph makes similar statements to this a lot of the time, on the lines of: “all you have to do to refute ID is show that a natural alternative is possible”. Statements like this raise a couple of interesting questions.

    1) Why is this true? A designer of unspecified powers and motives could easily have made it look as though there were a natural solution.

    2) Why does ID require this strange method of refutation? You don’t refute special relativity or plate tectonics by showing an alternative is possible. You refute them by showing that these theories are incompatible with the data.

  185. Why is what I say true?

    Because once you remove the requirement foor a designer the design inference falls.

    THAT is EXACTLY how it has worked throughout history.

    And that means it isn’t a strange method. As a matter of fact it is the ONLY method.

    That you don’t understand that just proves yopu should not be having this discussion because you obviously don’t understand science.

  186. Khan:

    Given that detecting intelligence in biology is one of the fundamental goals of ID, it seems like you should be able to just give me an equation and a solved example with your eyes closed.

    You have serious issues Khan.

    There isn’t any equation.

    I have already explained how we reach a design inference.

    I have also explained how to refute said design inference.

    That you refuse to understand what I posted just exposes your ignorant-laiden agenda.

  187. ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    There it is Mark, in writing.

    Dr Behe has also stated the design inference would be falsified if it is demonstrated that unguided processes can account for all the IC we observe.

  188. Thie following is what Dr Behe says about refuting IC:

    “Coyne’s conclusion that design is unfalsifiable, however, seems to be at odds with the arguments of other reviewers of my book. Clearly, Russell Doolittle (Doolittle 1997), Kenneth Miller (Miller 1999), and others have advanced scientific arguments aimed at falsifying ID. (See my articles on blood clotting and the “acid test” on this web site.) If the results with knock-out mice (Bugge et al. 1996) had been as Doolittle first thought, or if Barry Hall’s work (Hall 1999) had indeed shown what Miller implied, then they correctly believed my claims about irreducible complexity would have suffered quite a blow. And since my claim for intelligent design requires that no unintelligent process be sufficient to produce such irreducibly complex systems, then the plausibility of ID would suffer enormously. Other scientists, including those on the National Academy of Science’s Steering Committee on Science and Creationism, in commenting on my book have also pointed to physical evidence (such as the similar structures of hemoglobin and myoglobin) which they think shows that irreducibly complex biochemical systems can be produced by natural selection: “However, structures and processes that are claimed to be ‘irreducibly’ complex typically are not on closer inspection.” (National Academy of Sciences 1999, p. 22)

    Now, one can’t have it both ways. One can’t say both that ID is
    unfalsifiable (or untestable) and that there is evidence against it. Either it is unfalsifiable and floats serenely beyond experimental reproach, or it can be criticized on the basis of our observations and is therefore testable. The fact that critical reviewers advance scientific arguments against ID (whether successfully or not) shows that intelligent design is indeed falsifiable.

    In fact, my argument for intelligent design is open to direct
    experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box (Behe 1996) I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum–or any equally complex
    system–was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.

    How about Professor Coyne’s concern that, if one system were shown to be the result of natural selection, proponents of ID could just claim that some other system was designed? I think the objection has little force. If natural selection were shown to be capable of producing a system of a certain degree of complexity, then the assumption would be that it could produce any other system of an equal or lesser degree of complexity. If Coyne demonstrated that the flagellum (which requires approximately forty gene products) could be produced by selection, I would be rather foolish to then assert that the blood clotting system (which consists of about twenty proteins) required intelligent design.”

    IOW if it ever demonstrated that living organisms can arise from non-living matter without agency involvement, ID falls as living organisms are the ultimate in IC.

  189. 190

    Khan @149:

    you’re peddling false equivalencies again. we can quantitatively measure gravity’s effects on numerous scales throughout the universe. by contrast, there is no quantitative way to measure the effects of intelligence.

    That’s an excellent point. Now just find someone who’s trying the measure the effects of intelligence as we do with gravity, and share it with them.
    You can read a book and determine that the author was intelligent without attempting to analyze his word usage to determine his IQ. At least I think you can.

    I know where this goes next. Humans write books, but ID would require an unknown intelligence before humans.
    It’s an inference based on knowledge.
    Why does that make waves, while the magical “it just happened” theory which offers nothing more than ID regarding the implementation, and never explains its own apparent impossibility, is so easy to swallow? Why don’t you apply the same critical thinking to it?
    The only reasons to accept the latter are philosophical and preferential.

  190. Joseph,
    there is no equation. then ID is the first science without any rigorous quantitative methodology. are you really saying that ID research is comparable in rigor to reality shows on the Sci-Fi channel?

  191. 192

    I’ll clarify myself – I refer to ID as applied to biology.

  192. 193

    Khan:ID is the first science without any rigorous quantitative methodology.
    You’re missing the point. ID does not quantify intelligence. The information content of an object or the number of steps its assembly requires, those can be measured and counted.
    While we’re rigorously quantifying, how many genes must be modified for an eyeless creature to have an eye? How many generations? How many offspring? Forget the mechanisms, since no one knows that anyway. What are the numbers?

  193. Scott

    The information content of an object or the number of steps its assembly requires, those can be measured and counted.

    that is my question, how? so far all i have gotten in response are questions about written tablets on Mars and references to “Ghost Hunters.”

  194. Khan,

    That tourbillon watch that Clive posted on should be a good example with which to illustrate the concept of information content. I don’t know the construction details, but it has 100 parts, if I recall correctly, so it likely takes on the order of 100 steps to assemble, hence its information content is approximately 100 bytes.

  195. 196

    Khan @194:
    Here’s an article which uses a few examples to demonstrate how information content can be measured. It’s noteworthy that information content is distinguished from mere improbability.
    This gives examples with specif

  196. 197

    No idea what I did there.
    …examples with specific applications including biology.
    I’m not bluffing and claiming to follow all the math. But there’s much more to it than saying, “See it’s complex,” or “How could that have happened by accident?” It’s a positive explanation, not a negative one.

  197. 198

    But I understand that you are very limited in the use of vocabulary…

    Very clever.

    I admit to a less expansive set of curse words and temper-tantrum vocabulary than displayed on your blog.

  198. 199

    ScottAndrews and herb, you seem to be endorsing Joseph’s contention that the minimum CSI of an object = the information content of written instructions to produce that object. Is that correct? Is there a place in the ID literature where this idea of equating CSI with assembly instructions is expounded?

  199. Khan:

    there is no equation. then ID is the first science without any rigorous quantitative methodology.

    then the theory of evolution isn’t science.

    also i didn’t say there were any equations.

    are you really saying that ID research is comparable in rigor to reality shows on the Sci-Fi channel?

    ID has the rigor of ALL design-centric venues, one of which just happens to be refuting claims of the non-natural.

    ID has more rigor than anything you can offer in support of evolutionism.

  200. correction:

    also i didn’t say there weren’t any equations.

    Wm Dembski has provided many.

    IC and CSI still remain more rigorously defined than anything you have to offer that supports your position.

  201. David Kellogg:

    Is there a place in the ID literature where this idea of equating CSI with assembly instructions is expounded?

    Although not literature Jonathan Wells discusses this in the video “Unlocking the Mystery of Life”- he says the assembly instructions (for the bac flag) alone are IC.

    Without the instructions no bac flag.

    Computer programs are good examples of specified complexity in which there is a direct connection between those programs and the amount of information they contain.

    But anyways, if you are given just the object to investigate, how else could one figure out the amount of specified information it contains?

    Myself I don’t think it is necessary but it does give an indication of how far removed from nature, operating freely, that object is.

    It is part of answering one of the main questions science asks: “how did it come to be this way?”.

    And once you do that when someone says this civilization built this but they didn’t have any written language, you can just laugh at ‘em because you know there isn’t any way this could have been produced by word of mouth.

  202. Scott,
    those papers are fine, but have nothing to do with biology. in the sole biological example, Dembski doesn’t even discuss the biology of the flagellum, but instead analyzes the complexity of the words we use to describe the flagellum’s motion. this is about as far removed from biological reality as I can imagine. is it really a convincing argument to you?
    Again, I am asking for something quite simple. I am not pulling a jerry and asking you to defend the entire theory of ID. I just want one example of how the effects of intelligence are measured, with a real biological example.

  203. 204

    David Kellogg

    you seem to be endorsing Joseph’s contention that the minimum CSI of an object = the information content of written instructions to produce that object. Is that correct?

    No. I’m sure there’s a degree of correlation – the instructions for a 747 are longer than those for a bookshelf. But one doesn’t measure the other.
    For example, I possess information that certain cooking ingredients react in certain ways when mixed and baked.
    I can write down a recipe that would replicate the results without including all the information that went into the design.

  204. #196

    It’s noteworthy that information content is distinguished from mere improbability.

    No it isn’t. The Dembski article simply defines information as the negative logarithm to base 2 of the probability. He has confirmed this definition many, many times. It is nothing more than a mathematical convenience. Information, as defined in the ID world, is just another way of expressing improbability.

  205. Joseph,

    also i didn’t say there weren’t any equations.

    except when you did:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-321154

    comment 187

  206. Khan:

    I just want one example of how the effects of intelligence are measured, with a real biological example.

    With the flagellum it is measured by the number of components, the quantities of those components, the placement of those components-

    1- account for the origin of the components

    2- get them in the right place at the right time

    3- properly configure the components

    This is all in “No Free Lunch”- :

    An irreducibly complex system is a discrete combinatorial object. page 290

    Pdco = Porig x Plocal x Pconfig

    With Pconfig there are cross-reactions that have to be taken into account. Chaperones are used to guide components to their destination to prevent cross-reactions from messing up the construction.

  207. 208

    Mark Frank:

    Information, as defined in the ID world, is just another way of expressing improbability.

    Information is improbable. Information is not improbability.
    The odds of the letters of your post arranging themselves to form a message are astronomical. It’s a fact. That’s not what makes them information – it’s a correlation.
    It’s also handy if someone were to claim that your post was a random accident. Not that anyone would ever suggest something so ridiculous as a whole paragraph of words relevant to their context being typed randomly.

  208. Khan, David, Alan, Mark:

    The design inference is based on observation and experience. Also it is testabile. What else do you want besides absolute proof?

  209. Khan,

    There aren’t any equations to calculate the effects of intelligence.

    That doesn’t mean there aren’t any equations.

  210. ScottAndrews:

    I can write down a recipe that would replicate the results without including all the information that went into the design.

    [cakeboy]True but the recipe would be the minimum amount of CSI in whatever you are baking. (Or not?)

  211. 212

    testabile? Sounds like the symptom of a hormonal disease affecting the liver. “His system is producing too much testabile.”

  212. David Kellog,

    ScottAndrews and herb, you seem to be endorsing Joseph’s contention that the minimum CSI of an object = the information content of written instructions to produce that object. Is that correct? Is there a place in the ID literature where this idea of equating CSI with assembly instructions is expounded?

    I was referring specifically to the number of steps involved in the assembly process, rather than a number derived from a set of instructions written in some language.

    I think the idea of looking at the information content of written instructions also makes sense, at least if you are interested in an upper bound for CSI. One set of instructions in English might translate to a shorter set (in letters) in another language, for example. Not sure about your ID literature question, though.

  213. David Kellogg-

    The testa is the protective outer layer/ covering of a seed.

    Therefor testabile is the bile secreted by the liver after eating too many seeds that have the testa still in place.

    Do I have to splain everything?

  214. joking aside, how do can you say a hypothesis is testable when you can’t even measure something to test it with? can you tell me how to do an ANOVA without any numbers? it would make research a lot easier..

  215. 216

    Joseph:

    [cakeboy]True but the recipe would be the minimum amount of CSI in whatever you are baking. (Or not?)

    [It's a pumpkin pie.]
    That sounds logical to me.

  216. Khan:

    how do can you say a hypothesis is testable when you can’t even measure something to test it with?

    Information can be measured. IC can be measured.

    IC can be refuted as evidence for design by demonstrating thta nature, operating freely can account for it.

    The same for information.

  217. Scott,

    The evos started calling me “cakeboy” (well Rich Hughes anyway) when I said that the minimum information in a cake is the information in the recipe.

  218. —khan: “I asked for a biological example in my original question bc that is what I am interested in. Given that detecting intelligence in biology is one of the fundamental goals of ID, it seems like you should be able to just give me an equation and a solved example with your eyes closed.”

    My original objective was to show that another blogger misrepresented the ID paradigm. That objection has been met. You injected yourself into that discussion, which was being conducted in a general CSI context, and asked a question relative to the point being made. As I was in the process of answering that question with an example, you reframed the issue into another question about biology. I am not so easily distracted. Everything about my question @170 had a purpose, including the point of placing the setting in an unearthly place. If you are not willing to answer it, then so be it.

  219. That should read, “that objective has been met.”

  220. #208

    That’s not what makes them information – it’s a correlation.

    Correlation is a relationship between two variables. Which variables do you have in mind?

    Have you actually read and understood Dembksi’s work? I am beginning to suspect not.

    He explicitly defines the information content of an outcome as -log base 2 of the probability of an outcome.

    Of course you may have your own definition of information – but that’s the one that the ID leaders use. It is repeated time and time again in different papers.

    #209

    Please be explicit about what the ID hypothesis is. I always thought it was the hypothesis that life was designed by a designer of unknown powers and motives. What data would be incompatible with that hypothesis? Any outcome can be designed if you place no limits on the designer.

    Your are confusing testing the hypothesis of RM+NS with testing the hypothesis of design.

  221. For Mark Frank:

    a design hypothesis

    BTW there isn’t any way to test RM+NS. THAT is the whole problem with the premise.

  222. 223

    Khan:

    how do can you say a hypothesis is testable when you can’t even measure something to test it with?

    Measurements of CSI are useful, but I don’t think they need to be precise.
    For example, if we know that no man has every jumped higher than eight feet, then we can justifiably rule out a scenario in which man jumps 100 to 300 feet high.
    (Even if we don’t call it impossible, we’ll accept any other plausible explanation, even if it’s incomplete.)

    ID can’t be directly tested against biology, because it’s determination can’t be verified independently.
    Abiogenesis is not testable. It’s a series of wild guesses. RM+NS has been tested in the lab with bacteria, and has evolved them into nearly identical bacteria in more generations than supposedly turned rats into elephants.

    That advantage to ID is that it draws on accumulated knowledge, not guesses. Where the origin of a thing bearing CSI is known, that origin is always intelligent. Without solid, convincing evidence, why would we conclude any different when the origin is unknown.

  223. 224

    Mark Frank:

    Correlation is a relationship between two variables. Which variables do you have in mind?

    Occasionally I’m tempted get snippy and remind someone of what a word means. But I always check the dictionary first. That way I don’t end up looking… you know.

    1: the state or relation of being correlated ; specifically : a relation existing between phenomena or things or between mathematical or statistical variables which tend to vary, be associated, or occur together in a way not expected on the basis of chance alone

    But of course we know that there is no such thing as correlation. Anything can be expected on the basis of chance alone.

  224. #222

    I am sorry – but your comment #188 to which you direct me is circular. It proposes that intelligent design is the cause of life but does not say what intelligent design is – so we are no further forward. What are you hypothesising is the cause of life?

    I have been over the claim that RM+NS cannot be tested many times elsewhere. Here are some ways it could be disproved totally:

    * The earth might turn out to be too young

    * Inheritance might turn out to be a blended mechanism not particulate

    * Evolution of species might turn not to be based on a hierarchy

    * RM+NS might fail to happen on at a micro level

    It can also be disproved as an explanation for specific developments and indeed the whole point of this thread is that it has turned out to be false in some specific instances (thanks Cornelius)

    SO let’s put that one behind us. Now produce a similar list of outcomes incompatible with the ID hypothesis (when we get round to finding out what you mean by it).

  225. #224

    OK. Correlation between what two (or more)phenomena or things?

  226. 227

    ScotAndrews

    Abiogenesis is not testable. It’s a series of wild guesses.

    While I agree it’s not “testable”, even if I’m not quite sure what you mean by that I’d take issue with “a series of wild guesses”.

    For example, Wächtershäuser’s iron-sulfur world theory presents a a consistent system of working back from today’s biochemistry back to ancestral reactions that provide alternative pathways to the synthesis of organic building blocks from simple gaseous compounds.

    A “wild guess”? I think not.

    Do you have a theory that goes into similar levels of detail?

  227. 228

    Mark Frank:

    I have been over the claim that RM+NS cannot be tested many times elsewhere. Here are some ways it could be disproved totally:

    Why should RM+NS be taken seriously enough that anyone should bother to disprove it? Where did you get this idea that it is the default explanation until it is falsified? The last time I asked for positive evidence I got dog breeding and computer simulations.

  228. 229

    Mark Frank:

    OK. Correlation between what two (or more)phenomena or things?

    After all that, I was making an irrelevant side point.
    There’s a correlation between information and probability. The odds of creating a word by chance are greater then creating a sentence by chance, which are greater than creating a book by chance.
    It wasn’t very relevant to the discussion.

  229. 230

    Echidna.Levy:

    For example, Wächtershäuser’s iron-sulfur world theory presents a a consistent system of working back from today’s biochemistry back to ancestral reactions that provide alternative pathways to the synthesis of organic building blocks from simple gaseous compounds.

    It’s an interesting story, nothing more. No one knows whether the environment he imagines existed, or whether the reactions he described are possible. It’s a detailed guess, but a wild guess nonetheless.

    Do you have a theory that goes into similar levels of detail?

    I don’t follow your reasoning – what good are levels of detail when we’re making stuff up? I’d be far more impressed if someone said, “Some chemicals mixed together and formed life. We have no idea how it happened.” But my detector goes off when someone describes five billion years ago like he has it under a microscope.

  230. 231

    Scott

    Where did you get this idea that it is the default explanation until it is falsified?

    Like it or lump it, that’s the current situation. Don’t forget that the default explanation for almost all of human history was that a deity of some kind did it. If it turns about again it’ll be on the basis of evidence. But that’s fine is it not? How else would you want it to be?

    The last time I asked for positive evidence I got dog breeding and computer simulations.

    And your positive evidence is? I’m asking you for your positive evidence. What is it please?

  231. 232

    It’s an interesting story, nothing more.

    Red Riding Hood is a story. You can’t investivate it or attempt to determine if it’s viable.

    No one knows whether the environment he imagines existed,

    Are you familiar with the theory then?

    or whether the reactions he described are possible.

    Reactions can be tested. A simple matter of chemistry no?

    It’s a detailed guess, but a wild guess nonetheless.

    Well, it’s all a guess is it not? It just so happens that some guesses are more accurate then others and you can make predictions and see if they are true or not.

    What level of evidence would move it from “A guess” to “That’s possible, even probable” or even “That’s likely how it happened” for you Scott? What are you looking for here?

    What would convince you that life had a naturalistic origin Scott?

  232. 233

    Echidna.Levi

    What would convince you that life had a naturalistic origin Scott?

    Repeat it. (The origin, not the question.) The rest is talk. Get some iron and sulphur in lab and make some pets.

  233. 234

    Repeat it. (The origin, not the question.) The rest is talk. Get some iron and sulphur in lab and make some pets.

    Then it’s just a matter of time. Great strides are made seemingly daily in this regard. A signifiant step towards this was recently in the news, as I’m sure you are aware.

    But please clarify. How does human beings creating artificial life have anything to do with the origin of life on planet Earth?

    And a few comments up I asked

    And your positive evidence is? I’m asking you for your positive evidence. What is it please?

    Just wondering….

  234. StephenB (219),

    Now can you provide the answer to your own question at 170?

  235. 236

    Echidna.Levy

    Then it’s just a matter of time. Great strides are made seemingly daily in this regard.

    I hear the occasional report about replicating RNA with meticulous assistance. I don’t think they’re ever going to find anything, and to accept the premise without the evidence is loosely called “faith.”

    But please clarify. How does human beings creating artificial life have anything to do with the origin of life on planet Earth?

    Supposedly if life originated once, why not twice? Perhaps the environment is wrong, existing life kills it off, or we’re just not looking. So create the environment, stand back, and watch. If you grow something new, I was dead wrong.
    Until that time, you may choose to exercise faith that evidence will be found. That is not science. For me, and for nearly everyone where biology is not concerned, randomness does not organize and build things. We have no experience to suggest it ever has or will. That’s why I’m not holding my breath.

  236. #228

    Why should RM+NS be taken seriously enough that anyone should bother to disprove it? Where did you get this idea that it is the default explanation until it is falsified? The last time I asked for positive evidence I got dog breeding and computer simulations.

    Uhm – that’s a well established method for establishing any scientific hypothesis – make predictions based on the hypothesis and if they are false that’s evidence against it, if they are true that’s evidence for. It is not necessary that the hypothesis should be the default.

  237. 238

    ScottAndrews

    So create the environment, stand back, and watch.

    How long do you think it would take?

    If you grow something new, I was dead wrong.

    Science does not care about you as an invidividual. If you want you opinion to matter then it has to be you who proves other people wrong, not simply wait to be proved wrong. Armchair scientist much?

    Until that time, you may choose to exercise faith that evidence will be found.

    It seems to me that you are the one with faith. Evidence of what exactly?

    That is not science.

    You are 100% right there.

    For me, and for nearly everyone where biology is not concerned, randomness does not organize and build things.

    And yet today you probably heard some music where a component was randomised. Or played a computer game with a random procedural texture. Randomness is every all around us all the time.

    We have no experience to suggest it ever has or will.

    We have no experence of a “designer” designing life millions of years ago either yet that is the conclusion you’ve come to.

    That’s why I’m not holding my breath.

    I’m sure the world is waiting with baited breath for your next oration.

  238. 239

    Echidna.Levy,

    ——-”I’m sure the world is waiting with baited breath for your next oration.”

    I am, it beats yours all day long.

  239. —Gaz: “Now can you provide the answer to your own question at 170?”

    Well, of course I can. I didn’t ask the question because I didn’t know the answer. The whole idea was to find out if their are any Darwinists around who are intellectually honest enough to respond. Of course, I know that answer to that one as well. Still, it was a fun exercise.

    Indeed, I haven’t had this much of a kick since I asked Darwinists if they believed that the law of non-contradiction applies to the real world. They didn’t think so. I followed up by asking them if the principle that the whole is always greater than any one of its parts was “self-evidently true.” They said absolutely not. So, I asked them if an automobile could be part of a crankshaft. They didn’t see the connection. Darwinists are fun.

  240. StephenB (240),

    So what is the answer, and why?

  241. ScottAndrews:
    Why should RM+NS be taken seriously enough that anyone should bother to disprove it?

    It is interesting to note that ID advocates with scientific credentials and access to research funds and space deign not to test their own hypotheses.

    Where did you get this idea that it is the default explanation until it is falsified?

    I cannot speak for anyone else, but perhaps it is from ID advocates and sundry creationists who firmly believe that if they can poke enough holes in “Darwinism” then their preferred “explanations” are thus correct.

    The last time I asked for positive evidence I got dog breeding and computer simulations.

    I’ve asked over a period of years for actual positive evidence for ID/creationism. All I ever am provided with are bouts of evolution/evolutionist/Darwin bashing and analogies.

    At least dog breeding and computer simulations are positive support. You may not like it or agree with it, but even such simple ‘examples’ are more substantive than analogies presented as evidence.

  242. Stephen,
    if you think responding to straightforward requests for scientific information with silly wannabe-Socratic questions about stone tablets on Mars gives you a kick, be my guest. but all it does is show once again that ID is all talk and no rock.

  243. “Darwinists are fun.”

    Almost as fun as Johnson-Dembskiists.

  244. Cornelius:
    This leaves evolutionists in an awkward position, to say the least.

    Almost as awkward, one might say, as having to find a way to explain why, despite there being a plethora of freely available pictures and drawings of thylacines on the internet, one felt it necessary to take a picture of a wolf and fiddle with the contrast and reverse the image and present it as an example of how similar wolves and thylacines are.

  245. 246

    #237:
    Fair enough. My point is that not every theory is worth disproving. It wasn’t a very useful comment.
    As for your question, similar ways to disprove ID, it’s very simple. Keep in mind, ID does not address only biology. ID is falsified when it ascribes intelligence to anything not caused by intelligence. In other words, if an object bearing complex, specified information should occur by chance, ID would mistake it for intelligence, which means ID doesn’t work.
    (Granted, there’s a little leeway for refinement, but not much. If it starts making exceptions, something is wrong.)
    And this is commonly known. Anyone can knock it down. Zap chemicals with electricity. Run a random computer simulation. Anything. If a living thing or a paragraph or a machine comes out, then a cause other than intelligence can lead to apparent design.
    There are some resources out there and some people who hate ID. Why isn’t anyone working on this? My guess – people like to imagine something from nothing, but when push comes to shove no one expects to see it.

  246. 247

    derwood:

    I’ve asked over a period of years for actual positive evidence for ID/creationism.

    I’ll sidestep the meaningless “ID/creationism” remark which tells me you haven’t bothered to inform yourself on what you’re debating.
    I’m feeling like a broken record. ID is an inference. The positive evidence of ID is that every occurrence of complex, specified information for which the physical cause is known was created intelligently. Every one. No exceptions. The only known cause is intelligence. Therefore, when we find a thing of unknown origin exhibits the same characteristics, it’s logical and scientific to attribute them to the same cause.
    If there were exceptions, the inference wouldn’t hold water. But there are none, unless you can think of something.
    That’s the evidence. If there’s some chemical trace of a designer, it’s for chemistry to find.
    Frankly, I think it’s like the high school exercise where you have to prove that a VW Bug isn’t alive. It’s a lot of work to quantify the obvious.

  247. ScottAndrews:

    RM+NS has been tested in the lab with bacteria, and has evolved them into nearly identical bacteria in more generations than supposedly turned rats into elephants.

    Hmmm. About 40,000 generations, you’re thinking of.

    40,000 generations ago, elephants were pretty much elephants, and all the great apes were “nearly identical” great apes, and our ancestors were upright walking, tool making great apes.

    Where do you get your information from?

  248. Frankly, I think it’s like the high school exercise where you have to prove that a VW Bug isn’t alive. It’s a lot of work to quantify the obvious.

    Not really. A VW bug is not comprised of cells, the smallest unit of life. It cannot obtain and use energy. It cannot grow, develop, reproduce, or respond to its environment. It cannot adapt.

    Next?

  249. ScottAndrews:

    The positive evidence of ID is that every occurrence of complex, specified information for which the physical cause is known was created intelligently. Every one. No exceptions. The only known cause is intelligence. Therefore, when we find a thing of unknown origin exhibits the same characteristics, it’s logical and scientific to attribute them to the same cause.

    A claim which is completely negated by the fact that every single intelligent designer known (every one, no exceptions) has complex specified information as a prerequisite.

    Your claim is also dubious, because chemical reactions are a “known cause” of chemical phenomena, and in every single case where we know the cause of natural chemical phenomena, chemical reactions are responsible. Therefore, (as you say) “when we find a thing of unknown origin exhibits the same characteristics, it’s logical and scientific to attribute them to the same cause.”

    And life is a chemical phenomenon.

  250. 251

    iconofid @247:
    Zing! I guess life came from a poof! and its variations by accident after all. It’s a fantasy with no proof opposed to a conclusion based on evidence. Believe what you will.

  251. 252

    iconfid @249:

    A claim which is completely negated by the fact that every single intelligent designer known (every one, no exceptions) has complex specified information as a prerequisite.

    By your exact reasoning, parents cannot be the cause of children because parents require parents which are also children.
    I’m not twisting your logic. That is what you’re saying.
    How does your observation negate my claim and not apply in the case above?

  252. 253

    And life is a chemical phenomenon.

    And a book is paper and ink.

  253. —khan: “if you think responding to straightforward requests for scientific information with silly wannabe-Socratic questions about stone tablets on Mars gives you a kick, be my guest. but all it does is show once again that ID is all talk and no rock.”

    I am the one asking the questions, and you are the one who refuses to answer. If you are not willing to answer my question @170, which was related to your objection to my comments, why should I answer your question, which was not. If, as you say, you have no interest in CSI in principle, then perhaps you should not issue challenges on such matters. That’s what I love about Darwinists. They love to issue challenges, but they never take them up. They are always ready to scrutinize, never ready to be scrutinized. Darwinists are fun.

  254. ScottAndrews:

    iconofid @247:
    Zing! I guess life came from a poof! and its variations by accident after all. It’s a fantasy with no proof opposed to a conclusion based on evidence. Believe what you will.

    I think that the post you’re replying to has now become “248″ (probably a moderated post was inserted somewhere upthread – a confusing system!). Your reply doesn’t answer my point, which was about your extreme technical inaccuracy.

    iconfid @249: (now 250!)

    A claim which is completely negated by the fact that every single intelligent designer known (every one, no exceptions) has complex specified information as a prerequisite.

    (Scott):

    By your exact reasoning, parents cannot be the cause of children because parents require parents which are also children.
    I’m not twisting your logic. That is what you’re saying.
    How does your observation negate my claim and not apply in the case above?

    You don’t seem to be following my logic. You’re attempting to explain “specified complexity” by evoking creatures (intelligent designers) who can’t exist without it. “Evolutionists” do not seek to explain the existence of children by simply saying “there are parents”. In fact, that characterizes your own argument better, because parents require parents, and explanation requires something other than infinite regression.

    We look for explanations for both parents and children which are neither (chemical and biological evolution). We do not claim things like “a parent started life on earth, and that explains children”.

    But you’re explaining SC by using something for which it is a prerequisite (intelligent designers). It’s a bit like saying intelligent designers require intelligent designers.

  255. 256

    iconofld:
    The infinite regression issue doesn’t hold water. The evidence of intelligent cause doesn’t disappear because it leaves an unanswered question or several.
    The same reasoning could argue that nothing exists because all existence requires an ultimate cause. And yet here we are.

    I don’t think that people always stop and consider what an absurd premise we’re debating. Random natural forces acting constructively, planning, and inventing, are a fantasy. There is nothing in the history of science or before to suggest otherwise. It’s not to be taken seriously. It’s fit for ridicule, but that’s not polite. Nothing short of replication or a really good time-lapse model with extreme close-ups will convince me otherwise. If believing in miracles is irrational, what is believing in accidental miracles?

  256. StephenB (254),

    I have repeatedly asked you for an answer to your question at 170. If it makes you happy, I don’t know the answer and I want you to tell me what it is.

    Now please answer.

  257. ScottAndrews:

    I don’t think that people always stop and consider what an absurd premise we’re debating. Random natural forces acting constructively, planning, and inventing, are a fantasy.

    Of course random natural forces “planning and inventing” are a fantasy. Remember, it is not the naturalist point of view that organisms require “planning and inventing”, it is yours!

    What I was picking on was the argument that you presented as positive evidence for I.D., which was this:

    “The positive evidence of ID is that every occurrence of complex, specified information for which the physical cause is known was created intelligently. Every one. No exceptions. The only known cause is intelligence. Therefore, when we find a thing of unknown origin exhibits the same characteristics, it’s logical and scientific to attribute them to the same cause.

    What I was trying to explain was that, if you regard such “every occurrence of” arguments as positive evidence, then you would have to consider a number of such arguments as positive evidence against intelligent design, like the “all observed intelligent designers have CSI as a prerequisite, therefore it’s reasonable to infer that CSI doesn’t require intelligent design”.

    What you seem to be doing is reacting to the idea of the naturalistic formation of the simplest possible self-replicator with incredulity, and then proposing something millions of times more complex than that self-replicator, unknown intelligent designers, as an alternative explanation.

  258. What is the evolutionary hypothesis based on natural selection and random mutations?

    IOW how can we test the premise that the bacterial flagellum arose from a population of bacteria that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

    It is very telling that not ONE evo has stepped forward to provide some positive evidence for their position.

    All you clowns have to do is actually start supporting your position with real scientific data and ID will fade away.

    However your current approach proves you are ignorant of science.

  259. Khan, David, Alan, Mark, derwood, icon, gaz:

    The design inference is based on observation and experience. Also it is testable. What else do you want besides absolute proof?

  260. iconofid:

    And life is a chemical phenomenon.

    And that is nothing but a bald assertion.

    But I take it that is how you do science- via bald assertions.

  261. Joseph:
    The design inference is based on observation and experience.

    Really? What biological structure has been observed being Designed by the Designer postulated by the ID movement?

    Also it is testable. What else do you want besides absolute proof?

    How does one test hypotheses of Design? Claims that it is impossible for evolution to do it are not really tests of ID.

    By the way – I’m still wondering what event in Iraq caused your injuries. As I mentioned before, it appears that no incidents took place in the place and timeframe that you claimed.

  262. 263

    iconofid:

    “all observed intelligent designers have CSI as a prerequisite, therefore it’s reasonable to infer that CSI doesn’t require intelligent design”.

    Every scientific explanation of every event ever leads to an issue of regression. It can’t be sidestepped. That’s no excuse for tossing aside the evidence and making up stories.

    What you seem to be doing is reacting to the idea of the naturalistic formation of the simplest possible self-replicator with incredulity, and then proposing something millions of times more complex than that self-replicator, unknown intelligent designers, as an alternative explanation.

    How can something be complex when designed, and yet simple when it comes from nothing? If design is a million times more complex, then obviously abiogenesis is a million times simpler. In that case it should be fairly easy to replicate.
    Why do you think that attaching “unknown” to “designer” makes it unfathomably complex? Why doesn’t the “unknown” in front of “cause and mechanism of abiogenesis” phase you?

  263. The design inference is based on observation and experience.

    Really?kquote>

    Really, really.

    What biological structure has been observed being Designed by the Designer postulated by the ID movement?

    There isn’t any designer postulated by the design movement.

    We don’t know who or how many designers there were/ are.

    However we have observed designing agencies and know what they can do with nature.

    We have also observed nature, operating freely and have a good grasp on that.

    So we couple the two.

    Now if you don’t like the design inference then all YOU have to do is demonstrate that nature, operating freely can account for it.

    However it is obvious thaty you can’t and therefor you are reduced to arguing from ignorance.

    Also it is testable. What else do you want besides absolute proof?

    How does one test hypotheses of Design? Claims that it is impossible for evolution to do it are not really tests of ID.

    1- ID does NOT claim that it is impossible for evolution to do it. Only ignorant people say that.

    2- You test the design hypothesis by seeing if it meets the design criteria.

    If it does then we infer design.

    Then someone can come and either confirm or refute that inference- just as with ALL scientific inferences.

    By the way – I’m still wondering what event in Iraq caused your injuries.

    Good for you.

    As I mentioned before, it appears that no incidents took place in the place and timeframe that you claimed.

    What timeframe did I claim?

    Do you think that all incidents are reported? Are you that stupid?

  264. Joseph quoting:

    iconofid:

    “And life is a chemical phenomenon.”

    (Joseph):
    And that is nothing but a bald assertion.

    But I take it that is how you do science- via bald assertions.

    What are you made of, Joseph? Angeldust? Chemicals? What does observation tell you?

    Joseph:

    “IOW how can we test the premise that the bacterial flagellum arose from a population of bacteria that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents?”

    We could test the general proposition of mutation and selection in relation to bacteria to see whether bacteria adjust to environmental challenges by putting them in new circumstances and waiting for advantageous adaptions.

    Then, we could look for homologies in the actual flagellum, and also see if we could find any subset of the components of the flagellum functioning as something different elsewhere to test the sub-hypothesis of exaptation.

    Then we could do something like knock out a couple of the components, including a very important one, and find that there was still some motility. Then we might find, for example, that a couple of mutations elsewhere increased that motility, meaning that we have witnessed two possible reduced versions of the current “machine”.

    Then we could look for pathways that would involve step by step development, with each step presenting an advantage to the organism that would be selected for.

    All of the above have been done, and probably more, so we can see how methodological naturalism looks at the present to try and figure out the past, although historical science is far from easy, and research is ongoing.

    How’s the research going in the methodological supernaturalism camp, Joseph? Has any positive evidence for the existence of such things as supernatural beings come up? And how is work progressing on the problem of how disembodied beings would react with matter? Once those areas have been dealt with, and your mechanisms established, you could start to perhaps test your equivalent to what you demand of naturalists, and test the hypothesis that bacterial flagella are designed and constructed by attempting to show how it happened.

    Do you think that any significant progress will be made in these areas by I.D. scientists over the next 500 years?

  265. iconofid-

    There isn’t any data that demonstrates living organisms are reducible to chemicals.

    None, nada, zip, zilch, zero.

    However if you, or anyone else, comes up with such a demonstration then ID would be falsified.

    Also the only scientific observation we have says that life begets life.

    Anything else is science fiction.

    “IOW how can we test the premise that the bacterial flagellum arose from a population of bacteria that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents?”

    We could test the general proposition of mutation and selection in relation to bacteria to see whether bacteria adjust to environmental challenges by putting them in new circumstances and waiting for advantageous adaptions.

    And that is in line with the Creation model of biological evolution.

    Then, we could look for homologies in the actual flagellum, and also see if we could find any subset of the components of the flagellum functioning as something different elsewhere to test the sub-hypothesis of exaptation.

    Homologies assume descent.

    Is there any way to differentiate betweem homology and homoplasy?

    Is there any data which demonstrates unguided processes can take a component used for one thing and co-opt it for use in something else?

    How’s the research going in the methodological supernaturalism camp, Joseph?

    No idea what that even is.

    You do realize that even your position requires something beyond nature. That is because science has told us that nature had a begining. And seeing that natural processes only exist in nature they cannot account for its origins.

    So the bottom line is you are ignorant of ID and you think your ignorance is a refutation.

    Not only that but your “test” is full of holes.

  266. 267

    iconofid:
    You seem acquainted with ID, but you continue demanding that a logical inference provide mechanical explanations.
    You seem convinced that naturalistic evolution is a reality simply because experiments are performed attempting to verify it, despite that those experiments reveal nothing. Your perpetual expectation that the evidence will eventually support your beliefs is not faith, but hope. Why should I abandon a logical conclusion based on evidence in favor of such hope?
    BTW, in which ID research paper do you find the words “disembodied beings?”

  267. Joseph says:

    iconofid-There isn’t any data that demonstrates living organisms are reducible to chemicals.

    None, nada, zip, zilch, zero.

    However if you, or anyone else, comes up with such a demonstration then ID would be falsified.

    What are we supposed to demonstrate isn’t there, and why isn’t the onus on I.D. to demonstrate that whatever it is is there? And don’t give me properties which would be the equivalent of saying that water has wetness.

    Also the only scientific observation we have says that life begets life.

    We certainly have the observation that life begets life, but we also have the scientific observations that tell us that the universe was not always in a state that would support life, so “life begets life” cannot be an eternal law, and cannot apply to the inevitable first life.

    Anything else is science fiction.

    To parrot: “I take it that is how you do science – by bald assertions”.

    Joseph:

    “IOW how can we test the premise that the bacterial flagellum arose from a population of bacteria that never had one via an accumulation of genetic accidents?”

    Iconofid:
    We could test the general proposition of mutation and selection in relation to bacteria to see whether bacteria adjust to environmental challenges by putting them in new circumstances and waiting for advantageous adaptions.

    Joseph:
    And that is in line with the Creation model of biological evolution.

    Really? Then there’s no apparent reason why the evolution of bacterial flagella by mutation and selection shouldn’t be in line with the “Creation model of biological evolution”.

    Describe this model, and tell us:

    In the creation model, is there a limit to the number of mutations and selection stages that can happen to an organism, and if so, what is that limit, and why does it exist?

    Is there any data which demonstrates unguided processes can take a component used for one thing and co-opt it for use in something else?

    Careful with your constant use of the word “unguided”, because natural selection guides things in biology just as the contours of the land can guide the course of a stream. The verb “to guide” doesn’t automatically imply sentience on the part of the guide.

    So, is there evidence for exaptation? Yes, plenty.

    You do realize that even your position requires something beyond nature. That is because science has told us that nature had a begining. And seeing that natural processes only exist in nature they cannot account for its origins.

    Current science takes us back to a point close to “time = 0″, and beyond that is the unknown.

    Never mistake what is unknown to humans at any particular time as being unnatural, non-natural, or supernatural. Such mistakes were typical of our superstitious ancestors, and you should know better.

  268. Natural selection is a result and doesn’t guide anything.

    Now if you could demonstrate that living organisms are reducible to their chemical components then ID falls.

    YOU have the power.

    If an IDist goes into the lab a creates a bacterial flagellum is that evidence for ID? No.

    blockquote>Then there’s no apparent reason why the evolution of bacterial flagella by mutation and selection shouldn’t be in line with the “Creation model of biological evolution”.

    As long as the mutations were directed by an internal program.

    In the creation model, is there a limit to the number of mutations and selection stages that can happen to an organism, and if so, what is that limit, and why does it exist?

    The limit is until the organism dies and the population becomes extinct.

    Never mistake what is unknown to humans at any particular time as being unnatural, non-natural, or supernatural.

    And yet that is exactly what YOU are doing with ID.

    You are pathetic.

  269. We certainly have the observation that life begets life, but we also have the scientific observations that tell us that the universe was not always in a state that would support life, so “life begets life” cannot be an eternal law, and cannot apply to the inevitable first life.

    You mean we don’t know.

    As far as we know “life” could be a fundamental entity such as matter and energy.

  270. ScottAndrews says:

    iconofid:
    You seem acquainted with ID, but you continue demanding that a logical inference provide mechanical explanations.

    I make the same demands of I.D. that I.D.ers habitually make of evolutionary theory, and it is not logical to infer that highly complex beings with complex organs like brains can come into existence before single celled life so:

    BTW, in which ID research paper do you find the words “disembodied beings?”

    None. One of your fellow I.D. supporters mentioned them to me recently, but your own arguments seem to imply them. You’re incredulous about a single celled organism being produce by chemical evolution, so how could embodied intelligent designers appear, creatures with things with brains, like us, in order to design the original life?

    You seem convinced that naturalistic evolution is a reality simply because experiments are performed attempting to verify it, despite that those experiments reveal nothing.

    Wrong. Naturalistic evolution is something that can be observed directly, happening now, and historical evolution can be indirectly observed by looking at things in the present. That’s why I’m convinced that “naturalistic evolution is a reality”.

    Your perpetual expectation that the evidence will eventually support your beliefs is not faith, but hope.

    See above.

    Why should I abandon a logical conclusion based on evidence in favor of such hope?

    It is not logical to look at intelligent designers like ourselves, who depend on loads of CSI for our existence, designing things with CSI, and then to conclude that intelligence must be the source of all CSI from your observations, because CSI is a prerequisite for the existence of intelligence.

  271. Joseph:

    And yet that is exactly what YOU are doing with ID.

    You are pathetic.

    Joseph, it is your own arguments which tell us that the unknown intelligent designers of I.D. must be supernatural. Either that, or they cannot exist according to those arguments.

    Surely even you can understand this.

  272. 273

    iconofid:

    how could embodied intelligent designers appear, creatures with things with brains, like us, in order to design the original life?

    Very well, we’ll call it iconofid’s Law: Intelligence cannot beget intelligence. It may be baseless and fabricated and will inevitably require exceptions, but if it gets you where you need to be, good for you.
    Having applied your made-up rule, you’ve defeated the evidence and eliminated the explanation you don’t like. Now the best answer is “nobody knows.”

  273. ScottAndrews:

    Very well, we’ll call it iconofid’s Law: Intelligence cannot beget intelligence.

    Why make up a law in my name when it’s not what I said? Better would be “you cannot explain something complex by evoking even greater complexity”.

  274. 275

    iconofid @273:
    Ok, then we can’t explain radios by evoking humans, because humans are more complex than radios.
    Can we name that one after you?

  275. ScottAndrews:

    iconofid @273:
    Ok, then we can’t explain radios by evoking humans, because humans are more complex than radios.
    Can we name that one after you?

    Right you are, and that law was wrong. I hadn’t thought of making up a law until you attributed another false one to me. Still, I’ll give it a proper go.

    You cannot explain “CSI” by evoking something that has “CSI” as a prerequisite.

    What I think is wrong with your incredulity at chemical evolution causing an original life form and your credulity at the idea of intelligent designers being involved is that intelligent designers are far more complex than chemical autocatalysis, and therefore require much more explanation.

  276. 277

    iconofid @275:
    Believe me, the problem of infinite regression is not lost on me. But it doesn’t take away the problem immediately in front of us.
    The rule, as stipulated, still eliminates the possibility that a creator can create another creator. Why not?
    It implies that in the natural order of things, the simple must precede the complex. I don’t know of any observation that backs that up.

  277. ScottAndrews:

    It implies that in the natural order of things, the simple must precede the complex. I don’t know of any observation that backs that up.

    We are talking about life, so check out the fossil record, and see what your observations are.

  278. 279

    iconofid:
    If one were to create an ecology, the little things would have to come first.
    Sometimes the simple does precede the complex.
    If we ever synthesize life, I’m sure we’ll start with bacteria or viruses and eventually move on to pets. The complex (us) would precede the simple.

  279. ScottAndrews:

    If one were to create an ecology, the little things would have to come first.
    Sometimes the simple does precede the complex.
    If we ever synthesize life, I’m sure we’ll start with bacteria or viruses and eventually move on to pets. The complex (us) would precede the simple.

    Certainly, complex creatures can make simple things. Also, in evolution, complex creatures could loose features and become simpler in circumstances where it’s to their advantage to do so.

    But that’s not my point. It is that complexity of the kind you see in intelligent life forms like ourselves requires simplicity to precede it, so far as our observations go, whereas simplicity does not require complexity to precede it. So, when we look at OOL, it doesn’t really make sense to express incredulity at ideas based on simplicity evolving into complexity, and then be credulous about instant complexity making simplicity ideas.

    Think about it. Wouldn’t you be surprised if the flow of lava from a volcano shaped itself into an instant intelligent troll capable of designing a microorganism? Doesn’t step by step chemical evolution make more sense just as an idea, even without the growing (especially in the last few years) research that supports it?

  280. iconofid:

    Joseph, it is your own arguments which tell us that the unknown intelligent designers of I.D. must be supernatural.

    My arguments say that the designer at best can be classified as pre-natural.

    And REALITY says that even your position relies on something beyond nature.

    Ya see, as I have told you, natural processes only exist in nature and therefor cannot account for its origin.

    And in the end if you don’t like the design inference you can refute it just by actually supporting YOUR position as opposed to continually arguing from ignorance.

  281. 282

    “pre-natural,” like “the creation theory of evolution,” is a Josephism.

  282. David Kellogg:

    “pre-natural,” like “the creation theory of evolution,” is a Josephism.

    “Pre-natural” just happens to be the correct choice. “Pre” meaning before.

    And the creation model of biological evolution is called baraminology.

    The father of baraminology is none other than Linneaus who was searching for the Created Kind when he came up with the classification system we still use today (binomial nomenclature).

    But I wouldn’t expect Kellogg to understand any of that.

  283. iconofid:

    Doesn’t step by step chemical evolution make more sense just as an idea, even without the growing (especially in the last few years) research that supports it?

    Too bad there isn’t any research that supports it.

    The latest research pretty much demonstrates that reductionism is a loser’s cause.

  284. Joseph says:

    My arguments say that the designer at best can be classified as pre-natural.

    Really? I thought I.D. didn’t tell us anything about the designer(s), so how do you know this? And “pre-natural” would mean “pre-time”, a concept with a built in contradiction.

    And REALITY says that even your position relies on something beyond nature.

    Ya see, as I have told you, natural processes only exist in nature and therefor cannot account for its origin.

    What makes you think nature has an origin? Where time = 0, nature could be eternal or aternal. So far as we know, nature is everything. There’s no evidence for anything else.

    And in the end if you don’t like the design inference you can refute it just by actually supporting YOUR position as opposed to continually arguing from ignorance.

    My position is that everything in the universe is a part of it, and a product of its history. Why should I “support” what appears to be obvious? If someone wants to suggest otherwise, the burden of proof is on them.

  285. 286

    No research that supports it, Joseph? have you seen this (a nice summary of recent development in OOL research)? I suppose it doesn’t hold a candle to the research you’re doing in your basement, but still . . .

  286. iconofid:

    What makes you think nature has an origin?

    Science. Science has demonstrated this universe, ie nature, had a beginning, meaning an origin.

    My position is that everything in the universe is a part of it, and a product of its history.

    And that sez absolutely nutyhin’.

    Ya see it’s that history we are concerned with.

    Stonehenge has a history also.

    Why should I “support” what appears to be obvious?

    Because it doesn’t support your position.

    Saying it is a product of its history could mean it was a product of a designer.

    That you didn’t realize that just demonstrates how clueless you are,

  287. David Kellogg,

    The New York Times is NOT a peer-reviewed reference and what it says is meaningless.

    The experiment by Sutherland required intelligent intervention all along the way.

    Did you read the peer-reviewed paper?

    It dopesn’t help you at all and as a matter of fact it pretty much demonstrated that reductionism is dead.

    That the liberal NYT chooses instead to ignore those facts and instead push on just demonstrates they have an agenda.

  288. My arguments say that the designer at best can be classified as pre-natural.

    Really?

    Really, really.

    I thought I.D. didn’t tell us anything about the designer(s), so how do you know this?

    I didn’t need ID for that it is just a logical deduction.

    Perhaps that is why you don’t understand it.

    Which is also why you don’t understand the fact that YOUR position requires something beyond nature to get it started.

  289. 290

    iconofid:

    complexity of the kind you see in intelligent life forms like ourselves requires simplicity to precede it

    That’s not a valid argument because you’re making it up. Which kind of complexity requires simplicity? Which kind requires complexity? The kind that requires complexity, does that complexity require simplicity or complexity?
    You’re making it up.

  290. 291

    Joseph

    The New York Times is NOT a peer-reviewed reference and what it says is meaningless.

    To clarify, are you saying that without peer review a publication is worthless?

  291. ScottAndrews:

    That’s not a valid argument because you’re making it up. Which kind of complexity requires simplicity? Which kind requires complexity? The kind that requires complexity, does that complexity require simplicity or complexity?
    You’re making it up.

    As I said, Scott, you can look at the fossil record. Aren’t we talking about biology? And you can observe, in real time, how things work. Do we get Scott first, followed by a zygote, or the zygote increasing complexity into Scott?

    Don’t you agree with my point that it would be surprising to see a fully formed, highly complex being emerge from rock and start designing bacteria? Would that fit our observations of how things work?

  292. Joseph:

    Science. Science has demonstrated this universe, ie nature, had a beginning, meaning an origin.

    Would you care to show us the calculations?

    And when you say science, do you mean methodological naturalism, or methodological supernaturalism? Or, perhaps, methodological pre-naturalism?

    “And that sez absolutely nutyhin’.

    Ya see it’s that history we are concerned with.

    Stonehenge has a history also.”

    Well done! And it’s certainly a natural part of the universe, as were its designers. Are your intelligent designers part of the universe? You say that they are “pre-natural”, but fail to respond to my pointing out the obvious; that “pre” means nothing where there’s no time.

    “Saying it is a product of its history could mean it was a product of a designer.”

    Obviously. My computer is a natural part of the universe, and the product of natural designers who are part of the natural universe.

    “That you didn’t realize that just demonstrates how clueless you are,”

    Except, of course, I did. We all know there are natural designers and designs, Joseph. As I’ve pointed out, the supernatural comes into the discussion because of the nature of some of the I.D. arguments, which attempt to rule out natural causes for some natural phenomena, like life.

    Tell me, are you “cluefull”, in your opinion?

    Actually, don’t tell me on this thread, as it’s disappeared off the front page, and we may as well all continue these fascinating discussions on more recent threads, as we’re not particularly on this one’s topic.

  293. 294

    iconofid, everybody knows that Stonehenge was designed by thousands of tiny Celtic fairies. :-)

  294. Echinda.Levy:

    To clarify, are you saying that without peer review a publication is worthless?

    A newspaper publication is always worthless.

    And without peer-review science doesn’t care about it.

  295. Science. Science has demonstrated this universe, ie nature, had a beginning, meaning an origin.

    Would you care to show us the calculations?

    You can do your own research.

    Start with “the big bang”.

    And when you say science, do you mean methodological naturalism, or methodological supernaturalism? Or, perhaps, methodological pre-naturalism?

    None of the above.

    The 2004 Encyclopedia Britannica says science is “any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation. In general, a science involves a pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operations of fundamental laws.”

    “A healthy science is a science that seeks the truth.” Paul Nelson, Ph. D., philosophy of biology.

    Linus Pauling, winner of 2 Nobel prizes wrote, “Science is the search for the truth.”

    “But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding.” Albert Einstein

    The truth need not be an absolute truth. Truth in the sense that Drs. Pauling, Einstein & Nelson are speaking is the reality in which we find ourselves. We exist. Science is to help us understand that existence and how it came to be.

    As I like to say- science is our search for the truth, i.e. the reality, to our existence via our never-ending quest for knowledge.

    Stonehenge has a history also.”

    Well done! And it’s certainly a natural part of the universe, as were its designers.

    That is irrelevant.

    Are your intelligent designers part of the universe?

    Very well could be.

    You say that they are “pre-natural”, but fail to respond to my pointing out the obvious; that “pre” means nothing where there’s no time.

    We don’t know when time began.

    Does time require nature?

    Provide the calculatiuon for that.

    Also if nature has a beginning then there was a period before.

    That is obvious.

    And speaking about obvious it is obvious that natural processes cannot account for the origin of nature as they only exist in nature.

    That you keep ignoring that fact speaks volumes about your agenda.

    As I’ve pointed out, the supernatural comes into the discussion because of the nature of some of the I.D. arguments, which attempt to rule out natural causes for some natural phenomena, like life.

    The supernatural comes in because people like you are too stupid to think of anything else.

    ID does NOT require the supernatural.

  296. iconofid:

    As I’ve pointed out, the supernatural comes into the discussion because of the nature of some of the I.D. arguments, which attempt to rule out natural causes for some natural phenomena, like life.

    It’s “natural vs artificial”, not “natural vs supernatural”.

    Stonehenge is natural in that it exists in nature.

    But nature, operating freely did not produce it. It is an artifact.

    IOW icon you think your ignorance is some sort of refutation. And I find that very funny.

  297. 298

    Iconofid:

    As I said, Scott, you can look at the fossil record. Aren’t we talking about biology? And you can observe, in real time, how things work. Do we get Scott first, followed by a zygote, or the zygote increasing complexity into Scott?

    First, you are including the assumption of natural progression (evolution) into your argument for it. If the zygote and Scott were designed, the very same order of appearance can mean something altogether different. Such a progression does not support one theory exclusively.
    Second, such a progression still does not warrant your fabricated rule. You have argued that intelligence cannot beget intelligence because complexity cannot beget complexity. This has been your only argument to circumvent the design inference, but it is pulled from thin air. You can’t explain away evidence by inventing new laws.

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