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Human or not?

Heidelberg man (Wikipedia)

A recent post on Uncommon Descent correctly pointed out that Neanderthal man was not a primitive species of human being, but a race of people who buried their dead and had larger brains than ours. Consequently, evidence that some modern people have Neanderthal DNA in their genes does not constitute evidence for the common ancestry of humans and apes, per se. Indeed, Casey Luskin made this very point in an article on Evolution News, in response to claims by evolutionists Karl Giberson and Francis Collins in their book The Language of Science and Faith (InterVarsity Press, 2011, pp. 43-44) that evidence for a genetic connection between modern humans and Neanderthals bolsters the case for “common ancestry.”

Now, I happen to believe that humans and apes do in fact share a common ancestry, although I would add that the development of the human brain since humans and apes diverged must have been intelligently guided, and I would also argue that nothing about the human brain can explain intentionality or free will. But what I’d like to discuss today is the question of whether Heidelberg man, the presumed common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern human beings, was also a true human being.

“Why does this matter?” I hear you ask. Because if Heidelberg man wasn’t a true human being, then we’d have a very odd situation indeed: two distinct races of human beings (Neanderthals and us) both diverged from a non-human ancestor. Heidelberg man certainly had a brain capacity in the modern range, but as yet we do not know whether he was capable of language, art or religion.

In a 2009 article entitled Evolution of the Genus Homo (Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2009. 37:67–92, doi: 10.1146/annurev.earth.031208.100202), anthropologists Ian Tattersall and Jeffrey Schwartz write:

The first truly cosmopolitan Homo species is Homo heidelbergensis, known from Africa, Europe, and China following 600 kyr ago [600,000 years ago - VJT]. One species sympatric with it included the >500-kyr-old Sima de los Huesos fossils from Spain, clearly distinct from Homo heidelbergensis and the oldest hominids assignable to the clade additionally containing Homo neanderthalensis. This clade also shows evidence of brain size expansion with time; but although Homo neanderthalensis had a large brain, it left no unequivocal evidence of the symbolic consciousness that makes our species unique…

There is a good deal of variation within this assemblage, … particularly in occipital morphology, nasal profile, the relation of the orbits to the anterior cranial cavity, and the extent of bony pneumatization. But all specimens show the same basic morphology, with a consistent relationship of the face to the cranial vault, brains in the 1120 to 1285 ml range [cf. the average of 1350 ml for modern human beings - VJT], broad and massive lower faces topped by very tall supraorbital margins that peak at approximately midorbit, and twisting anterior supraorbital surfaces (Schwartz & Tattersall 2005).

The very earliest evidence yet recovered for the controlled use of fire in one place over a sustained period of time currently comes from a 595-kyr-old site in Israel (Goren-Inbar et al. 2004), where thick deposits of ash have been found; but it is not until after Terra Amata times that evidence for the domestic use of fire is found more or less routinely in hominid sites. From the same general period come the miraculously preserved 400 kyr old wooden spears from Schoeningen, Germany (Thieme 1997). These weapons, over two meters in length, are carefully shaped with their center of balance far forward, as in modern javelins and not at all as in thrusting spears. The penetrating power of their carefully sharpened wooden tips has been questioned, but use of these spears as missiles would imply ambush hunting, a more sophisticated means of obtaining animal prey than might have been inferred from the lithic record alone. Clearly, in the heyday of Homo heidelbergensis we encounter evidence of a cognitively much more complex hominid than any known in the earlier record—although, significantly, there is no artifact known in this time frame that can unambiguously be interpreted as a symbolic object.

We cannot be certain, however, that all of the significant technological innovations just discussed were actually made by Homo heidelbergensis, because this species clearly shared the Earth with other kinds of hominid. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

The Wikipedia article on Heidelberg man adds:

In theory recent findings in Atapuerca (Spain) also suggest that H. heidelbergensis may have been the first species of the Homo genus to bury their dead, even offering gifts.

Some experts believe that H. heidelbergensis, like its descendant H. neanderthalensis, acquired a primitive form of language. No forms of art or sophisticated artifacts other than stone tools have been uncovered, although red ochre, a mineral that can be used to create a red pigment which is useful as a paint, has been found at Terra Amata excavations in the south of France. (Emphases mine – VJT.)

What do readers think? Was Heidelberg man human or not? And how would you go about deciding that fact? Any ideas?

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53 Responses to Human or not?

  1. YEC Todd Wood casts a fairly wide net around the human family. He would still say that the common ancestor is Adam.

  2. There are a number of things I don’t understand:

    1. Given the diversity of body shapes and sizes found in humans all around the world in 2011, why do small differences in bone structure from ancient and decaying skulls provide evidence of a separate species?

    2. The Wiki page mentions 2.13m tall creatures. The Hebrews also evidenced very tall people when spying out the Promised Land. Why then is height seen as something special or differentiating? Perhaps it was just different diets in different locations?

    3. If there are sufficient bones to reconstruct full bodies of Homo heidelbergensis as shown on the Wiki page, then why does Wiki not show the actual bones as evidence against skeptics like myself?

    The Smithsonian link is broken: Fatal error: Call to undefined function lock_acquire() in /home/houser/ara/vendor/pressflow/includes/bootstrap.inc on line 488

    4. Of two skulls mentioned on the Wiki page, one (strangely if there is evidence) has no page on Wikipedia, and the other has a skull replica. Given the __estimated__ skull capacity of 1,100cm^3, there were obviously not many parts of the skull found. Strange too the Wiki page does not show the actual bones?! Are they a secret?

    5. The partial skull showed evidence of disease in the teeth. What else could disease have done to these creatures? I see that rickets for example has symptoms of dental problems, cranial deformities, and growth disturbance (large foreheads anyone?).

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

    Could these discoveries not be human outcasts that lived in caves due to their diseases? If not, why not?

  3. And then there is genetic evidence;

    Human Evolution? – The Compelling Genetic Evidence For Adam and Eve
    Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4284482

    and this:

    “We found an enormous amount of diversity within and between the African populations, and we found much less diversity in non-African populations,” Tishkoff told attendees today (Jan. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim. “Only a small subset of the diversity in Africa is found in Europe and the Middle East, and an even narrower set is found in American Indians.” Tishkoff; Andrew Clark, Penn State; Kenneth Kidd, Yale University; Giovanni Destro-Bisol, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, and Himla Soodyall and Trefor Jenkins, WITS University, South Africa, looked at three locations on DNA samples from 13 to 18 populations in Africa and 30 to 45 populations in the remainder of the world.-

    ,,, It seems the rest of the fossil record is much easier to figure out; perhaps it is because so much emotion is riding on this evidence, and so much pressure to get it right?!?

  4. Vj: You said: Now, I happen to believe that humans and apes do in fact share a common ancestry, although I would add that the development of the human brain since humans and apes diverged must have been intelligently guided . . .

    I’m interested: could you be more specific about when and how human brain development deviated from a purely natural process and what events and/or evidence leads you to think so? I know it’s not the point of this thread . . . perhaps it could be introduced as a separate topic?

  5. Dr. Torley you state;

    ‘Now, I happen to believe that humans and apes do in fact share a common ancestry,,,, what I’d like to discuss today is the question of whether Heidelberg man, the presumed common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern human beings, was also a true human being.’;

    Dr. Torley, I don’t buy common ancestry of apes and man and can make a strong empirical case for why I don’t believe,,, but to the main point of your post, I don’t buy Heidelberg man was a ‘true’ human being for the same reason I don’t buy Neanderthal was a ‘true’ human being:

    Comment from your main cited paper;

    “although Homo neanderthalensis had a large brain, it left no unequivocal evidence of the symbolic consciousness that makes our species unique.” — “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”

    The authors of the paper, Ian Tattersall and Jeffrey Schwartz, try to find some evolutionary/materialistic reason for the extremely unique ‘information capacity’ of humans, but of course they never find a coherent reason. Indeed why should we ever consider a process, which is utterly incapable of ever generating any complex functional information at even the most foundational levels of molecular biology, to suddenly, magically, have the ability to generate our brain which can readily understand and generate functional information? A brain which has been repeatedly referred to as ‘the Most Complex Structure in the Universe’? The authors never seem to consider the ‘spiritual angle’ for why we would have such a unique capacity for such abundant information processing.

    Genesis 3:8
    And they (Adam and Eve) heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…

    John 1:1-1
    In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Thus Dr. Torley, just from the standpoint of information and how it is generated and processed, which is the heart of the Intelligent Design argument in the first place, I hold that Heidelberg man nor Neanderthal were ‘true’ human beings; I don’t think I am being trivial at all in this distinction for ‘true’ human beings, for I hold that this unique ability of humans to understand and implement information is in fact a tremendous part of what it means to be made ‘in the image of God’;

    ========

    notes:

    As a side light to this, leading quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger has followed in John Archibald Wheeler’s footsteps (1911-2008) by insisting reality, at its most foundational level, is ‘information’.

    “It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom – at a very deep bottom, in most instances – an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin.” John Archibald Wheeler

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.” Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/Magaz.....fault.aspx

    etc.. etc..

  6. speaking of sophisticated art being a uniquely (true) human trait:

    Bet you’ve never heard a song like this before – Music Videos
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=FBEB0MNU

  7. Heidelberg man Neanderthals were hunter-gatherers who lived according to that same basic pattern for hundreds of thousands of years and never progressed any further.

    Early Homo sapiens were similar except that sometime about 14,000 years ago, agriculture, metal working, and complex societies suddenly appeared that are the evidence for a new and higher level of intelligence and a rational soul.

    Genesis tells us that Adam, Cain, and Abel were farmers not hunter-gathers. They lived in the region near the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which is where civilization first appeared.

    Genetic and fossil evidence can only tell us about physical relationships. What makes us different from other intelligent animals is the presence of an immaterial soul. That is what makes us truly human.

  8. What do readers think? Was Heidelberg man human or not? And how would you go about deciding that fact? Any ideas?

    Good questions, and interesting point about Heidelberg as a common ancestor, because if Heidelberg is not a common ancestor then does that mean we have 3 distinct human or very human like branches?

    I first I thought I’d offer religion as an indicator of what it means to be human. By that I mean some sign of an awareness of God.

    But I don’t have any idea what sort of artifacts are taken to indicate a religious inclination. And if early humans actully had a prohibition against making “graven images” it even increases the problem of using religion as a guide.

  9. NZer and interested Heidelberg fans:

    You can view skulls of Heidelberg man at this Web site: https://www.msu.edu/~heslipst/contents/ANP440/heidelbergensis.htm . Click on the images to enlarge them. Enjoy!

  10. NZer

    You ask whether Heidelberg man’s features could be the product of disease. I have to say that I very much doubt it, as Heidelberg man has a suite of primitive features which don’t fit the profile of any disease I know of.

    Tattersall and Schwartz refer to “broad and massive lower faces topped by very tall supraorbital margins that peak at approximately midorbit, and twisting anterior supraorbital surfaces” in their article.

    Another article at
    http://www.archaeologyinfo.com.....gensis.htm describes in detail the anatomical features of Heidelberg man. It lists some primitive features of the original Mauer specimen of Heidelberg man (discovered in 1907):

    (1) A sloping symphysis that contains two mandibular tori on its inner side (primitive).

    (2) An especially broad ramus (primitive).

    (3) A second molar that is larger than the first molar (primitive).

    (4) A very robust mandible (primitive).

    As far as I know, none of these features are associated with rickets, which you mentioned as a possible cause of the features of Heidelberg man.

    By the way, you might find the following medical article on rickets interesting, as it dispels a number of myths about rickets:

    http://mpkb.org/home/diseases/rickets

  11. Ellazimm (#4)

    Thank you for your post. You asked:

    I’m interested: could you be more specific about when and how human brain development deviated from a purely natural process and what events and/or evidence leads you to think so?

    May I refer you to an online article by Steve Dorus et al., entitled, “Accelerated Evolution of Nervous System Genes in the Origin of Homo sapiens” (Cell, Vol. 119, 1027–1040, December 29, 2004).

    Excerpt:

    [T]he evolution of the brain in primates and particularly humans is likely contributed to by a large number of mutations in the coding regions of many underlying genes, especially genes with developmentally biased functions.

    In summary, our study revealed the following broad themes that characterize the molecular evolution of the nervous system in primates and particularly in humans. First, genes underlying nervous system biology exhibit higher average rate of protein evolution as scaled to neutral divergence in primates than in rodents. Second, such a trend is contributed to by a large number of genes. Third, this trend is most prominent for genes involved a implicated in the development of the nervous system. Fourth, within primates, the evolution of these genes is especially accelerated in the lineage leading to humans. Based on these themes, we argue that accelerated protein evolution in a large cohort of nervous system genes, which is particularly pronounced for genes involved in nervous system development, represents a salient genetic correlate to the profound changes in brain size and complexity during primate evolution, especially along the lineage leading to Homo sapiens.

    Here’s the link to a press release relating to the same article:

    Human cognitive abilities resulted from intense evolutionary selection, says Lahn by Catherine Gianaro, in The University of Chicago Chronicle, January 6, 2005, Vol. 24, no. 7.

    University researchers have reported new findings that show genes that regulate brain development and function evolved much more rapidly in humans than in nonhuman primates and other mammals because of natural selection processes unique to the human lineage.

    The researchers, led by Bruce Lahn, Assistant Professor in Human Genetics and an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, reported the findings in the cover article of the Dec. 29, 2004 issue of the journal Cell.

    “Humans evolved their cognitive abilities not due to a few accidental mutations, but rather from an enormous number of mutations acquired through exceptionally intense selection favoring more complex cognitive abilities,” said Lahn. “We tend to think of our own species as categorically different – being on the top of the food chain,” Lahn said. “There is some justification for that.”

    From a genetic point of view, some scientists thought human evolution might be a recapitulation of the typical molecular evolutionary process, he said. For example, the evolution of the larger brain might be due to the same processes that led to the evolution of a larger antler or a longer tusk.

    We’ve proven that there is a big distinction. Human evolution is, in fact, a privileged process because it involves a large number of mutations in a large number of genes,” Lahn said.

    “To accomplish so much in so little evolutionary time – a few tens of millions of years – requires a selective process that is perhaps categorically different from the typical processes of acquiring new biological traits.” (Emphases mine – VJT.)

    And here’s an excerpt from another recent science article: “Gene Expression Differs in Human and Chimp Brains” by Dennis Normile, in “Science”, 6 April 2001, pp. 44-45. Available online at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/.....92/5514/44 (subscription required):

    “I’m not interested in what I share with the mouse; I’m interested in how I differ from our closest relatives, chimpanzees,” says Svante Paabo, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Such comparisons, he argues, are the only way to understand “the genetic underpinnings of what makes humans human.” With the human genome virtually in hand, many researchers are now beginning to make those comparisons. At a meeting here last month, Paabo presented work by his team based on samples of three kinds of tissue, brain cortex, liver, and blood from humans, chimps, and rhesus macaques. Paabo and his colleagues pooled messenger RNA from individuals within each species to get rid of intraspecies variation and ran the samples through a microarray filter carrying 20,000 human cDNAs to determine the level of gene expression. The researchers identified 165 genes that showed significant differences between at least two of the three species, and in at least one type of tissue. The brain contained the greatest percentage of such genes, about 1.3%. It also produced the clearest evidence of what may separate humans from other primates. Gene expression in liver and blood tissue is very similar in chimps and humans, and markedly different from that in rhesus macaques. But the picture is quite different for the cerebral cortex. “In the brain, the expression profiles of the chimps and macaques are actually more similar to each other than to humans,” Paabo said at the workshop. The analysis shows that the human brain has undergone three to four times the amount of change in genes and expression levels than the chimpanzee brain … “Among these three tissues, it seems that the brain is really special in that humans have accelerated patterns of gene activity,” Paabo says.” (Emphasis mine – VJT.)

    I don’t regard these changes as likely to be natural, because of the deleterious effects of most mutations and the extensive complexity and integration of the biological systems that make up the human brain. If anything, this hyper-fast evolution should be catastrophic.

    As to when the deviation from the natural rate took place, I’d say it probably started around 30 million years ago, but became much more pronounced after humans split off from apes around 6 million years ago.

  12. bornagain77

    Thank you for your posts. Let me first say that I completely agree with you that the human brain cannot account for our unique ability (among animals) to generate functional complex specified information. The human mind is essentially immaterial in its higher operations, such as rule-making.

    As regards the Neanderthals, I was aware that Tattersall and Schwartz attempted to play down the symbolic capacities of Neanderthals, arguing that modern Homo sapiens alone possessed this capacity:

    Culturally, too, the Neanderthals were distinct from the modern humans who replaced them. They were clearly complex beings with a subtle relationship to their environment (and presumably toward each other), but they evidently did not relate to the world around them in the way in which we do. Their Mousterian lithic technology was a sophisticated expression of the Mode 3 prepared-core technique, in which numerous specific forms were once recognized (e.g., Bordes 1961), although many of these are now viewed simply as stages in a resharpening sequence (Dibble 1988). There is little doubt that occasionally, at least, Neanderthals buried their dead (though see Gargett 1989 for a contrary view). They also ground ochre (Bednarik 1992), an activity that has spurred particular debate because if the ochre had been used for bodily decoration (a hallmark of modern humankind), it would have fundamentally different behavioral implications than would a strictly functional use in treating hides — an activity itself well documented from edge-wear studies of Mousterian tools (Anderson-Gerfaud 1990). The distinction matters, because all claimed evidence for symbolic activities among the Neanderthals is highly debatable (Klein 1999). Only one Neanderthal site, containing a Chatelperronian industry (with lithic elements associated with both the Mousterian industry and the Aurignacian industry of invading Homo sapiens) contains anything that can unambiguously be interpreted as a symbolic object, but Hublin et al. (1996) have pointed out that this locality, the?36-kyr-old Grotte des Rennes at Arcy-sur-Cure in France, lies within the relatively brief period of coexistence with Homo sapiens, and that there are more plausible explanations than the spontaneous adoption of symbolic behaviors by Neanderthals for the occurrence of the objects concerned at the site. Currently, there is little compelling reason to conclude that Homo neanderthalensis was a symbolic creature in the same sense as modern Homo sapiens.

    Stable isotope studies have recently suggested that they were proficient hunters of large animals, even very large ones such as woolly rhino and woolly mammoth (Bocherens et al. 2005); and certainly large-bodied mammals would have been the principal resource available to Ice Age hunters, especially during harsher times of year. But despite the fact that they were apparently able to flourish on the European Ice Age steppes, the notion that they were somehow biologically cold-adapted in contrast to the tropically derived Homo sapiens has recently been called into question (Pearson et al. 2006; Stewart 2004, 2005). Moreover, Patou-Mathis (2006) has pointed out that Neanderthals apparently avoided periglacial environments: At the end of the penultimate glacial, Neanderthals were limited to central and westernEurope, only expanding eastward during the kinder conditions of the last interglacial. In particularly cold subsequent periods, Neanderthals avoided periglacial areas in favor of more temperate microclimates, entirely deserting the frigid central European plains. (Emphases in bold type mine – VJT.)

    Let’s have a look at Tattersall and Schwartz’s claims. First, a Mode-3 technology does not indicate that Neanderthals were inferior to Homo sapiens. Tattersall and Schwartz themselves admit as much:

    A Mode 3 association is also the case for the earliest [93 kyr (Valladas et al. 1987)] unequivocal Homo sapiens from the site of Jebel Qafzeh, in Israel (Vandermeersch 1981).

    Second, Tattersall and Schwartz seem to be understating the evidence for the Neanderthal use of ochre as a form of bodily decoration:

    The use of red ochre played a prominent role in Neanderthal burials. Bones found at many Neanderthal burial sites were stained with the red pigment. It is unknown if this furnished evidence of some sort of body painting or whether a red wrap originally covered the body but disintegrated with time, leaving its color on the bones.
    The World of Neanderthal People by Barbara Soper in “Old World Archaeologist” (July 2007).

    Third, recent evidence suggests that the Neanderthals did make it to the Arctic after all – so the argument that they were outcompeted by Homo sapiens and his more advanced technology is a dubious one:

    Last Neanderthals Near the Arctic Circle:

    ScienceDaily (May 13, 2011) — Remains found near the Arctic Circle characteristic of Mousterian culture(1) have recently been dated at over 28,500 years old, which is more than 8,000 years after Neanderthals are thought to have disappeared.

    In short: there is tentative evidence for symbolic consciousness in Neanderthal man – and I would be surprised not to find evidence of religion as well, as further excavations bring new sites to light. Neanderthal man had a soul, I believe.

  13. Dr. Torley, excuse me for being blunt, but I find that all to be merely cement footings to the skyscraper that is human cognition.

  14. Dr Torley: thank you for your response, I will follow up on your links and I really appreciate your providing them.

  15. Human Evolution? – The Compelling Genetic Evidence For Adam and Eve

    What a Joke. It’s stuff like this that people who don’t know any better can take and run with that is going to hurt the ID cause.

    Mitochondrial Eve

    Y-chromosomal Adam

    Mitochondrial Eve

    Y-chromosomal Adam

    BioLogos wieghs in, lol:
    Who was Mitochondrial Eve? Who was Y-chromosome Adam? How do they relate to Genesis?

  16. And they (Adam and Eve) heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day

    You gotta watch out for those walking voices, I always say.

  17. for I hold that this unique ability of humans to understand and implement information is in fact a tremendous part of what it means to be made ‘in the image of God’

    If we found what appeared to be a tool, and upon “design analysis” we determined based upon the “information” content that it was indeed a designed object rather than a natural object, but then we discover it is in the vacinity of Heidelberg man, would we need to say it’s not designed after all?

    If Heidelberg man is capable of passing “information” along to objects, where did that information come from?

  18. Dr Torley,

    I see your point and I think you’ve selected good evidence for your view.

    So . . . do you think the designer looked at the rate of development and said: hang on, this is not quite what I was hoping for, I think I’d better tweak things a bit. Or . . . ?

    I’m not trying to be flippant. I really am interested in what you think happened. And I think UD is the forum for you to express your ideas. Was there a one-off genome change? Or several nudges as things went on? Since genetic changes take time to manifest themselves how would the designer decide when to make a change and when to wait.

    I think these questions are really interesting. I can’t believe you don’t discuss them all the time.

  19. Since there is ‘genetic tinkering’ (rapid Theitic evolution) on the table, to explain the human brain/mind, maybe it is wise to illuminate just how different man and apes are genetically;

    I’m sure many here are still laboring under the old evolutionary presumption of the 99.8% genetic similarity myth. Yet the truth is, despite how hard neo-Darwinists still try to cover this fact up, there is now solid evidence to establish, with rigor, that humans are profoundly different genetically than chimps and/or apes;,,,

    Chimps are not like humans – May 2004
    Excerpt: the International Chimpanzee Chromosome 22 Consortium reports that 83% of chimpanzee chromosome 22 proteins are different from their human counterparts,,, The results reported this week showed that “83% of the genes have changed between the human and the chimpanzee—only 17% are identical—so that means that the impression that comes from the 1.2% [sequence] difference is [misleading]. In the case of protein structures, it has a big effect,” Sakaki said.
    http://cmbi.bjmu.edu.cn/news/0405/119.htm

    Chimp chromosome creates puzzles – 2004
    Excerpt: However, the researchers were in for a surprise. Because chimps and humans appear broadly similar, some have assumed that most of the differences would occur in the large regions of DNA that do not appear to have any obvious function. But that was not the case. The researchers report in ‘Nature’ that many of the differences were within genes, the regions of DNA that code for proteins. 83% of the 231 genes compared had differences that affected the amino acid sequence of the protein they encoded. And 20% showed “significant structural changes”. In addition, there were nearly 68,000 regions that were either extra or missing between the two sequences, accounting for around 5% of the chromosome.,,, “we have seen a much higher percentage of change than people speculated.” The researchers also carried out some experiments to look at when and how strongly the genes are switched on. 20% of the genes showed significant differences in their pattern of activity.
    http://www.nature.com/news/199.....524-8.html

    Eighty percent of proteins are different between humans and chimpanzees; Gene; Volume 346, 14 February 2005:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15716009

    neo-Darwinists, in defense of this absolutely crushing evidence, tried to say that the changes were on minor changes to existing genes and proteins yet this following article, which has a direct bearing on the 98.8% genetic similarity myth, shows that over 1000 ‘ORFan’ genes, that are completely unique to humans and not found in any other species, and that very well may directly code for proteins, were stripped from the 20,500 gene count of humans simply because the evolutionary scientists could not find corresponding genes in primates. In other words evolution, of humans from primates, was assumed to be true in the first place and then the genetic evidence was directly molded to fit in accord with their unproven assumption. It would be hard to find a more biased and unfair example of practicing science!

    Human Gene Count Tumbles Again – 2008
    Excerpt: Scientists on the hunt for typical genes — that is, the ones that encode proteins — have traditionally set their sights on so-called open reading frames, which are long stretches of 300 or more nucleotides, or “letters” of DNA, bookended by genetic start and stop signals.,,,, The researchers considered genes to be valid if and only if similar sequences could be found in other mammals – namely, mouse and dog. Applying this technique to nearly 22,000 genes in the Ensembl gene catalog, the analysis revealed 1,177 “orphan” DNA sequences. These orphans looked like proteins because of their open reading frames, but were not found in either the mouse or dog genomes. Although this was strong evidence that the sequences were not true protein-coding genes, it was not quite convincing enough to justify their removal from the human gene catalogs. Two other scenarios could, in fact, explain their absence from other mammalian genomes. For instance, the genes could be unique among primates, new inventions that appeared after the divergence of mouse and dog ancestors from primate ancestors. Alternatively, the genes could have been more ancient creations — present in a common mammalian ancestor — that were lost in mouse and dog lineages yet retained in humans. If either of these possibilities were true, then the orphan genes should appear in other primate genomes, in addition to our own. To explore this, the researchers compared the orphan sequences to the DNA of two primate cousins, chimpanzees and macaques. After careful genomic comparisons, the orphan genes were found to be true to their name — they were absent from both primate genomes.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161406.htm

    The sheer, and blatant, shoddiness of the science of the preceding study should give everyone who reads it severe pause whenever, in the future, someone tells them that genetic similarity studies have proven evolution to be true.

    If the authors of the preceding study were to have actually tried to see if the over 1000 unique ORFan genes of humans may actually encode for proteins, instead of just written them off because they were not found in in other supposedly related species, they would have found that there is ample reason to believe that they may very well encode for biologically important proteins:

    A survey of orphan enzyme activities
    Abstract: We demonstrate that for ~80% of sampled orphans, the absence of sequence data is bona fide. Our analyses further substantiate the notion that many of these (orfan) enzyme activities play biologically important roles.
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2105/8/244

    Dr. Howard Ochman – Dept. of Biochemistry at the University of Arizona
    Excerpt of Proposal: Although it has been hypothesized that ORFans might represent non-coding regions rather than actual genes, we have recently established that the vast majority that ORFans present in the E. coli genome are under selective constraints and encode functional proteins.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-358868

    Moreover the ‘anomaly’ of unique ORFan genes is found in every new genome sequenced:

    Widespread ORFan Genes Challenge Common Descent – Paul Nelson – video with references
    http://www.vimeo.com/17135166

    As well, completely contrary to evolutionary thought, these ‘new’ ORFan genes are found to be just as essential as ‘old’ genes for maintaining life:

    Age doesn’t matter: New genes are as essential as ancient ones – December 2010
    Excerpt: “A new gene is as essential as any other gene; the importance of a gene is independent of its age,” said Manyuan Long, PhD, Professor of Ecology & Evolution and senior author of the paper. “New genes are no longer just vinegar, they are now equally likely to be butter and bread. We were shocked.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142523.htm

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

  20. But Dr. Torley, to further show the implausibility of what you are actually arguing for with ‘genetic tinkering’ it is necessary to point out the severe poly-constraint placed on such a scenario:

    First note this fact:

    Scientists Map All Mammalian Gene Interactions – August 2010
    Excerpt: Mammals, including humans, have roughly 20,000 different genes.,,, They found a network of more than 7 million interactions encompassing essentially every one of the genes in the mammalian genome.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142044.htm

    This polyfunctionalty (parallel interconnectedness) is far, far beyond anything man has accomplished in his most advanced computer programs, and in all likelihood this level of polyfunctionality will always be beyond our capacity;

    Poly-Functional Complexity equals Poly-Constrained Complexity

    The primary problem that poly-functional complexity presents for neo-Darwinism, or even Theistic Evolutionists is this:

    To put it plainly, the finding of a severely poly-functional/polyconstrained genome by the ENCODE study has put the odds, of what was already astronomically impossible, to what can only be termed fantastically astronomically impossible. To illustrate the monumental brick wall any evolutionary scenario (no matter what “fitness landscape”) must face when I say genomes are poly-constrained to random mutations by poly-functionality, I will use a puzzle:

    If we were to actually get a proper “beneficial mutation’ in a polyfunctional genome of say 500 interdependent genes, then instead of the infamous “Methinks it is like a weasel” single element of functional information that Darwinists pretend they are facing in any evolutionary search, with their falsified genetic reductionism scenario I might add, we would actually be encountering something more akin to this illustration found on page 141 of Genetic Entropy by Dr. Sanford.

    S A T O R
    A R E P O
    T E N E T
    O P E R A
    R O T A S

    Which is translated ;
    THE SOWER NAMED AREPO HOLDS THE WORKING OF THE WHEELS.

    This ancient puzzle, which dates back to 79 AD, reads the same four different ways, Thus, If we change (mutate) any letter we may get a new meaning for a single reading read any one way, as in Dawkins weasel program, but we will consistently destroy the other 3 readings of the message with the new mutation.

    This is what is meant when it is said a poly-functional genome is poly-constrained to any random mutations.

    The puzzle I listed is only poly-functional to 4 elements/25 letters of interdependent complexity, the minimum genome is poly-constrained to approximately 500 elements (genes) at minimum approximation of polyfunctionality. For Darwinist to continue to believe in random mutations to generate the staggering level of complexity we find in life is absurd in the highest order!

    As to Theistic Evolutionists, who believe God guides evolution incrementally, all I ask you to consider is do you think that it would be easier for God to incrementally change the polyfunctional genome of a organism, maintaining functionality all the time, in a bottom up manner or do you think it would be easier for Him to design each kind of organism in a top down manner? The evidence clearly indicates ‘top-down’ design instead of bottom up tinkering.
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....Zmd2emZncQ

  21. Chimps are not like humans

    Now there’s something I could probably have never figured out on my own!

    I guess I better stop hanging out in those monkey bars.

  22. I’m not trying to be flippant. I really am interested in what you think happened.

    What would you do, if you were “the designer”?

    What would you do if you were only one of a bevy of designers?

    What would you do if you were only one of two designers, but you were in competition with the other designer?

    What would you do if you were only one of two designers, and you were not in competition with the other designer, but neither were the two of you cooperating. Perhaps neither of you is aware of the existence of the other.

    What would you do if you were only one of two designers and you needed to cooperate with the other designer?

    What would you do if you were on a team of designers and were in competition with another team of designers?

    What would you do if you were on a team of designers but there’s also another team team of designers, and you’re not necessarily in competition, but neither are you cooperating?

    What would you do if you were on a team of designers and there is also another team of designers and you needed to cooperate with the other team of designers?

    What if you were a solo designer and had to compete with a team of other designers?

    What if you were on a team of designers, but had to compete with a solo designer?

    Shall we continue on with the hypotheticals, adding more teams of designers, adding more solo designers, adding more combinations of cooperation, competition and just plain unawareness and any other hypotheticals we can come up with.

    Sound like a good way to spend your time?

    At what point does it just become fruitless speculation?

    So . . . do you think the designer looked at the rate of development and said: hang on, this is not quite what I was hoping for, I think I’d better tweak things a bit. Or . . . ?

    Well, from all the evidence, it appears to me that there were 24 designers, 12 were named after the sons of Israel and 12 were named after the apostles. (Not Judas, that traitor.)

    So your assumption that there was one “the designer” is misguided.

    Care to re-phrase?

    I’m being serious. I’d like to know why you think there was only one “the designer” that we should consider.

  23. Mung: Okay, throw all those questions on the table too!

    Or . . .

    Which of those scenarios do YOU find most plausible and why? I’m sure you’ve thought about it.

  24. Which of those scenarios do YOU find most plausible and why? I’m sure you’ve thought about it.

    Actually, no. What I have thought about is whether I think it’s worth thinking about. :)

    I decided I’d rather spend my time thinking about other things.

  25. Mung: Uh . . . . does that mean you have already decided/know the nature of the designer(s)? Or that you don’t care? Or that you’re not willing to harbour a guess? And why not?

    Or to give me some ideas of worthwhile areas of ID research?

    Anyone else? There’s got to be tons of stuff!

  26. Mung

    Thank you for your posts. I’d like to respond to some of your comments.

    You ask:

    If Heidelberg man is capable of passing “information” along to objects, where did that information come from?

    From his mind.

    You also ask:

    If we found what appeared to be a tool, and upon “design analysis” we determined based upon the “information” content that it was indeed a designed object rather than a natural object, but then we discover it is in the vacinity of Heidelberg man, would we need to say it’s not designed after all?

    I would say: definitely not. Have a look at these spears found at Schoningen, Germany, and dating from 400,000 years ago:

    http://www.ishtarsgate.com/php.....038;t=1524

    Whoever it was that made those spears was rational and possessed some sort of intelligence, in my opinion.

  27. ellazimm (#18)

    Thank you for your post. You ask:

    So . . . do you think the designer looked at the rate of development and said: hang on, this is not quite what I was hoping for, I think I’d better tweak things a bit. Or . . . ?

    I’m not trying to be flippant. I really am interested in what you think happened. And I think UD is the forum for you to express your ideas. Was there a one-off genome change? Or several nudges as things went on? Since genetic changes take time to manifest themselves how would the designer decide when to make a change and when to wait.

    I prefer the term “manipulation” to “tweaking” or “tinkering”, as the last two terms suggest minor, incremental changes, whereas the Designer, I believe, made major changes requiring a high degree of foresight at times.

    As regards timing: the default hypothesis I’m adopting is that the Designer accomplished His goals with the least effort. I reject the clockwork universe much loved by theistic evolutionists, precisely because I see it as entailing more work for the Designer.

    For instance, one reason why I reject front-loading is that it would have required an extraordinary degree of precision on the Designer’s part to guarantee results billions of years into the future. Hhowever, the universe is not designed to that level of precision, as lengths are quantized in units of 1.6 x 10^-35 m (a Planck length).

    You might also like to have a look at The Front-Loading Fiction by physicist Dr. Rob Sheldon.

    I believe that the various kinds of proteins we find in the human body were designed, so we’re probably looking at 1 million design events there. On top of that, I believe that each family of organisms (roughly) would have required some degree of genetic manipulation by the Designer to bring about its emergence, so we’re talking another 10,000 or so events there – perhaps 10 times more if we include all the families of organisms that have ever existed. However, I don’t think that genera and species were designed, with the exception of human beings.

    So we’re looking at about 1.1 million design events over the 3.5 billion-year history of life on Earth, or roughly one act of manipulation over 3,000 years. Hardly taxing work for a Deity, especially one that’s already maintaining the entire cosmos in existence.

  28. bornagain77 (#20)

    Thank you for your posts. You write:

    As to Theistic Evolutionists, who believe God guides evolution incrementally, all I ask you to consider is do you think that it would be easier for God to incrementally change the polyfunctional genome of a organism, maintaining functionality all the time, in a bottom up manner or do you think it would be easier for Him to design each kind of organism in a top down manner? The evidence clearly indicates ‘top-down’ design instead of bottom up tinkering.

    As I wrote in my response to ellazimm, I prefer the term “manipulation” to “tweaking” or “tinkering”, as the last two terms suggest minor, incremental changes, whereas the Designer, I believe, made major changes requiring a high degree of foresight at times. You have made an excellent case showing exactly why we need to postulate major changes made by the Designer, in order to cross evolutionary chasms.

    Conceptually, these changes (acts of design) are tantamount to creative acts. The difference is, though, that I envisage the Designer as radically modifying existing designs, rather than starting from scratch every time. Thus on a material level, I affirm common descent, but it’s common descent with periodic manipulations by the Designer.

    I hope that clarifies my position.

    Finally, as regards Heidelberg man, I agree that if he wan’t religious, he couldn’t have been human. However, I’m also inclined to think that no creature could possess the intelligence required to make a wooden spear and yet be incapable of grasping the human concept of God. Hence I would infer that Heidelberg man must have been religious, if he was fully human.

  29. Dr. Torley, I hold your common descent position, from the empirical evidence alone, to be a weaker position.

  30. Dr Torley:

    THANK YOU!! I’m really pleased you were as specific as you were. I agree that that level of manipulation is not taxing to a deity but would be an interesting logistical issue for a non-transcendental designer.

    I think your comment about the downside of front loading is very good. I hadn’t thought of that. Also, I find your decision to favour a minimalist approach to be sensible.

    Anyway, you’ve made your view clear and I appreciate that. You’ve reinforced my decision to come to this forum to find out what ID is about rather than reading about it elsewhere.

  31. Mung: Uh . . . . does that mean you have already decided/know the nature of the designer(s)?

    No. I think that remains to be seen. Tell me something from nature you think is designed, and why, and I’ll happily comment.

    Or that you don’t care? Or that you’re not willing to harbour a guess? And why not?

    I don’t much care about going down rabbit holes, that’s for sure.

    I prefer to take a scientific approach and then follow the evidence where it leads. But first, the evidence.

    Or to give me some ideas of worthwhile areas of ID research?

    See my two posts starting here.

    Anyone else? There’s got to be tons of stuff!

    I’m sure there is.

  32. Mung: I can’t think of anything in nature that I would considered designed. As much as I would like to blame someone for some things. I’m so tired of things going wrong.

    And yes, you have addressed where you would look for the evidence, thank you.

    I do find myself more favourable of a malevolent designer than a benevolent one but that’s just me.

    And now I really am going to bed!! Night all!

  33. vj,
    There is no abstract reasoning involved in making a spear. Find a straight stick, put one end in a fire, rub it against a stone, and you have a spear. Chimps do almost as much in preparing a stick to catch termites. Animal intelligence is perfectly capable of manipulating physical objects to produce some immediate effect.

    Human rationality leads to understanding and creativity that produces artifacts that cannot be explained as the result of accidental discoveries. Blurring the line between animals and humans is not helpful here.

  34. And now I really am going to bed!! Night all!

    Wait! No, you can’t! Come back here!

    Or that you don’t care? Or that you’re not willing to harbour a guess? And why not?

    I’ll offer this.

    If I were “the one and only designer” and I wanted to create something along the lines of humans, and I wanted to make sure they could know I exist and maybe even know a little about me, iow, I wanted to somehow send a “message” that they could read from looking at the created world, what sort of creation would that look like, what sort of pattern would life exhibit?

  35. Mung: a good question! And your answer is . . .

  36. The pattern would be difficult to explain by appeal to “nature” acting alone.

    Evolutionary explanations would be difficult.

    Much like the pattern we actually do see, such as the Cambrian explosion and discontinuities in the fossil record.

  37. Mung: Why not just present yourself to your creations, in person so to speak?

    Or, in the case of the DNA record . . . . why not pick from the plethora of redundancies in the genetic code different combinations of codons for different species so that once humans became intelligent enough to read the code they realise that humans could not have a common ancestor with apes or monkeys or lemurs or tigers or mole rats or crocodiles or carrots? It would be easy enough to do and would be a slam dunk against common descent with modification. I would think making sure the message was unambiguous to the point of being beyond contention would be a priority.

    I know when I want to make a point to my creation, my son, I make very, very sure to be as clear and complete as possible, considering his level of development. Maybe the designer has done so and is just waiting for us to get a bit more clever?

    “The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” EDEN PHILLPOTTS (1862-1960) English novelist & playwright

  38. Why not just present yourself to your creations, in person so to speak?

    Interesting you should ask that, since this is precisely what does happen in the story in Genesis.

    And if “the designer” is an immaterial being? Or if “the designer” made everything but had to die to do so, so it’s no longer around to show itself off.

    Your second argument, about DNA sequences, is just a variation on the first.

    But the ability to even look for a message in DNA is only a recent one. So that’s out.

    Why doesn’t the designer just make itself blantantly obvious? That’s what you’re asking, right?

    How about a sign in the sky every morning saying “Made by Design.”

    How many morning would it take of seeing the same thing over and over before people would say, nah, that’s not an indicator of a designer.

  39. 39

    Hey Ellazimm, did you ever watch Red Dwarf, particularly the episode called ‘Better Than Life’? If not, you should! If so, there is a lesson there which echoes some theological teachings that provides some insights into your questions.

    What if life really is a simulation, that we all chose to participate in knowing full well what we were letting ourselves in for? A test offering great rewards (and punishment for failure). It wouldn’t be much of a test if the answers came easy.

  40. Mung: I guess we all have our own idea of how a designer or designers would behave.

    Now, the question must be: how do we check and see which hypothesis is correct?

    Answering that question does matter . . . yes?? Finding ways to answer that question should be a priority . . . yes? Working towards an answer to that question should be a research emphasis . . . yes?

    And if those questions are NOT appropriate then why? Why are those questions not being investigated?

    Chris: I have watched Red Dwarf . . . over 20 years ago. I don’t remember that episode . .. I will try and keep it in mind though.

    I believe that ‘life’ as in The Matrix has been addressed by philosophers, et al. Personally, I can not believe that the time lag between a simulation input and an output could ever reach the speeds exhibited in the films.

  41. I guess we all have our own idea of how a designer or designers would behave.

    I wouldn’t really agree with that. I think we all share pretty much the same expectations.

    Now, the question must be: how do we check and see which hypothesis is correct?

    First we’d need an hypothesis (or two or three).

    Answering that question does matter . . . yes??

    I’m a bit slow. What question? How to test multiple hypotheses about how designers might behave?

    Or “how do we check and see which hypothesis is correct?”

    Lacking any such hypothesis, I’m at a loss.

    Finding ways to answer that question should be a priority . . . yes?

    Not as far as I can tell. Certainly not for me. But again, I need clarity on what question you are talking about.

    Working towards an answer to that question should be a research emphasis . . . yes?

    Um, no. Or better yet, why?

    What is that question and why should it be a research priority?

    And if those questions are NOT appropriate then why? Why are those questions not being investigated?
    What questions?

    Why are they not being investigated by whom?

    Sorry, you’ve lost me.

    What is “the question” or “that question” to which you were referring?

    What are “those questions” which you think ought to to be the subject of priority in research.

    I don’t mean to be difficult, but somehow I’ve lost track of what you’re talking about.

    You asked a series of questions in your post. Are they the “those questions” you are talking about in your last question?

  42. Lamont,

    Thank you for your post. I would have to respectfully disagree with your assertion that a chimpanzee could make a spear. Here are some articles by Glenn Morton that explain why it’s not that simple:

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/planningahead.htm

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/mankind.htm

    You might think that Morton somewhat overstates his case, but he makes some very strong points, all the same, about the significant differences between human tools and those made by chimps.

  43. To make something seems to require a certain level of intent, does it not?

    Not only does it require intent, it also requires an ability to identify a goal.

    And the ability to plan a path to attain that goal.

  44. Mung: The question I was referring to was about checking which designer hypothesis is correct. But no one seems interested in proposing a hypothesis or determining a procedure/experiment to test it.

    Too bad, I was hoping for some really interesting and clever ideas. Especially as it’s been stated many, many times that ID theory is consistent with many different kinds of designers.

    My favourite hypothesis is that the designer is a malevolent alien (or group of aliens) that are sadistically torturing us with prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, poverty, malaria, ebola, autism, lupus, HIV, earthquakes and Lady Gaga.

  45. Mung: I was hoping you’d respond with a bit more. Or someone else.

    I guess it’s not something anyone is interested in OR wants to address.

    Or it’s not science. Even if the designer is NOT divine?

  46. The question I was referring to was about checking which designer hypothesis is correct. But no one seems interested in proposing a hypothesis or determining a procedure/experiment to test it.

    I don’t know how you would even begin to come up with a hypothesis.

    My favourite hypothesis is that the designer is a malevolent alien (or group of aliens) that are sadistically torturing us with prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, poverty, malaria, ebola, autism, lupus, HIV, earthquakes and Lady Gaga.

    But what makes you think any of those things are even designed in the first place?

    See, for me, we’d have to start with the evidence first, and then we can see how far we can follow it using the methods of science.

    Of course, once we think we have detected actual design, we can ask it what it might tell us with respect to other “bigger questions” that are outside the realm of science to address.

    My own personal experience is that those who are against intelligent design won’t even admit to any instance of design in the first place.

    And they don’t think there is anything science doesn’t address.

    And they think science is the only source of knowledge.

    It’s not easy to reason with a person like that.

  47. Mung: Well, the things I listed that are primarily influenced by certain chunks of DNA I would think would have a good argument for being designed. The other things could be construed as being, at the very least, allowed to happen by a malevolent overseer.

    IF you accept that there is design then don’t you have to accept a designer or designers? And then is it not fair to speculate and hypothesise about the nature of that designer(s)? And if you find one hypothesis is more explanatory then is that not more parsimonious than the other hypotheses?

    What bigger questions WOULD you be interested in pursuing?

    I’m still finding it very odd that there seems to be no interest in pushing on when everyone here seems to accept that the design inference is correct. But I guess that’s just me.

  48. I’m still finding it very odd that there seems to be no interest in pushing on when everyone here seems to accept that the design inference is correct. But I guess that’s just me.

    You reject the design inference.

    It follows that not everyone here accepts the design inference.

    It’s not just you. It’s everyone who comes here and denies the design inference but who still wants to talk about “the designer.”

    It’s those who come here an claim that no inference at all can be made without knowledge of
    “the designer.”

    I hope that you understand that when you come here and want to talk about “the designer” or “the designers’ without actually admitting to any actual case of design, you immediately place yourself into a particular category.

  49. Mung: I don’t understand what my views have to do with discussing some of the possible implications or ramifications of your beliefs.

    And even if no one wants to talk to me about these issues because of the category I fall into, why are you not talking about it with people who do accept the design inference?

    Why is the subject taboo?

  50. 50
    CannuckianYankee

    El,

    I believe we’ve had this discussion before, and if I remember correctly, you’re the one who raised it then.

    Let me simplify this for you so we can get on with the topic here:

    Even if we were to speculate about all the possible designers there could be, and even as you suggest, we come up with a test for determining which proposed designer is the most likely, I don’t think we’re anywhere near an ability to do such a test.

    We have precisely zero evidence that there are alien beings from other planets, so the panspermia hypothesis cannot be tested, even if it might be a good one.

    If the designer is an all powerful God of some sort (which I believe), how are we to deal with the hypothetical that such a designer might not wish to be known in such a way, and in order to assure such a desire, has made it impossible for us to do such a test? I’m not saying this is so, but it’s a hypothetical possibility among literally millions of others.

    So you see, as Mung has pointed out, all you are left with is mere speculation about a vast number of possibilities, even if you have narrowed down the designer to just those two choices.

    I don’t think at the present time such an inquiry would be fruitful unless such a designer chooses to be known in such a way (I’m talking by means of scientific investigation), and if so, I think by now we would have known.

    Talk about the designer as God is something we do frequently here, but we don’t do so in reference to any scientific evidence that the very God we believe in is proven by a design inference. We approach it as an issue that is separate from science.

    The only thing we are able to infer by evidence for design is that some intelligence did the designing somehow. Of course this requires by default that there be a designer, but it does not require that such a designer is the God we believe in, or any of the millions of other possibilities.

    Those of us who are theists believe in such a God on other evidences besides design.

    Those in the ID camp who are not theists can then be left without necessitating a commitment to any particular theistic position; which is how it should be.

    Consider deists. I think the fact that some of them support ID is a case in point.

    I know that the camp you’re in would really like us to touch on this issue more so than we have, but I can assure you, it’s not likely to happen precisely for the reasons I’ve already given.

  51. 51
    CannuckianYankee

    “Why is the subject taboo?”

    It’s not taboo. Most of us who think along the lines of ID simply don’t think it’s a fruitful discussion.

    You’re quite free to discuss it if you wish, but I don’t think there are many who really want to go there for reasons other than that it’s taboo.

    Materialists have set up enough speculative hypotheses to consider; which have not been fruitful in lending meaning to our reality, and they do so as if it’s in the same league as empirical science. Does the multiverse ring a bell?

  52. CY: Thank you. You’ve been very clear and I shan’t bring it up anymore. I apologise for going on about it but I got it now and I got it from you not from me making any assumptions.

    Personally, I find the theories of a multiverse to be only one step beyond science fiction. And a very small step at that. But, I haven’t the background to understand the arguments so I tend to shut up about it. But I know that scientists makes lots and lots of hypotheses most of which eventually get tossed out. So, I tend to ignore discussions of the multiverse for now.

  53. Looking over some old threads I think I was being a bit dense about this whole issue of the designer.

    I apologise to one and all whom I may have annoyed or frustrated.

    And thanks again to CY for taking the time to explain it.

    Off to work, see y’all later!

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