Home » Intelligent Design » Increased Oxygen = Increased Biological Information, Which Explains the Cambrian Explosion

Increased Oxygen = Increased Biological Information, Which Explains the Cambrian Explosion

This is the kind of reasoning we can expect from “scientists” like Hillis, in an attempt to explain away the Cambrian explosion.

For more, go here.

Is there no shame left among Darwinists who propose such absurd ideas, or do they actually believe such transparent fantasies?

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51 Responses to Increased Oxygen = Increased Biological Information, Which Explains the Cambrian Explosion

  1. Are you talking about what Meyers says at about 6:11? I copied this:

    “Dr. Hillis, just to show that there’s no problem with the Cambrian explosion, it’s not a problem, he threw out a real half-baked idea. The idea that increases in oxygen in the pre-cambrian somehow explained the origin of the cambrian explosion. At best, the change in environment is a weak and necessary condition of a major radiation. But to explain the origin of new animal forms, you need genetic information. So please explain to me how a little more atomospheric oxygen is going to sequence nucleotide bases and produce all the specific sequences that are necessary to build new animals, new animal forms. That doesn’t follow. That’s a half baked idea. but things like that because of a gentleman’s authority and prestige with a big school are used to trump very reasoned considerations from people who are in dissent for good reason.”

    Do you have a url for what Hillis said? I’m not familiar with him, but one of the usual facts used to explain the Cambrian Explosion is that after billions of years of photosynthesis, oxygen levels in the ocean finally reached the point where calcium carbonate could precipitate out of sea water. This allows organisms to build bones and teeth which opens up a huge range of new environmental niches. It also sets off an “arms race” as creatures with brand new teeth start to attack and eat creatures without, giving a tremendous advantage to any creatures that managed to secrete a shell or other protection. That doesn’t sound like a “half-baked idea” to me.

    Please point us to Dr. Hillis’s testimony so we can see what he said about oxygen and the Cambrian Explosion.

  2. Maybe they watched too much power puff girls(with oxygen being element x).

  3. Geez Gil,

    Oxygen is a carrier wave for information.

    As proof of that concept try to not breath in any O2.

    It is only through the information riding on O2 that allows you to live.

    It’s not the O2 itself.

    Hopefully that clears it up for you…

    :)

  4. Here are a couple of more links concerning David Hillis and Texas science education standards:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....in_da.html

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....tanda.html

    The depressing thing is that Hillis and his ilk would have students swallow this ridiculous oxygen hypothesis completely uncritically, in the name of defending “science education.”

  5. It has been suggested that increased oxygen content triggered front-loaded events. So Hillis might be half right, no?

  6. Well, we didn’t get to here the arguments for oxygen.

    Anyway, the following could be considered in the category of informal query or observation.

    First as a preface, (and the point of this should make sense in a minute) if we were to consider all the novel attributes that a human being possesses, the ones which ID advocates would ascribe to Intelligent Design, these novel attributes would exist whether or not we happened to to be talking about them or considering them, or even whether or not we personally who happened to be talking about them even existed ourselves.

    In thinking about oxygen for example, and also about the “simple repetitive patterns” of nature, think about all the wildly divergent properties of the various elements, based soley on the number of protons and neutrons they possess. Think about some arbitrary metal for example, and all the unique capabilities it has. So you might have an educational film like “Our Friend Magnesium”, that goes one for half an hour describing all the marvelous uses which that particular metal for example is uniquely suited for. And just think about the wildly divergent forms matter can take in nature, and also the divergent and complex behaviors it exhibits, as for example in the organized complexity of the weather, with clouds, tornadoes, rain, snow, hail, not to mention the unending array of cosmological phenomenona, from planets to stars and blackholes and on and on, and then undoubtedly an unending array of complex phenonenona occurring on a micro scale.

    And I.D. would say that not an ounce of intelligence is required to produce any of the above. And all of the above would exist whether humans were around to “observe” them or not (thus the relevance of my initial comment in this post.) But even without us, nature most assuredly observes itself as well. To “observe” means to distinguish. So to say we can observe gold or its various properties implies that we can distinguish gold and its properties from iron for example and its properties. But nature can and does disinguish these elements to the minutest degree possible, to a degree much greater than any human for example is capable of. Nature indicates its ability to distinguish these two metals (for example) because the behavior of things in nature differ in the presence of these two metals to a degree that precisely reflects the actual objective difference between these two metals.

  7. It has been suggested that increased oxygen content triggered front-loaded events.

    If Hillis is right that increased oxygen played a role in the Cambrian explosion, he has provided an argument for design and against Darwinism, since Darwinian mechanisms don’t plan ahead for triggers.

  8. Of course people who lack oxygen and therefore die cannot win the lottery, but your odds are not very good even when you’re alive.

    Suggesting that the genetic information within DNA increased within pre-Cambrian creatures, completely on accident, once it got the chance, is stretching it a bit (or rather, a lot), but this seems to be the logic behind Hillis’ idea. :P

    It was fun listening to Stephen Meyer speak. He’s got to be one of my favorite ID proponents. :)

  9. More O = more information?
    Absurd.

    O, by itself, doesn’t contain any information other than what it is in itself. O is not an information rich molecule.

    So where did the information come from? By this theory, literally out of thin air.

  10. So where did the information come from? By this theory, literally out of thin air.

    Meyer would have scored some major points with that if he had thought of it – seriously. Especially with the lady on the panel who talked really really slow and asked if there was any laboratory evidence that oxygen doesn’t explain the Cambrian explosion.

    Rhetoric has a huge impact in a venue like this.

  11. Having listened to the entire 35+ minutes of meyers comments -my thoughts:

    [The following becomes somewhat verbose, but I'm telling you, it is the crux of the whole issue for I.D. and I'm not the first one to point it out, by any means.]

    Meyers talks at one point about the origin of RNA being the biggest problem for biology. But in what sense is Intelligent Design the solution? [Actually though, It seems possible Meyers may be asking himself the same question, as he is quite emphatic that he does not have an agenda for I.D. to be taught in textbooks, but rather for only the problems with evolution to be presented.] An assumption of materialists I guess is that there would be some physical mechanism to account for RNA, regardless of the fact that we know very little about what that mechanism is at present. So intelligent design apparently comes in and says, “We have the answer for what created RNA and it was not a physical process. Rather, it was Intelligence. That would imply to me they’re saying that RNA just came into existence instantaneously. If there were some mechanism that explained the origin of RNA, some causal physical process detailing how RNA emerged for the first time, we would not have to appeal to intelligence, just as we don’t have to use intelligence to explain how you get a fully formed human from an embryonic cell.

    If you’re going claim that Intelligence is an explanation, you have to start by defining what is you’re talking about, and “What humans have” is not an answer. I believe that the I.D. movement is being completely hamstrung by they’re emphasis on intelligence, (which is going to be difficult to remedy given that the term is part of their name.) This was clear even from the audiocast from yesterday of the Dembski, et. al. interview. Dembksi has not moved away in the slightest from his presumption regarding the nature of intelligence as a metaphysical causal force outside of nature. This detracts from what I’ve come to realize again in the last few days is the substantial significance to his arguments regarding the limitations of randomness. The quite relevant points about randomness are not in any way connected to metaphysical assumptions regarding intelligence, and I.D. should absolutely dispense with the latter. That seems unlikely to happen though.

    I.D. (after changing its name) should focus on demonstrating to what extent various mechanisms proposed by evo-theorists actually equate to randomness. If someone had proposed “mutations” as an explantion for life, that would be easy. There should be a formal method developed for nailing down what percentage of the functionality is being explained by randomness. So evo-theorists would have to say for example, “Although we are not saying pure randomness accounts for all of the functionality of life, we are saying it accounts for 90% of it.” As things stand now they can be vague on this point.

    But to go back to RNA, it seems clear there would have to have been some causal physical process that resulted in RNA appearing for the first time. Obviously we know that process wouldn’t be “atoms moving randomly about.” Someone could propose a mechanism that largely equates to “atoms moving randomly about.” without it being clearly evident it equates to that. There needs to be a method to formally show to what extent a proposed mechanism equates to randomness. However, a caveat: If someone just says “a physical mechanism did it.” that seemingly equates to randomness only in the sense that no details are provided. However, it does not equate to randomness unless that is what someone intends.

    OK here is the way to state it – Usually a physical cause for something is partioned into two components: F) an active physical process (that is treated as if it were immutable and eternal) and X) Some contingent state of affairs that arises at a point in time or over a discrete interval of time. IOW, X is just some state of affairs encountered by F by chance and influencing how F functions.

    So with evolution F is the natural laws, X is the set of mutations encountered by the natural laws, and F(X) would be one specification for the biological life that resulted. if F equated to “If a mutation gets me closer to something that’s brown, then accept else reject.”, then obviously 99+% of the functionality of life is coming by way of pure randomness (that is, the mutations).

  12. I believe that the I.D. movement is being completely hamstrung by they’re emphasis on intelligence, (which is going to be difficult to remedy given that the term is part of their name.)

    If you can’t dispense with “intelligent” then dispense with “design”. And if the media questions if you’re backpedalling you could say you were only following the lead of the evo-theorist who already said the term “design” should be abandoned (discussed at U.D. a few days ago).

    “Intelligent design” is redundant anyway, as “design” is something people tend to directly associate with “intelligence” already.

    Then “intelligent design” could becomes “intelligent necessity” or “intelligent law”.

    You could also negatively characterize evolution as “intelligent randomness”.

  13. More O = more information?
    Absurd.

    Exactly. And the reason is; all O2 does is create a new selection pressure. But having a new selection pressure isn’t going to change the mutation rate. Nor is it going to provide any new information. As Meyers said, there’s no causal connection there. It’s completely irrelevant to the origin of new information.

  14. Just to emphasise again: It is illogical to say that a new selection pressure (i.e. more O2) = new information. It just doesn’t follow.

  15. The following is based on reading Oxygen the Molecule the Changed the World for about five minutes.

    But it was saying that worms at the beginning of the Cambrian were really complex, that is, had a lot of complexity latent in them already and that there was a long period of evolution of those worms before the Cambrian. And although I haven’t read this yet, I’ll merely venture a guess as to where they might be going:

    Its not hard to imagine a single resource like say oil, radically changing a society overnight transforming for example tent-dwelling bedouins into complex societies with huge cities overnight, so a single resource can lead to very rapid development of latent capabilities already there.

  16. Oxygen the Molecule the Changed the World

    http://books.google.com/books?.....4&…

  17. Not only did the increase in calcium carbonate in seawater allow for the production of teeth, bones, exoskeletons, etc. (a process that would be impossible without the oxygen to combine with the calcium and the carbon to form calcium carbonate), the production of fossilizable “hard parts” explains the apparent “suddenness” of the Cambrian explosion. Prior to the evolution of calcium carbonate metabolism, animals had uniformly “soft” body parts, which almost never fossilize.

    Ergo, the Cambrian “explosion” is at least partly analogous to the “explosion” of things one might observe when you turn on the light in your bedroom at night. All that stuff you see in your bedroom was there when the lights were off, but you couldn’t see it. All of the phyla that suddenly become “visible” in the fossil record of the Cambrian were there previously, but without “hard parts” made possible by the evolution of calcium carbonate metabolism (made possible by the increase in atmospheric oxygen), they aren’t visible in the fossil record of the Precambrian.

    By the way, Darwin made essentially this same point a century and a half ago. Can’t creationists come up with any new arguments?

  18. JT:

    so a single resource can lead to very rapid development of latent capabilities already there.

    By what majic does darwinism create latent capabilities. Does latent capabilities not require foresight? Allen_MacNeill and I came to an agreement a while back that the key feature of neo-Darwinism is an abject lack of foresight. Therefore any evidence of foresight would be a serious blow to neo-Darwinism, and a serious coup for ID.

  19. In #14 Green wrote:

    “Just to emphasise again: It is illogical to say that a new selection pressure (i.e. more O2) = new information. It just doesn’t follow.”

    And, of course, no evolutionary biologist is making such an assertion. Rather, the mechanisms by which new phenotypic variation is generated operate all the time (you can read about them here: http://evolutionlist.blogspot......awman.html). What a change in selection pressure does is to preserve a different subset of this new information.

    Once again, the real bone of contention is not natural selection, but rather the multiplicity of biological processes by which new phenotypic variation is generated (and no, not all of these processes involve the generation of new genetic information, nor do they need to).

  20. In #18 bFast wrote:

    “Therefore any evidence of foresight would be a serious blow to neo-Darwinism, and a serious coup for ID.”

    Agreed. And so exactly how would one determine if a particular phenotypic character qualified as “foresighted” before that character becomes adapted to it’s “intended” purpose? And please, respect everyone’s intelligence and don’t cite things that are clearly adaptive now, and therefore must have been the result of foresight “back then”. That kind of fallacy is known as “affirming the consequent” and is as logically fallacious as “argument by analogy”.

  21. For example, what non-adaptive characteristics that we have now do you think might someday fulfill some “intended purpose”? And how do you propose to empirically verify that this is, in fact, the case? Please, no airy speculation; we want observable, testable hypotheses that can be either verified or falsified by standard statistical analysis.

  22. In #10, JT wrote:

    “Rhetoric has a huge impact in a venue like this.”

    Precisely; rhetoric, and not logic or scientific argumentation. It’s all about rhetoric (and therefore politics), isn’t it? And not about things that can be empirically verified or falsified. Clearly, ID isn’t about science, it’s about rhetoric.

    Or, as it’s now more commonly known, advertising.

  23. bFast: The argument for foresight is one intuitively easy to understand. Thinking about Chess, you can’t have a winning strategy thinking only one move ahead.

    OTOH, cooption is something easy for me to accept, in a programming context, taking some complex piece of code and slightly modifying it and plugging it in somewhere else is really common.

    And the more code accumulates there’s a synergy there, where you hardly ever have to create anything completely from scratch.

    Of course none of this proves anything.

    But reflecting on that book, (I”m reading in chaper 4, BTW, “Fuse to the Cambrian Explosion”) its is quite a detailed narrative, even if completely speculative. I mean if an overzealous policeman comes up with a ridiculously detailed whodunit theory and no one else has anything at all I guess his becomes the working theory by default.)

    I mean even if Meyer or whomever wants to make the Canbrian half a million years, they better come up with a causal explanation as to how it all happened in that length of time (other than just intelligence or magic).

    (Thanks to Allen_MacNeill for the info as well.)

  24. 22 Allan Macneil – For clarification I mean the venue of that hearing on textbooks, not UD necessarily.

  25. The forest is not being seen for the trees in this discussion. The problem is the origin of biological information, and complex, functionally integrated, information-processing machinery of stupendous sophistication, that not only stores, retrieves, and processes that information, but error-checks, corrects the errors, and replicates the base-four digital code with astounding fidelity.

    The Darwinian mechanism is utterly and hopelessly impotent as an explanation of these phenomena. Attempts to defend this hypothetical mechanism always end up in chasing down rabbit trails that have nothing to do with the underlying problem, and making up fantastic stories about how things might have been, even though the stories assault basic logic and reason, not to mention trivial mathematical analysis.

  26. GilDodgen [25]:
    I would say that all of human history was designed. (as a determinist). But even so, studying history is still edifying. We can think about various events in history as having been caused or precipitated by events that preceded them. There would presumably also have to be an historical narrative as to how organisms emerged.

  27. Mr MacNeill,

    This will be th fourth time I’ve posted this request to you on threads that you are involved in.

    If there is no response this time, I will assume that you do not intend on responding and draw whatever conclusions are appropriate.

    I am requesting that you please return to the conversation you were having with Timaeus, prior to your untimely flu outbreak. He has alreasdy indicated he is prepared to continue.

    …the conversation is here

  28. Upright BiPed,

    You are witnessing the MacNeill gallop as he rushes in and splays the environment with a ray of rhetoric and then rides off. I think Allen comes here mainly as entertainment as he tries to vex as many as possible.

    Don’t expect the answers to any difficult questions or a dialogue. You and Timaeus may want to go to his site where you cannot be ignored.

    He is a great source of information but do not expect him to help us in anyway.

  29. Well, I think that is a shame. The converastion with Timaeus had the potential to actually be meaningful and Mr MacNeill had an excellent opportunity. One that I doubt comes up very often in his classes.

    I used the word shame for an appropriate reason.

  30. Upright BiPed,

    Maybe Allen will respond. He is being very chatty tonight.

  31. Allen_MacNeill:

    And so exactly how would one determine if a particular phenotypic character qualified as “foresighted” before that character becomes adapted to it’s “intended” purpose?

    This is an interesting challenge.

    As I am sure you are well aware, one of the theories within the ID meta-theory has been dubbed front-loading. (I wish that I had read “The Design Matrix” as this is the hypotheis of the infamous Mike Gene.) If front-loading is valid, then we should realistically see that organisms on the left branch of the phylogenic tree have DNA which is both preserved and useless to the organism. (This would be consistent with some of the conserved gene knock-out experiments that have been heavily discussed here.) If one were to find that these same sequences are integral parts of purposful structures in organisms which first appear on the right-hand branch of the tree, then I think we would have made a strong case that the DNA which is preserved but useless in the left-hand branch is in fact DNA which was foresighted to produce the structure that showed on the right.

    I know that this is speculative. We do have, however, discoveries of DNA which appears to be both preserved and useless. Merely the confirmation that there is DNA which is both preserved and useless should, in itself topple neo-Darwinism, as far as I am conserned. If I were a scientist with a budget, I would be very interested in testing the long-term, competitive varacity of mice with the relevant highly conserved DNA knocked out.

    Lets suggest another speculation. (I have a few facts, but not enough to know whether these questions have already been asked and answered.) I understand that recently an island was seeded with a population of lizzards. These lizzard’s progeny were examined some time later, and it was discovered that they had a fundimentally altered digestive tract. (I think that’s correct, and wish I had tighter information.) Now, It would be highly doubtful that the lizzard evolved a significant supply of new information in just a few generations. Therefore, the ability to produce the altered digestive tract must have been a latent ability in the lizzard’s genes. Ie, the altered digestive tract was purely the product of adjusting gene frequency.

    However, I find it intriguing that an animal would have such a latent talent floating around. It would appear to me easier to interpret this as the lizzard having DNA because its designer foresees the day when the lizzard may need a modified digestive tract. If this is so, then one should be able to trace the DNA involved in the modification, and see if all of it offers benefit to the phenotype of the non-modified lizzard. If, however, we find that the DNA is preserved (beyond background preservation), but does not offer advantage to the non-modified lizzard, and if we can demonstrate that the lizzard has an extended lineage of non-modified digestion, I think this would be very strong support for DNA which is “foresighted” before that character becomes adapted to it’s “intended” purpose.” Again, if I were a research scientist with a budget, I would love to explore this lizzard further.

    So, what have we got here:

    1 – We have two separate examples where there is data which is unexpected in the neo-Darwinian model, and which point to possible strong support for ID.

    2 – We have a call for real scientific research that is the natural outcome of the ID hypothesis.

    3 – I think that this is a strong counter to your statement in #22:

    Clearly, ID isn’t about science, it’s about rhetoric.

  32. Mr. MacNeill: “Precisely; rhetoric, and not logic or scientific argumentation. It’s all about rhetoric (and therefore politics), isn’t it? And not about things that can be empirically verified or falsified. Clearly, ID isn’t about science, it’s about rhetoric.”

    I have carefully read Denton, Behe, Meyers, Demski, Wells, and other Darwin critics. I have also read several criticisms of their work by Darwinians such as Coyne, Miller, and Dawkins. The comparison is absolutely striking precisely because the former read like science–carefully thought out arguments that consider the data, anticipate objections and answer them, and in general reason carefully and soberly, while on the other hand, their critics never address the actual arguments that are made (except in straw man form), but instead rely entirely on rhetoric, principally in the form of ad hominem attacks, appeals to authority (“all genuine scientists” or some such), and, as mentioned, straw man arguments. In fact, it is this difference, which is virtually universal, that convinces me that Darwinism is finished. The opposition seems to be unable to answer the actual arguments presented by the critics. It’s just a matter of time.

  33. When one reads Darwinist defense of the theory or attacks on ID, whether from scientists like Coyne and Miller or people posting comments, one gets the overwhelming impression that this is a group of people who desperately WANT the theory to be true, and at least some of them will use any means up to and including outright lies and the destruction of peoples’ careers to forward that cause.

    It’s interesting to speculate why there is such a need for this theory to be true. In some cases, I am quite certain it is because Darwinism is THE scientific pillar supporting atheism, and the removal of that pillar would have unthinkable consequences for the viability of atheism. In other cases, perhaps it is a strongly held commitment to the proposition that the natural world must be explainable by entirely natural causes. I suspect that for some, it is simply an unwillingness to confront the possibility of being wrong.

  34. Re. Allen_MacNeill @ #19

    “Just to emphasise again: It is illogical to say that a new selection pressure (i.e. more O2) = new information. It just doesn’t follow.”

    And, of course, no evolutionary biologist is making such an assertion. Rather, the mechanisms by which new phenotypic variation is generated operate all the time (you can read about them here: http://evolutionlist.blogspot……awman.html). What a change in selection pressure does is to preserve a different subset of this new information.

    Firstly, if Hillis did argue that more O2 explains the Cambrian explosion, then yes he did make this assertion. Secondly, please can you link to some specific information on your blog, or write out the mechanisms here. I don’t have time to search through topic after topic. And finally, I still don’t see that you’ve provided an explanation. You said:

    What a change in selection pressure does is to preserve a different subset of this new information.

    But the whole point is, where did this new information come from in the first place????

    If all O2 does is provide a selection pressure to preserve a different subset of information, then it remains that O2 is causally irrelevant to the origin of biologically information. Hence Meyers point in the podcast.

  35. Not only did the increase in calcium carbonate in seawater allow for the production of teeth, bones, exoskeletons, etc. (a process that would be impossible without the oxygen to combine with the calcium and the carbon to form calcium carbonate), the production of fossilizable “hard parts” explains the apparent “suddenness” of the Cambrian explosion.

    Can we test this?

    That is can we take some number of soft-bodied organisms, put them in a solution with increased calcium carbonate, and see if they “evolve” shells, bones and teeth?

    I ask because without that all that one has is narrative gloss without any scientific support.

  36. Bruce David:

    I have carefully read Denton, Behe, Meyers, Dembski, Wells, and other Darwin critics. I have also read several criticisms of their work by Darwinians such as Coyne, Miller, and Dawkins. The comparison is absolutely striking precisely because the former read like science–carefully thought out arguments that consider the data, anticipate objections and answer them, and in general reason carefully and soberly, while on the other hand, their critics never address the actual arguments that are made (except in straw man form), but instead rely entirely on rhetoric, principally in the form of ad hominem attacks, appeals to authority (”all genuine scientists” or some such), and, as mentioned, straw man arguments. In fact, it is this difference, which is virtually universal, that convinces me that Darwinism is finished.

    The phenomenon you mention is ubiquitous and should be obvious to any unbiased observer. (It was obvious to me, even as a thoroughly biased and indoctrinated Darwinist.) And here is the great irony: Darwinists, while claiming scientific rigor, resort to storytelling and the tactics you mention, while ID proponents simply make an inference to the best explanation based on logic, data, and demonstrated causal capabilities of known phenomena. It is Darwinism that should be classified as pseudoscience, not ID.

  37. –That is can we take some number of soft-bodied organisms, put them in a solution with increased calcium carbonate, and see if they “evolve” shells, bones and teeth?–

    Maybe if you wait a few million years.

  38. GilDogden:

    Here is another great irony: Darwinists are fond of invoking the suppression of Galileo’s ideas as an example of Religion being anit-science when they are in exactly the same position as the medieval church–vigorously (and often ruthlessly) attempting to suppress a new scientific idea on theological grounds (although in this case what they are defending is atheism and they disguise their defense as science).

  39. Bruce David,

    We had a long discussion on Galileo here almost a year ago and came to the conclusion that Galileo was the bad guy in the Galileo affair and not the Church. It had nothing to do with science or religion or the oppression of ideas but politics and Galileo betrayed his long time friend and mentor and got squelched as a result of his betrayal.

    So if Darwinists use the example of Galileo to attack religion they are using an argument from their ignorance.

  40. jerry (#39),

    I have concerns about writing off the Galileo affair that easily. I suspect that the Church, and Christianity in general, needed to learn some lessons as well as Galileo. However, I agree that the affair has been overblown and that certainly the lesson that should have been learned was not that mechanistic evolution should not be challenged.

    I do agree with Bruce David (#38) on this one.

    I am fascinated by the claim that increased oxygen leads to increased calcium carbonate which leads to teeth and shells. My experimentalist’s mind immediately asks the question, are there any large-scale deposits of limestone in the Precambrian? If not, it would seem to support the theory. If so, it would seem to falsify it. I ask as one who does not know.

    Update: I googled “Precambrian limestone” and got this:
    http://www.google.com/search?h.....f&oq=

    There does seem to be quite a bit of it. Where does that leave the theory?

  41. Paul,

    My guess is that you do not understand the Galileo affair. You probably have heard the conventional wisdom about it and it is extremely wrong. The Church did little to be ashamed of and was actually very supportive of Galileo’s science.

    It was Galileo who is mainly to blame for the problems he created and they were all political and had nothing to do with either science or religion. There had been some petty religious squabbles years before but they had nothing to do with what happened. It had to do with war between Catholics and Protestants (30 Years War) and the fight between the two major Catholic powers in Europe at the time, France and the Hapsburgs. And Galileo with his arrogance stuck his nose into it and his thesis was a way of doing it. A thesis by the way suggested by the pope who he then betrayed. After Galileo betrayed the pope, the pope struck Galileo down and the Inquisition under the directive of the cardinals sentenced him to house arrest. In England he would have certainly have lost his head in days for what he did. In Florence he got the comfy chair.

  42. Atheists like to cite the Galileo matter as an example of how Christianity is somehow opposed to science. The truth, however, is that it is the atheists who have the record of murdering the great scientists

  43. Well, whatever the truth about the actual historical event (and I accept that it was more complex than is commonly believed), the version the Darwinists like to present is the one in which Galileo, the great scientist, was suppressed by the church because his ideas conflicted with Christian doctrine. They then portray “Creationism/ID” as religion attacking science (Darwinism), thus identifying ID with the medieval church. The irony is that in this controversy, it is the Darwinists themselves who have taken on the role of suppressing a new scientific idea precisely because it conflicts with their faith (atheism, in most cases, or at least the faith that the natural world can be fully explained by natural causes).

  44. That is can we take some number of soft-bodied organisms, put them in a solution with increased calcium carbonate, and see if they “evolve” shells, bones and teeth?–

    Maybe if you wait a few million years.

    Thank you for admitting the premise is not objectively testable.

    That is all I wanted to know- that the position is nothing but throwing time at every issue.

    The way natural selection and father time are worshipped the theory of evolution is a religion.

  45. Bruce David or any else interested,

    If you are interested in learning the truth about what happened with Galileo, then go to the following thread over a year ago:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-you-know/

    Search for the term Galileo and follow the thread to the end. You will get a good feel for what happened.

    If you want to understand more about it go to your local library system and see if they can get the following Teaching company courses:

    Science and Religion which has two 30 minute lectures on this topic

    http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/Co.....x?cid=4691

    and

    Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It which has a thirty minute lecture on the topic

    http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/co.....8;cid=1235

    How the average person acquired their erroneous perceptions of Galileo and the Church is an interesting phenomenon in itself.

  46. I just re-read something I wrote a year ago and it rang a bell. A lot of the fossils in the Cambrian were soft body fossils. So I am not sure that the calcium carbonate wold explain this.

  47. 47

    Jerry,

    Ok, thanks. I’ll follow your link.

  48. There is an excellent review article on the subject of the Cambrian “explosion” and its relationship with the topics discussed in this thread in:

    Vrba, E. & Eldredge, N. (2005) Macroevolution: Diversity, Disparity, Contingency; Essays in Honor of Stephen Jay Gould, published by The Paleontological Society (ISBN 1891276492).

    The article is:

    “Tempo and mode of early animal evolution: inferences from rocks, Hox, and molecular clocks”, by Peterson, K., McPeek, M., and Evans, D. pages 36 to 55.

  49. Professor MacNeill,

    Do you just come to this website to dissuade students from looking further into ID? That is the impression I’m getting.

    I apologize if I seem rude, I am notoriously abrasive at times, but I mean this is an ID website.

  50. Platonist the moderation rules have changed and Prof MacNeil is providing valuable insight into how evo-theorists are actually thinking these days. And if you consider him the enemy, remember the ancient proverb, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. (No offense, Prof.)

  51. Hi JT, good enough.

    I was just worried that lurkers might get the wrong idea about ID.

    No disrespect or bad feelings were intended.

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