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Irreducible Complexity Redux?

When scientists have to continually look to nature to figure out how to do things well, doesn’t it become apparent at some point that we’re dealing with embodied intelligence? Here’s just the latest edition:

The propulsion system used by slime-squirting bacteria could teach rocket scientists and nano-engineers some new tricks.

Myxobacteria are micrometre-scale filament-shaped organisms that glide along surfaces, leaving a trail of slime in their wake. Biologists were convinced the bugs produced the slime as lubricant, but couldn’t explain how they generated the force to move.

Now it turns out that the bacteria push themselves along by ejecting the slime from nozzles on their bodies. “They are little rockets,” says Andrey Dobrynin, a polymer scientist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

Myxobacteria have 250 nozzles located on each end. By squirting slime from one set or the other they can dart forward or back at up to 10 micrometres per second.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn8933-bacteria-use-slime-jets-to-get-around.html

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55 Responses to Irreducible Complexity Redux?

  1. “Myxobacteria are micrometre-scale filament-shaped organisms that glide along surfaces, leaving a trail of slime in their wake.”

    In my practice I frequently run across lawyers who do this except on a larger scale.

  2. “When scientists have to continually look to nature to figure out how to do things well, doesn’t it become apparent at some point that we’re dealing with embodied intelligence?”

    No. Why?

  3. Why? Because we mimic design found in nature. Isn’t part of that sentence the answer?

  4. I don’t see how if we mimic nature, it follows that nature was designed by an intelligence.

  5. 5

    Chris: when you see a car, an airplane, a rocket, etc., do you doubt the intelligence of those who designed and produced them? When you see things in nature that is more complex than these machineries, isn’t it reasonable to say that there is intelligence behind it (as opposed to pure chance)? This is just a simple a minori ad maius argument. Unless, of course, you deny the intelligence behind man-made machines, in which case you’ve just insulted all the engineers in the world.

  6. Even my “widgets” on my Mac OS X dashboard know that design is defined as: “purpose, plan or intention that is thought to exist behind an action, fact or material object.”

    If we don’t presume purpose, plan or intent, we don’t have design, we merely have a pattern: “an arrangement or sequence found in comparable objects or events.”

    When we see such functional complexity, we can’t call it a mere pattern. The implied intelligence in the definition of design seems to prove itself. Is there a Latin phrase for that?

  7. Kathy, I like your defintion of design, “purpose, plan or intention that is thought to exist behind an action, fact or material object.”

    Some of us look at the natural world, add 4 billion years and 1 quadrillion organisms experimenting with mutations per year (or thereabouts), and come to the conclusion that without “purpose, plan or intention” these 4 * 10^24 mutational experiments would not come anywhere close to pulling off the complexity that we see.

    When we look at the rock record, and we see that life appeared very early in earth’s development. When we see that the kind of life that existed then still exists now, and that it is vastly beyond what chance would produce. The scientific community is beginning to recognize this, but read textbooks from the 90s and you will see that it was not long ago at all that scientists thought that the existance of abiotic amino acids was proof enough that life as we know it “just happened by a realistic accident.” Further, though the scientific community recognizes that some intermediaries such as RNA world must have existed. But such insite has not produced a feasible pathway from abiotic amino acids to the simplest life as we know it. Our reasonable conclusion, life itself is the product of “purpose, plan or intention.”

    Continuing to look at the rock record, we find that the greatest gaps in the fosil record, the gaps between the philums, the kingdoms and the domains happened in a geological instant, and always a long time ago. Do you not find it strange that 600 mya, there was one or two philums, in a period of about 10 million years there was suddenly about 100, and since 500 mya there hasn’t been a single new philum? What up with the burst of change thing? When I look at the data I think, “purpose, plan or intention.”

    When we examine the cosmos, when we realize that the cosmos had a true beginning, when we see how carefully tuned it is, we have a choice between chasing after some odd religiously motivated (athieism) conjecture such as a multiverse theory, or come to the logical conclusion that the universe has “purpose, plan or intention.”

    I, and the others in the ID community, look at life, our world, the cosmos and, based upon the evidence, we think, “purpose, plan or intention.” Based upon the evidence, the only alternative that I can find is a religious committment to the avoidance of such a view.

  8. 8

    “When you see things in nature that is more complex than these machineries, isn’t it reasonable to say that there is intelligence behind it (as opposed to pure chance)?” I don’t think evolution is based on pure chance, unless you count all processes that aren’t caused by intelligence as random. No I don’t think the fact that biological systems are more complex than human machines is reason to infer intelligent design any more than the fact that we mimic them is.

    “The scientific community is beginning to recognize this, but read textbooks from the 90s and you will see that it was not long ago at all that scientists thought that the existance of abiotic amino acids was proof enough that life as we know it “just happened by a realistic accident.”” I studied high school biology in the 90′s and I was taught that we were still a very long way off from any kind of reasonable origin if life theory. Incedentaly I was also taught that we had no understanding of how the bacterial flagellum evolved.

    “Do you not find it strange that 600 mya, there was one or two philums, in a period of about 10 million years there was suddenly about 100, and since 500 mya there hasn’t been a single new philum? What up with the burst of change thing? When I look at the data I think, “purpose, plan or intention.”” I find it fascinating, another thing I was taught as an unsolved problem in science, from what I have read it seems that insights from systems biology and developmental biology are helping us understand this phenomenon.

    I am not an atheist I have no religious opposition to there being purpose behind evolution, I am perfectly prepared to throw up my hands and say I was wrong if the day comes. However I read a lot papers about evolution, and they only strengthen the theory for me not weaken it. I admit there are many things we don’t know, and I imagine there are many questions that won’t be answered in my lifetime, but that alone can’t be a reason to assume design, I have studied biological systems for several years, and they do not look like designed systems to me, other than through analogy. If intelligent design produces research and a theory that explains the evidence better than evolution I will gladly change my mind.

  9. Unfortunetly not everyone looks at the cosmos and sees design or purpose or intention. However, I am not sure as to why. I guess “pride” is more powerful than we give it credit for. Many people see themselves as being able to explain everything and that lends itself a sort of comforting factor in establishing your power over nature. Although it is just a pyschological power it is a power non the less, look to Stephen Hawking and others who wish to find a theory of everything. My question though is, What then? We humans have this knack for wanting to put things in there place to see ourselves being able to explain everything including our supposed purposeless existence. This ability to say our existence is purposeless gives us incredible power, you know? It allows us to make decisions without a consequence of having to hold ourselves responsible, what’s responsibility? It also allows us to give people the ability to act in ways that fullfil the deepest human desires. In other words it eliminates, at least at face value, morals. I have been thinking deeply about this issue and I wonder if at heart those who oppose ID are really afraid of its implications regarding many moral issues. And further, I think it scares people to accept a view which would give credence to views so opposite of their own. Mmmmmmm, the questions are as tricky as the answers but let us think through our purposeless existence. Now I’m off to play Scrabble to logically conclude where I shall go for my masters degree. hhehehehehheee.

    Ricardo

  10. 10
    formlessandvoid

    Chris: design theory is not opposed to evolution per se, but to natural selection/random mutation and purposeless process. From http://www.discovery.org/csc/topQuestions.php

    2. Is intelligent design theory incompatible with evolution?
    It depends on what one means by the word “evolution.” If one simply means “change over time,” or even that living things are related by common ancestry, then there is no inherent conflict between evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory. However, the dominant theory of evolution today is neo-Darwinism, which contends that evolution is driven by natural selection acting on random mutations, an unpredictable and purposeless process that “has no discernable direction or goal, including survival of a species.” (NABT Statement on Teaching Evolution). It is this specific claim made by neo-Darwinism that intelligent design theory directly challenges.

    Thus, some, though not all, design theorists do accept “evolution” to some extent; they only dispute that pure random processes can result in the (specified) complexities that we observe in the biological world. In addition, “intelligence” does not equal “God”, if that is what’s bugging you. One might, for example, define intelligence in opposition to randomness, perhaps with probability or degree. The less random something appears, the more likely it was the result of design. That’s way we reason about just everything else; e.g., I infer from your writing that there was, with high probability, an intelligent agent behind it, though I don’t know who you are. Why should this reasoning not be applied to the biological world?

    When you say, “I don’t think evolution is based on pure chance”, you are actually not too far from accepting intelligent design, if you’d only take “intelligence” in a more technical sense rather than a personal sense.

  11. Ricardo

    “Unfortunately not everyone looks at the cosmos and sees design or purpose or intention.”

    Actually, this is not correct. Even the most frothing of the frothing at the mouth Darwinists see the self-evident design of living things. Richard Dawkins famously said that biology is “the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Pace your comment, Dawkins looks at the cosmos and sees design and purpose, but he denies the most plausible conclusion from the overwhelming evidence before his eyes, because he is more committed to his atheist religious views than to searching for the truth.

    Dawkins says the appearance of design is an illusion. While he could be right there’s no proof it’s an illusion. As far as physics informs us everything in the non-quantum universe is deterministic which by defintion means that randomness is an illusion caused by incomplete information of the chain of causal events. And even in quantum mechanics it’s arguable whether anything is actually unpredictable or whether the unpredictability is because we don’t have a complete theory (quantum gravity is MIA). The default position should be that randomness is an illusion since all the evidence points that way right now. -ds

  12. When scientists have to continually look to nature to figure out how to do things well, doesn’t it become apparent at some point that we’re dealing with embodied intelligence?

  13. Darn it. Pressed the “Enter” key by accident.

    “When scientists have to continually look to nature to figure out how to do things well, doesn’t it become apparent at some point that we’re dealing with embodied intelligence?”

    That is the logical conclusion, if one follows the empirical evidence, devoid of materialistic mental prisions.

  14. As a follow-up to what BarryA wrote, let’s just try and put ourselves into the mindset of the time, a time when “Newtonian mechanics” reigned–a ‘mechanics’ that said contrary to what your eyes are telling you, the earth is revolving around the sun; not the sun around the earth.” Then comes Lyell: “It looks like catastrophes have happened; but, really, all it is is erosion and uplifting, etc., viz., small, UNIFORM forces acting slowly over a very large amount of time. This was the mindset of the time.

    In our times, however, the raw complexity of what is seen strongly suggests the presence of design. The more and more science can enlarge things so that we can look at them, the more evident this design becomes. The more and more we study the nano-world and the quantum world, the more and more we find information is present even at the tiniest of levels. At these tiniest of levels, the question just naturally arises as to where this information came from. In other words, science itself will be the undoing of Darwinism as soon as a cricital number of scientists finally conclude that they can, indeed, ‘trust their lying eyes.’ I’m personally waiting for the critical threshold to be crossed soon.

  15. Chris,

    I would like to know some of the things that you have read that strengthens the theory for you. I believed in Darwinian evolution until about 7 years ago but quite frankly never read a thing about it except for the occasional blurb in the popular media. Since that time I have not found very much which supports it as the mechanism for any significant biological change but a lot that contradicts it. But I don’t have 30 years experience in biology so I would be interested in your experiences and insights. I do have a job that requires me to understand cellurlar energy metabolism so biology is not entirely foreign to me.

  16. 16

    Hey, just wanted to say thanks for the new website to explore

  17. “Actually, this is not correct. Even the most frothing of the frothing at the mouth Darwinists see the self-evident design of living things. Richard Dawkins famously said that biology is “the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Pace your comment, Dawkins looks at the cosmos and sees design and purpose, but he denies the most plausible conclusion from the overwhelming evidence before his eyes, because he is more committed to his atheist religious views than to searching for the truth.”

    Agreed, but my original post I meant that they just choose to not see what is plainly designed. My following remarks I think make that clear enough when I say, “However, I am not sure as to why?” My point being that humans always want to be the top dog being able to explain things gives us power both with ID and Evolution but both have different implications. If you have ever heard Dawkins or Dennett talk they are both overly proud of there atheism which they proudly wear like a new boy scout badge. My thoughts are directed towards people with such a pride that it makes them blind.

    Thanks for the thoughts BarryA.

    Ricardo

  18. Ricardo
    You nailed it about the “pride” that prevents atheists and others in that camp from even contemplating the possibility that there might be in this universe an intelligence greater than their own. It truly is a matter of the heart. An ancient Philosopher-King put it bluntly: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” (King David, Psalm 14:1).

    Many years later, with tragic self-willed mistakes and bitter experience behind him, he would candidly confess: “Reverence and worship of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.” (Psalm 111:10)

    A thousand years after David (and two thousand years ago) another writer, Paul of Tarsus, might as well have been talking of God-rejecters as we know them in our day. Because they denied God, he said, “their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…[and] exchanged the truth of God for a lie…” (Romans 1:21-25)

    If history proves anything, it is that human nature has not evolved from what it was six thousand years ago. The old battle between Light and darkness rages on: “There is nothing new under the sun,” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

  19. 19

    “When you say, “I don’t think evolution is based on pure chance”, you are actually not too far from accepting intelligent design, if you’d only take “intelligence” in a more technical sense rather than a personal sense.” I am far from accepting intelligent design so far as it is claimed there is positive scientific evidence of purpose in evolution. I am perfectly happy to accept that an intelligence would be God as long as there is evidence for it. Richard Dawkins also often says that evolution is not based on chance alone.

    As far as I understand it intelligent design has no moral implications as it does not have a position on the nature of the designer, if the designer is no longer around this would have the same implications as if there was no designer.

    “That is the logical conclusion, if one follows the empirical evidence, devoid of materialistic mental prisions.” Intelligent designs practice of simeltaneously refusing to speculate on the designer and attacking materialism is seen at best as a mixed message by most people who I speak to about it. Having said that science cannot rule out supernatural mechanisms, but it can’t include them until there is a method to scientifically distinguish between the natural and supernatural.

    “I would like to know some of the things that you have read that strengthens the theory for you. I believed in Darwinian evolution until about 7 years ago but quite frankly never read a thing about it except for the occasional blurb in the popular media. Since that time I have not found very much which supports it as the mechanism for any significant biological change but a lot that contradicts it. But I don’t have 30 years experience in biology so I would be interested in your experiences and insights.”

    I have not been studying biology for nearly that long, neither am I an evolutionary biologist. In fact when I started reading about the claims of intelligent design in the press I realised that I didn’t really understand evolution all that well, so I went to the scientific literature to see if I could find some answers to the questions that ID was asking of evolution. I read Richard Lewtonin and Mary Jane West-Eberhard and their papers on phenotypic plasticity, Stuart Kauffman’s papers on complexity and self-organization, Eric Davison’s papers on developmental networks, and many other over a period of several years (including John Davison’s and ID papers). Sufficed to say my idea of what constitues the evolution of species has completely changed, however I have still not seen sufficient evidence to conclude that intelligence is nessecary. I think a lot of the problem is a confusion about evolution, for example many people I speak to say they can’t believe that change in allele frequency in populations can result in the complexity we see today. I don’t believe it either, neither do i stick to the gene centric or adaptationist view, and I also belive that saltation is perfectly in line with my view of evolution. Does that mean I’m not a ‘Darwinist’, if so i think everybody is having different arguments.

  20. Chris Hyland,

    You said “Having said that science cannot rule out supernatural mechanisms, but it can’t include them until there is a method to scientifically distinguish between the natural and supernatural.”

    What is the scientific method you used to determine this claim?

    Thanks,
    Saxe

  21. Chris Hyland

    “As far as I understand it intelligent design has no moral implications . . .”

    Not true. See this post:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....chives/957

  22. 22

    “What is the scientific method you used to determine this claim?”

    If anyone has a suggestion how we can include supernatural explanations without being able to to detrmine whether or not they are in fact supernatural I would be interested to hear them. Maybe most scientists would call me a heretic for suggesting that if someone could convinvingly determine between the supernatural and a phenomenon for which we just have no natural expliantion, we would have to rethink the definition of science, thats just my opinion. However I think the question is purely philosophical at this point as no-one has claimed to have such a method that I am aware of, assuming of course you do not count an intelligent act produced by a natural entity as supernatural.

    ““As far as I understand it intelligent design has no moral implications . . .”

    Not true. See this post:”

    I understand ID does not rule out God, but neither does evolution as I understand it. Although it does rule out the specific God of the bible in my opinion, there are certainly people who dispute this.

  23. I always find the argument that science should not concern itself with the possibility of the supernatural a specious argument. It is used solely to justify that the supernatural is not needed as an explanation for anything and for all practical purposes does not exist. If you take the premise that there is a materialistic cause for everything in existence then you have essentially neutered the supernatural even if it does exist. For then the supernatural has no function because it has never done anything. So materialistic thinking eliminates God even if He does exists and scientists who espouse it should be honest enough to admit it.

    However, if you accept the premise that there could be a supernatural creator who affects some aspects of the universe then by definition any attempt to find a materialistic cause for those aspects must be a scientific cul de sac. This should be admitted and be a basic premise of science. It is something they should be willing to live with.

    This does not mean that science should not explore these cul de sacs because we do not know for sure where they are but science should admit that there might be some. Even if there are areas that look strongly affected by the supernatural, it does not mean they cannot be explored. It has never stopped any scientists before including those who had a deep faith in God.

    My guess is that OOL is one of the cul de sacs but I actually support research here for two reasons. First, the more they explore the bigger the problem seems to be and second, there is often unforeseen uses for the research results. While Stuart Kaufmann’s self-assembling molecules as explanation of OOL may be science fiction his research may have lots of useful applications. I also enjoyed Robert Hazen’s account of OOL research but reacted negatively to the smugness of those who dismiss anything but a materialistic cause for life’s origins and their unwillingness to discuss the issue honestly. Suggesting that there may not be any materialistic explanation for the OOL problem will not stop research there.

  24. Jerry

    “So materialistic thinking eliminates God even if He does exists and scientists who espouse it should be honest enough to admit it.

    However, if you accept the premise that there could be a supernatural creator who affects some aspects of the universe then by definition any attempt to find a materialistic cause for those aspects must be a scientific cul de sac. This should be admitted and be a basic premise of science. It is something they should be willing to live with.”

    I understand what you are saying. As scientists we assume that the universe behaves in an ordered and consistent way, and is possible to describe at a fundamental level by relatively simple laws. But I think you misunderstand the reason we do this—it’s pragmatism, not prejudice.

    I.e. the reason we do this is because it has always worked so far; of course, as soon as we observe phenomena that are inconsistent with any possible materialistic explanation one would have to abandon this stance. But that hasn’t happened, yet. All the phenomena we observe are consistent with simple physical laws. To be honest it would be fascinating if they were not!

  25. Slight correction: It’s not prejudice in ALL cases…only in some. Still, this has more to do with an adoption of a particular philosophy than raw science.

  26. Physicist,

    I am like Diogenes, looking this time for an honest scientist. When science makes a point that there may be some areas it may never be able to explain, I will let you have your point. But current science leans over backwards to make the opposite point. I do not believe it is pragmatism but ideological. Otherwise why all the heat in the discussions. Why the attempts at indoctrination. Why all the attempts to shut down debate. Why not just listen and then go on with your work. It is the complete elimination of any explanation except the materialistic one that is the issue and the current science community is by definition highly suspect, given the high proportion of atheists in it and its willingness to ostracize. By the way is that what one would call pragmatic?

    There are currently plenty of unexplained phenomena and I certainly believe that some day a large percentage of these will be explained, maybe all of them. So that is not the issue. But admitting that some problems may never find a solution to me is the more pragmatic approach. It could eliminate too much ruminating in some of those potential dead ends. It also would open up areas that aren’t currently explored because they may imply design. Nothing should be off limits despite the proposition that some of it may have a non materialistic cause.

    As an aside, explain to me how life’s origins is consistent with simple physical laws. What do you think all the OOL research is about? Someday there may be a simple explanation but right now there at best nothing but a lot of wishful speculations. They are clueless and won’t even discuss the enormity of the problem on a rational basis. They can’t because to do so would not be ideologically correct. You know it, I know it and everybody who reads this forum knows it.

  27. Physicist: “All the phenomena we observe are consistent with simple physical laws.”

    The highly complex, tightly specified information in living systems is not consistent with any simple physical laws, nor is the spontaneous generation of life from non-living matter.

  28. “Dawkins says the appearance of design is an illusion.”

    History may show the appearance of Dawkins was just an illusion. ;)

    ID critics commonly use the tactic that IDists don’t have a design detection criteria except for “we will know it when we see it”. Even IF that were entirely true, don’t we have to first observe something BEFORE making a determination of how it came to be?

    History may show the appearance of Dawkins was just an illusion.

    Good one! -ds

  29. Chris,

    Isn’t it possible that it is so ridiculously obvious that there exists a Creator, that it is silly this debate is taking place? Perhaps His handiwork is so prevalent and you’ve grown so accustomed to it, that you don’t even see it. If Romans 1:20-21 is correct, then what I just told you is true. If I am correct, then you are without excuse.

    Also, what scientific law(s) do we know that account for the following beliefs held by materialists?

    1. Something Came From Nothing
    2. Disorder Produced Order
    3. Non-living Matter Produced Living Matter
    4. Self-Replicating Turned Into Sexually Replicating
    5. Molecules in Motion Produced Consciousness (the matter now knows it is matter)

    Please explain to me the “scientific evidence” you used to arrive at these conclusions.

    Take Care,

    Saxe

  30. Gildodgen

    “The highly complex, tightly specified information in living systems is not consistent with any simple physical laws, nor is the spontaneous generation of life from non-living matter.”

    Of course, biology is in some sense a more complicated science than physics. There is a debate to be had, but can you justify what you assert here as fact? Or is it just your intuition that is telling you this?

  31. 31

    “Please explain to me the “scientific evidence” you used to arrive at these conclusions.”

    1. I don’t recall ever saying this

    2. If you are referring to abiogenesis, I dont think I ever claimed that this has been scientifically proven. If you are referring to evolution, then I see no reason that this is a problem. Also did I mention I have read many papers on self-organization.

    3. Again if you are referring to abiogenesis I never claimed science proved this. If you are referring to vitalism, then this has been disproven in the laboratory.

    4. I personally do not know how self reproducing organisms evolved into sexually replicating organisms, although there are several plausible theories, read Bill Hamilton and George Williams for example. Some interesting studies have been done on organisms that exist in both non-sexual and sexual forms to show that sexually reproducing creatures outcompete in changing environments. Again I was told at 15 in high school science that we do not know how this occured. I have definately not seen any evidence to show intelligent intervention.

    5. I really don’t know much about neuroscience or consciousness, but I have never claimed that science can explain consciusness. I do have a good idea why we are more intelligent than chimps, but I guess that doesn’t answer your question.

    I dont know how evolution is taught in the US, but I was taught exactly what we do know and exactly what we don’t know. I was also taught how we can infer certain things using the knowledge we have to facilitate further investigation, and I suspect this is what people have a problem with. I have never said that I am a metaphysical naturalist, all I have said is that as a scientist I am forced to use methodological naturalism until we can scientifically distinguish between natural and supernatural phenomenon. If one day we can I am prepared to accept that and it will not profoundly affect my worldview or my pride.

    “If Romans 1:20-21 is correct, then what I just told you is true. If I am correct, then you are without excuse.”

    If Romans 1:20-21 is correct then I suspect I will be going to hell, I accept that. If this is the case then I have no more incentive to promote malterialism than if it weren’t.

  32. as a scientist I am forced to use methodological naturalism

    What’s wrong with pragmatic naturalism?

  33. Chris, welcome, you said,

    “However I read a lot papers about evolution, and they only strengthen the theory for me not weaken it.”

    Jerry asked for examples. Can you site a specific paper? I’m curious to know what strengthens macro-evolution in your opinion. We all accept micro-evolution or variation.

    It appears you read John Davison(right links). There Dr. Davison states, “While there is no question that varieties can be produced through artificial selection, to the best of my knowledge such attempts have as yet never successfully exceeded the species barrier. This experience includes centuries of efforts on the part of animal and plant breeders to alter all kinds of domesticated organisms. Furthermore, since Nature is at the very least unpredictable, we are left with the conclusion that the Darwinian model does not qualify even as an hypothesis, a curious status for a view still widely accepted by the evolutionary establishment.

    Have you found contradictory evidence to Dr. Davison’s views regarding new species creation? What I have found is opposite and against macro-evolution. For example and specifically, we now know the famous Darwin finches did not create a new species. The beaks shrunk to normal size and what was thought to be “novel species” breeded with each other, therefore making the sensationlist claims bogus. This is what concerns me about McVo’s attempt to force feed data into their paradigm and then present it to the public as fact. What was once trumpeted loudly as proof for macro-evolution is now disguised by science for its failure. Did National Geographic or Nature ever do an article saying – what happened to Darwin’s finches? I may have missed it.

    “I admit there are many things we don’t know, and I imagine there are many questions that won’t be answered in my lifetime, but that alone can’t be a reason to assume design…,”

    This is a talking point ID-critic strawman. ID does not infer design by ignorance anymore so than evolution if you’re honest with both sides claims. Truly, do you think Behe, Dembski are tossing out ignorance as their answer? Practical insight of today’s progress points to a future of organic design. The way scientist today are ‘Designing’ genetically modified crops and animals(green pigs) is proof that a ‘Designer’ can exist. It does not definitively answer the ‘How’ and ‘Where’ and ‘Why, but neither does any area of science today. Why are we to strap down ID with such outrageous burdens?
    ID gives us a glimpse into the future of better than evolution in that man is intervening with new designs in nature and from nature. How far do you think scientist will go in another hundred years of genetic alterations? And will their new creations be considered ‘designed’? Or evolved? Which argument bodes well for the future?

    “I have studied biological systems for several years, and they do not look like designed systems to me, other than through analogy.”

    This seems subjective, again, which paper represents strength of macro-evolution? I’d sincerely like to know. As to date, real scientific observation of Darwin’s finches show regulation back to a prior pattern. That environmental factors stretch the variety in beak size, but do not a new species make. And later, beak size is reduced or just another pattern of the whole. These historical observations put into real perspective indicate to me a genome that is elastic for survival, but not broken for new species. And if external stimuli are too drastic – we have extinction, not novel species.

    “If intelligent design produces research and a theory that explains the evidence better than evolution I will gladly change my mind.”

    Certainly, that is a good approach to take. Let the evidence lead you. ID has much to do in the future no doubt I agree with you. But let me suggest that the mechanisms are being discovered daily across diverse systems of study bio-architecture. That do to paradigm indoctrination and Fear factors, scientist are limited in their viewpoints. That, as we gain more information and clarity, mechanisms will be recognized for regulation and control of the species that show conservation, not macro-evolution. That engineers routinely every single day now are recognizing, extrapolating, translating and reverse engineering nature as design, shows yet another link of prior intelligent creation.

    Much of what I read seems to indicate resistence to change. Bacteria put through every conceivable mutation nevertheless stays bacteria. Fruit Flies, the same. On and On. And on the otherhand, bio-systems engineers, and more specifically corporate world which drives innovation is recognizing ‘design’ in nature and adapting it. In fact, I suspect there will be universities that will soon create entire programs based upon design translation of nature due to competitive outside forces. They will care less about macro-evolution as it does not give practical benefit.

    As to past, I personally believe having read much on the subject there is to much willful twisting of data on the part of many across broad scientific fields, but nowhere more so than paleontology with many fraudulent claims by ‘scientist’.

    I believe macro-evolution to be a failed scientific field. That either Davison’s hypothesis are correct built upon past scienctist he credits – evolution stopped. Or there are other possibilities. Common descent is in question for me personally and I tend to look at multiple roots and trees, uncommon from the start, but with shared genetic design.

    I believe micro-evolution(variation space) to be a wonderful field of study with many applications. Like coloring a pig green, or new colors for fish, we should be able to alter stripes on a zebra. Or the study of butterflies, fish, locust can lead to new technologies in optical, aerodynamics and voice technology unprecedented by science so far today. The fact that we can reverse-engineer, for me in practical terms exhibits prior engineering.

    I do not doubt the possibility in the future to “design” new species. But they will only exist because intelligent scientist created them.

  34. Physicist: “All the phenomena we observe are consistent with simple physical laws.”

    can you justify what you assert here as fact? Or is it just your intuition that is telling you this?

  35. Michaels7 wrote: “There Dr. Davison states, ‘While there is no question that varieties can be produced through artificial selection, to the best of my knowledge such attempts have as yet never successfully exceeded the species barrier. This experience includes centuries of efforts on the part of animal and plant breeders to alter all kinds of domesticated organisms. Furthermore, since Nature is at the very least unpredictable, we are left with the conclusion that the Darwinian model does not qualify even as an hypothesis, a curious status for a view still widely accepted by the evolutionary establishment.’”

    The thought that jumped up in my mind was this: Darwin, in the Origins, makes the claim that ‘natural selection’ is unimaginably more powerful than ‘artificial selection’ in bringing about minute changes to animal forms. (paraphrase) And, yet, we know that only ‘wolves’ are to be found in ‘nature’; whereas, ‘breeders’ have been able to change a ‘wolf’ into a ‘chihuahua.’ Thus, which of the two is MORE powerful? The answer seems rather obvious.

    Then the next step is to simply observe that ‘breeders’ CAN’T cross the ‘species boundary.’ Thus, a fortiori, “natural selection” CAN’T cross the ‘species boundary.’ This seems like an air-tight conclusion. And, as the good professor Davison says, “we are left with the conclusion that the Darwinian model does not qualify even as an hypothesis, a curious status for a view still widely accepted by the evolutionary establishment.”

    You Darwinists out there, what say you?

  36. PaV, your summation is to the point and a more elequent(than mine) rebuttal to neo-Dar’s(not to Chris specifically). It sums up my thoughts with regards to experimentation and lack of any true evidence.

    I’m still curious to see what evidence leads Chris to lean towards macro-evolution. I am sincere in wanting to know specific articles or journals that I might read.

    Your point is on target as current observable data exist. Breeders thru natural means have stretched the genome variety within species to near busting, but have not crossed boundaries.

    Curious. Do you think it feasible in near future(50,100yrs) to create new type species with more insight into molecular programming models and genetic math models? If it is designed. We should be able to reverse engineer and rebuild new species.

    The next question becomes – do we rebuild an entirely new species by ‘speeding up’ macro-evolution. In this case how do we know the end goal without front-loading that Dave Scott leans towards?

    Or, do we design it from ground up with known tools, genes, etc. with immediate end-goal in mind?

    Can we add horns to horses? Pink colours from Flamingos to Panthers – making pink panthers? Based upon recent experiments of pigs, the latter is eventually doable. Is this proof of macro-evolution or ID?

    Now, when pigs fly…. hehe

    This is all hypothetical of course. But for me it helps to look forward at times instead of looking backwards. Do we as intelligent beings and our scientist ever expect to create new life forms in laboratory? If so, how?

    Currently, I see cloning and patchwork code of subroutines being spliced from one species to another or one kingdom to another. This is intelligent manipulation of DNA code removed and inserted at a level that nature could in my humble opinion NOT perform along the lines of green pigs. The probability of algae DNA crossing over to pigs is absurd to think without intelligent intervention.
    We eat green food every single day, so have all herbivores. Yet we do not turn green. Based on external stimuli being a ’cause and effect’ of macro-evolution, this needs explaining why it does and does not occur across all species. Why can we insert ‘green’ into a kingdom? Why is just one part of a male Mallard green?

    Pink Flamingos in my opinion stand against all logic of natural selection being a function of survival. In fact, it appears to be a function of great humor. But then, evolution even has that covered now days: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e/2006/03/

    lol….

  37. Michaels7 wrote: “Curious. Do you think it feasible in near future(50,100yrs) to create new type species with more insight into molecular programming models and genetic math models? If it is designed. We should be able to reverse engineer and rebuild new species.”

    Well, anyone who has ever done any ‘programming’ knows that unless you get the program just right, ‘death’ is the final outcome. I would think we are very far away from ‘new species.’ Now, another question might be: “Can we activate gene activity that is normally suppressed in a certain organism in such a way that new features appear?” That would be a more likely scenario, with, in my view, the likely outcome of producing monsters and deformed beings. Nature already does some of that from time to time. In the 60′s, there were the children born to women who took a certain medication/drug (can’t remember the name) that were extremely deformed. Until such time as we have a good understanding of the ‘programming’ involved, I think the net result will just be monstrosities (and, of course, death).

    Your remarks suggest to me that you’re young and more than a little concerned about what the future might bring. One can only hope that scientists, as they advance in knowledge, remain ethical agents.

  38. Hi Es58

    “Physicist: “All the phenomena we observe are consistent with simple physical laws.”

    can you justify what you assert here as fact? Or is it just your intuition that is telling you this? ”

    OK, that made me smile. I agree that this becomes silly if the reply I gave above is used all the time. I’ll hope that you don’t read this and simply cut and past the above in reply!

    However, yes, I think there is a difference between asserting that the putative IC in nature and the origin of life are *not* compatible with (any possible) natural laws, and on the other hand asserting (as I did) that fundamental physics *is* compatible with simple physical laws. Of course, it depends to some extent on your philosophical outlook, but if you look at e.g. CERN/Fermilab experiments to test the standard model or particle physics, or various gravitational observations to test GR, or COBE/WMAP to test cosmological models, or Type I superconductivity, or nuclear reactions, or fluid flow, or thermodynamics, or many other areas of physics, then yes—it is more than just my intuition telling me that these phenomena are consistent with simple physical laws. The last 400 years (or more) of physics have shown that the assumption that nature follows well-ordered and consistent physical laws seems to work! Of course, it would be highly interesting if this assumption breaks down, and there is some phenomenon that is simple unpredictable by relatively simple laws.

  39. Physicist,

    When you go to work today, look at your office. Are there any simple physical laws that could account for your office’s existence? The answer is obviously no. Some intelligence designed and built it. So when we look at something far more complex such as the cell, we say the same thing. There are no simple physical laws that can account for it. So we make the same comment. Some intelligence designed and built it.

    Your answer that simple physical laws can explain things is sophistry. It works in certain areas but by itself fails completely in others. Intelligence using simple physical laws constructs most of the world in which we live, not just simple physical laws. Without the intelligence there would me just molecules crashing into each other.

  40. 40

    “Can you site a specific paper? I’m curious to know what strengthens macro-evolution in your opinion.”

    This one is as good as any I guess http://www.pubmedcentral.gov/a.....id=1131862. But what I understand as evolution now comes from readin dozens of papers. Also just to clarify, I do not belive that macroevolution and mircoevolution are the same processes in many if not most cases.

    “Have you found contradictory evidence to Dr. Davison’s views regarding new species creation?”

    His theory is that genome rearrangements can create new species, I have no problem with that, I only have objections to saying that they are the only mechanism of species change, and that there is good evidence that they are intelligently driven.

    “ID gives us a glimpse into the future of better than evolution in that man is intervening with new designs in nature and from nature.” I have never said that my objections are based on the fact that no mechanism exists. Regarding the glow in the dark pigs, if we found something like this in nature we would be hard pushed to come up with a natural explanation, unless the pigs lived near jellyfish infested waters and we could come up with a mechanism for gene transfer.

    “That engineers routinely every single day now are recognizing, extrapolating, translating and reverse engineering nature as design, shows yet another link of prior intelligent creation.” This goes back to my origional post on this thread, I really do not understand this point. I also suggest that you speak to engineers who work with biology, they have a different take on the whole ‘engineers can recognise design’ argument.

    “Bacteria put through every conceivable mutation nevertheless stays bacteria.” Did anyone think otherwise?

    “And on the otherhand, bio-systems engineers, and more specifically corporate world which drives innovation is recognizing ‘design’ in nature and adapting it. In fact, I suspect there will be universities that will soon create entire programs based upon design translation of nature due to competitive outside forces. They will care less about macro-evolution as it does not give practical benefit.” I have been to conferences based on this premise, It is a fascinating area of science, although it has little to do with whether the systems were originally intelligently desgined or not. Your right that speciation is of little relevance to bioengineering as it currently exists, but if you are adapting a system it helps to know a bit about how the system formed in the first place.

    “This is all hypothetical of course. But for me it helps to look forward at times instead of looking backwards. Do we as intelligent beings and our scientist ever expect to create new life forms in laboratory? If so, how?” I think so, I imagine it will be evtually possible to ‘rewire’ the developmental networks of animals to create new forms. Whether or not this is ethical is obviously a different question.

  41. Jerry

    I understand what you are saying—and I’m not saying there isn’t an interesting discussion to be had about complexity in biology, but the evidence for IC and ID is far from conclusive, AFAIC.

    As for the more general idea that complexity can arise from simple laws, well of course, this is true. In the case of our universe, complicated initial conditions can result in a complicated solution to some simple equations.

    But let me turn the question around—consider the weather. Given that it is impossible to predict the weather with any degree of precision from simple laws, does this make you doubt that classical mechanics underlies its behaviour?

  42. Physicist,

    I hate to use this term again because it is often pejorative but your response is again sophistry. You deflect the issue by substituting an unrelated issue. Look outside your car when you are driving and you will see hills, depressions, rivers, shorelines, etc depending upon where you live. All are the result of the physical laws of classical mechanics. The forces being generated by a multitude of pressures, chemical properties of the elements, gravity, spin of the earth, temperature change etc. These are all complex structures just as is the weather system. And theoretically they contain information on what caused them so they are complex and information filled. But there is a missing property and that is an organization of the information. Because the information is randomly dispersed we do not associate any intelligence with it but just the blind forces of simple classical mechanics. But the cell is different

    The cell is like a little city with all its working parts finely tuned. It has an incredible amount of specified information that is not in any weather system, geological formation or other non life entity in nature or in the history of the universe. When you find this type of specified information in this world such as your office or your car, we immediately say intelligence.

    This is what the cell and all life has that your weather system or any other natural phenomena doesn’t. It is not too hard to understand. Try not to provide irrelevant examples. It only makes your point of view look like one based on faith rather than reason.

  43. Jerry

    “This is what the cell and all life has that your weather system or any other natural phenomena doesn’t. It is not too hard to understand. Try not to provide irrelevant examples. It only makes your point of view look like one based on faith rather than reason. “

    Well, I think sophistry is somewhat harsh…but I guess I was kind of harsh with Gildodgen earlier. Anyway, I’m not trying to convince you that all phenomena will *inevitably* be explained by simple laws…just trying to explain that the experience of scientists in treating phenomena in this way is very successful. This is what my (I think relevant) examples are supposed to show. Not sophistry, just trying to explain my perspective.

    On the other hand, I cannot prove to you that the cell can arise solely via RM+NS from very simple initial conditions.

    That may be what you want to hear me admit, I don’t know. I wasn’t avoiding this point, as you suggest—as I said above (and in a bunch of other threads below going back some time) there is an interesting debate to be had about ID. In fact, I would certainly welcome a technical discussion of Bill Dembski’s papers on this blog, as I’ve never been sure how one calculates what he calls P(T|H) for any examples. See my discussion with PaV in this thread some time ago.

    As for the accusation of faith, well to some extent I accept it. Reason alone is rarely enough to come to any opinion—one generally has to choose some initial axioms on which to build. My axioms are that I look for economy in explanation of phenomena, wherever possible, and I probably need very strong evidence to be convinced that a physical phenomenon cannot be described by relatively simple fundamental laws. Since we know RM+NS *does* occur already, this *would* (to me) be a more economical description than ID.

    Maybe it doesn’t work as an explanation, but I have not yet been convinced of it. My point is that my threshold for being convinced of the case for ID may be higher than yours, and there is an element of faith involved in our positions. Certainly, I’m not convinced by your assertion that the `cell is different’. To you it may be obvious just from looking that intelligent design is the only possible explanation, but not to me! I want more evidence than that. But that’s just me.

    Since we know RM+NS *does* occur already, this *would* (to me) be a more economical description than ID.

    When you say “we” you must have a mouse in your pocket because I know that ID occurs. Maybe you didn’t get the memo. I’d like to see RM+NS make a glow-in-the-dark tobacco plant. So exactly what does RM+NS do that you know of and in any cases you care to mention what test was performed to show the RM part of it was truly random? :cool: -ds

  44. Physicist,

    The reason this forum exists is that there is a very coordinated attempt in our society to shove down people’s throats a very suspect theory. It is the one of the few theories that has a significant world view attached to it, namely whether God exists or not.

    If the current scientific community would be willing to say that the evidence for any theory which attempts to explain the various aspects of evolution is at best speculation except in some very narrow areas, then we could all go home. But you know they don’t try to disseminate this point of view and are fighting with all their efforts to prevent that such a reasonable statement could be made. No one will take away your right to believe whatever nonsense you think explains the current world nor stop any research into these areas. See my comment #23 and #26 above.

    I could go into chapter and verse to illustrate the absurdity of the theories that are used to explain the mechanisms of the various aspects of evolution and which are offered as facts or reasonable explanations. So if you are the honest scientist then you will defend any attempts that provide valid criticism to current theories and let the people decide what they think makes sense. I think most will decide that a structure (the cell) that is a 1000 times or more complicated than their car was probably designed by someone especially when they are told that there are no likely alternative explanations. If a plausible alternative explanation ever appears backed by evidence then it can be added to the science curriculum but the current science community must admit they don’t exist today.

    The people can then make their own informed judgments as to who the designer was or that they don’t believe there was a designer but that some natural process will eventually be found that explains everything. However, this should stay out of the science classes just as wishful speculations such as rm + ns should stay out of most areas of evolution as an explanation. It explains nothing but some limited areas of micro-evolution and there it should remain until credible evidence comes along to suggest otherwise.

    Physicist, if you support this approach then maybe Diogenes can go home.

  45. Dear davescot

    “”Since we know RM+NS *does* occur already, this *would* (to me) be a more economical description than ID.”

    When you say “we” you must have a mouse in your pocket because I know that ID occurs. “

    I’m not sure exactly what you are disputing, here. I thought the main debate on this forum was not over whether mutations and selection occur, but whether they alone can explain the observed complexity and diversity.

    You imply that RM+NS is more economical because you know it can be observed happening. ID can also be observed happening and I provided you a link. Was that not clear? I then asked you what makes you think RM+NS is happening and what test was done to certify that random mutations are truly random. I was pretty clear there too. What you think the main debate is about is no answer and appears to me to be merely an effort to dodge the question. -ds

  46. Jerry,

    I’m not sure you’re responding to my points above, as such…

    “Physicist, if you support this approach then maybe Diogenes can go home.”

    i’m also not sure what approach you want me to follow. Of course, I support valid criticism of `established’ science. This is how science has progressed, after all. However, not *all* criticism of a given paradigm is equally valid! I’d be interested to hear your chapter and verse—in general the discussion on these boards is more anecdotal than scientific, which I find unconvincing. Again, that may be just me; as you say other people may look at a cell, and judge from the complexity that it must have been designed.

    “No one will take away your right to believe whatever nonsense you think explains the current world”

    Well, I’m thankful for that!

  47. Davescot

    “You imply that RM+NS is more economical because you know it can be observed happening. ID can also be observed happening and I provided you a link. Was that not clear?”

    Yes, that is what I was implying. The link was clear, and demonstrates that humans have (re)designed DNA. Is that what you meant to convey?
    I assume most people think that human design is not plausible as an explanation for the development of the rest of the biology we observe, since humans are a fairly recent phenomenon.

    My point was that invoking another intelligence which hasn’t been observed in any independent way is *not* economical in the sense I meant above. I’m not saying it might not ultimately be necessary. But this other intelligence hasn’t been observed in action, whereas RM+NS microevolution has.

    If you are taking particular issue with the randomness, well that is an interesting question. I suppose if the universe behaved entirely classically then one could in principle predict all these mutations given precise enough knowledge of the initial conditions. Is that your point?

    How about if you just answer my questions and forget the equivocation. This is the third time asking. I won’t ask again and you can probably infer what that means.

    What cases of RM+NS do you think are examples of it in action and what test was performed to certify that the mutations were random. -ds

  48. Chris Hyland, if you’re out there still, this is directed to you.

    The article you cite has this as its basic premise: “I argue that the origin of species differences can be explained, and the synthesis of Darwinism with genetics can be improved, by invoking two concepts: developmental recombination and genetic accommodation. Developmental recombination, or developmental reorganization of the ancestral phenotype (5), explains where new variants come from: they come from the preexisting phenotype, which is developmentally plastic and therefore subject to reorganization to produce novel variants when stimulated to do so by new inputs from the genome or the environment. Genetic accommodation, or genetic change in the regulation or form of a novel trait (5), is the process by which new developmental variants become established within populations and species because of genetic evolution by selection on phenotypic variation when it has a genetic component.”

    The idea presented could basically be termed: ‘Richard Goldschmidt, with a dash of Lamarck.’

    In her conclusion, the author mentions Dobzhansky, Fisher, Haldane, and Wright, suggesting that their notion of species formation via reproductive isolation was too restrictive. Well, the fact is is that Richard Goldschmidt was ostracized by Dobzhansky and Fisher (and Julian Huxley) for proposing ideas very similar to this author’s ideas. Goldschmidt wrote his “Material Basis of Evolution” in 1940, as an antidote to the developing ‘modern synthesis’. His ideas lost out. But he predicted that he would eventually be proven right. In his book, he disinguishes between ‘micro’ and ‘macro’-evolution, saying the mechanisms of each are disparate, and suggesting as a mechanism for ‘macro-evolution’ very much what West-Eberhard now suggests. He is, as you may know, the coiner of the term “hopeful monster.” Isn’t this really what West-Eberhard proposes?

    The point here is that this ‘new’ theory, this ‘new’ understanding is around 65 years old. And, since it is old, it is incomplete. While I might laud West-Eberhard in forthrightly challenging the ‘modern synthesis’by this proposal of hers, it is still not enough. Goldschmidt anticipated much of modern genetics, but he did not–really could not–anticpate the rise and development of ‘information theory.’ From this standpoint, West-Eberhard fails to demonstrate how novel information comes about. She simply implies that ‘rearrangements’ can explain all. Now, it must be said, that if you expand the notion of the chromosomal content of eukaryotic cells to include the idea of ‘front-loading’, wherein all ‘genetic’ formulations of species are contained in the chromosomes of all eukaryotes, then one can sensibly shift the problem of ‘novel’ information back to the first eukaryote. Yet, this certainly would suggest that this gigantic ‘reservoir’ of information did not come about through anything even remotely connected to any kind of Darwinian mechanism, and would rather suggest an Intelligent agent.

    I thought it might be of some help to give you some feedback on that article, and to frankly say that it is hard for me to see how this justifies anything Darwinian.

  49. Physicist,

    I am beginning to think that you don’t understand the issues. Not that I know them all. I am far from that but I continue to read as time permits when new information is presented such as Chris’s reference to “Developmental plasticity and the origin of species differences” a few comment above.

    Evolution can be broken down into 4 tiers of issues. Each of these can be further broken down.

    The first tier is known as Origin of Life or OOL. How did the first cell arise and what were its predecessors if anything. As of now they are nowhere on this. They haven’t a clue even though books are written about it. You have one side starting with the possibility of very simple molecules forming to create a simple metabolism and the possibility of amino acids stringing together in some clay or super concentrated pool somewhere. Another says that these complex molecules self assembled. Just pure speculation and nothing more. In fact some sound like Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerrer’s Apprentice. But these examples are not even the equivalent of a simple lean-to when the simplest cell that has to be built is more complex than the pentagon. Some of the proteins are really big, such as ATP synthase, and there is no theory how they got built (ATP synthase is not in the original cells but shows up later when mitochondria are introduced). You can get into astronomical powers of combinations to express the likelihood that such a protein would appear accidentally. Then even if it appeared somehow the instructions on how to use it would be even more complicated. So there are plenty of issues within this basic tier and none of them have a glimpse of an explanation. Yet the Miller Urey experiments get big play in every biology book when in fact they may be irrelevant.

    The second tier is the formation of multiple cell organisms including different cell types and body parts. This can be broken down in several sub categories but this tier is seldom discussed. The first multi-cell organism appeared almost 3 billion years after one-cell organisms. By the way the one cell organisms appeared almost immediately after water started to accumulate on the earth. Dave Scott uses the analogy that rm + ns never produced one observable occasion of a new cell type, tissue type, and organ or body parts. Included in this tier is how did something like the eye, limbs, neural systems come about, The time between the appearance of the first mult-celled organism and all the current day phyla is relatively short, only 150-200 million years (till Cambrian explosion). All the phyla appeared out of nowhere with no obvious predecessors. Just the opposite of neo Darwinian theory that postulates a bottom up gradual building of more complex organisms. Instead you got a top down here they are phenomena with lots of disparity between phyla but little diversity within phyla. The complete antithesis of rm + ns. All versions of the eye appeared during the Cambrian Explosion and none have evolved since. I wonder why.

    This area extends far past the Cambrian explosion even till recent times as the most complex animals have 220+ cell types while at the end of the Cambrian Explosion they had at most 30.

    Tier 3 is what is known as macro-evolution and there is not one example in the fossil evidence of a gradual progression of one species into another. What the Darwinist cling to is the potential of 2-3 fossils explaining what should be millions of transitions. Read the post on the new supposedly transition of fish to land animal. The best examples touted by Darwinists are dinosaurs to birds and land animals to whales. If you examine each one you have to laugh at how desperate they are as they have artist paint false images of the fossils to provide evidence that the transition took place. What the Darwinist use to demonstrate this tier in text books and at the Darwinist exhibition in New Your is allele redistribution in moths and finches. Which is nothing more than what Mendel did with his peas. This tier gets the most discussion but little light as people conflate tier 4 with tier 3 (see next).

    Another way Darwinist use to demonstrate that this took place is to compare genes from one species to another to show similar genes. Because mice and humans have similar genes they must have a common parent. Not impossible but this is not proof or even evidence. There is some evidence here in that the more one animal looks like another the more likely they will have similar genes.

    By the way a main rationale for proving tier 3 macro evolution is that a designer would not have made the obvious mistakes found in different species if in fact they were designed.

    Tier 4 is micro evolution and there probably can be sub levels to this. Here rm + ns has some relevance though and is constantly used to tout Darwinism. Few in ID disagree with the possibility that rm + ns works to some extent here and examples of virus mutations etc are brought up as proof of neo Darwinism. They are using trivial example to justify a complete theory. You can argue that rm + ns can generate new species and you might be right but what we are talking about here is one fish that may be a little bit different from another fish and that is as far as it goes. No new body parts, functions etc. just different colored or slight different shaped variations of the original not much different than what is available with breeding dogs.

    This is not chapter and verse but is long enough and outlines some of the issues. There are probably 50 + issues that could be delineated and not one has a theory with scientific evidence to explain it. A pretty poor record for the simple laws of physics that you espouse and believe explains everything.

  50. Jerry wrote: “(ATP synthase is not in the original cells but shows up later when mitochondria are introduced)”

    I believe in the latest issue of Nature(?)–I read it somewhere within the last week–that in the one type of eukaryotic cell (Gianda?) that doesn’t ‘have’ a mitochondria, they have actually found ‘mitochondrial-like’ structures (very small). Whether those contain ATP synthase or not, I don’t know. But it’s now very possible that ATP synthase was there from the beginning–which only adds strength to your argument.

  51. 51

    “The point here is that this ‘new’ theory, this ‘new’ understanding is around 65 years old.” No I didnt think this was particularly new, I dont know too much about goldschmitt, other than the quotes from Davisons papers. Although this theory as far as I understand is simply part of the modern theory of evolution widely accepted by evolutionary and developmental biologists. I dont think too many people believe than RM + NS is the whole story, just a simplification the same way that ‘survival of the fittest’ isnt really that accurate.

    I don’t really know as much about information theory as perhaps I should. Do you have a good link that explains how it applies to biology, I am especially curious as to how it applies to phenotype, ie why is a human more complex than a mouse or a chimp. I have read some of Dembski’s work if this is what you are referring to, and sufficed to say I would need to see a lot more data before I could agree with his conclusions.

  52. Hi Jerry

    I don’t have time to respond to everythign you’ve said right now. But thanks for the (almost) chapter and verse!

    “This is not chapter and verse but is long enough and outlines some of the issues. There are probably 50 + issues that could be delineated and not one has a theory with scientific evidence to explain it. A pretty poor record for the simple laws of physics that you espouse and believe explains everything.”

    Well, remember I never claimed that the simple laws were easy to apply in complicated situations. So that’s to some extent a straw man.

    For now, just a general comment on what you have said. Mainly you seem to find very little convincing evidence for Darwinian evolution. Is that a fair summary? But perhaps you could clarify precisely what is the killer evidence *against* the possibility of Darwinian evolution. Sorry don’t feel you have to write more, I can always reread your post.

  53. Davescot

    again I have to be brief, but

    (a) I think at least you understand why I find non-human intelligent design less economical in terms of extra assumptions than RM+NS. It is clear that human design exists, but we are trying to explain the appearance of design which is very unlikely to be the result of human intelligence, to say the least!

    Well, if we called it human intelligent design theory you might have a point. But we don’t. It’s just intelligent design and we have one demonstrable example of intelligent design in the universe. It’s called “proof of concept”. Ergo, intelligent design is possible, observable, and is happening today. Since you’re a physicist perhaps you can tell me if there are any physical laws which prohibit intelligent design in the past? (the question is not rhetorical) -ds

    (b) As for the main question which you keep repeating, avbout whether mutations occur and whether they are truly random, well let me quote Jerry above:

    “Few in ID disagree with the possibility that rm + ns works to some extent here”

    Sure. RM+NS is possible. So is the flying spaghetti monster. What demonstrable evidence is there that it’s more than just possible? (that’s not a rhetorical question) -ds

    Obviously you are one of the few. I’ll try to give a fuller answer later, but perhaps that will do for now. You could always take up the issue with fellow IDers if you disagree that microevolution exists!

    I’m taking up the issue with you. You are on this blog as an antagonist and I’m afraid if you want to continue it’s time to put up or shut up. -ds

  54. Equivocation deleted. Answer the question. What examples do you put forward that RM+NS is working and what tests were performed to determine that the mutations were truly random? You will not be allowed further participation here until you provide answers. Negative answers along the lines of “I don’t have any examples” and/or “No tests were performed” are fine. Then everyone here will know exactly how much real evidence your assertions are based upon. Good luck. -ds

  55. Physicist,

    If you are still reading this forum here is a response to your last comment to me.

    You said above “The last 400 years (or more) of physics have shown that the assumption that nature follows well-ordered and consistent physical laws seems to work! Of course, it would be highly interesting if this assumption breaks down, and there is some phenomenon that is simple unpredictable by relatively simple laws.”

    Well I pointed out some places where physics does not seem to work. If you read my comment above, I said

    “However, if you accept the premise that there could be a supernatural creator who affects some aspects of the universe then by definition any attempt to find a materialistic cause for those aspects must be a scientific cul de sac. This should be admitted and be a basic premise of science. It is something they should be willing to live with.

    This does not mean that science should not explore these cul de sacs because we do not know for sure where they are but science should admit that there might be some.

    My guess is that OOL is one of the cul de sacs…”

    So I did directly address the comment you made.

    On the fossil evidence from what I understand there is not one single instance where there is a gradual progression from one species to another. This is a fairly absolute claim and it is made to be provocative so that if in fact it is false, then what is the evidence. So far I have made it several places and only been challenged in two areas, birds to dinosaurs and land animals to whales. In each case I investigated as best I could on the internet and found the bird to dinosaur rests on one fossil which some think is a bird and some think is a dinosaur. And within the paleontology world there are some strong dissenters for this fossil being the first bird. For a discussion of the whale fossils read my comment to someone named aldo on the discussion on this forum back in January. Here is the link. http://www.uncommondescent.com.....chives/695

    Search for whale and you will find the responses by Aldo and me. If you want you can search the internet for discussions of the evidence leading to the whale.

    I hope Dave lets you back.

    Physicist is no longer with us. -ds

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