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Mathematics and the Creative Powers of the Blind Watchmaker

The burden of proof rests with BW proponents, not ID proponents.

For those with inquisitive minds, I suggest checking out David Berlinski’s comments here, starting at 41 minutes. As everyone with any sense knows, David Berlinski — a mindless, born-again, Christian religious fanatic — is masquerading as a secular Jewish mathematician while attempting to impose a theocracy and destroy the entire foundation of modern science.

I have, on several occasions at UD, proposed that simple mathematical analysis of the available probabilistic resources — even making unrealistically optimistic probabilistic assumptions at every turn — renders totally absurd the claim that the mechanism of random errors filtered by natural selection can account for what we find in living systems beyond the utterly trivial.

It took 10^20 reproductive events for malaria to evolve resistance to chloroquine with two randomly produced genetic variations (check out Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution). This is the empirical evidence concerning the creative powers of the Blind Watchmaker. Assuming that humans evolved from a primitive simian-like ancestor three million years ago, and assuming an unrealistically optimistic generation period of 10 years, and assuming an unrealistically optimistic average number of individuals at 10^7, we have 3×10^12 reproductive events for analogous Darwinian mechanisms to turn Lucy into Lucille Ball. That means that with 33 million times fewer random opportunities than malaria had to come up with two point mutations (that produced no new biological machinery or information), Darwinian mechanisms supposedly miraculously engineered modern humans from a pre-chimpanzee ancestor.

This is simply an absurd proposition on its face, completely unsupported by evidence or even the most trivial analytical or probabilistic scrutiny.

This is why, as David Berlinski comments, he and his mathematician friends consider Darwinism to be “nutty.”

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38 Responses to Mathematics and the Creative Powers of the Blind Watchmaker

  1. The burden of proof rests with BW proponents, not ID proponents.

    Logically, the burden of proof rests with whomever is making the positive claim. When evolutionary biologists make claims about particular mechanisms, they have the burden of proof to demonstrate that those mechanisms exist and that they produce the results observed. When ID proponents make claims about an intelligent designer, they have the burden of proof to demonstrate that the intelligent designer exists and that it is capable of producing the results observed.

    Speaking of the burden of proof, this claim:

    It took 10^20 reproductive events for malaria to evolve resistance to chloroquine with two randomly produced genetic variations

    requires a great deal more support. Behe’s derivation of this number is suspect. See Nick Matzke’s comment here:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyn.....ent-456458
    for some of the issues. His summary is:

    So it looks like resistance actually occurs by the gradual accumulation of several mutations, and that what you are seeing in the wild is not a few rare double-mutation events, but instead a few much-evolved strains that have accumulated a large number of resistance mutations.

  2. But, don’t you know? By the Magick of Many Orders of Magnitude (aka, the Magick of Really Big and Really Small Numbers) successive subtractions generate Positive Outcomes?

  3. Hum…But then how do you explain the fact that the people of Tibetan Highlands have evolved 10 unique oxygen-processing genes in a mere couple of thousand years?
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....ence+News)

  4. Kyrilluk,
    Are you really unable to see the question-begging nature of your response?

    ====
    Regardless of the nature of your response, we’re not really talking about 10 novel genes, but rather about mutations of (perhaps) 10 existing genes.

    Knowing nothing more than what is said in the article, I can easily theoretically explain the phenomenon as being due to “broken genes” … you know, something conceptually no different from sickle-cell anemia providing some resistance to malaria.

    So, theorizing that the Tibetan’s ability to thrive in the low-oxygen environment of the Himalayas is due to a mutation (or mutations) which had damaged one or more of their genes, I asked, “Do Tibetans experience health-issues when they move to low (high-oxygen) elevations?

    Now, trying to research a question like that via Google is not easy, but I did (almost immediately) come across this page, on which concern is expressed for the health of an elderly Tibetan man precisely because he is no longer dwelling at the high elevations to which he is adapted.

    Now, I know that that one casual anecdote is not a medical answer to the question, and you are free to disregard it. Still, you really ought to learn to be much more skeptical of anything Darwinists assert.

  5. Cassandra at 1,
    The one main thing that is suspect in your citation of Nick Matzke as a authority in this matter is Nick Matzke’s integrity to unbiased science since he has stubbornly refused to even admit that the Type Three Secretory System to Flagellum narrative he championed in peer-review was decisively refuted:

    Nick Matzke’s TTSS to Flagellum Evolutionary Narrative Refuted
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-refuted/

    The flagellum has steadfastly resisted all attempts to elucidate its plausible origination by Darwinian processes, much less has anyone ever actually evolved a flagellum from scratch in the laboratory;

    Genetic Entropy Refutation of Nick Matzke’s TTSS (type III secretion system) to Flagellum Evolutionary Narrative:
    Excerpt: Comparative genomic analysis show that flagellar genes have been differentially lost in endosymbiotic bacteria of insects. Only proteins involved in protein export within the flagella assembly pathway (type III secretion system and the basal-body) have been kept…
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/.....t/msn153v1

    But even before genetic analysis it was known that,,,,

    “One fact in favour of the flagellum-first view is that bacteria would have needed propulsion before they needed T3SSs, which are used to attack cells that evolved later than bacteria. Also, flagella are found in a more diverse range of bacterial species than T3SSs. ‘The most parsimonious explanation is that the T3SS arose later,” Howard Ochman – Biochemist – New Scientist (Feb 16, 2008)

    Bacterial Flagellum – A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994630

    Biologist Howard Berg at Harvard calls the Bacterial Flagellum
    “the most efficient machine in the universe.”

    “There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system only a variety of wishful speculations. It is remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation of such a vast subject.”
    James Shapiro – Molecular Biologist

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

    I don’t know Cassandra, maybe Nick has whispered somewhere that he was wrong, but as for myself, I take anything that man says with a grain of salt.

    Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth Shies Away from Intelligent Design but Unwittingly Vindicates Michael Behe – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: The rarity of chloroquine resistance is not in question. In fact, Behe’s statistic that it occurs only once in every 10^20 cases was derived from public health statistical data, published by an authority in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The extreme rareness of chloroquine resistance is not a negotiable data point; it is an observed fact.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....est_s.html

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations, Part 5 – Michael Behe
    Excerpt:The final conceptual error that Durrett and Schmidt commit is the gratuitous multiplication of probabilistic resources.,,, the appearance of a particular (beneficial) double mutation in humans would have an expected time of appearance of 216 million years,
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....ns-part-5/

  6. Kyrilluk:
    Do you really have any illusions about these mutations you cite being new genes:

    Could Chance Arrange the Code for (Just) One Gene?
    “our minds cannot grasp such an extremely small probability as that involved in the accidental arranging of even one gene (10^-236).”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/epoi_c10.htm

    Or even being truly beneficial mutations?

    Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design – Pg. 57 By John C. Avise
    Excerpt: “Another compilation of gene lesions responsible for inherited diseases is the web-based Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD). Recent versions of HGMD describe more than 75,000 different disease causing mutations identified to date in Homo-sapiens.”

    I went to the mutation database website cited by John Avise and found:

    HGMD®: Now celebrating our 100,000 mutation milestone!
    http://www.biobase-internation.....mddatabase

    I really question their use of the word “celebrating”.

    (Of Note: The number for Mendelian Genetic Disorders is quoted to be over 6000 by geneticist John Sanford in 2010)

    “Mutations” by Dr. Gary Parker
    Excerpt: human beings are now subject to over 3500 mutational disorders. (this 3500 figure is cited from the late 1980′s)
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....ations.asp

    Human Evolution or Human Genetic Entropy? – Dr. John Sanford – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4585582

    This following study confirmed the “detrimental” mutation rate for humans per generation, of 100 to 300, estimated by John Sanford in his book “Genetic Entropy” in 2005:

    Human mutation rate revealed: August 2009
    Every time human DNA is passed from one generation to the next it accumulates 100–200 new mutations, according to a DNA-sequencing analysis of the Y chromosome. (Of note: this number is derived after “compensatory mutations”)
    http://www.nature.com/news/200.....9.864.html

    This mutation rate of 100 to 200 is far greater than even what evolutionists agree is an acceptable mutation rate for an organism:

    Beyond A ‘Speed Limit’ On Mutations, Species Risk Extinction
    Excerpt: Shakhnovich’s group found that for most organisms, including viruses and bacteria, an organism’s rate of genome mutation must stay below 6 mutations per genome per generation to prevent the accumulation of too many potentially lethal changes in genetic material.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....172753.htm

    Contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations: why have we not died 100 times over? Kondrashov A.S.
    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/.....4/art00167

  7. bornagain77 (5),

    I don’t know Cassandra, maybe Nick has whispered somewhere that he was wrong, but as for myself, I take anything that man says with a grain of salt.

    Fortunately, we don’t need to assess his statements about chloroquine resistance solely on ad hominem arguments; we have his actual logic and evidence to discuss. From the referenced comment, do you have any response to those?

    Another excellent and detailed discussion of the issues with Behe’s math is here:

    http://www.sunclipse.org/?p=133

    I’m interested in your thoughts on the argument presented there.

  8. Cassandra come on get real. Step back away a little from the rhetoric of Matzke and tell me exactly what you really have to show for far more replication/mutation events than have happened since the alleged mammalian from reptiles split 100 million years ago? You got a bug that is still a bug, that looks exactly the same under the microscope as the bug did years ago. Yet you expect me to swallow that a Ludwig Beethoven came from a Lizard Behemoth with far less mutational events?!? : Frankly Cassandra I find the real mystery to be,,”why do you not you yourself, as well as other evolutionists, approach this topic with even a little more skepticism than you are willing to grant?” Now if I could answer that mystery I think that would be something.

  9. 9

    I see this Cassandra shares more than just a name with her mythical namesake.

  10. to llion @ 4:

    Of Note: The new “beneficial mutations” found in Tibetans that allow them to survive in extremely high altitudes, with less oxygen, is actually found to result in a limit on the red cell blood count for Tibetans:

    Tibetans Developed Genes to Help Them Adapt to Life at High Elevations
    Excerpt: “What’s unique about Tibetans is they don’t develop high red blood cells counts,”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....143453.htm

    Thus this is a loss of overall functional information, and fitness, for Tibetans since Tibetans will now be found to have less of a capacity to work, due to their now restricted oxygen metabolism, than will other humans in a “normalized” environment.

  11. 11

    Good thing that the vast majority of them don’t live in a “normalized” environment then.

  12. 12

    Oh, yeah, BTW BA^77: you do realize that what the genes are thought do is allow them to not overproduce red blood cells at those elevations, right? It says nothing about their blood cell counts being reduced at other elevations. Or did you just not read the article? Also, since they’re more efficient at oxygen transport, they don’t need as many red blood cells anyway.

    Still, the point stands: who cares about some other environment? They don’t live there.

  13. Well Doomsday, since,,,,

    Extremely fit individuals may have higher values—significantly more red cells in their bodies and significantly more oxygen-carrying capacity—but still maintain normal hematocrit values.
    http://wiki.medpedia.com/Red_Blood_Cells

    ,,,They are actually incorrect to imply that all high red blood cell counts found in humans are detrimental,,, Thus I’ll stick to my assessment of it being a loss of functional information from the genome of humans.

  14. BornAgain @ 10 … my point (and hypothesis), exactly.

  15. From the ScienceDaily article about the Tibetans: “The Tibetans also show higher levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that may help get more oxygen to tissues and prevent polycythemia.

    Other articles I saw said that the Tibetans have significantly more nitric oxide in their systems than other populations, and said that nitric oxide acts to keep blood vessels dilated, which dilation would work against developing hypertension in the blood vessels of the lungs.

  16. llion, Yet if dilation is extended in “normalized” environment then it is detrimental:

    The Oxygen Dilemma: Can Too Much O2 Kill?
    “Many think oxygen doesn’t hurt and you can give as much as possible to make up for a deficiency. Our study shows this notion is wrong.”
    http://www.scientificamerican......en-dilemma

    all in all it seems to be tweeking of highly choreographed processes that will all be found to be detrimental in general population.

  17. Also more importantly to realize llion is that the evolutionists simply assumed it was a “random” variation that caused the Tibetans to consume oxygen more efficiently at higher altitudes, but as with the lactase (milk) persistence mutation that arose in several different populations, which is a more interesting detrimental mutation to look at than this one, I firmly believe it will be found to be a “calculated” detrimental mutation that arose from higher levels of functional information within the genome. i.e. the odds of just stumbling onto this solution in all the sequence space of the human genome is “Mount Everest high” to put it mildly.

    further note:

    In fact almost all “changes” in the genomes of bacteria, which are deemed to be “beneficial”, are now found to be “designed” changes that still stay within the overriding principle of Genetic Entropy since the adapted bacteria never pass the fitness test:

    Revisiting The Central Dogma (Of Evolution) In The 21st Century – James Shapiro – 2008
    Excerpt: Genetic change is almost always the result of cellular action on the genome (not replication errors). (of interest – 12 methods of information transfer in the cell are noted in the paper) http://www.uncommondescent.com.....revisited/

    Scientists Discover What Makes The Same Type Of Cells Different – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: Until now, cell variability was simply called “noise”, implying statistical random distribution. However, the results of the study now show that the different reactions are not random, but that certain causes (environmental clues) lead to predictable distribution patterns,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....204217.htm

    Bacteria ‘Invest’ (Designed) Wisely to Survive Uncertain Times, Scientists Report – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Essentially, variability of bacterial cells appears to match the variability in the environment, thereby increasing the chances of bacterial survival,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....112102.htm

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – “The Fitness Test” – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248

    Testing the Biological Fitness of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – 2008
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....-drugstore

  18. @casandra

    “-Logically, the burden of proof rests with whomever is making the positive claim”

    Very well then…
    Why don’t we just go straight to the root of the problem.

    Can you prove materialism for us?

  19. Mr Dodgen,

    I have, on several occasions at UD, proposed that simple mathematical analysis of the available probabilistic resources — even making unrealistically optimistic probabilistic assumptions at every turn — renders totally absurd the claim that the mechanism of random errors filtered by natural selection can account for what we find in living systems beyond the utterly trivial.

    Yes, and I’ve tried to point out on several of those occasions that what you are really doing is calculating the selection pressure operating on the populations in question. The selective advantage of the Lucy-Lucille mutations must have been much higher than the chloroquine mutations.

    But a long standing problem with Dr Behe’s number is that it ignores issues of effective population size. The effective population of P. falciparum is not the number of cells in a sick person. It is the number of individuals that survive to reproduce. If a cell doesn’t reproduce, it doesn’t matter if it developed chloroquine resistance or not.
    According to this paper on the effective population size of the malarial parasite, that size has been a few tens of thousands for much of human history, and is now around 5 million. This makes sense – it can’t be much more than a multiple of the number of infected humans.

  20. 20

    BA^77 @13:

    “,,,They are actually incorrect to imply that all high red blood cell counts found in humans are detrimental,,,”

    Good thing they didn’t try to imply that then, but rather were speaking about polycythemia, a diagnosis that requires abnormal hematocrit values.
    Again: did you just not read the article?

    Oh, and the article also says nothing about how well an extremely fit Tibetan would perform relative to an extremely fit non-Tibetan, so I have no idea why you think extremely fit individuals of any ethnicity are at all relevant. You may think they’d perform worse because they’ve lost “functional information”, but that’s all pure conjecture on your part and, again, not at all supported by the article.

    Also, what’s with all the commas?

  21. doomsday the passage states:

    “What’s unique about Tibetans is they don’t develop high red blood cells counts,” said Prchal, also a senior author on the study who has done research in Tibet. “If we can understand this, we can develop therapies for human disease.”

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  22. off topic video:

    Barclaycard World Freerunning Championship 2009 Exclusive Highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2hdaPaIJQg

    PARKOUR
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPIw3cv8Zls

  23. doomsday it is clear as day that since Tibetans have a mutation that prevents high red blood cell count and that extremely fit individuals have a high red blood cell count then it follows that Tibetans with this mutation have lost functional information. I really don’t understand what is so hard about this. I’m not that smart and I can see it so Surely you are not that dense, so you must be unfairly biased in your consideration of this matter. Why is this doomsday? Do you not have enough integrity within yourself to honor the truth?

  24. bornagain77 (8),

    Cassandra come on get real. Step back away a little from the rhetoric of Matzke

    Neither Matzke’s post nor the second post I referenced are rhetoric. They both contain evidence and logical arguments. From those it seems clear that Behe’s calculations are incorrect. That calls into question all of his conclusions drawn from those calculations.

    Do you intend to address the actual evidence and arguments?

  25. Cassandra, I will fully address Matzke’s concerns, to the best of my very limited ability, once Matzke is man enough to issue a public declaration that he was wrong in the Type Three Secretory System to Flagellum narrative he issued as peer review. Until then I see no merit for his concerns since he clearly places philosophical bias and personal prestige above searching for the truth.

  26. bornagain77 (25),
    Once again you avoid addressing the evidence and arguments that demonstrate that Behe’s calculations are incorrect and that his conclusions are therefore suspect at best. If you have such a visceral response to Nick Matzke, try replying to Blake Stacey’s similar observations here:

    http://www.sunclipse.org/?p=133

    The evidence stands on it’s own, regardless of how many ad hominems you hide behind.

  27. The underlying theme of my post has been derailed into irrelevant minutiae.

    As a teenager I remember my father telling me that, much to his dismay as a professor of physical chemistry at WSU, many college students had lost the ability to recognize mathematical errors that were clearly wrong by orders of magnitude. (That means wrong by 10 raised to exponential powers, not wrong by trivial decimal-point variations.)

    This is what Darwinists fail to consider or even recognize. Their assumptions about the creative powers of the Blind Watchmaker and the available probabilistic resources are not off by a few decimal points; they’re off by orders of magnitude so huge that the exponents must be expressed with orders of magnitude.

  28. cassandra, I do not find it ad hominem in the least when it comes to science. The man issued a peer-reviewed publication that was conclusively shown to be wrong within peer review, yet this phased him in the least and as far as I know he still pretends that his paper is correct. thus he is impervious to correction by even his own standards. Should the fact that I point this out be counted as a ad hominem. I think not for it is not a false attack in the least but is very accurate portrayal of how he has chosen to practice science. As for you to accuse me of hiding behind this this is ludicrous for you failed to get real in the first place as to this:

    Cassandra come on get real. Step back away a little from the rhetoric of Matzke (and others) and tell me exactly what you really have to show for far more replication/mutation events than have happened since the alleged mammalian from reptiles split 100 million years ago? You got a bug that is still a bug, that looks exactly the same under the microscope as the bug did years ago. Yet you expect me to swallow that a Ludwig Beethoven came from a Lizard Behemoth with far less mutational events?!? : Frankly Cassandra I find the real mystery to be,,”why do you not you yourself, as well as other evolutionists, approach this topic with even a little more skepticism than you are willing to grant?” Now if I could answer that mystery I think that would be something.

    Now cassandra as far as I’m concerned you guys have no leg to stand on and are blowing smoke as you have done for countless times before! You want to sit here and squabble over some obscure details I could care less about when you have in fact shown ZERO change of interest! I tell you what let’s go back 250 million years and see how much evolution we can find in bacteria:

    Some bacterium spores, in salt crystals, dating back as far as 250 million years have been revived, had their DNA sequenced, and compared to their offspring of today (Vreeland RH, 2000 Nature). To the disbelieving shock of many scientists, both ancient and modern bacteria were found to have the almost same exact DNA sequence.

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes:
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.” Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ;
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    and this:

    Revival and identification of bacterial spores in 25- to 40-million-year-old Dominican amber
    Dr. Cano and his former graduate student Dr. Monica K. Borucki said that they had found slight but significant differences between the DNA of the ancient, 25-40 million year old amber-sealed Bacillus sphaericus and that of its modern counterpart,(thus ruling out that it is a modern contaminant, yet at the same time confounding materialists, since the change is not nearly as great as evolution’s “genetic drift” theory requires.)
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5213/1060

    30-Million-Year Sleep: Germ Is Declared Alive
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/f.....gewanted=2

    In reply to a personal e-mail from myself, Dr. Cano commented on the “Fitness Test” I had asked him about:
    Dr. Cano stated: “We performed such a test, a long time ago, using a panel of substrates (the old gram positive biolog panel) on B. sphaericus. From the results we surmised that the putative “ancient” B. sphaericus isolate was capable of utilizing a broader scope of substrates. Additionally, we looked at the fatty acid profile and here, again, the profiles were similar but more diverse in the amber isolate.”:
    Fitness test which compared the 30 million year old ancient bacteria to its modern day descendants, RJ Cano and MK Borucki

    Thus, the most solid evidence available for the most ancient DNA scientists are able to find does not support evolution happening on the molecular level of bacteria. In fact, according to the fitness test of Dr. Cano, the change witnessed in bacteria conforms to the exact opposite, Genetic Entropy; a loss of functional information/complexity, since fewer substrates and fatty acids are utilized by the modern strains. Considering the intricate level of protein machinery it takes to utilize individual molecules within a substrate, we are talking an impressive loss of protein complexity, and thus loss of functional information, from the ancient amber sealed bacteria.

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – “Fitness Test” – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248

    shoot let’s go back 750 million years cassandra:

    AMBER: THE LOOKING GLASS INTO THE PAST:
    Excerpt: These (fossilized bacteria) cells are actually very similar to present day cyanobacteria. This is not only true for an isolated case but many living genera of cyanobacteria can be linked to fossil cyanobacteria. The detail noted in the fossils of this group gives indication of extreme conservation of morphology, more extreme than in other organisms.
    http://bcb705.blogspot.com/200.....st_23.html

    cassandra I guess I just don’t really care to put up with your lies anymore. I put the evidence out there, you can believe it or reject it, I really don’t care. Now if you ever do have something of interest besides “chasing your tail in a circle” I will be more than happy to look at it.

  29. Mr Dodgen,

    If you’d like to discuss order of magnitude issues, try to address the issues of effective population size which I brought up, relative to Dr Behe’s claims and calculations.

  30. GilDodgen:The underlying theme of my post has been derailed into irrelevant minutiae.

    That’s just about bound to happen if human beings are involved; and it’s sure to happen when there are involved human beings who need to protect their intellectual-and-emotional commitments from rational scrutiny.

  31. bornagain77 (28),

    If you ever decide to address the actual errors in Behe’s calculations, do let me know. Until you or someone else does so, his conclusions are unsupported.

  32. Cassandra:

    Behe has addressed all challenges to his book that have appeared in peer review:

    “The Old Enigma,” Part 1 of 3
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/blog/.....1XSIDBHP01

    Do you suppose that Nick Matzke would mind so much as to have his groundbreaking insights published in peer review so as to stop this heresy of Behe’s or do you think he is gun shy of Behe since he got burnt so bad last time he challenged him??

  33. Cassandra you may get Nick to write the Journal of Clinical Investigation also to correct their error, since that is where the 1 in 10^20 number is derived from in the first place:

    Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth Shies Away from Intelligent Design but Unwittingly Vindicates Michael Behe – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: The rarity of chloroquine resistance is not in question. In fact, Behe’s statistic that it occurs only once in every 10^20 cases was derived from public health statistical data, published by an authority in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The extreme rareness of chloroquine resistance is not a negotiable data point; it is an observed fact.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....est_s.html

  34. 34

    bornagain77 @33:

    Your excerpt from evolutionnews is not a quotation from R Dawkins, but an opinion of Casey Luskin.

    Please address Cassandra’s challenge, from which you have run away transparently.

  35. Adel,,, and she can quote an “opinion” by Matzke and I can’t quote Luskin to a source? Frankly your double standard is bleeding through Adel,,, you must try harder to conceal such hypocrisy of standard.

  36. 36

    bornagain77,

    Accusing someone of hypocrisy does not get you off the hook.

    Characterizing Matzke’s analysis as opinion does not get you off the hook.

    You can get off the hook by providing a step-by-step refutation of Matzke’s analysis.

  37. 37
    Sooner Emeritus

    Gil Dodgen,

    Program a static board evaluator for checkers that performs as well as the evolved evaluator of Blondie24, i.e., with no increase in the depth of search in the game tree.

    The fact is that Blondie24 evolved to play a much stronger game of checkers than did its creators, ultimately rating higher than 99% of human competitors. (Another researcher repeated the study, but let the evolutionary program run longer, and obtained a higher rated player.) Furthermore, Blondie24 did so looking no further ahead in the game than humans commonly do.

    The fact is that, no matter your expertise in programming of checkers-playing programs, you have never managed to produce a static board evaluator that assesses game situations as “intelligently” as Blondie24 did. Why are you holding forth on the limits of what can be accomplished by iteration of reproduction-with-variation and selection in biological evolution, which you obviously understand poorly, when you have no answer to a challenge you do understand?

  38. 38
    Sooner Emeritus

    Something Dembski and Marks do not begin to address is that there are different kinds of knowledge, and that some kinds are harder to come by, and thus are more valuable, than others. David Fogel moved from checkers to chess, and started out with a public-domain program that humans had been tweaking for years. After a couple days of computational evolution (again, evolution of the static board evaluator), the program had gone from master to grandmaster rating (370+ gain in rating, IIRC).

    Now, no one would say that Fogel didn’t use any sort of knowledge in structuring the static board evaluator. But the knowledge he used was generic, and easily obtained. It was relatively “dumb” knowledge. The evolutionary process yielded, in a sense that has a precise operational definition, “smart” knowledge. Knowledge that makes a chess player a grandmaster rather than a master is something very special, at least in the estimation of humans.

    “Dumb input, smart output” is not a phenomenon that will be explained away by counting bits of “active” information.

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