Home » Intelligent Design » Outsider Meddling — Skeptics Need Not Apply (or, Just Have Faith)

Outsider Meddling — Skeptics Need Not Apply (or, Just Have Faith)

Someone by the name of skeech is cluttering up UD with impervious sophistry and wasting a lot of our time.

His/her latest thesis is that “according to biologists…” there is a “credible possibility that small incremental changes could have developed massive increases in biological information in a short time — followed by stasis.”

So, skeech assures us that “biologists” are universally agreed upon this proposition?

How about this and this?

Darwinian evolutionary theory is a boiling, ever-changing, amorphous cloud that is impenetrable and completely immune to critical analytical scrutiny. It was designed that way, for obvious reasons.

It should be noted that the “scientific” consensus in the early 20th century was the steady-state universe theory (that is, the universe is eternal, and has no beginning and no end). Those subscribing to the consensus were wrong (including Albert Einstein), and they put up a big fight until the end, when the evidence became overwhelming.

Continental drift theory was also ridiculed.

Wegener was the first to use the phrase “continental drift” (1912, 1915)… During Wegener’s lifetime, his theory of continental drift was severely attacked by leading geologists, who viewed him as an outsider meddling in their field.

The criticism we always hear from Darwinists is: Outsiders are not permitted to question the dogma, because they don’t understand the subtleties and the “science.”

The essence of Darwinian philosophy, presented as “science,” takes about 15 minutes to learn and understand: Random variation and natural selection explain everything — never mind the details, we’ll make up stories later to explain away the anomalies, contradictions, and improbabilities.

In the meantime, just have faith, and don’t ask any annoying questions.

This is not science, it’s religious indoctrination.

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323 Responses to Outsider Meddling — Skeptics Need Not Apply (or, Just Have Faith)

  1. 1

    So, skeech assures us that “biologists” are universally agreed upon this proposition?

    How about this and this?

    What about this?

    It should be noted that the “scientific” consensus in the early 20th century was the steady-state universe theory (that is, the universe is eternal, and has no beginning and no end). Those subscribing to the consensus were wrong (including Albert Einstein), and they put up a big fight until the end, when the evidence became overwhelming.

    Uh, that’s right. The scientific community does indeed have a habit of shedding off old ideas once sufficient evidence for better ideas are presented. It’s a little strange for an Intelligent Design proponent to admit this.

    Continental drift theory was also ridiculed.

    And then it was accepted whole heartedly when evidence was sufficient enough to support it, even by scientists who had devoted their entire scientific careers to older geological models.

    The criticism we always hear from Darwinists is: Outsiders are not permitted to question the dogma, because they don’t understand the subtleties and the “science.”

    Oh sweet Lord. I’m willing to bet that the words “Outsiders are not permitted to question the dogma” has never parted from the lips of anyone you would consider a Darwinist.

    don’t ask any annoying questions.

    That’s true, we do hate annoying questions. We do, however, love intelligent ones.

    This is not science, it’s religious indoctrination.

    So let me get this straight: as evidence of just how dogmatic and close minded the scientific community is, you present two accurate theories that were ACCEPTED once the evidence rolled in. This is really more of an argument that the scientific community is skeptical, but willing to change its mind when presented with the facts. Which is of course a far cry from the “THE DARWINIST ESTABLISHMENT IS OPPRESSIVE” stuff you usually hear.

    Frankly, this is a step forward, and I hope you will continue to recognize other instances in which the mainstream scientific community has been willing to adapt and change its mind in the face of good arguments and solid evidence.

  2. Since I have been commenting on this site, we have asked at least three evolutionary biologists, and several biologists and anyone else to defend Darwinian macro evolution. I have also read several popular books that are pro naturalistic evolution. So far no one has been able to. So we are a little bit skeptical.

    Maybe the current crop of pro Darwinist or anti ID people might want to take a crack at it and along the way explain why all those others were not able to do so.

  3. @1:

    Perfect illustration on your part of not wanting to see the forest for the trees. Fortunately, we can agree that eventually science will be dragged kicking and screaming to confess that their current love affair with evolution was a match made in mythology.

  4. Darwinian evolutionary theory is a boiling, ever-changing, amorphous cloud that is impenetrable and completely immune to critical analytical scrutiny. It was designed that way, for obvious reasons.

    Perhaps you find it impenetrable because you have not read enough about it?

    It should be noted that the “scientific” consensus in the early 20th century was the steady-state universe theory (that is, the universe is eternal, and has no beginning and no end). Those subscribing to the consensus were wrong (including Albert Einstein), and they put up a big fight until the end, when the evidence became overwhelming.

    Continental drift theory was also ridiculed.

    On the one hand, science is demonised as some sort of quasi-religion whose dogmas are impervious to change, on the other hand, you kindly cite two cases which are evidence that it is quite the opposite. Which do you think it is?

    The criticism we always hear from Darwinists is: Outsiders are not permitted to question the dogma, because they don’t understand the subtleties and the “science.”

    Critics are publishing books, magazine and newspaper articles, setting up websites such as this and even making documentary films. There is no permission required that could be withheld. What else do they want? If it is scientific respectability then they need to actually do the science. Testing the Explanatory Filter would be a good place to start.

    The essence of Darwinian philosophy, presented as “science,” takes about 15 minutes to learn and understand: Random variation and natural selection explain everything — never mind the details, we’ll make up stories later to explain away the anomalies, contradictions, and improbabilities.

    If that is what you really believe then you have just provided evidence to support the contention that critics of evolution “…don’t understand the subtleties and the “science”.

    In the meantime, just have faith, and don’t ask any annoying questions.

    Ask away but don’t complain just because you are not told what you want to hear.

    This is not science, it’s religious indoctrination.

    The evidence seems to suggest that religious indoctrination is more the design of critics of evolution than of evolutionists themselves:

    Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

  5. JustFineThanks and Seversky:

    Just coming here to say: “darwinian evolution is without fault, and you in ID are just misguided people” does not ass much to the discussion.

    Our point is very simple: science does proceed many times with mechanisms a la Kuhn (scientific revolutions). It is true that in the end the scientific community will accept evidence, and that will happen also for darwinian evolution and ID, but the time can vary.

    We do believe that the idelological role of darwinian evolution today, as a dogmatic support for the widely accepted “religion” of scientistic materialism, has achieved proporions without precedents in the history of science and of human thought. Darwinists, with few exceprions, defend their theory dogmatically, and don’t even accept that it may be discussed and criticized. They even publicly try to pass it for a fact, and not a theory. That is epistemological shame, and intellectual dishonesty (I am not here attacking you personally, obviously, but those who do the things I am describing).

    So, Gil’s frustration is IMO absolutely warranted. I personally appreciate really discussing here with sincere and intelligent darwinists who come to debate, even with passion like we do, in a spirit of true search for truth. I respect them and respect their ideas, while disagreeing and debating. But that is not the attitude of most defenders of darwinism, not even here, as is clearly visible to all.

    Those who came here just to provoke, in older days, were readily banned from here. I am very happy that no more happens, except maybe for extreme cases. It is very instructive to see the difference, bothb among darwinists and IDists, between true intellectual confrontation and mere defense of one’s own “football team”.

  6. Correction:

    Ehm, I suppose that should have been “add” and not “ass”. I apologize…

  7. Gil writes:

    Someone by the name of skeech is cluttering up UD with impervious sophistry and wasting a lot of our time.

    Wow — a thread in my honor! Thanks, Gil!

    Readers are undoubtedly wondering what’s got you all riled up and whether your complaints about time-wasting and “impervious sophistry” are justified.

    I’ve linked below to the first comment of mine in each of the threads I’ve participated in, so that readers can see for themselves what constitutes “impervious sophistry” in the Dodgen playbook.

    More tomorrow.

    Grammar Checker

    Harvesting

    Co-option

    Simulation Wars

    Conceptual Leaps

    Phineas Gage

    Metaphors

  8. It would be useful if skeech, whoever that is, would reveal his real identity as well as those credentials which justify his arrogant pontifications. I suspect that if he had any professional status he would, like Allen MacNeill, Wesley Elsberry, Paul Zachary Myers and Richard Dawkins, be happy to reveal it.

    So how about it skeech. Who are you and what do you do for a living? If you fail to answer you can be certain that this investigator will evaluate everything you present here or elsewhere as the ravings of an intellectual coward.

    If anyone knows the identity of skeech or of any other anonymous blowhard, let me know via email so I can expose that person to his immediate supervisors and the intellectual community in general.

    I no longer accept comments from anonymous users on my weblog unless I know why they must hide their identity.

    “A doctrine which is unable to maintain itself in clear light, but only in the dark, will of necessity lose its effect on mankind with uncalculable harm to human progress.”
    Albert Einstein

    It is true that Einstein never accepted the Big Bang hypothesis (not theory) of the origin of the universe. He also questioned black holes and so do others. Skeech apparently regards the Big Bang as settled science. It is no more settled than aimless, purposeless Darwinian evolution.

    I recommend “Dismantling the Big Bang” by Alex Williams and John Hartnett for a reasoned alternative to the Big Bang unverified hypothesis.

  9. JustFineThanks wrote

    The scientific community does indeed have a habit of shedding off old ideas once sufficient evidence for better ideas are presented. It’s a little strange for an Intelligent Design proponent to admit this.

    No it’s not. You obviously didn’t get your mental archtype of ID proponents from frequenting this site.

    Seversky wrote:

    On the one hand, science is demonised as some sort of quasi-religion whose dogmas are impervious to change

    Incorrect. Darwinian and neo-Darwinian theory are being demonized.

    Darwinian theory does not equal the whole of science.

    A portion of science dips dangerously close to dogma when the proponents of its mainstream theory have a vested interest in keeping the theory in place, such as Ptolemaic geocentrism in Galileo’s day, or stress-caused stomach ulcers, climate change, and (neo-)Darwinism today.

  10. archtype = archetype.

    Stupid fingers.

  11. “According to biologists”? Aren’t “biologists” guys who went to school to study biology? And aren’t we told that no skepticism of Darwin can be tolerated at biology schools?

    But really, this appeal-to-authority thing could make quite a fun parlor game. Guess which of the following statements are true:

    Climatologists say that anthropogenic global warming is fact, not theory.

    Paleontologists say that Lucy is the missing link.

    Theologians say that the Resurrection never occurred.

    Teachers say that testing harms students’ self-esteem.

    Journalists say that George Bush is like Hitler.

    Critics say that “The Piano” is great cinematic art.

    Professors claim that Marx’s economic theories are true.

    Sheesh! We could go on and on…..

  12. 12

    allanius, that’s an interesting proposition. I assume “biologists” in the original sentence means “most biologists,” and that you’re talking in the same terms. So, going through the statements and inserting “most” beforehand,

    “[Most] Climatologists say that anthropogenic global warming is fact, not theory.”

    That seems true.

    “[Most] Paleontologists say that Lucy is the missing link.”

    False. Most paleontologists don’t use a term like “missing link.”

    “[Most] Theologians say that the Resurrection never occurred.”

    I don’t really know what most theologians think. I tend to agree with Mencken that theology amounts to “explanations of the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.”

    “[Most] Teachers say that testing harms students’ self-esteem.”

    False. A fair number of teachers object to high-stakes standardized testing or its implementation, and for a variety of reasons, but most teachers use tests in their own practice.

    “[Most] Journalists say that George Bush is like Hitler.”

    False.

    “[Most] Critics say that “The Piano” is great cinematic art.”

    I wouldn’t know. It seems overrated, though.

    “[Most] Professors claim that Marx’s economic theories are true.”

    False.

  13. 13
    CannuckianYankee

    JustFineThanks:

    I don’t think the “scientific community” is a unified whole, but a community of individuals with varying insights and opinions – some informed and some not. Therefore, there is room for the observation that some scientists look for the truth whenever and wherever it can be found, while some hold onto older ideas despite the evidence, and often for ideological rather than scientific reasons.

    To say that the scientific community came to their senses as a whole in rejecting many of the old ideas is a huge exaggeration.

    Furthermore, teleologic arguments in the past have been primarily philosophical and theological. ID is different. Many ID proponents still hold to the philosophical and theological arguments because they are confirmed by the science.

    I think you will see in your own lifetime, that it is mainstay Darwinism that will be largely “shed” and abandoned; however, if my observation is correct, there will still be Darwinists desperately cluthing the Darwinian paradigm.

  14. 14
    CannuckianYankee

    Woops, I tried to use the tags in the last response – but incorrectly – here is the quote from Justfinethanks (which should precede my statement):

    Uh, that’s right. The scientific community does indeed have a habit of shedding off old ideas once sufficient evidence for better ideas are presented. It’s a little strange for an Intelligent Design proponent to admit this.

  15. JohnADavison:

    It would be useful if skeech, whoever that is, would reveal his real identity as well as those credentials which justify his arrogant pontifications.

    John,

    You make a good point. Those who are members of, and true believers in, the state-sponsored Church of Darwin (especially in academia) are immune from criticism, vilification, excommunication, or worse. In fact, they get bonus points and lots of taxpayer-supported funding for supporting Church Doctrine and punishing heretics.

    On the other hand, those who challenge Church Doctrine with facts, evidence, logic, and mathematical analysis can look forward to unbridled torment.

    It is understandable that heretics who challenge Church-of-Darwin dogma wish to remain anonymous, but why would skeech choose to do so?

    He might get bonus points and a promotion by revealing his identity — and maybe even government funding to help defeat the evil ID proponents who want to destroy science, establish a theocracy, and destroy public education by suggesting that students should actually evaluate evidence and logic.

    Anyone can look me up on the Internet and find out just about everything about me.

    I’ve been married for 32 years. I have two daughters. My father is the most brilliant scientist I have ever known. He worked on the Manhattan Project during WWII. I have a love of science and mathematics. I have three college degrees in music and foreign language. I earn my living as a software engineer in aerospace R&D, with specialties in guidance, navigation and control software for precision-guided airdrop systems, as well as transient, non-linear, dynamic finite-element analysis using a program developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It is called LS-DYNA.

    My hobbies include artificial-intelligence research and classical piano (see my website), and computational number theory.

    I am a former militant atheist who suddenly realized that my atheistic religion was based pseudo-science.

    How about you skeech? Give us your name and let us vet you. What do you have to hide?

  16. To seversky in #4…
    What about Darwinian *philosophy* takes more than 15 minutes to understand?

  17. Let me just note one irony here. The opening post complains that:

    Outsiders are not permitted to question the dogma, because they don’t understand the subtleties and the “science.”

    But in the last few posts, we see JAD and GilDodgen asking to see skeech’s “credentials” so they can “vet” him.

  18. Is JohnADavidson’s ad hominem attack on Skeech going to be tolerated by the moderators? Looking at previous comments by skeech, he/she seems to have been careful to ensure avoiding any personal comments. Skeech is direct, yes – but always polite.

    Is there a double standard here? Is the modus operandi of this site that if a person doesn’t reveal their identify or doesn’t ask the right kind of questions they are open to personal attack? If I also do not wish to reveal my identify does that mean to say I’m not permitted to ask legitimate questions? (and I prefer to remain anonymous on the internet at least on matters that do not concern me professionally)

  19. Also, there are many ID proponents here who also do not use their real names – e.g., tribune7, “jerry”, etc – so OK for them to remain anonymous but not others?

  20. I strongly disagree with Gil.

    First, one of the nice things about internet discussions is that credentials don’t matter: it’s the quality of the ideas and how well they are expressed that matter. I don’t have to have a degree in computer science to discuss Weasel, for instance, or a degree in theology to discuss religion. Professionally, I teach young adults to read, write and think well: I am nothing more than a well-educated layperson on all the topics I discuss here, but I think my ideas matter because I can articulate and defend them with facts and logic, and that is what should count.

    Also, there are very good reasons for being anonymous on the internet. I have publicly identified myself as an atheist here in other discussions, but many of my students are religious, and many are fairly conservative Christians – I teach at pretty conservative school. The vast majority of my students have no idea what my religious beliefs are because it doesn’t come up in my teaching, and I strongly believe in keeping my religious (and political) beliefs out of my teaching. (Most of them feel that I am a very fine person, by the way.) But I wouldn’t want them googling Ms. xxx and finding me here arguing for the non-existence of God.

    So one of the attractions about discussing on the internet is that it can free us from some of the social and personal limitations we otherwise have. Of course there are those who abuse this freedom, but that is true of all freedoms. For me, being “hazel” on the internet lets me have an intellectual life apart from that of my regular daily life, and I think that is very good.

    My 2 cents.

  21. Also, there are many ID proponents here who also do not use their real names…

    I explained this. ID proponents risk having their reputations and lives destroyed by Darwinian religious zealots who wish to suppress dissent from state-sponsored Church orthodoxy, especially if the heretic is employed in academia.

    It was against such abuse of power that our founding fathers rebelled.

  22. 22

    Another example of the new moderation policy? Different standards for the pro- and anti-ID crowd?

  23. 23

    An anti-ID person might wish to remain anonymous if that person is, for example, employed by a religious tradition that frowns on evolution, among a family of creationists, a believing member of a church but dissenting from its views on origins, and so forth. You have no reason to assume anything.

    Either allow people to post anonymously or not, but if you do, be consistent, and don’t gripe about your own policy.

  24. Hazel,

    Give me an example of a publicly funded, state university college professor who has been denied tenure, ridiculed, tormented, vilified, or ostracized for advocating atheism or that Darwinism explains all of life’s complexity and information content.

    You won’t find any, but you’ll find plenty of examples of the reverse.

  25. 25

    Gil, if you’re online, can you release my comment on the thread you started?

  26. Well put, hazel.

    You’re absolutely right. It’s the facts and logic of our comments that should count, not our identities or our credentials.

    Cogent arguments from a convenience store clerk are still cogent. Drivel from a Nobel Prize winner is still drivel.

    I can’t imagine why Davison and Dodgen are so eager to ‘unmask’ me, but somehow I doubt that my identity would interest them so much if my comments weren’t hitting their mark.

    My posts have been disappearing today, presumably due to the same glitch that afflicted madsen and jerry this morning. I’ve re-registered as ‘skeech plus’ to get around the problem.

    I’ve saved the missing comments and will resubmit them later tonight.

  27. Seversky #4:

    On the one hand, science is demonised as some sort of quasi-religion whose dogmas are impervious to change, on the other hand, you kindly cite two cases which are evidence that it is quite the opposite. Which do you think it is?

    No, true science is not the problem. Science is just the methodological study of the natural world. What is frequently portrayed as science are really just-so stories, fantastic OOL theories, and generally dogmatic defenses of a supposedly 100% proven theory, while thousands of very well-educated, intelligent people see major reasons to question its validity.

  28. Richard Colling at Olivet.

  29. 29

    JTaylor in #18

    How can I launch an ad hominem attack on an anonymous user? Skeech contributes nothing to this forum. For that matter who is JTaylor? What does he do for a living and what are his credentials? I’ll bet we will never know.

    Anonymity is the enemy of rational dialogue and always will be. It is the hallmark of cowardice and insecurity. It is not tolerated at my weblog without my certain knowlege as to why it must be necessary.

    I have no control over the policies here and wouldn’t dream of trying to change them. I learned long ago that is an exercise in futility.

    When I enter any venue, it is with the following purposes. It is to enlighten, to inform, to challenge that which I know to be false and to bring a modicum of order to what is often chaos.

    I am not surprised that JTaylor and others are already urging my banishment. That has been my fate at just about every major discussion group that deals with the great mystery of phylogeny, including three times here at Uncommon Descent alone.

    Frankly, under the circumstances, I think Uncommon Descent should be grateful that I have been willing to return.

  30. Gil, I don’t your reply at 22 is relevant to what I said at 20. Among other things, I gave some reasons why it would possible be detrimental to me to be publicly revealed to my teaching community as an atheist.

  31. 31

    So Mr. John A. “Credentials” Davison, I’m a coward and we’re all going to die. Thanks for your contribution to this thread. I feel vigorously enlightened.

    Or maybe that was just some abnormally violent and heavy diarrhea.

  32. “it would possible be detrimental to me to be publicly revealed to my teaching community as an atheist.”

    I can understand that but in general the tenor in the academy, the popular culture and in media is that atheism is the more sophisticated world view and those who believe in religion are somehow limited. It is a belief in superstition and spirits and other nonsense things. And this world view is enforced in lots of ways, one of which is hiring, tenure, funding etc. Not as much at the secondary and elementary level as long as there is no outward display of anything that is inconsistent with atheism. One way of enforcing this at the secondary level is the forced ideology of Darwin in science and the inability to criticize it in most places.

    It is a complete reversal of 40 years ago and what prevailed for centuries.

  33. I find the demands to eliminate pseudonymity in this thread to be hypocritical and, frankly, creepy.

    ID opponents have just as much reason to desire pseudonymity as do ID proponents. Consider the case of Paul Mirecki who was physically beaten for statements made online.

    Consider also UD’s own Joseph, who has arguably threatened David Kellogg on his blog. I note in particular the lines “I am being very generous by saying that on this blog as opposed to driving a few miles to say it to your face.” and “And yes I will do whatever it takes to stop it.” which indicate that Joe G knows where David Kellogg lives and that suggest that Joe G is not restricting his reaction to David Kellogg’s postings to online responses.

    People have a right to protect themselves. The ideas are what matter.

  34. In my community, when one runs for a public office and the newspaper runs a preview of each candidate, they start with a little profile that includes religious preference.

    I can assure you that if one writes “none” you have no chance of being elected. I know there is a difference between this case and some of the academic cases you are probably thinking of, but I think you exaggerate the extent to which religious thinking is seen as a detriment.

    And you write, “Not as much at the secondary and elementary level as long as there is no outward display of anything that is inconsistent with atheism.”

    Surely you don’t mean this. The vast majority of secondary and elementary school teachers are religious, and again, those that are atheists have to be careful about showing themselves as such.

  35. Onlookers:

    Pardon a bit of a reality check:

    1] Dogmatic materialist orthodoxy:

    We start with Richard Lewontin, NY Review of Books [reviewing Sagan's last book], 1997:

    Sagan’s argument is straightforward. We exist as material beings in a material world, all of whose phenomena are the consequences of physical relations among material entities. The vast majority of us do not have control of the intellectual apparatus needed to explain manifest reality in material terms, so in place of scientific (i.e., correct material) explanations, we substitute demons . . . .

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

    In short, we see here a worldview level prejudice imposed on science, which robs it of being what it is at its best: an unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) pursuit of the truth about the world in light of empirical evidence.

    Not to mention, such a view utterly lacks historical or phil of sci or epistemological or ethical warrant.

    2] But, is such an attitude actually “official”?

    To see that, just look all around you.

    But, perhaps the most revealing illustration is the intervention jointly made in 2005 by the US National Academy of Sciences [NAS] and the US National Science Teachers Association [NSTA], through their joint statement on the 2005 science education standards for Kansas, in response to an attempt to reinstate a more or less traditional school level “definition” of science.

    The objected-to definition: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.” [This contrasts with a telling, materialism-loaded 2001 def'n that plainly passed the muster of such august institutions: “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations of the world around us.” ("Natural," of course is a stand-in for materialistic, as this remark by NAS in a 2008 pamphlet on "Science, Evolution and Creationism," p. 10, states: In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations . . . ]

    The 2005 intervention:

    . . . the members of the Kansas State Board of Education who produced Draft 2-d of the KSES have deleted text defining science as a search for natural explanations of observable phenomena, blurring the line between scientific and other ways of understanding. Emphasizing controversy in the theory of evolution — when in fact all modern theories of science are continually tested and verified — and distorting the definition of science are inconsistent with our Standards and a disservice to the students of Kansas. Regretfully, many of the statements made in the KSES related to the nature of science and evolution also violate the document’s mission and vision. Kansas students will not be well-prepared for the rigors of higher education or the demands of an increasingly complex and technologically-driven world if their science education is based on these standards. Instead, they will put the students of Kansas at a competitive disadvantage as they take their place in the world.

    Let’s take this apart, at a few key points:

    1 –> Immediately, there is no one “the definition of science” that may be owned or authoritatively imposed by any institution or group of institutions. Nor can such bodies, however august, properly demand that we must take their presented definitions at face value; without critical assessment or drawing our own conclusions for ourselves in light of our own investigation and analysis. For, science is a vital part of our common heritage as a civilisation, and what it is, and how it works are matters of historically grounded fact and philosophical discussion on comparative difficulties relative to those facts, not rulings by any officially established or de facto “Magisterium.”

    2 –> As a matter of fairly easily checked fact, the Kansas definition of 2005, as cited above, reflects longstanding praxis, and the resulting historic general consensus on what science is and should do; without imposing question-begging agendas. This can easily be seen from a look at the sorts of summaries we may read in high quality dictionaries from before the recent attempted imposition of methodological naturalism as an alleged criterion of science vs. non-science or pseudo-science. E.g.:

    science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990]

    scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate, 1965]

    4 –> The phrase on “blurring the line between scientific and other ways of understanding . . .” reflects, at best, a deep and disqualifying ignorance by the representatives of the NAS and NSTA of the overall result after decades of intense philosophical debate over the demarcation lines between science and non-science. For, there is no set of distinctive approaches to acquiring knowledge and understanding or inferring to best explanation that are universal across the conventionally accepted list of sciences, and/or that are so necessary to, sufficient for and unique to scientific investigation and argument that we may use them to mark a defining line between science and non-science. (For that matter, the real epistemological challenge is not over attaching the prestigious label “science,” but over [1] whether we are using sound, effective, reliable and fair methods of inquiry, and [2] the actual degree of warrant that attaches to what we accept as knowledge, however labelled.)

    [ . . . ]

  36. 5 –> Yet further, when coupled with the non-disclosure by the two bodies of the materialism-imposing effect of imposing the rule that science may only seek “natural causes,” such agenda-serving questionable demarcation criteria mislead and can even manipulate the general public on the true status of the relevant theories and factual claims being made on origins science. For, the public at large still believes that science is an unfettered search for the truth about the world in light of evidence, instead of being what the rule enforces: the best evolutionary materialist — note the censoring constraint — explanation of the cosmos from hydrogen to humans. Non-disclosure of the effects of such an imposition on the part of responsible parties who know or should know better ["ignorance of the law is no excuse"], on even the most charitable interpretation, must raise questions of deception by gross and culpable negligence.

    6 –> Next, it is simply and manifestly false that the [Neo-] Darwinian Theory of Evolution is in the same well-tested, abundantly empirically supported category as, say, Newtonian gravitation and mechanics circa 1680 – 1880. (And, let us observe: after about 200 years of being the best supported and most successful scientific theory, the Newtonian synthesis collapsed into being a limiting case at best, in light of unexpected findings in the world of the very small and the very fast; provoking a scientific revolution from about 1900 to 1930 that resulted in Modern Physics. Science is open-ended, provisional and hopefully progressive. A pattern of progress in which theory replacement is at least as prominent as theory refinement.)

    7 –> For, Newtonian dynamics was and is about currently and directly observable phenomena, i.e. so-called operational science: what are the evident patterns and underlying ordering principles of the currently operating, observable natural world?

    8 –> By contrast, the material part of the Theory of Evolution — we are not talking about what has been termed microevolution — is about trying to make a “plausible” reconstruction of an unobservable, projected remote past of life based on traces in the present and on extrapolation of currently observed or “reasonable” processes and principles. That is, it is an origins science, a fundamentally historical investigation based on principles of inference to best explanation. Its findings and explanations on the reconstructed, extrapolated and projected natural history of life are thus inherently less well tested than those of theories that deal with present accessible and directly observable reality.

    9 –> Worse yet, given the primary reference in context of “these standards,” all of this is backed up by a subtle — and on the evidence of events since 2005, successful — unjustifiable intimidatory threat. For, it is simply not true that students exposed to the traditional, historically well-warranted understanding of what good science is (and/or should strive to be) “will not be well-prepared for the rigors of higher education or the demands of an increasingly complex and technologically-driven world.”

    10 –> Instead, we can note that NAS and NSTA hold significant prestige, and are viewed by a great many people and institutions as responsible, reasonable and authoritative. So, if they refuse their imprimatur to the Kansas Board’s work, then it could materially damage the prospects for Kansan students to get into so-called “good” Colleges, jobs, etc. In short, the children of the state were being held hostage by ideologised institutions and associated individuals holding positions of great trust and responsibility, but abjectly failing in their duties of care to truth, disclosure and justice.

    Thus, we can see the Lewontinian magisterium in full cry.

    And, where was the broad-scale strongly voiced public objection from the pro-grade scientific, phil of sci and education communities?

    Nowhere to be seen.

    In short, the rot is deep and widespread.

    So much so that the complaints documented in Expelled and elsewhere are but the tip of the iceberg.

    3] Now, on a linked technical point . . .

    I see where Seversky [who still needs to explain why he used a cite and link that violated my privacy and also approvingly cited -- as the Anti Evo folks have in recent weeks a commentator who was indulging in blood slander against Evangelical Christians by equating such to Islamist terrorists and the like, while providing enabling rhetoric for public lewdness] has said:

    If it is scientific respectability then they [ID supporters among he scientific community] need to actually do the science. Testing the Explanatory Filter would be a good place to start.

    1 –> If “science” is to be understood as the Lewontinian materialists do, which is fairly obviously intended, we see that there is something very wrong to the point of enabling for injustice and magisterium-imposed question-begging in this.

    2 –> As to the explanatory filter, it is based on the idea that we observe that causes are observed to come in three key flavours, which may jointly act together but can be disaggregated for purposes of analysis: [1] mechanical forces of necessity, [2] undirected (stochastic) contingency, [3] directed (designed) contingency.

    3 –> To see this, think about so common an example as a dropped die that tumbles to rest: [1] it falls under mechanical necessity of gravity; [2] it tumbles to a position as a contingent outcome. [3] In case the die is fair, by chance, but [4] in case it has been loaded, in part by design.

    4 –> In fact, explanation by chance/ necessity / design is so well known, well-tested and well-ACCEPTED that it is the foundation stone of much of applied science and statistics, forensic investigations, management and more. Was that fire the result of accident or arson? (Where; once heat, air and fuel come together a fire reliably results by mechanical necessity.) Was that pattern of employment chance or prejudice? Was this death natural causes, accident, suicide or murder? Was it the fertiliser, the seed or the result of chance that this plot produced such a good crop? And more, far more.

    5 –> Indeed, in pure science, we must always be concerned that a particular reported result was the result of the forces of nature we were looking for, or random chance that produces scatter, or an artifact of experiment design and equipment that biases results away from accuracy, or intentional “cooking” of results. (Sometimes, biases and prejudices also unintentionally skew reported results.)

    6 –> So, it is plain that the explanatory filter — that natural regularities are rooted in necessity, that chance gives rise to credibly undirected, stochastic contingency, and that design shows itself in reliable signs of design — is massively tested, well warranted and taken as a mater of course. Save in one context.

    7 –> This of course is the situation where it just might point away from the imposed a prioris of Lewontinian materialism. In short, prejudice.

    8 –> And, to impose upon science that it does not seek the truth but instead the best evolutionary materialist explanation, is obvious censorship. Now, backed up by major institutional forces to the point where protest is being arrogantly, even brutally marginalised and demonised then dismissed

    ____________

    FOR SHAME!

    GEM of TKI

  37. 37

    How does posting one’s history or credentials in an internet forum make that person any less anonymous? Unless everyone starts meeting face-to-face and running background checks, do we ever really know who we’re talking to?

  38. @24 :”How can I launch an ad hominem attack on an anonymous user? Skeech contributes nothing to this forum. For that matter who is JTaylor? What does he do for a living and what are his credentials? I’ll bet we will never know.”

    Credentials should not mean anything on a site such as this. Either what you are saying makes sense, or it does not, and judging by Skeech’s comments, he is saying something some people dont like, rather than being a nuisance, this is just an attempt to silence the other side from makin a contribution.

    If credentials truely mean something in a forum such as this, then everyone’s words should be weighted by how their opinions relate to their own professional entities. But then only ‘neo-Darwinist’ should be allowed to say anything, as they are the only ones with any professional training/statue for their words to mean anything (which is ‘Reductio ad absurdum’ what happens if you start asking for credentials).

    Noel.

  39. Hazel, I agree with you about pseudonyms.

    But the thing your post 20 shows is that, for atheists, this is a religious debate, not a science one.

    Be honest, what objective evidence can be provided that would make you accept ID?

  40. Hi Tribune. I was just pointing out that admitting publicly that I am an atheist would, in the community and school in which I live and work, subject me to some negative repercussions. That’s all. I was not making any statement at all about “this” being a religious or scientific debate, because that is not what I was talking about.

  41. 41

    #26 You are indeed exactly what you have named yourself – a tragic mishap, just another cowardly blowhard like every other user of this weblog who must hide his indentity.

    I am not asking for credentials. That would follow from ones identity. A person whose identity must be hidden should be ignored. He has defined himself as an intellectual coward. Most of the users of this forum are, by my criterion, contributing absolutely nothing of value. Now just what is going to be done about it? Must I be banished for stating my convictions? We will soon see.

    I am worried sick at what might happen to me here as elsewhere. You can be certain of that. I’m absolutely terrified! Do what must be done.

  42. “Surely you don’t mean this. The vast majority of secondary and elementary school teachers are religious, and again, those that are atheists have to be careful about showing themselves as such.”

    I can understand how this varies by part of country and by school district, but I had a friend tell me that open display of Christian symbols such as a cross on a chain was considered taboo in a lot of local schools because it was an invitation for some parents to complain so teachers were suggested to “cool it” with any outward sign of religious affiliation.

  43. I was just pointing out that admitting publicly that I am an atheist would, in the community and school in which I live and work, subject me to some negative repercussions.

    Your point is correct and you certainly should not be forced to admit to it

  44. I am sure that the law supports the right of teachers (as well as students) to wear religious jewelry. An administrator telling teachers to “cool it” is wrong to be doing so.

    I know there are cases, more frequent than there should be, of administrators imposing restrictions on the expression of religious belief in public schools, but that is because the administrators don’t know the law – and they should.

  45. 45

    Ucommon Descent has just about the same level of anonymity as Pharyngula, Panda’s Thumb, EvC, ARN, richarddawkins.net and just about every other weblog which deals with the great mystery of our origins. As long as that persists it will have just about the same level of credibility.

  46. JohnADavison said: “Ucommon Descent has just about the same level of anonymity as Pharyngula, Panda’s Thumb, EvC, ARN, richarddawkins.net and just about every other weblog which deals with the great mystery of our origins. ”

    As far as I know this is how most of the Internet operates. I participate in commenting on many blogs & forums, on a variety of subjects, and it’s clear that the majority of people use pseudonyms (and certainly nobody is asked for their credentials). As Hazel has pointed out there are many good reasons to remain anonymous on the web, and like her I prefer to keep my professional life and private life separate (I also worry about identity theft and have a variety of email addresses for that reason).

  47. 47

    Oh John, John. *sigh*

    I was hoping for a much more challenging pissing contest. Too bad.

    If I’m an insecure coward, then what does that make someone attacking and insulting an insecure coward?

    If people like me must be ignored…well, you do see the problem here right?

    I would have thought
    Your Highness would not
    Deign reply
    To one such as I

  48. Call for new thread!
    See: http://www.livescience.com/ani.....erica.html,
    It appears that the precambrian traces that were hopeful evidence of precambrian multicellular life were actually created by single-celled grape-sized blobs.

    This is MAJOR evidenciary support for ID!

  49. bFast @47

    Call for new thread!
    See: http://www.livescience.com/ani…..erica.html,
    It appears that the precambrian traces that were hopeful evidence of precambrian multicellular life were actually created by single-celled grape-sized blobs.

    This is MAJOR evidenciary support for ID!

    How, exactly?

    JJ

  50. Thank God I’m a nobody. It’s liberating to have absolutely no ego to protect and no credentials to sully.

  51. —-”Hazel: Surely you don’t mean this. The vast majority of secondary and elementary school teachers are religious, and again, those that are atheists have to be careful about showing themselves as such.”

    Atheists must be careful in private schools, which are few; Christians must be careful in public schools, which are many. So, given the numbers and the general temper of our politically-correct culture, Christians must be far more careful than atheists.

    In any case, the main isssue is less about teachers’ personal beliefs and more about what they are and are not allowed to teach. At this point in our history, the law doesn’t matter; we stopped being a nation of laws long ago. What matters is what the Darwinists and their faithful constituents in the public school system believe.

    According to the Cornell evolution project, 95.8% of evolutionary biologists are atheistic/agnostic and only 4.2% are theists. Also, a recent survey published in the leading science journal “Nature,” showed that 93% of those in the NAS are atheist/ agnostic and only 7% are theists.

    Atheism is the religion of the academy and religious skepticism what the academy enforces in the public schools. The same Darwinist-Deweyite policy of anti-Christianity rules the educational system from K1 all the way through to graduate school. Whatever world-views public school teachers may have, they generally hold fast to the practical atheist agenda in all areas, including moral relativism, explicit sex education, situational ethics, unguided evolution, and political correctness on all matters of religion.

    For a good reference, consult “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, by Charlotte Iserbyt. The current state of affairs was no accident.

    Also, Jerry is right about the scientific component. Darwinists cannot and will not defend their position. Oh sure, they can go on endlessly about ID’s alleged insufficiencies or labor endlessly over weasel worded weasel diagrams, but when Timeuas, John Davison and others start asking the really hard questions, they suddenly and inexplicably find that their schedule has become unduly burdensome. Invariably, the heavyweights arrive with a bang and leave with a whimper.

    On the other hand, the lightweights continue harping because, unlike the heavyweights, they are too dull of mind to understand the significance of the hard questions that the heavyweights have just ignored.

  52. StephenB writes, “Atheists must be careful in private schools, which are few; Christians must be careful in public schools, which are many.”

    I strongly disagree. I see no signs whatsoever that Christians in the schools I have been in have to be “careful” about being known as Christians. In my current school, many wear crosses, go to the same churches as their colleagues, etc.

    Of course, everyone, religious or not, has to stay between the bounds of what is legally permissible in public schools. No one can prosyletize or otherwise act in a way that appears to be an endorsement by the teacher of a particular religious or non-religious viewpoint. But that is different than just having to careful about being known as a Christian, which I don’t think is a problems, and certainly not in a majority of public schools, as Stephen claims.

  53. 53

    JohnADavison,

    “So how about it skeech. Who are you and what do you do for a living? If you fail to answer you can be certain that this investigator will evaluate everything you present here or elsewhere as the ravings of an intellectual coward.

    If anyone knows the identity of skeech or of any other anonymous blowhard, let me know via email so I can expose that person to his immediate supervisors and the intellectual community in general.”

    No childish name calling will be tolerated here John. I’m serious. And secondly, the merits of the arguments stand or don’t stand on their own. You’re welcome to demand no anonymity on your own blog, you’re not welcome to demand it here as a prerequisite to commenting. Let this be a warning.

  54. I’ve re-registered under ‘skeech plus’ to get around the disappearing comment problem.

    My latest comment just came out of moderation and can be seen here.

    When I see that ‘skeech plus’ is out of moderation in general, I will repost the comments that got eaten yesterday.

  55. I would appreciate if moderators and commenters would use the

    blockquote tag

    It will make it much easier to identify quotations.

  56. Unfortunately, I didn’t save the page but I have the impression that one of JAD’s comments has been removed.

  57. skeech plus (#26):

    “Cogent arguments from a convenience store clerk are still cogent. Drivel from a Nobel Prize winner is still drivel.”

    For once, I agree with you. But don’t you feel that your statement is not completely politically correct for convenience store clerks? :-)

    “I can’t imagine why Davison and Dodgen are so eager to ‘unmask’ me, but somehow I doubt that my identity would interest them so much if my comments weren’t hitting their mark.”

    One thing is for certain: I am not at all interested in your identity.

  58. —-Hazel: “I strongly disagree. I see no signs whatsoever that Christians in the schools I have been in have to be “careful” about being known as Christians. In my current school, many wear crosses, go to the same churches as their colleagues, etc.”

    Notice how I framed the issue:

    “In any case, the main isssue is less about teachers’ personal beliefs and more about what they are and are not allowed to teach.”

    Why would you want to breeze through that precisely defined context and hearken back to the very point that I deemed as irrelevant, namely the teacher’s belief system and his/her personal expressions of that belief system independent of the curriculum.

    The point was, I had hoped would be clear, is this: In public schools, you must be careful about how what you teach not about how you dress.

    The fact is that Darwinists/Deweyites rule the academy and design their agenda in accordance with secularist values. There is no such thing as a value free agenda, and the secularist agenda is consistent, as it turns out, with your personal values, which forbids any semblance of moral training.

    Whatever one thinks of the purpose of education, it surely is more than producing dutiful little worker bees who know nothing of the difference between virtue and vice, and who, under the circumstances, are incapable of becoming good citizens or contributing to the common good.

  59. Gil:

    Could you provide specific examples of the many publicly funded, state university college professor[s] who has been denied tenure, ridiculed, tormented, vilified, or ostracized because they aren’t members of the state-sponsored Church of Darwin?

    The implication of your comments is that a number of biologists have been improperly treated. Could you show us a few of these examples and tell us exactly how it was for the cause you claim, please.

  60. JayM:

    This is MAJOR evidenciary support for ID!

    How, exactly?

    Let me see, ID is comfortable with the cambrian explosion being exactly what it is — an explosion of biological form. NDE is very uncomfortable with the cambrian explosion, and has been ever since Darwin wrote that he saw the cambrian as one of the big challenges to his theory, and that he expected an abundance of precambrian forms.

    Traces in the rock record have implied that there may be multi-cellular activity in the significantly precambrian (150 million years before the cambrian). This implied that the issue was lack of preserved rock record rather than a lack of original forms. Now that these traces seem to be the product of a unicellular organism, a primary neo-Darwinian prediction has failed yet again.

    That’s how.

    C’mon you guys, do we just want to hash through the old arguments again, or do we want fresh hard data for our theory?

  61. bFast @60

    ID is comfortable with the cambrian explosion being exactly what it is — an explosion of biological form.

    “Comfortable”? How so?

    NDE is very uncomfortable with the cambrian explosion, and has been ever since Darwin wrote that he saw the cambrian as one of the big challenges to his theory, and that he expected an abundance of precambrian forms.

    Biologists are not “uncomfortable” with the Cambrian explosion. Nothing known about it falsifies any tenet of modern evolutionary theory.

    Personally, I think it’s a very interesting area to study because it might support some of Dr. Behe’s ideas, but we shouldn’t misrepresent the scientific orthodoxy.

    Traces in the rock record have implied that there may be multi-cellular activity in the significantly precambrian (150 million years before the cambrian). This implied that the issue was lack of preserved rock record rather than a lack of original forms. Now that these traces seem to be the product of a unicellular organism, a primary neo-Darwinian prediction has failed yet again.

    The strongest argument that can be made from the observations is that some of the evidence for multicellular life in the pre-Cambrian may be, in fact, due to single cellular organisms.

    C’mon you guys, do we just want to hash through the old arguments again, or do we want fresh hard data for our theory?

    We do, until ID proponents stop misrepresenting the mainstream view and stop making overbroad claims. You originally said

    This is MAJOR evidenciary support for ID!

    It is no such thing. This was not predicted by any ID researcher and it neither supports nor falsifies any ID hypothesis.

    If we want a seat at the table, we need positive evidence for ID, not evidence against modern evolutionary theory.

    JJ

  62. freelunch:

    Gil: Could you provide specific examples of the many publicly funded, state university college professor[s] who has been denied tenure, ridiculed, tormented, vilified, or ostracized because they aren’t members of the state-sponsored Church of Darwin?

    Here’s an entire book full of examples, with all the gory details:

    Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth About Killing The Careers Of Darwin Doubters

  63. 63

    #46 by JTaylor, whoever that is.

    Of course that is the way most of the internet operates. That is precisely why it a useless venue for rational exchange. Imagine a scientific literature with anonymous authors or library stacks with books written by unknown writers. That is exactly what the internet has become. It is a nightmare, little more than therapy for unfulfilled malcontents to vent their spleens, secure that they will never be banished because no one even knows who they are.

    Clive Hayden

    I have called no one any names because I don’t have any idea who they are. Phantoms have chosen to be insulted. I have only commented on the names they chose for themselves. If you are going to warn me, at least explain why in rational terms.

    Don’t bother banishing me either as I am content to abandon this weblog confident that it will never produce anything of significance as long as it allows unknown sources to present whatever they want knowing they are immune from any ethical standard whatsoever.

  64. bfast (#48):

    Thank you for mentioning those interesting news. Obviously, I have never believed in all those goofy attempts of the official academy to cover the embarassing truth of the Ediacara and Cambrian explosions with all kinds of unlikely theories. That is only evidence of how uncomfortable they are with those realities.

    And if, in the opinion of JayM, I am “misrepresenting the mainstream view”, I am very happy and proud of that.

    And yes, this (like many other things) is MAJOR evidenciary support for ID!

  65. 65

    JohnADavison,

    “I have called no one any names because I don’t have any idea who they are. Phantoms have chosen to be insulted. I have only commented on the names they chose for themselves. If you are going to warn me, at least explain why in rational terms.”

    No one has chosen to be insulted. It’s you who calls names, directed at real people, regardless of their handle. You don’t have to know particulars about someone in order to direct a statement to them. I have not the faintest idea of who you are, save your name. No different than anyone else that you know by their name, regardless if it is real or a self-imposed name. I’m not going to banish you unless you remain disrespectful. That’s my only criterion, don’t be disrespectful, even to a person who uses a handle. Unknown sources, of which you are one to me, are welcome to post on this blog. Are we clear?

  66. 66

    Clive Hayden

    If I am unknown to you you have no business being an author at Uncommon Descent. If I am to be banished, I prefer that it be at the hands of Gil Dodgen for whom I have respect. He is the “author” of this thread not you or can any “author” banish anyone at any thread at Uncommon Descent? If that is the case, things are even worse than I imagined here.

    In any event I am through with this thread. I will now seek another one as I continue my quest for a place where I can present my science to a receptive audience without being harangued and denigrated by unknown, unprincipled, hostile enemies.

  67. Gil,

    I’m a bit disappointed that you chose to offer an opportunity for me to buy a book rather than actually identify cases and show how they qualify under the terms that you claimed.

    When a web site promoting a book tells me that it goes beyond Expelled, I’m not sure what to make of it, given Expelled‘s track record.

  68. 68

    JohnADavison,

    I am the moderator, a position that you don’t have to respect, but one that you do have to listen to if you want to post comments here. And yes, you’re unknown to me, as are most others here. It’s not a criterion that I know you in order to make moderation decisions. Either you’re respectful, or you’re not. If you’re not, you won’t comment here. If you are, by all means, say whatever you want to advance the discussion. But let’s leave all of this personal criteria you have out of it. Folks can write what they want, as long as their respectful, and remain anonymous. If this bothers you, I’m sorry, but you’re not going to win this one.

  69. JustFineThanks, Seversky, skeech, CannuckianYankee, JTaylor, et al.

    You have all completely failed to address the salient point of Gil’s post, that wide spread acceptance of a scientific theory does not make a theory true. In the past false theories have been widely accepted to point that anyone who questioned the theories were persecuted and denounced.

    Gil’s point is not that widely held scientific views never change.

    This should be so obvious I am amazed that none of you succeeded in grasping it.

  70. freelunch,

    You don’t have to buy a book. Here’s a short list of candidates:

    Rodney Levake, Roger Dehart, Dean Kenyon, Caroline Crocker, Jerry Bergman, Guillermo Gonzalez, Byron Johnson, Raymond Damadian, Nancy Bryson.

    Surely you don’t expect me to type up the case histories of these people here. The information is freely available and easily accessible.

  71. Thanks Jehu.

  72. Jehu,

    Nobody commenting in this thread has claimed that consensus makes a theory true.

    Since we all agree with Gil on that particular point, and since it’s obvious anyway, why are you berating us for failing to restate it?

  73. 73

    I am so impressed with FreeLunch.

    He/she is so impressive with his/her quick wit and depth of subject knowledge.

    He/she really tortured Gil with his biting commentary. He probably hurt Gil’s feelings.

    Formerly inanimate chemicals self-organizing into three-dimentional metabolizing structures driving by highly-coordinated information processing systems that spontaneously initiate the recording of their existence into a conventional code of digital information MUST HAVE happened just like they say it did – no need to ask any questions.

    Golly

  74. UprightBiPed,

    There only two options:

    1) Life created itself by dumb luck, or

    2) Life was created by an intelligence (which could include God).

    Since option 2 is not scientific, option 1 must be the correct answer.

    At the end of the day, this is the one and only argument in support of Darwinism and if you debate with a Darwinist long enough that is what it will devolve to.

  75. UpRight BiPed,

    Formerly inanimate chemicals self-organizing into three-dimentional metabolizing structures driving by highly-coordinated information processing systems that spontaneously initiate the recording of their existence into a conventional code of digital information MUST HAVE happened just like they say it did – no need to ask any questions.

    And ya know, if you doubt this matter of fact historical and universal truth, you left brains somewhere. :eyesroll:

    Jehu,

    Considering we can’t use science to prove science, does that make science unscientific? Should Darwinists throw out science as unscientific? lol

  76. Oops, I forgot the “your” in this sentence:

    And ya know, if you doubt this matter of fact historical and universal truth, you left your brains somewhere. :eyesroll:

    I also meant to make the little face that roles his eyes, but I must have written the code wrong xD

  77. 77

    Gil [24],

    Give me an example of a publicly funded, state university college professor who has been denied tenure, ridiculed, tormented, vilified, or ostracized for advocating atheism or that Darwinism explains all of life’s complexity and information content.

    Well, since my case was mentioned in [33], I should mention that I’m at a private university and I’m not an atheist.

    What happened wasn’t much — just some harsh words and a threat to visit me — though I was actually frightened for a time. I’m a coward that way.

    Also, come to think of it, I don’t know of anybody who thinks that “Darwinism explains all of life’s complexity and information content.”

    Finally, if ridicule is a criterion, doesn’t this very site routinely ridicule “Darwinists”? For example, didn’t some “Darwinist” get compared to Herman Munster because of his looks?

  78. I’d like to hear from every IDer who believes that scientists eventually will accept that the design of life requires intelligence, but then may find a better explanation.

  79. JAD, I gather that you were once banned for unjust reasons. You are back and I hope you stay. Please don’t join that long list of cynical bloggers who purposely push the envelope just hard enough to get banned so they can revel in and brag about their martyr status.

  80. Jehu @ 69

    JustFineThanks, Seversky, skeech, CannuckianYankee, JTaylor, et al.

    You have all completely failed to address the salient point of Gil’s post, that wide spread acceptance of a scientific theory does not make a theory true. In the past false theories have been widely accepted to point that anyone who questioned the theories were persecuted and denounced.

    Gil’s point is not that widely held scientific views never change.

    This should be so obvious I am amazed that none of you succeeded in grasping it.

    It would be a mistake to conclude that, just because a comment does not appear here, there was no attempt to write and submit one.

    As for Gil’s point, I would argue that there is nothing that should be held to be true simply because a lot of people believe it. This applies to scientific theories, political doctrines and religious beliefs. Ideally, our belief in anything should be in proportion to the weight of evidence by which it is supported.

    I stressed “ideally” because the reality is that few of us have the time or the expertise to evaluate the evidence supporting esoteric theories like relativity or quantum theory. We are forced to rely on the opinions of those who, as far as we are able to tell, are experts.

    There are, however, several caveats where relying on the opinions of others are concerned. The first is that experts are only human and subject to all-too-human failings so it would be a mistake to rely solely on the views of one of them. The wisest course is to look at a range of views and try to gauge the strength of the competing cases. The second is that, where possible, they should be drawn from fields which emphasize the primacy of evidence-based methodology. This does not guarantee truth but it does allow mistakes to be corrected sooner or later because there is an assumption of the corrigibility rather than the inerrancy of the primary texts. The third is to be wary of any expert who has an axe to grind, whether it be a conviction that the theory of evolution leads inevitably to atheism or the certainty that he or she has been entrusted by God with a mission to destroy it.

    That evolutionary biology or any other field of science is in a turbulent state is encouraging rather than a sign of failure. Far worse would be the lassitude of a field where only that research which conformed to a political or religious doctrine was allowed; for that is the route to Lysenkoism where the tree of knowledge is trimmed and pruned until it is shriveled to an ornamental bonsai rather than being allowed to flourish and to grow into a great and hearty oak.

  81. Of course that is the way most of the internet operates. That is precisely why it a useless venue for rational exchange. Imagine a scientific literature with anonymous authors or library stacks with books written by unknown writers. That is exactly what the internet has become. It is a nightmare, little more than therapy for unfulfilled malcontents to vent their spleens, secure that they will never be banished because no one even knows who they are.

    People familiar with JAD will appreciate the irony in this.

    Back to the original post, if I may be so bold. Here is the most ludicrous statement of all, but perhaps not ludicrous in Gil’s eyes given that he includes LeVake in his list of persecuted Christians.

    The criticism we always hear from Darwinists is: Outsiders are not permitted to question the dogma, because they don’t understand the subtleties and the “science.”

    What “outsiders” are not permitted to do is to falsify facts and data and then expected to be taken seriously when presenting those facts and data.

    What they are permitted to do is study the facts and data and try to disprove them using the means of science. Why is this so hard to understand?

    Probably because it takes more than 15 minutes.

    Oh, and John, my real name is Mike Haubrich and I live in Minnesota. I am outspoken as an atheist so that eventually hazel won’t have to worry about hiding.

  82. For every revolutionary idea, there are scads of duds. The scientific establishment should resist paradigm shifts. This passage from the Wikipedia article on The Structure of Scientific Revolutions agrees with my recollection of Kuhn:

    Occasionally this generates a rival to the established framework of thought. The new candidate paradigm will appear to be accompanied by numerous anomalies, partly because it is still so new and incomplete. The majority of the scientific community will oppose any conceptual change, and, Kuhn emphasizes, so they should. In order to fulfill its potential, a scientific community needs to contain both individuals who are bold and individuals who are conservative. There are many examples in the history of science in which confidence in the established frame of thought was eventually vindicated. Whether the anomalies of a candidate for a new paradigm will be resolvable is almost impossible to predict. [emphasis added]

    Many of you IDers are blessedly assured that the anomalies of ID, if you are not blessedly oblivious to them, will all vanish once your scientists get down to some serious research. And that is what brands you as unscientific.

    You should expect others to be highly skeptical. And you expect them to be skeptical of you if you, as upstarts with little more than an idea of where you want to go with your research, are not skeptical of ID. Mike Gene understands this very well.

    Knowing before the research has been done that “ID is true” is certainly not scientific belief. It is religious belief for some of you, and for others, it’s an untested intuition.

  83. 83

    Why is this so hard to understand?

    …not hard at all. But after it’s been done, then what? Do you think that Behe has been answered? He hasn’t, and neither has Denton, and neither has Kenyon, and neither has Gene, and neither has Berlinski, and neither has Myers…but that’s hardly even the start of it.

    You’re a materialist right? Well heck, let’s start right there. The material elements of the universe (as we know it) conform to the observations of Einstein’s relativity, Newtonian Mechanics, Clerk Maxwell’s Electromagnetic Field, and Quantum mechanics.

    Which combination of these would be the First Cause of formerly inanimate chemicals self-organizing into three-dimensional energy-metabolizing structures driven by highly-coordinated information processing systems that spontaneously initiate the recording of their existence into a conventional code of digital information that is not contingent on material need?

    Ask Dean K for help if you wish. I am certain he’s researched it more than most others. Probably more than the “fifteen minutes” you accuse him of.

    Or, is he like the rest of them called out for stupidity by atheists clinging to their worldview – is he just “lying for Jesus?”

  84. Gil accused me of sophistry when I brought up the relevance of Rice’s theorem to design detection.

    The scenario is this (oversimplifying): You have a program and a computer. How do you apply the explanatory filter (Dembski: “the best thing since sliced bread”) to characterize the function of the program when it is run on the computer?

    The explanatory filter is a flowchart with yes-no decision nodes. Each decision regards what is known formally as a non-trivial property of the program’s function. It follows from Rice’s theorem that there is no algorithm for any of the yes-no decisions. Don’t know is a possibility at each node.

    So a meddling, skeptical outsider — a sophist — has just made a contribution to ID theory. Why would I do this? I believe that the Creator of the universe is unknowable by the logic and science of entities within the universe. Thus I gladly tell you that don’t know is a possibility for each decision in the explanatory filter.

  85. I couldn’t pass this piece of “what you know that ain’t so” by, although I rarely comment in this forum.

    Conclusion: If common design is true, then the designer specifically chose a method of design that both conforms to a nested hierarchy and limits itself to incremental changes. In other words, out of a huge number of possible design strategies, he chose the only one that makes it appear as if he’s not there at all.

    A nested hierarchy is one of the most powerful arguments against the Darwinian model: stochastic variation + selection. It has about as much chance of generating a nested hierarchy as the Fokker-Plank equation has of generating the periodic table of the elements. A stochastic process (local, independent, uncorrelated change) has a characteristic distribution, namely Gaussian. Similarly, selection is mostly a matter of sheer dumb luck as well, and, one should remember that each organism that formed an element in the alleged Darwinian sequence of inter-grading species was successful in passing on its genes. So, one would expect, not a nested hierarchy (it’s very clumpiness is non-Gaussian), but a thick bush with some holes in it; the holes being the extinct members of the sequence, some of which will have left a fossil trace. The size and location of the holes should also have a Gaussian distribution in the large, simply because extinctions are also close to arbitrary and random, hence stochastic.

    A nested hierarchy, on the other hand, requires that just those variations, which alonewould produce it, are the only ones that occurred, and just those extinction events, which coincidentally left not a trace and which alone would produce it, are the only ones that occurred. By asserting this, one is cavorting on the banks of the great grey-green greasy Limpopo river all set about with fever trees.

    The only way that I can see this assertion arising is as follows: the Darwinian model is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; the pattern of life is a nested hierarchy; therefore the Darwinian model generates a nested hierarchy. QED!

    I believe that Michael Denton has an extended discussion of this in Evolution, a Theory in Crisis.

  86. Upright BiPed,

    Which combination of these would be the First Cause of formerly inanimate chemicals self-organizing into three-dimensional energy-metabolizing structures driven by highly-coordinated information processing systems that spontaneously initiate the recording of their existence into a conventional code of digital information that is not contingent on material need?

    I don’t know, and neither do you. And I’m not going to glorify the hypothetical construct of intelligence and use it to fill the gap. Dembski waves his hands in the direction of SETI to indicate that it’s given intelligence scientific legitimacy. Having researched the matter, I can tell you that SETI uses the term quite casually. (In fact, the project searches for anomalous signals of very low CSI.)

    I studied experimental psych before moving into AI, and I have long observed that my colleagues say really dumb stuff when they drift away from their work in operationally defined intelligence (getting machines to do as well as people at particular types of information processing) and pronounce on what it will take to make a machine “really intelligent.” I object to attempting to get intelligence to do heavy lifting in any science, and my “outsider meddling” here is not constructed to undermine ID. The appropriate response would be, “We really do need to give that term a more restrictive definition.”

    [plagiarizing myself:]

    Your belief, based purely on introspection, that your invisible intelligence causes you to create designs out of nothing has precisely the same epistemological status as the belief of some people that their invisible love causes them to emit certain sorts of behavior. Many people have claimed that an invisible love, much like that they experience inwardly, permeates the universe, just as some claim that an invisible intelligence, much like that you experience inwardly, permeates the universe.

    What we experience inwardly is of enormous value to us as human beings, but it will never be, in and of itself, empirical in character. When people give similar verbal reports of non-empirical observation, the reports themselves are empirical data, but not the reported observations. IDers appeal illogically to the wisdom of the ages and the vox populi regarding the existence of the process of intelligent design. They do nothing to confer empirical status on introspective experience of intelligence in action.

    Introspection was a key component of the work of Wilhelm Wundt, at the advent of experimental psychology. But it was soon abandoned by experimental psychologists, not out of philosophical commitment to materialism, but because experimental results based on the reports of subjects asked to introspect proved difficult to replicate. I should point out also that we know from anthropological studies that there are huge cultural differences in what people say about their inward sense of self. It is hardly a given that an organism we consider to exhibit “intelligence” explains its actions in similar terms.

    IDers are not the empiricists they make themselves out to be. Show me intelligence. That failing, show me even that there might be something non-diffuse you refer to with the term. I contend that you cannot make even “design-generating intelligence” clear-cut. Exceedingly few people are good both at designing software systems and at designing fugues. You might think that people who do well at designing mathematical proofs usually would do well at designing software, but it is often not the case. (Remember the vanished Matlab program of Dembski and Marks?) It is abundantly clear that there is a wide range of cognitive processes generating phenomena we casually refer to as “designed.” The entity you would appeal to in explaining biological phenomena is nebulous even in human psychology.

    The fact that a term seems clear in meaning in ordinary discourse does not imply that it has much scientific utility. There was a time when earth, air, fire, and water seemed like good elements. Only when people worked at framing explanations in terms of those elements did it become apparent that they were scientifically useless. The ethologists and psychologists who study phenomena that fall under the rubric of “intelligence” do not use the term to explain — not without restrictive operational definition, anyway.

  87. Sal Gal:

    I thing I had given an answer to that post of yours. If you remember which thread it was, I will plagiarized myself too, and repost it here for completeness.

    That could be a good idea, reposting our positions when it is necessary, instead of having to write it all again in new form any time the fundamental issues come out.

  88. 88

    I don’t know, and neither do you.

    Sal, I wasn’t addressing you, nor was I asking a trivial question without immediate implications.

    By the way Sal, you can be one of the most interesting and profound contributors on this board, but this isn’t about you. It’s not about your intellectual wars either.

  89. 89

    Off Topic:

    There’s been something nagging at me. Some kind of almost-but-not-quite-grasped analogy pertaining to JohnADavison’s posts. I’ve finally figured it out. My friends, a scene from Monty Python that reminds me of JohnADavison. For those who may not know this sketch, a man walks in looking for an argument. He’s directed to a room down the hall, but walks into the wrong room and this is what he encounters:

    Abuser(A): WHAT DO YOU WANT?
    Man Looking for Argument(M): Well, I was told outside that…
    A: Don’t give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!
    M: What?
    A: Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, coffee-nosed, maloderous, pervert!!!
    M: Look, I CAME HERE FOR AN ARGUMENT, I’m not going to just stand…!!
    A: OH, oh I’m sorry, but this is abuse.
    M: Oh, I see, well, that explains it.
    A: Ah yes, you want room 12A, Just along the corridor.

    John’s post feel like this, but in reverse. In other words, he’s looking for abuse (or rather to abuse) and accidentally walked into the argument room instead. Yeah, I know it’s not entirely accurate, but it feels like it is at times.

    Sorry for wasting your time with an off topic comment. Moderators feel free to delete this comment if it’s too off topic.

  90. SG, et al:

    ASSERTION: It is a necessary condition of science being a credible enterprise that we are intelligent creatures who can a significant proportion of the time carry out valid reasoning, and accurately observe facts.

    RELEVANCE: In short, it seems to at least some of us that you are sawing off the branch on which you are sitting; tree-ward of where you are sitting.

    INTELLIGENCE, WHAZDAT:

    As to what intelligence is, let us start from this, which is in the UD 101 glossary, being excerpted from Wikipedia:

    Intelligence – Wikipedia aptly and succinctly defines: “capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn.”

    1 –> Do you deny that the above is reasonably observable and acceptable as a description of a concept describing a real life phenomenon, experience and observation that many find of significant utility? If so, why?

    2 –> Do you accept that “definitions” address borders of concepts and may sometimes have all sorts of qualifications designed to deal with pathological oddities? If not, why not?

    3 –> Do you accept that precising definitions meant to address experienced or observed, “real world” phenomena [as opposed to abstract mathematical entities, e.g. what is a function, post "Dirac Delta function"] are subject to the test of comparison vs known examples and cases holding strong family resemblance thereto? If not why not?

    4 –> Do you accept that there are cases of significance to science where no-one has been able to get such a definition, but for which the example and family resemblance description is deemed good enough to live and work with, e.g. life? Why or why not?

    5 –> Is your reasoning therefore coherent and balanced, or are you getting into self referential inconsistencies because of selective hyperskepticism on mattes of observed fact and explanatory models connected thereto that are therefore subject only to warrant to moral certainty or even to provisional best, empirically anchored explanation? Why or why not?

    GEM of TKI

  91. PS: You leave out one thing SG: Evolutionary materialism is in profound but unacknowledged crisis as a paradigm: it cannot explain a fine tuned cosmos, it cannot explain origin of cell based information rich life, it cannot explain body plan level biodiversity, it cannot explain mind and morality. It has resorted to all the techniques of a dogmatic, institutionally entrenched orthodoxy under threat, short of outright PHYSICAL violence. And, it has — on sadly abundant evidence — set out on SUPPRESSION not answering cogently, challenges that point out that we routinely observe intelligent designers, who create phenomena that look very much fine tuned for a purpose, that are information rich and use that info as a means to carry out key functions. ID is the title for that insight and argument today, but it is abundantly well supported by thousands of years of observation.

  92. gpuccio @64

    And if, in the opinion of JayM, I am “misrepresenting the mainstream view”, I am very happy and proud of that.

    gpuccio, you’re usually one of the commenters here I make a point of reading, but this kind of willful ignorance is nothing to be proud of. If we want ID to, dare I say it, evolve into a real scientific theory, we need to understand the existing science. A new theory must explain the existing evidence at least as well as the old theory, and must make better predictions about new phenomena.

    We also need to demonstrate brutal honesty, presenting our opponents positions in the best possible light and showing how our alternative is still better.

    And yes, this (like many other things) is MAJOR evidenciary support for ID!

    Again, it’s not even close. No ID researcher predicted anything like this and it does not directly follow from any previously stated ID hypothesis. Nothing about this new observation serves to falsify a major tenet of modern evolutionary theory, nor does it support an ID prediction that is distinguishable from modern evolutionary theory.

    Too many ID proponents assume that evidence against modern evolutionary theory is evidence for ID. Nothing could be further from the truth. If ID is to become a real science, it must make positive testable predictions that could potentially falsify the theory. We’re not there yet.

    JJ

  93. KRiS_Censored,

    The video was posted here about a month ago.

  94. Thanks for the list, Gil,

    I notice that the first two were high school teachers. Rodney LeVake was not fired, but was reassigned to a different class after he refused to follow the curriculum. He lost his case in the Minnesota Supreme Court, because, as the decision held: “LeVake’s position paper and his statement to Hubert make it clear that LeVake would not teach the required course curriculum in the manner established by the school board, LeVake has not presented any genuine issue of material fact regarding his free exercise, free speech, and due process claims. Thus, the district court did not err in granting respondents’ motion for summary judgment.”

    Roger DeHart is another high school teacher who wanted to add material to the curriculum that wasn’t authorized. Some of it had come from Pandas and People which Judge Jones has dealt with adequately. Mr. DeHart appears to be upset that he wasn’t allowed to teach his religious views in a public school science class. I’m getting this from the transcript of the Kansas Evolution hearings. If there is better information, I’m open to it.

    I’ll look over the other ones, but I’m not looking for high school teachers who were no longer allowed to ignore the curriculum, but college professors who were treated improperly.

  95. freelunch,

    Excellent points: LeVake was reassigned for good reasons. In my view, the reaosns analogous why a teacher should fail a student who, say, refuses to learn the subject material of a class.

    Are we now expected to vet our credentials to post here? Near the top of the thread it looked like this might get legs, but now not so much. For what it’s worth, I’m what might be called a bona fide scientist (David Kellogg can vouch for me on this), but for the convenience of keeping personal life separate from professional have a mild preference for the convenience of anonymity.

  96. Next time I’ll try reading before hitting submit. The intended text was:

    Excellent points: LeVake was reassigned for good reasons. In my view, the reasons are analogous to why a teacher should fail a student who, say, refuses to learn the subject material of a class.

  97. 97

    gtk,

    Are we now expected to vet our credentials to post here? Near the top of the thread it looked like this might get legs, but now not so much.

    ID is about evidence, not scientists or other personalities.

    Often, the discussion tacs off into the weeds, such John Davidson’s need to know who he’s berating, or antagonists popping on a set of blinders and arguing over teaching policies.

    All the while, the fact remains that chance and necessity cannot coordinate independent results for function within nucleic sequencing.

    As a supporter of blinders, you no doubt ignore this as well.

  98. 98

    JayM,

    “but this kind of willful ignorance is nothing to be proud of…”

    Don’t be condescending JayM.

  99. 99

    Upright Biped, whoever that is.

    It is John A. Davison, not Davidson.

    It is not my personal need to know that is the issue. Isn’t wanting to know ones adversary perfectly natural and doesn’t it help to understand his position? I think so.

    I am convinced that if we all knew who we all were, commentary would be both vastly reduced and greatly improved. At present, with few exceptions, internet dialogue is a virtual Tower of Babel.

    That is of course only my opinion, an opinion anonymous users are not likely to share, especially on those weblogs where the A/K ratio is on the order of 7/1.

    Furthermore, I and many others have presented plenty of concrete evidence for Intelligent Design. It is in our papers and requires neither argument, debate nor any other form of defence. Here is an early example -

    “Evolution is in a great measure an unfolding of pre-existing rudiments.”
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 406, 1922.

  100. 100

    Sorry about the lack of blockquote tags. I copied and pasted from the final comment, not the source.

  101. Hi everyone, I’m new to this site – a YouTube video led me to it and after going through it I decided to bookmark it. I’m glad I did because it seems to be a really rational group of thinkers here and not just the usual hater comments you find all over the web from atheists. Actually I’ve gone through a period of atheism myself – but once my son was born I forced myself to learn as much as I could so I can know what to teach him.

    It’s been an interesting path of new discovery for me, and ID makes a lot of sense.

    Skeech seems to be a typical one track minded guy. I noticed after really studying the way peoples’ additude are linked to their way of thought – if you watch enough YouTube videos on atheists or pro-darwin videos “they are always linked” you can see how that group tends to shut off part of their mind that is open to new possibilities in a very forceful arrogant way in most cases.

    It is said – so it is so. Don’t ask questions!

    It’s a choice NOT to think that ID is possible. I realized this in myself, that I too was dragging myself into a scientific belief system that had a lot of problems. Not just scientifically but spiritually as well. Once I educated myself a bit more in science and physics I started to realize that what science can explain is actually extremely limited. To say that the Darwinistic ideas are 100% truth and 100% accurate is like saying there are no options, even when they make just as much sense as ID does. I asked myself – why have I and why do so many others limit themselves this way? Maybe Skeech needs to ask himself that same question.

    Anyway I’m an intellectual light weight, but it’s fun to read these posts and comments. I’m learning a lot, so thank you.

  102. Upright BiPed,

    I knew that you had a pairwise interaction going in the midst of the thread. If you review what I’ve posted, you’ll see that I’ve stayed on the theme of skepticism. Challenging whether it is even possible to answer some questions is a strong form of skepticism.

    I read every comment of yours I come across, and I know how often you say that “chance and necessity cannot coordinate independent results for function within nucleic sequencing.” I should have made it clear, I suppose, that I was letting go with a pent-up response: Suppose you have identified a phenomenon that materialistic science cannot explain well. It does not follow that we should thrust something as nebulous as intelligence alongside the physical primitives of matter and energy.

    If the objective is to make ID science, rather than counter-indoctrination of the masses, then IDists must define intelligence operationally. We know matter and energy by operations, after all.

  103. My response to the OP, which suggests that ID is an alternative paradigm meeting with undue resistance, is that ID is not “good to go” as science, even if we open up scientific explanation of design to non-material entities. To invoke intelligence in an explanation is to write in Jello.

    I should add that I have no rigorous argument that inference to non-material cause is impossible, and that I watch with interest, and a healthy mix of openness and skepticism, the new arguments of ID proponents.

  104. Sal,

    Knowing before the research has been done that “ID is true” is certainly not scientific belief. It is religious belief for some of you, and for others, it’s an untested intuition.

    Yet Mike Klymkowsky of Oklahoma University was given a $500,000 grant from the NSF to have abiogenesis taught in HS chemistry classrooms. But that IS science, right? Read this statement Mike e-mailed me after I questioned him about the situation (emphasis added):

    Well, from a scientific perspective, life must have arisen from non-living physiochemical systems

    But that’s not “untested intuition”? Tell me how that does not PRECISELY line up with what you said. And it’s important to not that this is not some random blogger, it’s a guy funded by the National Science Foundation, a FEDERAL agency. But yeah, it’s those damn ID-ers who are attacking the sanctity of science

  105. Clive Hayden @98

    “but this kind of willful ignorance is nothing to be proud of…”

    Don’t be condescending JayM.

    I wasn’t condescending to gpuccio, I’m actually angry with him, or at least the attitude he presented. (Where’s the Mr. Potatohead “angry eyes” emoticon?)

    gpuccio is one of the more articulate commenters here, so I am doubly appalled when he claims to be “proud” of “misrepresenting mainstream science.” I want to see ID taken seriously. I believe that Dr. Behe’s work on finding the limits of evolutionary mechanisms is the most likely way this will happen.

    When we do have a predictive, falsifiable theory of ID, I don’t want us to have to fight yet another battle for credibility with an enemy we have armed with comments like that. If ID is going to supplant modern evolutionary theory, it is going to have to explain everything that MET currently explains, plus demonstrate greater predictive power. We can’t prove that without fully understanding MET. We’re not likely to get a fair hearing when ID opponents can say “Even the sane ID supporters admit to not understanding mainstream science.”

    We can’t prove ourselves right without first proving ourselves credible.

    JJ

  106. 106

    Welcome aboard, Animateclay.

    Sal, “It does not follow that we should thrust something…”

    For the sake of argument I can agree, but I don’t think that is what Kenyon, Behe, and Denton are/were doing. In any case, it does not follow that we should blindly continue cramming the slipper on the Drizella’s fat foot. And it certainly does not mean that the falsified mechanism should remain as an ideological placemat.

    It should also be remembered that the design inference comes from many directions.

    I think Trevors and Abel side stepped the mindless and pointless debate over “intelligence”; they instead stood at the precipice of what it means “operationally.”

    Try volitional agency.

  107. Animateclay,

    Long ago, someone told me that the ends of the spectrum meet, and I have always found it to be true. The atheists and theists who “prove” they’re right are barely distinguishable in personality and rhetorical style. Their “proofs” are usually, if not always, invalid.

    When it comes to formation of beliefs on matters of ultimate concern, there is no way to proceed rationally. You must make your decisions by unutterable means — in fear and trembling, as Kierkegaard wrote. This requires courage, as Tillich wrote.

    My favorite of all sayings attributed to Jesus:

    Jesus sad, “Let the seeker, seek until he finds. That which he finds, shall cause him grief. That he grieves, shall puzzle him, and he who is puzzled shall rule over all.”

    Another translation:

    Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”

    Troubling difference. And both translators neglect to mention that the saying continues with something barely legible — perhaps:

    [And after they have reigned they will rest.]

    At any rate, I have problems with anyone who would lead you to blessed assurance, rather than provoke you to seek until you find for yourself that which troubles and astonishes you.

  108. 108

    D.A.Newton @ 85

    I hope you’ll consider posting here more often

  109. uoflcard (104):

    The tu quoque argument is fallacious.

    I agree entirely with Mike’s response to you. Science is not some ideal in the mind of God. There is no Book of Science. Science is as scientists do. Scientists are almost unanimous in requiring that explanations of nature be in strictly materialistic terms. This is a methodological stricture, not an ontological stance.

    I will emphasize in Mike’s statement what you did not: “Well, from a scientific perspective, life must have arisen from non-living physiochemical systems.” Science is not the final word on truth, though some people make it that it their personal belief systems. Science does not lead to an “abiogenesis is true” statement analogous to “ID is true.”

    Scientists regard all their explanations as tenuous. They eschew ontology, but restrict the domain of scientific discourse. Research pursuing materialistic explanations of OOL does not imply the non-existence of the non-material. And there is no guarantee that a good materialistic explanation will emerge.

    Most IDers believe that a good ID explanation is sure to emerge, and will never be replaced:

  110. Sal Gal:

    You wanted an operational defnition of intelligence. Problem-solving is commonly regarded as an indicator of intelligence. However, this definition will not do; for on a very broad definition, any process which effects a transformation from state A to state B might be regarded as having solved the “problem” of getting from A to B.

    Accordingly, we need to specify the kind of problem-solving which signifies intelligence. Let’s try this. The operational definition of intelligence is: problem-solving that demonstrates foresight of some future state of affairs which is pertinent to the problem at hand.

    Let’s apply this to ID, and see how we go. According to the front-loading hypothesis, life was created with information which was designed to be of assistance to its descendants billions of years in the future. Accordingly, we should expect to find in the oldest organisms genes which were not expressed for billions of years, and which code for structures that are only found in complex organisms such as plants and animals. If this turns out to be the case, we would be warranted in saying that life was created by an entity possessing foresight – i.e. an intelligent entity. The discovery that genes for eyes can be found even in so-called “primitive” animal phyla, which do not possess or require eyes, is a result that certainly suggests that these genes were designed by an Intelligence – unless it turns out that the genes in question serve some additional function in the “lower” animal phyla. However, if some scientist discovered that plants and even bacteria possessed the genes coding for eyes in animals, that would be truly remarkable, and it would constitute powerful evidence for ID.

    “Strong ID” is the name I shall give to the following set of radical proposals, which follow from the hypothesis that the Universe was designed by a maximally intelligent, maximally powerful, maximally liberal (i.e. hands-off) and maximally friendly Creator:

    (1) the Universe was designed to have physical constants that are optimal for the emergence and preservation of life, and in particular intelligent life;

    (2) the Universe was designed to enable each race of intelligent beings in the cosmos to solve all the practical problems that it might need to solve, in order to (a) survive, (b) maintain its civilization, and (c) make further scientific and technological discoveries in order to solve its own future problems;

    (3) the Universe was designed to enable each race of intelligent life-forms to arrive at a certain knowledge of its Creator, based on natural theology.

    Proposal (1) would be falsified by the discovery of an alternative set of values for the physical constants of nature, which would render the emergence of intelligent life in the cosmos more likely; or by the discovery of an alternative structure to DNA, which could have evolved into intelligent life-forms either more quickly or in a more reliable manner than the process of evolution which has been taking place on our Earth during the past four billion years.

    Proposal (2) would be falsified by the discovery of a natural process which was certain to either wipe human beings out or destroy our civilization. For instance, if there turned out to be no technical fix to the ozone hole, ocean acidification or global warming, then strong ID would be rendered untenable. Strong ID also entails that humanity should be able to keep growing indefinitely, and that it will find a technical solution to every major environmental and social problem it encounters, thus avoiding collapse (cornucopianism). Proposal (2) also entails that we don’t need to worry about alien invaders: even if aliens exist, they cannot destroy us.

    Proposal (3) entails that any computational process that we need to perform in order to demonstrate that the cosmos, or life, or intelligent life, was designed by an Intelligent Creator, must be do-able, somehow, even if we currently lack the know-how. It must therefore be possible to mathematically demonstrate in a rigorous fashion that there is NO pathway that blind processes could have followed, to arrive at life, and in particular intelligent life. Proving that would require a huge amount of computational resources. A corollary of strong ID is that those resources must exist somewhere in the cosmos, even if we have not found them yet.

    Finally, it should be noted that the foregoing proposals are compatible with the existence of widespread disruption of the cosmos and (in particular) the biosphere, caused either by entropy (a natural process) or interference by malevolent intelligences at work in the cosmos. What strong ID asserts is that the most general and pervasive features of the cosmos (i.e. the laws of nature, and the conserved features of our DNA) are robust, and sufficiently well-designed to withstand any kind of attempts at tinkering by malevolent intelligences, including ourselves.

    If you want to know which scientists are working on these questions right now, I suggest you contact Guillermo Gonzalez. I understand that he has formulated similar proposals to those put forward above.

  111. I’d still like to hear from IDers who believe that scientists eventually will accept that the design of life requires intelligence, but then may find a better explanation.

  112. Upright BiPed,

    In any case, it does not follow that we should blindly continue cramming the slipper on the Drizella’s fat foot.

    Well said.

    And it certainly does not mean that the falsified mechanism should remain as an ideological placemat.

    I don’t believe you’re using “falsify” in Popper’s sense. There is no materialistic explanation of OOL to falsify — no “mechanism” has been advanced. What you’re claiming is that the failure to explain is evidence against the adequacy of the mode of explanation. I’ve said this to you before: You’re challenging the fundamental approach of science, not just an explanation or a paradigm.

    I think Trevors and Abel side stepped the mindless and pointless debate over “intelligence”; they instead stood at the precipice of what it means “operationally.”

    I read one or both of their ID-friendly papers, but have forgotten what was there — perhaps I’ll go back.

    Try volitional agency.

    Interesting, but I think it’s too broad. A robot operating on random inputs can exhibit volition. I don’t intend to argue the point.

  113. 113

    Sal,

    There is no materialistic explanation of OOL to falsify — no “mechanism” has been advanced.

    You know better than this.

    You’re challenging the fundamental approach of science, not just an explanation or a paradigm.

    I’m challenging the conclusions of materialistic ideologues in science. “Placemat”is a perfect definition.

    If science wants to empirical, then fine, lets get down on it.

  114. Sal Gal,

    “My favorite of all sayings attributed to Jesus:”

    “Sayings” falsely attributed by fictional gnostic writings of unidentified authors.

    This is misleading to UD readers that may not know the difference between accepted New Testament canons as authorized by all major denominations and discredited writings of unknown authors such as the gnostic writings you quoted.

    The false writings you quote are not attributed to Christ. People who do attribute such writings to Christ usually are conspiracy minded academics and charlatans like Dan Brown or the Jesus Seminar. Usually on the bleeding edge of conspiracy thinking, atheist with grudges, or a thoroughly misinformed person about history, Christ and biblical teachings.

    “Jesus sad, “Let the seeker, seek until he finds. That which he finds, shall cause him grief. That he grieves, shall puzzle him, and he who is puzzled shall rule over all.”

    “Jesus said” no such thing. Your quoting false sources does not make it so. These sayings have been fully discredited by leading biblical authorities, incluing current Bible publications from King James to Roman Catholic to NIV, etc.

    You are quoting from fictional accounts discredited by agnostics, atheist and theologians together in agreement that the gnostic writings have nothing to do with Christ’s actual teachings. That agree they are not authentic teachings written by, or associated with Christ or his disciples.

    These “sayings” or accounts of Christ are from the Nag Hamadi findings; specifically your quote, is from the false gospel of Thomas which is a gnostic fantasy of confusion, heretical statemets and mystic paganism intertwined with false accounts and false teachings that are falsely attributed to Christ. While some gnostic writings may quote or paraphrase some teachings, the overall documents are not accurate in structure, grammar, or any other fundamental literature comparisons.

    They are not canonical teachings and only interesting from a historical viewpoint of gnosticism.

    The fictional writing called the Gospel of Thomas from which you quote is a gnostic document written much later by unknown sources that do not match teachings of Christ, his disciples, the Torah, Prophets and Psalms upon which Christ taught.

    If you carefully study the Old/New Testament, Christ did not teach gnostic ramblings, but directly from the Old Testament writings. Basic students know gnostic writings are fictional, nor related to Christ teachings.

    Most people that push the Gnotic “gospels” as authenic are discredited shows of mockery like the Jesus Seminars and the fictional accounts in Da Vinci Code, by charlatan author Dan Brown who stated his writings were based upon facts, which have since been fully discredited. His claims are funny if not so serious.

    An analogy of how he writes… His next great fictional account will be how Mendel really stole information from Darwin for his famous genetic experiments and that if not for Darwin teaching Mendel fundamental mathematics and physics, the father of genetics would never have succeeded. That it was Mendel who suffered with math problems and not Darwin.

    That about sums up the Gnostic hollywood accounts and Dan Brown “facts” about Christ “sayings.”

    Likewise we know Darwin admitted his weakness in math and that Mendel fully outshined him in math, physics and scientific experimentation and observations. He blew away Darwin in all aspects. Darwin made observations of the present to then write fictional accounts of the past. The only good observation he made was if gradual steps were not found, his hypothesis would be dead.

    It is dead. Only stubborn atheist and Darwinist continue to hang on for their faith and “blessed assurance” of accidental being.

    Another translation:

    Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”

    Troubling difference. And both translators neglect to mention that the saying continues with something barely legible — perhaps:

    [And after they have reigned they will rest.]

    Again, the really “troubling” issue is you attributing gnostic writings to Christ. He did not say what you quoted. Those writings have been discredited as authenic teachings by Christ. Any informed student, reader, knows the gnostic gospels are ancient gnostic fiction.

    At any rate, I have problems with anyone who would lead you to blessed assurance, rather than provoke you to seek until you find for yourself that which troubles and astonishes you.

    You “have problems” with strawman arguments and discredited writings.

    Have you read the Old/New Testaments? Or just the gnostic writings? Do you rely on Dan Brown or others like him for your seeking of truth about Christ?

    If you do, it is no wonder you have problems. I can understand. But they are not real problems because again, they do not represent Christ teachings. Your invented problems are you quarreling over non-existent teachings. You are creating a problem that does not exist.

    You should know that far from teaching your false arguments “attributed” to Christ, that the authors of the Bible taught followers to seek all truth in logic, reason and in understanding the creation around us. The Bible does not shy away from people seeking truth, testing, and discovering the wonders around us.

    You misrepresent the teachings of biblical principles. Funny how all the great Christian scientist never struggled with your issues on false accounts of gnostic fiction.

    Regardless of your background and level of knowledge, these few statements you make are uninformed of biblical teachings or, you are intentionally using deceptive points to confuse and mislead others here to win a strawman argument.

    I’ll assume for now, you are uninformed of the teachings of Christ. And are uninformed that gnostisim is discredited by Judeo-Christian leaders?

    For readers who may not know better, Christ never once told people to… “stop thinking” or “don’t reason” or “science is not allowed” in his teachings.

    He encouraged each individual to make informed decisions on their own.

    He encouraged careful thought, reason, logic. As did his disciples. In fact Proverbs is built upon careful observations about reality of nature, society and living with good relations in family. Christ quoted from the Old Testament teachings continuously in teaching people how to live life in a chaotic, mixed up world.

    His teachings brought to light the truths found in the history of Old Testament, ancient lessons from generations past learned through hard experiences.

    Certainly, you are not ignorant of Nag Hamadi documents being falsified as New Testiment doctrine? Are you?

    Or do you believe they are authored by the disciples? Do you believe Brown and The Jesus Seminars as authority figures with good grips on historic reality? Do you believe in UFOs?

    The reason I ask, is Dan Brown, The Jesus Seminars and UFOs have about the same credible sources of authenticity and academic integrity based in reality.

    Which is little to none.

    All the best.

  115. Sal Gal,

    re: Kierkagaard that you quote about working out “decisions with fear and trembling”

    As a theologian, he undoubetly is referencing Philippians 2:12.

    “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

    Which is a New Testament reference leading back to the Old Testament knowledge of reverence to the Creator.

    This is indeed a “decision” to work out with “fear and trembling.”

    Not so much the “hi-story” of dinosaurs and Darwinist interpretations. Operational genetics is not bound by evolutionary story telling as Dr. John Sanford at Cornell knows so well.

    Fear and Trembling

  116. Jailed: No Innate Intelligence Allowed
    Innate Intelligence is a chiropractic term to describe the organizing properties of living things. [...] This vitalistic concept states that all life contains Innate (inborn) Intelligence and that this force is responsible for the organization, maintenance and healing of the body.”

    “It was presented by early chiropractic leaders as a part of chiropractic philosophy, that life is a triune of intelligence, force, and matter. [...] Because of this early metaphysical construct, the terminology of Innate Intelligence is considered potentially detrimental to the profession’s development and reputation as it seeks acceptance in the greater scientific community.”

    Universal Intelligence is in all matter and continually gives to it all the properties and actions. The expression of this intelligence through matter is the Chiropractic meaning of life; therefore life is necessarily the union of intelligence and matter. Force unites intelligence and matter. Universal Intelligence gives force to both inorganic and organic matter. That force which Universal gives to organic matter as a higher order of its manifestations, is called Innate Intelligence.”

    Chiropractic history began in 1895… Early chiropractic bore similarities to osteopathy and was criticized as practicing medicine without a license. Opposition from the medical profession led to many chiropractors, including [founder D.D. Palmer], being jailed.

    “On November 2, 1963, the AMA Board of Reagents created the “Committee on Quackery” with the goals of first containing, and then eliminating chiropractic. H. Doyle Taylor, the Director of the AMA Department of Investigation and Secretary of the Committee on Quackery, outlined the steps needed:

    1. to ensure that Medicare should not cover chiropractic
    2. to ensure that the U.S. Office of Education should not recognize or list a chiropractic accrediting agency
    3. to encourage continued separation of the two national associations
    4. to encourage state medical societies to take the initiative in their state legislatures in regard to legislation that might affect the practice of chiropractic.

    The AMA flooded the public media and the scientific literature with information designed to defame chiropractic.”

    The Wikipedia article on Wilk v. American Medical Association, the antitrust case that brought an end to the Committee on Quackery, is very interesting.

    The founder of chiropractic claimed that 95% of all disease was caused by spinal misalignment — interfering, if I understand correctly, with the flow of innate intelligence to the organs. It seems now that there is not much of a scientific case for effectiveness of chiropractic in anything but treatment of low back pain.

  117. … I believe that the Creator of the universe is unknowable by the logic and science of entities within the universe. Thus I gladly tell you that don’t know is a possibility for each decision in the explanatory filter.

    Sal Gal,

    Re your comment above, it would seem that we can never understand the whole, since as a subset we cannot be equal to or greater than it.

    However, since a subset lies within the whole (essentially tethered to it via nature), then the subset must necessarily be able to know the whole.

    With this in mind, IMO science will one day be able to confirm empirically that God exists, but never be able to understand why or how God exists?

  118. SG, where chiropractic fails is not combining spinal alignment with massage therapy, accu-pressure and yoga.

    The fundamental concept is correct since energy centers are aligned along the spine.

  119. SG et al:

    At 90, I excerpted from the UD glossary and commented on its use of the description of intelligence as used by Wiki.

    I then also commented on the issue of concepts, descriptions and definitions, with life as a comparative case to intelligence, where we begin from typical examples and lay out a cluter of typical characteristics, accepting further instances on a fasmily resemblance basis.

    the description on yardstick words — think of this as Zahedian “fuzzy” logic with possibility of partial, parameterised set memberships at work towards reasonable, crisp and effective decisions — is:

    Intelligence – Wikipedia aptly and succinctly defines: “capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn.”

    this is a good enough working paradigm, on many good reasons. On that, we mazy then proceed to the points that [a] ID is the science that studies signs of intelligence and [b] it has identified a working list of credible candidates.

    In that context, it has further pointed out that we observe that three major causal factors tend to operate in empirical contexts: mechanical necessity, undirected contingency [chance], and directed contingency [design]. On looking at aspects of phenomena, we may discern form observable characteristics, that law, chance or design are the best empirically based explanations.

    Now, the above is in fact not controversial, generally. It is a commonplace in applied science, statistics, forensics, management, and a great many other serious contexts. Even in “pure” science [that done without a direct eye to potentially economically profitable applications], it is used when we wonder if the data presented are law, chance or cooking.

    The REAL reason there is a controversy is that there is a context in which design inferences threaten an institutionally dominant worldview: evolutionary materialism. This, as I have already cited, is not only a point made in an infamous remark by Mr Lewontin, but is now being enforced by NAS, NCSE, NSTA, and even judges and parliaments.

    Here is Mr Lewontin again:

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

    In that context, there indeed is an institutional dogmatism that has led to unjustified career busting and other seriously unjust behaviours. Indeed, some of what has been going on comes across as whistleblower retaliation. (There are not only documentary films on this but books, going back well over a decade now — try the list in Johnson’s Reason in the Balance for an example on that.)

    Of course, it is hard to accept that such has been going on in the name of “science”: indoctrination in a controversial worldview that has subverted science, and dogmatic dismissal and attacks against those who beg to differ. Not to mention, blaming the victim and retaliating against the whistleblower.

    But, in another decade or so, that is where the outcome will be plain beyond reasonable dispute. And a lot of “good” folks are going to have a lot of explaining to do, on why they indulged in enabling behaviour when the issue was at its peak.

    GEM of TKI

  120. JayM:

    If ID is going to supplant modern evolutionary theory, it is going to have to explain everything that MET currently explains, plus demonstrate greater predictive power.

    The MET doesn’t explain anything and it doesn’t have any predictive power:

    1- There is no way to predict what mutation will pop up at any point in time

    and

    2- There is no way to predict what will be selected for at any point in time.

    As for explanations heck we don’t even understand what makes a human a human besides the fcat that a human is born from the succesful mating of human parents.

    We don’t even know whether or not eyes/ vision systems could evolve because we don’t know what is responsible for their development.

  121. vjtorley (110),

    I have started several replies, and discarded them. In short, you don’t understand falsifiability as a response to the problem of induction. You don’t make your way into the fold of scientists by stating propositions regarding the distant future.

    There’s quite a bit else I might write, but I’m not going to. A blog is not a good forum for novel systematizing. If you want to discuss Gonzalez’s Privileged Planet, you may get someone to bite, but not me. Any cosmologist who takes the parameters that physicists have tuned in their own models, imputes physical reality to the “constants,” and then “reasons” about a parameter-tuning entity outside space and time is a joke in my book of epistemology.

  122. Joseph @120

    If ID is going to supplant modern evolutionary theory, it is going to have to explain everything that MET currently explains, plus demonstrate greater predictive power.

    The MET doesn’t explain anything and it doesn’t have any predictive power

    I posted a longer response to this that disappeared without any explanation. Rather than spend that time again, I refute you thus:

    Tiktaalik roseae

    JJ

  123. Oramus says,

    However, since a subset lies within the whole (essentially tethered to it via nature), then the subset must necessarily be able to know the whole.

    Cosmological ID arguments hinge on the improbability of the universe being as we have observed it. There is no way to associate a probability distribution with the universe without stepping outside the universe and speculating about a universe-generating mechanism. But that is an absurdity, inasmuch as it says that the universe is not the universe.

  124. 124

    DATCG [114], your rather long diatribe against the non-canonical writings about Jesus are rather strange. What has Dan Brown to do with any of this? Scholars who take the non-canonical writings seriously are quite plentiful, and are not limited to the Jesus Seminar folks: Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels come to mind.

  125. Joseph:

    The MET doesn’t explain anything and it doesn’t have any predictive power

    I’m curious what you’d say about how Tiktaalik was found. Neil Schubin says that the team used modern evolutionary theory to predict what age of rock to dig in for it. And the prediction panned out. Isn’t that an instance of “predictive power”?

  126. I believe the Tiktaalik had no predecessors either before or after for a few million years. No one is denying that life has unfolded in a progression or that evolution did not happen.

    What is under debate is the mechanism for this progression and the origin of the information within the genomes that had to fuel these species. Remember Darwin’s book was titled “On the Origin of Species” and in it Darwin laid out what he thought led to new species. Tiktaalik does not support Darwin’s thesis nor does it falsify it. It is just an unusual species in the long line of new species.

    I will predict from some ID based thinking that we will find new species in the rocks that are variations of both previous and later species. So does Tiktaalik support ID.

  127. jerry,

    I will predict from some ID based thinking that we will find new species in the rocks that are variations of both previous and later species. So does Tiktaalik support ID.

    From what I’ve gathered by reading UD, the central claim of ID is simply that naturalistic processes are insufficient to account for certain things we observe in nature (flagella, etc). How does your prediction concerning future fossil discoveries related to Tiktaalik follow from ID theory?

  128. madsen,

    ID says that the origin of species is a mystery but that the information needed for many new species is best explained by an intelligent input. One form of ID is that the variety of species potential was front loaded at the creation of life. Two major proponents here are Dave Scot and John Davison. A lot of John Davison’s ideas are linked on this site. They are very interesting and informative.

    If the information for all the species was front loaded, then Tiktaalik or any other progression is predicted from it. Not the specific species but the slow progression which Tiktaalik is consistent with.

    Another form of front loading is that on one or more occasions information was loaded into a gene pool and from these points, the unfolding of life proceeded naturally using normal micro evolution techniques. All of which fit the fossil record and current species better than Darwin’s ideas do. The fossil record is what set off the panic for another form of naturalistic evolution besides Darwin’s ideas of a gradual change to the current set of alleles or other genetic elements and whola, you have Gould and Eldredge and punctuated equilibrium and the gradualism of the junk DNA.

  129. Jerry:

    If the information for all the species was front loaded, then Tiktaalik or any other progression is predicted from it.

    I think you’re right that frontloading is consistent with the progression of fossils containing Tiktaalik, as well as consistent with “any other progression.”

    But isn’t that a weakness for a scientific theory? How would you know if you were wrong?

  130. “But isn’t that a weakness for a scientific theory? How would you know if you were wrong?”

    By showing patterns that do not fit the theory. I am not convinced by front loading and essentially I am in “it is a mystery” camp but there is a lot of data that suggest that a lot of information existed early in life and where did it come from. Despite all the protestations by the Darwinian loyalists, information does not come out of nowhere by random processes. The punctuated equilibrium form of gradualism and traditional Darwinian gradualism do not fit the evidence either for later day evolution. At least as of today.

    All of which cries for an honesty in biology classes that we do not know the origin of species. As I said the only honest answer is that it is a mystery and that Darwin’s ideas are out of favor by many.

    Micro evolution is fine and teaching that is all the students will ever have to know about medicine, genetics, food production etc.

  131. By showing patterns that do not fit the theory.

    Okay. What kind of pattern would not fit the theory? Could you provide an example?

  132. Ludwig,

    For front loading, I am not sure since I have not really thought about it much. Nor have I ever seen anyone discuss it in much detail except for John Davison’s work. I find the front loading concept hard to believe because there would have to be an awfully lot of data in the original genomes and then to assume that at various points over time, a lot of it was lost as a new species branched off. Present species do not seem to have any of it today. The other thing I have a hard time with front loading is where did the gene pool variation come from to fuel all the species variation that descended from it.

    For example, where did all the variation for birds come from. Since it had to be front loaded, why would the creation of a species come with substantial variation. The origin of variation is the mystery of evolution. Some of this may be cleared up as more and more genomes are mapped and phenotype characteristics are associated with various genomic elements.

    There are occasional reports of species with all sorts of variation potential within them that is not manifest and which probably originated prior to the Cambrian Explosion. This seems to be support for a lot of unnecessary variation available in a short time after multi-celled life appeared.

    Maybe if John Davison comes back you could ask him.

  133. 133

    Jerry

    John Davison can’t come back because Gil Dodgen won’t permit it. Isn’t that right Gil?

  134. JayM,

    The ToE did not predict Tiktaalik.

    It doesn’t even predict fish.

    It doesn’t predict anything.

  135. Ludwig,

    The geocentric PoV also made correct predictions.

    And if we look to the Bible it predicts the universe had a beginning.

  136. oops- the ToE can predict that populations will either change or remain the same.

  137. The ToE did not predict Tiktaalik.

    It doesn’t even predict fish.

    It doesn’t predict anything.

    The ToE posits an unbroken chain of descent through a hierarchy of organisms who were all at least viable enough to produce viable offspring. It predicts that evidence of ancestral forms such as fossils like Tiktaalik roseae will be consistent with a nested hierarchy. I am sure I do not need to remind Joe about nested hierarchies.

  138. Here is a PDF showing what I mean, Joe. See how it shows a branching pattern.

    (HT to rossum)

  139. Joseph @134

    The ToE did not predict Tiktaalik.

    Read the section on discovering Tiktaalik. Modern evolutionary theory was instrumental in predicting where to look and what type of fossil would be found.

    There are literally hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers that document the testing of testable predictions based on MET. To claim otherwise is ridiculous.

    It doesn’t predict anything.

    Continuing to repeat a clearly refuted claim does not make it any more valid.

    JJ

  140. Joseph,
    Evolutionary theory predicted that there would be fish-land animal transitional species in late Devonian aged rocks. that prediction was put to the test through 5 years of hard digging and was eventually shown correct w the discovery of tiktaalik.

  141. —-David Kellogg: “DATCG [114], your rather long diatribe against the non-canonical writings about Jesus are rather strange. What has Dan Brown to do with any of this? Scholars who take the non-canonical writings seriously are quite plentiful, and are not limited to the Jesus Seminar folks: Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels come to mind.”

    It really doesn’t matter how many uninformed commentators on exegetic theology “take Gnosticism seriously.” What matters is whether they are serious thinkers and whether they can reason in the abstract.

    In fact, Gnosticism cannot be reconciled with Christianity in any way. Gnostics believed that the Abrahamic God was, in fact, two separate and independent entities. The “Demiurge” was the God of the Israelites and the Old Testament. He was reputed to be a “bad creator”, because of his violent intrusions on mankind’s self-styled behavior. According to their perverse Biblical interpretation, Jesus Christ came to save humanity from sin and suffering, AND the “evils of the MATERIAL world.” Thus, Gnosticism militates against the Genesis account, which holds that everything God created was good.

    This anti-Christian belief system produced what is called “Manicheism,” the idea that a good God created a world of spirit, an evil God created a world of matter, and that the two worlds are irreconcilable. Thus, it confuses Christianity’s moderate dualism, [good spirit, good matter] with Gnosticism’s radical dualism, [good spirit, evil matter]. It is the latter world view that Augustine held before he converted to Christianity.

    So, the point at issue is a simple matter of fact. “Gnostic gospels” are parasites on Christianity and were established to compete against it as an alternative, heretical world view. Under the circumstances, DATCG’s extended comments @114 were completely on target.

  142. 142

    StephenB [139], the question is not whether Gnostic texts (and others — there are plenty of non-Gnostic non-canonical early texts) can be reconciled with doctrinal Christianity. The question was whether they have any historical relevance. And as I have pointed out, serious historical scholars take them seriously not as doctrine (which is not a historical question). You can call Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels a lot of things — evangelical scholars don’t like them one bit — but it’s a little silly to call them “uninformed.”

    In short, the issue of heresy begs the historical question.

  143. 143

    Stephen B in #79

    I have tried to come back only to have my comments “moderated” while others have commented after me with no moderation whatsoever. I have exposed this policy on my weblog on the “Why Banishment? thread. Since discriminatory moderation persists, I have exposed that again as well and will continue to do so until I am treated exactly as any other user of this weblog.

    I don’t expect this to be published because it allows me to explain my feelings about being treated as a second class citizen by the management of Uncommon Descent.

    I have presented nothing abusive or even controversial and the referees here know it. I am quite willing to allow Uncommon Descent to treat me with contempt for as long as it chooses. I will continue to expose those tactics with printout copies on my weblog or anywhere else I am allowed to speak freely. I was a vociferous proponent of Intelligent Design when most of you folks were in diapers. The fact that most of my sources are now dead is a reflection on the diligence the Darwinians have exhibited in pretending that they never had any critics. Neo-Darwinism remains the greatest hoax in the history of science, dwarfing the Phlogiston of Chemistry and the Ether of Physics. Natural selection never had anything to do with the origin of species or of any other taxanomic category. That is no longer a matter for conjecture and certainly not for debate.

    I repeat – The matter is in the hands of the management of Uncommon Descent.

    Remember – “What happens on the internet stays on the internet.” That is the way it is supposed to be.

    Now go right ahead and hold this message for as long as you choose for what you call “moderation.” I call it censorship!

  144. 144

    It is like pulling teeth to be heard here at Uncommon Descent. Stephen B asked me a question in message # 79 and I am finally allowed to respond in #143. I suspect Stephen B has forgotten all about the question he asked. We shall soon see.

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

  145. Khan:

    Evolutionary theory predicted that there would be fish-land animal transitional species in late Devonian aged rocks.

    Please provide the reference.

    Ya see seeing there is no way to predict what mutations will occur at any point in time and seeing there isn’t any way to predict what will be selected for at any point in time, tghere isn’t any such prediction.

    As a matter oif fact no one knows what made Tiki what it is!

    that prediction was put to the test through 5 years of hard digging and was eventually shown correct w the discovery of tiktaalik.

    But Tiki isn’t a transitional. It is a fish- pure and simple.

  146. The ToE did not predict Tiktaalik.

    It doesn’t even predict fish.

    It doesn’t predict anything.

    The ToE posits an unbroken chain of descent through a hierarchy of organisms who were all at least viable enough to produce viable offspring.

    Please provide the reference.

    It predicts that evidence of ancestral forms such as fossils like Tiktaalik roseae will be consistent with a nested hierarchy. I am sure I do not need to remind Joe about nested hierarchies.

    LoL!! Only a fool thinks that evolution would expect a nested hierarchy!

    Ya see nested hierarchies have a directuion- one of ADDITIVE characteristics.

    Evolution isn’t like that. Common descent isn’t like that.

    As a matter of fact all we could expect out of evolution/ common descent is a LINEAGE.

    Lineages do NOT form a nested hierarchy.

    IOW Alan once again you have proven that you don’t know anything.

  147. JayM,

    I will say it again and you can keep ignoring it:

    1- There is no way to predcit what mutations will occur.

    2- There is no way to predict what those mutations will effect

    3- There is no way to predict what would be selected fpr at any point in time.

    4- We do NOT have any idea what makes an organism what it is- therefor we can’t predict what organisms will appear at any point in time.

    By Jay’s logic the Bible is completely true because science has shown that the universe had a beginning just as the Bible said.

  148. Alan Fox,

    The alleged tree of life has been toppled

    The Phylogenetic Tree Topples?

  149. More on nested hierarchy-

    Common descent:

    Start with a population. We will call it population A.

    Then say after some generations pop A gives rise to two other populations- A1 and A2.

    Now in order for a nested hierarchy to exist pop A must consist of and contain populations A1 and A2.

    Yet pop A does not as both A1 and A2 are SEPARATE populations.

    Will Alan understand any of that?

    Doubtful.

  150. You don’t understand what nested hierarchy means, Joseph. It refers to characteristics, not populations. Nested hierarchies of characteristics include organisms that are now extinct, for instance.

  151. JohnADavison @143

    Now go right ahead and hold this message for as long as you choose for what you call “moderation.” I call it censorship!

    I agree. Being subject to moderation here means that it is nearly impossible to participate in the discussions. When posts don’t appear for 12 to 24 hours, the discussion has moved on. “Moderation” here and “censorship” are distinctions without a difference.

    This type of behavior gives the impression that the “new, open” moderation policy discussed earlier is a sham and that UD does not, in fact, support real debate about the issues.

    What are the moderators afraid of?

    JJ

  152. Joseph @146

    I will say it again and you can keep ignoring it:

    I didn’t ignore anything. I pointed out a counterexample that completely disproves your claim that evolutionary theory does not make testable predictions. You’re wrong.

    1- There is no way to predcit what mutations will occur.

    Mutations are random with respect to fitness. Why would you expect to be able to predict which will occur?

    2- There is no way to predict what those mutations will effect

    That’s because they are random.

    3- There is no way to predict what would be selected fpr at any point in time.

    Reproductive success. is selected for.

    4- We do NOT have any idea what makes an organism what it is- therefor we can’t predict what organisms will appear at any point in time.

    That doesn’t even make sense.

    Your claim was that modern evolutionary theory doesn’t predict anything. Tiktaalik in particular, and the hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in the primary literature in general, completely disprove your claim.

    JJ

  153. hazel,

    I understand perfectly well what nested hierarchy means.

    I also understand common descent and evolution.

    Ya see if nested hierarchy was an expected outcome of evolution/ common descent then my scenario would produce a nested hierarchy.

    As for nested hierarchy and characteristics, I covered that also:

    Only a fool thinks that evolution would expect a nested hierarchy!

    Ya see nested hierarchies have a directuion- one of ADDITIVE characteristics.

    Evolution isn’t like that. Common descent isn’t like that.

    As a matter of fact all we could expect out of evolution/ common descent is a LINEAGE.

    Lineages do NOT form a nested hierarchy.

  154. 155

    Joseph, you write [15]:

    Only a fool thinks that evolution would expect a nested hierarchy!

    Do you think that the University of California Museum of Paleontology is made up of fools?

    Evolution predicts that living things will be related to one another in what scientists refer to as nested hierarchies—rather like nested boxes.

    For the record, I disagree with hazel slightly. It’s not that you don’t understand nested hierarchies. It’s that you don’t understand how scientists use the term. As is frequently the case, you are fixated on a word which you insist has to be used the way you say, no matter how people in the appropriate field use it. (Onlookers might be interested in Joseph’s earlier trouble with “cumulative climbing,” uncorrected even when definitively refuted.)

  155. —-David Kellogg: The question is not whether Gnostic texts (and others — there are plenty of non-Gnostic non-canonical early texts) can be reconciled with doctrinal Christianity. The question was whether they have any historical relevance.”

    You seem to forget the context in which my original point was made. Someone (Sal Gal) attached Gnostic writings to the teachings of Jesus, for which no rational defense can be made. You defended his position and called on Ehman and Pagels as exponents of Gnostic credibility. Now now you seem to be saying that none of this is relevant.

    In fact, all heresies have enormous historical significance. Most early church documents are responses to heresies, each one calculated to fine tune a doctrine or dogma that has either been misunderstood or mischarachterized.

    —-” And as I have pointed out, serious historical scholars take them seriously not as doctrine (which is not a historical question).

    When someone tells me what they “didn’t” mean while neglecting to tell me what they “did” mean, I have to wonder about why they are leaving out that information.

    You originally stated that these men took the writings of the Gnostic gospels seriously. That suggests that the relavant passages were worthy of serious consideration in some context, presumably as reasonable interpretations of Christianity. Now you are suggesting that you didn’t mean that at all. Please!

    —-”You can call Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels a lot of things — evangelical scholars don’t like them one bit — but it’s a little silly to call them “uninformed.”

    As a point of exegetical theology, “evil matter” cannot be reconciled with Christianity. Insofar as Ehrman and Pagels are defending Gnosticism, they are defending that which is incompatible with Christian belief. Under the circumstances, only three options exist: [a] They are uninformed, [b] They cannot reason in the abstract or [c] they are being disingenous. I chose [a] as the most generous alternative, but I will be happy to go with “deceiving heretics” if you like.”

  156. LoL!! Only a fool thinks that evolution would expect a nested hierarchy!

    Nonetheless. ToE predicts common descent in a nested hierarchy. This prediction can be disproved by (to use the old example) finding a rabbit fossil in pre-Cambrian strata.

    Well done for linking to your own blog in #151. I think the Discovery Insitute should consider using your input.

  157. Alan Fox:

    Nonetheless. ToE predicts common descent in a nested hierarchy.

    No it does not.

    Nested hierarchy is based on CHARACTERISTICS not desecnt.

    And nested hierarchies do not reflect descent.

    Ya see nested hierarchies have a directuion- one of ADDITIVE characteristics.

    Evolution isn’t like that. Common descent isn’t like that.

    As a matter of fact all we could expect out of evolution/ common descent is a LINEAGE.

    Lineages do NOT form a nested hierarchy.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

    Well done for linking to your own blog in #151.

    No need to reinvent perfectly good refutations.

    I think the Discovery Insitute should consider using your input.

    They are smart enough to realize that NH has been refuted pertaining to evolution.

    Dr Denton book “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”, released in the late ’80s destroyed the argument that evolution/ common descent leads to a nested hierarchy.

    That some evos refuse to acknowledge said refutation doesn’t matter one bit to the DI.

    Only the willfully ignorant cling to such an idea.

  158. Alan Fox:

    The ToE posits an unbroken chain of descent through a hierarchy of organisms who were all at least viable enough to produce viable offspring.

    Make up your mind Alan.

    “An unbroken chain of descent” is not a nested hierarchy and will not form a nested hierarchy.

    So which is it?

  159. John A. Davison @79.

    I know it’s frustrating to be on moderation, but give it time. The same slow grinding wheel that reversed its policy and put you back on this site is the same slow grinding wheel that will likely take you off moderation, provided you meet UD’s conditions.

    What can I tell you. Life isn’t always fair. There are times when you have to bite the bullet and adjust to the environment in which you find yourself, much like organisms must adjust to their environment.

    In any case, you can easily “expose” intellectual cowards for what they are without calling attention to the fact that they are cowards. Most important, you can refute their arguments, and, from what I have observed, you can refute with uncommon authority. (It isn’t the pseudo-name that defines the coward, it is his unwillinness to face the truth and his proclivity to obfuscate, evade, and deceive.)

    If, on occasion, you cannot stop yourself and find that you must allude to a courage-challenged Darwinist by name, use the old Joe Louis tactic (“You can run but you can’t hide.”) That’s about as hard as you can push it at the level of the individual. Speaking about Darwininists in general, you can be a little more expressive.

  160. 161

    JayM,

    “I agree. Being subject to moderation here means that it is nearly impossible to participate in the discussions. When posts don’t appear for 12 to 24 hours, the discussion has moved on. “Moderation” here and “censorship” are distinctions without a difference.”

    There is a difference between being banned and moderated. I can show you the difference if you would like to see it.

    “This type of behavior gives the impression that the “new, open” moderation policy discussed earlier is a sham and that UD does not, in fact, support real debate about the issues. What are the moderators afraid of?”

    ‘This type of behavior” is in “reaction” to other types of behavior that justify the moderation to begin with. There are lots of people that aren’t moderated because they’ve never done anything to earn it. This type of behavior is in reaction, not pro-action, please remember that. UD is an open dialogue for folks that don’t have to be moderated because of their past behavior.

    I’m not afraid of anything.

  161. 162

    JayM,

    “3- There is no way to predict what would be selected for at any point in time.

    Reproductive success. is selected for.”

    Reproductive success is selected for, what is selected for is reproductive success by reproducing successfully. This is a circle, and isn’t an explanation, it’s affirming the premise as the conclusion.

  162. Joe,

    I think the problem that arises from attempting any sort of exchange with you is amply demonstrated by following the links to your blog and reading some of the exchanges.

    You appear not to wish to undestand what a nested hierarchy is. OK. It is not important for me. I am more interested in finding out what intelligent design may eventually have to offer in any practical way.

  163. Alan,

    YOU can’t even form an argument as to why evolution would produce a nested hierarchy.

    YOU can’t even address the refutation for that premise.

    And YOUR position doesn’t offer anything in a practical way.

    IOW you appear to not be able to understand anything.

    And that means no one can have an educated discussion with you.

  164. David Kellogg,

    Why is it that YOU have not addressed the refutations of te premise that evolution produces a nested hierarchy?

    Could it be because neither you nor the site you linked to understand nested hierarchies?

    Could it be that you do not understand that evolution does NOT have a direction?

    Dr Denton is also a scientist.

    So why don’t you adress his refutation of the premise?

  165. David Kellogg:

    (Onlookers might be interested in Joseph’s earlier trouble with “cumulative climbing,” uncorrected even when definitively refuted.)

    You are a legend in your own mind.

    There isn’t any mountain climbers who use the term “cumulative climbing” as a mechanism for what they do.

    Not one.

    IOW all you are doing is proving my point- tat you cannot understand the contxt of a discussion.

  166. JayM:

    Your claim was that modern evolutionary theory doesn’t predict anything.

    It can predict change and/ or stasis.

    It cannot predict anything specifically for all the reasons I provided.

    Tiktaalik in particular, and the hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in the primary literature in general, completely disprove your claim.

    Tiki is not a prediction made from the theory.

    Transitionals from fish to land animal is a prediction borne from the premise that if land animals evolved from fish we should see some transitionals showing this.

    However there isn’t anything which demonstrates Tiki is anything but a fish.

    It’s “transitional” status is only in the minds of those who need it to be a transitional.

  167. David Kellogg:

    Evolution predicts that living things will be related to one another in what scientists refer to as nested hierarchies—rather like nested boxes.

    Right but if all the transitionals were still alive there wouldn’t be any nested boxes.

    Darwin understood this and that is why he pointed to extinction events to make the distinctions observed.

    IOW it isn’t evolution/ common descent that produces a nested hierarchy it is well timed extinction events which produced the distinct nested boxes we observe today.

  168. Joseph @167

    Tiktaalik in particular, and the hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in the primary literature in general, completely disprove your claim.

    Tiki is not a prediction made from the theory.

    Yes, it very clearly is. Continuing to ignore theclearly documented history of how Tiktaalik was found doesn’t make it go away.

    Transitionals from fish to land animal is a prediction borne from the premise that if land animals evolved from fish we should see some transitionals showing this.

    So evolutionary theory does make predictions. Thank you for admitting that your previous claim was completely wrong.

    However there isn’t anything which demonstrates Tiki is anything but a fish.

    Well, nothing aside from the actual evidence documented here. (Keep hitting that next button to see how your claim is repeatedly refuted.)

    JJ

  169. Refuting nested hierarchies for dummies:

    David Kellogg linked to UC Berkley on Nested Hierarchy.

    Take a good look at the diagram.

    See those connecting lines?

    Every point on each line would be a transitional organism.

    Now the question is- if all of thoise transtionals were alive today would we be able to put the organisms into nice neat nested boxes (sets)?

    No. We would have a mess of boxes with very little order.

    Will Alan or David understand that simple point?

    Nope. And therein lies the problem with evolutionists.

  170. JayM,

    Tiki is not a prediction borne from natural selection.

    It is not a prediction borne from random variations.

    Predictions borne from common descent should NOT be confused nor conflated with predictions made from the ToE.

  171. JayM,

    What is the evidence that demonstrates Tiki is something other than a fish?

    Please be specific- it wasn’t at the site you linked to- all it said was this fish has some “weird”(for a fish) characteristics.

  172. 173

    Clive writes, “There is a difference between being banned and moderated. I can show you the difference if you would like to see it.”

    I’m curious — which is it when a post in response to the larger comment of which this is a part is deleted by an administrator without explanation, and in what appears to be a violation of the stated moderation policy?

    I have noted the deletion for the record on antievo.

  173. 174

    Ah, but now my posts show up! Wonderful, and thanks.

    Now, to Joseph above: I think he’s saying (it’s hard to tell from his writing) that a nested hierarchy implies that all the objects in the hierarchy must be alive at a gien. But frankly, that’s not how scientists use the term. He can complain about how scientists use the term, but calling people fools for saying that evolution predicts a nested hierarchy seems silly. Rather than using encarta or Webster’s, he should use a technical dictionary in the field. Under “classification” in the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, we get the following:

    The traditional Linnaean classification of living beings has the structure of a hierarchy, with a series of ranks (categories) to which more or less extensive groups (taxa; singular, taxon) are allocated. The number of ranks in the classification is not strictly prescribed. However, tradition has consolidated the use of a few main ranks. Additional ranks may be added, whenever required, at the lower or the upper level, or in intermediate positions, but there has always been widespread opposition to an indiscriminate multiplication of ranks.

    The most traditional ranks, listed here from the lowest to the highest, are the species, the genus, the family, the order, the class, the phylum (in botany, traditionally called the division) and the kingdom. Most additional ranks are identified by a prefix, e.g. subfamily, superorder. The tribe, if recognized, is subordinate to the subfamily.

    Below the species level, tradition is not uniform. Botanists are generally more inclined than zoologists to recognize and name infraspecific entities. As for zoology, only one rank below the species is officially recognized (the subspecies), but this rank is extensively used in some groups (e.g. mammals, birds, butterflies) and virtually ignored in others (e.g. most marine animals). As for botany, multiple infraspecific categories are recognized, but lower-level units, e.g. forms, are often named within a species that has not been articulated into higher-order species subunits such as subspecies. Peculiar categories such as the cultivar are extensively employed for the cultivated plants.

    Two criticisms may be levelled with respect to the Linnaean hierarchy. The first criticism is that its use takes for granted a branched topology of relationships. This may be true for very large segments of the phylogenetic history of living beings, but it is definitely not true in several instances. First, the very origin of the eukaryotic cell, hence an event at the root of a disproportionately major branch of the phylogenetic tree, is currently explained as a symbiotic event, that is, as an event determining an anastomosis among the oldest branches of the tree of life. Second, anastomoses of branches of the phylogenetic tree are produced by any successful event of hybridization, which is possibly rare in animals but is certainly common in plants. In some cases, as in the sunflower genus Helianthus, the two small genomes associated with the chloroplast and the mitochondrion, respectively, may trace a history of recent hybridization other than the one recorded in the main (nuclear) genome. In all these instances, reducing the real topology of phylogeny to the conventional branched topology of the Linnean hierarchy is hardly ‘natural’.

    Another criticism of the Linnaean hierarchy comes from cladistics in particular. The problem is that a phylogenetic reconstruction may only allow for the identification of nesting relationships, but cannot offer any ground to the recognition of absolute ranks. For instance, the brown bear (Ursus arctos) will turn out to be a terminal twig of the bear family (Ursids), this being in turn a branch of the Carnivores, which are nested into a larger branch Mammals, and so on. However, nothing justifies giving the same rank (say, ordinal) to Carnivores and Rodents, or – outside Mammals – to Galliforms and Coleoptera.

  174. Joseph @172

    What is the evidence that demonstrates Tiki is something other than a fish?

    You could look at the Meet Tiktaalik Rosae page already referenced. If you require further information, there is an article in Nature that explains some of the transitional features.

    Note that Tiktaalik is just one, albeit very impressive, prediction of modern evolutionary theory. In order to maintain your ridiculous claim that MET is not a predictive theory, you need to ignore the hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in the primary literature.

    JJ

  175. Dave Kellogg:

    I think he’s saying (it’s hard to tell from his writing)

    Not to people with a junior high education.

    that a nested hierarchy implies that all the objects in the hierarchy must be alive at a gien.

    Nope, never said nor implied such a thing.

    What I said was that IF all the transitionals were still alive we would NOT observe a nested hierarchy.

    That was very clear.

    Ya see nested hierarchies require distinctly defined groups. And if those transitionals were alive then we woulod not have that.

    <blockquoteHe can complain about how scientists use the term, but calling people fools for saying that evolution predicts a nested hierarchy seems silly.

    ! Evolution does NOT have a direction.

    2- Nested Hierarchy requires a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    3- Therefor only a fool would say evolution produces a nested hierarchy.

    Next Linneaus was a Creationist and hios classification was used to classify the Created Kinds.

    All the evos did was change “archtype” to “common ancestor” and call the scheme theirs.

    Also as I have stated MANY times I get my definition from A summery of the priniciples of hierarchy theory:

    nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels.

    That does not happen in a LINEAGE. And a lineage is the best one can hope for given evolution/ common descent.

  176. So why does David Kellogg avoid the arguments against evolution forming a nested hierarchy?

    Is it because he does not understand evolution nor nested hierarchy?

    I say it is.

    However:

    Nested hierarchies have a direction-

    For example in the nested hierarchy of living organisms we have the animal kingdom.

    To be placed in the animal kingdom an organism must have all of the criteria of an animal.

    For example:

    All members of the Animalia are multicellular (eukaryotes), and all are heterotrophs (that is, they rely directly or indirectly on other organisms for their nourishment). Most ingest food and digest it in an internal cavity.

    Animal cells lack the rigid cell walls that characterize plant cells. The bodies of most animals (all except sponges) are made up of cells organized into tissues, each tissue specialized to some degree to perform specific functions.

    The next level (after kingdom) is the phyla. Phyla have all the characteristics of the kingdom PLUS other criteria.

    For example one phylum under the Kingdom Animalia, is Chordata.

    Chordates have all the characteristics of the Kingdom PLUS the following:

    Chordates are defined as organisms that possess a structure called a notochord, at least during some part of their development. The notochord is a rod that extends most of the length of the body when it is fully developed. Lying dorsal to the gut but ventral to the central nervous system, it stiffens the body and acts as support during locomotion. Other characteristics shared by chordates include the following (from Hickman and Roberts, 1994):

    bilateral symmetry
    segmented body, including segmented muscles
    three germ layers and a well-developed coelom.
    single, dorsal, hollow nerve cord, usually with an enlarged anterior end (brain)
    tail projecting beyond (posterior to) the anus at some stage of development
    pharyngeal pouches present at some stage of development
    ventral heart, with dorsal and ventral blood vessels and a closed blood system
    complete digestive system
    bony or cartilaginous endoskeleton usually present.

    The next level is the class. All classes have the criteria of the kingdom, plus all the criteria of its phylum PLUS the criteria of its class.

    This is important because it shows there is a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    Yet evolution does NOT have a direction. Characteristics can be lost as well as gained. And characteristics can remain stable.

    All of that means we should not expect a nested hierarchy with descent with modification.

  177. “While hierarchic schemes correspond beautifully with the typological model of nature, the relationship between evolution and hierarchical systems is curiously ambiguous. Ever since 1859 it has been traditional for evolutionary biologists to claim that the hierarchic pattern of nature provides support for the idea of organics evolution. Yet, direct evidence for evolution only resides in the existence of unambiguous sequential arrangements, and these are never present in ordered hierarchic schemes.”- Denton page 131 of “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”

    But again I doubt Kellogg will understand that basic fact.

    It is also worth repeating that nested hierarchy was FIRST used as evidence for a common design and all evos did when they took over was to replace archetype with common ancestor:

    One would expect a priori that such a complete change of the philosophical bias of classification would result in a radical change of classification, but this was by no means the case. There was hardly and change in method before and after Darwin, except that “archetype” was replaced by the common ancestor.– Ernst Mayr

    Simpson echoed those comments:

    From their classifications alone, it is practically impossible to tell whether zoologists of the middle decades of the nineteenth century were evolutionists or not. The common ancestor was at first, and in most cases, just as hypothetical as the archetype, and the methods of inference were much the same for both, so that classification continued to develop with no immediate evidence of the revolution in principles….the hierarchy looked the same as before even if it meant something totally different.

    IOW nested hierarchy was and is used as evidence for Common Design.

  178. David,

    My apologies for not getting back to you. It appears you been busy anyway :)

    “DATCG [114], your rather long diatribe against the non-canonical writings about Jesus are rather strange.”

    Why? Other than I rambled a bit? First it was misleading. There is no evidence to suggest Christ stated the lines Sal Gal said was “attributed” to him in the writings of Thomas. There are very few scholars that give it any credence as a serious work related to Christ or his disciples outside of organizations like Jesus Seminar and Dan Brown. Dan has given lectures with the same people. I brought him up because of his deception much like that of the Jesus Seminar.

    Scholars who take the non-canonical writings seriously are quite plentiful, and are not limited to the Jesus Seminar folks: Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels come to mind.

    And when you say, “seriously” are you stating that Ehrman and Pagels have determine they should be canonical?

    There are several ways to discredit such scholarship. Besides dating, style, etc., you can always point to the Old Testament. The writings of Nag Hamadi documents or Gnostic “gospels” that claim authority do not match any of Christ teachings with that of the Old Testament. Yeshua ben Yosef was raised a Jew, a Rabbi and did not make up new ideas or statements and definitions or philosophy outside the Old Testament Doctrine. Every word he spoke was straight from Old Testament.

    Whereas the gnostic “gospels” are not related at all in majority of text.

    Christ stated not one Yod shall be changed from the Torah, the Psalms or the Prophets. The gnostic “gospels” change with the wind varying on Pagan Platonic Philosophy and Greek influences.

    The original disciples students refuted Gnosticism as heretical. Paganism and incompatible with the Judeo-Christian teachings even before Biblical Canon was solidified centuries later.

    Gnostic believers were not included as believers in Christ. They had their own sects and were not affiliated with any disciples of Christ.

    The attempt to use a heretical document as valid statements of Christ is therefore misleading.

    It was a strawman argument. Since Christ did not state what Sal Gal attributed to him by the gnostic writings of some unknown author.

  179. 180

    Hermagoras, aka David Kellogg,

    “I’m curious — which is it when a post in response to the larger comment of which this is a part is deleted by an administrator without explanation, and in what appears to be a violation of the stated moderation policy?”

    That is a moderation. A banning means every part of all posts are not approved. And thanks for making that note at antievo, where people are surely to be balanced about the moderation here :) sarcasm intended. And yes, I took you out of the moderation pool, you’ve been respectful, and we can tolerate bad arguments here at UD.

  180. David Kellogg is now free to post at will?

    Great perhaps he will try to answer the refutation of the premise that evolution produces a nested hierarchy.

  181. 182

    Joseph, I’m not interested in refuting that premise. I refuted a different claim: your claim about what evolutionary scientists say evolution predicts. By your logic, all the scientists who say it does predict a nested hierarchy are fools. Whether they understand nested hierarchy better than you or not, the fact is that they say evolution predicts this. Therefore your premise that they don’t it refuted.

    Not that you will admit this. As with “cumulative climbing,” which you said climbers don’t use even after after I showed they did, no number of counter-examples will be sufficient.

  182. David Kellogg:

    Joseph, I’m not interested in refuting that premise.

    You can’t.

    I refuted a different claim: your claim about what evolutionary scientists say evolution predicts.

    It doesn’t predict NH.

    By your logic, all the scientists who say it does predict a nested hierarchy are fools.

    And I supported that claim.

    YOU ignore that supporting reason.

    Whether they understand nested hierarchy better than you or not, the fact is that they say evolution predicts this.

    But it doesn’t predict it for the reasons provided.

    The reasons YOU keep ignoring.

    You think your ignorance is some sort of refutation.

    Ya see it doesn’t matter if scientists say “this predicts that” when in fact it doesn’t.

    But you won’t understand that because you appear incapable of understanding anythiung.

    As with “cumulative climbing,” which you said climbers don’t use even after after I showed they did, no number of counter-examples will be sufficient.

    Now you are lying. You didn’t quote any climbers using the term “cumulative climbing” as the mechanism they use to go up a mountain.

  183. Once again for david Kellogg:

    1- Evolution does NOT have a direction.

    2- Nested Hierarchy requires a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    3- Therefor only a fool would say evolution produces a nested hierarchy.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

  184. JayM:

    Note that Tiktaalik is just one, albeit very impressive, prediction of modern evolutionary theory.

    It is NOT a prediction based on random variation and it is NOT a prediction based on natural selection.

    So what, exactly, is tiki a “prediction” of?

    In order to maintain your ridiculous claim that MET is not a predictive theory, you need to ignore the hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in the primary literature.

    All I need to do is look at diseases. If the ToE were truly predictive then we would be able to successfully fight all diseases.

    And all you would have to do is to present one prediction based on random variation and/ or natural selection.

  185. Joe says something I agree with:

    Evolution does NOT have a direction.

  186. Alan Fox,

    Do nested hierarchies have a direction?

    I say they do- they have a direction of additive characteristics.

    Do you agree or disagree?

  187. Joseph @185

    Note that Tiktaalik is just one, albeit very impressive, prediction of modern evolutionary theory.

    It is NOT a prediction based on random variation and it is NOT a prediction based on natural selection.

    You have a very limited view and understanding of modern evolutionary theory.

    So what, exactly, is tiki a “prediction” of?

    If you read the page I’ve repeatedly referenced you would know that Tiktaalik is a transitional form between fish and tetrapods predicted to exist based on previously discovered fish and tetrapod fossils dated between 390-380 mya and 363 mya respectively. Since evolutionary theory maintains that change occurs incrementally, the transitional form was predicted to be found in sediments dated between those ages.

    That’s exactly where Tiktaalik was found. Further, Tiktaalik’s characteristics are transitional between fish and tetrapods. Go to the site for more details.

    The bottom line is that your claim that modern evolutionary theory does not make predictions is blatantly incorrect.

    All I need to do is look at diseases. If the ToE were truly predictive then we would be able to successfully fight all diseases.

    What a strange claim. How do you get from common descent with modification, with variation provided by mutations that are random with respect to fitness, to the idea that we should be able to fight all diseases?

    JJ

  188. Well, if you look at the paths that must link all organisms on Earth via their parents, parent’s parents, and so on, assuming evolution by common descent with modification is true, you will find these paths all connect back to the last universal common ancestor. These paths take the form of a nested hierarchy. So far, evidence from fossils, DNA comparison and such has not refuted the ToE.

    Find a Cambrian rabbit and ToE is in trouble.

  189. “Find a Cambrian rabbit and ToE is in trouble.”

    What a stupid comment. The debate is over how new information was released into life over the ages. With such a comment you are dealing with a non sequitur farcical interpretation of life and ID does not hold anything like that. ID holds that at various times in the past new genetic information was introduced into life forms by an intelligence. Some hold that it may have been only once at the origin of life itself and some hypothesize it was more than one time and instances occurred later. Who, when, why or how are not part of the ID discussion but could represent interesting side areas on their own.

    So a rabbit in the Cambrian remark is the sign of a seriously misinformed person and an indication that there is no serious answer to the ID position. If one had valid critiques, one would not resort to such remarks.

    Given ID’s position on how life probably unfolded, a nested hierarchy leading to an intelligent organism was probably part of the design.

    So Alan Fox, thank you for making the ID position by not being able to make a coherent statement on an alternative. You and the rest of the anti ID people are welcome to try to come up with a coherent position but after 3 1/2 years I have yet to see one offered. But keep trying we need your attempts to continually make the ID case easier.

  190. Alan Fox:

    Well, if you look at the paths that must link all organisms on Earth via their parents, parent’s parents, and so on, assuming evolution by common descent with modification is true, you will find these paths all connect back to the last universal common ancestor. These paths take the form of a nested hierarchy.

    That is false and demonstrates an utter lack of understanding pertaining to nested hierarchies.

    I noticed you didn’t answer my question.

    Is that because by answering it you will prove my points?

    So far, evidence from fossils, DNA comparison and such has not refuted the ToE.

    It hasn’t supported it.

    Try again:

    Do nested hierarchies have a direction?

    I say they do- they have a direction of additive characteristics.

    Do you agree or disagree?

    Answer please that way we can tell whether or not you understand nested hierarchies.

  191. jerry,

    Given ID’s position on how life probably unfolded, a nested hierarchy leading to an intelligent organism was probably part of the design.

    Part of the problem here is that there is no single “ID position” on how life unfolded. Some ID theorists accept common descent and some don’t; some accept that nested hierarchies exist and some don’t; some believe the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, while some fall into the YEC camp.

  192. madsen:

    Part of the problem here is that there is no single “ID position” on how life unfolded.

    It unfolded by design, which is in direct opposition to unfolding via genetic accidents.

    Also it isn’t that NH exists or not, rather it is that evolution would not be expected to produce such a pattern.

  193. 194

    Joseph [184], yes, evolution doesn’t have a direction. It does have products, however, and it does leave a partial history. The predictions of evolution are about how the classificaiton of those products relates to the organization of that history.

    Nobody’s saying that nothing is lost as organisms evolve. But the new functions that do emerge do so in an ordered pattern: the order in which species appear corresponds pretty well to the order of history. The ability of animals to move on land is one such characteristic. Lo and behold, the record shows that land animals came later than water-dwelling animals. We should see the characteristics of mammals (hair, live birth, milk) emerge at a certain time, and not before. Lo and behold, we do. We should see a complex forebrain emerge relatively late, and we do. We should see the complex forebrain architecture emerge still later, and we do.

    Nested hierarchy in evolution doesn’t mean that nothing is lost. It means that the things that evolution says came late due to the history suggested by the tree of life do, in fact, come late when we examine the historical record. Indeed, that is what we find. That’s the significance of the “rabbit in the Cambrian.”

  194. 195

    Joseph, I said that the mammalian brain emerged pretty late, and it’s true. But things can be lost. For example, when I examine the repetitive, emotional, almost instinct-driven style of your posts, I suspect that the actions of your typing fingers may bypass the neocortex entirely and go straight to the limbic system. :-)

  195. 196

    Correction [193]: “the order in which species should appear corresponds pretty well to the order of history.”

  196. 197

    Jerry said:

    “ID holds that at various times in the past new genetic information was introduced into life forms by an intelligence. Some hold that it may have been only once at the origin of life itself and some hypothesize it was more than one time and instances occurred later. Who, when, why or how are not part of the ID discussion but could represent interesting side areas on their own.”

    Can you suggest experiments and/or observations that could in principle refute the proposition that at various times in the past new genetic information was introduced into life forms by an intelligence? Can you do so without specifying anything about the who, when, why or how?

    I am interested in this because, for me at least, the question whether ID is science or metaphysics largely hinges on this.

  197. Alan Fox (#188),

    Find a Cambrian rabbit and ToE is in trouble.

    I’m trying to understand this statement. First, are you saying that the lack of ancestors would be a problem, or that the going from complex to simple would be a problem, or something else? What precisely is the problem that a Cambrian rabbit poses to the ToE?

    Second, I’ve heard the Cambrian rabbit quoted widely. Would a Pennsylvanian rabbit do as well? How about a Jurassic rabbit? How about Triassic shore birds? Would Precambrian plants qualify? Can you expand upon your “Precambrian rabbit” a little?

    Finally, if someone claimed to find a Cambrian rabbit, would you immediately give up the ToE? Or would you spend a great deal of time trying to prove that A. it was not a rabbit, B. It was not Precambrian, or C. The ToE can handle it very nicely after all, thank you? In other words, is your theory truly falsifiable, or did you just throw something out that you think and hope you’ll never see to keep critics of the ToE off of your back?

  198. Joseph,

    It unfolded by design, which is in direct opposition to unfolding via genetic accidents.

    And there are several different, mutually contradictory elaborations on how the designing was actually carried out: frontloading, periodic tinkering by the designer over time, the designer poofing everything into existence a few thousand years ago, etc.

    Also it isn’t that NH exists or not, rather it is that evolution would not be expected to produce such a pattern.

    Ok, I misinterpreted your statements on NH. I should have said that IDers disagree on whether common descent predicts nested hierarchies.

  199. David Kellogg:

    Joseph [184], yes, evolution doesn’t have a direction.

    Part 2- Do nested hierarchies have a direction?

    It does have products, however, and it does leave a partial history.

    OK, so what?

    The predictions of evolution are about how the classificaiton of those products relates to the organization of that history.

    Nonsense.

    Nested hierarchies require distinct categories which are not obtainable via a lineage or lineages.

    Transitional organisms blur all lines of disticntion due to their very nature.

    Again Dr Denton puts down a thorough refutation of the premise in his book “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”.

    Also the VAST majority of the fossil record, greater than 95%, is of marine inverts- which is to be expected knowing what we do about fossilization.

    In that vast majority we do NOT see a pattern of universal common descent.

    Also we now know that the alleged “tree of life” is total crap.

    That alone demolishes the premise of nested hierarchies being derived from paths to the LUCA.

    And David it is obvious that your brain emerged very late.

    I can tell by the total lack of understanding displayed to the points made. That lack of understanding is evinced by your avoidance of those points.

  200. madsen:

    I should have said that IDers disagree on whether common descent predicts nested hierarchies.

    I would love to hear the reasoning behind the premise that common descent predicts a nested hierarchy given that nested hierarchies are determined by defined characteristics which do NOT include “who’s your daddy/ mommy?”.

  201. 202

    Ladies and gentlemen, observe [199] the limbic system in action.

  202. 1- Evolution does NOT have a direction.

    We agree with that.

    2- Nested Hierarchy requires a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    Agree or disagree?

  203. #203

    2- Nested Hierarchy requires a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    Agree or disagree?

    I disagree. A nested heirarchy adds characteristics but they do not have to be specified or targeted in advance. They can emerge according to the demands of the environment at the time.

  204. ” Nested Hierarchy requires a direction- one of additive characteristics.”

    I am not sure I agree with that. The current species suite on the planet could mostly be due to devolution with some exceptions. Therefore this would lead to a nested hierarchy pointing downward with more limited gene pools at each level and less characteristics. This is what natural selection predicts and what we see out there generally agrees with it.

    We can see what happens in the artificial selection of dogs. Nothing in the dog breeds was not there before (with a few trivial exceptions), but we can say that the various breeds have distinct characteristics. Each breed represents a much more limited gene pool than the original from which they came. The suite of species in the world are not so dramatically different as dog breeds but represent the same process played out over time.

    What is at odds with the empirical evidence is that any new complex capabilities arose from these processes. We get a red fox and a white wolf and a dingo, but do we get super canine. NO!

  205. Paul Giem

    In other words, is your theory truly falsifiable…

    Yes. If fossils were (genuinely) found that did not fit with the nested hierarchy that is posited, the ToE would at the very least require modifying.

  206. faded_glory,

    If you want to know what I think, I am not shy about stating it. Here are a couple of long posts I have had about what I believe

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-296129

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-304029

    Also if you have all day there is a thread from about a month ago that has all the issues in it about what I think ID research is about.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....on-policy/

    You can search for my name and you will find about 100 matches and if you follow them you will learn what I believe and you will see the conflict that goes on here. But I don’t expect anyone to do so and at the moment I do not have the time to summarize everything.

    But just to make things short. I believe that most of life unfolded naturally but was seeded at one or more times because natural processes can not explain how complex functional information arose. You will see that many ID people will disagree with some of my ideas so it is anything like an echo chamber here.

  207. Joseph,

    I would love to hear the reasoning behind the premise that common descent predicts a nested hierarchy given that nested hierarchies are determined by defined characteristics which do NOT include “who’s your daddy/ mommy?”.

    You’ll have to take that up with Denton (the 1998 version).

  208. @ Joe

    If yopu insist on a one-word-answer,

    Disagree.

  209. 210

    Hi Paul @197

    I’m not Alan Fox, but I’d like to try and give you an answer.

    I’m trying to understand this statement. First, are you saying that the lack of ancestors would be a problem, or that the going from complex to simple would be a problem, or something else? What precisely is the problem that a Cambrian rabbit poses to the ToE?

    First of all, the original quip by Haldane referred to a Pre-Cambrian rabbit. What makes a Pre-Cambrian rabbit so problematical is that it predates not only the accepted timne period for the emergence of mammals, it also predates vertebrates and even the origin of the basic Phylum for vertebrates, the Chordata. Since evolutionary theory predicts a nested heirarchy, such a discovery, would push the origin of vertebrates far earlier than the PreCambrian, and we currently have no evidence for that in the fossil record. Since one of the important lines of evidence for evolution is the fact the fossil record generally reflects a nested hierarchy, the only way the theory could be reconciled with the data would be to conclude that almost the entire fossil record as we know it today is completely unreliable. The chances of that are pretty slim, so the theory itself would probably have to be so drastically revised as to become unrecognizable. In my opinion, a theory requiring that kind of revision should be adandoned as untenable.

    Second, I’ve heard the Cambrian rabbit quoted widely. Would a Pennsylvanian rabbit do as well? How about a Jurassic rabbit? How about Triassic shore birds? Would Precambrian plants qualify? Can you expand upon your “Precambrian rabbit” a little?

    From my previous discussin, it should be obvious that the later the rabbit is found, the less problems with the fossil record reflecting an overall nested hierarchy there are. For example, finding a Jurassic rabbit would postdate the emergence of Chordates and Vertebrates, which throws only a smaller part of the fossil record in doubt, and could well be an issue not with the theory of evolution in general, but in the history of a particular group.

    Finally, if someone claimed to find a Cambrian rabbit, would you immediately give up the ToE? Or would you spend a great deal of time trying to prove that A. it was not a rabbit, B. It was not Precambrian, or C. The ToE can handle it very nicely after all, thank you? In other words, is your theory truly falsifiable, or did you just throw something out that you think and hope you’ll never see to keep critics of the ToE off of your back?

    Paul, if the theory is valid, and the lines of evidence we currently use to support it are reliable, we should NEVER see a PreCambrian rabbit, so it is a valid criterion for falsification. There can be, indeed should be, many others. The reason the Precambrian rabbit is used so often is because it is such a good example to counter the silly assertion that the theory of evolution is unfalsifiable in principle. Haldane’s quip makes short work of that.

  210. 211

    Joseph,

    I disagree.

    David

  211. Paul Giem said:

    In other words, is your theory truly falsifiable…

    Alan Fox said:

    Yes. If fossils were (genuinely) found that did not fit with the nested hierarchy that is posited, the ToE would at the very least require modifying.

    Modification of a theory does not count as falsification. Falsification is at least throwing it back to hypothesis status where it can from that point on be retested against other hypothesis such as the PEH (prescribed evolutionary hypothesis).

  212. Thank you alan and david.

    You have just demonstrated that you do not understand nested hierarchy.

  213. 2- Nested Hierarchy requires a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    Agree or disagree?

    I disagree. A nested heirarchy adds characteristics but they do not have to be specified or targeted in advance.

    I never said they had to be specified in advance.

    All I said was that NH requires additive characteristics. Period- end of story.

    You disagree with what I said and then confirmed what I said.

    Strange.

  214. I would love to hear the reasoning behind the premise that common descent predicts a nested hierarchy given that nested hierarchies are determined by defined characteristics which do NOT include “who’s your daddy/ mommy?”.

    You’ll have to take that up with Denton (the 1998 version).-madsen

    So your response is not to respond?

  215. ” Nested Hierarchy requires a direction- one of additive characteristics.”

    I am not sure I agree with that. The current species suite on the planet could mostly be due to devolution with some exceptions.

    It could be but the current nested hierarchy is NOT based on descent. It is based on characteristics.

    For example in the nested hierarchy of living organisms we have the animal kingdom.

    To be placed in the animal kingdom an organism must have all of the criteria of an animal.

    For example:

    All members of the Animalia are multicellular (eukaryotes), and all are heterotrophs (that is, they rely directly or indirectly on other organisms for their nourishment). Most ingest food and digest it in an internal cavity.

    Animal cells lack the rigid cell walls that characterize plant cells. The bodies of most animals (all except sponges) are made up of cells organized into tissues, each tissue specialized to some degree to perform specific functions.

    The next level (after kingdom) is the phyla. Phyla have all the characteristics of the kingdom PLUS other criteria.

    For example one phylum under the Kingdom Animalia, is Chordata.

    Chordates have all the characteristics of the Kingdom PLUS the following:

    Chordates are defined as organisms that possess a structure called a notochord, at least during some part of their development. The notochord is a rod that extends most of the length of the body when it is fully developed. Lying dorsal to the gut but ventral to the central nervous system, it stiffens the body and acts as support during locomotion. Other characteristics shared by chordates include the following (from Hickman and Roberts, 1994):

    bilateral symmetry
    segmented body, including segmented muscles
    three germ layers and a well-developed coelom.
    single, dorsal, hollow nerve cord, usually with an enlarged anterior end (brain)
    tail projecting beyond (posterior to) the anus at some stage of development
    pharyngeal pouches present at some stage of development
    ventral heart, with dorsal and ventral blood vessels and a closed blood system
    complete digestive system
    bony or cartilaginous endoskeleton usually present.

    The next level is the class. All classes have the criteria of the kingdom, plus all the criteria of its phylum PLUS the criteria of its class.

    This is important because it shows there is a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    The point being is if you don’t have additive characteristics you don’t get a nested hierarchy.

    If defining characteristics can be lost then you have lost containment and nested hierarchy falls apart.

  216. Alan Fox:

    If fossils were (genuinely) found that did not fit with the nested hierarchy that is posited, the ToE would at the very least require modifying.

    Umm transitional fossils would fit that bill just by their very nature.

    If land animals evolved from fish then would there be a mix of characteristics found in some fossils in that lineage?

    Unless said evolution happened in one step we would expect transitional forms to be found.

    And if a rabbit is found in the Cambrian, if it had the same characteristics as today’s rabbits, it would be placed in the same set structure as today’s rabbits.

  217. Joseph,

    So your response is not to respond?

    I’ve already shown that IDers are not agreed on whether common descent implies nested hierarchies, which was my original point.

  218. summary of principles for hierarchy theory:

    nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels.

    The only way that can happen is via additive characteristics.

    Because once you start taking away defining characteristics the containment is lost.

  219. madsen:

    I’ve already shown that IDers are not agreed on whether common descent implies nested hierarchies, which was my original point.

    You did?

    Which IDists think that common descent implies NH?

    In “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” Denton refutes the premise.

    He has a whole chapter dedicated to doing just that.

    So please name the IDist and the reasoning.

    Thanks.

  220. Umm, moderators? Comment 204 is highly inappropriate. There are children around and they shouldn’t be exposed to such profanity.

  221. Another challenge to those who disagree with the premise that nested hierarchies require additive characteristics:

    Produce a nested hierarchy that doesn’t require additive characteristics.

    Good luck…

  222. Re #214

    “I never said they had to be specified in advance.

    All I said was that NH requires additive characteristics.” Period- end of story.

    Read what you wrote. You said that NH has a direction. That implies somewhere it is being directed towards as opposed to a reaction to events which could go anyway depending on circumstances.
    Strange.

  223. 2- Nested Hierarchy requires a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    That is what I wrote.

    Additive characteristics is a direction qualifier.

    And this is because:

    “nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels.”

    That implies somewhere it is being directed towards as opposed to a reaction to events which could go anyway depending on circumstances.

    What?

    Nested hierarhies are a REPRESENTATION of what is observed.

    It is directed by defintions which lock each level and set into a unique position.

    Then you can take an organism and using those definitions, place it into the correct category.

    The animal kingdom has a set of characteristics. the phylum chordata includes all the definitions included in the animal kingdom PLUS other criteria.

    IOW to go from kingdom to phyla is an addition of characteristics that further refine the specification.

  224. Joseph,

    Denton in Nature’s Destiny:

    In fact, the differences between the DNA of man and chimp can be accounted for by simple well-known mutational processes which are occurring all the time in nature at present. In the case of primate DNA, for example, all the sequences in the hemoglobin gene cluster in man, chimp, gorilla, gibbon, etc., can be interconverted via single base change steps to form a perfect evolutionary tree relating the higher primates together in a system that looks as natural as could be imagined. There is not the slightest indication of any discontinuity.

    Here he’s talking about recovering an evolutionary tree for higher primates by using genetic data to determine relatedness. I take it that this means, for example, that by comparing these gene clusters, we can determine that humans and chimps are more closely related to each other than either are to gorillas.

    I’m not a biologist, but how would this method make sense if common descent didn’t lead to nested hierarchies? If that were true, then it seems to me that the observed nested hierarchy patterns in the gene clusters would not imply anything about evolutionary history.

  225. madsen,

    Umm in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” Denton makes it clear that the alleged tree does not form a nested hierarchy.

    Ya see with a tree every point on the trunk, every branch and stem, is a transitional species.

    Whenever classification schemes are drawn up for phenomena which fall into a continuous or obviously sequential pattern—such as climatic zones from the artic to the tropics, subspecies in a circumpolar overlap, the properties of atoms in the periodic table, series of fossil horses, or wind strengths from breeze to hurricane—class boundaries are bound to be relatively arbitrary and indistinct. Most of the classes defined in such schemes are inevitably partially inclusive of other classes, or, in other words, fundamentally intermediate in character with respect to adjacent classes in the scheme. Consequently, when such schemes are depicted in terms of Venn diagrams, most of the classes overlap and the schemes overall have a disorderly appearance.

    A quite different type of classification system is termed hierarchic. In which there are no overlapping or partially inclusive classes, but only classes inclusive or exclusive of other classes. Such schemes exhibit, therefore, an orderly “groups within groups” arrangement in which class boundaries are distinct and the divisions in the system increase in a systematic manner as the hierarchy is ascended. The absence of any overlapping classes implies the absence of any sort of natural sequential relationships among the objects grouped by such a scheme.

    “While hierarchic schemes correspond beautifully with the typological model of nature, the relationship between evolution and hierarchical systems is curiously ambiguous. Ever since 1859 it has been traditional for evolutionary biologists to claim that the hierarchic pattern of nature provides support for the idea of organics evolution. Yet, direct evidence for evolution only resides in the existence of unambiguous sequential arrangements, and these are never present in ordered hierarchic schemes.”

    “Of course evolutionary biologists do not look for the direct evidence in the hierarchy itself but rather argue, as Darwin did, that the hierarchic pattern is readily explained in terms of an evolutionary tree.”

    Only if diagnostic character traits remain essentially immutable in all members of the group they define is it possible to conceive of a hierarchic pattern emerging as the result of an evolutionary process.

  226. 227

    I think Denton’s views have developed since Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. He seems to accept many evolutionary ideas in his recent work, including common descent. If there’s a conflict between Nature’s Destiny (1998) and Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), the more recent work is likely to represent current Denton.

  227. David Kellogg:

    I think Denton’s views have developed since Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

    Could be but he hasn’t said anything that would contradict what he said about nested hierarchies and evolution.

    He seems to accept many evolutionary ideas in his recent work, including common descent.

    He didn’t deny common descent in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”.

    Did you read the book?

    If there’s a conflict between Nature’s Destiny (1998) and Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), the more recent work is likely to represent current Denton.

    I agree. However there isn’t any conflict between his past ideas on nested hierarchy and evolution and his current PoV.

    At least there isn’t any such conflict found in his writings.

  228. And david:

    Another challenge to those who disagree with the premise that nested hierarchies require additive characteristics:

    Produce a nested hierarchy that doesn’t require additive characteristics.

    (cue “Final Jeopardy” music…)

  229. Joseph,

    Umm in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” Denton makes it clear that the alleged tree does not form a nested hierarchy.

    It’s well known that Denton changed his views between 1986 and 1998. Regardless of what he said in A Theory in Crisis, twelve years later he wrote that hemoglobin gene clusters can be used to determine primate phylogeny. In other words, the pattern of nested hierarchies in these gene clusters reflects the “perfect evolutionary tree” for primates.

  230. madsen:

    It’s well known that Denton changed his views between 1986 and 1998.

    Which views? Please be specific.

    Regardless of what he said in A Theory in Crisis, twelve years later he wrote that hemoglobin gene clusters can be used to determine primate phylogeny.

    He wrote:

    In the case of primate DNA, for example, all the sequences in the hemoglobin gene cluster in man, chimp, gorilla, gibbon, etc., can be interconverted via single base change steps to form a perfect evolutionary tree relating the higher primates together in a system that looks as natural as could be imagined. There is not the slightest indication of any discontinuity.

    And an evolutionary tree should NOT be conflated with a nested hierarchy.

    Ya see the problem is that Denton laid down a thorough refutation of the premise in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”.

    Now what he would have to do in order for your argument to have any merit is to come right out and disown everything he said along with an explanation.

    Short of that your inferences as to what he is saying is meaningless.

    The purpose of “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” was to expose the accepted evidence for universal common descent to be nonsense at best.

    Then twelve years later he came out with a more developed PoV. That does not mean he did a 180.

    In the book “Uncommon Dissent” he has an essay- 2004.

    Do you want to know what he says?

    “Yet by the late 1980s it was becoming obvious to most genetic researchers, including myself, since my own main research interest in the ‘80s and ‘90s was human genetics, that the heroic effort to find the information specifying life’s order in the genes had failed. There was no longer the slightest justification for believing that there exists anything in the genome remotely resembling a program capable of specifying in detail all the complex order of the phenotype. The emerging picture made it increasingly difficult to see genes in Weismann’s “unambiguous bearers of information” or to view them as the sole source of the durability and stability of organic form. It is true that genes influence every aspect of development, but influencing something is not the same as determining it. Only a very small fraction of all known genes, such as developmental fate switching genes, can be imputed to have any sort of directing or controlling influence on form generation. From being “isolated directors” of a one-way game of life, genes are now considered to be interactive players in a dynamic two-way dance of almost unfathomable complexity, as described by Keller in The Century of The Gene.”
    Michael John Denton page 172 of Uncommon Dissent

    If you want I can post more.

  231. Joseph,

    Which views? Please be specific.

    Compare these two statements, taken from this page:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/camp.html

    The first is from 1986, the second is what I quoted above from 1998:

    “Each class at a molecular level is unique, isolated and unlinked by intermediates. Thus, molecules, like fossils, have failed to provide the elusive intermediates so long sought by evolutionary theory.” (Denton 1986, p. 290)

    “In the case of primate DNA, for example, all the sequences in the hemoglobin gene cluster in man, chimp, gorilla, gibbon, etc., can be interconverted via single base change steps to form a perfect evolutionary tree relating the higher primates together in a system that looks as natural as could be imagined. There is not the slightest indication of any discontinuity.” (Denton 1998, p. 277)

    And an evolutionary tree should NOT be conflated with a nested hierarchy.

    An evolutionary tree is an explicit example of a nested hierarchy. Part of the evolutionary tree Denton refers to in that passage from Nature’s Destiny can be represented as:

    (gorilla+(human+(bonobo+chimp)))

    which makes the nesting more clear.

    Now what he would have to do in order for your argument to have any merit is to come right out and disown everything he said along with an explanation.

    But he’s already done that by publishing his updated views in book form. There’s no need for me to go back and argue against A Theory in Crisis.

    Now regarding your quote from the 2004 essay, it’s interesting, but I don’t see the relevance to this topic.

  232. 233

    The quote from the 2004 essay reads to me like a simplistic cartoon version of Richard Lewontin. Lewontin (whose scientific achievements dwarf those of Denton) is of course a well-known supporter of evolution and one of the leading evolutionary geneticists in the world.

  233. Alan Fox (#206) and Dave Wisker (210),

    The theory of evolution is supposed to be falsifiable according to both of you.

    What do you do with plants in the Precambrian? (look about halfway down the article, in the paragraph starting “In the mid- 1940′s”)

  234. madsen:

    An evolutionary tree is an explicit example of a nested hierarchy.

    That is false for thne reason provided- every point along the trunk and branches of a tree (BTW the alleged tree of life has been torn down) represents a transitional organism with a mix of characteristics.

    That you refuse to understand that basic fact says quite a bit about your agenda.

    And it also tells me you don’t understand nested hierarchy.

    That is not my problem.

    Ya see if intermediates are found they would VIOLOATE the distinct categories already laid down for the current nested hierarchy.

    That is what the quotes you posted tell me.

    Denton’s 2004 essay is titled:

    An Anti-Darwinian Intellectual Journey- Biological Order as an Inherent Property of Matter

    In this essay he describes his journey from a Christian upbringing, through med school, through the his writing of “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”, through the writing of “Nature’s Destiny” and then through to 2004.

    The ONLY chage in his PoV from “Evolution” to “Nature” is cleasrly stated in this essay:

    Contemplating the evidence presented by Henderson in this great classic (Fitness of the Environment) led me to write <Nature’s Destiny and to begin to change my basic philosophy of nature from the “superwatch” adaptational model to a more naturalistic and “lawful” conception of the organic world.

    That is it. He NEVER says that what he wrote in “Evolution” is wrong.

    All he says was that he had a change in philosophy.

    And what he meant by the quote was that the DNA sequence is not relevant as it does NOT determine the final product.

    Therefor any alleged relationships

  235. David Kellogg:

    The quote from the 2004 essay reads to me like a simplistic cartoon version of Richard Lewontin.

    Coming from an English teacher that means what, exactly?

    Lewontin (whose scientific achievements dwarf those of Denton) is of course a well-known supporter of evolution and one of the leading evolutionary geneticists in the world.

    So what? Can he refute what Denton said? No. Can he demonstrate that genetic accidents can acumulate in such a way as to give rise to the diversity of life starting from some unknown population(s) of single-celled organisms? No.

    So what is your point David?

  236. And David:

    Another challenge to those who disagree with the premise that nested hierarchies require additive characteristics:

    Produce a nested hierarchy that doesn’t require additive characteristics.

    (cue “Final Jeopardy” music…)

    Thank you for continuing to prove that you can’t support your nonsensical claims.

  237. madsen-

    Now what he would have to do in order for your argument to have any merit is to come right out and disown everything he said along with an explanation.

    But he’s already done that by publishing his updated views in book form.

    There isn’t anything in that updated book which overturns what he said in “Evolution”- only your mistaken inferences.

    Deal with it.

  238. madsen,

    In the essay which explains his intellectual journey he talks about both books. “Evolution” was just a book of criticisms- only two chapters 13 & 14 argue that “complex adaptations are beyond the reach of chance”.

    “Nature’s Destiny” according to Denton, “was intended to be a comprehensive and scholarly update and extension of Fitness. I also wanted to spoeculate on the possibility that the course of evolution may have been direceted in some way.”

    Again nothing in this essay states that what he wrote in “Evolution” is incorrect and replaced by what he now wrote with the exception of the “superwatch” model- a slight change in philosophy which is provided above.

  239. And more nail in your littel coffin:

    During the course of this journey I wrote two books: Evolution: A Theory in Crisis and Nature’s Destiny. Evolution was written while I still adhered to the superwatch model of nature. Despite this, I still believe it represents one of the most convincing critiques of the assumption that the organic world is the continuum that classical Darwinism demands. (bold added)

    Sorry, you lose…

  240. Joseph,

    That is false for thne reason provided- every point along the trunk and branches of a tree (BTW the alleged tree of life has been torn down) represents a transitional organism with a mix of characteristics.

    While it is true that the characteristics of the organism change as you move along a stem, that does not violate the definition of a nested hierarchy. In fact I just noticed on your blog that you gave this definition:

    A nested hierarchy is nothing more than a well defined(super) set which contains and consists of other specified (sub)sets.

    Imagine we have an evolutionary tree drawn with the root pointing upwards and the tips of the branches on the bottom. This drawing, thought of as a set of points, is our universal set. Now pick any point on the diagram and take that point and all points “below” it (this subset represents a particular organism with all its descendants). The set of all such subsets of the original tree nest in the obvious way.

  241. madsen:

    While it is true that the characteristics of the organism change as you move along a stem, that does not violate the definition of a nested hierarchy.

    The point is if you have a mix of characteristics, which is what is to be expected moving aling a branch or stem, then THAT violates the nested hierarchy.

    Ya see nested hierarchies REQUIRE distinct categories. And distinct categories are not to be found amongst the transitional forms.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

    And why is it that you refuse to understand that Denton did NOT change his mind about the critiques he made in “Evolution”?

  242. And BTW the alleged tree you speak of no longer exists.

    That you refuse to understand that really exposes your agenda.

  243. And BTW, “evolution” does NOT have a direction.

    That means we shouldn’t even expect to see a tree nor a tree-like pattern.

    Perhaps an asterisk would better desribe the pattern that we may see from evolutionary processes.

    It would asterisks all around connecting more asterisks.

  244. Are we arguing over whether the changes took place in small steps or larger steps. The Darwinian process states that there are small gradual changes along the way from one species to another (adaptation model.) The Gouldian model (exaptation model) and the front loading model of evolution argue that there will not be gradual changes but large changes along the way. Both of these models say there can be small changes over time due to micro evolution but the changes will be trivial. Sort of a downward process of change mixed in with a major upward thrust as species lose information through selection and drift processes after a saltation like event occurs with the origin of new functional information. Other ID models suggest that there will also be periods of rapid change as gene pools are seeded by an intelligence at some point in time but then there will be the inevitable downward thrust of loss of information as species isolate and the environment forces a loss in information. But these downward progression of loss of information may lead to some very interesting morphological characteristics.

    All posit different views as to what changes will look like over time. Darwin’s continued upward slow progression does not seem to fit the evidence either in the fossil record or in the current world. There does not seem to be any examples of small adaptive change leading to anything that is novel, complex and functional. Which is why there is a crisis with parts of the Darwinian paradigm and the constant search in recent years for others processes that aren’t gradual.

    All these models lead to different interpretations of what to expect in the fossil record and the current record. For example, what types of characteristics will be found at the different points. There are different types of characteristics that could appear. Those that are within the gene pool and those which are not. For example, the first is best exemplified by dog breeding and the various shapes, color combinations, sizes, behavioral tendencies that can be developed by breeding. All these characteristics are not in the current morphology of the wild species but are actually within the gene pool of the wild species. Such examples can come out over time and represent trivial change as far as the evolutionary debate is concerned.

    What the debate is about is the origin of unique characteristics not found in the gene pool and which arise over time. What is the cause of these characteristics. For example, bat echolocation. Is it the result of small changes over time in the adaptation of the bat variants that led to this as Darwinian theory demands, or is it the sudden exaptation of a non coding section of the genome as the Gouldian’s hypothesize, or is it the part of the original genome from the origin of life as various ID front loading people propose, or is it a result of some form of seeding by an intelligent agent after life began. So when we talk of characteristics we have to separate out just what is meant and which model fits the empirical data best.

    Also do not bring up something like Tiktaalik. It fits all the models and if anything falsifies the Darwinian one since it is another example of an isolated fossil and not part of a steady progression. There may be more findings of similar fossils in the future which may be more supportive of the Darwinian process but at present it is not an example of Darwinian evolution.

    As part of this, readers might want to look at John Davison’s essay entitled “The Blind Alley” which is linked to under his works on this site. John’s thesis is that evolution has stopped. If true, why”

  245. Joseph,

    The point is if you have a mix of characteristics, which is what is to be expected moving aling a branch or stem, then THAT violates the nested hierarchy.

    Ya see nested hierarchies REQUIRE distinct categories. And distinct categories are not to be found amongst the transitional forms.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

    That requirement does not appear in the definition on your blog, however. You phrased it in terms of abstract sets. You even gave the example of Russian dolls as an instance of a nested hierarcy, without discussing any of the dolls’ characteristics. The example I gave, organizing the tree into a hierarchy of clades, satisifies your definition. It’s organized by relatedness, not by characteristics.

    The whole point is that Denton accepts that the nested hierarchy of characteristics of certain gene clusters determines a parallel nested hierarchy of relatedness in primates. I understand that this is not always a precise correspondence, but Denton agrees that it is good enough in this case.

    The Denton quote you gave from 2004 is interesting, and would seem to undermine the contention that he revised his views between 1986 and 1998. OTOH, I’m still not sure how you can square the actual quotes I cited. For now at least, I’ll withdraw my claim that he changed his mind.

    Regarding the tree itself, I’m aware that it’s somewhat weblike, at least near the base. Nevertheless, apparently Denton believes (or believed in 1998) that the tree model is reasonably accurate, at least in this section containing primates.

  246. The point is if you have a mix of characteristics, which is what is to be expected moving aling a branch or stem, then THAT violates the nested hierarchy.

    Ya see nested hierarchies REQUIRE distinct categories. And distinct categories are not to be found amongst the transitional forms.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

    That requirement does not appear in the definition on your blog, however.

    Quote-mining isn’t a good way to defend your position.
    Especially when dealing with the person you are quote-mining.

    Ya see that definition you mined was set up by long list of discussions.

    Perhaps you should stick to the AUTHORITY I linked to if you are going to use a definition of NH.

    The whole point is that Denton accepts that the nested hierarchy of characteristics of certain gene clusters determines a parallel nested hierarchy of relatedness in primates.

    That is NOT evinced by the quote you provided.

    He said NOTHING about nested hierarchy. Not in that quote anyway.

    I will have to get the book, but it is obvious he does NOT accept that the MET predicted it nor did the accepted processes give rise to it.

    The Denton quote you gave from 2004 is interesting, and would seem to undermine the contention that he revised his views between 1986 and 1998.

    He said he revised his views. It just was not how you were expecting.

    OTOH, I’m still not sure how you can square the actual quotes I cited.

    The quote said something about a tree.

    You are the one who thinks a tree equals a nested hierarchy. Denton had made it clear it does not and should not.

    For now at least, I’ll withdraw my claim that he changed his mind.

    He did change his mind.

    “Nature’s Destiny” is a departure from his views of a mechanistic- superwatch model.

    He accepts a view of front loading.

    Regarding the tree itself, I’m aware that it’s somewhat weblike, at least near the base.

    It is pretty much dispensed with.

    Nevertheless, apparently Denton believes (or believed in 1998) that the tree model is reasonably accurate, at least in this section containing primates.

    And you are still confusing a tree with a nested hierarchy.

    It is not. Denton had made his views clear on that and nothing you have posted has demonstrated his position on that has changed.

    OTOH I have provided a DIRECT QUOTE from 2004 saying his critique of the MET in “Evolution” is convincing.

    IOW he isn’t backing off on his stance on nested hierarchy at all.

    “While hierarchic schemes correspond beautifully with the typological model of nature, the relationship between evolution and hierarchical systems is curiously ambiguous. Ever since 1859 it has been traditional for evolutionary biologists to claim that the hierarchic pattern of nature provides support for the idea of organics evolution. Yet, direct evidence for evolution only resides in the existence of unambiguous sequential arrangements, and these are never present in ordered hierarchic schemes.”- Denton page 131 of “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”

    Now what?

  247. It is NOT a prediction based on random variation and it is NOT a prediction based on natural selection.

    You have a very limited view and understanding of modern evolutionary theory.

    Could be. After all I learned about it by taking college biology courses- zoology and marine biology- and by reading many, many scientific articles, publications and books written by the top evolutionary biologists.

    IOW I will bet I know more about biology and evolutionary theory than you do.

    So what, exactly, is tiki a “prediction” of?

    If you read the page I’ve repeatedly referenced you would know that Tiktaalik is a transitional form between fish and tetrapods predicted to exist based on previously discovered fish and tetrapod fossils dated between 390-380 mya and 363 mya respectively. Since evolutionary theory maintains that change occurs incrementally, the transitional form was predicted to be found in sediments dated between those ages.

    Umm I read the pages and the original article when it came out.

    1- It is NOT a prediction of natural selection

    2- It is NOT a prediction of random variation

    3- It is- which you just confirmed- exactly what I have already stated- a prediction based on common descent given that land animals evolved from fish.

    IOW it is NOT a prediction based on any mechanism which means it is a BS “prediction”.

    As I said the Bible says that the universe had a beginning.

    Science agrees.

    The geocentric position also made correct predictions.

    That’s exactly where Tiktaalik was found. Further, Tiktaalik’s characteristics are transitional between fish and tetrapods. Go to the site for more details.

    It is a fish with characteristics that are different from other fish.

    There isn’t any genetic evidence that would demonstrate that a fish fin without bones can evolve a fin with bones.

    That is hurdle number one- lack of genetic evidence that demonstrates such a transition is even possible.

    Ya see when you start going from water to land it takes quite a bit of change.

    If that requires new genes, well new genes require new binding sites. And that has been demonstrated to be beyond the edge of evolution.

    The bottom line is that your claim that modern evolutionary theory does not make predictions is blatantly incorrect.

    If you cannot provide a prediction based on the proposed mechanisms then you haven’t provided a prediction for the theory.

    You have a very limited understanding of science…

  248. Joseph @248

    It is NOT a prediction based on random variation and it is NOT a prediction based on natural selection.

    And yet, it is still a prediction based on modern evolutionary theory. Your claim that MET doesn’t make predictions is refuted.

    The rest of your post is the tired old creationist canard of “It’s still a fish.” Although some will make the claim “It’s still a tetrapod.” Homilies about leading horses to water come to mind.

    And you still haven’t addressed the hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers that cover the results of testing the predictions of MET.

    The bottom line is that you claimed that MET doesn’t make predictions. Tiktaalik proves you wrong. The primary literature proves you wrong. You can have the intellectual integrity to admit that . . . or not. What’s your choice?

    JJ

  249. 250

    Joseph, with regard to this:

    3- It is- which you just confirmed- exactly what I have already stated- a prediction based on common descent given that land animals evolved from fish

    Does this suggest you’re cool with common descent now? It fulfills a prediction of common descent.

  250. Joseph,

    The point is if you have a mix of characteristics, which is what is to be expected moving aling a branch or stem, then THAT violates the nested hierarchy.

    I’ve already said that the nested hierarchy I mentioned (the set of clades in a tree) is not defined in terms of characteristics, but by relatedness. It’s trivial to see that it satisfies the definition you gave, just as the Russian doll does. I don’t get the claim of quote mining; while I don’t think your definition is very precise, I’m not claiming it’s wrong.

    Let’s try this: If you don’t believe he accepts that common descent leads to nested hierarchies, tell me how he reasoned that by looking at gene clusters, one can deduce that the relationship:

    (gorilla+(human+(chimp+bonobo)))

    is valid. In particular, why does he think that chimps and humans are more closely related to each other than either is related to gorillas?

  251. “Does this suggest you’re cool with common descent now? It fulfills a prediction of common descent.”

    Some random facts

    Common descent says nothing about mechanism.

    Most of the evidence to support common descent is common ancestry.

    Most if not all ID is completely consistent with common ancestry for much of life.

    There could have been more than one origin of life according to some evolutionary biologists so where does common descent come from if this is true.

    Front loading predicts common descent.

    If an intelligence alters an organism so that its offspring are different genetically somewhat is that common descent? For example, gmo’s.

    What about an Indian who separates out the various grains of a plant and then scatters only a certain portion of those grains, and then repeats the process. Is that common descent? Is dog breeding common descent?

    Probably the only reason we discuss common descent is that Darwin made a big thing about it and it seems to be essential to the anti ID ideology. Adaptive gradualism is gone as a significant factor in evolution, natural selection is gone as a significant factor in evolution, there is no hard proof that common descent actually happened through naturalistic means so what does the old boy have left that is relevant.

    The answer: A lot of die hards who will never quit because if they do their whole world view will fall apart. Witness the inanity we get on this site from the anti ID people. The constant search for a gotcha mostly on meaningless stuff, sniping from afar on trivia, distracting when the discussion is going the wrong way, etc. You would think they would be embarrassed but that does not seem to be an evolutionary trait they inherited.

  252. “I’ve already said that the nested hierarchy I mentioned (the set of clades in a tree) is not defined in terms of characteristics, but by relatedness.”

    Does this mean that the Sopranos are an example of a nested hierarchy? The Irish? Jews? Japanese?

    Suppose you take a family of mammals and you can prove all are descendant from a common gene pool by micro evolution, is that a nested hierarchy? Remember if they are descended by micro evolution this is no different than what artificial selection might provide. So that leads to the question: Are dog breeds a nested hierarchy?

  253. jerry,

    I suppose you can construct a nested hierarchy starting with any set, but I think using clades wouldn’t make sense if you are working below the species level. If two distantly related dogs produced an offspring, then the “clade” determined by this puppy wouldn’t nest properly.

  254. 255

    Hi Paul:

    Alan Fox (#206) and Dave Wisker (210),

    The theory of evolution is supposed to be falsifiable according to both of you.

    What do you do with plants in the Precambrian? (look about halfway down the article, in the paragraph starting “In the mid- 1940’s”)

    Well, first of all, I’d check to see what the current thinking of the age of the Salt Range rocks are. I think you’ll find the consensus is they are late Cambrian, not PreCambrian. Then I’d consider the fossils themselves. As Stewart and Rothwell write:

    Thick-walled spores showing trilete markings and other ornamentations have been reported from the Cambrian rocks of India (Ghosh & Bose, 1949-50) and Russia (Naumova, 1949). The initial interpretation suggested that these were meiospores of primitive vascular plants. If proven, this would place their oldest known remains in the lower Cambrian, much earlier in geologic time than one might expect. As is often the case with finds of this kind, a healthy skepticism developed.

    There is always the possibility of contamination, and we must remember that primitive vascular plants are not the only plants that form thick-walled meiospores with trilete markings. After a detailed study of meiospore types produced by bryophytes, Knox (1939) concluded, “Except where fossil spores are found in organic union with recognizable parent material, however, there can be no certainty as to their relationships”. This conclusion applies equally to vascular plants.

    (Stewart WN & GW Rothwell (1993). Paleobotany and the Evolution of Plants 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, p. 84-85)

    As for the contamination issue, it was found that Sahni’s discoveries were most likely contamination, because drill cores (which do not show contamination) in the same area only revealed plant fossils consistent with Cambrian rocks throughout India and the world. As Bose wrote in 1956:

    Spores and other plant remains in drill cores of the Punjab saline series from the Dhariala well no. 1 in the Salt Range, west Pakistan, resemble those recorded
    from rocks of undisputed Cambrian age elsewhere in India and in the world. The age
    of the saline series is therefore Cambrian, rather than Tertiary as advocated by
    some

    Bose A (1956). Microflora and age of Punjab Saline Series from Dhariala Well No. 1, Salt Range, West Pakistan. Proc. Nat. Inst. Sci. India 22 : 77-82

  255. “If two distantly related dogs produced an offspring, then the “clade” determined by this puppy wouldn’t nest properly.”

    A couple things:

    We have something that could be a proper and an improper nested hierarchy.

    Second, A chihuahua and a wolf can mate. Because there wouldn’t be a proper nest, would this puppy be “unwanted puppy?”

  256. 234

    Paul Giem

    04/09/2009

    2:05 am

    Alan Fox (#206) and Dave Wisker (210),

    The theory of evolution is supposed to be falsifiable according to both of you.

    What do you do with plants in the Precambrian? (look about halfway down the article, in the paragraph starting “In the mid- 1940’s”)

    My first instinct would be to check the primary literature. The following:

    In 1969 they again published a paper on the spores of vascular plants obtained from nine samples of Cambrain rocks of North America, further reiterating the existence of vascular plants in the Cambrian.

    suggests a paper exists. If it demonstrates that land plants were around in the Cambrian, I am surprised it is not a hot topic. I am further surprised that no follow up work has been done to attempt to repeat Gosh’s work.

    Do you have a link to the primary source to help ally the growing suspicion that you have thrown me a red herring?

  257. ally = allay

    Must remember to use ctrl + (+)

  258. 259

    Paul (@234),

    Another thing to consider is that the origin of vascular plants (not the origin of land plants– that is believed to be the bryophytes– had not been solidly established when Gosh and Bose did their work. At that time the earliest fossils had been found in the Silurian, at least in large numbers. It was also believed that the environment most conducive for vascular plants (well-established soil, for instance) was in the Silurian as well. But I recall reading a paper discussing evidence suggesting that the right kind of soil may have existed long before that, possibly even in the Cambrian. So, the appearance of vascular plants in the Cambrian is not necessarily problematic. However, having them showing up in the PreCambrian, where there is no evidence at all for the right kind of environment, and no fossils of bryophytes, would be problematic. As of today, the consensus is still for a Silurian appearance of vascular plants. Does that help?

  259. 3- It is- which you just confirmed- exactly what I have already stated- a prediction based on common descent given that land animals evolved from fish

    Does this suggest you’re cool with common descent now?

    Yes, in a limited sense.

    Ya see there still isn’t any evidence that the changes required for universal common descent are even possible via the proposed mechanisms.

    There isn’t any way to test the premise.

    It fulfills a prediction of common descent.

    It also fulfills the prediction of variations within a kind.

    IOW it is NOT an exclusive prediction for UCD.

  260. The point is if you have a mix of characteristics, which is what is to be expected moving aling a branch or stem, then THAT violates the nested hierarchy.

    I’ve already said that the nested hierarchy I mentioned (the set of clades in a tree) is not defined in terms of characteristics, but by relatedness.- madsen

    LoL!!!! Nest5ed hierarchies are built by characteristics not relatedness.

    There is no way to tell the relationship without already asuming it.

    Let’s try this: If you don’t believe he accepts that common descent leads to nested hierarchies, tell me how he reasoned that by looking at gene clusters, one can deduce that the relationship:

    Relationships do NOT lead to nested hierarchies.

    They can lead to a lineage/ sequence.

    That you can’t understand that just further exposes your agenda.

    In particular, why does he think that chimps and humans are more closely related to each other than either is related to gorillas?

    One thing is for sure- it has NOTHING to do with nested hierarchies.

    According to Denton his critique of the MET laid down in “Evolution” is still solid- ie not refuted.

    In “Evolution” he provides a thorough refutation of the claim that the MET predicts/ expects a nested hierarchy.

    That you have refued to understand that demonstrates you have a serious issue and need help.

    1- Nested Hierarchies require distinct categories.

    2- Given the exitence of transitional forms those distinct categories break down.

    What part of that don’t you understand?

  261. David Kellogg and Alan Fox,

    Why is it that neither one of you can support your claim by providing an example of a nested hierarchy tat does not require additive characteristics?

    Are we to infer that you are both intellectual cowards because you make claims without ever supporting them?

    At least now you should understand the moderation policy here.

  262. At least now you should understand the moderation policy here.

    The current policy? Whilst imperfect, I would allow that it is an improvement on previous policies.

  263. Here is one of several threads on your own blog where you have a dialogue of the deaf with various commenters. I doubt I can do any better, Joe. I notice you closed comments on that thread.

  264. Here are some threads on another blog where nested hierarchies are discussed.

  265. jerry

    A couple things:

    We have something that could be a proper and an improper nested hierarchy.

    Second, A chihuahua and a wolf can mate. Because there wouldn’t be a proper nest, would this puppy be “unwanted puppy?”

    Unwanted by whom? All I’m saying is that if the evolutionary “tree” has a cycle in it, then the particular nested hierarchy I described doesn’t work.

  266. Joseph,

    LoL!!!! Nest5ed hierarchies are built by characteristics not relatedness.

    And after you construct a nested hierarchy of characteristics, such as properties of gene clusters, then you can use it to try to construct an evolutionary tree, which also has a natural nested hierarchy structure. Surely you understand that a major goal of looking at characteristics is to reconstruct evolutionary trees.

    One thing is for sure- it has NOTHING to do with nested hierarchies.

    If you are sure that’s the case, you should be able to explain his actual reasoning. Why does Denton think that chimps and humans are more closely related to each other than each is to gorillas? Remember, he’s only using hemoglobin gene clusters to make this determination.

  267. Alan Fox,

    One of your links did not work.

    the other links to Zachriel who I have proven doesn’t understand nested hierarchy.

    Heck Zachriel tried to tell me that a patrilineage is a paternal family tree.

    And when I gave his exampl,e of a nested hierarchy to an expert that expert said it wasn’t a nested hierarchy.

    Then Zachriel became more belligerent and finally went away.

    IOW if you are counting on Zachriel then you have already lost.

    I am still waiting for YOU to support YOUR claim.

  268. And after you construct a nested hierarchy of characteristics, such as properties of gene clusters, then you can use it to try to construct an evolutionary tree, which also has a natural nested hierarchy structure.

    Trees do NOT have a nested hierarchy structure.

    Surely you understand that a major goal of looking at characteristics is to reconstruct evolutionary trees.

    You mean the trees that don’t exist?

    If you are sure that’s the case, you should be able to explain his actual reasoning.

    I did- YOU refuse to understand it.

    Again your problems are not mine.

    Transitionals are a mix of characteristics which would blur the lines of distinction.

    Common descent leads to a LINEAGE. A lineage is never confused with a nested hierarchy by people who know the difference.

    Why do you refuse to understand these points?

  269. madesn,

    The bottom line is Denton thoroughly refuted the premise pertaining to the MET and nested hierarchies.

    In 2004 he said the critiques in “Evolution” are still good.

    So exactly what is YOUR problem?

  270. This discussion on nested hierarchies is just like the discussion on the Weasel. It is about trivial irrelevant nonsense. People go on and on and on and it has nothing to do with anything except to see if we can catch someone is a meaningless non sequitur. If you bring up something relevant it gets ignored.

    But hey folks this is what anti ID people do around here. They cannot deal with what is relevant.

  271. Joseph,

    Trees do NOT have a nested hierarchy structure.

    My tree example is so similar to your Russian doll example, I don’t see how you could miss the similarity. In fact, if you allow that these dolls can contain either 1 or 2 dolls at the next lower level, the analogy is almost exact.

    You mean the trees that don’t exist?

    Heh, yes, the “perfect evolutionary trees” that Denton refers to in Nature’s Destiny. He even has an entire chapter in that book entitled “The Tree of Life”. It begins with an extended quote from Darwin.

    I did- YOU refuse to understand it.

    Not exactly—you said “One thing is for sure- it has NOTHING to do with nested hierarchies”. I want to know what it does have to do with.

  272. jerry,

    The point about NH is that David Kellogg provided a site that says NH is expected from evolution.

    IOW NH is a prediction of the theory.

    However evolution does not have a direction and nested hierarchies demand a direction.

    IOW the people making the
    “prediction” do not appear to understand the concepts- evolution nor nested hierarchy.

    I am just trying to get that through to them and they don’t seem to able to comprehend what I am saying.

  273. madsen:

    My tree example is so similar to your Russian doll example, I don’t see how you could miss the similarity.

    It isn’t similar so that is whgy I don’t see the similarity.

    Can you take a stem and fit in into a branch? No.

    Can you take the branches and fit them into the trunk? No.

    In 1998 the alleged tree of life was still standing.

    Today, thanks to research, we know better.

    And trees with their branches that represent LINEAGES, do not form nested hierarchies.

    It is only when one looks at the tips of the tree stems can a nested hierarchy be formed and then only if the characteristics allow for it.

    And if you want to know what it has to do witrh then ask Denton.

    As I said in 2004 he stood by his claims in “Evolution”- which means that the MET does not/ should not expect a nested hierarchy.

  274. Joseph,

    I was going to try and explain my analogy to the Russian dolls further, but let me set that aside for a moment, and focus on this part of your post:

    It is only when one looks at the tips of the tree stems can a nested hierarchy be formed and then only if the characteristics allow for it.

    And if you want to know what it has to do witrh then ask Denton.

    Do you accept then that based on the hierarchy of characteristics, the species at the tips of the branches can (sometimes—if the data is sufficient) be placed on an evolutionary tree?

  275. Joseph,

    As you know the discussion of evolution is usually one of apples and oranges. And this nested hierarchies one is no different. Darwin had two theories though his supporters do not like to discuss this claiming there is only one. There is the micro evolution one and there is the macro evolution.

    Both of Darwin’s theory as espoused here by the anti ID people have a direction. One has a predicted one and one does not have a predicted direction. The one that does not predict a direction also predicts an increase in complexity over time while the other one predicts less complexity. I tried to point this out above but no one picked it up or they didn’t know how to deal with it. Unless we are careful and discuss each one separately there is the inevitable confusion.

    The one that predicts direction may have nested hierarchies but they are trivial. It is micro evolution. Madsen did not have a clue when I asked him about the chihuahua and the wolf and the unwanted puppy. There is no hierarchy here because they are all one big family and related so being related has nothing to do with a hierarchy since there isn’t one and he did not see it. In addition there may be nested hierarchies due to micro evolution but they are trivial ones as the sub levels have smaller gene pools and often can not inter breed. It is no big deal. If they have different characteristics it is because they arose just like dog breeding. None of the characteristics are new but are contained within the gene pool. It is evolution but not the one they want. It is the evolution that ID is completely in sync with.

    For Darwin’s other theory, macro evolution, it essentially does not exist as there is no evidence to support it. But it too predicts there will be a direction, just unknown. It is supposedly an upward theory due to small adaptations but there is no evidence that it ever happened. All the evidence for the adaptive theory is that is a downward micro evolution one and not upward or macro evolution. Maybe there was an occasional instance but none have been documented, only speculated. Here they do postulate novel characteristics new to the gene pool but in general there is no evidence it ever happened. So they claim nested hierarchies and point to the trivial ones from micro evolution when what they really want are the ones that must come from some form of macro evolution. So their theory predicts nested hierarchies but they only exist through micro evolution and that is trivial and not what they want.

    Which is why evolutionary biology has essentially abandoned Darwin and is looking in other directions for another explanation to explain substantial change.

    This discussion is revealing. The anti ID people just regurgitate stuff, never discussing the theory for it. Because if they do, then they know they will be called on the theory and they will not like that. It is the game they play. Their sole objective is to get someone in a gotcha or make them frustrated. They constantly ask you to defend something trying to put you back on your heels and never once will they defend anything. It is an interesting technique. If you give them a full explanation they will claim you really didn’t answer it or find another piece of trivia to debate.

    One thing that Darwin does predict and is not there is that there will be constant sequence of new species due to the adaptation of something. That’s what Darwin’s theory does predict, one of adaptation of something to changes in the environment. Each new adaptation is a stand alone species and most can expect to live for millions of years unless something dramatic happens. But nothing in the current suite of species or in the fossil record suggest this has ever happened. This as we know is what falsifies Darwin.

    In other words the Darwin theory predicts an extremely, extremely bushy tree and not just the occasional clade. But the tree or hierarchy that the theory predicts is not there. So far none of them have discussed that. I wonder why.

  276. I would say that Abel knows even less of Jesus scholarship than he does of information theory, if I thought it were possible.

    This is not an appropriate forum for a debate of ancient accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus. And as for the fabulous muddle that Abel paid to have published, I do wish to express my thanks for the reference list. I did not include the work of Trevors and Abel in my published critique of ID, for the simple reason that I wanted to address with scholarly decorum the more coherent arguments for ID, and not fall into mockery of ignorant claims.

  277. jerry,

    Madsen did not have a clue when I asked him about the chihuahua and the wolf and the unwanted puppy. There is no hierarchy here because they are all one big family and related so being related has nothing to do with a hierarchy since there isn’t one and he did not see it.

    Well, your questions were pretty obscure. Proper and improper hierarchies? I thought that perhaps you were making light of kairofocus’ 1000-word essays on “quasi-latching”. And “unwanted puppy”? I still don’t know what that means.

  278. madesen:

    Do you accept then that based on the hierarchy of characteristics, the species at the tips of the branches can (sometimes—if the data is sufficient) be placed on an evolutionary tree?

    Which evolutionary tree?

    Is there such a tree?

    I am sure that anyone can make any type of pattern given just the living organisms.

  279. Graham Lawton, “Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life,” New Scientist (January 21, 2009):

    “For a long time the holy grail was to build a tree of life,” says Eric Bapteste, an evolutionary biologist at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France. A few years ago it looked as though the grail was within reach. But today the project lies in tatters, torn to pieces by an onslaught of negative evidence. Many biologists now argue that the tree concept is obsolete and needs to be discarded. “We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality,” says Bapteste. That bombshell has even persuaded some that our fundamental view of biology needs to change.

    and

    The problems began in the early 1990s when it became possible to sequence actual bacterial and archaeal genes rather than just RNA. Everybody expected these DNA sequences to confirm the RNA tree, and sometimes they did but, crucially, sometimes they did not. RNA, for example, might suggest that species A was more closely related to species B than species C, but a tree made from DNA would suggest the reverse.

    and

    Syvanen recently compared 2000 genes that are common to humans, frogs, sea squirts, sea urchins, fruit flies and nematodes. In theory, he should have been able to use the gene sequences to construct an evolutionary tree showing the relationships between the six animals. He failed. The problem was that different genes told contradictory evolutionary stories. This was especially true of sea-squirt genes. Conventionally, sea squirts—also known as tunicates—are lumped together with frogs, humans and other vertebrates in the phylum Chordata, but the genes were sending mixed signals. Some genes did indeed cluster within the chordates, but others indicated that tunicates should be placed with sea urchins, which aren’t chordates. “Roughly 50 per cent of its genes have one evolutionary history and 50 per cent another,” Syvanen says

    W. Ford Doolittle, “Phylogenetic Classification and the Universal Tree,” Science, Vol. 284:2124-2128 (June 25, 1999):

    Molecular phylogenists will have failed to find the ‘true tree,’ not because their methods are inadequate or because they have chosen the wrong genes, but because the history of life cannot properly be represented as a tree.”

  280. Alan Fox and David Kellogg,

    I will take your failure to respond with a valid example of a nested hierarchy which does not require additive characteristics that you cannot produce one.

    IOW your silence on the matter demonstrates you have lost the debate.

    Too bad neither of you is man enough to admit it.

  281. 282

    Joseph, I can’t speak for Alan, but you can take my failure to respond as confirmation that I consider you incapable of being reasoned with.

  282. Masden 278:

    FYI: As a point of observation, in the simulation thread, we have DEMONSTRATED implicit latching and quasi-latching, substitution where one letter reverts and another advances in parallel, etc. [cf 234 on.] All, thanks to Atom.

    Just thought you would like to know.

    On the debate on trees and nested hierarchies, a tree [data structure sense] is a form of such an hierarchy.

    The tree of life by Darwin was meant to illustrate branching by fine gradations from one generation to the next, leading to increasing, but graded diversification of lifeforms from an original simple form, through gentle hill climbing through RV + NS etc. (I gather that the tree of life is reportedly the only diagram in the original edn of Origin.]

    It seems the idea was that the Linnean type taxonomy was to be explained as being based on the root and branch process that evolved step by step, from simple to complex, through variations and natural selection with oodlezillions of intermediates. [The persistent absence of such from the "almost unmanageably rich" fossil record over 150+ years should tell us something! Darwin's hope that the many, many then missing links he expected to have existed, would be found, has not materialised.]

    But, too, the simplest credible cellular life is not at all simple [hence why Weasel 1986 and kin down to today are so misleading], the Cambrian revo shows massive change at the highest level first [phyla, sub phyla], and there is now no consensus across the many contradicting “trees.”

    So, we see empirical failure to match and predict the actual record. And, the hoped for oodles of links have not turned up in the fossils. Capping off, the many techniques for gettign to such a tree — contra Shermer’s confident declarations — give materially divergent and conflicting results.

    Commonality of design features seems a much better explanation to me. (Includign of Berra’s blunder and that strange way cars have almost-hierarchical features but with cut-acrosses in the strangest places once you lift the hood as you Americans call it. (Bonnet is a nicer word . . . )]

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Sometimes, too, detailed point by point remarks are needed when there are entrenched errors.

  283. kairofocus:

    On the debate on trees and nested hierarchies, a tree [data structure sense] is a form of such an hierarchy.

    How so?

  284. “I thought that perhaps you were making light of kairofocus’ 1000-word essays on “quasi-latching”.”

    Actually I was making light of your comments because you do not demonstrate any understanding of the processes in evolution while trying to pontificate. And by the way kairofocus’s comments make more sense than the others on the Weasel threads. Yes, they are too long but at least they are not Alice in Wonderland like the those of the others.

    An unwanted puppy is an American thing. So I assume you are not an American. It was a double entendre because it illustrated your lack of knowledge of the evolutionary processes but represents a hardship for those who had to deal with it in more ways than one. So maybe it was a triple entendre.

  285. And David,

    Your failure to respond is because you cannot.

    IOW you have nothing to respond with.

    All you can do is run your mouth and cast bald accusations my way.

  286. Call for the moderator – I sense a little excessive rudeness here! :)

  287. Yes hazel, it is very rude of both Alan and David to make a claim and then to not provide any reasoning for it.

    But that is par for the course for anti-IDists- spew nonsense and hope that no one knows any better.

  288. 289

    kairosfocus [283],

    FYI: As a point of observation, in the simulation thread, we have DEMONSTRATED implicit latching and quasi-latching, substitution where one letter reverts and another advances in parallel, etc. [cf 234 on.] All, thanks to Atom.

    In other words, you have DEMONSTRATED that the Weasel program works without latching at the mutation level. No disrespect to Atom, who seems like a good guy and a good programmer, but that was known since the beginning. The same thing was visible in any of the widely available versions of Weasel.

    It just wasn’t called “latching.”

  289. Joseph,

    Which evolutionary tree?

    Is there such a tree?

    I am sure that anyone can make any type of pattern given just the living organisms.

    I’m referring to the tree which indicates that humans and chimps share a more recent common ancestor with each other than either does with gorillas.

    This page shows one:

    http://tolweb.org/Hominidae/16299

    BTW, here’s a quote from an editorial by Roger Highfield that ran in the same issue of New Scientist as your quote:

    As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, we await a third revolution that will see biology changed and strengthened. None of this should give succour to creationists, whose blinkered universe is doubtless already buzzing with the news that “New Scientist has announced Darwin was wrong”. Expect to find excerpts ripped out of context and presented as evidence that biologists are deserting the theory of evolution en masse. They are not.

  290. jerry,

    Actually I was making light of your comments because you do not demonstrate any understanding of the processes in evolution while trying to pontificate.

    What are you referring to exactly? I admit there is a lot about evolution I don’t know anything about, btw, as I’m not a scientist.

  291. 292

    Hi jerry,

    One thing that Darwin does predict and is not there is that there will be constant sequence of new species due to the adaptation of something. That’s what Darwin’s theory does predict, one of adaptation of something to changes in the environment. Each new adaptation is a stand alone species

    This is incorrect. Each adaptation does not necessarily result in a new species. It can lead to ecological isolation and eventual speciation, given the proper conditions. however. For good examples of this, I suggest Dolph Schluter’s excellent book The Ecology of Adaptive Radiation. One of its strong points, in my opinion, is its emphasis on ecological opportunity. Speciation and diversity will not occur without ecological opportunity. This is because of the well-known ecological principle of competitive exclusion. If ecological conditions remain stable for a long period of time and over a large area, the opportunity for speciation will be less. This, in part, explains Gould and Eldredge’s idea of stasis, and it can even be seen in Darwin’s writings when he discusses natural selection, competition and how these are affected by the “conditions of life” available at the time.

    [M]ost [species] can expect to live for millions of years unless something dramatic happens. But nothing in the current suite of species or in the fossil record suggest this has ever happened.

    The theory of island biogeography (see MacArthur & Wilson’s classic book on the subject) and Schluter’s book are just two in a very rich literature that present examples and discuss the mechanisms for it. For you to say that nothing in extant or paleo species suggests this is incorrect.

    This as we know is what falsifies Darwin.

    Incorrect (see above).

    In other words the Darwin theory predicts an extremely, extremely bushy tree and not just the occasional clade.

    If you remember from reading Darwin, jerry, he says that we do not expect to see a bushy tree in extant species because of extinction along the way (see page 169 of the first edition). And we do not expect the fossil record to reveal every species that ever existed, purely for ecological and geological reasons. However, as Gould and Eldredge point out, when the conditions are right, we can see very bushy trees in the fossil record. If you recall, Gould’s treatment of those land snail fossils shows very fine grained transitions. The Foraminafera are an excellent example of many, fine-grained transitions. I will add another example, that of bears. Bjorn Kurten, in his book The Cave Bear Story writes:

    From the early Ursus minimus of 5 million years ago to the late
    Pleistocene cave bear, there is a perfectly complete evolutionary sequence without any real gaps. The transition is slow and gradual throughout, and it is quite difficult to say where one species ends and the next begins. Where should we draw the boundary between U. minimus and U. etruscus, or between U. savini and U. spelaeus? The history of the cave bear becomes a demonstration of evolution, not as a hypothesis or theory but as a simple fact of record.

    So we have examples of exactly what Darwin told us to expect. This notion that nothing in the fossil record suggests this mechanism is at work is, frankly, just plain wrong.

    This discussion is revealing. The anti ID people just regurgitate stuff, never discussing the theory for it. Because if they do, then they know they will be called on the theory and they will not like that. It is the game they play. Their sole objective is to get someone in a gotcha or make them frustrated. They constantly ask you to defend something trying to put you back on your heels and never once will they defend anything. It is an interesting technique. If you give them a full explanation they will claim you really didn’t answer it or find another piece of trivia to debate.

    Hopefully this will give you something more substantial to consider.

  292. 293

    kairosfocus [283] is correct, I believe, in pointing out that “On the debate on trees and nested hierarchies, a tree [data structure sense] is a form of such an hierarchy.”

    Joseph [284], I’m a physical coward, as I have noted to you before. That’s why I’m afraid of you and don’t want to meet you in person, despite your generous past offers.

    On the nested hierarchy issue, I have no stake in debating what is and is not a nested hierarchy with you. I only pointed out that evolution claims a nested hierarchy is to be expected (which you denied). I demonstrated that with a relevant quote. I also pointed out that evolutionary scientists and you use the term in different ways. That seems clear enough. It’s just that you think they’re all wrong and you’re right. Perhaps you’re correct. If so, congratulations!

  293. Madsen,

    The main evolutionary thrust is downward not upward and by downward we mean a gene pool that is continually constricted over time as various sub populations get isolated. You have used the concept of a set and this is a good analogy.

    A population gene pool contains a wide variety of alleles and other genetic elements many whose function is unknown. If we take a sub population the chances are that this sub population will not have all the genomic elements that the original population has. If it wanders off and meets a new environment the process of natural selection and genetic drift and the new environment will favor certain genetic combination so that the gene pool is now even less that when it split off. We have a subset of the original population and this is what nearly all evolution is. So is the subset a nested hierarchy with potential other subsets. Remember no new characteristics have appeared that were not there in the original population. If this is repeated over and over again we get a variety of sub species which have sub species etc but nothing new has evolved. It only has devolved. There may be characteristics that distinguish each sub set but they are trivial differences. Now all these gene pools may be extended somewhat with mutations to current genomic elements but the experience is that these are minor additions to the gene pools. A bear develops white fur and can then survive in the arctic. Polar bears and grizzly bears can mate so are originally from the same gene pool.

    Now if this were all there was to evolution and by the way this is most of evolution then we would all go home and call it a day. But the key is that somewhere along the way a gene pool is expanded with genetic elements that were not in the original gene pool and represent novel complex functional capabilities not just a fur color change. Think echolocation in a bat. How did this happen. This gene pool is now substantively different from the original gene pool and the question is how did this happen. This is a completely different process from the common evolution described above. This gene pool can act just like the other gene pool and devolve downward into sub sets. But there is a fundamental difference between each group of subsets. One group of subsets will likely have the new functional characteristic and the other won’t.

    That is why there are two theories of evolution and one is trivial and explains most of what you see but in terms of the debate it is of no importance. The second theory is the one that produces the novel functional characteristics and it is the focus of the debate. Since we have no evidence that any theory of evolution has produced these novel functional capabilities, we can not say that any hierarchies you might theorize exist are due to it. It is all just an arbitrary selection and placement into various groups. More than likely there is a strong correlation between adjacent or contiguous groups but is this due to process 1 or process 2.

    As I said above front loading predicts these hierarchies and is more consistent with the data than Darwinian theories. So why make a point that Darwinian theories predict the hierarchies when it has never been able to show how it could create all of them. It is pure speculation that it could and nothing less.

    And by the way you do not need to be a scientist to know this. Most biologists don’t understand it because they are too lazy are haven’t been presented with it. They mostly accept the stuff they read in textbooks and assume it works. After all micro evolution works which ID agrees with and they automatically think this can be extended to all changes as I did till 10 years ago when I started to read about it.

    I am not a scientist either but have a background in physics and math and am an avid reader and taker of video courses on science. You do not have to be a scientist to understand this.

  294. David Kellogg,

    Joseph said he used to play hockey and if he is a true hockey player he still likes to play maybe only in the adult non checking leagues. My son was a hockey player and still yearns to get out and play. One of his coaches in youth hockey was a real neanderthal from Quebec who used to tell his players that hockey is a game of courage won in the corners. His teams never had any cowards.

    If you have never seen the movie Miracle, watch it to understand hockey players. It is as real life as a movie can get and notice all the incredible skills it take to win, not just the courage which is essential. All the actors were hockey players first before they did a screen test so the action is authentic.

    So my guess is that Joseph would rather get you in the corners as opposed to an alley. There are no cowards in the corners.

    By the way Boston University plays for the national title tonight and a lot of the players from Miracle from BU. Watch it and look at what happens in the corners.

  295. It is possible to represent the logic of an ordered hierarchic classification scheme in the form of a branching diagram, or tree, where each node defines the fundamental characteristics of the category grouped by that node.

    Such a tree does not imply any sort of natural sequence to the pattern of relationships. The only sequence implied is a theoretical or abstract logical programme whereby a very general concept is successively subdivided into more specific categories. The nodes and branches of the tree signify concepts in the mind of the logician and not material entities in the real world. The tree has an ordered appearance with the most specific subcategories, the actual objects grouped by scheme, occupying peripheral positions as its circumference. Every ordered hierarchical classification system may be reduced to such a logic tree and in every case all particular objects grouped by the scheme will always be circumferentially arranged at the very periphery of the tree. Groups of objects identified in the scheme are related as sisters or cousins, but never in sequential terms. The tree makes explicit the fact that, where a pattern of relationship is reducible to a highly ordered hierarchic system, the underlying order is fundamentally discontinuous and non-sequential. -Denton “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” pages 121-22

  296. jerry,

    I think I understand what you are saying, but remember the issue that started off this discussion was Denton’s views on nested hierarchies and evolutionary trees. In 1998, he wrote that certain characteristics of primates can be used to place those primates on an evolutionary tree. I’m claiming that this only makes sense if Denton is assuming that the distribution of these characteristics among primates (in a nested hierarchy, of course) reflects their evolutionary history. I understand that you and Joseph would disagree with the validity of this reasoning, but the issue is Denton’s logic (in 1998).

  297. madsen:

    I’m referring to the tree which indicates that humans and chimps share a more recent common ancestor with each other than either does with gorillas.

    Ahh related by CHARACTERISTICS.

    That is what the tree shows.

    Related by descent or having a common ancestor is just an assumption.

    BTW, here’s a quote from an editorial by Roger Highfield that ran in the same issue of New Scientist as your quote

    Strange. Your quote had nothing to do with what I quoted.

    Did you have a point?

  298. madsen,

    Seeing that in 2004 Denton stated his critique of the theory of evolution he presented in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” was still convincing, I don’t see how you have anything left to argue.

    His ONLY change from “Evolution” to “Nature’s Destiny” (1998) was one of PHILOSOPHY- I provided his direct quote.

    You refuse to believe Denton on Denton.

    That is your problem.

  299. Joseph,

    I have to commend you on your ability to find quotes from Denton’s 1986 book which flatly contradict the thesis of Nature’s Destiny. It’s almost as if we were dealing with the work of two different authors. You might find this link interesting, if you haven’t happened upon it yet:

    http://home.planet.nl/~gkorthof/kortho29.htm

    Here’s an interesting quote from that page:

    And that [biological evolution] is exactly what his previous book Evolution: A Theory in crisis attacked in the most thorough way. And biological evolution, that is the common descent of all life, is exactly what he defends now in Nature’s Destiny. Not a limited version of evolution. No, complete naturalistic evolution from inorganic materials to the first cell to humans.

  300. Joseph,

    Ahh related by CHARACTERISTICS.

    That is what the tree shows.

    The evolutionary tree indicates relations determined by descent.

    Related by descent or having a common ancestor is just an assumption.

    Now this is exactly what I’ve been saying: Denton (1998) assumes the patterns in characteristics allows one to draw conclusions about descent.

  301. David Kellogg believes that I am unable to be reasoned with because he told me, without any support, that the few evolutionary scientists I disagree with pertaining to nested hierarchy and the theory of evolution, use a different definition of a nested hierarchy.

    Did you get that?

    They do not use the standard and accepted definition that I and the majority of people use, they have some ultra-secret version only they can understand.

    So how about Kellogg- can you produce the allegedly different version of nested hierarchy that those evolutionary scientists use?

    I promise I will do my best to understand but I first have to know what it is I am supposed to be understanding.

  302. madsen,

    You are very funny.

    He does NOT attack common descent in “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis”.

    He attacks the nonsensical evidence presented for it.

    He attacks Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism.

    You should really read that 2004 essay- just as its title indicates it is his intellectual journey from Creation, to accepting common descent, to critiquing the evidence for common descent, to finally come to an understanding on the mechanism.

    He is a front-loading evolutionist- no intervention required. Nature has unfolded according to some destiny. That destiny is what brought forth living organisms.

    And allegedly that destiny is to be found in the limited number of protein folds observed in living organisms.

    IOW the reviewer doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    But I have read his pap before and have come to expect that from him.

  303. madsen:

    The evolutionary tree indicates relations determined by descent.

    It is based on characteristics, not descent.

    Descent/ relationship is assumed from the number of shared characteristics.

    However both convergence and common design can also explain similar characteristics.

    Nested hierarchies are NOT built on descent.

    Descent leads to a sequence/ lineage.

  304. Joseph,

    He is a front-loading evolutionist- no intervention required. Nature has unfolded according to some destiny. That destiny is what brought forth living organisms.

    Ok, fair enough. That’s exactly how I would describe him, based on what I’ve seen from his Nature’s Destiny book.

    Descent/ relationship is assumed from the number of shared characteristics.

    I also agree with this.

  305. And common design and/ or convergence can also be assumed from the number of shared characteristics.

    What descent has failed to do, however, is explain the differences observed.

    No one knows if the changes required are even possible for universal common descent to have a chance at being true.

  306. The definition of NH that I used is from the International Society for the Systems Sciences:

    Origin and Purpose of the ISSS
    The International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) is among the first and oldest organizations devoted to interdisciplinary inquiry into the nature of complex systems, and remains perhaps the most broadly inclusive. The Society was initially conceived in 1954 at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Kenneth Boulding, Ralph Gerard, and Anatol Rapoport. In collaboration with James Grier Miller, it was formally established as an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1956. Originally founded as the Society for General Systems Research, the society adopted its current name in 1988 to reflect its broadening scope.

    The initial purpose of the society was “to encourage the development of theoretical systems which are applicable to more than one of the traditional departments of knowledge,” with the following principal aims:

    to investigate the isomorphy of concepts, laws, and models in various fields, and to help in useful transfers from one field to another;
    to encourage the development of adequate theoretical models in areas which lack them;
    to eliminate the duplication of theoretical efforts in different fields; and
    to promote the unity of science through improving the communication among specialists.
    In the intervening years, the ISSS has expanded its scope beyond purely theoretical and technical considerations to include the practical application of systems methodologies to problem solving. Even more importantly, it has provided a forum where scholars and practitioners from across the disciplinary spectrum, representing academic, business, government, and non-profit communities, can come together to share ideas and learn from one another.

    So now I am really curious as to what is the ultra-secret definition those evolutionary scientists use…

    Any luck finding it David?

  307. 308

    Joseph,

    “You are an intellectual coward…”

    Do you want to be moderated Joseph? Don’t call names, don’t be disrespectful, or you will be.

  308. Dave Wisker (#255),

    Thanks for your answer. My purpose here is not so much to introduce new data (although I will do so), but to point out the difficulty with falsifying evolution.

    You mentioned, following Haldane, a Cambrian rabbit, or actually, IIUC, a Precambrian rabbit. You (#210) quoted me (#198) as asking if the falsification would be that easy:

    Finally, if someone claimed to find a Cambrian rabbit, would you immediately give up the ToE? Or would you spend a great deal of time trying to prove that A. it was not a rabbit, B. It was not Precambrian, or C. The ToE can handle it very nicely after all, thank you? In other words, is your theory truly falsifiable, or did you just throw something out that you think and hope you’ll never see to keep critics of the ToE off of your back?

    (To be fair, this was addressed to Alan Fox, not to you.)

    Your response was,

    Paul, if the theory is valid, and the lines of evidence we currently use to support it are reliable, we should NEVER see a PreCambrian rabbit, so it is a valid criterion for falsification. There can be, indeed should be, many others. The reason the Precambrian rabbit is used so often is because it is such a good example to counter the silly assertion that the theory of evolution is unfalsifiable in principle. Haldane’s quip makes short work of that.

    This outlines clearly your answer to my first paragraph but does not address the paragraph you quoted. My point is that in practice, evolutionary theory is not susceptible to such falsifications, because what actually happens is that the data is challenged, and what cannot be challenged is forced into the evolutionary scenario, which then adapts to the data. Your latest post (#255) demonstrates this process well.

    Your first paragraph argues that the Salt Range is late Cambrian, not Precambrian. That’s my point B. You then quote someone else (Stewart and Rothwell) arguing that the spores are not really of the plants they appear to be (point A), and that they are really contaminants (a variant of point B). Earlier (#210), you had discounted the problem of a Jurassic rabbit, as evolutionary theory could presumably swallow that one easily (my point C). Presumably that is why you did not respond to the data on Triassic shore birds.

    We now have Cambrian chordates, and even vertebrates, and it is unlikely that we would ever find a Cambrian rabbit for an entirely different reason, namely, that the Cambrian is largely marine, and early on mostly bottom-dwellers, and rabbits are simply not found at the sea bottom. They have some problems with respiration there, I think. ;) So Haldane proposed a very safe bet as his test of falsifiability.

    You grant that the Salt Range is Cambrian. You argue that spores are not good enough. This understates the controversy. There were those who argued that the Salt Range was Tertiary because of plant fragments, not just spores. For example,

    This specimen clearly contains fragments of several specimens of dicotyledonous leaves. This places their age as not older than the Lower Cretaceous when the first dicots appeared. One of the leaves is very probably oak (Quercus) and its size and margin strongly suggest the Oligocene species Quercus clarnensis from western America. It is of interest to note that I found a closely related species in the Oligocene deposits of Manchuria. Your specimen is almost certainly of Tertiary age. (Anderson, R. V. V. (1927) Tertiary stratigraphy and orogeny of the northern Punjab. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, 38: 665-720.)

    It might be helpful to read some of the details collected at http://www.mcremo.com/saltrange.html (BTW, not, AFAICT, a creationist or even ID site). In fact, I will quote the abstract:

    The age of the Salt Range Formation in the Salt Range Mountains of Pakistan was a matter of extreme controversy among geologists from the middle nineteenth century to the middle twentieth century. Of great importance in the later discussions were fragments of advanced plants and insects discovered in the Salt Range Formation by researchers such as B. Sahni. According to Sahni, these finds indicated an Eocene age for the Salt Range Formation. But geological evidence cited by others was opposed to this conclusion, supporting instead a Cambrian age for the Salt Range formation. Modern geological opinion is unanimous that the Salt Range Formation is Cambrian. But Sahni’s evidence for advanced plant and insect remains in the Salt Range Formation is not easily dismissed. It would appear that there is still a contradiction between the geological and paleontological evidence, just as there was during the time of active controversy. During the time of active controversy, E. R. Gee suggested that the conflict might be resolved by positing the existence of an advanced flora and fauna in the Cambrian. This idea was summarily dismissed at the time, but, although it challenges accepted ideas about the evolution of life on earth, it appears to provide the best fit with the different lines of evidence. The existence of advanced plant and animal life during the Cambrian is consistent with accounts found in the Puranic literature of India.

    This would appear to be roughly equivalent to a Cambrian rabbit.

    There is further evidence of what looks like Precambrian rabbit tracks in the plant world. See R. M. Stainforth, “Occurrence of Pollen and Spores in the Roraima Formation of Venezuela and British Guiana,” Nature, Vol. 210, No. 5033 (April 16, 1966), pp. 292–294. (I am indebted to Sean Pitman for drawing my attention to these references.)

    My point is not so much that I have proven that the theory of evolution is wrong, as that it is for practical purposes impossible to prove it wrong. Data can be disputed, and the theory is flexible enough to swallow most data anyway, and if all else fails we can put the data on a shelf and work with it later. The myth that evolution is a falsifiable theory should be laid to rest. The Cambrian rabbit, or even Precambrian rabbit, is not an adequate retort.

  309. 310

    Hi Paul,

    Sahni’s results were, as I pointed out by the reference to Bose, best explained as contamination, since numerous core drillings in the same area (which would not be subject to contamination) not only failed to find any modern plant remains, but only found plant remains consistent with Cambrian deposits throughout the world. That is why the geological consensus lies with a Cambrian age for those rocks. Had they found Tertiary plant remains, then I agree, the results would have been comparable to a preCambrian rabbit.

    There is further evidence of what looks like Precambrian rabbit tracks in the plant world. See R. M. Stainforth, “Occurrence of Pollen and Spores in the Roraima Formation of Venezuela and British Guiana,” Nature, Vol. 210, No. 5033 (April 16, 1966), pp. 292–294. (I am indebted to Sean Pitman for drawing my attention to these references.)

    I’m familiar with that paper, and the subsequent controversy, which as far as I know, hasn’t been completely resolved.

    My point is not so much that I have proven that the theory of evolution is wrong, as that it is for practical purposes impossible to prove it wrong. Data can be disputed, and the theory is flexible enough to swallow most data anyway, and if all else fails we can put the data on a shelf and work with it later.

    A good theory should be difficult to prove wrong from a practical point of view. That’s because a good theory is built from a large base of well-supported data. We don’t expect a PreCambrian rabbit for very solid reasons: the data indicate the origin of mammals in much later strata. Not only that, all the geological and paleoecological data indicate the PreCambrian environment could not support mammals, never mind vascular plants. To accept the idea of such a rabbit requires abandoning numerous rich lines of converging, mutually supporting evidence from different disciplines. So, in practical terms, rare announcements (and they are very, very very rare) proclaiming the discovery of angiosperm pollen in PreCambrian rocks should be treated with considerable skepticism, especially when more prosaic explanations (such as contamination) are known to be problems.
    In principle, if PreCambrian rabbits were found (especially in significant numbers), modern evolutionary theory (and several other disciplines as well) would probably have to be discarded. The fact that this is difficult to do in practical terms doesn’t change that. Nor should it.

  310. Hi Dave,

    I’m still blown away by the ease with which a leaf from an oak strongly resembling Oligocene Quercus clarnensis can be dismissed as contamination. Are there claims that such oaks live in India or Pakistan at the present? If not, how can one contaminate rock with this kind of fossil?

    If a drill core finds such a leaf, would you at that point surrender to the “Cambrian rabbit”, or would you soldier on, knowing that there must be an answer consistent with evolutionary theory, even if you don’t know it and can’t hazard a guess as to what it might be? Your dismissal of the Precambrian stuff about which the “controversy, which as far as I know, hasn’t been completely resolved”, suggests that you have a pretty large shelf on which to put things that do not fit.

    It is probably fair to note that ideological preference plays a large part in the evaluation of evidence in these cases. As you note, in principle, Precambrian rabbits would disprove evolutionary theory. In practice, it doesn’t happen.

  311. I never knew that the infamous “rabbit in the Cambrian ” was a quote by Haldane. It pops us frequently but it is nice to know the origin of it.

    This quip by Haldane is an admission that the theory is not falsifiable. While apparently dismissing objections to the theory on technical grounds that it is not falsifiable, the quip was supposed I guess to be an amusing put down of those who have objections. But in reality it is an admission that there is really no way to falsify the theory. If there were, then Haldane would have provided some real examples. The clever absurdity of the rabbit in the Cambrian was in reality a way to hide any serious attempt to discuss the issue.

    It is typically used by people on this site as a way of mocking those who oppose the Darwinian paradigm. Interesting technique to avoid the serious. Mock the attempt to do so.

  312. Paul Giem,

    Forbidden Archaeology-

    There is allegedly a mortar and pestle found in sediments allegedly 25 million years old.

    And that is just one case.

  313. 314

    Hi jerry,

    This quip by Haldane is an admission that the theory is not falsifiable. While apparently dismissing objections to the theory on technical grounds that it is not falsifiable, the quip was supposed I guess to be an amusing put down of those who have objections. But in reality it is an admission that there is really no way to falsify the theory. If there were, then Haldane would have provided some real examples

    Haldane’s quip was amusing, but in principle it was absolutely correct. Just because the theory would never expect to see such a thing has nothing to do with the theory being falsifiable. If the theory is wrong, then evidence supporting it (from such disciplines as basic geology and paleontology) could very well be wrong too. Finding a confirmed mammal fossil in what current paleontology tells us are PreCambrian rocks behooves us to make sure of the fossil itself and the evidence for the rocks being PreCambrian. We need to do this because so much of the evidence (fossil and geological) indicates otherwise. Should the evidence solidly indicate it, then a rethinking and possible abandonment of the theory and/or some of its supporting evidence might be necessary.

  314. Hi Paul,

    I’m still blown away by the ease with which a leaf from an oak strongly resembling Oligocene Quercus clarnensis can be dismissed as contamination. Are there claims that such oaks live in India or Pakistan at the present? If not, how can one contaminate rock with this kind of fossil?

    Contamination does not always mean from extant material. Intrusions from younger layers can insert themselves into areas where older layers have been pushed up, especually in geologically active areas. The Salt Range lies in one of the most geologically complex areas of the world, right where the Indian plate crashes into the Eurasian plate. In addition, salt deposits can move like glaciers, due to what is called salt tectonics. Did Pitman’s source mention teh paper by Bhardwaj (1950) in Nature who examined sandstone (6292) given by Sahni, to look for evidence of land plants (carbonized wood, etc)? His results:

    In all, more than fifty permanent preparations and a number of smear slides were examined; but no micro-fossils were recovered. The results are negative and do not show any evidence of a post-Cambrian age for these rocks.

    Bhardwaj goes on to say:

    Careful researches by Hsu on the purple sandstone, and by Sahni, Lakhnapal and Bhardwaj on beds of salt pseudomorphs have revealed a complete absence of any tertiary fossils in them.

    So, what does Bhardwaj have to say about Ghosh’s findings?

    [Ghosh's findings] make it difficult to reconcile our findings with their work. The only explanation of their find of tertiary plant remains in these rocks of a Cambrian sequence would seem to be contamination during investigation, or the use of cracked and fissured samples.

    Bhardwal DC (1950). Examination of the Magnesian Sandstone beds of the Punjab Salt Range for plant microfossils. Nature 4203: 821
    As for the genus Quercus, several species are known in Asia, but not Q. clamensis. One report suggesting a leaf “strongly resembling” Q. clamensis isn’t exactly confirmation, now is it? In paleobotany, misidentification of plant fossils is an occupational hazard, (see Noe’s “Paleozoic Angiosperm” as one excellent example), so I’ll wait for confirmation before jumping to conclusions, especially since all confirmed fossils of Q. clamensis are found in North America, not Asia, as far as I’m aware. Do you think one unconfirmed sample is enough evidence to have botany textbooks changed to declare this species having existed in Asia? Is that how you think science should work?

    If a drill core finds such a leaf, would you at that point surrender to the “Cambrian rabbit”, or would you soldier on, knowing that there must be an answer consistent with evolutionary theory, even if you don’t know it and can’t hazard a guess as to what it might be? Your dismissal of the Precambrian stuff about which the “controversy, which as far as I know, hasn’t been completely resolved”, suggests that you have a pretty large shelf on which to put things that do not fit.

    How is recognizing that a controversy hasn’t been resolved a dismissal? I have a pretty large shelf, yes. But it isn’t full of unresolved samples. Its crammed with examples contradicting those very rare unresolved samples you are bringing up.

  315. David Wisker,

    By defending the absurdity of the Haldane quote you are admitting the same thing that Haldane did and that is that his theory of evolution had no basis in reality. You are deflecting from the basic issue by saying we have to be careful about rock formation and fossils and we will be ok. When neither of these two issues is relevant in the current debate and should not have been relevant when Haldane made the comment. The quote assumes that any evidence of deep time automatically dismisses alternatives and you basically support this subterfuge.

    The alternative is not 6,000 year old creationism but the basic mechanism of evolution itself and thus the rabbit comment is an embarrassment to Haldane and an admission that he could not defend his theory. If he had better defenses he would have used them but instead went for the mocking of the opposition instead. And you proceeded with the same irrelevant argument.

  316. 317

    Hi Jerry,

    By defending the absurdity of the Haldane quote you are admitting the same thing that Haldane did and that is that his theory of evolution had no basis in reality.

    Hyperbole isn’t the best way to discuss a scientific issue, in my opinion.

    You are deflecting from the basic issue by saying we have to be careful about rock formation and fossils and we will be ok.

    No, that is not a deflection at all. I was very clear in saying that a good theory will be difficult to falsify in practice, especially one with as many converging and supporting lines of evidence from so many disciplines. But for a theory to be falsifiable in principle, there has to be some way, some data that can conceivably disconfirm it. Haldane chose his example because it was extreme, and it’s extreme because it would unravel many lines of supporting evidence at once, as I outlined. In practice it would be very difficult, given the large amount of evidence, to disconfirm evolution in one stroke. But, as I said, that doesn’t change the fact that evolution is falsifiable in principle, which is the issue, I believe.

    The quote assumes that any evidence of deep time automatically dismisses alternatives and you basically support this subterfuge.

    Haldane simply took the inferences from the supporting lines of evidence for evolution and came up with an example which would disconfirm many of them in one stroke, and he did it with panache as well (have you ever seen that picture of him in that crazy suit?) :)

    The alternative is not 6,000 year old creationism but the basic mechanism of evolution itself and thus the rabbit comment is an embarrassment to Haldane and an admission that he could not defend his theory.

    I’m having a hard time seeing where Haldane’s example has anything to do with “6,000 year old creationism”.

    If he had better defenses he would have used them

    What he used was perfectly serviceable.

    but instead went for the mocking of the opposition instead.

    He’s not mocking the opposition. The failure of the opposition to adequately comprehend his example makes mockery unnecessary.

    And you proceeded with the same irrelevant argument.

    I suppose I’ll just have to look to the good Dr Samuel Johnson:

    Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding.

  317. Jerry, if someone found a single error or contradiction in the Bible, would you consider Christianity to be disproven?

    Because that’s essentially what you’re demanding of science.

  318. Joseph, I beg to differ. From “the the standard and accepted definition”:

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.

    Isn’t the requirement of containment satisfied by the ToE?

  319. Cabal,

    If defining characteristics can be lost then containment is also lost.

    And seeing that evolution does not have a direction and defining characteristics can be lost, then you can see that the ToE dopes not expect a nested hierarchy.

    Also as a matter of fact the ToE does not say that defining charcteristics have to be added.

    This means that with evolution we may expect to see only one set.

    And one set does not make a nested hierarchy.

    Then there is the issue of transitional forms- where to put them?

    For example say we have species X as having ten defining charcteristics.

    And we have species why which has ten different defining characteristics.

    X & Y also have ten defining characteristics in common.

    Now on the road to each of these there had to have been organisms which do not fit into either X & Y, but had a mix of X and Y.

    Ya see with evolution the best one can hope for is a lineage of branching lineages.

    And a lineage is never to be confused with a nested hierarchy.

  320. Spin-art-

    The pattern expected from evolution is pretty much the same pattern expected from spin-art- pretty much all over the place depending on the circumstances.

  321. “Jerry, if someone found a single error or contradiction in the Bible, would you consider Christianity to be disproved?

    Because that’s essentially what you’re demanding of science.”

    What an inane comment. First of all if you check anyone around here I would be the last person to use the bible to support anything having to do with intelligent design and rarely comment on anything religious. So what has the comment about the bible and Christianity got to do with anything.

    Second, what kind of convoluted reason led you to your comment. It doesn’t compute from what I said. I was showing how Haldane was avoiding the issue about how to falsify neo Darwinism with his comment and somehow this means I expect zero contradictions from the bible or else Christianity is disproved. Talk about silliness.

  322. Dave Wisker (#315),

    What you are doing is a great way of arguing that the evidence I cited does not disprove evolution. What it is not is a convincing way of arguing that evolution is susceptible to disproof.

    I discuss the problem of contamination of macroscopic fossils, of plants that as far as I (and presumably you) know do not live in the area now, and you propose that those plants lived there previously and got buried and placed in the Cambrian sediment because the area is geologically active. You go on to say later that “since all confirmed fossils of Q. clamensis are found in North America, not Asia, as far as I’m aware.” Thus there is no evidence that there were these particular oaks in the Oligocene, or apparently at any other time, that lived in the area, but you still write it off to contamination.

    You then minimize the problem thus: Bhardwal was unable to find microfossils similar to those apparently found by Sahni (who argued for a Cenozoic age IIRC), so the fossil (partial) oak leaf is “unconfirmed”, and then you ask,

    Do you think one unconfirmed sample is enough evidence to have botany textbooks changed to declare this species having existed in Asia? Is that how you think science should work?

    To put it another way, we found the paw of a rabbit in the Cambrian. We now need to find more rabbit parts, because one rabbit in the Cambrian isn’t really enough.

    You minimize the Precambrian angiosperm example from Venezuela as “those very rare unresolved samples you are bringing up.” Precisely how many Precambrian rabbits do we need to find to disprove evolution?

    You state that

    A good theory should be difficult to prove wrong from a practical point of view. That’s because a good theory is built from a large base of well-supported data.

    In physics this is not true. The reason a good theory is difficult to prove wrong in physics is that nature behaves in ways that the theory describes. If one could accelerate electrons reproducibly to the speed of light in a vacuum and beyond, relativity would collapse. Period. If someone were to show that a body were to accelerate towards another one at a rate disproportional to the inverse square of the distance between them, gravitation would collapse as a theory. In fact, it did so when the motion of Mercury did not fit the theory. Gravitation may be a useful approximation, but nobody believes it any more as a complete explanation. Perhaps evolution is a useful approximation, but does not explain everything. Can one not be a little more tentative about the complete adequacy of the theory?

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