Home » Intelligent Design » Prager University and the Four Big Bangs

Prager University and the Four Big Bangs

For those with open minds (genuine skeptics, not selective skeptics) check out Prager University, especially this.

Like Frank Pastore I was once a devout atheist, but eventually realized that I could no longer muster up enough blind faith to believe in a completely materialistic explanation for everything.

It was to a great extent that my interest in science, engineering, mathematics, and reason forced me to abandon my materialistic and therefore inherently nihilistic worldview (but there was much more, including the birth of my first daughter after a long infertility ordeal).

My conversion from materialistic atheism to Christian theism — to a great extent through reason, logic, and evidence — is what really scares people like Dawkins and his ilk.

The science and reason of the last half-century, that was supposed to explain away design and purpose in the universe and biology, now points evermore persuasively to the exact opposite.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

23 Responses to Prager University and the Four Big Bangs

  1. Very thought-provoking site.

  2. Gil you’ve got a great testimony. Keep sharing it.:)

  3. I did not know that Prager was with the Cincinnati Reds. Josh Hamilton, of the Texas Rangers, has a interesting story to;

    The Josh Hamilton Story: A Rookie’s Rise to Recovery – Inspirational Videos
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=K7GWLLNX

  4. 4

    “The closer we look the wider the chasm.” ??? “We have no idea how to literally create life from dead stuff”. “We have no way to account for the huge differences between bacteria, plants and animals. Nor do we have a way to account for the differences between man and animal.”??

    Do you really find that persuasive? It seems to be an argument from ignorance and doesn’t even strike a chord. I’m more struck by the similarities between all of those, and evolution, being related to these organisms, seems a reasonable and likely explanation. The animal minds don’t seem more mechanistic, in fact, it seems a form of consciousness is there. I’m sometimes jealous of their pleasures, I’m sure those feel real. Even if a satisfactory form of free will didn’t exist, why would we want to act any differently?

    There is perhaps the one initial big bang, and I doubt it is really out of nothing. The other three big bangs seem contrived.

  5. ‘Cause, as we all know, credulity is such an important principle.

  6. The other three big bangs seem contrived.

    The origin of living stuff from dead stuff is indeed a big bang. The transformation of chemical reactions, which are deterministic, into information-processing systems which are thoroughly contingent, represents a profound discontinuity. Chemistry is a mantra; life is a message.

    The fossil record consistently testifies to a series of bangs (and busts).

    The biggest bang of all was the appearance of humanity, which happened in a tiny unit of geologic time. It is inconceivable to me that Darwinists cannot recognize the vastness of the gulf between humanity and all other living things.

    The last and most important discontinuity between humanity and the rest of creation is the introspection that Pastore describes.

    Thus, I conclude that Pastore’s four big bangs are indeed bangs, and very big.

  7. I did not know that Prager was with the Cincinnati Reds.

    BA77: That’s Pastore, not Prager.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Frank Pastore at a men’s Christian retreat a few years ago. He’s the finest of fine gentlemen, and extremely bright and insightful.

  8. BA77: That’s Pastore, not Prager. (OOPS)

    Oh well, a few notes to the 3 other Big Bangs:

    First life on earth appeared suddenly and was complex:

    Life – Its Sudden Origin and Extreme Complexity – Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4287513

    Cambrian Explosion was sudden:

    Materialistic Basis of the Cambrian Explosion is Elusive: BioEssays Vol. 31 (7):736 – 747 – July 2009
    Excerpt: “going from an essentially static system billions of years in existence to the one we find today, a dynamic and awesomely complex system whose origin seems to defy explanation. Part of the intrigue with the Cambrian explosion is that numerous animal phyla with very distinct body plans arrive on the scene in a geological blink of the eye, with little or no warning of what is to come in rocks that predate this interval of time.” —”Thus, elucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself, and cannot be explained away by coupling extinction of intermediates with long stretches of geologic time, despite the contrary claims of some modern neo-Darwinists.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....mater.html

    subsequent ‘explosions’:

    Punctuated Equilibrium and Patterns from the Fossil Record – Casey Luskin
    Excerpt: “The Cambrian Explosion is by no means the only “explosion” in the fossil record. One evolutionist concedes that for the origin of fishes, “this is one count in the creationists’ charge that can only evoke in unison from paleontologists a plea of nolo contendere [no contest].” Plant biologists have called the origin of plants an “explosion,” saying, “the … radiation of land (plant) biotas is the terrestrial equivalent of the much-debated Cambrian ‘explosion’ of marine faunas.” Vertebrate paleontologists believe there was a mammal explosion because of the few transitional forms between major mammal groups: “There are all sorts of gaps: absence of gradationally intermediate ‘transitional’ forms between species, but also between larger groups — between, say, families of carnivores, or the orders of mammals.” Another study, “Evolutionary Explosions and the Phylogenetic Fuse,” found a bird (as well as a mammal) “Early Tertiary ‘explosion’” because many bird and mammal groups appear in a short time period lacking immediately recognizable ancestral forms. Finally, others have called the origin of our own genus Homo, “a genetic revolution” where “no australopithecine (ape) species is obviously transitional” leading one commentator to call it, like others called the Cambrian Explosion, a “big bang theory” of human evolution.”
    http://www.ideacenter.org/cont.....hp/id/1232

    and the sudden appearance of man’s mind;

    New study suggests big bang theory of human evolution – U of M Press Release
    Excerpt: “The earliest H. sapiens remains differ significantly from australopithecines in both size and anatomical details. Insofar as we can tell, these changes were sudden and not gradual.”
    University of Michigan anthropologist Milford Wolpoff
    http://www.ns.umich.edu/Releas.....1000b.html

    “If pressed about man’s ancestry, I would have to unequivocally say that all we have is a huge question mark. To date, there has been nothing found to truthfully purport as a transitional species to man, including Lucy, since 1470 was as old and probably older. If further pressed, I would have to state that there is more evidence to suggest an abrupt arrival of man rather than a gradual process of evolving”.
    Richard Leakey, world’s foremost paleo-anthropologist, in a PBS documentary, 1990.

    The changing face of genus Homo – Wood; Collard
    Excerpt: the current criteria for identifying species of Homo are difficult, if not impossible, to operate using paleoanthropological evidence. We discuss alternative, verifiable, criteria, and show that when these new criteria are applied to Homo, two species, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, fail to meet them.
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.....0/abstract

    Human evolution?
    Excerpt: Some scientists have proposed moving this species (habilis) out of Homo and into Australopithecus (ape) due to the morphology of its skeleton being more adapted to living on trees rather than to moving on two legs like H. sapiens.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.....Genus_Homo

    Who Was Homo habilis—And Was It Really Homo? – Ann Gibbons – June 2011
    Abstract: In the past decade, Homo habilis’s status as the first member of our genus has been undermined. Newer analytical methods suggested that H. habilis matured and moved less like a human and more like an australopithecine, such as the famous partial skeleton of Lucy. Now, a report in press in the Journal of Human Evolution finds that H. habilis’s dietary range was also more like Lucy’s than that of H. erectus, which many consider the first fully human species to walk the earth. That suggests the handyman had yet to make the key adaptations associated with our genus, such as the ability to exploit a variety of foods in many environments, the authors say.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont.....70.summary

    ==============

    Though the authors of the ‘Evolution of the Genus Homo’ paper (Tattersall and Schwartz)appear to be thoroughly mystified by the fossil record, they never seem to give up their blind faith in evolution despite the disparity they see first hand in the fossil record. In spite of their philosophical bias, I have to hand it to them for being fairly honest with the evidence though. I especially like how the authors draw out this following ‘what it means to be human’ distinction in their paper:

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

  9. further notes:

    These following studies, though of materialistic bent, offer strong support that Humans are extremely unique in this ‘advanced information capacity’ when compared to animals:

    Darwin’s mistake: Explaining the discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds:
    Excerpt: There is a profound functional discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds. We argue that this discontinuity pervades nearly every domain of cognition and runs much deeper than even the spectacular scaffolding provided by language or culture can explain. We hypothesize that the cognitive discontinuity between human and nonhuman animals is largely due to the degree to which human and nonhuman minds are able to approximate the higher-order, systematic, relational capabilities of a physical symbol system.
    http://www.bbsonline.org/Prepr.....eprint.htm

    Origin of the Mind: Marc Hauser – Scientific American – April 2009
    Excerpt: “Researchers have found some of the building blocks of human cognition in other species. But these building blocks make up only the cement footprint of the skyscraper that is the human mind”,,,
    http://www.wjh.harvard.edu?/~m.....dSciAm.pdf

    Earliest humans not so different from us, research suggests – February 2011
    Excerpt: Shea argues that comparing the behavior of our most ancient ancestors to Upper Paleolithic Europeans holistically and ranking them in terms of their “behavioral modernity” is a waste of time. There are no such things as modern humans, Shea argues, just Homo sapiens populations with a wide range of behavioral variability.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....umans.html

    Geometric Principles Appear Universal in Our Minds – May 2011
    Excerpt: Villagers belonging to an Amazonian group called the Mundurucú intuitively grasp abstract geometric principles despite having no formal math education,,, Mundurucú adults and 7- to 13-year-olds demonstrate as firm an understanding of the properties of points, lines and surfaces as adults and school-age children in the United States and France,,,
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscie.....-geometry/

  10. 10

    We may never know the origins of the first cell, thermodynamics took care of that information. The complexity since then is conbinatorial, and there were two or three billion years before the Cambrian explosion in the fossil record, and the explosions since then are associated with ecological niches opened by mass extinctions. Neanderthal and erectus were tool users and arguably human, but just didn’t fare well against modern humans, just as most modern humans didn’t fare well against our ancestors either. We did apparently interbreed with them however, since we are about 5% neanderthal.

    No one doubts that life, consciousness and symbolic reasoning are wonderful things that happened, perhaps relatively rare in the universe. But you also have to explain the lousy baggage we got along the way that evolution accommodates, without the embarrassing oversights and errors they would be for an “intelligent” designer. Life is rife with local instead of global optima constrained by development from pre-existing structures. We are stuck with the mistake by using the same genetic code for different species making transpecific disease transmission too easy. We can’t synthesize vitamin C or regrow limbs. Repair mechanisms degrade and aging sets in when pre-civilization expected individual life spans are exceeded. If human abilities are evidence of especially targeted design, the appalling lack of forsight about other features that would have been helpful is inexplicable, and argue against anything more than a serendipitous successful adaptation.

  11. africangenesis, you state:

    ‘We may never know the origins of the first cell,’

    Yet we have good evidence of sulfate reducing, and photosynthetic, bacteria in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth, plus we have solid reason to believe that the first cells were at least as complex as modern bacteria. Furthermore, inference to best explanation tells us that functional information, such as we find ‘overflowing’ in the cell, always comes from intelligence never from purely material processes.

    ag, you also state:

    ‘The complexity since then is conbinatorial,’

    This is wrong for we now have evidence for a large portion of completely unique, thus ‘NEW’, ORFAN genes in every different species sequenced thus far, including humans!

    ag; you also state;

    ‘and there were two or three billion years before the Cambrian explosion in the fossil record,’

    Far from providing a haven for Darwinists to appeal to, we have very good bio-geological evidence that the earth was being ‘terra-formed from a toxic wasteland to a place that was suitable for higher lifeforms.

    ag, you also state;

    ‘and the explosions since then are associated with ecological niches opened by mass extinctions.’

    A opportunity (a niche opening up) for a new species to suddenly appear in the fossil record does not equal a mechanism to explain the origination of new information for Darwinists, thus once again Darwinists ignore the elephant in the living room question, ‘where is the massive amount of functional information coming from!

    ag, you then state;

    Neanderthal and erectus were tool users and arguably human,

    This ignores the profound discontinuity in the fossil record, as cited in my previous post, just to picked up the Darwinist thread once again, with still no mechanism for explaining increasing complexity;

    ag; you then state;

    ‘but just didn’t fare well against modern humans, just as most modern humans didn’t fare well against our ancestors either.’

    This is purely hypothetical conjecture and blatantly ignores the fact that neo-Darwinists have no demonstrated mechanism to generate functional information;;

    ag, you then state;

    ‘We did apparently interbreed with them however, since we are about 5% neanderthal.’

    This evidence is not nearly as strong as you suppose it to be, and even if it were found to be rigidly true, you have ignored mountains of crushing evidence against your neo-Darwinian position just to make to baseless assertion that material processes were responsible for humans;

    ag; you then make several theological arguments that humans are not the way you would have preferred them to be designed. Well that is all fine and well ag, you go ahead and create a human and feel free to improve upon it just as you want. Myself, I will reserve the right to think that God may be smarter than you and has reasons for everything he has done, or has allowed to happen.

  12. africangenesis, furthermore, besides Darwinists blatantly ignoring the fact that they have NEVER demonstrated a gain of complex ‘classical’ functional information over and above the functional sequences we find in genes and proteins already in life, there is now a deeper level of Quantum Information which can’t even be reduced to the materialistic framework of neo-Darwinism in the first place:

    Neo-Darwinian evolution purports to explain all the wondrously amazing complexity of life on earth by reference solely to chance and necessity processes acting on energy and matter (i.e. purely material processes). In fact neo-Darwinian evolution makes the grand materialistic claim that the staggering levels of unmatched complex functional information we find in life, and even the ‘essence of life’ itself, simply ‘emerged’ from purely material processes. And even though this basic scientific point, of the ability of purely material processes to generate even trivial levels of complex functional information, has spectacularly failed to be established, we now have a much greater proof, than this stunning failure for validation, that ‘put the lie’ to the grand claims of neo-Darwinian evolution. This proof comes from the fact that it is now shown from quantum mechanics that ‘information’ is its own unique ‘physical’ entity. A physical
    entity that is shown to be completely independent of any energy-matter space-time constraints, i.e. it does not ‘emerge’ from a material basis. Moreover this ‘transcendent information’ is shown to be dominant of energy-matter in that this ‘information’ is shown to be the entity that is in fact constraining the energy-matter processes of the cell to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium.

    notes:

    Falsification of neo-Darwinism;

    First, Here is the falsification of local realism (reductive materialism).

    Here is a clip of a talk in which Alain Aspect talks about the failure of ‘local realism’, or the failure of reductive materialism, to explain reality:

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Reductive Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    The falsification for local realism (reductive materialism) was recently greatly strengthened:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    (of note: hidden variables were postulated to remove the need for ‘spooky’ forces, as Einstein termed them — forces that act instantaneously at great distances, thereby breaking the most cherished rule of relativity theory, that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.)

    And yet, quantum entanglement, which rigorously falsified local realism (reductive materialism) as the complete description of reality, is now found in molecular biology on a massive scale!

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA & Protein Folding – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    Quantum entanglement holds together life’s blueprint – 2010
    Excerpt: When the researchers analysed the DNA without its helical structure, they found that the electron clouds were not entangled. But when they incorporated DNA’s helical structure into the model, they saw that the electron clouds of each base pair became entangled with those of its neighbours (arxiv.org/abs/1006.4053v1). “If you didn’t have entanglement, then DNA would have a simple flat structure, and you would never get the twist that seems to be important to the functioning of DNA,” says team member Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford.
    http://neshealthblog.wordpress.....blueprint/

    The relevance of continuous variable entanglement in DNA – July 2010
    Excerpt: We consider a chain of harmonic oscillators with dipole-dipole interaction between nearest neighbours resulting in a van der Waals type bonding. The binding energies between entangled and classically correlated states are compared. We apply our model to DNA. By comparing our model with numerical simulations we conclude that entanglement may play a crucial role in explaining the stability of the DNA double helix.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.4053v1

    Quantum Information confirmed in DNA by direct empirical research;

    DNA Can Discern Between Two Quantum States, Research Shows – June 2011
    Excerpt: — DNA — can discern between quantum states known as spin. – The researchers fabricated self-assembling, single layers of DNA attached to a gold substrate. They then exposed the DNA to mixed groups of electrons with both directions of spin. Indeed, the team’s results surpassed expectations: The biological molecules reacted strongly with the electrons carrying one of those spins, and hardly at all with the others. The longer the molecule, the more efficient it was at choosing electrons with the desired spin, while single strands and damaged bits of DNA did not exhibit this property.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....104014.htm

    Information and entropy – top-down or bottom-up development in living systems? A.C. McINTOSH
    Excerpt: This paper highlights the distinctive and non-material nature of information and its relationship with matter, energy and natural forces. It is proposed in conclusion that it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.
    http://journals.witpress.com/paperinfo.asp?pid=420

    i.e. It is very interesting to note that quantum entanglement, which conclusively demonstrates that ‘information’ in its pure ‘quantum form’ is completely transcendent of any time and space constraints, should be found in molecular biology on such a massive scale, for how can the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ in biology possibly be explained by a material (matter/energy space/time) ’cause’ when the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ falsified material particles as its own ‘causation’ in the first place? (A. Aspect) Appealing to the probability of various configurations of material particles, as neo-Darwinism does, simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the capacity of the energy/matter particles themselves to supply! To give a coherent explanation for an effect that is shown to be completely independent of any time and space constraints one is forced to appeal to a cause that is itself
    not limited to time and space! i.e. Put more simply, you cannot explain a effect by a cause that has been falsified by the very same effect you are seeking to explain! Improbability arguments of various ‘specified’ configurations of material particles, which have been a staple of the arguments against neo-Darwinism, simply do not apply since the cause is not within the material particles in the first place!
    ,,,To refute this falsification of neo-Darwinism, one must falsify Alain Aspect, and company’s, falsification of local realism (reductive materialism)!

    ,,, As well, appealing to ‘non-reductive’ materialism (multiverse or many-worlds) to try to explain quantum non-locality in molecular biology ends up destroying the very possibility of doing science rationally;

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    ,,,Michael Behe has a profound answer to the infinite multiverse (non-reductive materialism) argument in “Edge of Evolution”. If there are infinite universes, then we couldn’t trust our senses, because it would be just as likely that our universe might only consist of a human brain that pops into existence which has the neurons configured just right to only give the appearance of past memories. It would also be just as likely that we are floating brains in a lab, with some scientist feeding us fake experiences. Those scenarios would be just as likely as the one we appear to be in now (one universe with all of our experiences being “real”). Bottom line is, if there really are an infinite number of universes out there, then we can’t trust anything we perceive to be true, which means there is no point in seeking any truth whatsoever.

    “The multiverse idea rests on assumptions that would be laughed out of town if they came from a religious text.” Gregg Easterbrook

    =================

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007

    =========================

  13. To dovetail into Dembski and Marks’s work on Conservation of Information;,,,

    LIFE’S CONSERVATION LAW: Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Information
    William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II
    http://evoinfo.org/publication.....ation-law/

    ,,,Encoded classical information, such as what we find in computer programs, and yes as we find encoded in DNA, is found to be a subset of ‘transcendent’ quantum information by the following method:,,,

    This following research provides solid falsification for Rolf Landauer’s contention that information encoded in a computer is merely physical (merely ‘emergent’ from a material basis) since he believed it always required energy to erase it;

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy.
    Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    ,,,And here is the empirical confirmation that quantum information is ‘conserved’;,,,

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

  14. 14

    @bornagain77,

    You appear to want to pick and choose which things are to be judged to have been purposely designed and which have just “been allowed to happen”.

    You depart from intelligent design science by hypothesizing the designer is “God”, and display a rather unscientific lack of curiosity about the actual purpose of any design because God is probably smarter (than me at least), and has his reasons for nonfunctional or poorly functional, or careless design which it is wrong to criticize because they may be beyond our ken, and actually really good designs by God’s standard. I infer that you aren’t just arguing for the design of irreducibly complex mechanisms, but for an overall grand design with a purpose?

    I’m open to a non-terrestrial origin of that first life, but if that is the case there should be life out there for us to eventually find.

    Most new function in life forms is derivative of previously existing function, through replication of genes, redundancy, and divergence of function.

    Mutations don’t create new information, but natural selection does by putting the mutations through filters and screens. The robustness of internal homeostasis to mutations allows some of them to be tolerated until they might become useful. It helps that most characters are not under the control of single genes, but of multiple genes.

    Cells that are able to divide after a mutation have passed it through one screen, if the development of the organism succeeds the mutation has passed another screen, if the organism survives and reproduces that is another screen. The mutation may not have contributed to any of these, and all may have been accomplished by redundancy and homeostatic adjustments to any variation introduced. If it is coding and transcribed, or if it is altering levels of genetic expression it is now information and variation for selection to act upon further.

    What evolved in those first billion years is evolvability and things really took off after that. What do I mean by evolvability? The robustness, redundancy, internal homeostasis and developmental homeostasis. A mutation can be covered up, adjusted to, and adapted to, allowing it to both be tolerated and exploited. A mutation that changes size or proportions or replicates a limb doesn’t have to wait for genes for supporting blood vessels or nerves. Developmental homeostasis automatically supplies those. Evolvability was actually something that evolved, and probably took a lot of trial and error, but was extremely successful once it was accomplished. Not every phylum is equally evolvable. For instance mammalian parental care provides niche reduction, and allows mutations deleterious in the young but beneficial to the adult to be tolerated. The rather poor predator evasion and avoidance abilities of human infants that would be deleterious without parental care.

    While we may be surprised at how much mechanistic processes have accomplished, you have no basis for the blanket statement that there is “no demonstrated mechanism to generate functional information”.

  15. ag you state:

    You appear to want to pick and choose which things are to be judged to have been purposely designed and which have just “been allowed to happen”.

    NO ag, I just want concrete evidence that neo-Darwinian evolution can produce ANY of the massive amounts of functional information we find in life. For neo-Darwinists to ignore their glaring lack of a foundation in science is criminal!!! If you want to tell fairy stories go do it by force of law to gullible children, but I’ll not have it!!

  16. 16

    bornagain77,

    “force of law”? Absolutely not, I don’t think the specific teaching of evolution in high school biology is that important. Public schools are pretty inefficient ways to learn anyway. The time would be better spent on biochemistry, it is far more practical. I am not concerned about teenagers not knowing about evolution, if they ever need to know it a week of evenings spent reading “The Selfish Gene” and “The Extended Phenotype” will give it to them much more efficiently. I appreciate the attempts to push intelligent design and creationism into the public schools, because I see them as wedge issues for important reforms, namely, separation of school and state. The founding fathers couldn’t have anticipated the need for this separation, they hadn’t experienced totalitarian societies and public employee unions. To the extent that ID is a force for more school choice, I appreciate their efforts. But that doesn’t mean I see much validity to the ID as a science. I’m willing to except it as long as it plays by the rules. However, I worry that the proponents mislead Christians about what ID has to offer. Despite their efforts, any success in getting ID into the public schools, will just put the designer on the slab to be analyzed like a slab of meat. His intelligence and intent whether for good or evil will be subject to question. You don’t seem open to that idea.

  17. ag you state:

    ‘any success in getting ID into the public schools, will just put the designer on the slab to be analyzed like a slab of meat. His intelligence and intent whether for good or evil will be subject to question.’

    Yet since neo-Darwinian evolution has no actual scientific evidence to support its claim to produce the unmatched levels of complex functional information we find in life, the neo-Darwinists themselves are forced to primarily use ‘theological’ arguments that do exactly what you say would happen if ID (actually just criticism of neo-Darwinism) is allowed to be taught in school. Thus not only do you refuse to acknowledge the gross insufficiency of Darwinian processes to generate functional complexity/information, you are also are very misleading as to how Darwinian arguments are formulated, primarily, to a theological basis:

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: Darwin employed theology in a positive fashion, as support for his own position. “In the Origin,” Dilley writes, “Darwin used a specific theological view of God’s relationship to natural laws in order to argue for evolution and against special creation.” The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:

    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):

    1. Human begins are not justfied in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.

    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.

    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.

    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.

    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.

    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.

    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.

    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.

    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.

    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    From Philosopher to Science Writer: The Dissemination of Evolutionary Thought – May 2011
    Excerpt: The powerful theory of evolution hangs on this framework of thought that mandates naturalism. The science is weak but the metaphysics are strong. This is the key to understanding evolutionary thought. The weak arguments are scientific and the strong arguments, though filled with empirical observation and scientific jargon, are metaphysical. The stronger the argument, the more theological or philosophical.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....riter.html

    further notes:

    Materialists like to claim evolution is indispensable to experimental biology and led the way to many breakthroughs in medicine, Yet in a article entitled “Evolutionary theory contributes little to experimental biology”, this expert author begs to differ.

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
    Philip S. Skell – Professor at Pennsylvania State University.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/2816

    Podcasts and Article of Dr. Skell
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....40981.html

    Darwinian Medicine and Proximate and Evolutionary Explanations – Michael Egnor – neurosurgeon – June 2011
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47701.html

    Science Owes Nothing To Darwinian Evolution – Jonathan Wells – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028096

    In this following podcast, Casey Luskin interviews microbiologist and immunologist Donald Ewert about his previous work as associate editor for the journal Development and Comparitive Immunology, where he realized that the papers published were comparative studies that had nothing to do with evolution at all.

    What Does Evolution Have to Do With Immunology? Not Much – April 2011
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....9_03-07_00

    “A Masterful Feat of Courtroom Deception”: Immunologist Donald Ewert on Dover Trial – audio
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_03-08_00

  18. 18

    Do you think complex functional information is encoded in the genome that captures what the difference is between a chimp and a human? That isn’t how the genetic code works. The proteins are pretty much the same, the main differences are in the timing of events and levels of expression during development. It is like a bunch of dials and switches that have no idea of what machine they are monitoring and controlling.

    There isn’t a lot of new function to account for, nearly all function is shared across many organisms.

    Most of the usefulness of evolution is in basic biological research of little practical use. It is really good at hypothesis generation, and has been confirmed repeatedly. For instance if a human and a gibbon both have lost function in their gene for synthesizing vitamin C, or both have lost the ability to regrow limbs, the hypothesis might be that both inherited this from their last common ancestor. Since the Chimps share that same common ancestor and with humans branched from after the divergence from gibbons, Chimps would be hypothesized to have lost the same functionality. Intelligent design has no such basic mechanism of relatedness. The best it could do, is that chimps and humans are similar in so many ways studied, hypothesize that they are similar in other ways. Under evolution, it would be hypothesized that there are very few really novel genes between closely related species. ID would only have statistical inference for such hypothesis generation.

    Evolutionary insight is helpful in selecting which model organisms might be most informative for specific studies. It is tough to think of many other naturally practical uses of it. By all means, study biochemistry instead.

    How intelligent is the designer or designers? Are the problems I cited previously due to constraints or limitations the designer faced? Or did the designer have different priorities? Is there any evidence that the designer had a particular focus on humans or is such an idea hubris? What are the different failure modes of the designs, is there evidence that the designer was aware of these and tried to address them? Does the designer have to be as intelligent as humans, or given the billions of years available, might the designer just have had more time to accumulate technology and work within a more limited intelligence, after all, human progress over the last few millenia has been impressive, despite many fits and starts, periods of stagnation. Humans are already probably just a few decades away from creating life from scratch, and being able to make considerable design improvements.

  19. ag;

    Study Reports a Whopping “23% of Our Genome” Contradicts Standard Human-Ape Evolutionary Phylogeny – Casey Luskin – June 2011
    Excerpt: For about 23% of our genome, we share no immediate genetic ancestry with our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. This encompasses genes and exons to the same extent as intergenic regions. We conclude that about 1/3 of our genes started to evolve as human-specific lineages before the differentiation of human, chimps, and gorillas took place. (of note; 1/3 of our genes is equal to about 7000 genes that we do not share with chimpanzees)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47041.html

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

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

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

    “Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds” 2004: – Doug Axe ,,,this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 10^77, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences.”
    http://www.mendeley.com/resear.....yme-folds/

    Kangaroo genes close to humans
    Excerpt: Australia’s kangaroos are genetically similar to humans,,, “There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order,” ,,,”We thought they’d be completely scrambled, but they’re not. There is great chunks of the human genome which is sitting right there in the kangaroo genome,”
    http://www.reuters.com/article.....P020081118

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’ (1 quadrillion years)(Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

    Dr. Sanford calculates it would take 12 million years to “fix” a single base pair mutation into a population. He further calculates that to create a gene with 1000 base pairs, it would take 12 million x 1000 or 12 billion years. This is obviously too slow to support the creation of the human genome containing 3 billion base pairs.
    http://www.detectingtruth.com/?p=66

    Oxford University Admits Darwinism’s Shaky Math Foundation – May 2011
    Excerpt: However, mathematical population geneticists mainly deny that natural selection leads to optimization of any useful kind. This fifty-year old schism is intellectually damaging in itself, and has prevented improvements in our concept of what fitness is. – On a 2011 Job Description for a Mathematician, at Oxford, to ‘fix’ the persistent mathematical problems with neo-Darwinism within two years.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46351.html

  20. ag, i.e. you have no actual evidence that neo-Darwinian evolution can do ANYTHING of significance, whereas finding non-local quantum information falsifies the neo-Darwinian framework from within since non-local quantum information demands a non-local cause separate from the ‘local’ material causes of neo-Darwinism. This is plain and simple science ag, for you to continue play games, after being shown this simple fact, as if you are being reasonable, is thoroughly disingenuous of you to the evidence at hand!!!

  21. 21

    The amount of human relatedness to chimpanzees isn’t a constant across the genome. It is apparent that different parts of the genome diverged from chimpanzees at different times and that our ancesters were still mating together and diverging over perhaps a million years. What the 23% shows is that we got some gene variants from our common ancester that chimpanzees didn’t, and that those gene variants diverged from each other within our common anscester further back in time when to even before the gorilla or other relatives diverged.

    We see similar things within the human genome itself. The D variant of the microcephalin gene appears to have diverged from the other variants about 700,000 years ago, while the other variants are consistent with the usual human timeline of 100 to 200 thousand years. Yet microcephalin-D variants have only diverged from each other within the last 35000 years. This is consistent with the hypothesis that microcephalin-D diverged from the other human variants back at the split with Neanderthal, but one copy was reintroduced to the human genome at the end of co-existance with neanderthal about 35000 years ago.

    All these genes are obviously related to each other, sharing a significant percentage of their sequences, diverging from each other at different points in time, and sorting differently among the descendants. Most of the chimpanzee specific variants are not related to the difference between humans and chimpanzees and would probably function perfectly well in humans, forming humans and not chimps if transferred to the human genome. The very complexity and messiness of this is more supportive of evolution than of intelligent design.

    You appear to be just cutting and pasting. You are probably not the person I should be having this discussion with, if you don’t understand the material yourself.

  22. 22
    ApotheticAgnostic

    I’m pretty sure that quantum theory is not applicable to evolutionary biology.

    It would be much more constructive if, instead of attacking an established scientific theory, you presented a reasonable alternative.

    Copernicus and Galileo did not spend any time throwing rocks at the Ptolemaic system. They merely presented a far superior alternative.

  23. 23
    ApotheticAgnostic

    bornagain77,

    Really! You’re using principles from quantum theory to criticize the biological theory of natural selection?

    Copernicus and Galileo did not waste time and words criticizing the Ptolemaic theory for the relative movement of the planets and the sun. They simply presented an alternative explanation/hypothesis/theory that was much better.

Leave a Reply