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Quote of the Day

“I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as “solid as any explanation in science.” Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison? ”

David Berlinski

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68 Responses to Quote of the Day

  1. 1
    Kantian Naturalist

    Maybe biological explanations in general are just different from physical explanations? For one thing, there are not (to my knowledge) any laws of biology, so the fundamental task of biological theories is different in kind from the task of physical theories. The task of a physical theory is to explain why the laws hold, to the extent that they do. That’s not so for biology.

    If there are no laws of life, then biological explanations are just different in character than physical laws, and so it’s a mistake to so much as hold them against physical theories, let alone think that biological theories suffer by the comparison.

  2. Physical laws are descriptive; results of observations and thus provisional and subject to revision.

  3. Kantian Naturalist: Maybe biological explanations in general are just different from physical explanations?

    What does that tell us about reductionist ambition?

    Kantian Naturalist: For one thing, there are not (to my knowledge) any laws of biology, so the fundamental task of biological theories is different in kind from the task of physical theories.

    I would like to propose a biological law – on which we more or less agreed – : *Organisms are organized top-down*.

    Kantian Naturalist: The task of a physical theory is to explain why the laws hold, to the extent that they do. That’s not so for biology.
    If there are no laws of life, then biological explanations are just different in character than physical laws, (..)

    Maybe biology needs a new paradigm. Maybe the search for bottom-up explanations for life is coming to an end.

    Kantian Naturalist: (..) and so it’s a mistake to so much as hold them against physical theories, (..)

    Maybe the mistake is the metaphysical naturalistic confinement.

  4. What about the law of biogenesis? Thats a law of biology.
    Its supported by every single observation in the history of mankind and not contradicted by any known evidence. I would put it up there with the law of gravity.

  5. 5
    Kantian Naturalist

    Box, I think one of the few things you and I agree upon is that reductionism is intellectually bankrupt. (Granted, that’s a pretty huge thing to agree upon!)

    As to whether the top-down organization of living things qualifies as a law, I hesitate — likewise for biogenesis — because I don’t know how such claims can be put into a mathematical form. For while I do think it is true that living things have a top-down, hierarchical organization — indeed, I think it is a necessary truth! — I haven’t the slightest idea how to mathematically represent that truth, and so I’m leery of calling it a law of nature.

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington

    KN: “Maybe biological explanations in general are just different from physical explanations?”

    AF: “Physical laws are descriptive; results of observations and thus provisional and subject to revision.”

    You both fail to grasp that Darwinists assert that natural selection is a “physical explanation” or a “physical law” as you have used those terms. In other words, according to them, natural selection acts as a mechanical necessity in exactly the same way that gravity makes an apple drop to the ground. And the sillier ones will tell you that it is established as well as the laws of gravity. Berlinski is making a point about that silliness. It is good to see you agree with him.

  7. 7
    Kantian Naturalist

    Barry, that’s a perfectly good reason to avoid an Epicurean interpretation of evolutionary theory, but that’s different from the theory per se.

    As someone who both has some philosophical training under my belt and understands evolutionary biology fairly well (for a non-specialist), it seems quite clear to me that it would be a category-mistake to call natural selection a law. But one can point that out without rejecting the idea that natural selection plays an important role in producing macroevolutionary patterns, such as speciation.

  8. It is interesting to note that ‘higher dimensional’ mathematics had to be developed before Einstein could elucidate General Relativity, or even before Quantum Mechanics could be elucidated;

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss and Riemann – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    One peculiar thing about the higher dimensional 4-D space time of General Relativity is that it ‘expands equally in all places’:

    Where is the centre of the universe?:
    Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.

    Thus from a 3-dimensional (3D) perspective, any particular 3D spot in the universe is to be considered just as ‘center of the universe’ as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered ‘center of the universe’. This centrality found for any 3D place in the universe is because the universe is a 4D expanding hypersphere, analogous in 3D to the surface of an expanding balloon. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point is central, if that’s where you live.

    Centrality of Earth Within The 4-Dimensional Space-Time of General Relativity – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8421879

    And higher (infinite) dimensional quantum mechanics is also very mysterious in that consciousness is found to be the ‘ultimate universal reality’:

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” -
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961 – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes the quantum wave collapse of material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    Of related note; there is also a mysterious ‘higher dimensional’ component to life:

    The predominance of quarter-power (4-D) scaling in biology
    Excerpt: Many fundamental characteristics of organisms scale
    with body size as power laws of the form:

    Y = Yo M^b,

    where Y is some characteristic such as metabolic rate, stride length or life span, Yo is a normalization constant, M is body mass and b is the allometric scaling exponent.
    A longstanding puzzle in biology is why the exponent b is usually some simple multiple of 1/4 (4-Dimensional scaling) rather than a multiple of 1/3, as would be expected from Euclidean (3-Dimensional) scaling.

    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.,,, The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection.”
    Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79

    Of related interest is that mathematics was shown to be incomplete by Godel:

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8462821

    i.e. the ‘truth’ of a mathematical equation is not within the mathematical equation itself but the ‘truthfulness’ of the equation must be imparted to it from God:

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Moreover, Godel, who was perhaps Einstein’s closest confidant at Princeton, also had this to say

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” – Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered one of the greatest logicians who ever existed)
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    And when one allows God into math to make it ‘complete’ then one finds a very credible reconciliation between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into the infamous ‘theory of everything’:

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy, and The Shroud Of Turin – updated video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Romans 11:36
    For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

    Natalie Grant – Alive (Resurrection music video)
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=KPYWPGNX

  9. Maybe not a “law”, but…

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”
    Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain

    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Certainly more robust and empirically supported than the whole macroevolution thing we keep hearing about..

  10. Berlinski always makes my day. He should be required reading in schools.

  11. In Wheeler’s delayed choice thought experiment, proved in the lab by several groups,(The Universe We Created), most recently by a group in Vienna (1) using entanglement, quantum mechanics allows us to change the past by our actions (observation) in the present. In Wheeler’s view, the universe exists in a quantum state of possibilities until we “create” it by observing it.

    So if we can create the past through our observations in the present, does that mean that we created our own universe retroactively?

    Does that mean that ID is right, but that we are our own designers?

    Does it mean that as our intelligence grows, we’ll be able to retroactively design a better universe?

    Design a better homo sapiens?

    1. Xiao-song Ma, Stefan Zotter, Johannes Kofler, Rupert Ursin, Thomas Jennewein, ?aslav Brukner, Anton Zeilinger. Experimental delayed-choice entanglement swapping. Nature Physics, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/NPHYS2294

  12. This is the problem you always run into in these debates… poorly defined terms. If by “evolution” we mean “change over time”, then yes, I’d say evolution is exceptionally well established as much as anything else in science that is frequently observed. But if by “evolution” we mean “a process that by itself created life and all that we see around us via random mutation and natural selection”, then no, that’s not established at all.

    It’s always amusing to me to read or watch debates around evolution, and it seems as if each opponent is talking about two completely different concepts. That’s the problem with the word “evolution”… it means a lot of different things. I’ve actually never met anyone who opposes evolution across the board. The debate is not and has never been about whether evolution occurs… the debate is about how far one can take the concept in terms of explanatory power. And that ranges from explaining things such as “the frequency of expression of an existing trait within a population” to “the creation of life itself and all it’s diversity”. Two very, very different things.

  13. 13
    Kantian Naturalist

    I disagree, Cheshire. I think the question of evolution can be quite neatly nailed down into two basic topics:

    (1) are microevolutionary processes sufficient to explain speciation?

    (2) is there anything over and above speciation that needs to be explained?

    In watching critics of evolution (whom are not always sympathetic towards design theory, though they often are) talk about “new body plans” and “new cell types”, it strikes me that they think that answer to (2) is not only “yes,” but obviously “yes” — so obviously that they accuse their opponents of prevarication.

    What evolution critics have trouble appreciating, I believe, is that as far as evolutionary biologists are concerned, once speciation has been explained, everything has been explained. There’s nothing left. And this is because — and I think this is really important — as far as evolutionary biology is concerned, only species are real. Higher taxa — genera, families, classes, phyla, etc. — those are treated in a purely nominalistic fashion, as mere labels for describing similarities and differences amongst species. So once speciation has been accounted for, there’s nothing left to account for.

    I am leaving aside the question of abiogenesis, since it’s not treated as a topic within evolutionary biology.

    (Perhaps one could think that the very first life-forms on Earth must have been intelligently designed, but that everything else in the history of life on earth since then proceeded on a strictly naturalistic basis. That idea has furnished the premise of many science-fiction novels and shows, though I don’t know if anyone has defended it as a serious proposition.)

  14. Well there isn’t any mathematics, no equations, for evolutionism, but Darwin did say:

    “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

    And such things have been demonstrated. Darwin’s theory has broken down.

  15. KN:

    What evolution critics have trouble appreciating, I believe, is that as far as evolutionary biologists are concerned, once speciation has been explained, everything has been explained.

    Baraminology is OK with speciation. Linneas, in his search for the Created Kind, placed it at the level of Genus. Meaning all of today’s species evolved from those Created Kinds.

  16. KN,

    I’d disagree, and i’d do so based on discussions I myself have had. I have a friend who is a marine biologist, and we got into a discussion about this not long ago. At first, she was absolutely stunned that I would question evolution… after awhile, when I explained to her that I didn’t question evolution in terms of “a currently expressed trait becoming more/less frequent based on environmental pressures” but that I did have issues with evolution in terms of “explaining life itself and all diversity of life”, her response was basically “Oh, wait, then we agree”. So this thing we had been debating for 10 minutes was a misunderstanding because we were using different perspectives of the word. So I think it creates a great deal of confusion just based on my own observation.

    And that’s the problem – evolution is used to explain so many things up and down the scale that it becomes extremely confusing because people rarely stop to define their terms. No one questions, say, the classic textbook example of black moths becoming more frequent than white moths because their environment makes it harder for predators to detect them. But when evolution is questioned, sometimes it’s supporters think that such generally accepted and observed events are what are being questioned, which is not the case. It’s not the core concept being debate … it’s the extrapolation of the concept and whether it’s being used to explain things outside of it’s explanatory limit.

    It’s not my intention here to argue whether evolution explains speciation (not sure that was really your intention either)… I simply wanted to point out the confusion I frequently observe with the term evolution itself.

  17. 17

    The operative word for the day is SCIENCE.
    Science is not just ordinary investigation.
    Its a high standard of investigation.
    Therfore YEC and ID should focus intellectual scrutiny upon whether evolutionary biology is a theory or just a hypothesis lacking evidence!
    Not attack evolutionists evidence but is the ‘evidence” from scientific biological investigation.
    If evolution is not true it couldn’t be well supported!
    If it claims to be science then upon the science it either fails or us critics fail to see the science.
    Science ain’t just another word for being careful. Its a methodology with rules of conduct.
    Evolutionists name your top four biological scientific evidences for evolution Darwin style.
    I have a hypthesis they can’t do it!

  18. KN @7:

    But one can point that out without rejecting the idea that natural selection plays an important role in producing macroevolutionary patterns, such as speciation.

    By “natural selection plays an important role” I presume you mean that certain physical processes (mutations, for example, coupled with the various vagaries and hazards of the natural environment) lead to a particular result. And if that result happens to be a stochastically higher rate of reproduction we attach a label to the result and call it “natural selection.”

  19. If there are no laws of life, then biological explanations are just different in character than physical laws, and so it’s a mistake to so much as hold them against physical theories, let alone think that biological theories suffer by the comparison.

    That would just reinforce Barry’s point (and David’s as well) here. Then it would be the case that, no, Darwin’s theory is not as solid as ‘any in science’ because the nature of the field doesn’t allow it to be so.

  20. KN @12:

    What evolution critics have trouble appreciating, I believe, is that as far as evolutionary biologists are concerned, once speciation has been explained, everything has been explained. There’s nothing left. And this is because — and I think this is really important — as far as evolutionary biology is concerned, only species are real. Higher taxa — genera, families, classes, phyla, etc. — those are treated in a purely nominalistic fashion, as mere labels for describing similarities and differences amongst species. So once speciation has been accounted for, there’s nothing left to account for.

    And this is precisely the problem. This is precisely the intellectual trap so many evolutionary biologists have fallen into.

    It is obviously clear to anyone who stops to think about it objectively for a few moments that the kinds of microevolutionary processes that are observed do not necessarily lead to all larger scale changes. The only reason some folks are unable to grasp this very simple point is because they are blind to it — either due do poor training, an a priori philosophical commitment, or simply not having thought about it carefully.

    You are correct about this much: For the committed evolutionist, everything is viewed as just another manifestation of a single process of evolution that has been going on since the beginning of time. This is one of the main reasons the word “evolution” is so incredibly slippery and is used to mean wildly-different things. In the evolutionary mindset it is all one and the same.

    Once we escape from that intellectual blunder, however, it becomes clear that it is not all one and the same.

  21. BA 77: Why not repost 8 above over in the pot stirring thread? KF

  22. KN & Cheshire:

    First, what is a species? THAT, too, is up for significant debate.

    Indeed, I think that even young earth creationists will accept that the “kind” is much broader than what is usually meant by species, with the family being a rough level. I have often cited Red Deer varieties, which per discovery of free inter-fertility in New Zealand (on planting populations) seems to include North American Elk. I also recall how some years ago, the Rainbow Trout/Steelhead, was reclassified as in effect a variety of Pacific Salmon.

    Next, in order to create the very first cell based life’s body plan, some serious, tightly integrated functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information has to be explained and explained without recourse to the favourite out of chance variation and differential reproductive success of sub populations. For, the mechanism of reproduction or replication is itself part of what has to be explained.

    Of course, the usual side track here is: that is beyond the scope of evolutionary theory.

    Rather conveniently, is my retort — let us duck explaining the root of the tree of life we are appealing to.

    This case,such diversions notwithstanding, brings to focus the fact that the only observed, inductively well warranted causal explanation of FSCO/I, is design. And so as of right, design is — artificial exclusionary tactics notwithstanding — on the table from the very root of the tree of life.

    Once that is seen, we are off and running on a sounder footing for addressing the origin of complex, tightly integrated genetic and epigenetic information and organisation, the rise of new protein types, cell types and body plans. And nope, something that may explain how a small and isolated sub population may vary and become wholly or partly reproductively isolated, does not explain the matter adequately.

    That is a matter of gross extrapolation on a premise that in effect any amount of relevant info and organisation can be explained incrementally as being functional improvements that fix in sub pops all the way. That is no more reasonable than assuming that while retaining function incrementally, we can convert “See Spot run” into say this post.

    And for such an extraordinary claim, we need clearly adequate empirical evidence. That evidence is: _________________, and that evidence excludes an alternative such as design of the first and key successive body plans because __________________ .

    As a capital example of the problem to be explained on specific cases that highlights the difference, consider the origin of a whale from some suitable quadruped. Work through the list of incremental changes and come back on how the whole will be viable, with empirical observational warrant.

    Similarly, the origin of complete metamorphosis in animals such as butterflies (which I raised a few days back), needs similar well grounded explanation.

    Those two alone, suffice to show why the incrementalist extrapolation to and from speciation is not to be taken as an of course.

    KF

  23. OT: Haven’t kept up I guess….but can someone answer this:

    What is the difference people are referring to in the general topic when they refer to intelligent design versus Intelligent Design? (i.e. one being big or capitalized ID)?

  24. JG: Someone has been making a big thing out of it. The asserted distinciton is problematic. That many people believe in design in and even of the world is a different thing from the “real” design inference point: that it is at least possible to investigate scientifically whether there are reliable, observable signs in the world that point to intelligent design (as opposed to blind chance and/or mechanical necessity) as best causal explanation. There has been an attempt to load up the capital letter ID with the specific meaning that includes a hidden agenda Creationist theism, and there has been some attempt to demand that design theory must achieve several attainments before it is acceptable. Like, whodunit type stuff. But, let’s keep on track. KF

  25. A few related notes from Dr. Berlinski:

    Darwin and the Mathematicians – David Berlinski – 2009
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....cians.html

    Dr. David Berlinski: Head Scratching Mathematicians – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEDYr_fgcP8

    quote from preceding video:

    “John Von Neumann, one of the great mathematicians of the twentieth century, just laughed at Darwinian theory, he hooted at it!”
    Dr. David Berlinski

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    “Darwin’s theory is easily the dumbest idea ever taken seriously by science.”
    Granville Sewell – Professor Of Mathematics – University Of Texas – El Paso

  26. and:

    Accounting for Variations – Dr. David Berlinski: – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW2GkDkimkE

    “No human investigation can be called true science without passing through mathematical tests.”
    Leonardo Da Vinci

  27. Well put at 13, KN.

    However, the real boost to evolutionary biology came with cheaper and faster DNA sequencing. Species definitions matter less than what DNA can confirm about reproductive isolation.

  28. Mr. Fox, the point that Dr. Berlinski brought out in the quote in the OP is that neo-Darwinism is not a scientific theory in any sense of the word since it has no mathematical basis from which to judge its accuracy or to make ‘daring’ predictions. In the “Accounting for Variations” video I listed Dr. Berlinski put it, “One is left completely adrift”.,,, And as Dr. VJ Torley asked in his recent article exposing the ‘in thin air’ scientific foundation that Darwinism rests upon:

    Macroevolution, microevolution and chemistry: the devil is in the details – Dr. V. J. Torley – February 27, 2013
    Excerpt: After all, mathematics, scientific laws and observed processes are supposed to form the basis of all scientific explanation. If none of these provides support for Darwinian macroevolution, then why on earth should we accept it? Indeed, why does macroevolution belong in the province of science at all, if its scientific basis cannot be demonstrated?
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-details/

    The lack of a mathematical foundation, which Dr. Torley beautifully illustrated, was particularly surprising for me, because I had been assured here on UD by a evolutionary professor at a leading university (whom Dr. Torley referenced in his article), years ago, that Darwinism was ‘mathematical’ through and through. And yes one can get away with saying that Darwinism is ‘mathematical’ through and through, but what one cannot get away with saying is that Darwinism has a rigid mathematical basis from which one can make extensive predictions with. Well, after being subtly misled for years by that professor’s distortion/omission of the facts, I finally, in my slow pace of things, started to piece together the fact that Darwinism has no rigid mathematical foundation at all as do all other well established scientific theories,,

    Oxford University Seeks Mathemagician — May 5th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Grand theories in physics are usually expressed in mathematics. Newton’s mechanics and Einstein’s theory of special relativity are essentially equations. Words are needed only to interpret the terms. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has obstinately remained in words since 1859. …
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....emagician/

    Accounting for Variations – Dr. David Berlinski: – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW2GkDkimkE

    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.

    In fact, contrary to what the employers at Oxford would like to believe, the truth is that there is not some magical mystery equation out there waiting to be discovered to finally give Darwinism the foundation that it needs to be considered truly scientific. The fact is that Darwinists have refused to listen to what the equations of population genetics are thus far telling them. i.e. Darwinists refuse to accept the falsification of their theory from mathematics:

    Using Numerical Simulation to Test the Validity of Neo-Darwinian Theory – 2008
    Abstract: Evolutionary genetic theory has a series of apparent “fatal flaws” which are well known to population geneticists, but which have not been effectively communicated to other scientists or the public. These fatal flaws have been recognized by leaders in the field for many decades—based upon logic and mathematical formulations. However population geneticists have generally been very reluctant to openly acknowledge these theoretical problems, and a cloud of confusion has come to surround each issue.
    Numerical simulation provides a definitive tool for empirically testing the reality of these fatal flaws and can resolve the confusion. The program Mendel’s Accountant (Mendel) was developed for this purpose, and it is the first biologically-realistic forward-time population genetics numerical simulation program. This new program is a powerful research and teaching tool. When any reasonable set of biological parameters are used, Mendel provides overwhelming empirical evidence that all of the “fatal flaws” inherent in evolutionary genetic theory are real. This leaves evolutionary genetic theory effectively falsified—with a degree of certainty which should satisfy any reasonable and open-minded person.
    http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/techn.....Theory.pdf

    This is simply unheard of in science. Both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics subject themselves constantly to potential falsification, as well as refinement for accuracy, to see if their mathematical descriptions of reality accurately predict what is observed for reality.

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    (Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003)

    “No human investigation can be called true science without passing through mathematical tests.”
    Leonardo Da Vinci

    In my unsolicited personal opinion, the main reason Darwinism cannot be formulated into any coherent mathematical model to give accurate, ‘daring’, predictions is because of its reliance on the ‘random variable postulate’ at the base of its formulation:

    “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’”
    Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) -

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: The situation calls to mind a widely circulated cartoon by Sidney Harris, which shows two scientists in front of a blackboard on which a body of theory has been traced out with the usual tangle of symbols, arrows, equations, and so on. But there’s a gap in the reasoning at one point, filled by the words, “Then a miracle occurs.” And the one scientist is saying to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”
    In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    Murray Eden, as reported in “Heresy in the Halls of Biology: Mathematicians Question Darwinism,” Scientific Research, November 1967, p. 64.
    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    Moreover, as Alvin Plantiga has shown in his Evolutionary argument against naturalism, (i.e. a refinement of “The argument from reason” from CS Lewis), this ‘random variable postulate’ ends up driving neo-Darwinism into epistemological failure,,,

    Scientific Peer Review is in Trouble: From Medical Science to Darwinism – Mike Keas – October 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Survival is all that matters on evolutionary naturalism. Our evolving brains are more likely to give us useful fictions that promote survival rather than the truth about reality. Thus evolutionary naturalism undermines all rationality (including confidence in science itself). Renown philosopher Alvin Plantinga has argued against naturalism in this way (summary of that argument is linked on the site:).
    Or, if you’re short on time and patience to grasp Plantinga’s nuanced argument, see if you can digest this thought from evolutionary cognitive psychologist Steve Pinker, who baldly states:
    “Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth; sometimes the truth is adaptive, sometimes it is not.”
    Steven Pinker, evolutionary cognitive psychologist, How the Mind Works (W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 305.
    http://blogs.christianpost.com.....ism-12421/

    ,,, the ‘unrestrained randomness’ at the base of Darwinism, if neo-Darwinism were actually true, results in the epistemological failure of science itself! But this really should not come as a surprise to anyone for how can a theory which denies the reality of mind in the first place be said to guarantee that our perceptions and reasoning of mind are trustworthy?

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter”.
    J. B. S. Haldane ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

    Supplemental notes:

    In the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is falsified by the fact that present conscious choices effect past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (determinism) how in blue blazes are my choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past?,,

    Here is another piece of evidence that solidly demarcates the randomness of the material particles of the universe from the randomness that would be necessarily inherent within ‘conscious’ creatures created by God with free will:

    Quantum Zeno effect
    Excerpt: The quantum Zeno effect is,,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-445840

    Since material particles are held to ‘randomly’ decay, why in blue blazes is conscious observation putting a freeze on ‘random’ entropic decay, unless consciousness was/is more foundational to reality than ‘random’ entropic decay is? This point is really driven home when we realize that the initial entropy of the universe was 1 in 10^10^123, which is, by far, the most finely tuned of initial conditions of the universe.

    “The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.”
    Charles Darwin to Doedes, N. D. – Letter – 2 Apr 1873

    Music and verse:

    Phillips, Craig & Dean – Great I Am – music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSoz6L1vqm8

    Genesis 2:7
    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

  29. kairosfocus @ 24

    Thanks.

    You know, here is something that I don’t get. Most of the arguments I’ve heard from those opposed to inferring intelligent design seem to come back to we only know or have observed human intelligence to design.

    But let me side step for a second and first explain a concept, as I understand it.

    Science seems to explain phenomena in nature by observing it and forming hypothesis etc… This is pretty much all its about, as I understand it. For example, the motion of the planets. Ok, Newton pretty much solved that single handed. And so then gravity was associated with mass of an object. Mass is due to the amount of matter. So, where there’s matter, there’s gravity. Yay!… observed and tested.

    So, from that, scientists can infer things like nearby planets or stars to other planets or stars based on some cyclical pattern of movement. That is, they see some phenomena they know, gravitational effect, and infer nearby matter. Ok, fine. Makes sense!

    Now.. pay close attention..

    Scientists observe some effect about the universe. They see some effect! And it looks to them like there must be this familiar effect of gravity present. But….they can’t see the matter… So, they posit a mysterious form of matter, called “dark matter”. A kind of matter that we have never experienced.

    This get’s passed as science all the time.

    Now. Contrast to ID.

    The phenomena we observe is functional design.
    The only observed cause has been intelligence…but critics stop and say we have only seen human intelligence.

    Ah ha! Well, we have only seen normal matter create the effect of gravity!

    Doh!

    I wonder if all those same critics are blasting the scientists that promote dark matter as intensively.

    Interestingly enough, scientists that posit dark matter actually even go a step further than ID scientists. That is, ID scientists don’t take the extra step further to try to identify or characterize the intelligence, but merely to identify it’s intelligent activity.

    Anyway, just noting that observation.

  30. As well Mr. Fox, you appeal to “what DNA can confirm about reproductive isolation” as empirical confirmation that the grand claims of neo-Darwinism are true, yet no one disputes reproductive isolation:

    “The closest science has come to observing and recording actual speciation in animals is the work of Theodosius Dobzhansky in Drosophilia paulistorium fruit flies. But even here, only reproductive isolation, not a new species, appeared.”
    from page 32 “Acquiring Genomes” Lynn Margulis.

    Selection and Speciation: Why Darwinism Is False – Jonathan Wells:
    Excerpt: there are observed instances of secondary speciation — which is not what Darwinism needs — but no observed instances of primary speciation, not even in bacteria. British bacteriologist Alan H. Linton looked for confirmed reports of primary speciation and concluded in 2001: “None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....why_d.html

    What is disputed is whether reproductive isolation is the result ‘top down’ genetic entropy processes or ‘bottom up’ neo-Darwinian processes. And the empirical evidence consistently indicate that reproductive isolation is brought about by ‘top down’ genetic entropy processes:

    A. L. Hughes’s New Non-Darwinian Mechanism of Adaption Was Discovered and Published in Detail by an ID Geneticist 25 Years Ago – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – December 2011
    Excerpt: The original species had a greater genetic potential to adapt to all possible environments. In the course of time this broad capacity for adaptation has been steadily reduced in the respective habitats by the accumulation of slightly deleterious alleles (as well as total losses of genetic functions redundant for a habitat), with the exception, of course, of that part which was necessary for coping with a species’ particular environment….By mutative reduction of the genetic potential, modifications became “heritable”. — As strange as it may at first sound, however, this has nothing to do with the inheritance of acquired characteristics. For the characteristics were not acquired evolutionarily, but existed from the very beginning due to the greater adaptability. In many species only the genetic functions necessary for coping with the corresponding environment have been preserved from this adaptability potential. The “remainder” has been lost by mutations (accumulation of slightly disadvantageous alleles) — in the formation of secondary species.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....53881.html

    Reappraising speciation in fossil gastropods – February 5, 2013 – David Tyler
    Excerpt: The morphologies (investigated during a geological interval of c. 1.6 Ma) can be described as examples of micro-evolutionary change. The Melanopsis gastropods are all members of the same genus. Whilst morphologies change, there are no evolutionary novelties. Indeed, there is no evidence here for anything more than multiple phenotypes emerging from the same genotype. The situation fits well with the concept of phenotypic plasticity,,,
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.....sil_gastro

    Evolutionists Are Losing Ground Badly: Both Pattern and Process Contradict the Aging Theory – Cornelius Hunter – July 2012
    Excerpt: Contradictory patterns in biology include the abrupt appearance of so many forms and the diversity explosions followed by a winnowing of diversity in the fossil record. It looks more like the inverse of an evolutionary tree with bursts of new species which then die off over time.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....badly.html

    EXPELLED – Natural Selection And Genetic Mutations – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036840

    “…but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have…”
    Maciej Marian Giertych – Population Geneticist – member of the European Parliament – EXPELLED

    “We found an enormous amount of diversity within and between the African populations, and we found much less diversity in non-African populations,” Tishkoff told attendees today (Jan. 22) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim. “Only a small subset of the diversity in Africa is found in Europe and the Middle East, and an even narrower set is found in American Indians.” Tishkoff; Andrew Clark, Penn State; Kenneth Kidd, Yale University; Giovanni Destro-Bisol, University “La Sapienza,” Rome, and Himla Soodyall and Trefor Jenkins, WITS University, South Africa, looked at three locations on DNA samples from 13 to 18 populations in Africa and 30 to 45 populations in the remainder of the world.-

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking? – January 20, 2011
    Excerpt: John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”
    “Shrinking?” I ask. “I thought it was getting larger.” The whole ascent-of-man thing.,,,
    He rattles off some dismaying numbers: Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.”
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-shrinking

    ,,the mean sequence divergence in dogs, 2.06, was almost identical to the 2.10 (sequence divergence) found within wolves. (please note the sequence divergence is slightly smaller for the entire spectrum of dogs than for wolves)
    http://jhered.oxfordjournals.o.....0/1/71.pdf

    podcast – On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin talks with geneticist Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig about his recent article on the evolution of dogs. Casey and Dr. Lönnig evaluate the claim that dogs somehow demonstrate macroevolution.
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_14-08_00
    Part 2: Dog Breeds: Proof of Macroevolution?
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....7_07-08_00

  31. In fact Dr. Fox it is surprising that you would refer to genetic sequences at all for Darwinists are infamous for, as Popper put it, ‘explaining everything and thus actually explaining nothing’ with genetic sequences. This lack of rigor is beautifully illustrated with the recent finding of widespread of ORFan genes and the ‘spin’ Darwinists put on this crushing evidence against their theory:

    Orphan Genes (And the peer reviewed ‘non-answer’ from Darwinists) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zz6vio_LhY

    Genes from nowhere: Orphans with a surprising story – 16 January 2013 – Helen Pilcher
    Excerpt: When biologists began sequencing genomes they discovered up to a third of genes in each species seemed to have no parents or family of any kind. Nevertheless, some of these “orphan genes” are high achievers (are just as essential as ‘old’ genes),,,
    But where do they come from? With no obvious ancestry, it was as if these genes appeared out of nowhere, but that couldn’t be true. Everyone assumed that as we learned more, we would discover what had happened to their families. But we haven’t-quite the opposite, in fact.,,,
    The upshot is that the chances of random mutations turning a bit of junk DNA into a new gene seem infinitesmally small. As the French biologist Francois Jacob wrote 35 years ago, “the probability that a functional protein would appear de novo by random association of amino acids is practically zero”.,,,
    Orphan genes have since been found in every genome sequenced to date, from mosquito to man, roundworm to rat, and their numbers are still growing.
    http://ccsb.dfci.harvard.edu/w.....n_2013.pdf

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

    As well as micro-RNA’s

    Nature Article Finds MicroRNAs are “Tearing Apart Traditional Ideas about the Animal Family Tree”
    Casey Luskin June 29, 2012
    Excerpt: When Peterson started his work on the placental [mammal] phylogeny, he had originally intended to validate the traditional mammal tree, not chop it down. As he was experimenting with his growing microRNA library, he applied it to mammals because their tree was so well established that they seemed an ideal test. Alas, the data didn’t cooperate. If the traditional tree was correct, then an unprecedented number of microRNA genes would have to have been lost, and Peterson considers that highly unlikely. “The microRNAs are totally unambiguous,” he says, “but they give a totally different tree from what everyone else wants.”,,, Maybe the reason that different genes yield different evolutionary trees is because there isn’t a single unified tree of life to be found. In other words, perhaps universal common ancestry is simply wrong.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....61471.html

    micro-RNA’s and the Non-Falsifiable Phylogenetic Trees of Darwinists – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv-i4pY6_MU

    Further notes:

    How to Play the Gene Evolution Game – Casey Luskin – Feb. 2010
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....32141.html

    Common Ancestry: Wikipedia vs. the Data – Casey Luskin – October 5, 2012
    Excerpt: In fact, the largest category of genes here is eukaryotic (cells with a nucleus) genes that have no homolog among prokaryotes (cells without a nucleus) — they don’t even have any possible candidate ancestors to explain where these genes came from, much less a consistent pattern of similarity pointing to one particular ancestor. All this is the opposite of “a direct correlation with common descent.”,,,
    ,,, if two phylogenetic trees aren’t congruent, the problem isn’t that common descent is wrong, but rather the conflict is simply evidence of HGT.,,, Syvanen, (in “Evolutionary Implications of Horizontal Gene Transfer,” Annual Review of Genetics, Vol. 46:339-356 (2012), invokes widespread HGT (Horizontal Gene Transfer), but he’s uncommonly honest about the data and its implications, offering the radical suggestion that “life might indeed have multiple origins.”,,,
    let’s now look within eukaryotes.,,,
    The biochemical organization of the innate immune systems of plants and animals is strikingly similar — but this is a direct non-correlation with common descent. Thus, evolutionary scientists are forced to call them “unexpectedly similar,” postulating that the similarities were “independently derived.” This data is not explained by Darwinian evolution and common descent. It is explained by common design.
    Somehow, something tells me not to expect any corrections over at Wikipedia.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65001.html

    The Hierarchy of Evolutionary Apologetics: Protein Evolution Case Study – Cornelius Hunter – January 2011
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....etics.html

    Seeing Ghosts in the Bushes (Part 2): How Is Common Descent Tested? – Paul Nelson – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: Fig. 6. Multiple possible ad hoc or auxiliary hypotheses are available to explain lack of congruence between the fossil record and cladistic predictions. These may be employed singly or in combination. Common descent (CD) is thus protected from observational challenge.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....31061.html

  32. Alan Fox:

    However, the real boost to evolutionary biology came with cheaper and faster DNA sequencing.

    In what way was that a boost to “evolutionary biology”?

    Species definitions matter less than what DNA can confirm about reproductive isolation.

    Only the Creationists predicted reproductive isolation. And what can DNA confirm?

    Don’t ya just love how Alan just says stuff without supporting it…

  33. Moreover, contrary to the Darwinian claim the Darwinism is as well established as gravity it is interesting to note that in the building of better random number generators for computer programs, a better source of entropy is required to be found:

    Cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator
    Excerpt: From an information theoretic point of view, the amount of randomness, the entropy that can be generated is equal to the entropy provided by the system. But sometimes, in practical situations, more random numbers are needed than there is entropy available.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C....._generator

    And Indeed we find:

    Thermodynamics – 3.1 Entropy
    Excerpt:
    Entropy – A measure of the amount of randomness or disorder in a system.
    http://www.saskschools.ca/curr.....rgy3_1.htm

    And the maximum source of randomness in the universe is found to be where gravity is greatest,,,

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?
    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”

    What Would Happen If You Fell into a Black Hole? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLMiJQXsmkc

    Scientists gear up to take a picture of a black hole – January 2012
    Excerpt: “Swirling around the black hole like water circling the drain in a bathtub, the matter compresses and the resulting friction turns it into plasma heated to a billion degrees or more, causing it to ‘glow’ – and radiate energy that we can detect here on Earth.”
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....-hole.html

    ,,, there is also a very strong case to be made that the cosmological constant in General Relativity, the extremely finely tuned 1 in 10^120 expansion of space-time, drives, or is deeply connected to, entropy as measured by diffusion:

    Big Rip
    Excerpt: The Big Rip is a cosmological hypothesis first published in 2003, about the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the matter of universe, from stars and galaxies to atoms and subatomic particles, are progressively torn apart by the expansion of the universe at a certain time in the future. Theoretically, the scale factor of the universe becomes infinite at a finite time in the future.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip

    Thus, though neo-Darwinian atheists may claim that evolution is as well established as Gravity, the plain fact of the matter is that General Relativity itself, which is by far our best description of Gravity, testifies very strongly against the entire concept of ‘random’ Darwinian processes building functional complexity.

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis – Eminent Chemist

    “Is there a real connection between entropy in physics and the entropy of information? ….The equations of information theory and the second law are the same, suggesting that the idea of entropy is something fundamental…”
    Tom Siegfried, Dallas Morning News, 5/14/90 – Quotes attributed to Robert W. Lucky, Ex. Director of Research, AT&T, Bell Laboratories & John A. Wheeler, of Princeton & Univ. of TX, Austin in the article

  34. The Septic Zone has been hacked. Life is good…

  35. Kantian Naturalist (5): For while I do think it is true that living things have a top-down, hierarchical organization — indeed, I think it is a necessary truth! — (…)

    - Why do you think hierarchical organization is a necessary truth?

    - What are the implications of this truth? What is this thing that organizes its own parts, until the moment of death?
    Talbott: “The question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”
    Are we forced – by the necessary truth of hierarchical organization – to except a reality with causal power beyond matter?

  36. I do not wish a hack attack or the like on anyone. KF

  37. JG: Are beavers humans? Cf here, at UD. In addition, so long as non-human designers are POSSIBLE — as in not IMPOSSIBLE — then, once we isolate signs of design, there is no valid reason to lock this down to humans as designers. That is yet another side-track talking point, as the very existence of SETI indicates. KF

  38. 38
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Box @ 35

    Why do you think hierarchical organization is a necessary truth?

    I don’t see how it is possible for something to count as an organism if it does not display a top-down integrated hierarchy of functions. So while it is not a necessary truth that there be organisms — organisms are ‘contingent,’ as the logicians say — it is necessary that if something is an organism, then it has (or is) a top-down integrated hierarchy of functions.

    Are we forced – by the necessary truth of hierarchical organization – to except a reality with causal power beyond matter?

    I don’t understand this question. For one thing, I don’t know what “matter” means. For example, if “matter” means “whatever it is that contemporary physicists posit at the smallest scale of description”, that’s wildly different from, say, the mechanistic materialism of the 17th through 19th centuries — little billiard-balls bouncing around the cosmic billiard-table.

    If that Epicurean, billiard-ball model of “matter” were firmly established, then it would rather easy to say, “the limits of the causal capacities of matter are here, here and here, and for these, these, and these reasons, organisms exceed the causal capacities of matter, so there must be something else — God, Mind, elan vital, whatever”. But the 20th-century revolutions in physics have overturned that old model of “matter”. And so I think we should be extremely cautious about any theory that turns on, “but can matter do this??” — because we really do not know what the limits are on the causal powers of physical entities — for that matter, we don’t really know what “physical” means. (Cf. Hempel’s dilemma for a nice illustration of the problem.)

  39. Kantian Naturalist: I don’t understand this question. For one thing, I don’t know what “matter” means.

    You are right of course. Let me rephrase my question:

    Are we forced – by the necessary truth of hierarchical organization – to except a reality beyond parts?

    By ‘parts’ I mean: ‘whatever they are’. I mean the parts which are being organized by the ‘thing’ – on the level of the whole. I wish to bypass discussions about quantum physics and I’m perfectly fine with your proposed definition “whatever it is that contemporary physicists posit at the smallest scale of description”.

    What I’m saying is that parts – whatever they are – cannot account for top-down organization, so we must except a reality (on the level of the whole, with true causal power) beyond the parts.

  40. Box as to:

    Talbott: “The question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”

    That ‘top-down hierarchical organization’ that keeps from ‘falling completely apart’ would be,,

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    Notes to that effect:

    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. “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/

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature – Elisabetta Collini and Gregory Scholes – University of Toronto – Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73
    Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state.
    http://www.scimednet.org/quant.....d-protein/

    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

    Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8AQgqFqiRQwyaF8t1_CKTPQ9duN8FHU9-pV4oBDOVs/edit?hl=en_US

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

    As to where this ‘conserved’ quantum information goes upon the death of our material bodies:

    Coast to Coast – Vicki’s Near Death Experience (Blind From Birth) part 1 of 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e65KhcCS5-Y

    Quote from preceding video: ‘I was in a body and the only way that I can describe it was a body of energy, or of light. And this body had a form. It had a head. It had arms and it had legs. And it was like it was made out of light. And ‘it’ was everything that was me. All of my memories, my consciousness, everything.’ -
    Vicky Noratuk

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness (Permanence/Conservation of Quantum Information)- Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    https://vimeo.com/39982578

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

  41. The parts cannot account for top-down organization:

    Stephen L. Talbott: “If I were to tell you that scientists have sequenced the genomes of two entirely distinct organisms — say, a flying creature such as a bird or bat, and a crawling one such as an earthworm or lizard — and had found the two genomes to be identical, you’d be sure I was joking. Such differently structured forms and behaviors could not possibly result from the same genetic instructions!”
    “Like a phoenix rising from its pyre. In reality, there are flying and crawling creatures with the same genomic sequence. A monarch butterfly and its larva, for example. Nor is this an isolated case. A swimming, “water-breathing” tadpole and a leaping, air-breathing frog are creatures with the same DNA. Then there is the starfish: its bilaterally symmetric larva swims freely by means of cilia, after which it settles onto the ocean floor and metamorphoses into the familiar form of the adult. This adult, bearing the same DNA as the larva, exhibits an altogether different, radially symmetric (star-like) body plan.
    Millions of species consist of such improbably distinct creatures, organized in completely different ways at different stages of their life, yet carrying around the same genetic inheritance.
    Isn’t it a truth inviting the most profound meditation by every biologist?

  42. BA77:

    Box as to:

    Talbott: “The question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”

    That ‘top-down hierarchical organization’ that keeps from ‘falling completely apart’ would be,,

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    You really do have to push your religion into every discussion, don’t you? Although the molecular cause of death is not completely understood, we are steadily converging on an answer.

  43. @Bornagian77

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    The Ultimate Top-Down Organizer!
    I do not believe we are all parts of one super-organism though.

    Bornagain77, about quantum entanglement: do I understand it correctly that when 2 (or more) ‘particles’ are entangled the exchange of information between the particles happens outside spacetime? And if so, the questions are:

    - What is information?
    - What is beyond spacetime?

  44. Stop it! That’s another keyboard you owe me!

    “I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as “solid as any explanation in science.” Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. QUANTUM ELECTRODYNAMICS IS ACCURATE TO THIRTEEN OR SO DECIMAL PLACES; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison? ”

    …. pass.

  45. Genomicus per 42:

    You really do have to push your religion into every discussion, don’t you? Although the molecular cause of death is not completely understood, we are steadily converging on an answer.

    Funny you should accuse me of pushing ‘your religion’ into every discussion and then in the very next breath you push your religion, a materialism/randomness of the gaps, into the discussion:

    Randomness of the Gaps
    “In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?” A faith that fills the ever-shrinking gaps in our knowledge of the organism with a potent meaninglessness capable of transforming everything else into an illusion is a faith that could benefit from some minimal grounding. Otherwise, we can hardly avoid suspecting that the importance of randomness in the minds of the faithful is due to its being the only presumed scrap of a weapon in a compulsive struggle to deny all the obvious meaning of our lives.” Stephen L. Talbott:

    Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show – John Lennox – 2012
    Excerpt: Krauss does not seem to realize that his concept of God is one that no intelligent monotheist would accept. His “God” is the soft-target “God of the gaps” of the “I can’t understand it, therefore God did it” variety. As a result, Krauss, like Dawkins and Hawking, regards God as an explanation in competition with scientific explanation. That is as wrong-headed as thinking that an explanation of a Ford car in terms of Henry Ford as inventor and designer competes with an explanation in terms of mechanism and law. God is not a “God of the gaps”, he is God of the whole show.
    http://www.christianpost.com/n.....how-80307/
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-448343

    Phillip Johnson addresses the ‘God of the Gaps’ fallacy – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....Xo#t=2329s

    Theism Compared To Materialism:

    “For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses.”
    Phillip Johnson – The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....rialism-26

    There are two definitions of Science in our Culture – Phillip E. Johnson – audio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....Xo#t=1596s

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    William Shakespeare – Hamlet

    as to materialism someday explaining the death of our physical bodies, I would hold that it already does in the second law of thermodynamics:

    *3 new mutations every time a cell divides in your body
    * Average cell of 15 year old has up to 6000 mutations
    *Average cell of 60 year old has 40,000 mutations
    Reproductive cells are ‘designed’ so that, early on in development, they are ‘set aside’ and thus they do not accumulate mutations as the rest of the cells of our bodies do. Regardless of this protective barrier against the accumulation of slightly detrimental mutations still we find that,,,
    *60-175 mutations are passed on to each new generation.

    This following video brings the point personally home to us about the effects of genetic entropy:

    Ageing Process – 80 years in 40 seconds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSdxYmGro_Y

    Moreover Genomicus, before you boast that science (as you have it defined to materialism) will someday figure out the ‘molecular cause of death’, should you not first try to understand what life is in the first place?? or perhaps have a demonstration of ‘life’ itself arising ‘randomly’ from a material basis??

    “The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 in 10^340,000,000. This number is 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering since there is only supposed to be approximately 10^80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!”
    (Professor Harold Morowitz, Energy Flow In Biology pg. 99, Biophysicist of George Mason University)

    Dr. Morowitz did another probability calculation working from the thermodynamic perspective with a already existing cell and came up with this number:

    DID LIFE START BY CHANCE?
    Excerpt: Molecular biophysicist, Horold Morowitz (Yale University), calculated the odds of life beginning under natural conditions (spontaneous generation). He calculated, if one were to take the simplest living cell and break every chemical bond within it, the odds that the cell would reassemble under ideal natural conditions (the best possible chemical environment) would be one chance in 10^100,000,000,000. You will have probably have trouble imagining a number so large, so Hugh Ross provides us with the following example. If all the matter in the Universe was converted into building blocks of life, and if assembly of these building blocks were attempted once a microsecond for the entire age of the universe. Then instead of the odds being 1 in 10^100,000,000,000, they would be 1 in 10^99,999,999,916 (also of note: 1 with 100 billion zeros following would fill approx. 20,000 encyclopedias)
    http://members.tripod.com/~Black_J/chance.html

    So much for that piece of evidence for you,,,,, if I can be so presumptuous, I’ll give you a clue where ‘life’ can be found Genomicus:

    John 1:4
    In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

  46. kairosfocus @ 37

    I think that the critics would argue *any* intelligence (including beavers) we know from experience.

    That’s why I brought up mysterious dark matter..it’s nothing we known from experience. And it’s been posited based on an observed phenomena that we know from experience has only one *kind* of cause. Matter being a *kind* of *physical stuff*.

    Which is a step further than ID. All ID needs to do is infer intelligent activity. The *kind* of cause for the observed phenomena is intelligence.

  47. Box as to 43:

    What is information?
    What is beyond spacetime?

    What is beyond spacetime? simply means for something to be ‘transcendent’ of any space-time matter-energy constraints. As to what is information:

    Information? What Is It Really? Professor Andy McIntosh – Video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4739025/

    As Professor McIntosh points out in the preceding video, information is a very elusive entity to nail down, for though we can write it down, encode it, and transfer the information from one material medium to another completely different material medium, the information never changes its meaning even though the material mediums, on which the information is stored, are completely different upon the information’s transfer.,,, It is also interesting to note that a Compact Disc crammed with information on it weighs exactly the same as a CD with no information on it whatsoever.,, i.e. Information, from our everyday experience, gives every indication of being completely transcendent of any material basis. i.e. Information gives every indication of being ‘real’ and yet it also gives every indication of being transcendent of any space-time matter-energy constraints even though it may be stored on various material mediums. Moreover, although our everyday experience gives us a very enigmatic picture of ‘information’, breakthroughs in quantum mechanics have given us a more complete picture of ‘information’ and its top place in the overall hierarchical structure of reality;

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    Materialism had postulated for centuries that everything reduced to, or emerged from material atoms, yet the correct structure of reality is now found by science to be as follows:

    1. material particles (mass) normally reduces to energy (e=mc^2)
    2. energy and mass both reduce to information (quantum teleportation)
    3. information reduces to consciousness (geometric centrality of conscious observation in universe dictates that consciousness must precede quantum wave collapse to its single bit state)

    The ‘Top Down’ Theistic Structure Of The Universe and Of The Human Body
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NhA4hiQnYiyCTiqG5GelcSJjy69e1DT3OHpqlx6rACs/edit

    It is also important to note that even though the dispute between Darwinists and IDist has been over ‘classical information’ in DNA and Proteins and the inability of purely material processes to account for the generation of it, ‘classical information’ is now shown to be a subset of ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, 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

    Hope that helps a little bit Box

  48. 48
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Box @ 39

    By ‘parts’ I mean: ‘whatever they are’. I mean the parts which are being organized by the ‘thing’ – on the level of the whole. I wish to bypass discussions about quantum physics and I’m perfectly fine with your proposed definition “whatever it is that contemporary physicists posit at the smallest scale of description”.

    What I’m saying is that parts – whatever they are – cannot account for top-down organization, so we must except a reality (on the level of the whole, with true causal power) beyond the parts.

    I do see what you’re getting at here, but it strikes me, to be quite honest, as deeply confused. (Or perhaps the confusion is mine — we’ll see.)

    The line of thought here seems to be as follows: “organisms are integrated wholes, but there must be something which makes them an integrated whole.” That’s ok, as far as it goes. But now for the slip — “and that something must be some thing, and since that thing can’t be itself material, it must be non-material (mind, information, spirit, soul, whatever)”.

    But if we really take seriously Talbott’s overtly Romantic attitude towards life (allusions to Goethe and Coleridge abound in his writings), then I think we should be a bit wary of this line of thought. This line of thought amounts to saying, “since organisms are wholes, and not just collections of parts, there must be some special kind of part — the non-material or spiritual part — which makes the physical parts into the whole”. But that looks to be like an implicit rejection of Talbott’s claim, because it is to look for some kind of part to explain the whole — a very special, because non-physical, kind of part. Whereas on Talbott’s view, as I understand it, there is no need to posit the existence of special kinds of parts in order to explain how ordinary parts (the physical ones) become integrated wholes.

    Of course, the question here, “how do parts become integrated wholes?” is a deep and important question, and I’d be very interested to see how he would deal with the origin of life. But I think that he would not want to say that the origin of life can be solved by positing some additional kind of part that, when added to the physical parts, turns those parts into a whole.

  49. KN: I do see what you’re getting at here, but it strikes me, to be quite honest, as deeply confused. (Or perhaps the confusion is mine — we’ll see.)

    Let’s see :)

    KN: The line of thought here seems to be as follows: “organisms are integrated wholes, but there must be something which makes them an integrated whole.” That’s ok, as far as it goes.

    Yes, there must be something – distinct from the parts – which makes the parts into an integrated whole. Ok so far we seem to agree.

    KN: But now for the slip — “and that something must be some thing, and since that thing can’t be itself material, it must be non-material (mind, information, spirit, soul, whatever)”.

    ‘Thing’ does not have the right connotation, since it is distinct from the parts. What I intended to point to was exactly NOT a part. My vocabulary is very limited unfortunately. A better word may be ‘form’, ‘whole’ or ‘phenomenon’?

    KN: But if we really take seriously Talbott’s overtly Romantic attitude towards life (allusions to Goethe and Coleridge abound in his writings), then I think we should be a bit wary of this line of thought. This line of thought amounts to saying, “since organisms are wholes, and not just collections of parts, there must be some special kind of part — the non-material or spiritual part — which makes the physical parts into the whole”. But that looks to be like an implicit rejection of Talbott’s claim, because it is to look for some kind of part to explain the whole — a very special, because non-physical, kind of part. Whereas on Talbott’s view, as I understand it, there is no need to posit the existence of special kinds of parts in order to explain how ordinary parts (the physical ones) become integrated wholes.

    You associate the word ‘thing’ with ‘part’ and you are right that this is exactly what Talbott rejects as a solution. The whole cannot be explained by the parts. Excuse me for my poor choice of words.

    KN: Of course, the question here, “how do parts become integrated wholes?” is a deep and important question, and I’d be very interested to see how he would deal with the origin of life. But I think that he would not want to say that the origin of life can be solved by positing some additional kind of part that, when added to the physical parts, turns those parts into a whole.

    But your deep and important question *how do parts become integrated wholes?* need to be answered. And when the parts are excluded from the answer, we are forced to except the reality of a ‘form’ that is not a part and that does account for the integration of the parts. And indeed, if DNA, proteins or any other part of the cell are excluded from the answer, than this phenomenon is non-material.

  50. Bornagain77 (47), that was very helpful, thank you.

  51. JG: My point was that we can show through concrete cases that intelligent design is not such that being human is either necessary or sufficient. So, as long as a candidate designer is POSSIBLE in a situation, we must be willing to allow the inductively arrived at signs that point to design as causal means, to speak for itself and hold probative value. Or else, we are begging huge questions, Lewontin-style. (And, are our blind watchmaker thesis friends willing to argue that such a designer is IMPOSSIBLE at origin of cosmos and of life or body plans? On just what grounds? If they cannot, then what they are doing is little better than huge begging of questions.) KF

  52. 52
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Box @ 49:

    But your deep and important question *how do parts become integrated wholes?* need to be answered. And when the parts are excluded from the answer, we are forced to except the reality of a ‘form’ that is not a part and that does account for the integration of the parts. And indeed, if DNA, proteins or any other part of the cell are excluded from the answer, than this phenomenon is non-material.

    There’s a slide from “form” to “phenomenon” which troubles me here. In resisting the allure of reductionism, the right notion to focus on (it seems to me) is that of organization or structure. That is, it’s the organization of the molecular components, and not just the properties of the components themselves, that’s important for getting clearly into view the integrated hierarchy of functions that is a living organism.

    But it would be an error, it seems to me, to say that the organization or structure is an immaterial something by virtue of not being a material something. It is, of course, quite real — not a projection or illusion — but just because the concept of structure or organization has no home in fundamental physics, is not to say that we must posit some supernatural or trans-natural realm or whatever.

    By now, of course, you will have anticipated my next move: the right question to ask, in my estimation, is, “are there self-organizing processes in nature?” For if there aren’t, or if there are, but they can’t account for life, then design theory looks like the only game in town. But, if there are self-organizing processes that could (probably) account for life, then there’s a genuine tertium quid between the Epicurean conjunct of chance and necessity and the Platonic insistence on design-from-above.

  53. Surely KN, re your regret that biogenesis is not susceptible to mathematical analysis, surely, such a desideratum or expectation is a category error, the adduced law relating to it, being simply a matter of an unvaryingly regular pattern.

    I realise that mathematics doesn’t have a Piltdown Man, much to the chagrin, nae doot, of our evomalutionist friends, but I’m not sure any mathematics beyond the mathematics involved in counting repetitions, needs to be involved. Or am I mistaken?

  54. You couldn’t make it up, Philip, could you! Genomicus has just proffered you the fabled Promissory Note. And you know, they don’t take ‘No’ for an answer.

    ‘You really do have to push your religion into every discussion, don’t you? Although the molecular cause of death is not completely understood, we are steadily converging on an answer.’

    Tee hee. ROFL!

  55. If it’s not open to the occasional Piltdown mis-step, then its not true science. Ask the lapsed jackeens, Carrol and Coyne.

  56. 56
    Barry Arrington

    KN @ 38: “I don’t know what “matter” means.”

    Gives a whole new meaning to the question “what’s the matter?” ;-)

  57. Re: Kantian Naturalist(52)

    KN: But it would be an error, it seems to me, to say that the organization or structure is an immaterial something by virtue of not being a material something. It is, of course, quite real — not a projection or illusion — but just because the concept of structure or organization has no home in fundamental physics, is not to say that we must posit some supernatural or trans-natural realm or whatever.

    I’m not arguing that the organization or structure is immaterial. I’m saying that ‘whatever is doing the organizing’ must be immaterial.
    If the organization / structure cannot be causally explained by its parts, if the organization is top-down, what choice do we have?

    KN: But, if there are self-organizing processes that could (probably) account for life, then there’s a genuine tertium quid between the Epicurean conjunct of chance and necessity and the Platonic insistence on design-from-above.

    About self-organization as a naturalistic concept I would like to ask: Why would any of the parts be interested in the whole – which does not exist? Why doesn’t everything just fall apart? And BTW the whole does not exist – which is what naturalism is about. I don’t like the term self-organizing. In naturalism there is no ‘self’; so self-organizing is just about parts that fit in a pattern in which we project a whole. Kant anyone?
    Moreover, let’s suppose there is this mysterious self-organization without a self. What do we have? There is nobody home. An empty suit. No self! Just uninterested atoms in a meaningless pattern. There is no life in self organization as there is no thinking in John Searle’s ‘Chinese room’.

  58. I resist the idea that life is just organized stuff or stuff formed into a particular structure. Bring back vitalism!

  59. I can think of many many things which are organized or which have structure but are not alive.

    So what does “self-organization” have to offer as a possible to solution to the mystery of life, if anything?

    Is the sun alive? How about black holes? The Solar System? The Earth? The Earth-Moon system? Did they “self-organize”?

  60. What Mung says!

  61. KN @52:

    . . . the right question to ask, in my estimation, is, “are there self-organizing processes in nature?” For if there aren’t, or if there are, but they can’t account for life, then design theory looks like the only game in town. But, if there are self-organizing processes that could (probably) account for life, then there’s a genuine tertium quid between the Epicurean conjunct of chance and necessity and the Platonic insistence on design-from-above.

    Well said. You have put your finger on the key issue.

    And the evidence clearly shows that there are not self-organizing processes in nature that can account for life.

    This is particularly evident when we look at an information-rich medium like DNA. As to self-organization of something like DNA, it is critical to keep in mind that the ability of a medium to store information is inversely proportional to the self-ordering tendency of the medium. By definition, therefore, you simply cannot have a self-ordering molecule like DNA that also stores large amounts of information.

    The only game left, as you say, is design.

    Unless, of course, we want to appeal to blind chance . . .

  62. ‘ “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” -
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961 – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes the quantum wave collapse of material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    Surely, Philip, they confirm my postulation a while back that, in a real sense, we each of us exist in a world, proper to ourselves, ‘a world of our own’, which, collectively, God, at the mechanical level, seamlessly coordinates into the single world of our everyday life.

    In a bizarre sense, might it not even be said that, at the quantum level, our world is we, as individuals, and we, our world – of which Christ is the light.

    To iterate the dictum of Kabbalist sage (not verbatim): ‘When a man dies, a whole world dies with him.’ If so, surely, the same can be said, ‘mutatis mutandis’ concerning our birth.

  63. Given Christ’s both human and divine nature, perhaps his creation of a new, properly divine universe, on the occasion of that event horizon at his resurrection, his rebirth, as it were, would have been axiomatic.

    ‘I go to prepare a place for you,’ (his Mystical Body, created/prepared by his thoughts).

  64. I am referring, of course, to the latest findings relating to the Holy Shroud of Turin.

  65. Kantian:

    You wrote in 13:

    “What evolution critics have trouble appreciating, I believe, is that as far as evolutionary biologists are concerned, once speciation has been explained, everything has been explained. There’s nothing left. And this is because — and I think this is really important — as far as evolutionary biology is concerned, only species are real.”

    I think you are making too great a generalization about what “evolutionary biologists” believe. For example, Donald Prothero has pointed out that there exists a major debate among evolutionary biologists:

    “More is at stake here than the reality of species, however. If species sorting is real [which, as Prothero explains in the article, is debated among evolutionary biologists], then the processes operating on the level of species (macroevolutionary processes) are not necessarily the same as those operating on the level of individuals and populations (microevolutionary processes). In other words, macroevolution may not just be microevolution scaled up.”

    See:

    http://www.donaldprothero.com/files/47440356.pdf

    I am not saying that Prothero is taking a side on this question; he is merely pointing out the existence of a debate. In other words, “evolutionary biology” is not a monolith; some evolutionary biologists think that only one thing (your #1) needs to be explained (I presume this would include Coyne and Orr and Mayr); others suggest that maybe two things (your #1 and #2) need to be explained.

    Now Prothero is not religious and is not an ID supporter. So I think it’s important that he admits to this kind of debate within the evolutionary biology field.

  66. EA:

    Spot on:

    And the evidence clearly shows that there are not self-organizing processes in nature that can account for life.

    This is particularly evident when we look at an information-rich medium like DNA. As to self-organization of something like DNA, it is critical to keep in mind that the ability of a medium to store information is inversely proportional to the self-ordering tendency of the medium. By definition, therefore, you simply cannot have a self-ordering molecule like DNA that also stores large amounts of information.

    Well said.

    KF

  67. 67
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Timaeus @ 65:

    That’s very interesting! I’m dimly aware of these debates amongst evolutionary biologists and philosophers of biology, but haven’t really followed through with any of it. I’ll look into this! Thank you!

  68. 68
    Kantian Naturalist

    Follow-up to my (67) — I hadn’t realized that Gould used Windelband’s distinction between idiographic sciences and nomothetic sciences to describe different approaches to paleontology! That’s fascinating!

    Nomothetic and idiographic

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