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Scientific Frustration

Something that continues to frustrate me is that Darwinists would like people to believe that their “science” is in the same category as mine and that of my colleagues who are working on the development of hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerators. We must get stuff right. There is accountability.

If the thing burns up, is aerodynamically or structurally deficient, and falls apart and goes down in flames, we are proven to be wrong and incompetent.

There is no such standard for Darwinists. They just make up stories and call it science. When their theories/stories go down in flames (e.g., junk DNA) they just proclaim victory, that Darwinian theory is still incontrovertible and fully intact, and walk away.

It would be as though the scientists and engineers who designed and built the hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerators, after they crashed and burned, proclaimed that the project was actually a success, and that their theories predicted this outcome from the start.

If our team did such a thing, and made such a claim, we would be laughed out of the science and engineering community and never be awarded another penny of funding from anyone for anything.

Yet, Darwinists do exactly what I have described, and are not only never held to account, but are awarded endless funding to make up stories that have nothing to do with legitimate science.

This is a travesty.

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88 Responses to Scientific Frustration

  1. 1

    They just make up stories and call it science. When their theories/stories go down in flames (e.g., junk DNA) they just proclaim victory, that Darwinian theory is still incontrovertible and fully intact, and walk away.

    Well said Mr Dodgen. The darwinian myth is UNscientific…it’s UNfalsifiable. Anything that occurs/occurred is attributed to it, in spite of the evidence, no matter how absurd. The darwinian myth is the antithesis of science.

  2. Something that continues to frustrate me is that Darwinists would like people to believe that their “science” is in the same category as mine and that of my colleagues who are working on the development of hypersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerators.

    You seem to be comparing science with engineering. They are not the same, and they have different aims.

  3. Gil,

    Do you think evolutionary theory should be taught in schools at all then?

  4. 4

    AMEN.
    Evolutionism is all speculation and never flys anything and even jumping into a wind makes it go belly up.
    Past and gone events and processes can’t be tested or verified very easily.
    ID folk should also remember this about geological ideas.
    Its the same law of error.

    Engineering isn’t science?
    What’s science?

    Engineering uses the discoverys by people using the same processes that we call science.
    In fact there is no such thing as science.
    Its just people thinking about stuff.

    they try to say science is a higher standard of thinking with detailed control of conclusions.
    Not in origin issues!

  5. Neil,

    Engineering is the queen of sciences. This is where speculations end and theories show their truth.

    Alex

  6. 6

    You seem to be comparing science with engineering. They are not the same, and they have different aims

    You might have a point. I would say the largest distinction is that ‘engineers’ use the laws that the scientists discover, whereas ‘science’ is more into experimentation, gathering data, testing theories… Oh, wait, engineers do that too. All the time. So I guess the big difference is that pure science never really gets too practical. In fact, I would say that if a scientist ever starts to apply his theories for something useful, he has crossed the line into the engineering realm. Same with mathematics. Quite a bit of crossover, I guess. Engineers must be scientists and mathematicians, or else they end up pissing into the wind in the engineering world.

    Okay, so maybe the distinction has become more of an adherence to a particular dogmatism on the part of the scientists in the teeth of incontrovertible evidence, and to teach that dogmatism to our children at the point of a gun.

    Different aims indeed.

  7. 7

    So I guess the only other thing I would add is that when you consider how ridiculous the junk DNA apologists are starting to look, and then consider their persistent obeisance to the theory that predicted it, and then consider Eugenie Scott’s crusade at the NCSE to defend and evangelize said theory, it becomes painfully obvious that they are not doing science, to the detriment of our children and our nation. Our government has indeed instituted and now protects a religion, which last time I checked, is illegal. And all of this in plain view, without shame.

  8. Do you think evolutionary theory should be taught in schools at all then?

    Of course. It’s a major phenomenon in the history of thought, and any well-educated person should be familiar with it. What I would like to see is a presentation somewhat like that used in voter guides for propositions. (We have a lot of them in California, and they are often deceptively presented and promoted.)

    The text of the proposition is offered. Pro and con arguments are presented, and rebuttals to each follow that. Then the voters make up their minds based upon what they consider to be the most convincing evidence and argumentation.

    The rebuttal phase is critical. I’ve read claims that irreducible complexity has been refuted, but when you read Behe’s rebuttals you discover that the “refutations” were nothing of the kind.

    As far as engineering versus science goes, this seems like a distinction without a difference. Aerodynamics is certainly a scientific discipline, and R&D engineering has all the hallmarks of scientific pursuit. One comes up with an idea (like producing an inflatable decelerator), theorizes about how this might be achieved based upon principles of known science, as well as mathematical and computer models, presents possibilities concerning unknowns in a heretofore unexplored area of investigation, and then builds and tests to validate or invalidate the idea and its theoretical underpinnings.

    If this isn’t science, I don’t know what is.

  9. In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics.

    – Jerry Coyne

    Engineering is applied science. For example at Cornell University there is the school of The School of Applied and Engineering Physics. At another other schools Applied Physics is taught from the Engineering school. If Science is defined as :

    1. Observation
    2. Hypothesis
    3. Testing

    Then, engineering does that. Consider what was needed to make major engineering achievements. Measurements (observations) of the physical nature of things must be made, a hypothesis (a design) is put forward, and then an object (the product) is test by creating it and using it. If it fails, the idea is modified until it works or is rejected entirely. A few engineers (like Eugene Wigner) have received Nobel prizes in science.

    Darwinism by contrast:

    1. ignore contrary observations
    2. concoct self-contradictory, poorly defined, and indefensible ideas
    3. substitute speculation for empirical results

    Think I’m being too harsh?
    In Sciences Pecking Order…

    Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science [sic]… Laws and experiments are inappropriate…
    ….
    Instead one constructs a … narrative

    Ernst Mayer

    In otherwords, tell stories rather than do experiments. And when experiments are done, be sure to spin the results like Lenski.

  10. The renowned Sigma Xi society promotes itself as:
    “The Scientific Research Soceity”

    Fact Sheet: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

    The 14th letter of the Greek alphabet, Xi is pronounced with a “Z” sound-as in “xylophone.”

    Sigma Xi is the honor society of research scientists and engineers. It is an international, multidisciplinary society whose programs and activities promote the health of the scientific enterprise, reward excellence in scientific research and encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields.

    Founding: Sigma Xi was founded in 1886 at Cornell University by Frank Van Vleck, a junior faculty member, and a group of engineering students.

    http://www.sigmaxi.org/about/facts/index.shtml

    Somewhat comically, they have a very prominent link to “Evolution Resources”. Is a scientific theory so pathetically supported by empiricism that it needs such propagandizing. They don’t have a links to electromagnetism (which is far more important to science than evolutionism).

  11. Wiki entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_science

    Applied science is the application of scientific knowledge transferred into a physical environment. Examples include testing a theoretical model through the use of formal science or solving a practical problem through the use of natural science.

    Fields of engineering are closely related to applied sciences. Applied science is important for technology development. Its use in industrial settings is usually referred to as research and development (R&D).

    Applied science differs from fundamental science, which seeks to describe the most basic objects and forces, having less emphasis on practical applications. Applied science can be like biological science and physical science.

    Darwinism is neither applied nor fundamental science. It’s not even science, it’s story tellling in the face of contrary evidence!

  12. 12

    I like to think of a Vinn diagram, with science as a circle, mathematics as a circle, and art as a circle, and engineering defined as an intersection of all three. I had a professor tell our class that we should be coming up with ‘elegant’ solutions to problems, hence the art. Just think da Vinci, or architecture, to get what I mean. Then think of the fantastic beauty of the world of biology, which should tell you I’m thinking straight as well.

    I’m just saying, there’s a huge art component as well. Don’t forget that. Unless you’re a total egg-head, then never mind.

  13. Gil,

    Thanks for your reply. I am very familiar with voters’ guides and I can see the appeal. I’m not sure I would want some issues (like capital punishment, gun control or even the need for taxation) settled by that kind of public fiat but you’ve given a clear and straight answer.

    Do you think it would have been reasonable in the 1950s to present plate techtonics in the same fashion? How about the Law of Attraction now? Or Astrology?

    M. Holcumbrink,

    It’s ‘Venn’ diagram! I agree, there’s a lot of creative thinking involved in engineering. I don’t agree with you on this though:

    . . . it becomes painfully obvious that they are not doing science, to the detriment of our children and our nation. Our government has indeed instituted and now protects a religion, which last time I checked, is illegal. And all of this in plain view, without shame.

    If you really do feel this way then I suggest you support pushing the case into the courts and getting all the top ID proponents to present their case. You can’t fall back on the conspiracy theory forever.

    scordova,

    Darwinism by contrast:

    1. ignore contrary observations
    2. concoct self-contradictory, poorly defined, and indefensible ideas
    3. substitute speculation for empirical results

    Some of the time ID proponents accuse evolutionary biologist of ignoring some data and other times they are accused of constantly changing the theory to match the new data. I’m guessing you think they are doing both at different times.

    But my bigger question is: are you asserting a giant conspiracy to ‘stay the course’ which is why the gig isn’t up yet? Or is it just ideological inertia?

    And I’m guessing you don’t really want much time spent on teaching it in the classroom . . .

    Darwinism is neither applied nor fundamental science. It’s not even science, it’s story tellling in the face of contrary evidence!

    Some would say the same about ID. I think the important thing now is to find a way to come to some kind of agreement about what will be taught in the science classroom.

  14. …there’s a huge art component as well.

    It is interesting that you should mention this. My current specialty is finite element analysis computer simulations of nonlinear, transient, dynamic systems using an explicit FEA solver. This involves mathematics, physics, material properties, and more. The “more” part is more art than science. This involves judging which simplifying assumptions can be made and which cannot, optimizing model design for computational efficiency without compromising the real-world integrity of the model, and discerning which components are critical to the outcome of the analysis and which are only incidental.

    Of course, in the end, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. If the model and the analysis don’t correspond with reality, you got the art wrong, the science wrong, or both.

    When my company first sent me away for training in FEA I remember that the instructor made the comment that what we were about to learn was part science and part art.

  15. But my bigger question is: are you asserting a giant conspiracy to ‘stay the course’ which is why the gig isn’t up yet? Or is it just ideological inertia?

    I’m not asserting the reasons why we have the state of affairs, I’m asserting the evolutionism isn’t science, but engineering, as a discipline is closer to science than evolutionism.

    I leave discussions of ideology and conspiracy to others. It will all be a moot point anyway if evolutionism is eventually wiped off the scientific map by the weight of facts.

    And I’m guessing you don’t really want much time spent on teaching it in the classroom . . .

    Me? Consdier that even in college biologists don’t spend time teaching it in the classroom. :-) From the Darwinist Propaganda Outfit American Naturalists

    evolutionary biology does not yet command a priority in educational curricula or in research funding.
    ….

    In many or most colleges and universities, a course on evolution is an elective, taken by a minority of biology majors, most of whom do not think it relevant to their medical or other careers. The majority of biology majors may have little exposure to evolution beyond a few weeks (or less) in an introductory biology course.

    As Allen Orr described:

    there’s a striking asymmetry in molecular versus evolutionary education in American universities. Although many science, and all biology, students are required to endure molecular courses, evolution, even introductory evolution, is often an elective. The reason is simple: biochemistry and cell biology get Junior into med school, evolution doesn’t. Consequently, many professional scientists know surprisingly little about evolution.

    Allen Orr

    As Paul Nelson put it:

    Paul Nelson in Junkyard Dog Chases Texas Philosopher
    molecular biology graduate students (for instance) don’t know much, or any, evolutionary theory…[because] Students don’t see the point of storytelling. They could take a Fiction Writing course for that.

    Paul Nelson

    If even science grad students aren’t indoctrinated into evolutionism, I see little reason to indoctrinate high schoolers, except maybe to familiarize them with the terminology in biological literature. Teach it to them, let them explore evolutionism, but don’t teach them that it is real science, tell them the truth — it is speculation not supported by empirical observation. Electromagnetism is an example of real scientific theory, not evolutionism.

  16. So, random chance even has a taste for elegance… Well, well, who’d a thunk?

  17. 17

    It’s ‘Venn’ diagram!

    You know, before I wrote that last part I wasn’t sure so I actually looked up ‘venn diagram’ to make sure I spelled it right and I still spelled it wrong. If it were not for spell checker you guys would think I was in the third grade.

    . . . it becomes painfully obvious that they are not doing science, to the detriment of our children and our nation. Our government has indeed instituted and now protects a religion, which last time I checked, is illegal. And all of this in plain view, without shame.

    If you really do feel this way then I suggest you support pushing the case into the courts and getting all the top ID proponents to present their case. You can’t fall back on the conspiracy theory forever.

    I’m not the only one who thinks that our government has instituted a religion, as this post shows, and believe me, if I had the faintest clue how to go about taking it to court I would strongly consider it.

    And here’s some examples of indoctrination from my college zoology text:

    As the genealogy of life progressed and branched from the earliest living form to the millions of species living today…

    Because all life shares a common evolutionary history and origin…

    The replication of molecules, for example, can be traced to lifes origin and represents one of lifes most universal properties.

    We can trace this common history backward through time from the diverse forms that we observe today and in the fossil record to their common ancestor that arose in the atmosphere of the primitive earth

    The general structures of these macromolecules evolved and stabilized early in the history of life.

    That’s from Hickman, Roberts and Larson, Integrated Principles of Zoology, 9th edition, WCB, 1995. But this stuff was taught to me in elementary school as well. Miller Urey type stuff and all that. And when you tell our schoolchildren these outlandish theories in the guise of fact, you are instituting a religious dogma, plain and simple, especially when it is not allowed to suggest that perhaps fully integrated algorithmic cybernetic systems regulated by compressed machine code and macromolecular machinery could be the result of a designing intelligence. Oh, those absurd creationists! How dare they make such a suggestion!

  18. 18

    sorry, here’s the post to which I was referring.

  19. 19

    This involves judging which simplifying assumptions can be made and which cannot, optimizing model design for computational efficiency without compromising the real-world integrity of the model, and discerning which components are critical to the outcome of the analysis and which are only incidental.

    Actually, I was thinking along the lines of the graceful yet bold curves of a mustang convertible. Or the stunning architecture of certain cathedrals. You know, the way people make it fun to look at the stuff you use. I was thinking style, bro. You are still thinking too utilitarian, you egghead!

    I kid, I kid.

  20. Scordova,

    <blockquote?Consdier that even in college biologists don’t spend time teaching it in the classroom. From the Darwinist Propaganda Outfit American Naturalists

    Rats, I was hoping your link the American Naturalists would take me to that particular quote, I wanted to read the entire context. Oh well.

    M Holcumbrink,

    I’m not the only one who thinks that our government has instituted a religion, as this post shows, and believe me, if I had the faintest clue how to go about taking it to court I would strongly consider it.

    Well, if you really, really feel that teaching modern evolutionary theory is a violation of the separation of church and state then you could bring that up easily. Talk to a lawyer. Or the Discovery Institute. Seriously, if that’s the way you feel then you should go for it. If the evidence is that strong then what are you waiting for? I keep hearing that ‘Darwinism’ is on its last legs, that a lot of people in America don’t buy it, that there are lots and lots of scientists who secretly doubt ‘Darwinism’, that it’s religion, that there’s no evidence. And yet I don’t see any attempt to confront the issue in courts. Even if you think the system is biased why not be pressing the issue over and over and over again? I guess I’m missing something. If I was that sure I was right I’d be pursuing it in every way I could.

  21. Rats, I was hoping your link the American Naturalists would take me to that particular quote, I wanted to read the entire context. Oh well.

    Nothing was stopping you from finding the original citation from the now dead link. Buy anyway, in context, it’s even more comical. Here is more from the same document:

    http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~ecolevol/fulldoc.html

    Our comments concern course offerings for both biology majors and nonmajors. In many or most colleges and universities, a course on evolution is an elective, taken by a minority of biology majors, most of whom do not think it relevant to their medical or other careers

    Evolutionsism is irrelevant and less than useful, because it teaches how to distort facts and make unwarranted and illogical inferences. That’s BAD science. It’s lack of study is not the fault of creationists, it’s lack of study is because it is bad science. The constant propagandizing to support it is a consequence of its inability to stand as a legitimate enterprise.

    Bu wau of contrast, we have no such problem getting people to accept the notion of electricity.

  22. 22

    Well, if you really, really feel that teaching modern evolutionary theory is a violation of the separation of church and state…

    You put words in my mouth. I didn’t say anything about evolutionary biology, and have nothing against it per se. What I am opposed to is ridiculous assumptions and conjecture being presented to our schoolchildren as fact, and if you define ‘evolutionary biology’ as the discipline of asserting and upholding a naturalistic worldview, and forbidding the suggestion that things could be to the contrary at the point of a gun, then yes, I consider that a violation of the establishment clause, because it is.

  23. For those who are interested in real science, as opposed to Darwinian fantasies and speculations, visit the following links about the project I mentioned:

    http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oc.....index.html

    http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia.....=144173551

  24. scordova,

    Thanks for the link! I found the support for evolutionary theory to be quite . . . uplifting. We’re just going to have to disagree about that. I particularly liked this bit:

    Anti-evolutionists have charged that evolution robs society of any foundation for morality and ethics, and that it teaches a materialistic world view, which would justify the principle that might makes right. But evolutionary science has never taught any such thing, and if properly exercised, cannot teach any such thing, for science in itself has no moral or ethical content, for good or ill. Whether the science be physics or evolutionary biology, it teaches us only what the observable world is like and how it works. Such sciences as physics, chemistry, geology, physiology, and neurobiology, exactly like evolutionary biology, admit no supernatural causes for the actions of atoms, the sun’s energy, the health or ills of the human body, or the powers of the human brain. These sciences recognize only natural, material causes, and we rely on their naturalistic theories when we build airplanes, synthesize new plastics, listen to weather reports, or consult our doctors. We would no more apply religious principles to these activities than we would seek moral guidance from medical doctors, engineers, or chemists. So it is with evolutionary science: no more nor less materialistic than any other science, it offers no moral guidance, only dispassionate analysis of how biological systems function and came to be. What use we make of such information is for individuals and society to decide.

    M Holcumbrink,

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth, I just guessed from your comments about the way you might feel.

  25. 25

    Private: Sir, latest intelligence suggests that the Germans will be concentrating their efforts to the North.

    Colonel: General consensus among the intelligence community says that the Germans will be heading South. We will therefore present this information as fact to General Eisenhower.

    Private: But Sir, the generals and the president will be making life altering decisions based on this intelligence. It seems to me that they would need to hear about it. Their outlook on this war could be drastically impacted by the latest data.

    Colonel: Look, private, intelligence reports have nothing whatsoever to do with logistics, training and maneuvers. We leave that up to strategists. Why would we put strategy in our intelligence reports?

    Private: You are absurd.

    Colonel: Watch it, private, or you will be digging latrines for the rest of the war.

  26. What’s that quote from, M. Holcumbrink? It has overtones of Catch 22, but it was a different theatre, wasn’t it?

  27. J:

    Passed by for a moment, crisis continues.

    I see:

    Anti-evolutionists have charged that evolution robs society of any foundation for morality and ethics, and that it teaches a materialistic world view, which would justify the principle that might makes right. But evolutionary science has never taught any such thing, and if properly exercised, cannot teach any such thing, for science in itself has no moral or ethical content

    This actually reflects exactly the problem.

    Scientific methods are incapable of GROUNDING either ethics or logic, but their roots are inextricable from ethical and logical principles. E.g. think about the value of truthfulness [think about scientific fraud] and the academic crime of plagiarism, or the reason why we insist on coherence in scientific reasoning. First principles of logic and morality — whether admitted or not — are foundational to science.

    However, over the past 150 or so years we have seen the rise to institutional dominance of the ideologies of evolutionary materialism and scientism. Such love to dress up in the lab coat and pretend to be grounded in science. In fact, they censor it on one hand and pretend that it exhausts knowledge on the other.

    And, such materialism has in its worldview foundations no IS that can objectively ground ought. Matter, energy, space, time and blind forces of chance and necessity simply do not have that capacity. As has been often pointed out, ever since Plato, it has been known that such ideologies lend themselves to radical relativism, are championed by ruthless nihilistic factions, and do end up in one species or another of entailing that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ which is here shown in quotes to indicate that such do not vest this term with the same meaning as the victim of a bully crying out that his behaviour is not right and ought to stop. (And we all know just how much attention bullies pay to pleas to do the right thing.)

    The only place where right can enter a worldview is in its foundations, i.e. there has to be a foundational IS that does ground ought.

    There is just one serious candidate, the inherently good, reasonable creator God.

    And that is exactly the problem, from the days when Paul of Tarsus wrote to the Romans, to this day: THAT we don;t want to accept.

    But, if we are inevitably bound by a transcendent OUGHT, there is a transcendent OUGHT-giver, who has made things for a good purpose, such that evil is the privation or perversion out of such purpose. That, BTW, is why that which is evil is inevitably incoherent and destructive.

    G’day

    KF

  28. Gil,

    I think one of the points you make in your post was nicely summed up by Vox Day a while ago.

  29. GEM,

    And, such materialism has in its worldview foundations no IS that can objectively ground ought. Matter, energy, space, time and blind forces of chance and necessity simply do not have that capacity.

    And it’s not saying it addresses what you call ‘ought’. There may be individuals who make the attempt or get cranky and poo-poo ethics and morals. But there are hundreds, thousands of working scientists who do share many of your philosophical/ideological beliefs and still believe that such issues should not enter into the scientific realm. When theology makes scientific claims then I think it is fair to examine those claims but as far as ‘ought’ is concerned . . . not part of science.

    If you don’t like the fact that some people embrace ‘scientism’ instead of faith then you’d best talk to those people. If they find strict materialism more comforting than theology I guess you’d better find out why. I don’t see the conflict myself. I don’t look to science to tell me how to think or behave but when I want to know how something works then I start with science.

    . . . it has been known that such ideologies lend themselves to radical relativism, are championed by ruthless nihilistic factions, and do end up in one species or another of entailing that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ which is here shown in quotes to indicate that such do not vest this term with the same meaning as the victim of a bully crying out that his behaviour is not right and ought to stop. (And we all know just how much attention bullies pay to pleas to do the right thing.)

    Throughout history there have been bullies, religious and otherwise. Plenty of people who claim great faith have committed hideous atrocities. Being bound by a transcendent OUGHT is no guarantee of moral behaviour unfortunately. And there seems to be quite a few transcendental OUGHTS around.

  30. Jerad cited:

    Whether the science be physics or evolutionary biology, it teaches us only what the observable world is like and how it works.

    Evoutionists should stop elevating their discipline to the level of physics. And that is the subject of this thread. I’ll let Jerry Coyne tell the world where evolutionism really belongs:

    In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics

    Phrenology is a pseudo science, ergo, that’s what evolutionism closer to, not a real science like physics.

    Futher, physics is still uncovering how the world is built, it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of mechanisms that are no longer in operation today. In fact, some physical mechanisms are clearly not in operation today which were presumed to operate in the past — such as those described by modern cosmology. If we can then assume the current laws in our labs were not eternal and immutable, then lots of things are possible. If we assume even mainstream cosmolgy, we assume the mechanism that made the observable world are themselves unobservable. Whether we affix the label “supernatural” to these unobservable mechanisms is one of philosophical preference. But suffice to say, the world we live in was constructed by mechanism we cannot observe directly, but only deduce by inference.

    Such sciences as physics, chemistry, geology, physiology, and neurobiology, exactly like evolutionary biology, admit no supernatural causes

    That’s wrong because evolutionism isn’t a science, it is a pseudo science. And even supposing there are only natural causes, it doesn’t make a bad theory true. By way of example, phologiston and epicycle theories are naturalistic, but the assumption of naturalism doesn’t make them true any more than the assumption of naturalism makes evolutionism true. In prinicple there could be competing naturalistic theories.

    “Supernatural” is somewhat a theological concept. Assuming that we can extrapolate the laws we deduce from our small sample size of observations to all time and space is a bit of stretch. It is possible in principle some other mechanisms was in operation which we do not see today.

    Whether one wishes to affix the label of “miracle”, “supernatural”, etc. is a theological judgement, not a scientific one. It is perfectly scientific to say that evolutionism doesn’t provide an adequate mechanism. It is perfectly scientific to say the mechanism that designed the complexity of life are not seen in operation today. Why is that so hard to accept?

    The assumption of naturalism doesn’t formally entail the acceptance of evolutionism. Not that I agree with them, but some naturalistic models proposed are:

    1. self-organization
    2 extra terrestrial origin of life
    3. independent origiin of species (Senepathy)

    etc.

    If MIND is the most fundamental part of nature, then ID doesn’t violate naturalism if MIND were the most basic component.

    This was suggested by Richard Conn Henry.

  31. Scordova,

    Dr Coyne certainly did say that but he did not mean to imply it wasn’t true!! AS he’s made perfectly clear. In his next couple of sentences he makes the point that evolutionary biology is an historical science which is limited in the kinds of ‘experiments’ it can do. It’s as much a science as archaeology or geology.

    I don’t see there being much of an option aside from extrapolating current known laws over all time and space. Until we find new laws or governing principles that apply in certain situations. But if there are discernible laws that are defined and restricted and measurable then they are not supernatural. We don’t know how gravity works but we can measure it and limit it and use the ‘law’ of gravity to make predictions of planetary motion.

    I don’t mind physicist and cosmologists hypothesising dark matter or energy or multiple universes or string theory or whatever. But until there is lots of collaborating evidence and some equations I’ll remain sceptical.

    MIND is a perfectly good cause IF there’s a MIND around at the given time capable of the required task. Just like your hidden mechanisms. Define it, measure it, show me when and when not. Then I’ll give it a good thought.

  32. “Whether the science be physics or evolutionary biology, it teaches us only what the observable world is like and how it works. Such sciences as physics, chemistry, geology, physiology, and neurobiology, exactly like evolutionary biology, admit no supernatural causes for the actions of atoms, the sun’s energy, the health or ills of the human body, or the powers of the human brain. These sciences recognize only natural, material causes, and we rely on their naturalistic theories when we build airplanes, synthesize new plastics, listen to weather reports, or consult our doctors. We would no more apply religious principles to these activities than we would seek moral guidance from medical doctors, engineers, or chemists. SO IT IS WITH EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCE: no more nor less materialistic than any other science, it offers no moral guidance, only dispassionate analysis of HOW BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS FUNCTION AND CAME TO BE. What use we make of such information is for individuals and society to decide.”
    (caps are mine)
    It seems to me there are big difference between some of the sciences listed in this comment and evolutionary “science”. In my mind physics, chemistry, physiology, and neurobiology seem to be involved in making observations in “real time” and applying the knowledge gained to find solutions and applications to current problems and utilizations in a practical sense. “How things came to be” or where things came from doesn’t seem to be the primary emphasis to these sciences.

    TOE tries to assert and claims to demonstrate how a vast vast array of chemical, molecular, physical relationships emerged and continues to emerge over a vast amount of time in the form of living organisms and systems. Some say highly speculative, undemostratable, unsupported. AND, not without huge implications to our social, moral and ethical sensibilities.

    Does anyone care to comment?

  33. Jerad wrote:

    it, measure it, show me when and when not. Then I’ll give it a good thought.

    If that’s the case, then evolutionism should be given thought, unless of course speculation counts as fact. :-)

  34. bpragmatic,

    TOE tries to assert and claims to demonstrate how a vast vast array of chemical, molecular, physical relationships emerged and continues to emerge over a vast amount of time in the form of living organisms and systems. Some say highly speculative, undemostratable, unsupported. AND, not without huge implications to our social, moral and ethical sensibilities.

    What implications to our social, moral and ethical sensibilities? Will knowing we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees and tigers and elephants and newts and bananas and sea urchins change what we feel is right or wrong or moral or ethical? I think my morals are made of sterner stuff than that!! AND have nothing to do with our ancestors.

    Scordova,

    I examine evolutionary biology’s claims all the time. All knowledge is provisional. We work with models that need to be revised and updated as new data is accumulated.

  35. F/N: First, still too busy to discuss or detail; I suggest that those who want to see more on the sort of issues on grounding of morality should cf here. (And for sparc and others at Anti-Evo indulging in sneer, suggest and smear tactics, the “crisis” I am referring to, is about this matter and several linked policy issues, not the minor note I made here in response to questions I was asked, cf. footnote there.)

  36. F/N 2: When I had to design engineering programmes, one focus of study and ground of competence to practice was engineering sciences, i.e. the scientific foundations for engineering designs, e.g. thermodynamics, electromagnetism, aerodynamics/fluid mechanics, with further context in basic sciences such as chemistry, physics, etc. Engineering is rooted in the operational sciences; which have a very different degree of warrant than those sciences that try to reconstruct a remote, unobserved past — as Gil points out. And BTW, that is why the relevant engineering societies [think IEEE etc] welcome physicists, mathematicians and computer scientists working in relevant fields. Which of course is the context of the recent spate of evolutionary computing publications by Marks [Electrical Engineer] and Dembski [Mathematician-Computer Scientist] et al.

    F/N 3: In looking briefly at the Anti-Evo thread, I see where there is a continued insistence on conflation of design thought with biblical creationism — cf sparc quoting and approving Katerina98 here on accusing Tyler of “lying for Jesus” and KE here in attempted rebuttal to Sal C by trying to turn about a comment he made on common errors of evolutionary materialism promoters into remarks on creationism. This is incorrect, and as it has been repeatedly corrected on warrant, it is a disregard for duties of care to truth and fairness reflective of precisely the sort of nihilistic ruthless factionalism that I point to above. This gives examples of and underscores the concerns I have pointed to J above. Concerns that trace as far back as Plato.

    . . . gotta go, g’day.

  37. J, again, the issue is evolutionary materialism dressed up in the august lab coat and using “evolution” as the science that is claimed to warrant such materialism, demanding our genuflection. Exhibit A: Dawkins, with many others not far behind. I really have to go now. KF

  38. GEM,

    Who genuflects? I don’t. I look at all claims with the same critical eye. Some people seem to get it right most of the time and others . . .

    Anyway, most of the time when some new ‘result’ comes through the mass media I take it with a big grain of salt. Scientists don’t always get it right the first or second or even third time. But science does eventually sort things out. It takes longer the deeper we get into the universe but . . . eventually the data wins.

    The people who ‘worship’ science, if there are such people, are rarely scientists. Real scientists know the limitations of themselves and their method. And the honest ones know it’s not until a result is repeated and has proven its robustness that it becomes tentatively accepted. Unlike the way it’s portrayed in some quarters, it really is an adversarial environment. And everyone knows the mighty can fall. I personally know a biologist who disagrees strongly with Dr Dawkins reductionist attitude. She thinks he’s completely wrong about that aspect of his approach. There’s no worship. It’s a very egalitarian society.

  39. J:

    Pausing after submitting a draft.

    I point you to this from Lewontin, in his 1997 NYRB article:

    . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality . . . .

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

    The link gives my annotated response [including my comment on the onward remarks beyond the final cited words], but it should be quite plain what I am speaking about: scientism, bold and brazen, and driven by a priori materialism dressed up in the lab coat.

    This attitude is wrong in so many ways I cannot go into details now, so kindly follow the link.

    KF

  40. PS: I see further sneers and smears, as I glanced at back-links. As well as attempted outing and belittling dimunitives. If the folks at Anti Evo want my actual views on origins, they know I have laid them out at length in the always linked from my handle here at UD. And, from here on at IOSE, this in ways that I think will help break the Lewontinian spell. It would also be interesting to hear them explain how I am LEADING here at IOSE with a case of origins science done right. It would be interesting for them to explain how my discussion of the explanation of H-R diagrams of stellar clusters with main sequence turnoffs and the like are to be translated into their favourite — and irresponsible — conflation of the design inference with creationism and debates over Bishop Ussher’s timeline. And no, I do not need to wade into a malarial fever swamp to defend myself, I have spoken for record here, and that is enough to raise serious questions on their willfully neglected duties of care.

  41. GEM,

    I have no interest in getting caught up in whatever is going on on another blog.

    I did find Lewontin’s 1997 review of Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World to be less arrogant than your selections imply. For example the second paragraph you cite in full:

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

    In other words how can you limit, confine, measure and define something which can operate outside of the laws of nature? If anything is possible then nothing can be known. It’s not saying transcendent beings don’t exist, many scientists are devote Christians for example. But you can’t pin God down in a lab.

    Lewontin’s essay is worth reading, he is in fact critical of Sagan in places. And Dawkins. There is no conspiracy or unified front. Just a lot of people who have agreed to explore our universe using a commonly agreed upon set of criteria.

  42. Jerad wrote:

    In other words how can you limit, confine, measure and define something which can operate outside of the laws of nature?

    Can you confine limit, confine, and measure macro evolution? No. By that standard, even assuming naturalism, evolutionism is hard pressed to be called science. That’s why in science’s pecking order, evolutionism lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to the pseudoscience than to physics.

  43. scordova,

    Well evolution is limited to gradual step-by-step modifications, building on what’s gone before. Over long periods of time it can accomplish much as seen by the fossil record. And it is hampered with some less than optimal ‘designs’, broken genes, vestigal organs, etc. The fossil and genetic records give a good idea if the speed at which evolution can work.

    I am surprised you asked the question as I thought your contention would be that evolution is NOT capable of much.

    Okay. I did my best. Now it’s your turn to answer my question: how can you limit, constrain, measure and define a being that is not limited to natural laws? Unless you’d like to limit the designer somehow.

  44. scordova,

    Well evolution is limited to gradual step-by-step modifications, building on what’s gone before.

    Actually that is not true. Evolution observed in real-time evidences net loss of complexity not gain. So if you replace what is highlighed with “losing what exists” then you are closer to reality. :-) And even anti-biotic resistance is loss of complexity, not gain.

    So even what is measured and observed is not consistent with evolutionism’s claims.

  45. scordova,

    Hmmm . . . what about the bacteria that ‘learned’ to digest a bi-product of making nylon? Or Lenski’s experiments? Or the sonar abilities of bats? Or feathers? Or bacterial resistance to anti-biotics which didn’t exist until the 20th century? (I am really struggling to see how that could be a lose of complexity . . . at first they were killed by penicillin and then they weren’t and that’s a lose of complexity?) Or flying squirrels? Or flying dinosaurs? Or the varying shells on tortoises on the Galapagos islands? Or the wide variety of dogs. And brassicas. Sickle cell anaemia? What about the development of colour vision? Turtles hard shells? Electric eels? Bioluminescence? How do you get a firefly light from loss of information?

    I suppose you’ll say there’s no evidence that some of those things came about by non-directed evolutionary processes that added complexity. But, there’s no independent physical evidence that they happened by some other process. And the fossil and genetic and biogeographic and morphological records all uphold the modern evolutionary model.

    You could say that all genetic information was front-loaded into the system at the very beginning. Are you? Has anyone done a genetic analysis of the brassicas to see if the source variety has all the genomic information contained in all the descendent varieties? That would seem an easy thing for an ID researcher to check. That might really help prove the case. Has anyone done that work?

    And wouldn’t the front loading hypothesis imply that ancient lifeforms, like trilobites would have had to have many more genes than we do? Some of which weren’t expressed I guess . . . it’s kind of hard to see how that would work really.

  46. J:

    Just back from a busy day, let me pause a few moments.

    how can you limit, confine, measure and define something which can operate outside of the laws of nature?

    You act as if you did not read my notes as linked.

    First, the proper contrast — and that has been so ever since Plato, 2350 years ago — is not natural vs supernatural but chance and/or necessity vs art, or intelligence.

    Intelligence and its traces are very observable and measurable, which is the whole focus of design theory.

    I am very aware of the strawman contrast between nature and supernature, but that is little more than appeal to prejudice. Indeed, the co-founder of evolutionary theory, Wallace, highlighted that the miraculous and the supernatural would be events or works that would call to mind super-human intelligences. But, intelligences they would be.

    Secondly, as I noted, the whole point of the miraculous as a sign pointing beyond the usual course of the world, is that there is a usual course.

    If there were not, there would be a chaos and no science would be possible as well as no miracles could stand out [in a chaos anything could happen, anytime, anyhow], but also no common sense would be possible and no reasoned choice and moral responsibility would be possible. Obviously, we do not live in a chaos, but a cosmos. So the only reasonable issue is whether the order we see has the possibility of an unusual course of events.

    For that, we can start with our minds, a necessary priority of doing science. If they are programmed chemical- electro- mechanical systems, they are no better than their programming and wiring, here imagined to be accumulated errors reinforced through success. But that runs smack dab into the island of function problem, the wiring nodes and arcs framework and the coding required to make a processor so far exceeds the search capacity of the observable cosmos that it is simply not feasible to account for such on chance plus necessity. For reasons already discussed with you in details.

    Reasons you obviously find hard to accept, but that hardly says that they are not well grounded.

    Next, if we look at the contingency of our cosmos, and the incredible fine tuning that suits it for C-chemistry, cell based life, we are looking beyond any multiverse speculation to a necessary being, one that is credibly highly intelligent, powerful and the source for the cosmos.

    In short, so soon as you have to confront he reality of mind, and are not allowed to duck the self referential incoherences of evolutionary materialism, we see that a world that is rooted in intelligence is a very reasonable one and a basis for science. That should not be surprising, modern science was founded by theists in a tradition that looked to God as the author and sustainer of the order of the cosmos, so that scientists think his creative and sustaining thoughts after him. Hence the odd term LAWS of nature.

    If you doubt me, review the previous thread and see say Newton in his General Scholium and in Opticks, Query 31. And there are many like him.

    In short, the whole way Lewontin was arguing was riddled with gross fallacies. Which were corrected in the linked.

    If you didn’t see them, why did you speak like that, and if you did, why did you act as though they were not there?

    Neither of these looks good for you. Please, let us do better next time.

    KF

  47. bacterial resistance to anti-biotics which didn’t exist until the 20th century? (I am really struggling to see how that could be a lose of complexity . . . at first they were killed by penicillin and then they weren’t and that’s a lose of complexity?)

    See:

    http://www.creationresearch.or.....resist.htm

  48. Or the sonar abilities of bats?

    Bats evolving sonar under human observation? Hasn’t happened. Again, you’re offering speculation as a substitute for facts. This isn’t real science.

  49. KF,

    First, the proper contrast — and that has been so ever since Plato, 2350 years ago — is not natural vs supernatural but chance and/or necessity vs art, or intelligence.

    When there’s intelligence around, maybe. But we only know, have experience of, intelligence around when primates are around. Otherwise it’s just a big assumption with no physical proof.

    Intelligence and its traces are very observable and measurable, which is the whole focus of design theory.

    And very contentious and not accepted by the general scientific community without physical confirmation of intelligence being around.

    I am very aware of the strawman contrast between nature and supernature, but that is little more than appeal to prejudice. Indeed, the co-founder of evolutionary theory, Wallace, highlighted that the miraculous and the supernatural would be events or works that would call to mind super-human intelligences. But, intelligences they would be.

    Strawman to you, not to others. Wallace didn’t have all the data we have now.

    Secondly, as I noted, the whole point of the miraculous as a sign pointing beyond the usual course of the world, is that there is a usual course.

    If there were not, there would be a chaos and no science would be possible as well as no miracles could stand out [in a chaos anything could happen, anytime, anyhow], but also no common sense would be possible and no reasoned choice and moral responsibility would be possible. Obviously, we do not live in a chaos, but a cosmos. So the only reasonable issue is whether the order we see has the possibility of an unusual course of events.

    Okay . . , I agree there are known laws and processes that we can account for. And that things which are hypothesised to violate those laws require extra-ordinary proof of existence.

    For that, we can start with our minds, a necessary priority of doing science. If they are programmed chemical- electro- mechanical systems, they are no better than their programming and wiring, here imagined to be accumulated errors reinforced through success. But that runs smack dab into the island of function problem, the wiring nodes and arcs framework and the coding required to make a processor so far exceeds the search capacity of the observable cosmos that it is simply not feasible to account for such on chance plus necessity. For reasons already discussed with you in details.

    I agree, our minds our fallible which is why we need a process like the scientific method to weed out the false positives. And you KNOW I don’t agree with the ‘islands of function’ paradigm. AND it’s not what evolutionary theory says happened.

    Reasons you obviously find hard to accept, but that hardly says that they are not well grounded.

    A matter of opinion.

    Next, if we look at the contingency of our cosmos, and the incredible fine tuning that suits it for C-chemistry, cell based life, we are looking beyond any multiverse speculation to a necessary being, one that is credibly highly intelligent, powerful and the source for the cosmos.

    Also a matter of opinion and not provable. We don’t even know if the universe IS tuneable. Aside from the fact that it’s mostly deadly and empty.

    In short, so soon as you have to confront he reality of mind, and are not allowed to duck the self referential incoherences of evolutionary materialism, we see that a world that is rooted in intelligence is a very reasonable one and a basis for science. That should not be surprising, modern science was founded by theists in a tradition that looked to God as the author and sustainer of the order of the cosmos, so that scientists think his creative and sustaining thoughts after him. Hence the odd term LAWS of nature.

    I’m not ducking anything. I’m just disagreeing with you. 300 years ago almost everyone was a theist of some kind or another. Not so many now. Why do you suppose more and more people are moving away from theism? They have been brainwashed? Lied to? Lots of modern atheists were raised in good Christian or Jewish or Muslim homes. Yet still they choose not to believe.

    If you doubt me, review the previous thread and see say Newton in his General Scholium and in Opticks, Query 31. And there are many like him.

    Not so many these days though.

    In short, the whole way Lewontin was arguing was riddled with gross fallacies. Which were corrected in the linked.

    If you didn’t see them, why did you speak like that, and if you did, why did you act as though they were not there?

    Uh . . . ’cause I disagree with you?

    Neither of these looks good for you. Please, let us do better next time.

    I’m dancing as fast as I can!! :-)

  50. scordova,

    A paper published in Creation Science Quarterly? Umm . . . okay. Anyway they do admit that some mutations do create resistance:

    While mutations that provide resistance to an antibiotic can be considered “beneficial,” they often come with a physiological cost (Andersson and Levin, 1999; Maisnier-Patin et al., 2002). In fact, Björkman et al. (2000) conclude that most types of antibiotic resistance will impart some biological cost to the organism. For example, rifampin resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Billington et al., 1999), E. coli (Reynolds, 2000), and Staphylococcus aureus (Wichelhaus et al., 2002) resulted from mutations to the RNA polymerase that also reduced the relative fitness of most of the mutant strains. Although the biological cost reported by these researchers was generally not severe, it was measurable.

    At a cost maybe. But the mutations do exist. And about the cost to the organism:

    Clearly the fitness of some mutant strains is permanently reduced (sometimes dramatically), and evolutionists have typically ignored such affects in their rush to promote antibiotic resistance as “evolution in the Petri dish.” In fact, they often test relative fitness of these mutants under very narrow cultivation parameters, which minimizes the detectable loss of fitness for a given mutation. On the other hand, the fitness loss of some mutants is negligible (esp. following reversion mutations). So, the effect of spontaneous resistance on bacterial fitness appears to vary from mutant to mutant. Thus, creationists have probably tended to over-stress the significance of reduced “fitness” in antibiotic resistant bacteria by applying the concept to all such mutants.

  51. scordova,

    Bats evolving sonar under human observation? Hasn’t happened. Again, you’re offering speculation as a substitute for facts. This isn’t real science.

    How do you explain it happening? You didn’t answer my query about front loading so I’m not sure if you think this was an example of intelligent design insertion or a result of deleterious loss of function from an existing genome.

  52. J:

    Again, I am pausing from dealing with the crisis.

    I note that it is utterly unreasonable and selectively hyperskeptical to insist or suggest that we may never infer from empirically tested, reliable signs of intelligence to the credible presence of such.

    As was discussed in the previous thread, you were unable to rule out the possibility of intelligence being present at origin of life or body plans, or the fine tuned cosmos.

    Once such is possible there is no good reason why what we have tested and found reliable as signs should not then count as evidence.

    And, it is quite plain that the views of design thinkers and even informed creationists have been repeatedly caricatured in order to deride or dismiss them. My protest above is well warranted.

    In that context, I have no reason to hold my own conclusions hostage to your selectively hyperskeptical, personal incredulity.

    Including, in reply to something that is as patent as why a specific car part, in a particular configuration, is needed to fix a balky vehicle. Or why an incorrect character in a computer program caused a NASA rocket to veer off course and required self-destruct. Or, many other cases that substantiate why it is a general inference that there is no good reason to reject the principle that complex, specific functionality normally comes in islands.

    (And, to date, you and others of like persuasion, have been utterly unable to provide warranting evidence for the notion of an incrementally connected world of life accessible by gradual stepwise changes to populations. The evidence is that body plans are in islands in config space, that protein domains are in such islands, and that the codes and algorithms used in D/RNA are similarly in such islands.)

    G’day

    KF

    F/N: The continued, feverishly abusive, willfully cruelly caricaturing and grossly disrespectful misbehaviour at the Anti Evo thread shows more and more why Plato’s concerns on uncivil, nihilistic, ruthless factions rooted in evolutionary materialism, are well founded. It is highly significant that some there seem to imagine that because they think they can get away with it, they can freely distort and misrepresent the views and character of those who stand up for design thought. In short, we see insistent, willful disregard for duties of care to truth, fairness and civility. In some cases, the evidence on display is that we are dealing with the seriously disordered who need help, and who are public exhibits on the seriousness of the concerns on how evolutionary materialism as an ideology lends support to factions that work to undermine both morality and the fabric of civility that undergirds society, as were raised recently by Dr Ben Carson and others. If ever a demonstration of why UD needs a strong mod policy — despite the inevitable problems that causes — was necessary, there we have it. Let us think long and hard, in light of Plato’s warnings and subsequent history, on what it means that such have been gaining greater influence in science and education institutions and society. Before, it is too late.

  53. KF,

    I note that it is utterly unreasonable and selectively hyperskeptical to insist or suggest that we may never infer from empirically tested, reliable signs of intelligence to the credible presence of such.

    As was discussed in the previous thread, you were unable to rule out the possibility of intelligence being present at origin of life or body plans, or the fine tuned cosmos.

    I don’t rule it out but I don’t consider it likely or probable without further lines, preferably physical, of evidence. Evolutionary theory would fall if it were only hanging on by the fossil thread. But it’s got the genetic record, bio-geographical arguments, morphology and breeding records as well (which show that the underlying stream of mutations is sufficient to create morphological changes in a short period of time given brutal selection).

    Once such is possible there is no good reason why what we have tested and found reliable as signs should not then count as evidence.

    And, it is quite plain that the views of design thinkers and even informed creationists have been repeatedly caricatured in order to deride or dismiss them. My protest above is well warranted.

    In that context, I have no reason to hold my own conclusions hostage to your selectively hyperskeptical, personal incredulity.

    I hope I have not caricatured anyones’ view or opinion. I am doing my best to be civil and upfront as well.

    I quite agree, you do not have to agree with me. Absolutely. How boring would that be? Likewise I don’t have to agree with you.

    Including, in reply to something that is as patent as why a specific car part, in a particular configuration, is needed to fix a balky vehicle. Or why an incorrect character in a computer program caused a NASA rocket to veer off course and required self-destruct. Or, many other cases that substantiate why it is a general inference that there is no good reason to reject the principle that complex, specific functionality normally comes in islands.

    I agree with man-made inanimate objects. But not with evolved life forms. It may appear that way based on current lifeforms where the step-by-step mutation path between them is in the past but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a functional connection.

    (And, to date, you and others of like persuasion, have been utterly unable to provide warranting evidence for the notion of an incrementally connected world of life accessible by gradual stepwise changes to populations. The evidence is that body plans are in islands in config space, that protein domains are in such islands, and that the codes and algorithms used in D/RNA are similarly in such islands.)

    Again, we’ll just have to disagree on that. Reasonable people do that sometimes.

    If you’re having problems with another blog then I apologise but I’m not getting sucked into it. Perhaps you should start another thread?

  54. I’ve been reading this thread from the beginning and really enjoying the dialogue between you all. Kairosfocus I sometimes find a little confrontational but other than that it has been very entertaining indeed.

    However I do feel that Scordova has touched on some extremely valid points which in my view are making the more sense.

    Jerad, you obviously have a great understanding of this subject. I have read all your comments and have enjoyed them thoroughly, but… I can’t help coming to the conclusion that you are blinkered by what is your worldview, and although you come across as being extremely objective you are in actual fact quite the opposite.

    For instance you say

    ‘Hmmm . . . what about the bacteria that ‘learned’ to digest a bi-product of making nylon? Or Lenski’s experiments? Or the sonar abilities of bats? Or feathers? Or bacterial resistance to anti-biotics which didn’t exist until the 20th century? (I am really struggling to see how that could be a lose of complexity . . . at first they were killed by penicillin and then they weren’t and that’s a lose of complexity?) Or flying squirrels? Or flying dinosaurs? Or the varying shells on tortoises on the Galapagos islands? Or the wide variety of dogs. And brassicas. Sickle cell anaemia? What about the development of colour vision? Turtles hard shells? Electric eels? Bioluminescence? How do you get a firefly light from loss of information?

    I suppose you’ll say there’s no evidence that some of those things came about by non-directed evolutionary processes that added complexity. But, there’s no independent physical evidence that they happened by some other process. And the fossil and genetic and biogeographic and morphological records all uphold the modern evolutionary model.’

    I simply do not see how you can make this distinction. All of those examples of supposed ‘increase complexity’, how do you or anyone else really know?

    You talk about bacteria learning to digest a bi-product of making nylon, and?

    Now this may sound a little silly but bacteria have managed to survive for millions of years, learning new tricks as they meander along, and what you have sited as evidence of ‘increase complexity’ is not going to change that. The same bacteria will still be going strong, unchanged, in millions of years to come.

    And it’s the same for everything else you have sited. This is where I suppose you look into the past for such changes in the fossil record and again it draws a blank.
    For instance some of the best examples like whale evolution, horse evolution, bird, bat, etc are all completely fruitless, and in most some cases extremely misrepresented, as far as actual evidence goes.

    Nope, I have to say the actual evidence isn’t on your side Jerad. You are, as far as I am concerned, a great man of faith.

    Please don’t take that the wrong way; I have utter respect for you. I just don’t think the evidence is all you think it is.

    Keep it up though. I am looking forward to some more on this particular thread from all involved.

  55. PeterJ,

    I simply do not see how you can make this distinction. All of those examples of supposed ‘increase complexity’, how do you or anyone else really know?

    I was interested in what scordova would say to those examples. They all seem pretty clearly (to me obviously) to be examples of increased complexity. I would have added Venus Flytraps as well but I didn’t think of them ’til later. I consider them increases in complexity as they all seem to be examples of traits or abilities that didn’t exist before. I could be wrong. It happens. Everyday. Sigh.

    You talk about bacteria learning to digest a bi-product of making nylon, and?

    Now this may sound a little silly but bacteria have managed to survive for millions of years, learning new tricks as they meander along, and what you have sited as evidence of ‘increase complexity’ is not going to change that. The same bacteria will still be going strong, unchanged, in millions of years to come.

    Well, my point is they aren’t unchanged. Before the mid-20th century Nylon did not exist. No reason to think that there was a variety of bacteria that could exploit the byproducts of Nylon production. Yet, within a few years, they existed.

    I know what you’re saying: they will change but still be bacteria. Well . . . eukaryotes probably evolved from prokaryotes, at least that’s the current thinking. (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....mbiosis_03)
    So, maybe, in a million years some of the bacteria we observe today will have created something that’s not a bacteria.

    There are already lots and lots and lots of different species of bacteria and I suspect there are many more to come!!

    And it’s the same for everything else you have sited. This is where I suppose you look into the past for such changes in the fossil record and again it draws a blank.
    For instance some of the best examples like whale evolution, horse evolution, bird, bat, etc are all completely fruitless, and in most some cases extremely misrepresented, as far as actual evidence goes.

    I guess we’ll just have to disagree on that. And I’m not always looking into the deep past: look at the varieties of dogs and brassicas to see what guided common descent is capable of in a few thousand years.

    Nope, I have to say the actual evidence isn’t on your side Jerad. You are, as far as I am concerned, a great man of faith.

    Please don’t take that the wrong way; I have utter respect for you. I just don’t think the evidence is all you think it is.

    Fair enough. I’m not trying to convert everyone. When people ask me my opinion I try to offer and explain it honestly and with respect. I hope that comes across.

    What I’d really like to hear from people participating on this thread is what THEY think regarding the fossil, genetic, bio-geographic and morphological data. I’d like to hear some more specifics about others’ theories. IF you feel the front loading model is correct then I’d like to know how it works. And ask some questions. IF you think there was a designer who tweaked things occasionally then I’d like to ask questions about when and why. Not out of a desire to deride or caricature. Exactly the opposite. I’m doing my best to answer questions, I think it’s fair for me to ask some as well!!

    I don’t remember what thread it was but Joe proposed that perhaps some of the ‘programming’ necessary for variation was not part of DNA. I asked him some follow-on questions but I don’t remember it going very far.

    And I’ve always been encouraging of the ID community to do its own research. Ask questions and do the work!! That’s the way to prove your points.

  56. PeterJ,

    How do you explain the emergence of bats’ echo location technique?

  57. PS: J, you can track my thoughts in public, here.

  58. KF,

    I am a subscriber to your blog, added it to my every growing list a few weeks ago! :-)

  59. F/N: J, in passing, how do you explain the recent discoveries that bats and whales, in connexion with their sonar systems, have more or less the same DNA at the key points? Similarly, how huge swathes of the human genome are found in kangaroos, i.e. marsupials said to be split off from the main mammal line 150 MYA or so? Both of these were recently headlined, and are brought up in my IOSE discussion on body plan origins. Add in that famous mosaic creature the platypus, and its genome with parallels to all sorts of animals. Cf the concept of code reuse. KF

  60. Jerad: #43

    Well evolution is limited to gradual step-by-step modifications, building on what’s gone before.

    No, it isn’t. If some organism could make a leap of a change, then theory of evolution would just accomodate that.

    Over long periods of time it can accomplish much as seen by the fossil record.

    That is the propaganda. However there isn’t any independent evidence for that.

    The fossil and genetic records give a good idea if the speed at which evolution can work.

    And yet neither say anything about evolution- evolution has to first be assumed. And still no independent evidence for it.

    how can you limit, constrain, measure and define a being that is not limited to natural laws?

    Nice red herring. ID is about the DESIGN, not the DESIGNER.

  61. KF,

    I think there’s much shared generic material because most animals, vertebrates and mammals in particular, need many of the same functions and organs. Internally most mammals are pretty similar. I just think the similarity is due to common descent and not common design. But the result is similar, for sure.

  62. Joe,

    Well evolution is limited to gradual step-by-step modifications, building on what’s gone before.

    No, it isn’t. If some organism could make a leap of a change, then theory of evolution would just accomodate that.

    It would be very improbable depending on how big a leap you’re talking about. Have you got an example in mind? I’m not aware of a documented case of major morphological changes happening in a leap.

    Over long periods of time it can accomplish much as seen by the fossil record.

    That is the propaganda. However there isn’t any independent evidence for that.

    I’d say the biogeographic and genomic and morphological evidence support that contention and those are separate lines of evidence. What do you think is responsible for the fossil record?

    The fossil and genetic records give a good idea if the speed at which evolution can work.

    And yet neither say anything about evolution- evolution has to first be assumed. And still no independent evidence for it.

    Well, Darwin and Wallace inferred common descent based on the fossil record AND the biogeographic and morphological data. And the ability of breeders to fix changes in body plan. Before that the default way of thinking was design and the immutability of species. So I’d say that evolution was deduced from the evidence.

    how can you limit, constrain, measure and define a being that is not limited to natural laws?

    Nice red herring. ID is about the DESIGN, not the DESIGNER.

    My statement was an attempt to put into different words Lewontin’s imprecation that the Divine/supernatural has no place in science. I wasn’t asking about the designer. I think at some point in the design inference you do have to discuss the designer’s or designers’ scheme at least, otherwise you aren’t explaining the evidence. But that’s not what I was doing at that particular moment.

    Anyway, as I’ve said I am interested in other models that encompass all the evidence so tell me what your idea is.

  63. J: Quick note, please observe, Whales and bats are not tied to any close links that would account for the same sonar DNA code. Humans and Kangaroos are 150 MY apart on the usual timeline — that’s Dinosaur era. And, Platypuses are just plain weird. They could not simultaneously come form those lineages, and their code is a mosaic. The idea of the same code or structures — try the camera eye for a case — originating “spontaneously” multiple times, is not darwinist evo, it is a molecular version of Platonic forms, at best and would raise serious questions of a cosmos that has that sort of built in programs. Just to spark a rethink, too busy for details and step by step development. KF

  64. Jerad,

    ‘I’d say the biogeographic and genomic and morphological evidence support that contention and those are separate lines of evidence. What do you think is responsible for the fossil record?’

    The so called ‘fossil record’ doesn’t really exist, it’s all in the mind.

    You simply don’t have a ‘record’. What you have are ‘fossils’, period.

  65. KF,

    I’m not sure the sonar capacities of whales and bats are comparable . . . I’m not sure if the organs involved are that similar . . . I’ll try and look it up. Hey! I didn’t bring up convergent evolution!! :-)

    What’s the problem with humans and Kangaroos being 150 MYA on the timeline? (Is that right? I’ll try and look that up too.) There were mammals around 150 MYA.

    Platypuses are weird. They are monotremes and I forget how they fit in. I don’t know what lineages your are implying they could not have come from. Could you be more specific?

  66. PeterJ,

    The so called ‘fossil record’ doesn’t really exist, it’s all in the mind.

    You simply don’t have a ‘record’. What you have are ‘fossils’, period.

    Well, lots of people will disagree with you on that, including me. I see life forms slowly, over millions of years, branching off and forming new body plans. Obviously not all the intermediate steps are present so some lineages are better documented than others. But in the case of the whales say, there are enough intermediate steps that the progression is clear.

    What is your explanation for the fossils that evolutionary biologists say show the development of whales? Or hominids. Or . . . take your pick. If you don’t like my explanation then let’s hear yours! I really am interested. Do you think there were intermediate life forms that did not get recorded as fossils? IF each intermediate form was designed then what was the purpose of the progression? Why not just create whales in one go? That would have created a HUGE gap and made the design inference pretty clear.

  67. J:

    Did you follow the link on the genetic similarity involved? Sci Daily, as I clipped in IOSE on the body plan discussion page:

    two new studies in the January 26th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, show that bats’ and whales’ remarkable [[sonar echolocation] ability and the high-frequency hearing it depends on are shared at a much deeper level than anyone would have anticipated — all the way down to the molecular level.

    “The natural world is full of examples of species that have evolved similar characteristics independently, such as the tusks of elephants and walruses,” said Stephen Rossiter of the University of London, an author on one of the studies. “However, it is generally assumed that most of these so-called convergent traits have arisen by different genes or different mutations. Our study shows that a complex trait — echolocation — has in fact evolved by identical genetic changes in bats and dolphins.”

    A hearing gene known as prestin in both bats and dolphins (a toothed whale) has picked up many of the same mutations over time, the studies show. As a result, if you draw a phylogenetic tree of bats, whales, and a few other mammals based on similarities in the prestin sequence alone, the echolocating bats and whales come out together rather than with their rightful evolutionary cousins.

    Both research teams also have evidence showing that those changes to prestin were selected for, suggesting that they must be critical for the animals’ echolocation for reasons the researchers don’t yet fully understand.

    Similarly, on kangaroos:

    The tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), was the model kangaroo used for the genome mapping.

    Like the o’possum, there are about 20,000 genes in the kangaroo’s genome, Graves says.

    That makes it about the same size as the human genome, but the genes are arranged in a smaller number of larger chromosomes.

    “Essentially it’s the same houses on a street being rearranged somewhat,” Graves says.

    “In fact there are great chunks of the [[human] genome sitting right there in the kangaroo genome.”

    That was a bit of a splash a little while ago. That is what I am pointing to.

    Gotta go again.

    KF

  68. KF,

    No, I had missed that. Well, that is an amazing example of convergent evolution between the bats and whales if that is correct. I’m really surprised that the similarity goes down that deep. Interesting. I consider that extremely unlikely. I agree that a phylogenetic tree based on the prestin sequence would be very misleading. Interesting.

    I don’t know what’s the problem with the human and kangaroo genome being that similar. Human and chimp genomes are much closer obviously. Ha! I read a newspaper story about that story, it had some of the same quotes you gave. And the researcher, Graves, said:

    Kangaroos are hugely informative about what we were like 150 million years ago.

    Hmmm . . . I’d like to hear other biologists opinion on that!!

    I do find both those results surprising and improbable. I’m not a biologist but I’d love to hear an evolutionary biology take on them both. I’m just a tad sceptical based on what I’ve read so far.

  69. Jerad

    ‘Well, lots of people will disagree with you on that, including me.’

    Fair enough.

    ‘I see life forms slowly, over millions of years, branching off and forming new body plans.’

    Perhaps you could show me what you consider to be a good example.

    ‘Obviously not all the intermediate steps are present so some lineages are better documented than others. But in the case of the whales say, there are enough intermediate steps that the progression is clear.’

    Really?

    Tell you what, you watch this video clip, it’s 28 minutes long, but to save time I will give you the times to watch between 8.39 – 17.29.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cf9CTrvEeE0

    I hope this helps.

  70. PeterJ,

    If you’re really interested then I recommend Donald Prothero’s book Evolution: what the fossils say and why it matters. He shows a large number of examples of fossil records. But even that book is 5 years old now and may be outdated in some aspects.

    I watched the video. On the face of it, as presented in the video, I admit the evolution of whales looks pretty . . . ill defined. And certainly evolutionary biologists have changed their minds over the decades. And, of course, all mammals will share a common ancestor with all other mammals. I think the best thing to do is to get the most recent model based on the most recent fossil AND genetic data.

    In the Wikipedia article on the evolution of cetaceans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E....._cetaceans) there is a discussion of how biologists have changed their minds about whales’ antecedents.

    It’s all very well to go anomaly hunting. Science is a human endeavour and mistakes are made, people screw up, web pages are not updated, opinions change. All knowledge is provisional. If Darwin were alive today he would not agree with his opinion from the mid-19th century.

  71. Jerad:

    Well, Darwin and Wallace inferred common descent based on the fossil record AND the biogeographic and morphological data.

    Good for them. They did not have any way to confirm their inference, meaning their inference is untestable.

    Before that the default way of thinking was design and the immutability of species.

    LoL! THAT is a strawman Darwin invented or at least pushed. Ya see Linne- aka Carolus Linneaus- had already placed the Created Kinds to at least the level of “Genus”, meaning Creationists accepted speciation decades before Darwin wrote “On the Origins of Species…”

    My statement was an attempt to put into different words Lewontin’s imprecation that the Divine/supernatural has no place in science.

    1- ID does not require the divine/ supernatural

    2- Science only cares about REALITY, regardless of what that is and even if it includes the divine/ supernatural.

    I think at some point in the design inference you do have to discuss the designer’s or designers’ scheme at least, otherwise you aren’t explaining the evidence.

    What you think is irrelevant. Ya see the ONLY way to make any possible scientific determination about the designer(s) or specific process(es) used, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design and all relevant evidence.

    And guess what? By doing so IDists have inferred the universe is designed for scientific discovery.

    Also it is a fact that it is easier to infer stuff about designers whose designers are easily redone by us- that is designs that we are capable of doing. But that is not what we have with Intelligent Design. With ID we have a design that we cannot duplicate. So with ID it would be akin to some Amazon native that never seen technology trying to figure out a laptop and who made it.

    Anyway, as I’ve said I am interested in other models that encompass all the evidence so tell me what your idea is.

    You don’t even know if your model encompasses the evidence. Just because you think it does that does not make it so.

  72. Jerad:

    I see life forms slowly, over millions of years, branching off and forming new body plans.

    When imagination = evidence you will have something. However no one has ever seen accumulations of genetic accidents constructing new and useful multi-protein systems. So your imagination is meaningless.

    But in the case of the whales say, there are enough intermediate steps that the progression is clear.

    LoL! There are a handful of possible fossils when there are 50,000+ transformations that had to have occurred. And no one knows if such a transformation is even possible. And THAT means tehre is a HUGE gap.

    Ya see Jerad, ignorance is not evidence either…

  73. Joe,

    1- ID does not require the divine/ supernatural

    2- Science only cares about REALITY, regardless of what that is and even if it includes the divine/ supernatural.

    But how would you limit, define and test something that is supernatural or divine? How can science deal with something divine?

    What you think is irrelevant. Ya see the ONLY way to make any possible scientific determination about the designer(s) or specific process(es) used, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design and all relevant evidence.

    But without the evidence beyond the inferred designed object, and considering the objections many scientists have regarding the design inference how do you really know there was a designer?

    You don’t even know if your model encompasses the evidence. Just because you think it does that does not make it so.

    So, you’re not going to tell me your proposed model that explains the evidence?

    When imagination = evidence you will have something. However no one has ever seen accumulations of genetic accidents constructing new and useful multi-protein systems. So your imagination is meaningless.

    No one saw the continents drift apart or the magnetic poles of the earth swap either. Does that mean those things are merely speculative as well? No one saw the dinosaurs . . . . could it be that their fossils were merely planted/created to confuse us?

  74. Jerad:

    But how would you limit, define and test something that is supernatural or divine? How can science deal with something divine?

    Science has to deal with reality. And if the reality is we are here by divine intervention then science has to deal with that.

    But without the evidence beyond the inferred designed object, and considering the objections many scientists have regarding the design inference how do you really know there was a designer?

    There are many designed objects tat encompass several scientific fields. And if those who object to the design inference could just step up and support their position ID would fall-> Newton’s four rules of scientific investigation takes care of that.

    So, you’re not going to tell me your proposed model that explains the evidence?

    Intelligent Design.

    No one saw the continents drift apart or the magnetic poles of the earth swap either.

    And we can only extrapolate from current processes.

    And wrt biology/ evolution there aren’t any current processes we can extrapolate from to get universal common descent unless the first populations had all the information required.

  75. Joe,

    Science has to deal with reality. And if the reality is we are here by divine intervention then science has to deal with that.

    I suppose but I just don’t see how it can. You can’t make the divine perform on command in a lab. In which case the divine inference would be in the same position you say evolution is: no evidence.

    But what does Intelligent Design really mean? That there was front loading of information? That the designer intervenes every so often? That the designer intervenes by tweaking the mutations in a certain direction? I’m trying to figure out what people are saying when they invoke ID.

    And we can only extrapolate from current processes.

    And wrt biology/ evolution there aren’t any current processes we can extrapolate from to get universal common descent unless the first populations had all the information required.

    Well, we can see in the last 2000 years what selective breeding has done to dogs and brassicas. So we extrapolate from that. And there are other examples of modifications that have arisen in labs or observed in ‘the wild’. How is that different from the theory of plate tectonics?

  76. Convergent Evolution reminds me of Fools Gold, sure looks pretty, but worthless to speculate on as the real thing.

  77. Jerad:

    Well, we can see in the last 2000 years what selective breeding has done to dogs and brassicas.

    LoL! No new multi-protein machinery. With dogs, no new body plans. IOW if we use that to extrapolate baraminology looks great!

    Modifications tat occur in a lab cannot be extrapolated for universal common descent.

  78. Joe,

    I guess you’re not going to attempt to tell me how you can account for the divine in science. Pity, I was looking forward to hearing your views on that.

    And I was hoping to hear some specifics about ID other than that there was a designer, sometime, somewhere, somehow. I’m not asking for a commitment from the whole ID community, just your view about how and when it might have happened.

    LoL! No new multi-protein machinery. With dogs, no new body plans. IOW if we use that to extrapolate baraminology looks great!

    What about the brassicas then?

    Modifications tat occur in a lab cannot be extrapolated for universal common descent.

    Why? What difference does it make where the modifications are observed?

  79. J:

    That crisis is hotter than ever but I can pause a minute.

    The stuff about the divine in science is a side-track. If we broaden focus to what was called natural philosophy, we cna see that the matters can be informed by scientific concerns but are phil issues. Cf Newton’s General Scholium.

    But, what is most definitely scientific is the empirically tested, reliable signs of intelligence.

    And that is what we find all overt he world of life and in the fine tuned cosmos that facilitates such life.

    G’day

    KF

  80. 80

    Observing the change in DNA sequences “over the past 2000 years” does nothing to explain the rise of recorded information. Its often no more than a pacifier that helps to perpetuate ignorance.

  81. KF,

    The stuff about the divine in science is a side-track. If we broaden focus to what was called natural philosophy, we cna see that the matters can be informed by scientific concerns but are phil issues. Cf Newton’s General Scholium.

    I’ll take your word for it; I’m no philosopher.

    But, what is most definitely scientific is the empirically tested, reliable signs of intelligence.

    I’m still a bit uhhhhhhhhh about that.

  82. UBP,

    Observing the change in DNA sequences “over the past 2000 years” does nothing to explain the rise of recorded information. Its often no more than a pacifier that helps to perpetuate ignorance.

    I was just talking about the observable morphological changes but you do bring up a good point: it might be possible to get some old dog and plant DNA from the last 2000 years . .. . hmmmm . . .

    If you were able to examine the brassica DNA over the development of the markedly different varieties then you would be able to see which mutations created the substantial morphological changes that have occurred. In fact, you could probably do the same by looking at the genomes of the modern varieties. Interesting . . . makes me wish I was a geneticist. Very interesting . . .

  83. 83

    Jerad,

    Knowing the mutations in genetic information required to lead from one variety of mustard plant to another does not explain how the arbitrary relationships required to record genetic information came to be established in the first place. The second question is far more instructive than the first, IMO.

  84. UBP,

    Knowing the mutations in genetic information required to lead from one variety of mustard plant to another does not explain how the arbitrary relationships required to record genetic information came to be established in the first place. The second question is far more instructive than the first, IMO.

    True, and I’m not saying it does address that point. But it would be a good thing to check to see how a step-by-step functional path of mutations can create morphological changes. Quite dramatic ones for the brassicas in fact.

    OoL stuff . . . I tend to stay away from. I don’t think panspermia is really a viable option owing to the huge distances and conditions involved but it is possible. And if true that would give life a huge first step onto the ladder. But that’s not a hypothesis you can falsify, more science fiction really. You might be able to prove something like the RNA-world is possible but that doesn’t mean life got started that way. I’m afraid it’s always going to be something of a mystery.

  85. Oh, by the way, about the fine tuning argument (from Wikipedia):

    Computer simulations suggest that not all of the purportedly “fine-tuned” parameters may be as fine-tuned as has been claimed. Victor Stenger has simulated different universes in which four fundamental parameters are varied. He found that long-lived stars could exist over a wide parameter range, and concluded that “… a wide variation of constants of physics leads to universes that are long-lived enough for life to evolve, although human life need not exist in such universes”.
    Fred Adams has done a similar study to Stenger, investigating the structure of stars in universes with different values of the gravitational constant G, the fine-structure constant ?, and a nuclear reaction rate parameter C. His study suggests that roughly 25% of this parameter space allows stars to exist. Harnik, Kribs and Perez have argued for the viability of a universe with no weak interaction at all. However, they noted that their analysis does not extend to the supposed fine tuning of the cosmological constant, and concluded that “the fine-tuning problems associated with the electroweak breaking scale and the cosmological constant appear to be qualitatively different from the perspective of obtaining a habitable universe.”

    IF the universe is even tuneable. We don’t know if the fundamental constants can vary. Suggesting they can vary is pure speculation, there’s no empirical evidence.

  86. 86

    OoL stuff . . . I tend to stay away from.

    Yes, lots of people say the same – particularly given that the material evidence is almost intractibly against a purely material origin. On the basis of “who knows” they allow themselves to ignore what is already known, and consequently they feel free to assume their conclusion about the rest.

  87. UB:

    It is actually worse, as the OOL case shifts the weight of credible explanation decisively.

    There is no credible explanation for language, algorithms, codes, nanomachines organised to carry out algorithms based on codes, and all set up as a von Neumann self replicator, than intelligence acting through directed purposeful contingency, i.e. design.

    Such, then sets a basis for seeing that adaptations of the scope required to move through the range of body plans, also implicates design.

    Of course this s consistent with the actual evidence of islands of function at body plan level. And of course stuff about dog or cabbage/mustard family varieties is utterly irrelevant to the actual issue on the table: how to get from a unicellular organism to a cabbage or a dog/wolf.

    But it is always ever so easy to change the subject and rule off areas where one will not go.

    KF

  88. KF,

    I don’t think I was trying to change the subject. I’ve always been clear about what model I think is the best explanation. And I think the evidence we have means we can extrapolate to the point where it’s fair to assume that a step-by-step path along functional pathways can get us from a unicellular organism to all of life.

    You disagree for reasons we’ve already discussed at great length.

    I do tend to shy away from OoL discussions ’cause, to be honest, I really don’t understand the issues surrounding the modern biological hypotheses like the RNA world. I mean the chemistry is beyond me. But as I consider that a separate issue from evolution I think that’s fair.

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