Home » Intelligent Design » When Can a Child Understand an Issue More Clearly Than Two Ph.Ds Combined? When a Shibboleth of NDE is at Stake.

When Can a Child Understand an Issue More Clearly Than Two Ph.Ds Combined? When a Shibboleth of NDE is at Stake.

The basic idea of irreducible complexity developed by Michael Behe is simple and elegant.  Dr. Behe posits that a biological system such as the iconic bacterial flagellum (UD’s mascot – see the picture at the top of our homepage) is irreducibly complex if each part of the system is indispensable to function.  In other words, if one removes any part of an irreducibly complex system, one winds up not with degraded function but with no function at all.

This idea is important to the debate over Neo-Darwinian Evolution (NDE), because NDE is grounded absolutely in the notion that every complex biological system evolved from a simpler precursor in a stepwise fashion in which each step provided a net fitness gain.

It is obvious that an irreducibly complex system cannot have evolved in a stepwise fashion for the simple reason that all of the parts must be in place at once for there to be function.  By definition, you can’t add the parts one after the other in a stepwise fashion and have function at each step of the process.

An automobile engine is an example of a system with an irreducibly complex core.  There are hundreds of parts in an engine, some of which are part of the irreducibly complex core and some of which are not.  For example, the bolt holding the battery in place is NOT part of the core.  We can remove that bolt, and the battery will flop around, but the car will still run.  The battery itself, on the other hand, is part of the irreducibly complex core.  As anyone who has ever turned the key on a car with a dead battery knows, no battery equals zero function.

Irreducible complexity poses a serious problem for NDE, which various NDE researchers have attempted to meet (so far unsuccessfully).  The latest attempt to address this conundrum comes from Kelly Hughes and David Blair of the University of Utah, two of the world’s leading experts on bacterial flagellar assembly, in chapter 38 of the new book Microbes and Evolution:  The World that Darwin Never Saw.  They write:

It is clear that the flagellum is a complex structure and that its assembly and operation depend upon many interdependent components and processes. This complexity has been suggested to pose problems for the theory of evolution; specifically, it has been suggested that the ancestral flagellum could not have provided a significant advantage unless all of the parts were generated simultaneously. Hence, the flagellum has been described as “irreducibly complex,” implying that it is impossible or at least very difficult to envision a much simpler, but still useful, ancestral form that would have been the raw material for evolution.

Our JonathanM has a detailed review over at Evolution News and Views.  Hughes’ and Blair’s essential idea is that the bacterial flagellum is not irreducibly complex because sub-components within the flagellar structure are homologous to other bacterial organelles.  In other words, some of the components of the flagellum can be found in other molecular structures.  For example, as JonathanM points out in his review, they correctly point out that the stator proteins MotA and MotB are homologs of ExbB and ExbD, which form part of the TonB-dependent active transport system.

Let’s explore this argument in the context of a vehicle engine.  Just as with the flagellum an engine has parts that are, in a sense, homologous with parts in other kinds of machines.  Examples abound.  An engine has nuts, bolts, a battery, belts, wires, pistons, reservoirs for various fluids.  All of these components can be found in other types of machines.  Therefore, according to Hughes’ and Blair’s analysis, an engine is not irreducibly complex.

You will say that conclusion is not only wrong, it is laughable, and you will be right.  It is glaringly obvious to even the most casual observer that the mere existence of an irreducibly complex system’s parts is a necessary – but far from sufficient – condition for the system’s function.  Suppose I have every single component of an engine in my garage.  Do I have a functioning engine?  Of course not.  Suppose further that I take all of those components and put them in a big bag and shake them up.  Do I have an engine now?  Of course not.  Even a child would understand that having the parts is not enough even if all of the parts are in the same place at the same time.

Function requires simultaneous coordination of the parts.  Certainly simultaneous coordination can be achieved in a stepwise fashion.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine it being achieved any other way.  There is no way to build an engine such that all of the parts come together in an instant.  The mechanic starts with the block and inserts the pistons and attaches the rods and so on and so on until the engine is built and functions.  Notice, however, that each step does not give the engine “a little more function.”  Each individual step gives the engine no function at all.  There is function only when all of the steps are completed.

The distinction between merely “stepwise” and “stepwise with each step improving function” is vital.  A mechanic is an intelligent agent.  When he builds an engine he has a distant goal in mind (a functioning engine), and he achieves that goal one step at a time.  It makes no difference to him whether he gets a little bit of improved function at each step.  Indeed, if there are 500 steps, he is content with zero function for steps 1 through 499.  NDE cannot build an engine that way.  By definition there must be a net gain in function for steps 1 through 499. Why?  Because natural selection “selects” a new trait for one and only one reason – the new trait increases the fitness of the organism.  Therefore, if the new trait does not increase the fitness of the organism there is nothing there that natural selection can select for.

In summary, as I mentioned above, any child can see that the idea of irreducible complexity is not defeated by the mere existence of the parts of the system.  Why can’t these highly educated biologists see what any child can see?  Because they are blinded by their metaphysical suppositions.  To them, the bacterial flagellum just had to evolve in a stepwise fashion.  It is quite literally unthinkable for it to have come about any other way.  And if it had to have happened that way, then any explanation for how it happened that way is sufficient, even if the explanation is patently absurd.

 

UPDATE

In the first comment in the combox we get this from Neil Rickert:

The battery itself, on the other hand, is part of the irreducibly complex core. Anyone who has ever turned the key on a car with a dead battery knows, no battery equals zero function.

Early automobiles did not have a battery. They were started with a crank. The battery was added later, to allow electrical starting. But the crank remained, and buyers insisted on having it. So, even then, the automobile could be started using the crank and without a battery.

Later, after the electrical starter had proved itself successful, automobiles were built without a crank.

So here, in your own example, we have a system with an appearance of irreducible complexity, yet whose development history was one of stepwise change

Here’s my response:

The fact that an engine designed to start without a battery can get along without a battery has no bearing on whether an engine designed to start with a battery can get along without a battery.

As Joe and BA point out (and as I explained in the OP), both systems were designed.  A designer can design a system to accomplish the same thing in various ways.  (piston/rotary or battery start/crank start).  This says nothing about whether NDE can build an IR system in a stepwise fashion.

You have committed what Phil Johnson calls “Berra’s blunder,” i.e., using an example that is obviously the product of intelligent agency to attempt to make a point about a non-intelligent process.

Berra’s Blunder:

If you compare a 1953 and a 1954 Corvette, side by side, then a 1954 and a 1955 model, and so on, the descent with modification is overwhelmingly obvious. This is what paleontologists do with fossils, and the evidence is so solid and comprehensive that it cannot be denied by reasonable people…

The point is that the Corvette evolved through a selection process acting on variations that resulted in a series of transitional forms and an endpoint rather distinct from the starting point. A similar process shapes the evolution of organisms.

Tim Berra, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, 1990, pg 117-119

Phil Johnson:

Of course, every one of those Corvettes was designed by engineers. The Corvette sequence — like the sequence of Beethoven’s symphonies to the opinions of the United States Supreme Court — does not illustrate naturalistic evolution at all. It illustrates how intelligent designers will typically achieve their purposes by adding variations to a basic design plan. Above all, such sequences have no tendency whatever to support the claim that there is no need for a creator, since blind natural forces can do the creating. On the contrary, they show that what biologists present as proof of “evolution” or “common ancestry” is just as likely to be evidence of common design.

Phillip Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, 1997, pg 63.

Even a moment’s reflection would suffice to make it clear that the “crank to battery/crank to battery only” analogy does not address the argument of the OP.  But Mr. Rickert did not take a moment to reflect, because he, like the two Ph.Ds referred to in the OP, has ideological blinders on.  These blinders cause him to make analogies that even a child could see have no bearing whatsoever on whether NDE – as opposed to an intelligent agent – can build an irreducibly complex system.  Thank you, Mr. Rickert, for illustrating the point of the OP so beautifully.

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103 Responses to When Can a Child Understand an Issue More Clearly Than Two Ph.Ds Combined? When a Shibboleth of NDE is at Stake.

  1. The battery itself, on the other hand, is part of the irreducibly complex core. Anyone who has ever turned the key on a car with a dead battery knows, no battery equals zero function.

    Early automobiles did not have a battery. They were started with a crank. The battery was added later, to allow electrical starting. But the crank remained, and buyers insisted on having it. So, even then, the automobile could be started using the crank and without a battery.

    Later, after the electrical starter had proved itself successful, automobiles were built without a crank.

    So here, in your own example, we have a system with an appearance of irreducible complexity, yet whose development history was one of stepwise change.

  2. And Mr. Rickert, was this ‘stepwise change’, from crank to battery, derived by improved human knowledge/intelligence or by neo-Darwinian processes?

  3. Neil Rickert:

    Early automobiles did not have a battery.

    So what? They needed something else that blind and undirected processs couldn’t produce. IOW they were still IC.

    So here, in your own example, we have a system with an appearance of irreducible complexity, yet whose development history was one of stepwise change.

    By DESIGN. And it is IC. IC can be achieved by design.

  4. I think the question is can you stepwise transition (via a blind undirected process) from a piston engine to a rotary engine or vice versa.

    And the obvious answer to this is that you can’t.

    A piston engine is in its own IC domain.
    A rotary engine is in its own IC domain.

  5. 5
    William J Murray

    Neil Rickert’s response goes back to something I said in another thread – these guys aren’t trying to understand the concept; they’re just mechanically (or habitually) processing denials, diversions and dismissals, whether they are relevant or not, and whether they make any sense or not, in service of their ideological commitments.

  6. Irreducible complexity kills Darwinian evolution dead. In a sane word, IC would have ended the evolution debate a long time ago. DE would have been recognized for what it is, a false religion. This would have meant the end of the teaching of evolution in our schools but, unfortunately, we don’t live in a sane world.

  7. Mr Arrington:

    I am more and more convinced that there is too often a want of genuine exchange of minds on design issues.

    I think a good place to begin is with Menuge’s criteria C1 – 5 for IC systems, clipping from the ID foundations series no 3, two years ago:

    For a working [bacterial] flagellum to be built by exaptation, the five following conditions would all have to be met:

    C1: Availability. Among the parts available for recruitment to form the flagellum, there would need to be ones capable of performing the highly specialized tasks of paddle, rotor, and motor, even though all of these items serve some other function or no function.

    C2: Synchronization. The availability of these parts would have to be synchronized so that at some point, either individually or in combination, they are all available at the same time.

    C3: Localization. The selected parts must all be made available at the same ‘construction site,’ perhaps not simultaneously but certainly at the time they are needed.

    C4: Coordination. The parts must be coordinated in just the right way: even if all of the parts of a flagellum are available at the right time, it is clear that the majority of ways of assembling them will be non-functional or irrelevant.

    C5: Interface compatibility. The parts must be mutually compatible, that is, ‘well-matched’ and capable of properly ‘interacting’: even if a paddle, rotor, and motor are put together in the right order, they also need to interface correctly.

    (Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science, pgs. 104-105 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). HT: ENV.)

    Let’s see if there is an actual response on the merits.

    KF

  8. WJM: I hope you are wrong, but fear that — far too often — you are right. KF

  9. Barry:

    Good post and some good points. One minor clarification, though:

    This idea is important to the debate over Neo-Darwinian Evolution (NDE), because NDE is grounded absolutely in the notion that every complex biological system evolved from a simpler precursor in a stepwise fashion in which each step provided a net fitness gain.

    While the concept of each step providing an advantage is consistent with Darwin’s theory and has been an important part of the evolutionary storyline for a long time, more and more often I am seeing this abandoned by evolutionists, not across the board necessarily, but particularly when confronted with specific biological systems.

    What I am now seeing regularly, and what we have seen often in recent threads here, is an effort to avoid the irreducible complexity issue altogether by arguing that there is no need for a step-by-step process. Indeed, many opponents of design now argue that stuff just accumulates until one day it comes together to form a useful whole. Nevermind that this is even more preposterous than the long chain of step-by-step beneficial changes, it is a very common approach that attempts to dismiss the challenge of irreducible complexity.

    The argument from irreducible complexity is still a very current and applicable argument and there is great value in keeping it at the forefront. We should be grateful that irreducible complexity has forced the committed materialists out of the shadows and into the light where we can see that as they abandon Darwin’s reliance on slight, successive, beneficial changes, they are instead left to rely on pure chance and wildly-improbable fortuitous accumulations of unspecified stuff at unspecified times in unspecified ways.

    Stuff Happens.

  10. 10

    GEM and WJM:

    Agreed.

    In my update in response to Neil’s comment I say that it took a “moment’s reflection” to see that his response was way off base. And that’s the problem. Too many people are willing to take Berra’s blunder or Neil’s nonsense at face value without reflecting on it. It takes 30 seconds of thought to see though to the other side. But thinking is hard and 30 seconds is a long time. If all I am interested in is reinforcing the conclusions compelled by my pre-existing metaphysical commitments, I am not willing to do the work or spend the time.

    Therein lies a cautionary tale for us all. I presume that Berra is neither stupid nor evil. I presume the same thing about Neil. Intelligent, articulate people on the other side of the argument sometimes say foolish things because they are prodded along by their metaphysical commitments. Are we on this side of the ID argument exempt from that phenomenon? No. Let’s not get lazy and say foolish things in support of ID. And if we do, let us hope that one of our Darwinist friends is there to slap us around a little.

  11. As to

    Even a child would understand,,

    Or put another way

    Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. – When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer
    WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
    When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
    When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
    When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
    How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
    Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
    In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
    Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

    And to glimpse that ‘mystical world’ of the bacterial flagellum,, Last 30 seconds of this following video has a excellent animation of the flagella in action:

    Animations from E O Wilson’s Lord of the Ants documentary
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX2e0il1qpg

    Bacterial Flagellum: Visualizing the Complete Machine In Situ
    Excerpt: Electron tomography of frozen-hydrated bacteria, combined with single particle averaging, has produced stunning images of the intact bacterial flagellum, revealing features of the rotor, stator and export apparatus.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....220602286X

    Electron Microscope Photograph of Flagellum Hook-Basal Body
    http://www.skeptic.com/eskepti.....gure03.jpg

    Bacterial Nanomachines: The Flagellum and Type III Injectisome – 2010
    Excerpt: Here, we discuss the significant progress that has been made in recent years in the visualization and functional characterization of many components of the type III secretion system, the structure of the bacterial flagellum, and the injectisome complex.
    http://cshperspectives.cshlp.o.....00299.full

    Bacterial Flagellum – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey7Emmddf7Y

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

    Here is a interesting quote:

    Since the flagellum is so well designed and beautifully constructed by an ordered assembly pathway, even I, who am not a creationist, get an awe-inspiring feeling from its ‘divine’ beauty.,, if the flagellum evolved from a primitive form, …where are the remnants of its ancestor? Why don’t we see any intermediate or simpler forms of flagella than what they are today? How was it possible that the flagella have evolved without leaving traces in history?
    - Shin-Ichi Aizawa – What Is Essential for Flagella Assembly? – 2009 – Pili and Flagella – Chpt. 6

    The Molecular Flagellar Clutch of Bacillus Subtilis – Jonathan M. May 3, 2012
    Excerpt: The flagellum is one of nature’s smallest and most powerful motors — ones like those produced by B. subtilis can rotate more than 200 times per second, driven by 1400 piconewton-nms of torque. That’s a lot of horsepower for a machine only a few nms wide.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....59121.html

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

    Souped-Up Hyper-Drive Flagellum Discovered – December 3, 2012
    Excerpt: Get a load of this — a bacterium that packs a gear-driven, seven-engine, magnetic-guided flagellar bundle that gets 0 to 300 micrometers in one second, ten times faster than E. coli.
    If you thought the standard bacterial flagellum made the case for intelligent design, wait till you hear the specs on MO-1,,,
    Harvard’s mastermind of flagellum reverse engineering, this paper describes the Ferrari of flagella.
    “Instead of being a simple helically wound propeller driven by a rotary motor, it is a complex organelle consisting of 7 flagella and 24 fibrils that form a tight bundle enveloped by a glycoprotein sheath…. the flagella of MO-1 must rotate individually, and yet the entire bundle functions as a unit to comprise a motility organelle.”
    To feel the Wow! factor, jump ahead to Figure 6 in the paper. It shows seven engines in one, arranged in a hexagonal array, stylized by the authors in a cross-sectional model that shows them all as gears interacting with 24 smaller gears between them. The flagella rotate one way, and the smaller gears rotate the opposite way to maximize torque while minimizing friction. Download the movie from the Supplemental Information page to see the gears in action.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66921.html

    The Bacterial Flagellum: A Paradigm for Design – Jonathan M. – Sept. 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, so striking is the appearance of intelligent design that researchers have modelled the assembly process (of the bacterial flagellum) in view of finding inspiration for enhancing industrial operations (McAuley et al.). Not only does the flagellum manifestly exhibit engineering principles, but the engineering involved is far superior to humanity’s best achievements. The flagellum exhibits irreducible complexity in spades. In all of our experience of cause-and-effect, we know that phenomena of this kind are uniformly associated with only one type of cause – one category of explanation – and that is intelligent mind. Intelligent design succeeds at precisely the point at which evolutionary explanations break down.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/1067.....-Flagellum

  12. Barry, that was an excellent post, simply but vividly illustrated: thank you very much. Straight from the middle chamber of KST!

    Our opponents – people who believe everything made itself by accident, denying the existence of free-will and objective morality while they’re at it – will never really understand your post. Why? Because it uses only flawless reasoning and compelling evidence. That’s no good to people who have fortified themselves against us with emotion and other personal issues.

    But, to those of us who will follow the evidence wherever it lead and who have fully studied both sides of the argument, your post throws down a gauntlet that demands a proper response. I’ll keep an eye out for one, but won’t hold my breath.

  13. 13

    Eric,

    Indeed. There seems to be no limit to the absurdities that committed materialists will employ in their frenetic efforts to prop up their bankrupt worldview.

    Your example is anticipated in the OP where I say that even if the mechanic has all of the parts of the engine and puts them in a bag and shakes them up, he will not get function. Yes, the parts are necessary. But the parts are not sufficient. The coordinated arrangement of the parts into a unified whole is also necessary. No known natural process is even remotely capable of the latter, and appeals to random change such as those to which you allude are nothing more than a crude chance-if-the gaps argument.

  14. 14

    Chris, thank you.

  15. Yeah, keep em coming, Barry! These utterly inappropriate analogies are bound to change the course of evolutionary biology one day!

  16. …people who believe everything made itself by accident

    And the cake is iced with utterly uncomprehending comments about the basic mechanism of natural selection.
    UD is on a roll!

  17. Alan, with all due respect, why can’t you just put forward a rebutal, or form an argument, rather than make silly comments.

    Please

  18. 18

    Anyone who would like to study the Ipse dixit logical fallacy can go to this Wiki article, which is quite good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipse_dixit

    Those who would like to see Ipse dixit in action need look no further than Alan Fox’s comments at 15 and 16.

    The Ipse dixit is Alan’s favorite tactic. Note that he never favors us with an argument of his own to support his conclusion. We are supposed to accept his assertions simply because he has asserted them. With friends like Alan, the Darwinians don’t need enemies.

    PeterJ @ 17 asks in frustration: “Alan, with all due respect, why can’t you just put forward a rebuttal, or form an argument, rather than make silly comments. Please.”

    Just so Peter. Just so. I harken back to the OP. For Alan to put forward a rebuttal or form an argument would take 30 seconds of thought, and thinking is hard and 30 seconds is a long time. Far easier to just dash off a one line dismissal. If one does not care to engage with one’s opponents on the merits of their arguments, one line huffs are good enough.

  19. Alan Fox:

    And the cake is iced with utterly uncomprehending comments about the basic mechanism of natural selection.

    Natural selection is just differential reproduction due to heritable random variation. It doesn’t do anything. And it doesn’t prevent accidents. It is one way accidents accumulate, Alan.

    Alan’s on a roll!

  20. Might there be a way of getting someone who can actually make an argument for evolution to comment here? It would be much more interesting than the drive-by slapstick comedy offered by the evolutionists thus far… Not to say it isn’t amusing, though.. if not highly revealing of the strength of their position.

  21. Hi Lifespy, in a word ‘no’. Because evolutionists have already lost the argument. The clever ones realise this and stay away: it’s no fun trying to win an argument when facts and reason are on your opponents’ side. The stupid ones on the other hand don’t realise this… and, like Monty Python’s Black Knight, keep coming back for more punishment.

    The rest is just internet atheists hating non-atheists and haters gotta hate.

  22. LP, guess why the challenge and invitation here to do just that — I have personally promised to host — is approaching six months now with no cogent answer. And there is no mystery on what chance variation and differential reproductive success of sub populations in eco-niches is, the issue is whether it suffices to incrementally explain microbes to Mozard level body plan origins, on empirical observational warrant. Suffice to say, that that requires massive steps of FSCO/I and the ONLY empirically warranted source of that is design, and this is backed up by needle in the haystack search by blind sampling analysis. And, we haven’t got to the root of the tree of life — OOL — where a metabolising automaton with self replication and self assembly driven by codes and algorithms has to be explained without recourse to “natural selection.” As, there is no reproduction until the mechanism for it is in place. What strikes me is that a mechanism that explains minor adaptations reasonably adequately, is being stretched beyond all reason through imposed a priori materialism dressed up in a lab coat (often disguised as a “mere” methodological constraint). KF

  23. Animal right groups make the argument – all mammals have the same value because they are basically the same. A giraffe is the same as an elephant or a human. Yet even a two year old can see the difference between a giraffe and an elephant. Even if they all contain the same parts, the parts are arranged uniquely in each case to fit their environment. Are they not also irreducibly complex?

  24. 24

    Look here, there are no irreducibly complex biological systems; besides, Darwinian evolution is perfectly capable of building them.

  25. lifepsy and Chris Doyle, per your comments you guys might be interested in this article:

    Where are the honest atheists? – March 8, 2013
    http://theweek.com/article/ind.....t-atheists

  26. CR at #24.
    Ipse dixit (see #18 for translation)

  27. IT: I think CR was being tongue in cheek. KF

  28. 28

    Sorry Ian, that’s just the way it is. Darwinian evolution is perfectly capable of generating irreducible complexity, which doesn’t exist in biological systems. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m not.

  29. 29
    William J Murray

    No irreducibly complex biological systems? There are no irreducibly complex systems of any sort! Complexity is just a creationist term used to confuse children! There is no such thing as “information” because no real scientist uses that word. Google Scholar the term “information” and tell me if anything comes up that says anything about “special creation” or “Jesus”. See? SEE?

  30. Hi Bornagain77, I came across that article last week thanks to an Android app called Zite. It’s a good article, I’m glad you highlighted it here. There is no bigger obstacle to progress in this debate than atheism. While you’re dealing with people who claim to believe that life, the universe and everything made itself by accident you are dealing with people who must overcome a serious case of cognitive dissonance before they will open their minds to the facts and evidence explained by Intelligent Design theory.

    So much for atheists, I want to know why some theistic evolutionists have such a problem with Intelligent Design. After all, they don’t believe that life made itself by accident: they surely believe it was all part of a plan – a Grand Design, surely? Where is Nick Matzke when you need him?

  31. KF, you can’t blame Ian for not seeing the tongue in cheek. Chance Ratcliff sounded EXACTLY like an atheistic evolutionist! Exaggeration required next time I think :-)

  32. Post #1 by Neil. deja vu “Wow! Just Wow!”

  33. I’m just awestruck by the fact that 50,000+ generations of bacteria can’t even produce a new functional gene, but evolutionists believe throwing 400 million years of culled mutations at a fish will produce a human… It’s like living in the twilight zone. Are we really here debating this?

  34. 34

    KF, tongue in cheek is not irreducibly complex. Most animals have them.

    Chris Doyle, Ian Thompson is probably a creationist, in that he probably believes in irreducible complexity; see William J Murray above.

  35. Must try harder, Chance Ratcliff: your posts on this thread have contributed more to the debate than the ones we are supposed to be taking seriously from the “free-will is an illusion and existence is meaningless” brigade!

    Come on, really try and make it obvious that you are taking the micky ;-)

  36. Lifepsy, spot on. How can you cite bacteria as the best evidence for neo-darwinism when they are virtually the same today as they have always been? Why did the less evolutionary-favoured eukaryotes turn into men by NS+RM when the best that bacteria could do was break a protein to acquire immunity from antibiotics (millions of years before there were any antibiotics!)?

  37. 37

    In all seriousness, mousetraps are not irreducibly complex because you can exchange each of their parts with other parts that do the same job and still have a functional mousetrap. Plus it can be used as a tie clip. I used to be an intelligent design proponent until I saw that video.

  38. You mean you can catch mice… with a tie clip? No way! Next you’ll be telling me that I can crush a bug by… dropping my iMac on it! If I ever see that, then that will prove once and for all that my iMac made itself by accident. Who needs Apple? I bet they don’t even exist. Just some sick con to make stupid people (who believe that specified functional complexity requires Intelligent Design) part with their money.

  39. CR#37 really made me laugh.

    Thanks :)

    Isn’t it strange though how the usual voices that cry out in defense of evolution have gone rather silent on this topic.

    I think it’s the simple way in which Barry puts it that makes it harder for them. You either engage him with a counter argument, or else say something rather silly because their really is only one line of argumentation you can follow.

    I would like to hear some well laid out counter arguments on this. After all almost every pro-evolution site will have a section declaring how the evidence for Irreducible Complexity has been ‘utterly demolished’.

    C’mon guys, Discuss. Please.

  40. 40

    I think that a good example of irreducible complexity is random mutation and natural selection. A lot of the time in evolution both of those are required.

  41. OT: Primate Phylogenetics Challenge Darwin’s Tree of Life – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....2_08-07_00

  42. 42

    PeterJ, I hope I’ve disabused you of any notion that intelligence is required for information such as that in my posts above. If Miller is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

  43. Stepwise evolution might be going out of fashion. I think the new fad is sudden de novo function and lots of horizontal gene transfer. At least that is the feeling I get reading about all the orphan genes they’re finding.

    Check out this tick species

    59% of the functional genes assessed have no trace of ancestry
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1.....5/abstract

    10-30% orphans appears to be the average for other species.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23348040

    Am I crazy or didn’t sequence homology used to be used as evidence for common descent?

    This new direction solves the irreducible complexity problem, though. Now evolution can just skip all those bothersome incremental steps and simply generate the whole apparatus at once. Simple.

  44. 44

    “This new direction solves the irreducible complexity problem, though. Now evolution can just skip all those bothersome incremental steps and simply generate the whole apparatus at once. Simple.”

    At least somebody gets it. Welcome to the “at least I’m not a creationist” club.

  45. At least somebody gets it. Welcome to the “at least I’m not a creationist” club.

    So I have a new idea for Ken Miller, building off of his tie-clip hypothesis. This time he can walk out with a Magician’s Bag labeled “HGT”, and pull out the fully functional mousetrap. Voila! That will shut those dumb creationists up.

  46. 46

    computerist,

    “I think the question is can you stepwise transition (via a blind undirected process) from a piston engine to a rotary engine or vice versa.

    And the obvious answer to this is that you can’t.

    A piston engine is in its own IC domain.
    A rotary engine is in its own IC domain.”

    First you need to prove that it’s impossible to make a transition from one engine to another by simple substitutions, then you need to show that it’s impossible for random processes to do it, with natural selection. And don’t just go out to your garage and try it, and then just throw up your hands and say, “well I guess god did it.”

  47. Barry:

    Those who would like to see Ipse dixit in action need look no further than Alan Fox’s comments at 15 and 16.

    I disagree. Alan is more of an oopsie dipsh!t in action.

    Just sayin’…

  48. ‘Irreducible complexity poses a serious problem for NDE,…’

    I think you are being too polite. An ‘insoluble’ problem, rather, isn’t it? Totally, utterly, ineluctably, axiomatically intractable, insoluble – and what ever else a thesaurus (or ‘thess – arus’, as some people are wont to pronounce it) might indicate.

  49. It’s time they grew up and accepted plainly incontrovertible truths.

    If our rebellious jackeens have made their general confession by Trinity Sunday, maybe there’ll be some progress.

  50. I’ve just read mapou’s #6.

    #6
    ‘Irreducible complexity kills Darwinian evolution dead. In a sane word, IC would have ended the evolution debate a long time ago. DE would have been recognized for what it is, a false religion. This would have meant the end of the teaching of evolution in our schools but, unfortunately, we don’t live in a sane world.’

    Could have spared myself the effort of writing #48.

  51. lifepsy and others, I don’t really know what to make of this following study as to getting a solid ORFan gene count/percentage out of it or if it will even be useful at all,, but it looks interesting,,, maybe one of you guys can make more sense out of it than I could and tell me if it is useful:

    Here is what caught my eye;

    Excerpt: We found 5,737 putative protein-coding genes that do not exist in the reference, whose protein-coding status is supported by homology to known proteins. On average 10% of these genes are located in the genomic regions devoid of annotated genes in 12 other catalogs. Our statistical analysis showed that these ORFs are unlikely to occur by chance.
    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0054210

  52. The name of the article is: Finding Protein-Coding Genes through Human Polymorphisms

  53. Chris Doyle @38:

    You mean you can catch mice… with a tie clip? No way! Next you’ll be telling me that I can crush a bug by… dropping my iMac on it! If I ever see that, then that will prove once and for all that my iMac made itself by accident.

    Great example. I’m stealing that from you and using it from now on.

    Who needs Apple? I bet they don’t even exist. Just some sick con to make stupid people (who believe that specified functional complexity requires Intelligent Design) part with their money.

    No. Just a sick con to make stupid people (who believe that a fruit-shaped logo on the back is worth an extra $500) part with their money.

    As Jack Sparrow was wont to say, “Sorry mate, couldn’t resist!” :)

  54. BA77,

    Well I am by no means an expert here, (anyone feel free to correct me) but from what I gather, they tested a dozen different racial groups of people for genetic polymorphisms(differences), and discovered a total of 5,737 novel genes that do not exist in the standard human genome reference.

    Most of these share at least some overlapping codons with the reference genome, but on average, 10% (~500) of those novel genes exist in human genome regions that have not previously been annotated(identified) as having protein-coding regions, and do not overlap at all with other human sequences in the database. So it sounds like these are “within species” orphan genes, meaning they have no signal of ancestry even within other humans.

    What’s also interesting is the comparison they did with 25 other non-human species…(Table 5)

    Surprisingly, we discovered that there are some overlaps between predicted genes and the known genes of these species. Moreover, we can distinguish between mammals and non-mammals from the table. The mammals have more overlaps () than non-mammals.

    If you look at the table you see the human genes had more similarity to the opossum, dog, rat, cow, and several other mammals than it did to a chimpanzee.

    And the human genes were more closely related to a lizard, a frog, and three different species of fish, then it was to another mammal, the Panda.

    Huge discrepancies like this seem to be common on a gene by gene basis… They justify it somehow by saying when you total it all up, we’re more related to rats than fish, I guess..

    It was suggested that novel genes regularly appear from messenger RNAs of ancestral genes

    lol

    Yep, no need for that antiquated stepwise stuff anymore. New genes “regularly appear” now.

  55. Chance, re. 46:

    First you need to prove that it’s impossible to make a transition from one engine to another by simple substitutions, then you need to show that it’s impossible for random processes to do it, with natural selection. And don’t just go out to your garage and try it, and then just throw up your hands and say, “well I guess god did it.”

    You have the burden of proof on the wrong shoulders. It is the Darwinists who claim that the neo-Darwinian synthesis has been established, even that it is a “fact”. It is they who need to show how a bacterial flagellum (and other such complex systems) could have arisen by step by step Darwinian processes, including specific mutations with a calculation that they could have arisen within the probabilistic resources avaialable and a demonstration that each such mutation improved organismal fitness. Absent such a demonstration, Darwinism is no better than mere speculation. To my knowledge, so far no one has come close to such a demonstration.

    And by the way, the system of the flagellum, to be useful to the organism has to include more than just the organ itself. The bacterium has to be able to control its operation so that it moves it in beneficial directions. This means that in addition to the flagellum itself, there need to be control mechanisms and sensing mechanisms present also.

  56. I have never seen these neo-darwinists on here go so quiet on a topic as they have on this one. Surely, the weight of evidence is on their side? What with all the refutations the internet has to offer.

    In fact I was fairly sure that it would be a mere formality for them to rubbish this post with all the evidence they have at hand. But it seems not.

  57. lifepsy,,,

    they tested a dozen different racial groups of people for genetic polymorphisms(differences), and discovered a total of 5,737 novel genes that do not exist in the standard human genome reference.,,,
    So it sounds like these are “within species” orphan genes, meaning they have no signal of ancestry even within other humans.

    Wow lifepsy, This could be a very interesting turn of events! I wonder, besides racial groups, if these ORFan genes could possibly extend all the way down to the level of each individual??? That would just completely devastate the neo-Darwinian position (which seems to be a common occurrence these days! :) )Thanks so much for ‘deciphering’ the paper for me lifepsy! ,,, Anyone else, who may have more experience in this area (gpuccio?), want to look at this paper and see if they can glean any more out of it?

    Finding Protein-Coding Genes through Human Polymorphisms – 2013
    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0054210

  58. OT: Russia finds ‘new bacteria’ in Antarctic lake – March 7, 2013
    Excerpt: Russian scientists believe they have found a wholly new type of bacteria in the mysterious subglacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Thursday.,,,
    Lake Vostok is the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica and scientists have long wanted to study its eco-system. The Russian team last year drilled almost four kilometres (2.34 miles) to reach the lake and take the samples. Bulat said that the interest surrounded one particular form of bacteria whose DNA was less than 86 percent similar to previously existing forms.,,,
    “If this had been found on Mars everyone would have undoubtedly said there is life on Mars. But this is bacteria from Earth.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-03-r.....tml#ajTabs

  59. Hi PeterJ,

    “I have never seen these neo-darwinists on here go so quiet on a topic as they have on this one.”

    That’s a testament to the quality of Barry’s post. It goes straight to the heart of the matter leaving no wriggle room for the “microbe-to-man-by-accident” brigade.

    It really is very simple: any internet atheist – and be sure, Barry’s post has been well read by internet atheists – could come on here (posting under a false name if they’ve been banned before) and refute irreducible complexity in the terms Barry has laid out. The only reason they haven’t is because they are incapable of doing so: irreducible complexity truly is irrefutable.

    Continued silence and/or evasion by our opponents confirms that fact.

  60. ba77,

    I think in the end the bacteria was found to be just a contamination. I quick search yielded: contamination

    Nothing related but I though this was interesting: go rna go

  61. All I ask of Darwinists is to show me how non-intelligence can give rise to intelligence…. How can an effect ever be greater than its cause?

    Show me, then I’ll believe your stories!

  62. Hahahahahahahahaha

    If it’s not evolution its reversible evolution…. Man these guys crack me up!

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....093424.htm

  63. bw, thanks

  64. As to,,

    When Can a Child Understand an Issue More Clearly Than Two Ph.Ds Combined?

    I would like to point out a few semi-related notes:

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

    Young Children Think Like Scientists – 27 September 2012
    http://www.livescience.com/235.....tists.html

    Children Act Like Scientists – October 1, 2012
    Excerpt: New theoretical ideas and empirical research show that very young children’s learning and thinking are strikingly similar to much learning and thinking in science. Preschoolers test hypotheses against data and make causal inferences; they learn from statistics and informal experimentation, and from watching and listening to others. The mathematical framework of probabilistic models and Bayesian inference can describe this learning in precise ways.
    http://crev.info/2012/10/child.....cientists/

    Children are born believers in God, academic claims – 24 Nov 2008
    “Dr Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....laims.html

    Out of the mouths of babes – Do children believe (in God) because they’re told to by adults? The evidence suggests otherwise – Justin Barrett – 2008
    Excerpt: • Children tend to see natural objects as designed or purposeful in ways that go beyond what their parents teach, as Deborah Kelemen has demonstrated. Rivers exist so that we can go fishing on them, and birds are here to look pretty.
    • Children doubt that impersonal processes can create order or purpose. Studies with children show that they expect that someone not something is behind natural order. No wonder that Margaret Evans found that children younger than 10 favoured creationist accounts of the origins of animals over evolutionary accounts even when their parents and teachers endorsed evolution. Authorities’ testimony didn’t carry enough weight to over-ride a natural tendency.
    • Children know humans are not behind the order so the idea of a creating god (or gods) makes sense to them. Children just need adults to specify which one.
    • Experimental evidence, including cross-cultural studies, suggests that three-year-olds attribute super, god-like qualities to lots of different beings. Super-power, super-knowledge and super-perception seem to be default assumptions. Children then have to learn that mother is fallible, and dad is not all powerful, and that people will die. So children may be particularly receptive to the idea of a super creator-god. It fits their predilections.
    • Recent research by Paul Bloom, Jesse Bering, and Emma Cohen suggests that children may also be predisposed to believe in a soul that persists beyond death.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm.....god-belief

    Apparently it takes a lots and lots of higher (re)education to deny this inherent ability:

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

    Verse and music:

    Matthew 18:10
    “Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.”

    Live – Heaven (official video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff3NUP-xzqQ

  65. A real “eye-opener” post that demonstrates great skill in elucidation.

    As I build my own catalog of ID information (which is probably about 0.001% of BA77′s :-) ) The link to this post will be a five star entry !

  66. F/N: Actually, there have been any number of UD original posts that objectors have tip-toed around until they could figure out a way to pull discussion off track through a red herring led away to a favourite strawman duly soaked in ad hominems and ready for lighting up to polarise, cloud and poison the atmosphere. The real difference is, that this thread has had a circle of supportive comments, which means that is will be hard to pull off track. So, one last trick — on track record — is to leave it alone, hoping it will fade away over the next few days as newer posts come up and be quietly forgotten. KF

  67. F/N 2: I also think it would be wise for those who are ever so dismissive about analogies, to understand that a lot of induction builds on analogical comparisons, deemed relevant.

    In the case of perhaps the most famous, the watchmaker, I have for several years found it ever so instructive that Darwinist dismissals centre on the watch vs stone in Ch I of Paley’s work, but skip over the self-replicating watch thought exercise in the second (as I have long clipped on here) — which was introduced exactly to address the objection that watches are poor analogies to living systems:

    Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found the watch should after some time discover that, in addition to all the properties which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its movement another watch like itself — the thing is conceivable; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts — a mold, for instance, or a complex adjustment of lathes, baffles, and other tools — evidently and separately calculated for this purpose . . . .

    The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done — for referring the construction of the watch to design and to supreme art . . . . He would reflect, that though the watch before him were, in some sense, the maker of the watch, which, was fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, is the maker of a chair — the author of its contrivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use.

    Of course, now that we have elucidated ever so much of the mechanisms involved in cell based life, the real problem with Paley’s analogy is that his machines were too simple!

    Now, let us extend to a self-replicating car with an engine, and the point still stands.

    KF

  68. Lifespy, here is a semi-related note as to potentially finding ORFan genes at the individual level,,,

    New level of genetic diversity in human RNA sequences uncovered – May 19, 2011
    Excerpt: A detailed comparison of DNA and RNA in human cells has uncovered a surprising number of cases where the corresponding sequences are not, as has long been assumed, identical. The RNA-DNA differences generate proteins that do not precisely match the genes that encode them.,,,
    Within the sequences’ protein-coding segments, they found 10,210 sites where RNA sequences were not the same as the corresponding DNA. They call these sites RNA-DNA differences, or RDDs,,,
    Nearly half of the RDDs uncovered in the new study cannot be explained by the activity of deaminase enzymes, however, indicating that unknown processes must be modifying the RNA sequence, either during or after transcription. ,,, Although all of the individuals analyzed in the study had a large number of RDDs, there was a great deal of variability in the specific RDDs found in each person’s genetic material.”
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....ences.html

    Hmmm? makes me wonder,,, and because there is such a great deal of variability that they found it wouldn’t surprise me too much if ORFans genes were also confirmed to the individual level.

    Music,,,

    Live – I Alone
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNrQOUtXYOo

  69. kf @67:

    Indeed. Payley’s watch analogy has never been adequately addressed by materialists, much less refuted.

    The “but organisms self replicate” is such a joke of a response, but is the typical refrain. Thanks for reminding us that Payley already addressed it.

  70. BA77,

    There is emerging data on non-random mutations targeted to specific regions of the genome. And even enzymatic preference to causing mutations over non-mutations during recombination.

    Makes me wonder if.. like epigenetic processes turning access to genes on and off.. there are also reverse-transcription type systems for writing in new genes that were totally absent from ancestor genomes, but predictably and non-randomly. Sort of a genome-plasticity where it can add new DNA code based on environment needs. I guess it would simply act like a non-random retrovirus.

  71. BA77 and Lifepsy
    There are two things I’m wondering about this study.
    1) How did this effect the science of population genetics? If we found all these ORFan genes at the individual level, does that mean that there would have to a new evaluation?
    2) If this non-random process of creating new DNA is valid, doesn’t it refute the claim that natural evolution has never been shown to create new body plans? After all, isn’t the blueprints of new body plans found in the DNA and if new DNA can be created then so can new body plans? Am I off on this?

  72. Andre @62, your ‘reversible evolution’ (mite) paper made it up on ENV:

    The Modest House Dust Mite Helps Topple a Darwinian Evolutionary Postulate
    David Klinghoffer March 11, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69951.html

    As well it seems some scientists who favor panspermia have published an ID peer-reviewed paper

    In the Planetary Science Journal Icarus, the “Wow” Signal of Intelligent Design – March 12, 2013
    Excerpt: Even more convincing, no natural cause can produce semantics — particularly the kind involving “interpretive or linguistic semantics peculiar to intelligence,” they write. “Exactly the latter kind of semantics is revealed in the signal of the genetic code.” Here’s a summary of the patterns they conclude show design:

    “In total, not only the signal itself reveals intelligent-like features — strict nucleon equalities, their distinctive decimal notation, logical transformations accompanying the equalities, the symbol of zero and semantic symmetries, but the very method of its extraction involves abstract operations — consideration of idealized (free and unmodified) molecules, distinction between their blocks and chains, the activation key, contraction and decomposition of codons. We find that taken together all these aspects point at artificial nature of the patterns.”

    Let anyone perceive a creationist message, they write: “Whatever the actual reason behind the decimal system in the code, it appears that it was invented outside the solar system already several billions years [sic] ago.” In other words, their favored position is panspermia. (Keep in mind, though, that there are multiple versions of panspermia.)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....69941.html

    And what objection can arch atheist Richard Dawkins possibly have to that ID paper?

    Ben Stein vs. Richard Dawkins (UFO) Interview – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....irc#t=200s

  73. JLAfan2001, as to:

    1) How did this effect the science of population genetics?

    Well seeing as Darwinists pretty much already ignore what population genetics is telling them,,,

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

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

    “…but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have…”
    Maciej Marian Giertych – Population Geneticist – member of the European Parliament – EXPELLED
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036840

    New analysis provides fuller picture of human expansion from Africa – October 22, 2012
    Excerpt: A new, comprehensive review of humans’ anthropological and genetic records gives the most up-to-date story of the “Out of Africa” expansion that occurred about 45,000 to 60,000 years ago.
    This expansion, detailed by three Stanford geneticists, had a dramatic effect on human genetic diversity, which persists in present-day populations. As a small group of modern humans migrated out of Africa into Eurasia and the Americas, their genetic diversity was substantially reduced.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-a.....nsion.html

    This ORFan study is just icing on the cake,,,But, ignoring the fact that population genetics already falsifies neo-Darwinian evolution, IF ORFans are found at the individual level this, IMPO, would just dig the burial hole that much deeper for neo-Darwinism since the ORFans are apparently arising at a level far quicker than Natural Selection can have a chance to fixate them in a population. Moreover, there is the question, that lifepsy would be sure to ask, do the ORFans persist or are they merely a part of the phenotypic plasticity of a species? My bet is on the latter that the ORFans (whether at the individual or just ‘within the species’ level) are a part of phenotypic plasticity. (and if the origination of ORFan genes question gets pushed much further than phenotypic plasticity can handle, then, IMPO, one would be forced to appeal to a purely Theistic answer since front-loading would be exhausted as a source)

    as to:

    If this non-random process of creating new DNA is valid, doesn’t it refute the claim that natural evolution has never been shown to create new body plans? After all, isn’t the blueprints of new body plans found in the DNA and if new DNA can be created then so can new body plans? Am I off on this?

    If Darwinists give up randomness their game is over as is any claim they have to the word ‘natural’! (‘non-randomness’ is exactly why James Shapiro, of natural genetic engineering fame, is getting such a cold shoulder from Darwinists),, moreover body plans are not encoded solely in DNA.

    Here are a few notes on just how mysterious ‘body plan’ information is:

    An Electric Face: A Rendering Worth a Thousand Falsifications – September 2011
    Excerpt: The video suggests that bioelectric signals presage the morphological development of the face. It also, in an instant, gives a peak at the phenomenal processes at work in biology. As the lead researcher said, “It’s a jaw dropper.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....usand.html

    The (Electric) Face of a Frog – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndFe5CaDTlI

    What Do Organisms Mean? Stephen L. Talbott – Winter 2011
    Excerpt: Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin once described how you can excise the developing limb bud from an amphibian embryo, shake the cells loose from each other, allow them to reaggregate into a random lump, and then replace the lump in the embryo. A normal leg develops. Somehow the form of the limb as a whole is the ruling factor, redefining the parts according to the larger pattern. Lewontin went on to remark: “Unlike a machine whose totality is created by the juxtaposition of bits and pieces with different functions and properties, the bits and pieces of a developing organism seem to come into existence as a consequence of their spatial position at critical moments in the embryo’s development. Such an object is less like a machine than it is like a language whose elements … take unique meaning from their context.[3]“,,,
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....nisms-mean

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    Dr. Stephen Meyer comments at the end of the preceding video,,,

    ‘Now one more problem as far as the generation of information. It turns out that you don’t only need information to build genes and proteins, it turns out to build Body-Plans you need higher levels of information; Higher order assembly instructions. DNA codes for the building of proteins, but proteins must be arranged into distinctive circuitry to form distinctive cell types. Cell types have to be arranged into tissues. Tissues have to be arranged into organs. Organs and tissues must be specifically arranged to generate whole new Body-Plans, distinctive arrangements of those body parts. We now know that DNA alone is not responsible for those higher orders of organization. DNA codes for proteins, but by itself it does not insure that proteins, cell types, tissues, organs, will all be arranged in the body. And what that means is that the Body-Plan morphogenesis, as it is called, depends upon information that is not encoded on DNA. Which means you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan. So what we can conclude from that is that the neo-Darwinian mechanism is grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information necessary to build new genes and proteins, and it is also grossly inadequate to explain the origination of novel biological form.’ -
    Stephen Meyer – (excerpt taken from Meyer/Sternberg vs. Shermer/Prothero debate – 2009)

  74. Bruce David:

    This means that in addition to the flagellum itself, there need to be control mechanisms and sensing mechanisms present also.

    “Run and tumble” is all that is needed. No steering and no planning. But it works! Animation here.

  75. Alan Fox, re. 74:

    This means that in addition to the flagellum itself, there need to be control mechanisms and sensing mechanisms present also.

    “Run and tumble” is all that is needed. No steering and no planning. But it works! Animation here.

    In the text that accompanies the animation, the following two sentences appear:
    “The runs tend to be longer when the cell senses an increase in the chemoattractant” and “When moving away from the attractant the tumbles become more frequent.”

    This is exactly what I was referring to. The “sensing mechanism” is the cell’s ability to sense “an increase [or decrease] in the chemoattractant”, and the control mechanism is the ability to link the sensing of these into clockwise or counterclockwise rotation of the flagellum.

    I didn’t know how precisely it worked (thank you for the link, by the way), but I knew that there had to be some kind of sensing mechanism that would indicate to the bacterium in which direction it would be beneficial to move linked some kind of control so that the flagellum could be utilized to propel it in that direction. Otherwise, the flagellum would be totally useless to the organism.

  76. Addition to 75:

    My point is that any Darwinian explanation of the emergence of the flagellum has to include an explanation of how the sensing and control mechanisms became available at the same time and in the same organism as the flagellum did. Otherwise, the existence of the flagellum would contribute a negative fitness to the cell due to energy being diverted to the construction and maintenance of a useless structure.

  77. Alan Fox, master of the citation bluff, Scores! Again, it is a point for his opponents! Way to go, Alan! Keep up the good work!

  78. 78

    ““Run and tumble” is all that is needed.”

    Exactly. It’s random and unguided all the way down, from the random association of atoms into molecules, through the random assembly of molecules into proteins, to the random assemblage of proteins into clumps of proteins. No guidance is needed for any of this, and it’s obvious from “run and tumble” that the sensory control mechanisms are random also. Get a clue, creationists. Look at one of those “artificial intelligence” robots that run around and bump off of walls. How smart do they really look? Sheesh. It’s like saying that my Roomba is a product of intelligent design, when it barely does better than a bacterium. I’d like to see how well they do against a unicycle in the quarter mile. You know, chance assemblage of supposedly complex structures may be just about the most ridiculous idea on the face of the planet, but at least it’s not as stupid as pink unicorns or flying spaghetti monsters. You guys are a joke.

    Think about it, how much sophistication is really needed to implement “run and tumble”? That’s only two things: run, and tumble. Is that supposed to be irreducibly complex, creationists? First there is “run” then just add “tumble”. It would be one thing if Darwinism had a lot of explaining to do, but as we can see from Alan’s example, it sure doesn’t have to explain much does it?

  79. 79

    Bruce David,

    “You have the burden of proof on the wrong shoulders. It is the Darwinists who claim that the neo-Darwinian synthesis has been established, even that it is a “fact”. It is they who need to show how a bacterial flagellum (and other such complex systems) could have arisen by step by step Darwinian processes, including specific mutations with a calculation that they could have arisen within the probabilistic resources avaialable and a demonstration that each such mutation improved organismal fitness. Absent such a demonstration, Darwinism is no better than mere speculation. To my knowledge, so far no one has come close to such a demonstration.”

    Look, if I were the one telling you that some mysterious, obscure, unknown force can build numerous complex and intricate designs exhibiting technological sophistication on a nano-miniature scale, then maybe I would have the burden of proof; but since I’m not, you have it.

  80. 80

    Eric Anderson,

    “What I am now seeing regularly, and what we have seen often in recent threads here, is an effort to avoid the irreducible complexity issue altogether by arguing that there is no need for a step-by-step process. Indeed, many opponents of design now argue that stuff just accumulates until one day it comes together to form a useful whole. Nevermind that this is even more preposterous than the long chain of step-by-step beneficial changes, it is a very common approach that attempts to dismiss the challenge of irreducible complexity.”

    That’s not how evolution works. It works by–

    Well if you don’t know I’m not going to tell you. Obviously you don’t understand, or you would believe it. I’m not going to do your homework for you, look it up.

    Link about evolution

    The information is out there if you creationists would just bother looking for yourself. How many scientific articles mention evolution, and how many mention god? This point was brilliantly driven home by William J. Murray above.

    I’m sick of this thread. I’m going back to youtube where the real debate is happening.

  81. Press Release:

    Chance Ratcliff’s tongue is so intricately enmeshed into his cheek that a team of surgeons, headed by none other than Dr. Ben Carson, has been assembled to effect a separation. The procedure is anticipated to take more than 18 hours. Success is estimated to be less than 75%. Your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated.

  82. 82

    “Chance Ratcliff’s tongue is so intricately enmeshed into his cheek that a team of surgeons, headed by none other than Dr. Ben Carson…”

    Can you please find someone who is not a creationist please? I want my surgeon to be thinking about Science, not irreducible complexity.

  83. JLAfan2001

    1) How did this effect the science of population genetics? If we found all these ORFan genes at the individual level, does that mean that there would have to a new evaluation?

    Well it just makes the neo-darwinian model more ridiculous than it already is. It has always been described as a very gradual process that builds complex structures by tiny, individually beneficial increments. Orphan genes present a picture of entire functional genes, appearing rapidly, so rapidly that they leave no trace of ancestry behind them. Orphans on average make up 20% of genes in a species… so if you have, say, 20,000 protein-coding genes in species X, than that’s 4,000 orphan genes, each thousands of base pairs in length, that have appeared since the species last supposed divergence from an extant sister group.

    This is a good overview article.

    New Scientist – Orphan Genes 2013 Helen Pilcher
    http://ccsb.dfci.harvard.edu/w.....n_2013.pdf

    How Can There Be Orphan Genes? 2012 Ken Weiss – Professor of Anthropology and Genetics
    http://molecularevolutionforum.....genes.html

    It’s one of those rare moments when evolutionists are candidly admitting neo-darwinism doesn’t make any sense.. But ad-hoc, orphans are already being chalked up to a combination of gene duplication and frameshift fixation, de novo functionalization, horizontal gene transfer, ‘rapid evolution’, etc.

    Also, from the perspective of being a scientific theory, orphan genes really push the non-falsifiable nature of evolution into the spotlight. Darwinists are pretty much sending the message that no genetic discovery, no matter how shocking, could possibly overturn their hypothesis.

    2) If this non-random process of creating new DNA is valid, doesn’t it refute the claim that natural evolution has never been shown to create new body plans? After all, isn’t the blueprints of new body plans found in the DNA and if new DNA can be created then so can new body plans? Am I off on this?

    Well, as BA77 pointed out.. it’s not really about finding evidence of rapidly introduced function. Evolutionists/Atheists need the individual changes to be random/blind. They can’t have large amounts of function appearing *before* it did its hypothetical walk-about on the fitness landscape and became fixated by natural selection. That is basically antithesis to the whole theory of evolution.

    Anyways, those are some of my thoughts on the subject…

    Also of interest:

    ORFan Genes Challenge Common Descent – Paul Nelson
    http://vimeo.com/17132544

  84. edit: …that have appeared since the species last supposed divergence from the last common ancestor of an extant sister group.”

  85. 85
    William J Murray

    Who would have thought that it would be biologists that came up with the first Theory of Everything?

    Biological divergence? Evolution. Biological convergence? Evolution. Gradual variation? Evolution. Sudden variation? Evolution. Stasis? Evolution. Junk DNA? Evolution. No Junk DNA? Evolution. Tree of life? Evolution. No tree of life? Evolution. Common genes? Evolution. Orfan genes? evolution. Cell with little more than a jelly-like protoplasm? Evolution. Cell filled with countless, highly-specified nano-machines directed by a software code? Evolution. More hardy, more procreative organisms? Evolution. Less hardy, less procreative organisms? Evolution.

    Evolution explains everything.

  86. Chance my man, I give you the Most Faithful Darwinist of the Year award!

    You are amazing!

    “Look here, there are no irreducibly complex biological systems; besides, Darwinian evolution is perfectly capable of building them.”

    If you could actually prove all your bold claims, that would be something!

    Good luck!

  87. 87

    TJ,

    I’m fairly certain Chance was being facetious. Having a little fun.

  88. WJM:

    Biological divergence? Evolution. Biological convergence? Evolution. Gradual variation? Evolution. Sudden variation? Evolution. Stasis? Evolution. Junk DNA? Evolution. No Junk DNA? Evolution. Tree of life? Evolution. No tree of life? Evolution. Common genes? Evolution. Orfan genes? evolution. Cell with little more than a jelly-like protoplasm? Evolution. Cell filled with countless, highly-specified nano-machines directed by a software code? Evolution. More hardy, more procreative organisms? Evolution. Less hardy, less procreative organisms? Evolution.

    Brilliant! If I may add to the list:

    Astonishingly complex, optimal and beautiful design: Evolution
    Alleged erroneous and dumb design: Evolution.

  89. I am no biologist and rarely comment here; I prefer to read and be enlightened, informed and challenged in my thinking. But, as a sidenote to this conversation, isn’t irreducible complexity a phenomenon that occurs at more than the molecular level? Couldn’t one argue that sexuality/gender is an irreducibly complex structure? I know that Darwinists have “just so” stories for the emergence of sex, but from a realistic, empirical standpoint, doesn’t it stand to reason that it is better explained by ID? Just my two cents!

  90. OldArmy94:

    But, as a sidenote to this conversation, isn’t irreducible complexity a phenomenon that occurs at more than the molecular level?

    Yes. And true, darwinism cannot explain sexual reproduction.

  91. Hi,Joe,

    You said, “…darwinism cannot explain sexual reproduction.”

    What explains it?

  92. 92
    William J Murray

    Hi,Joe,

    You said, “…darwinism cannot explain sexual reproduction.”

    What explains it?

    <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaaVbWD3USI&quot; Sexual Reproduction Explained

    Sexual Reproduction Explained.

  93. OldArmy94:

    Couldn’t one argue that sexuality/gender is an irreducibly complex structure?

    This is an interesting idea. I cannot think of any reason why not. If you remove one part the system doesn’t function.


    WJM, thanks for that link

  94. Daniel King:

    What explains it?

    Only something with planning, forethought and purpose.

    Planning and forethought because you would know that if you just keep doubling the number of chromosomes, that the cell wouldn’t be viable after a few generations as the nucleus would be too big and “explode”. Therefor you would need to have the process of reducing the number of chromosomes that each parent passes down. That process, which darwinism cannot explain (it just happened isn’t an explanation), is meiosis.

    Planning, forethought and purpose because you would need to package all of the non-material information into one cell such that it will create the same type of organism that the parents were, AND you would need the material hardware to carry that out.

  95. We don’t have an explanation for it, therefore the “pink unicorn of hypleadies” is the best explanation.

  96. Someone should start a new thread: The Rash of Sarcasm.

  97. Joe, Darwinism “explains” other stuff, therefore it is the best explanation for the arrival of sexual reproduction.

  98. 98
    englishmaninistanbul

    No, guys, Chance is right.

    Never fear, Horizontal Gene Transfer is here!

    As any fule kno, you don’t have to write a research paper by typing it all in yourself, you can just copy and paste!

  99. William J Murray, I just quoted post 85 in an on-going debate about evolution elsewhere: it’s a cracker, thank-you!

    Evolution: falsied time and again. At least it would be if it wasn’t non-falsifiable!

  100. Bruce David:

    …I knew that there had to be some kind of sensing mechanism that would indicate to the bacterium in which direction it would be beneficial to move linked some kind of control so that the flagellum could be utilized to propel it in that direction. Otherwise, the flagellum would be totally useless to the organism.

    The E. coli bacterium feeds by absorbing nutrients such as sugars from the human gut where it lives. It seems reasonable that being able to maintain itself in an optimum position in the gut, where the constant flow from mouth to anus would otherwise tend to eliminate it, is advantageous. For the “run and tumble” system to work, all the data the bacterium needs is the change in nutrient level, whether it is rising or falling. It has three responses. Do nothing, run or tumble. There is no directional response. No steering. No control. It can remain going with the flow, it can swim in the direction it is pointing or it can reorient itself (tumble) so that it can then swim in (most likely) a different direction.

  101. Alan Fox:

    It has three responses. Do nothing, run or tumble. There is no directional response. No steering. No control. It can remain going with the flow, it can swim in the direction it is pointing or it can reorient itself (tumble) so that it can then swim in (most likely) a different direction.

    Of course there is control. At a minimum there has to be controls between those three states.

  102. 102
    Chance Ratcliff

    Run and Tumble –

    JonathanM has an article up on EnV highlighting chemotaxis function in e.coli with a video presentation. It’s just run and tumble all the way down. :P

  103. 103
    Chance Ratcliff

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