Home » Science » Speculation Presented As Fact (or, Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit)

Speculation Presented As Fact (or, Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit)

I don’t watch a lot of television, but I must admit that I enjoy the History Channel. The other night I was watching a program on the origin of the universe and life. At one point the narrator commented (I paraphrase), “And then, unknown chemical reactions caused life to form.”

This is obviously pure speculation presented as fact, and my Carl-Sagan-inspired baloney detection kit went into immediate overdrive. I said to myself: “Self, how do they know that unknown chemical reactions caused life to form? No evidence is presented for this claim. And how did all that complex information-processing machinery come about through chemical reactions?”

Baloney detection is a two-edged sword.

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149 Responses to Speculation Presented As Fact (or, Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit)

  1. “Self, how do they know that unknown chemical reactions caused life to form?

    It must be true because that’s what they taught me in Middle School.

    Anyway, to believe in the “unknown chemical reaction” (UCR) requires much faith. Certainly as much as believing in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  2. Information-processing machinery could have come about by itself from an RNA world, and various abiogenesis experiments provide robust support that known chemicals plausibly organized into life.

    Is critiquing inaccurate cable TV really that important?

  3. Well, at least they didn’t say who they thought organized those chemicals into life, eh? That would have just been begging for trouble.

  4. Bugsy writes: “abiogenesis experiments provide robust support that known chemicals plausibly organized into life.”

    Are you talking about the “run electricity through gas and get tarry sludge” experiements? If so, so you seriously believe these experiments provide “robust” support for the leap from non-living to living matter?

    Perhaps you know more than the scientists (none of which are creationist or IDists) who said:

    “The events that gave rise to that first primordial cell are totally unknown, matters for guesswork and a standing challenge to scientific imagination.” Lewis Thomas, foreword to The Incredible Machine, ed. Robert M. Pool (Washington, DC: National Geographic Book Service, 1986), 7.

    One must conclude that, contrary to the established and current wisdom a scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not yet been written.” Hubert Yockey, “A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by Information Theory,” Journal of Theoretical Biology 67 (1977): 379, 396, 377-98.

    “There is no agreement on the extent to which metabolism could develop independently of a genetic material. In my opinion, there is no basis in known chemistry for the belief that long sequences of reactions can organize spontaneously – and every reason to believe that they cannot. The problem of achieving sufficient specificity, whether in aqueous solution or on the surface of a mineral, is so severe that the chance of closing a cycle of reactions as complex as the reverse citric acid cycle, for example, is negligible.” Leslie Orgel, “The Origin of Life: a Review of Facts and Speculations,” Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 23 (December 1998): 494-95, 491-95.

    “However, it is now held to be highly unlikely that the conditions used in these experiments [i.e., the modeling of strongly reducing atmospheres] could represent those in the Archean atmosphere. Even so, scientific articles still occasionally appear that report experiments modeled on these conditions and explicitly or tacitly claim the presence of resulting products in reactive concentrations “on the primordial Earth” or in a “prebiotic soup”. The idea of such a “soup” containing all desired organic molecules in concentrated form in the ocean has been a misleading concept against which objections were raised early (see, e.g., Sillen 1965). Nonetheless, it still appears in popular presentations perhaps partly because of its gustatory associations.” Stephen J Mojzsis, Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, and Gustaf Arrhenius, “Before RNA and After: Geophysical and Geochemical Constraints on Molecular Evolution,” in The RNA World, 2nd ed. (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1999), 6.

    If you are not talking about the tarry sludge experiments, please tell us what you are talking about.

  5. When I say “plausibly”, I don’t mean that it’s proven down to the slightest detail beyond a shadow of a doubt and everyone should accept it ever~!1!1!!1!

    I mean that it’s plausible.

    I don’t know what you mean by “tarry sludge” experiments, as I’ve never heard them referred to that way. I presume you mean the Milley-Urey experiments.

    It’s been demonstrated quite nicely then and since that, for all our ignorance about how things were at the dawn of time, it possible to form some of the basic building blocks of life over eons of random chemical interaction in some environments. It is plausible that this occurred on Earth.

    Targeting a cable TV documentary as an example of baloney for saying “unknown” without paying attention to the existing scientific evidence and debate isn’t a scientific thing to do. It’s soapbox street theater.

  6. Bugsy,

    Please read and understand John von Neumann’s “Theory of Self Reproducing Automata” to see why an RNA world makes little sense. Cashing out von Neumann’s theoretical point as an actual RNA molecule that allegedly reproduces itself, requires the molecule to produce an exact copy of itself, while the replication operation requires that it modify itself to do it. Noticing that RNA can have, admittedly puny, enzymatic activity, hardly solves this logical conundrum.

  7. ellazimm,

    Thanks for the quotes! Between those and the ones provided by BarryA, it’s evident the speculation about the Origin of Life is all over the map as far as scientific consideration goes.

    It’s discouraging, but even if the state of consensus is in bad shape, it’s good to know the leading researchers are well aware of the problem they face.

  8. “Baloney detection is a two-edged sword.”

    Block that metaphor!

    The whole post would have a lot more credibility if you had been able to quote the text and maybe the context instead of paraphrase it. Hey, it’d be nice to know the name of the show! As it is, I’m not going to get my panties in a twist over this particular “pure speculation presented as fact.”

  9. I don’t agree with you, Newton, but that’s at least a scientific argument.

    My big problem is with Gil and the overall tone of this blog degenerating. Count the main posts for the past two months. What percent are about actual scientists and science? How about those about the wording of cable shows, promoting new sites, scoring rhetorical points off of dead children, showing off “funny” photoshopped pictures, and similar?

    There seem to be at least twice as many of the latter. Why is this? Theology may not be entirely on topic, but it at least has a point. The rest of this is just depressing.

  10. “How about those about the wording of cable shows, promoting new sites, scoring rhetorical points off of dead children, showing off “funny” photoshopped pictures, and similar?”

    It comes up because, like it or not, ID is a controversial issue that has a lot to do with public perception, social concerns, metaphysics, and otherwise. Part of the evolution v design v creation v whatever debate is PR – and considering what’s been done to ‘promote’ evolution along with ID, it seems everyone is aware of that but you.

    You should check out PZ Myers’ blog sometime. I wonder how long it’ll be until he mixes it up with Scott Adams again. You know, the agnostic guy who draws Dilbert and has made posts joking about evolution? That was a laugh.

  11. For what I believe to be an accurate, current assessment of the state of origin-of-life research, see this year’s article by Robert Shapiro (an organic chemist) in Scientific American at

    http://www.sciam.com/article.c.....EF02B5C4D7

    Short version: none of the current popular theories are plausible, but there are no candidates to take their place.

  12. Social movements live and die by their ability to demonstrate efficacy and usefulness. Truly vacuous “advertising” that doesn’t directly relate to the proper subject of ID, science, is not going to get anyone anywhere.

    Chemfarmer: A more accurate short version of that article would be “none of the current popular theories, although plausible, are probable. We have hypothesis we think would lead to more probable theories.” Hardly a death knell to abiogenesis.

    Science by misrepresentation isn’t going to get anyone anywhere either.

  13. Who needs a death knell? It just needs to be pointed out that there’s a problem presently, and a variety of people have a variety of views. Is the suggestion that design may have come into play really that terrible?

    And now you see why “advertising” matters – because sometimes you have to address people’s perceptions or misunderstandings to get support, and get more work done. After all, that’s why you’re here, now isn’t it? :)

  14. Whether you may name a certain scenario plausible or implausible depends on statistics. Some people may think that something that has a likelihood of occuring once in every 10^50 instances is plausible, but that would probably strain the meaning of the word plausible. There are many calculations around that purport to estimate the life arose spontaneously, none of them comes even close to a likehood of better than 1 in 10^50. It’s more like one in 10^20.000 Is it appropriate to therefore call a naturalistic scenario of abiogenisis plausible?

  15. You may want to skim it again, ellazimm. The “if this is all true” happens to entail the RNA scenario being false. You know, it isn’t skepticism when you only look for interpretrations that bolster the view you want true. That’s just partisanism. Or so the data would imply. ;)

    And I sleep for now. Nice to see so much activity on UD lately. Keep that controversy brewing!

  16. ellazimm: I looked at your link. I’d like to read references 14 and 16. But to generalize, I think Shapiro (an evolutionist) puts it well: “The analogy that comes to mind is that of a golfer, who having played a golf ball through an 18-hole course, then assumed that the ball could also play itself around the course in his absence. He had demonstrated the possibility of the event; it was only necessary to presume that some combination of natural forces (earthquakes, winds, tornadoes and floods, for example) could produce the same result, given enough time.” Except that no one (IMO) has come close to “playing through 18 holes” (i.e., observed a complex, biologically active molecule forming under even intentionally designed abiotic conditions) and the problem appears to be much more difficult than simply getting through an 18 hole golf course.

    Part of the problem is that unless one has a feel for how molecules actually behave, its easy to imagine (and propose) all kinds of things that are implausible.

  17. All:

    Several days ago, Nov 9, Galapagos Finch posted an interesting tongue-in-cheek picture, of a junkyard with a brand new lime-green hummer allegedly formed by a level four tornado.

    That thread — tellingly –received precisely one comment, by yours truly. Namely:

    _______________

    . . . that’s a real front page headline for Nature — ID disproved! [NOT]

    For those who don’t know the context, here is a classic cite from Dawkins, in turn citing the late great Sir Fred Hoyle’s analogy of a tornado in a junkyard assembling a 747 by chance. This, reportedly, from The Blind Watchmaker (1987), p. 8:

    Hitting upon the lucky number that opens the bank’s safe [NB: cf. here the case in Brown’s The Da Vinci Code] is the equivalent, in our analogy, of hurling scrap metal around at random and happening to assemble a Boeing 747. [NB: originally, this imagery is due to Sir Fred Hoyle, who used it to argue that life on earth bears characteristics that strongly suggest design. His suggestion: panspermia — i.e. life drifted here, or else was planted here.] Of all the millions of unique and, with hindsight equally improbable, positions of the combination lock, only one opens the lock. Similarly, of all the millions of unique and, with hindsight equally improbable, arrangements of a heap of junk, only one (or very few) will fly. The uniqueness of the arrangement that flies, or that opens the safe, has nothing to do with hindsight. It is specified in advance. [Parenthetical note added, in tribute to the late great Sir Fred Hoyle.]

    In short, Q: is it reasonable to expect chance plus natural regularities acting without intelligent direction to assemble complex, fine-tuned wholes based on many co-adapted components, even if the components are actually available in the immediate vicinity?

    ANS: No, on excellent statistical thermodynamics grounds having to do with the accessibility of islands of functionality within the configuration space as a whole.

    If you want a bit more on this, have a look at my discussion in my always linked, Appendix 1, section 6.

    __________________

    In short, the key issue is that:

    1] We have — ever since at least Plato in his The Laws, Book X — identified three main causal patterns: chance, mechanical necessity showing itself in natural regularities, agency.

    2] As the above implies, where there is high contingency in a situation [e.g. the specific state of items in a digital string of elements, e.g. AAAAA . . . to ZZZZZ . . .], natural regularities are not dominant.

    3] Once the relevant configuration-state space is sufficiently large, finding isolated islands of functionality by chance soon exhausts the available probabilistic resources; i.e. once we are at the equivalent of about 500 – 1,000 bits of information storage capacity; which is related to the underlying reasoning that establishes statistical thermodynamics. [Needless to say, 747's, lime green hummers and functioning life forms are well beyond that threshold.]

    4] Further to this, in every case of such functionally specified, finely-tuned complex information-processing system we directly know the causal story for, it is the product of agency.

    5] Therefore, on empirical induction and the underlying logic and mathematics of the probabilistic issues tied to searching-the config space, it is reasonable to infer that all such CSI-based systems beyond Dembski-type probability bounds, are the product of agents. (For, our being present/absent to observe directly is plainly irrelevant to the issue.)

    6] Further to this, our ability to discern the intent or identity of the relevant agent[s] is similarly irrelevant to the message of the mathematics of searching out islands of functionality in large config spaces.

    7] So, we have good reason to infer to design by intelligent agent as by far the best current explanation of: the origin of life, the origin of body-plan level biodiversity, and the origin of a life-friendly, fine-tuned cosmos with specific sites for life in it.

    8] However, this cuts across the perceptions, desires and institutional dominance of evolutionary materialism and associated radical secularist socio-cultural agendas. So, sadly, it has been hotly resisted, too often by resort to the most indefensible tactics.

    I respectfully suggest that if we want to look at evidence and science issues, the just above and the linked [ever accesible through the link in my handle on this blog] would be an excellent place to begin.

    GEM of TKI

  18. “It is being honest however. And it is true that from an evidence based view no one does know exactly what happened.”

    Stating that unknown chemical reactions “caused life to form” as fact, when there’s clearly controversy over abiogenesis, is hardly being “honest.”

  19. Yes,

    The origin of life is highly implausible in the first order.

    What evidence is found for the first life on earth?

    The oldest sedimentary rocks on earth, known to science, originated underwater (and thus in relatively cool environs) 3.86 billion years ago. Those sediments, which are exposed at Isua in southwestern Greenland, also contain the earliest chemical evidence (fingerprint) of “photosynthetic” life [Nov. 7, 1996, Nature]. This evidence has been fought by naturalists, since it is totally contrary to their evolutionary theory. Yet, Danish scientists were able to bring forth another line of geological evidence to substantiate the primary line of geological evidence for photo-synthetic life in the earth’s earliest known sedimentary rocks (Indications of Oxygenic Photosynthesis,” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6907 (2003). Thus we have two lines of hard conclusive evidence for photo-synthetic life in the oldest known sedimentary rocks ever found by scientists on earth! The simplest photosynthetic bacterial life on earth is exceedingly complex, too complex to happen by even if the primeval oceans had been full of pre-biotic soup. Thus, naturalists try to suggest pan-spermia (the theory that pre-biotic amino acids, or life itself, came to earth from outer-space on comets) to account for this sudden appearance of life on earth. This theory has several problems. One problem is that astronomers, using spectral analysis, have not found any vast reservoirs of biological molecules anywhere they have looked in the universe. Another problem is, even if comets were nothing but pre-biotic amino acid snowballs, how are the amino acids going to molecularly survive the furnace-like temperatures generated when the comet crashes into the earth? If the pre-biotic molecules were already a life-form on the comet, how could this imagined life-form survive the extremely harsh environment of space for many millions of years, not to mention the fiery crash into the earth? Did this imagined super-cell wear a cape like superman?
    The first actual fossilized cells scientists have been able to recover in the fossil record are 3.5 billion year old photosynthetic cyano(blue-green)bacteria, from western Australia, which look amazingly similar to a particular type of cyano-bacteria that are still alive today. The smallest cyano-bacterium known to science has hundreds of millions of individual atomic molecules (not counting water molecules), divided into nearly a thousand different species of atomic molecules; and a genome (DNA sequence) of 1.8 million bits, with over a million individual complex protein molecules which are divided into hundreds of different kinds of proteins.
    The smallest cyano-bacterium known to science has hundreds of millions of individual atomic molecules (not counting water molecules), divided into nearly a thousand different species of atomic molecules; and a genome (DNA sequence) of 1.8 million bits, with over a million individual complex protein molecules which are divided into hundreds of different kinds of proteins. The simplest of all bacteria known in science, which is able to live independent of a more complex host organism, is the candidatus pelagibacter ubique and has a DNA sequence of 1,308,759 bits. It also has over a million individual complex protein molecules which are divided into several hundred separate and distinct protein types. The complexity found in the simplest bacterium known to science makes the complexity of any man-made machine look like child’s play. As stated by Geneticist Michael Denton PhD, “Although the tiniest living things known to science, bacterial cells, are incredibly small (10^-12 grams), each is a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of elegantly designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world”. So, as you can see, there simply is no simple life on earth as naturalism had presumed – even the well known single celled amoeba has the complexity of the city of London and reproduces that complexity in only 20 minutes.

    “Each cell with genetic information, from bacteria to man, consists of artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction and a capacity not equaled in any of our most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours” Geneticist Michael Denton PhD.

    To give an idea how impossible “simple” life is for naturalistic blind chance, Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the chance of obtaining the required set of enzymes for just one of any of the numerous types of “simple” bacterial life found on the early earth to be one in 10^40,000 (that is a one with 40 thousand zeros to the right). He compared the random emergence of the simplest bacterium on earth to the likelihood “a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 therein”. Sir Fred Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining just one single functioning protein (out of the over one million protein molecules needed for that simplest cell), by chance combinations of amino acids, to a solar system packed full of blind men solving Rubik’s Cube simultaneously.

    The simplest bacteria ever found on earth is constructed with over a million protein molecules. Protein molecules are made from one dimensional sequences of the 20 different L-amino acids that can be used as building blocks for proteins. These one dimensional sequences of amino acids fold into complex three-dimensional structures. The proteins vary in length of sequences of amino acids. The average sequence of a typical protein is about 300 to 400 amino acids long. Yet many crucial proteins are thousands of amino acids long. Proteins do their work on the atomic scale. Therefore, proteins must be able to identify and precisely manipulate and interrelate with the many differently, and specifically, shaped atoms, atomic molecules and protein molecules at the same time to accomplish the construction, metabolism, structure and maintenance of the cell. Proteins are required to have the precisely correct shape to accomplish their specific function or functions in the cell. More than a slight variation in the precisely correct shape of the protein molecule type will be for the life of the cell. It turns out there is some tolerance for error in the sequence of L-amino acids that make up some the less crucial protein molecule types. These errors can occur without adversely affecting the precisely required shape of the protein molecule type. This would seem to give some wiggle room to the naturalists, but as the following quote indicates this wiggle room is an illusion.

    “A common rebuttal is that not all amino acids in organic molecules must be strictly sequenced. One can destroy or randomly replace about 1 amino acid out of 100 without doing damage to the function or shape of the molecule. This is vital since life necessarily exists in a “sequence—disrupting” radiation environment. However, this is equivalent to writing a computer program that will tolerate the destruction of 1 statement of code out of 1001. In other words, this error-handling ability of organic molecules constitutes a far more unlikely occurrence than strictly sequenced molecules.” Dr. Hugh Ross PhD.

    It is easily demonstrated mathematically that the entire universe does not even begin to come close to being old enough, nor large enough, to ally generate just one small but precisely sequenced 100 amino acid protein (out of the over one million interdependent protein molecules of longer sequences that would be required to match the sequences of their particular protein types) in that very first living bacteria. If any combinations of the 20 L-amino acids that are used in constructing proteins are equally possible, then there are (20^100) =1.3 x 10^130 possible amino acid sequences in proteins being composed of 100 amino acids. This impossibility, of finding even one “required” specifically sequenced protein, would still be true even if amino acids had a tendency to chemically bond with each other, which they don’t despite over fifty years of experimentation trying to get amino acids to bond naturally (The odds of a single 100 amino acid protein overcoming the impossibilities of chemical bonding and forming spontaneously have been calculated at less than 1 in 10^125 (Meyer, Evidence for Design, pg. 75)). The staggering impossibility found for the universe ever generating a “required” specifically sequenced 100 amino acid protein by would still be true even if we allowed that the entire universe, all 10^80 sub-atomic particles of it, were nothing but groups of 100 freely bonding amino acids, and we then tried a trillion unique combinations per second for all those 100 amino acid groups for 100 billion years! Even after 100 billion years of trying a trillion unique combinations per second, we still would have made only one billion, trillionth of the entire total combinations possible for a 100 amino acid protein during that 100 billion years of trying! Even a child knows you cannot put any piece of a puzzle anywhere in a puzzle. You must have the required piece in the required place! The simplest forms of life ever found on earth are exceedingly far more complicated jigsaw puzzles than any of the puzzles man has ever made. Yet to believe a naturalistic theory we would have to believe that this tremendously complex puzzle of millions of precisely shaped, and placed, protein molecules “just happened” to overcome the impossible hurdles of chemical bonding and probability and put itself together into the sheer wonder of immense complexity that we find in the cell.

    Instead of us just looking at the probability of a single protein molecule occurring (a solar system full of blind men solving the Rubik’s Cube simultaneously), let’s also look at the complexity that goes into crafting the shape of just one protein molecule. Complexity will give us a better indication if a protein molecule is, indeed, the handi-work of an infinitely powerful Creator.
    In the year 2000 IBM announced the development of a new super-computer, called Blue Gene, that is 500 times faster than any supercomputer built up until that time. It took 4-5 years to build. Blue Gene stands about six feet high, and occupies a floor space of 40 feet by 40 feet. It cost $100 million to build. It was built specifically to better enable computer simulations of molecular biology. The computer performs one quadrillion (one million billion) computations per second. Despite its speed, it is estimated it will take one entire year for it to analyze the mechanism by which JUST ONE “simple” protein will fold onto itself from its one-dimensional starting point to its final three-dimensional shape.

    “Blue Gene’s final product, due in four or five years, will be able to “fold” a protein made of 300 amino acids, but that job will take an entire year of full-time computing.” Paul Horn, senior vice president of IBM research, September 21, 2000
    http://www.news.com/2100-1001-233954.html

    In real life, the protein folds into its final shape in a fraction of a second! The computer would have to operate at least 33 million times faster to accomplish what the protein does in a fraction of a second. That is the complexity found for JUST ONE “simple” protein. It is estimated, on the total number of known life forms on earth, that there are some 50 billion different types of unique proteins today. It is very possible the domain of the protein world may hold many trillions more completely distinct and different types of proteins. The simplest bacterium known to man has millions of protein molecules divided into, at bare minimum, several hundred distinct proteins types. These millions of precisely shaped protein molecules are interwoven into the final structure of the bacterium. Numerous times specific proteins in a distinct protein type will have very specific modifications to a few of the amino acids, in their sequence, in order for them to more precisely accomplish their specific function or functions in the overall parent structure of their protein type. To think naturalists can account for such complexity by saying it “happened by chance” should be the very definition of “absurd” we find in dictionaries. Naturalists have absolutely no answers for how this complexity arose in the first living cell unless, of course, you can take their imagination as hard evidence. Yet the “real” evidence scientists have found overwhelmingly supports the anthropic hypothesis once again. It should be remembered that naturalism postulated a very simple “first cell”. Yet the simplest cell scientists have been able to find, or to even realistically theorize about, is vastly more complex than any machine man has ever made through concerted effort !! What makes matters much worse for naturalists is that naturalists try to assert that proteins of one function can easily mutate into other proteins of completely different functions by pure chance. Yet once again the empirical evidence we now have betrays the naturalists. Individual proteins have been experimentally proven to quickly lose their function in the cell with random point mutations. What are the odds of any functional protein in a cell mutating into any other functional folded protein, of very questionable value, by pure chance?

    “From actual experimental results it can easily be calculated that the odds of finding a folded protein (by random point mutations to an existing protein) are about 1 in 10 to the 65 power (Sauer, MIT). To put this fantastic number in perspective imagine that someone hid a grain of sand, marked with a tiny ‘X’, somewhere in the Sahara Desert. After wandering blindfolded for several years in the desert you reach down, pick up a grain of sand, take off your blindfold, and find it has a tiny ‘X’. Suspicious, you give the grain of sand to someone to hide again, again you wander blindfolded into the desert, bend down, and the grain you pick up again has an ‘X’. A third time you repeat this action and a third time you find the marked grain. The odds of finding that marked grain of sand in the Sahara Desert three times in a row are about the same as finding one new functional protein structure (from chance transmutation of an existing functional protein structure). Rather than accept the result as a lucky coincidence, most people would be certain that the game had been fixed.” Michael J. Behe, The Weekly Standard, June 7, 1999, Experimental Support for Regarding Functional Classes of Proteins to be Highly Isolated from Each Other
    “Mutations are rare phenomena, and a simultaneous change of even two amino acid residues in one protein is totally unlikely. One could think, for instance, that by constantly changing amino acids one by one, it will eventually be possible to change the entire sequence substantially… These minor changes, however, are bound to eventually result in a situation in which the enzyme has ceased to perform its previous function but has not yet begun its ‘new duties’. It is at this point it will be destroyed – along with the organism carrying it.” Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetski, Unraveling DNA, 1997, p. 72. (Professor at Brown U. Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering)

    Even if evolution somehow managed to overcome the impossible hurdles for generating novel proteins by totally natural means, Evolution would still face the monumental hurdles of generating complimentary protein/protein binding sites in which the novel proteins could actually interface with each other in order to accomplish specific tasks in the cell (it is estimated that there are least 10,000 different types of protein-protein binding sites in a “simple” cell). What does the recent hard evidence say about novel protein-protein binding site generation from what is actually observed to be occuring on the protein level of malaria and HIV since they have infected humans? Once again the naturalists are brutally betrayed by the hard evidence that science has recently uncovered!

    The likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of of the probability of developing one: a double CCC (chloroquine complexity cluster), 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the entire world in the past 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety (just 2 binding sites being generated by ) in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable. Dr. Michael J. Behe PhD. (from page 146 “Edge of Evolution”)

  20. There are recent books on the origin of life and one is by Robert Hazen (Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origins ) , a committed naturalistic supporter. He also has a Teaching Company course on the topic. While Hazen is generally a very honest researcher and he admits that they are nowhere while he explores several possibilities. But he hides the enormity of the problem.

    This is just a example of the enormity of the problem. If one were to construct all the possible proteins of length of 40 amino acids, you would exhaust all the matter in the universe. A protein of 40 amino acids is very small with the average protein being over 100 amino acids. The numbers are staggering for just the appearance of simple proteins. How could so many different proteins appear randomly. The answer is it is not possible.

    RNA molecules are even more complicated than proteins and we are talking about staggering numbers to construct anything by any random process. A ribosome which is necessary to construct proteins consist of a couple thousand nucleotides arranged in a specific order so it functions as a efficient machine. The assembly of such a machine by any process defies imagination except through an intelligence which could do it with sufficient knowledge. And you need to have even more complicated molecules to feed the ribosome to produce the proteins.

    So if you are new to the OOL (origin of life) issue, the numbers are indeed staggering while current research is looking at how very simple molecules of maybe 20-30 carbon, and oxygen molecules may have been formed by various processes. They need to look at how molecules of 10 of thousands formed and in very specific ways so they can function like a machine. It is like they are now looking at how to make a brick when what they have to do is build the Empire State building and even that is just a starter.

    One can always invoke the concept of they will eventually solve it but if one is going to do that then one has to be honest and say they are nowhere at the moment and all the stuff we have in text books is just wild speculation and can’t begin to scratch the surface of the problem. Unfortunately no such honesty is present which is why I say there is no honest Darwinist or honest anyone in the evolutionary biology field. They will not state the evidence honestly.

  21. As I suggested above, the post itself is silly. Someone remembers an (unspecified) TV show but not well enough to know the words in which the alleged speculation happened. A paraphrase is repeated in quote marks in a post inexplicably deemed worth of making it to the front page. It’s a myth in the making.

    My prediction: within a year somebody will hitch the two weird parts of the post together and there will be a full-blown internet story that reads, “Carl Sagan used to say that ‘unknown chemical reactions caused life to form.’”

  22. I believe the key to unraveling, the origin of life is properly defining information itself.

    I got in a discussion the other day on PT. Somehow we were discussing information. I pointed out that information is in fact a spiritual quantity. To illustrate this “spiritualness of information”, I said,

    “Well let’s take a closer look (at information),,You write information on a piece of paper, Is the paper or the ink the information? You record the information onto a tape recorder, is the sound information? Is the magnetic tape in the recorder information, You transfer the magnetic tape to a CD, is the CD now information? No we have obviously transfered a constant transcendent entity throughout all those totally different mediums yet the entity of information changed not in the least in its basic structure or meaning! (Thus information clearly transcends the material realm)

    As such, Are your memories (all the information for your life) definitely stored in your brain? Believe it or not, NO, there is no known definitive location for memories in the brain according to Nobelist Penfield and other researchers.”

    added quote:

    “For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories inside the brain, so far without success.”
    Pim Von Lomel

    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel.....sponse.htm

    As well, Transcranial magnetic stimulation studies, as well as, patient robustness after hemispherectomies, offer very suggestive, if not compelling, evidence that memories are stored on a “spiritual basis”.

    “You Say Impossible?

    With men these things are impossible, but with God all things are possible!”

    In response at PT, I was treated with the usual scoffing and name calling at such a preposterous idea:

    One of the nicer ones:

    “Wow… just wow…

    So, if there were no people around, things would still have meaning? Can you define this meaning? And can you differentiate information from matter and energy? According to your logic, removing part of your brain will have no impact on what you know. So what did Penfield have to say about this? I can’t find anything he said that supports your argument.”

    To which I responded:

    http://pediatrics.aappublicati...../100/2/163

    Why Would You Remove Half a Brain? The Outcome of 58 Children After Hemispherectomy

    Many children who have had hemispherectomies (half their brains removed due to life threatening epileptic conditions) at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, are in high school; and one, a college student, is on the dean’s list. The families of these children can barely believe the transformation; and not so long ago, neurologists and neuro-surgeons found it hard to believe as well. What is surprising for these people is that they are having their overriding materialistic view of brain correlation to consciousness overturned. In other words; since, it is presumed by Materialism that the brain is the primary generator of consciousness; then, it is totally expected for a person having half their brain removed to be severely affected when it comes to memory and personality. This is clearly a contradiction between the Materialistic and Theistic philosophies. According to Materialistic dogma, memory and personality should be affected, just as badly, or at least somewhat as badly, as any of the other parts of the body, by removal of half the brain. Yet, as a team of neuro-surgeons that have done extensive research on the after effects of hemispherectomy at John Hopkins Medical Center comment: “We are awed by the apparent retention of the child’s memory after removal of half of the brain, either half; and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor.” Though a patients physical capacities are impaired, just as they were expected to be immediately following surgery; and have to have time to be “rewired” to the consciousness in the brain, the memory and personality of the patient comes out unscathed in the aftermath of such radical surgery. This is exactly the result one would expect, if the consciousness is ultimately independent of brain function and is spiritually-based. This is totally contrary to the results one would expect if the consciousness were actually physically-based, as the materialistic theory had presumed. In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.” This is stunning proof of consciousness being independent of brain function. The only child not to have normal or improved intellect is the child who remained in a coma due to complications during surgery. It is also heartening to find that many of the patients regain full use, or almost full use, of their bodies after a varying period of recuperation in which the brain is “rewired” to the consciousness.

    II Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent (Our Body), is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

    As usual: This response of mine was thoroughly trashed.

    Yet I maintain, with all that I hold dear, that the spiritual realm is a higher dimension is INDEED REAL, and that it can be fairly easily discerned to interact with this physical realm…Indeed, quantum mechanics absolutely requires the allowance of “higher dimensions” to even be a coherent theory in the first place!

    In fact Quantum non-locality is my opinion a formal proof of the spiritual realms nce of this realm as far as information is concerned.

    The question that needs to be thoroughly addressed is not the ignorant question of “How did complex specified information arise by itself in matter…But is How is complex specified information “enforced” or implemented in to different forms of matter from the spiritual realm. A spiritual realm, that I point out, we use everyday, though we don’t give any where near proper heed nor respect to it, nor have we defined it in proper scientific fashion in my honest opinion!

  23. “getawitness: the topic that began the discussion was a bit silly but some good points have been made nonetheless.”

    True. My view is that the title of the post aptly describes its content. The conversation has been rescued from pointlessness, in part, in the comments.

    Berceuse [28],

    Stating that unknown chemical reactions “caused life to form” as fact, when there’s clearly controversy over abiogenesis, is hardly being “honest.”

    And so it begins: a paraphrase of an alleged moment in an unnamed television show becomes somebody “stating” something. The transformation of hearsay into history.

  24. ellazimm,
    I assure you, scientists will NEVER find memories stored in the brain,

    The brain diseases and injuries you refer to only indicate the brains ability to recover memory from the consciousness have been affected and does not in any way establish memories are stored in the brain.

    You are looking at this problem through “materialistic lenses”. And cannot conceive that it is so!

    Yet I maintain that Materialism is not even a valid theory as far as revealed science is concerned!

    Again the list:

    Theistic Philosophy Compared to the
    Materialistic Philosophy of Science

    There are two prevailing philosophies vying for the right to be called the truth in man’s perception of reality. These two prevailing philosophies are Theism and Materialism. Materialism is sometimes called philosophical naturalism and, to a lesser degree, is often even conflated with methodological naturalism. Materialism is the current hypothesis entrenched over science as the nt hypothesis guiding scientists. Materialism asserts that everything that exists arose from chance acting on an material basis which has always existed. Whereas, Theism asserts everything that exists arose from the purposeful will of the spirit of Almighty God who has always existed in a timeless eternity. A hypothesis in science is suppose to give proper guidance to scientists and make, somewhat, accurate predictions. In this primary endeavor, for a hypothesis, Materialism has failed miserably. lets take a look at a few of the predictions where Materialism has missed the mark and Theism has been accurate.

    1. Materialism did not predict the big bang. Yet Theism always said the universe was created.

    2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.

    3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

    4. Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle, which allows life as we know it to be possible. Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning, unchanging, clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.

    5. Materialism predicted that complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Yet statistical analysis of the many required parameters that enable complex life to be possible on earth reveals that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support complex life in this universe. Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe in its ability to support complex life.

    6. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.

    7. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.

    8. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity for the “simplest” life on earth.

    9. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Yet we find evidence for “complex” photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Minik T. Rosing and Robert Frei, “U-Rich Archaean Sea-Floor Sediments from Greenland—Indications of >3700 Ma Oxygenic Photosynthesis”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6907 (2003): 1-8) Theism would have naturally expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.

    10. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth. Yet Theism would have naturally expected such sudden appearance of the many different and completely unique fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

    11. Materialism predicted that there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record. Yet fossils are characterized by sudden appearance in the fossil record and overall stability as long as they stay in the fossil record. There is not one clear example of unambiguous transition between major species out of millions of collected fossils. Theism would have naturally expected fossils to suddenly appear in the fossil record with stability afterwards as well as no evidence of transmutation into radically new forms.

    12. Materialism predicts animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Yet man himself is the last scientifically accepted fossil to suddenly appear in the fossil record. Theism would have predicted that man himself was the last fossil to suddenly appear in the fossil record.

    Thus I hold that the “spiritual realm is not only REAL but is also discernably dom^in^ate of the “material realm”!

  25. A few points:

    1- If science can get away with an unknown cause for the universe then unknown chemical reactions should also be acceptable.

    2- Therefore, if science is going to use the “unknown” label then no one in science can reject Intelligent Design- unknown means unknown. IOW you can’t say “unknown” and then say “But is wasn’t via intentional design.”

    3- The RNA World- what’s new

  26. Bugsy wrote:
    “My big problem is with Gil and the overall tone of this blog degenerating. Count the main posts for the past two months. What percent are about actual scientists and science? How about those about the wording of cable shows”

    Bugsy, what would your reaction have been if that same show instead stated: “And then, an intelligent designer caused life to form.”?? The darwinist blogs would be lit up like a Christmas tree. And if you don’t like this blog, you don’t have to stay. I don’t like PandasThumb, so I don’t post there.

  27. I wouldn’t have had a reaction, because that’s too pedestrian to merit a reaction. People say that every day.

    Similarly, the term “unknown” to describe abiogenesis by an unnamed documentary doesn’t mean anything. It’s not remarkable, it’s not terribly scientific, and it’s not important in and of itself.

    If concern over what I’m seeing and desire to correct it means I’m not welcome, I’ll leave. I’m not demanding anyone cater to me.

  28. ellazimm,

    The spiritual realms’ nce of this physical realm can be discerned by two facts, First the universal constants (spiritual truths) were presumed by materialism to be varying throughout time (since material is naturally given primary authority over everything else in materialism). Yet extensive testing has verified that the universal constants have not varied in the least, (save for the hypothesized inflation period of the big bang) since the inception of the universe. Thus, Theisms’ assertion of the “spiritual truths established by God” finds validation upon investigation. As well, quantum non-locality blatantly illustrates the ability of “spiritual” information to defy all known laws of physics and “instantaneously communicate a “spiritual truth” to what seems to be, from our best evidence, anywhere in the universe.

    Again the spiritual realm finds another line of evidence establishing its do^min^ance over the material realm.

    Thus the question for science becomes if the information of a “spiritual truth” is enforced at this most basic foundation of our material universe, then how is later complex specified information enforced into this universe in order to account for the origin of life?

  29. In any case it would be very interesting to get the technology used by Designer to create proteins. Our own technology is pretty sloppy.

    Any technology used by Designer to get the World going is pretty nice to have!

  30. The History Channel show I mentioned was The Universe: Beyond the Big Bang, and it featured Neil deGrasse Tyson (militant atheist and one of the Beyond Belief seminar participants), who waxes eloquent at the end about how we are made of star stuff and how inspiring this is. You can listen to one of his anti-ID rants here:

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

    But I digress.

    I did not misrepresent the content of the quote. The reason I paraphrased it is that it may have been, “Life arose through unknown chemical reactions,” “Unknown chemical reactions caused life to form,” or some variant.

    The main point of my post is that the mass media pass on speculation about chemical abiogenesis and Darwinian mechanisms as the source of all life as though this is all established fact. It is ubiquitous on science and nature shows. It is indicative of how effective materialist indoctrination has been among media elites.

  31. “If concern over what I’m seeing and desire to correct it means I’m not welcome, I’ll leave. I’m not demanding anyone cater to me.”

    But what criteria do you use to base your “concern” on? I don’t like PT because I see too many personal attacks. There’s not really a desire there to discuss problems with NDE, just the desire to crush opposition and belittle anyone who disagrees, but I would never go there out of “concern” and try to point it out to them based upon my conception of what “their” blog should be…that’s all I’m saying.

  32. BA77 said: “This is stunning proof of consciousness being independent of brain function. The only child not to have normal or improved intellect is the child who remained in a coma due to complications during surgery. It is also heartening to find that many of the patients regain full use, or almost full use, of their bodies after a varying period of recuperation in which the brain is “rewired” to the consciousness.”

    The study on childhood hemispherectomy you cite is now 10 years old. Since then, researchers in cognitive neuroscience (I’m one too, and I’m more than a little familiar with cases like those reported in the Hopkins study) have found that while the prognosis for recovery from focal brain damage is generally better when the damage occurs earlier, the long-term results for these children are NOT as you describe.

    Brain damage is not good for you, no matter how old you are. On a wide range of measures, children who recover from hemispherectomy do not perform at normal levels. There are deficits in cognition, language, spatial processing, attention, memory and sensory processing. Perhaps most relevant to your points, there are also socialization problems, particularly issues with accurately recognizing social and emotional cues expressed in facial gestures in others, and making appropriate risk judgments.

    BA77, I don’t know whether there is an immaterial soul. I do know that the data from childhood brain damage do not tell the story you want to tell.

  33. Planets spinning in an immense universe, lightening strikes superimposed on a dark and misty landscape… Cue the Wizard of Oz-like voice: “And then, unknown chemical reactions caused life to form…” Definite. Unambigous. Unassailable. Only an idiot would question it.

    But then, pull back the curtain read the stuff that the scholars put out (thank you ellazimm). For example:
    • #6: “It is difficult if not impossible to synthesize long polymers of amino acids…;
    • #8: “The isolation of an RNA enzyme with RNA replicase activity, at present only a hypothetical molecule…
    My emphasis in both cases. And even if we buy the theory, polymers and enzymes—while necessary—are nowhere near sufficient for actual abiogenesis to occur. So, why the gap between the popular spin and the actual state of facts on the ground?
    I didn’t see the show in question, but I’ve seen 100 others like it; Discovery, National Geographic and History are full of the stuff. I guess I believe that most of us can handle a frank representation of the actual facts—why is it that the media outlets in general seem unwilling to give us anything more substantial than science fiction? Further, why do the experts–whose concern is facts and science–allow the misinformation to continue unabated?

  34. Carl Sagan? You mean the guy who went on national television and announced that oil well fires in Kuwait would produce a nuclear winter and “a year without summer.”? That Carl Sagan.

    Ever notice that science popularizers can’t resist attempting to influence the political agenda by representing psuedoscientific speculation as state-of-the-art scientific knowledge.

  35. ellazimm,

    The answers provided at talksorigins is rather useless. The number of 4.29×10^40 refers to a pure amino acid solution with only one stereomer. Other reactive molecules, no doubt present at the early earth, being absent. So, the likelihood of some ‘desired’ combination would drop off extremely.
    Secondly, it completely ignores the poor stability of macromolecules. In chemistry, things don’t add up. The longer a polymer, the more likely it falls apart spontaneously. It is an aspect easily forgotten. Also, the smaller a protein, the less efficient it is in doing anything at all. So a 32 amino acid peptide is not going to be helpful in many cases.
    So, as stated above, the statistical numbers, taking into account all relevant factors, make it extremely improbably that any functional protein arose from a dilute organic soup. Scientist with a chemistry background normally admit this, scientists with a biology background tend to ignore this. How come?

  36. Here’s the scoreboard:

    1. Unknown cause for the universe, but an infinite multiverse is preferred since that would presumably help Darwinism.
    2. Unknown cause for OOL, although the primary problem are related to hypotheses explaining the chemistry involved…never mind the minimum complex genome.
    3. Unknown Darwinian mechanism for macroevolution, although there are various mechanisms being posited none have been observed being involved in macroevolution. The swan is still sparkling white.

  37. MacT,

    Thus I present this:

    However, Pam Reynolds underwent an extreme surgical procedure known as ‘hypothermic cardiac arrest’, to remove a very large basilar artery aneurysm. During the operation the was drained from her head, she had no pressure, breathing, heartbeat or brainwaves[3] and she was arguably as close to clinical as possible. After surgery the patient recounted her NDE in which she described seeing and hearing the bone saw that Dr Spetzler used to open up her skull, and recalled a specific comment by the female cardiologist, who later verified its accuracy. In support of many other anecdotal testimonies that have been corroborated by third persons, generally emergency medical staff, can we accept this as ‘empirical’ evidence of mind-body separation?

    as well i present:

    Pim Von Lomel:

    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel.....sponse.htm

    Could our brain be compared with the TV set that electromagnetic waves (photons) receives and transforms into image and sound, as well as with the TV camera that image and sound transforms into electromagnetic waves (photons)? This electromagnetic radiation holds the essence of all information, but is only conceivable to our senses by suited instruments like camera and TV set.

    The informational fields of our consciousness and of our memories, both evaluating by our experiences and by the informational imput from our sense organs during our lifetime, are present around us as electrical and/or magnetic fields [possible virtual photons? (18)], and these fields only become available to our waking consciousness through our functioning brain and other cells of our body.

    Thus with utmost respect to your research: Why did the researchers of the John Hopkins study say such things as:

    “We are awed by the apparent retention of the child’s memory after removal of half of the brain, either half; and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor.”

    and

    “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”

    I also not this is a specialized study, and I am trying to establish a detailed point…Namely is memory “information” stored separately from the brain,,,As such I feel you may be looking at the broader picture and failing to pick up the subtle evidence that is needed to differentiate what is a physical impairment and what is actually happening on the “immaterial soul” level after hemispherectomies.

    Note: brain damage and a in ability to recover memories is negative argumentation since the brain should properly be looked at as a transmitter and reciever of information!

    Thus the type of brain damage study used to gather evidence must be carefully weighed in order to establish positive argumentation for the truth.

  38. In further support for my position (the fact that information is a spiritual entity stored on a spiritual basis)

    I present:

    Neuro-physiological (brain/body) research is now being performed, using a new scientific tool, trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). This tool allows scientists to study the brain non-invasively. TMS can excite or inhibit normal electrical activity in specific parts of the brain, depending on the amount of energy administered by TMS. This tool allows scientists to pinpoint what is happening in different regions of the brain (functional mapping of the brain). TMS is wide-ranging in its usefulness; allowing the study of brain/muscle connections, the five senses, language, the patho-physiology of brain disorders, as well as mood disorders, such as depression. TMS may even prove to be useful for therapy for such brain disorders. TMS also allows the study of how memories are stored. The ability of TMS for inhibiting (turning off) specific portions of the brain is the very ability which reveals things that are very illuminating to the topic we are investigating. Consciousness and the brain are actually separate entities.
    When the electromagnetic activity of a specific portion of the brain is inhibited by the higher energies of TMS, it impairs the functioning of the particular portion of the body associated with the particular portion of the brain being inhibited. For example; when the visual cortex (a portion of the brain) is inhibited by higher energies of TMS, the person undergoing the procedure will temporarily become blind while it is inhibited. One notable exception to this “becoming impaired rule” is a person’s memory. When the elusive “memory” portion of the brain is inhibited, a person will have a vivid flashback of a past part of their life. This very odd “amplification” of a memory indicates this fact; memories are stored in the “spiritual” consciousness independent of the brain. All of the bodies other physical functions which have physical connections in the brain are impaired when their corresponding portion of the brain loses its ability for normal electromagnetic activity. One would very well expect memories to be irretrievable from the brain if they were physically stored. Yet memories are vividly brought forth into consciousness when their corresponding locations in the brain are temporarily inhibited. This indicates that memories are somehow stored on a non-physical basis, separate from the brain in the “spiritual” consciousness. Memory happens to be a crucially integrated part of any thinking consciousness. This is true, whether or not consciousness is physically or spiritually-based. Where memory is actually located is a sure sign of where the consciousness is actually located. It provides a compelling clue as to whether consciousness is physically or spiritually-based. Vivid memory recall, upon inhibition of a portion of brain where memory is being communicated from consciousness, is exactly what one would expect to find if consciousness is ultimately self-sufficient of brain function and spiritually-based. The opposite result, a ening of memories, is what one would expect to find if consciousness is ultimately physically-based. According to this insight, a large portion, if not all, of the one quadrillion synapses that have developed in the brain as we became s, are primarily developed as pathways for information to be transmitted to, and memories to be transmitted from, our consciousness. The synapses of the brain are not, in and of themselves, our primary source for memories. Indeed, decades of extensive research by brilliant, Nobel prize-winning, minds have failed to reveal where memory is stored in the brain. Though Alzheimer’s and other disorders affect the brain’s overall ability to recover memories, this is only an indication that the overall ability of the brain to recover memory from the consciousness has been affected, and does not in any way conclusively establish that memory is actually stored in the brain.
    In other developments, Dr. Olaf Blanke recently described in the peer-reviewed science journal “Nature” a patient who had “out of body experiences (OBEs)”, when the electrical activity of the gyrus-angularis portion of the brain was inhibited by higher energy TMS. Though some materialists try to twist this into some type of natural explanation for spiritual experiences, by saying the portion of the brain is being stimulated, it is actually a prime example clearly indicating consciousness is independent of the brain; for the portion of the brain is in fact, being inhibited, instead of stimulated ! This patient, Dr. Olaf Blanke described, should be grateful that consciousness is independent of the brain. If consciousness were truly dependent on the brain for its survival, as materialist insist, then the patient would have most likely died; at least while that particular portion of the brain was being inhibited. Obviously, that portion of the brain which was inhibited in the patient, is the very seat of the brain’s consciousness.

  39. BA77 says, in reference to TMS studies: “One notable exception to this “becoming impaired rule” is a person’s memory. When the elusive “memory” portion of the brain is inhibited, a person will have a vivid flashback of a past part of their life. This very odd “amplification” of a memory indicates this fact; memories are stored in the “spiritual” consciousness independent of the brain. ”

    This is utter nonsense. There is no evidence from TMS studies that memory is not instantiated in brain processes. I do not use TMS in my own work, but we do have a modern TMS facility in my institute, and I am familiar with the technology.

    There is new evidence from TMS studies that visual experience can be induced by auditory stimulation while the visual cortex is not active. From this, scientists inferred that there are probably pathways linking the visual cortex with the auditory cortex. They did some experiments to test this hypothesis, and the data point to previously unknown networks in the brain.

    Suppose, though, that we held a solid conviction that no such pathways in the brain were present, or even possible, and that vision could never interact with audition. Confronted with evidence of such an interaction, our conviction would apparently force us to conclude that there is some immaterial force at work. We can’t imagine any other way for such an interaction to occur, therefore we posit the intercession of a force that we cannot test.

    Sorry, brain science is in its infancy, but you are twisting it to support some interesting but unsupported ideas about “truth” and “materialism” that the science simply does not address.

  40. |
    | Bugsy
    |
    |
    X _____________________

    (Hint: It’s a left field.)

  41. ellazimm — Unknown means unknown but you try and find out don’t you?

    Yes, but there comes a point where you should stop banging your head and recognize there are more important questions as to how life formed, the answers of whic ought to be considered axiomatic.

    Why are we here? How should we live? What is important?

    But with regard to science, if the History Channel is sayig life came from an “unknown chemical reation” why assume it was a chemical reaction? Because biology entities consist of chemical compounds? But do those chemical compounds compose life?

    The DNA is the same the second after death as it was before, but there is no life.

  42. ellazim,

    I hate to burst your bubble but the best scientific evidence is that abiogenesis is, for all practical purposes, impossible becaue the probabilities are too low.

    The web site TalkOrigins is a propoganda organ without credibility. That site claims that human babies born with monkey tails are evidence of common descent! What kind of tabloid crap is that? You listen to those guys?

  43. Why can’t the accumulation of lots of little changes add up to a big change? It takes a long time however, much longer than anyone has being trying to observe it.

    Read Behe’s Edge and you’ll find out why it can’t. Long periods of time are irrelevant; the number of reproductive events and number of generations are what matter.

    In any event, my post was not so much about abiogenesis as it was about mass media participation in the presentation of speculation about origins as fact. Am I the only one who has noticed this? Most commenters seem to have missed the point.

  44. Funny how ellazimm and others completely dodged Kairosfocus’ excellent summation of the problem of unguided abiogenesis. (post 26)

    The problems are real, and mere (sometimes rampant) speculation does not overcome the difficulties involved.

    It is disheartening when people cannot grasp probabilities and RELEVANT factors, even when you point them out to them. They just ignore them.

    Oh well. I guess I should be used to it by now.

  45. ellazmim,

    That’s my problem, lots of people much smarter than me are saying contradictory things.

    It helps if you actually understand the scientific issues being debated. Behe is correct, his opponents are wrong and have been reduced to madly flailing mob hurling any accusation they can get thier hands on. Behe’s arguments are based on observeable scientific evidence not “unknowns.” The claims that Behe has not kept up with the research are nonsense, such claims have been raised repeatedly only to be exposed later as literature bluffs.

  46. Ellazim,

    Here is a more realistic look at the fossil record than all the fables you have been fed since you were in grade school:

    Exactly how did all these different forms of life get here? There appear to be only three options for how this amazing variety of life got here; life either originates on this earth by blind chance alone; it is deliberately introduced by a Creator alone; or, it is a combination of blind chance and a Creator. This is where naturalism is thought to have its best evidence for blind chance. The blind chance that naturalism relies on here is dressed up in a “suit and tie” and called evolution through natural selection of a mutation to DNA. But, before we get into the lack of integrity of any mutations to the DNA, let’s look at the evidence found in the fossil record. Most people presume the evidence in the fossil record overwhelmingly confirms gradual evolution from a single common ancestor. Yet this is not the case at all. The fossil record itself is one of the most crushing things for naturalists. What is termed the “Cambrian explosion” is a total departure from the naturalistic theory of evolution. It is in the Cambrian explosion, some 540 million years ago, that we find the sudden appearance of the many diverse and complex forms of life. These complex life-forms appear with no evidence of transition from the bacteria and few other “simple” life-forms that immediately preceded them in the fossil record. This following quote clearly illustrates this point.

    “Yet, here is the real puzzle of the Cambrian Explosion for the theory of evolution. All the known phyla (large categories of biological classification), except one, first appear in the Cambrian period. There are no ancestors. There are no intermediates. Fossil experts used to think that the Cambrian lasted 75 million years…. Eventually the Cambrian was shortened to only 30 million years. If that wasn’t bad enough, the time frame of the real work of bringing all these different creatures into existence was shortened to the first five to ten million years of the Cambrian. This is extraordinarily fast! Harvard’s Stephen Jay Gould stated, “Fast is now a lot faster than we thought, and that is extraordinarily interesting.” What an understatement! “Extraordinarily impossible” might be a better phrase! …. The differences between the creatures that suddenly appear in the Cambrian are enormous. In fact these differences are so large many of these animals are one of a kind. Nothing like them existed before and nothing like them has ever appeared again.” Evolution’s Big Bang; Dr. Raymond G. Bohlin, University of Illinois (B.S., zoology), North Texas State University (M.S., population genetics), University of Texas at Dallas (M.S., Ph.D., molecular biology).

    The “real work” of the beginning of the Cambrian explosion may in actuality be as short as a two to three million year time frame (Ross: Creation as Science 2006). If this blatant, out of nowhere, appearance of all the different phyla was not bad enough for naturalists, the fossil record shows that there was actually more variety of phyla at the end of the Cambrian explosion than there is today due to extinction.

    “A simple way of putting it is that currently we have about 38 phyla of different groups of animals, but the total number of phyla discovered during the Cambrian explosion (including those in China, Canada, and elsewhere) adds up to over 50 phyla. (Actually the number 50 was first quoted as over 100 for a while, but then the consensus became 50-plus.) That means there are more phyla in the very, very beginning, where we found the first fossils, than exist now.” “Also, the animal explosion caught people’s attention when the Chinese confirmed they found a genus now called Yunnanzoon that was present in the very beginning of the Cambrian explosion. This genus is considered a chordate, and the phylum Chordata includes fish, mammals and man. An evolutionist would say the ancestor of humans was present then. Looked at more objectively, you could say the most complex animal group, the chordates, were represented at the very beginning, and they did not go through a slow gradual evolution to become a chordate.” Dr. Paul Chien PhD., chairman of the biology department at the University of San Francisco, Dr. Chien also possesses the largest collection of Chinese Cambrian fossils in North America.

    http://members.cox.net/wwcw/q-evol4.html

    The evolutionary theory would have us believe we should have more phyla today due to ongoing evolutionary processes. The hard facts of science betray the naturalists once again. The naturalist stamps his feet and says the evidence for the fossils transmutation into radically new forms is out there somewhere; we just have not found it yet. To justify this belief, naturalists will often say that soft bodied fossils were not preserved in the Cambrian fossil record, so transitional fossils were just not recorded in the fossil record in the first place. Yet, the Chinese Cambrian fossil record is excellent in its preservation of delicate – ied fossils that clearly show much of the detail of the body structures of these first creatures. So the problem for naturalists has not been alleviated. In fact the problem has become much worse. As Dr. Ray Bohlin stated, some of these recently discovered fossils are extremely unique and defy any sort of transitional scenario to any other fossils found during the Cambrian explosion.

    As well as the fossil record itself, recent DNA analysis rules out any transitional scenarion between phyla in the Cambrian Explosion:

    “The new molecular based phylogeny has several important implications. Foremost among them is the disappearance of “intermediate” taxa between sponges, cnidarians, ctenophores, and the last common ancestor of bilaterians or “Urbilateria.”…A corollary is that we have a major gap in the stem leading to the Urbilataria. We have lost the hope, so common in older evolutionary reasoning, of reconstructing the morphology of the “coelomate ancestor” through a scenario involving successive grades of increasing complexity based on the anatomy of extant “primitive” lineages.” From an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, in 2000

    In spite of this crushing evidence found in the Cambrian explosion and DNA analysis of different phyla, our naturalistic friend continues to imagine that all life on earth descended from a common ancestor and continues to imagine missing links with every new fossil discovery that makes newspaper headlines. Yet, the true story of life since the Cambrian explosion, that is actually told by the fossil record itself, tells a very different story than the imaginative tales found in naturalistic newspaper accounts. Where the story of life, since the Cambrian explosion, is extremely clear to read is in the sea creatures who fossilize quickly in ocean sediments. We find fossils in the fossil record that appear suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, fully-formed. They have no apparent immediate evolutionary predecessor. They, just, appear suddenly in the fossil record unique and fully-formed. This is exactly what one would expect from an infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator continually introducing new life-forms on earth. Even more problematic for the naturalists is the fact once a fossil suddenly appears in the fossil record it remains surprisingly stable in its basic structure for as long as it is found in the fossil record. The fossil record can offer not even one clear example of transition from one fossil form to another fossil form out of millions of collected fossils. Some sea creatures, such as certain sharks which are still alive today, have unchanging fossil records going back hundreds of millions of years to when they first suddenly appeared in the fossil record without a predecessor.

    “Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? … The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wider and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record.” Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma (1988), Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition, Master Books, p. 9

    “The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be …. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time … so Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated”. Evolutionist David Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History

    “… Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.” George Gaylord Simpson (evolutionist), The Major Features of Evolution, New York, Columbia University Press, 1953 p. 360.

    “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change over millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.” – Niles Eldredge , “Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate,” 1996, p.95

    “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.” Stephen Jay Gould, Professor of Geology and Paleontology at Harvard University and the leading spokesman for evolutionary theory in America prior to his recent .

    “As Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould pointed out almost three decades ago, the general pattern for the evolution of diversity (as shown by the fossil record) follows precisely this pattern: a burst of rapid diversity following a major ecological change, and then a gradual decline in diversity over relatively long periods of time.” Allen MacNeill PhD.; Teaches introductory biology and evolution at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

    The following article is unique in that is shows the principle of Genetic Entropy being obeyed in the Trilobites, over the 250 million year fossil history of their life on earth (Note: the Trilobites appeared suddenly at the very begining of the Cambrian explosion with no evidence of transmutation from the “simple” creatures that preceded them).
    http://www.terradaily.com/repo.....s_999.html

    As you can see, the fossil record is overwhelmingly characterized by suddenness and stability, as well as conforming precisely to the principle of Genetic Entropy (loss of information) when closely scrutinized for loss of diversity over long periods of time. For creatures who have lived in the ocean this fact is extremely clear, because their bones are fossilized in the ocean sediments very quickly. Unfortunately for land creatures, the fossil record is much harder to properly discern due to the rapid disintegration of animals who die on land. The large variety of hominid (man or ape-like) fossils that we do have piece-meal records of are characterized by overlapping histories of “distinctively different and stable” hominid species during the entire time, and the entire geography, each hominid species is found in the fossil record. There is never a transition between ANY of the different hominid species no matter where, or in what era, the hominid fossils are found.

    “If you brought in a smart scientist from another discipline and showed him the meagre evidence we’ve got he’d surely say, “forget it; there isn’t enough to go on.” David Pilbeam, Harvard University paleoanthropologist: from Richard E. Leakey’s book, The Making of Mankind, Sphere Books Limited, Barcelona, 1982, p. 43.

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

    Note: The hominid fossil record has now become even more confused, of any imaginary transitional scenario, since Dr. Leakey made this frank, but honest, admission.

    Israeli Researchers: ‘Lucy’ is not direct ancestor of humans Apr 16, 2007
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/S.....6152801536

    New Fossil Ape May Shake Human Family Tree August 22, 2007
    http://news.nationalgeographic.....l-ape.html

    http://www.darwinismrefuted.com/origin_of_man.html

    As Richard Leakey, the leading hominid fossil expert in the world admitted, if he were pressed, he would have to admit the hard evidence suggests the abrupt arrival of man in the fossil record. Yet if you were to ask an average person if we have evolved from apes he will tell you of course we have and wonder why you would ask such a stupid question, since “everyone knows” this is proven in the fossil record. One hard fact in the fossil record that is not disputed by most naturalists is the fact that man is the youngest distinct species of all species to suddenly appear in the fossil record. I find the fact that man has the scientifically accepted youngest history of any fossil in the fossil record to be extremely interesting and compelling to the position held by the anthropic hypothesis. Though a naturalist may try to inconclusively argue fruit flies or some other small types of animals have evolved into distinct new species since that time, he cannot produce evidence for a genetically and morphologically unique animal with a fossil record younger than mans. This one point of evidence is crucial for both sides and is an extremely important point of contention, for this fact is the primary proposal of the whole anthropic hypothesis in the first place; God created the universe with man in mind as His final goal. Man being the last distinct and separate species to suddenly appear in the fossil record is totally expected by the anthropic hypothesis and is completely contrary to what the naturalistic evolutionary hypothesis would expect. Naturalists do not seem to notice that their theory of evolution expects and even demands there should be clear evidence for a genetically and morphologically unique species on earth somewhere since man first suddenly appeared on earth. Indeed there should be many such unambiguous examples that they could produce.

    “Perhaps the most obvious challenge is to demonstrate evolution empirically. There are, arguably, some 2 to 10 million species on earth. The fossil record shows that most species survive somewhere between 3 and 5 million years. In that case, we ought to be seeing small but significant numbers of originations (new species) … every decade.” Keith Stewart Thomson, Professor of Biology and Dean of the Graduate School, Yale University (Nov. -Dec. American Scientist, 1997 pg. 516)

    For balance to that fact, The current rate of extinction is from 100 to 10,000 species a year. This is between 100 and 1000 times faster than our best estimate of historical rates.

    http://www.saczoo.com/3_kids/11_earth/_rates.htm

  47. Gil,

    I’ve read many of the responses to this post. It seems that some are more interested in complaining about the topic than actually addressing it. Here’s a piece of advice, if you don’t like the topic, don’t participate.

    Regarding your comment “… my post was not so much about abiogenesis as it was about mass media participation in the presentation of speculation about origins as fact.” I don’t think that this is anything new. Public Television in particular has had a Darwinist agenda for years. It has also been sympathetic to left wing propaganda for years as well. What are we to do however? Well regarding the comment in my previous paragraph, don’t watch. However, the problem is deeper. Because if we simply ignore the problem, then tomorrow I will wake up and find that the thought police have arrested me because of a stray, non-Darwinian, thought.

  48. ellazmim you stated,

    Quantum effects take lots of energy to control and I don’t think I eat enough food in a day to provide the energy to be continually uploading and downloading information. This kind of stuff isn’t free, it takes power. But you’ve read lots more about it than I have.

    Yet even in this “materialistic book”: The Quantum Brain:

    http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-.....0471333263

    The researchers freely talk about quantum events happening in the brain continually.

  49. Did anyone else pick up on the irony of Bugsy complaining about this blog’s anti-materialist propaganda efforts, when his comment at [3] demonstrates that he is a victim of that very propaganda?

  50. To get back to the origin of Life and establishing a positive cas for ID (Instead of just saying GODDIDIT!)

    I think positive proof may be able to be established though such research as this;

    The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul, by Mario Beauregard , Denyse O’Leary

    http://www.amazon.com/Spiritua.....0060858834

    The direct positive evidence we need, is direct confirmation of intelligence actually manipulating matter. First and foremost detailed brain/behavior studies can solidly establish this! I think “The Spiritual Brain” makes a very important first step in establishing this crucial piece of evidence for the ID theory but does not go deep enough as far as establishing it to the molecular level!

    Does anyone else see the importance of this research to ID?

  51. ellazimm,

    I do appreciate your style of debate; it is non-confrontational/personal and I appreciate that.

    I disagree about evolution being undirected. It is caused (if it is true) by natural selection and the like, but when I think of “directed” I think of purposeful action. It is as random as random can be. If it is not random, please point me to something that is more random. Dawkins says that mutations are random. I’ll provide the source if you ask.

  52. Archaean Atmosphere

    The molecules of life require reducing conditions, and yet we have an oxidizing atmosphere. Consequently, evolutionists have hypothesized a reducing early atmosphere with intense lightning etc. See the Miller-Urey experiment.

    However, without oxygen, there would be no protective ozone layer, letting the atmosphere transmit intense ultra violet. The ultraviolet (with lightning) would turn whatever primaeval soup into a thick blanket of hydrocarbon or tar floating on the ocean.. However, there is no evidence of this tar layer. To avoid destruction by ozone, the prebiotic soup would need to be protected from the ozone. E.g., under the tar or underground. Furthermore, the prebiotic conditions do not provide a large concentration or number of the simple amino acids needed. Now there is the challenge of getting high enough population numbers to get rationally high probabilities for the simplest early life, let along the more complicated molecules and interrelationships of functioning cells, photosynthesis and ATP. Any abiogenesis theory has to include these and many other issues. (Sorry, don’t have the numerous references handy.)

    Appreciate readers adding links to these issues here and to relevant pages at ResearchID.org. E.g., to

  53. Archaean Atmosphere
  54. Mathematics of Evolution
  55. Origin of Life
  56. Abiogenesis
  57. Apologies to GilDogen, but lets leverage all this enthusiasm over abiogenesis and origin of life.

  • ellazimm,

    You keep talking about lots of very tiny steps of change. Indeed, Darwin stated that his theory would completely break down if any organism (or was it organ?) were shown to be incapable of being assembled in a step-by-step fashion. That, coupled with the “punctuated equilibrium” of Stephen Gould, the irreducible complexity of Michael Behe, and the Cambrian explosion and you have serious challenges to the traditional evolution theory.

  • ellazimm: “If the brain is like a television then it should be possible to find the receiving and transmitting mechanism.”

    Please see Hammeroff’s and Penrose’s ideas about this:

    See http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/

  • “Life results from the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators.” – Richard Dawkins

    Non-random survival is “direction”, but not in the sense of purposeful action if by “purposeful” you mean someone did it or it has a meaning assigned to it. However, it’s supposed to be about science, not meaning.

    Insofar as it is directed, it’s directed by ethically and spiritually neutral forces; whether you survive and whether you reproduce. It’s directed not in the sense of meaning, but in the sense of being able to add information.

    Consider the sun. In normal conditions, it kills albinos. Sunburn from hell, skin cancer, very nasty. Therefore, the population has been directed towards having enough skin pigment to avoid burning to death, for the most part.

    Random mutation sometimes produces albinos anyway, because it’s .. random, and the genes for albinism doesn’t kill too reliably, but the sun tends to register its disagreement with that state of affairs (ouch). If there were no sun to cook us, the whole population could be albino. Species that live away from the sun for long enough end up like this. Instead, even those adapted to the least sunny regions of the world have at least minimum skin pigment.

    Go out from the ability to survive sunlight to include finding food and water, avoiding getting killed, and having kids. Whatever the starting point, you’ll soon have a whole species of non-albinos who are good at keeping fed and reproducing. The ones that can’t avoid dying are going to die, and the ones that don’t have kids … are going to be gone in one generation.

    And that’s why “survival of the fittest” is so good at selecting the fittest. Good enough it’s similar to design.

    Still doesn’t say anything about meaning, it’s true.

  • Gould was a hardcore Darwinian, the Cambrian explosion (besides lasting millions of years) is based on quirks in fossilization, not any trouble with evolution, and the math behind irreducible complexity is bad.

  • Patrick: Why do you think the mechanism for evolution past the species boundary is any different than that within a species? Why can’t the accumulation of lots of little changes add up to a big change? It takes a long time however, much longer than anyone has being trying to observe it.

    That’s the common formulation of Darwinism told to everyone and I’d definitely agree if that was the case it’d make Darwinism much easier to swallow. In fact, I used to believe in Darwinism based upon that formulation but now I know that is not the case. I’ll let a Darwinist, MacNeill, summarize the state of the debate:

    One of the central tenets of the “modern synthesis of evolutionary biology” as celebrated in 1959 was the idea that macroevolution and microevolution were essentially the same process. That is, macroevolution was simply microevolution extrapolated over deep evolutionary time, using the same mechanisms and with essentially the same effects. A half century of research into macroevolution has shown that this is probably not the case.

    As John Endler, Will Provine, and myself have repeatedly pointed out, natural selection can’t “bring about” anything. Natural selection isn’t a mechanism, it’s an outcome. The mechanisms that bring about natural selection are variation, inheritance, fecundity, and differential survival and reproduction.

    In other words, the rearrangement of the genetic program of a particular organism is not the result of natural selection, it is the result of one of the “engines of variation”

    [random mutation] is a pale shadow of these “engines,” about which we know surprisingly little, but about which we are learning an immense amount at present.

    What is now happening, in other words, is that a new “evolutionary synthesis” is being formulated, based on a flood of new information from genetics, developmental biology, paleontology, and historical geology/planetology. This new synthesis takes into account new information that has been obtained since the heyday of the “modern synthesis” and provides a much more powerful and comprehensive explanation of Darwin’s “descent with modification.” No, it doesn’t rely completely on Darwin’s proposed “mechanism” of natural selection, at least not as formulated by Fisher/Haldane/Wright/Dobzhansky/Mayr, but yes it does conform to the overall outlines of Darwin’s original theory.

    So, as I said before, “the modern synthesis is dead; long live evolutionary biology!

    He also stated more recently on UD that “we do not currently have a comprehensive theoretical understanding of how macroevolution has occurred”. As a replacement he suggests researching the limitations of these “engines of variation”. Obviously as an ID proponent I highly doubt any of these proposed “engines of variation” will be capable of the task but the search will continue.

    But the main point remains: at this time Darwinism does not have a mechanism observed to function as advertised. This is admitted by Darwinists themselves. Should we continue research on these proposed engines of variation? Definitely. When Edge of Evolution was released I believe I said that would make a good followup (considering each proposed mechanism one by one).

    What do multiverses have to do with evolution of species?

    Click the hyperlink. Darwinists are the ones proposing them as a “solution”.

  • Bugsy, are you sure you understand the math well enough to say that?

    I’ll be the first to say that much of the math is beyond me. I’ve been trying to educate myself by reading the writings on Dr. Dembski’s site and the evolutionary informatics lab. The papers there are very interesting.

    Speaking of which, does anybody know what happened to the paper with Dr. Marks called “Unacknowledged Information Costs in Evolutionary Computing: A Case Study on the Evolution of Nucleotide Binding Sites”? It used to be listed as “under review” at the evo-info lab but it’s not there any more. Does that mean it’s coming out in a journal? Where can I get a copy?

  • ellazimm,

    As I have said on a few other occasions (crusades, Gregory Paul) you tend to be susceptible to misinformation. You tend to believe what people have said without going behind the claims and the politics involved.

    You say you have a degree in mathematics. So do I and many of the arguments in this debate are mathematical but essentially probabilistic argument and not that hard to understand if you dig a little. But you have to understand the basic issues and be able to follow the logic of what must happen for change to occur.

    Patrick listed the three main issues in the debate. In each one there is no scientific or empirical evidence for a naturalistic solution. We continually ask anyone here who claims contrary views to present evidence. No one of any stripe in this debate has ever been able to meet the challenge. If you doubt us, then seek someone who you trust and ask them to come here and see what happens.

    The abiogenesis problem is incredibly complex and that is an understatement. The best they are doing after all these years is playing with little small molecules when what they have to generate are molecules that sometimes are thousands in length and not just one but hundreds. You will have to read some things to start to get an appreciation for the problem.

    As I said Immensely complex molecules must exist to make even the simplest cell to work. Not just one but hundreds. How did these come about? There is no way chance could have led to these molecules so they hope a series of sub steps must have arisen each also very complex building on something that came before. However, this is all speculation since there is no reason why these intermediate steps would exist except as a way to the final goal. And that implies design or knowing the end product before you start.

    Just last week a leading evolutionary biologist admitted on this blog that there was no evidence for macro evolution. There are lots of models but no empirical data. The nonsense of millions of small changes adding up sounds appealing but not one case has ever been demonstrated that isn’t trivial. If such a process was at work there would be numerous examples of these progression taking place in our world today but there are none. If it existed in the past, there would be countless examples in the fossil record but there are none.

    We have been through it before several times and new people come here seeking answers and assume the conventional wisdom that the evolutionist have the answers but they never do when pressed.

    I suggest you read both of Behe’s books and then go to his blog on Amazon to see how disingenuous the Darwinist are. They are often beyond the pale. It may require you to read some biology about how DNA works because without that basic understanding, it can get a little hard to follow some of the arguments.

  • Just last week a leading evolutionary biologist admitted on this blog that there was no evidence for macro evolution.

    Don’t want to nitpick but we should be careful to not misrepresent Darwinists. What he said was that there was evidence FOR inferring macroevolution (universal common descent) but not the HOW (the Darwinian mechanism). That statement is perfectly fine with ID proponents who prefer frontloading scenarios, panspermia, and the like.

    Also, you say “leading” evolutionary biologist but I’ve always been curious how many Darwinists would share his views.

  • Bugsy,

    Do you know anything about the Cambrian? Your statement is absurd. Nearly all the phyla were found there with very good fossilization. I suggest you read James Valentine’s assessment of it. He is considered the leading paleontologist in the world on it. He say there is no way Darwinian processes can explain it.

    What is the bad math of IC? None of us here are aware of any so you could enlighten us.

    Gould was a hard core Darwinist but he found there was no proof for neo Darwinism so he speculated on something he called punctuated equilibrium. He had no evidence for it, just speculation.

    Evolutionary biology is the only science where speculation is evidence. If you have any evidence present it.

  • “Speaking of which, does anybody know what happened to the paper with Dr. Marks called “Unacknowledged Information Costs in Evolutionary Computing: A Case Study on the Evolution of Nucleotide Binding Sites”? It used to be listed as “under review” at the evo-info lab but it’s not there any more. Does that mean it’s coming out in a journal? Where can I get a copy?”

    I believe it’s been vanished, like a Bolshevik’s embarrassing relative.

    Seeing that kind of thing is pretty disillusioning.

  • Jerry: To explain, the Cambrian has a large number of fossils because, supposedly, it’s the era when parts capable of fossilization started evolving. It’s remarkable but it’s not that great a problem.

    I’m not a mathematician, but when I see papers being vanished and basic objections over whether math is being done backwards unanswered I perceive serious problems.

  • Punctuated equilibrium is hardly “speculation.” It’s an explanation for what is observed.

    It is observed that the fossil record does not, in general, show gradual transitions from one species to another. (Whereas there are transitional species from one major family, order, or class to another.)

    Two candidate explanations:

    1) there are gradual transitions between species, but they are not preserved well, i.e. the fossil record is spotty.

    2) the fossil record is accurate, and evolutionary patterns are generally ones of long-term stasis and sudden change.

    Evidence: in some cases where the fossil record is extremely accurate, such as with trilobites (Eldredge’s specialty) and Pleistocene snails (Gould’s specialty) the pattern of equilibrium and punctuation is still observed.

    The claim that “Darwinian mechanisms cannot explain the Cambrian explosion” contains an equivocation on just what ‘Darwinian mechanisms’ are supposed to be and how they are supposed to work. Valentine does not, so far as I can tell, doubt that variation and selection are necessary in order to explain “the origins of phyla.”

    The question is, are they sufficient mechanisms? Answering that questions a lot more empirical research in order to understand what is varying, what is causing the variation, and how does selection work.

  • Patrick,

    I agree that MacNeill may not be popular amongst many evolutionary biologist but Provine is his mentor and colleague and it sounds like Provine agrees with MacNeill and Provine is I think well regarded.

    MacNeill was asked by the Teaching Company to do a course on Evolutionary biology and psychology. I don’t know the status of it but not all courses they initiate end up in production. So this might say something about his status.

    Here is what MacNeill said about macroevolution

    “As for macroevolution, I agree that at the present time we have little or no formal theory predicting the observed patterns of change in deep evolutionary time. This is one reason why I have asserted that the so-called “modern evolutionary synthesis” of the mid-20th century is “dead” “

  • Carl Sachs,

    All you presented about punctuated equilibriium was speculation. There is no evidence for any mechanism behind the sudden changes, only speculation. Do you know the difference?

    Here is a quote from James Valentine

    “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas. Although once we get into the fossil record where we got a complete fossil record we can see the gradual changes within lineages as Darwin predicted.”

  • Bugsy,
    Were you ever “illusioned” in the first place?

  • I suppose not. “Hopeful” at best.

  • Bugsy,
    I hope that you do not just throw your hands up and say “evolution must be true” just because some of the advances in ID are halting. Even if you decide that darwinism is the best theory to fit the data, realize that it doesn’t really fit the data very well at all. Before considering ID, first evaluate the strength of darwinism.

    There really are two questions that we ask here: 1. how strong is darwinism/naturalistic evolution? and 2. How strong is the case for Intelligent design? Don’t assume the answer to #1 is “good” because the answer to #2 is “nascent.”

  • Bugsy,

    “I believe it’s been vanished, like a Bolshevik’s embarrassing relative.

    Seeing that kind of thing is pretty disillusioning.”

    That’s a pretty nasty assumption. Frankly I’d like to read it, if it’s still around. (For what it’s worth, I found that Dr. Dembski lists the paper on the Design Inference website as “currently under review,” but the link is a 404 Not Found.)

    Any non-snarky answers as to what happened to that paper? Anybody know? Maybe it’s coming out in a journal, which would mark the a real coup for the evo-info lab.

  • Ellazimm — Why a chemical origin of life? Life on earth could have started from a microbe on a meteorite, no one has ruled that out. But there’s not much to test in that. You can hypothesise that certain chemical reactions may or may not have occurred and then test that however.

    BUT the point is that the claim was made that life began as a “chemical reaction” (albeit an unknown one) although there is no way to make certain of even that.

    And I’ll ditto the appreciation of the tone you bring to the discussion.

  • “Gould was a hardcore Darwinian, the Cambrian explosion (besides lasting millions of years) is based on quirks in fossilization, not any trouble with evolution, and the math behind irreducible complexity is bad.”

    I feel like I’m reading the ARN blog. Glad we cleared up that whole “Cambrian” thing though. We also got rid of IC. Not bad for one post. We already took care of OOL in post #3.

  • Does anyone remember that special that Discovery Channel did a few years ago about alien planets, and what we might find on some future mission? I remember it was chock full of materialist propaganda. There were even intelligent machines thrown in for good measure. The planets were named “Darwin IV”, “Darwin V”, etc… Because after all, in the future, Darwin will rule the world and deserve the first planets we find supporting life to be named after him.

  • Shaner74,
    That’s awesome; maybe they could call a pluto type planet “Lamarck 1″ just for good measure.

  • Carl writes: “Punctuated equilibrium is hardly “speculation.” It’s an explanation for what is observed.”

    Correction. It is an explanation for what is NOT observed, i.e., gradualism as predicted by Darwin.

  • ellazimm,

    Jehu: I understand that you believe Dr Behe to be correct, he is very intelligent. But there are a lot of people who disagree with him and I can’t imagine how hundreds of researchers can be coerced into toeing any party line. Academics HATE to be told what to do. I certainly did when I was one. I was very naughty in fact.

    After endless hours of debate and research, I know Behe is correct. As for how hundreds of researchers are “coerced into toeing the party line” I am afraid that you are trivializing the power of an entrenched scientific view point. Additionally, the topic of Darwinism carries with it enormous metaphysical emplications. So it is not so much that everybody is coerced, it is that they have been converted to the Darwinist world view, much in the same way one becomes converted to a political or religious world view.

    Michael Crichton has an excellent presentation on how accepted scientific thought can be wrong, although he is emphasizing global warming in particular. Here is the link.

    http://www.michaelcrichton.net.....uture.html

  • In regards to origin of Life research for ID;

    Implementation of information is key.

    I hold to the fact that information is fundamentally a “spiritual entity”. I also hold that our memories, as well as our consciousness, are primarily based in a “spiritual realm” and feel that the evidence I have presented thus far, is compelling to that position, as counterintuitive as it is for some people on this blog to see.
    As such I hold that information is able to be tested and verified to interact with matter.

    In support of my assertion, I started looking at how memories form and came across this quote:

    http://www.irishscientist.ie/2.....sight3.xsl

    “Following synthesis, the NCAM protein can undergo a unique modification that involves the addition of long chains of negatively charged sugars – termed polysialic acid (PSA). Although the functional significance of this modification is unclear it appears to play a pivotal role in memory formation. In the 10-12 hour post-training time, the period that immediately precedes the decline of the transiently overproduced synapses, a defined population of hippocampal nerve cells specifically increase their expression of NCAM PSA.”

    NOTE: termed polysialic acid (PSA)

    I could not help noticing it is an acid as DNA is!

    Thus it seems that memories, (information) formation, in our brains involves something somewhat resembling the DNA molecule…although DNA has a fundamental difference…

    Chemically, DNA is a long polymer of simple units called nucleotides, with a backbone made of sugars and phosphate groups joined by ester bonds. Attached to each sugar is one of four types of molecules called bases.

    Yet the basic point I’m making is that this is a positive confirmation of “intelligence” directing specific matter into specific arrangements.

    Thus confirming on the most basic level, that the ID origin of life scenario is entirely plausible from preliminary empirical evidence.

  • 78

    BarryA

    [Punctuated equilibrium] is an explanation for what is NOT observed, i.e., gradualism as predicted by Darwin.[/blockquote]
    In the same sense that Relativity as explained by Einstein is an observation of what Newton failed to observe.

  • Stanton and others.

    Punctuated equilibrium is an observation, but does it explain very much? Is there a new mechanism posited? Relativity is much different. But why did Darwin put such store in gradualism, and why is gradualism not seen as so important anymore?

  • Bugsy writes: “the Cambrian explosion (besides lasting millions of years) is based on quirks in fossilization, not any trouble with evolution, and the math behind irreducible complexity is bad.”

    Is this serious? Wrong on all three counts:

    (i) the Cambrian explosion is not some limited “quirk” in fossilization, it is a pervasive characteristic of the fossil record; any claims to the contrary have the clear burden of proof,

    (ii) the Cambrian explosion may not be a problem for “evolution” in the general, broad, uselessly-vague sense, but it is clearly a problem for mainstream evolutionary theory and RM+NS, as acknowledged by Mr. Darwin himself, and

    (iii) the math behind IC can indeed be complex at the more esoteric levels (which is what Bill Dembski is currently working on), but the underlying basics (probabilistic resources and available time) are very simple and clear; no-one that I have heard, has given any kind of a reasonable explanation as to why the basic probabilities that apply everywhere else in our experience would not apply to the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the construction of new body parts and plans in the Cambrian explosion, and the construction of any particular IC system. Perhaps taking the metaphysical blinders off would help.

  • GilDodgen wrote:

    “The main point of my post is that the mass media pass on speculation about chemical abiogenesis and Darwinian mechanisms as the source of all life as though this is all established fact. It is ubiquitous on science and nature shows. It is indicative of how effective materialist indoctrination has been among media elites.”

    Your point is well taken. I have seen — and been annoyed by — numerous similarly irresponsible statements in the media.

    The good news is that many people intuitively know better than to buy into this kind of materialistic philosophy masquerading as science.

  • Stanton writes: “[Punctuated equilibrium] is an explanation for what is NOT observed, i.e., gradualism as predicted by Darwin.[/blockquote]
    In the same sense that Relativity as explained by Einstein is an observation of what Newton failed to observe.”

    Nonsense. If Darwinian theory is correct, not only should there be many transitional forms in the record (especially at the level of phyla — where, by the way, there are none), but transitional forms should PREDOMINATE in the record. The whole point of the punk eek project is to explain why the falsification of this Darwinian prediction (which should have falsified the theory as a whole) does not bring the entire Darwinist house of cards crashing down.

    Gould and Eldredge performed this feat in much the same way a cheap magician performs a parlor trick. All the evolution occurred in these “holes” in the record. That ain’t science; how can the claim ever be tested, much less falsified? It boils down to an argument from silence.

  • ellazimm asks: “The Cambrian explosion: quick quiz, over how many years was the Cambrian explosion supposed to have taken place?”

    Answer: The longest estimate is 10 million years. If the history of life were 3,500 years instead of 3.5 billion years, 95% of the animal phyla would have arisen in just one decade of that 3.5 millenia. You just can’t square that with the NDE.

  • Wow, this thread is getting interesting. GilDodgen, sorry for being difficult at the beginning: paraphrase is so subject to misappropriation, and the “I watched a show” move sometimes goes wrong.

    The late D. James Kennedy used to tell a story over and over again about Julian Huxley — a show Kennedy claimed to have watched, where Huxley said “I suppose the reason we leaped at The Origin was because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores.” But Huxley apparently never said that. I was always kind of embarrassed for Kennedy when he told that story, and I’ve always been wary of stories about television-watching. But I’m comfortable that your version of that show is reasonably accurate.

    By the way, I asked an off-topic question above [84 and 97] about an ID paper by Dr. Dembski and Dr. Marks that I can’t find anymore. Does anybody have any information on it? Maybe it’s coming out in a journal.

  • So no one here thinks that, whatever the intelligent agent may be, they used any sort of chemical reaction to initiate life? And do we know what those would be? Therefore:

    “And then, unknown chemical reactions caused life to form.”

    pretty much sums up all sides

  • So no one here thinks that, whatever the intelligent agent may be, they used any sort of chemical reaction to initiate life? And do we know what those would be?

    Your materialist stripes are showing by your categorical rejection of apparent sudden appearance of intact organisms like fish with fins and scales, or birds with feathers, beaks, and wings.

  • leo: “And then, unknown chemical reactions caused life to form.” pretty much sums up all sides

    Not true.

    One side (i.e., the side taken on the TV show) says that a purely natural unguided and blind process that involved chance and/or necessity resulted in the formation of life. The process is not now known, but is not, in principle, unknowable.

    The other side (which was given no air time) says appeals to chance and necessity for the leap from non-living to living matter are utterly futile. Living things are very complicated and rich in information and appear to have been designed for a purpose. If one combines the fact that chance and necessity are wholly inadequate to explain the data with the appearance of design, the best inference to explain the origin of life is as the act of an unknown intelligent agent.

    Those two statements are very different.

  • BarryA, you’re quite right. In particular, the phrase “chemical reactions” would only work in limited instances. If the intelligent agent is embodied, that agent would probably work by material processes including chemistry. In fact, DaveScot has argued that the agent just needs a really good knowledge of chemistry to do the deed. But I have been arguing in other threads (haven’t convinced DaveScot yet, but I think the argument is in the spirit of Dr. Dembski’s work) that if CSI is in principle incapable of being introduced by material processes, then the agent is in all likelihood not embodied. That would make this statement incompatible with ID indeed!

  • ellazimm
    “It is being honest however. And it is true that from an evidence based view no one does know exactly what happened.”

    Honest ? You’ve got to be kidding!
    What is honest about passing off pure speculation as fact?

    What is life?

  • ellazimm wrote:

    “Some variations may be positive: Gosh Amuir, you out ran that man-eating thing with big teeth and Wilf and Running Cloud didn’t.”

    Sure, that’s the idea in theory. The problem is, that’s the idea in theory. Not much actual substance around it.

    We’re all very familiar with the theory: some variations are good, the advantaged organisms will be better off than the less fortunate counterparts (slipping toward a tautology here, but hey, let’s press on). Unfortunately, reality ain’t quite that simple.

    Turns out it is exceedingly unlikely you’re going to get an advantageous mutation, exceedingly unlikely that it will actually confer a survial advantage, exceedingly unlikely that it will get fixed in a population, exceedingly unlikely that it will combine down the road with some other exceedingly unlikely variation to produce a complex functional whole.

    We’re right back into the probability assessment, and the odds are clearly showing that it didn’t happen the way ol’ Chuck envisioned it.

  • leo,

    Look at post 105,

    I hold that a proper test is entirely plausible in which specific intelligent thought will arrange specific atomic molecules into specific discernible patterns, I find the scenario entirely plausible within the scientific method from the evidence I have been able to gather. Thus unlike NDE which is futile, absurd, and hopeless to the nth degree, I believe our technology is at a point to allow such a delicate and precise test of a foundational “Theistic” ID tenet, Thus validating a primary tenet of ID empirically, and having a vastly better picture of the origin of life than NDE will ever produce!

  • getawitness says: “But Huxley apparently never said that.”

    It is true that Julian never said that. But Aldous Huxley said:

    For myself . . . the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation . . . sexual [and] political.

    Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means: An Inquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods Employed for Their Realization (New York: Harper Bros, 1937), 270.

    Kennedy just got his Huxleys mixed up. No great fault that.

  • BarryA, I guess you would not list Steve Fuller as being on the ID side? I’m just curious, because given his overall philosophical perspective, he might seem to you even less reasonable than me!

  • BarryA, with all respect to Dr. Kennedy, he did not simply mix up the Huxleys. He claimed to have witnessed personally a television show in which Julian Huxley said the words I quoted above. He repeated the charge over and over and over, in print and on air (both radio and television), and connected the statement to numerous (alleged) details of Julian Huxley’s personal and professional life. It was personal, allegedly eyewitness testimony based on an experience of viewing, not of reading.

    Also, does Aldous talk about Darwin in that statement?

  • Ellazimm in 110:
    “Some variations may be positive: Gosh Amuir, you out ran that man-eating thing with big teeth and Wilf and Running Cloud didn’t.”

    “Yeah, you sure would make a great mate Amuir, too bad I’m already with Sitting Horse. I know he’s overweight, slow, and lazy, but I love him. Well, good luck passing on your selfish genes Amuir.” Reality is funny like that.

  • getawitness, here’s the whole quote:

    I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption . . . The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves . . . For myself . . . the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation . . . sexual [and] political.

  • Ellazimm –Please, get past the hyperbole!

    Wait a minute. I’m not the one making documentaries about the history of life.

    Objecting to hyperbole in complex and elaborate productions which claim to be educational and which claim to be accurate representations of the real is quite appropriate, don’t you agree?

    And I certainly have no objection to OOL research.

  • BarryA [129], thanks for the longer quote. Nope. No Darwin there.

  • getawitness says: “BarryA, I guess you would not list Steve Fuller as being on the ID side? I’m just curious, because given his overall philosophical perspective, he might seem to you even less reasonable than me!”

    This question seems to have come ou of the blue. Why do you ask?

    As for Fuller, I would not list him as pro-ID. He says himself that Darwinism “has the most evidence on its side.” In my understanding Fuller, while not believing in ID, wants to open the playing field up and give it a fair chance.

  • BarryA, Thanks. I asked because you said the pro-ID side was “given no air time” in the show last night. I didn’t actually watch the show, but I heard he was going to be on it (and he was of course a witness for the defense at Dover).

  • BarryA:

    The longest estimate is 10 million years. If the history of life were 3,500 years instead of 3.5 billion years, 95% of the animal phyla would have arisen in just one decade of that 3.5 millenia. You just can’t square that with the NDE.

    Here’s a thought: This represents less than 0.3% of the total time span. I suspect that this has reached, or has even exceeded, the potential resolution of traditional dating methods and algorithms. If this is the case, the Cambrian explosion might have been essentially instantaneous, as though a preprogrammed switch turned on when conditions were right.

    Cosmological evidence suggests that the universe itself was preprogrammed for life more than 13 billion years in advance. I suggest that there is a cumulative-case argument for the notion that the entire life-generating enterprise was rigged in advance, with foreknowledge.

    Perhaps this topic deserves its own thread. I had no idea that my simple little post about a History Channel episode would explode into so many commentary phyla in such a short period of time! I didn’t plan it that way. :-)

  • Poachy,

    In what way do I reject the sudden appearance of organisms? If birds, fish etc appeared fully formed but with no chemical reactions taking place, they would not be alive in any concept of the word. Therefore, chemical reactions are necessary (but not sufficient of course) for life as we know it.

    BarryA,

    those two sides are not evident in the quote. No mention of
    a purely natural unguided and blind process that involved chance and/or necessity resulted in the formation of life
    is present in Gils description above.

    getawitness,

    It matters not if the designer is material, the fact is we are – if not wholly at least partially. The chemical reactions don’t have to take place in the designer, they have to take place in us. Every form of life that we are aware of involves chemical reactions of some sort.

    bornagain,

    I’m perfectly fine with
    specific intelligent thought will arrange specific atomic molecules into specific discernible patterns

    Indeed, that exactly constitutes the unknown chemical reactions.

    Cause: Intellegent designer
    Effect: unknown chemical reactions (unknown to us, not “it”)
    for which follows…
    Cause:unknown chemical reactions
    Effect: Life

    I don’t see this as inconsistent with ID.

  • Sigh. Nobody’s gonna help me answer my off-topic question above [84 and 97]. Help! I want that paper!

  • ellazimm, just because there have been observations of speciation within human observational spans doesn’t spell doom for ID. In fact, ID predicts this, since humans are intelligent agents and activly manipulate the environment. I have yet to see a bird turn into a dog, which ID predicts will never happen but darwinism predicts should happen regularly.

  • Getawitness: “BarryA, Thanks. I asked because you said the pro-ID side was “given no air time” in the show last night. I didn’t actually watch the show, but I heard he was going to be on it (and he was of course a witness for the defense at Dover).”

    Yes, he was a witness for the defense at Dover, but he does not support ID. He supports giving it a fair chance in the marketplace of ideas. BTW, I think you have your shows confused. This post is about Gil’s History Channel show “the other night.” The other post is about the PBS show last night.

  • Erasmus, what planet do you live on? No speciation event has ever been observed by humans. After nearly 100 years of zapping fruit flies with radiation, all they got was . . . more fruit flies.

  • BarryA, sorry — I had a brain fart.

  • BarryA wrote:
    “Erasmus, what planet do you live on? No speciation event has ever been observed by humans.”

    Perhaps he stumbled upon some TalkOrigins propaganda?

  • No speciation event has ever been observed by humans. After nearly 100 years of zapping fruit flies with radiation, all they got was . . . more fruit flies.

    You got that right. You would think, after all the years of observing nature, we’d see a human born into a colony of monkeys. But all they ever get is more monkeys.

  • Actually, speciation has been observed, at least as far as the Talk.Origins folks are concerned: see here

    So if you want to argue that that’s not really speciation, you’ll need to develop a different concept of species than those currently accepted among biologists.

  • BarryA [141], I think there is such evidence. Consider Henry et al., “Rapid Evolution of Reproductive Isolation in the Wild: Evidence from Introduced Salmon” (1990):

    Colonization of new environments should promote rapid speciation as a by-product of adaptation to divergent selective regimes. Although this process of ecological speciation is known to have occurred over millennia or centuries, nothing is known about how quickly reproductive isolation actually evolves when new environments are first colonized. Using DNA microsatellites, population-specific natural tags, and phenotypic variation, we tested for reproductive isolation between two adjacent salmon populations of a common ancestry that colonized divergent reproductive environments (a river and a lake beach). We found evidence for the evolution of reproductive isolation after fewer than 13 generations.

    But while this seems to be speciation, ID should not have a problem with it because it views speciation as microevolution. You’re conflating speciation with macroevolution. See the notorious Of Pandas and People, “Is Speciation Macroevolution” (page 19).

  • Barry

    As much as I believe the religion of darwinism has permeated our academic culture, I hesitate to say that all biologists are liars. I’m not sure, maybe they are. I will think about it. I’m sure you know much more about this than I do.

    If it is not true that speciation has been observed, I will admit that I have been suckered by the botanists who have argued for the contemporary speciation events in Spartina and in sunflowers. I am just an engineer so perhaps I was hoodwinked.

    the Spartina example of speciation I have always thought supported ID. Spartina alterniflora was introduced into England via ship ballast in the late 18th century, after a hundred or so years it hybridized with a native Spartina to make a polyploid species that is reproductively isolated from both parentals.

    But, again, the ID part is THIS TOOK INTELLIGENT AGENTS. this spartina didn’t just get up and walk across the ocean by itself, it was transported by INTELLIGENT AGENTS. strike three against the materialists.

    i’m not so sure about the sunflower thing but I know you can’t believe everything you read in Nature and Science since they are unabashedly pro-nihilistic materialism.

  • Carl Sachs [145], the link didn’t work. Did you mean this?

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....ation.html

  • ellazimm,

    you said

    “It wasn’t just chance, it was random mutation directed by natural selection. Biological self replicating systems favor those configurations that are able to create more off-spring and so the mathematics changes.”

    You assume we have not read anything or do not understand the process or that we are confused and that you have this marvelous insight. Your statement is incredibly naive. We have discussed natural selection backwards and forwards for years and the conclusion is that it rarely produces anything but triviality. No evolutionary biologist has ever contradicted this conclusion with any empirical data. We recited the comments from Allen MacNeill who is certainly no friend of ID.

    The real issue is not natural selection but variation and how it originates. That is what the debate is all about. Without variation natural selection is powerless to do anything.

    And you cannot recite the platitude that small changes become big channges because genetic processes tend to eliminate all changes unless they have selection value and permeate the population. And if these small changes had selection value they would be visible today as the changes try to penetrate the whole population through genetic processes and would not take thousands or hundreds of thousands of years to observe but could be observed daily in the millions of populations that exist on the planet. But no joy. No progressions exist.

    Oh, yes there are mutations and populations do change but they never produce anything but trivial effects in terms of evolution. It does not mean however that these changes are not extremely important for medicine and genetic research.

    Behe’s Edge of Evolution was all about the origin of variation and how much appears and how much of the biological world it can explain. It is a completely different argument from his first book but both point out the limitations of naturalistic processes.

    You say you have a mathematical background then you have a logical mind and can then follow if any of Behe’s points have ever been answered. We do not believe they have been but you can challenge us to see what our assessments are and then you can judge who is honest. I often make the claim that I rarely meet an honest Darwinist and certainly Ken Miller, Sean Carroll and the others who have critiqued Behe have used deceptive reviews to attack him and his book. The thing that has gotten to me the most in this debate is the dishonesty that comes primarily from one side. Why do they have to be so dishonest if they have truth on their side.

    So go read. Behe’s books, Sean Carroll’s books, Ken Miller’s book, Darwin himself, Meyers’ discussion of the Cambrian Explosion, some of Dawkins and Dembski and there are lots of othes. It will take you about 6 months to get a grip on most of the arguments. Most of here have been readinb both sides for years. If you still disagree with us, see if you can trip us up. We would welcome it but no one has done it yet.

  • Ellazimm (in reference to #11)

    I cannot imagine how von Neumann’s “Theory of Self Reproducing Automata” could be affected by 50 years of research like that, or even 5000 years for that matter. Its as if we now had a straight edge aligned atom by atom in a Euclidian plane with deviations of less than a nanometer, and a compass with both the stylus and the pivot positioned with the same accuracy, we could say that the old mathematical proof of the impossibility of squaring a circle is now superceded by these engineering marvels.
    Von Neumann deduced the constraint that the activity of replication requires that a part of the replication system must change while performing it, and that such change precludes faithful replication if the changing component attempts to copy itself. Therefore, the replication system must be arranged so that the changing component has a passive copy of itself to work with. It makes no difference whether the system is made of tinker toys or ribozymes; the distinction is completely formal. One would have to prove how von Neumann’s work is in error. The notion that advances in chemistry supercede logical necessity is a formalist’s nightmare, even if it may be an empiricists dream.

  • Getawitness: If you want to find a copy of the vanished paper, complete with commentary on it being wrong from several professional mathematicians that hasn’t been answered, just google its name.

    Google is enough to disillusion me severely of all of this. Google every claim and find a handy, ignored refutation.

    I’m not going to explain the simple arguments against improbability in evolution. The bulk of my knowledge of mathematics comes from cards, but it looks sound to me. Google if you want it. Google, google, google.

  • “Improbable doesn’t mean impossible.”

    Of course not. It just means improbable. As in, unlikely to occur during the entire age of the universe. As in, it is more likely that the sun would cease to shine tomorrow at noon. As in, the kind of probabilities upon which all science is based, not pure logical impossibility. That kind of improbable. If you are resting your hopes of a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life on that kind of improbable, you are surely in the realm of metaphysics and not science.

    I’m not sure what your point is about spontaneous abortion. The primary thing that amazes me about pregnancy is that it works at all. There are literally thousands upon thousands of things that have to go just right in order to start with a fertilized egg and end up with a human baby. There are myriad ways the system can crash and in order for it to work right, things have to happen in a coordinated fashion, in the right order at the right time. It’s called irreducible complexity.

  • Carl

    Speciation, even if it has been observed, only implies reproductive isolation. It’s exceedingly difficult to test in closely related species. It’s often difficult to get the same species to successfully breed in a lab.

    But even if something changed and one populaton splits into two reproductively isolated populations it implies no more than that they can evolve along different paths not that they will evolve along different paths.

    I blogged a year or two ago about two species of some tiny worm whose name escapes me. They inhabit the same niche and are phenotypically so close that only an expert who studies them can tell one from the other. Yet their genotype is so different it’s presumed they have been separate species for 250 million years.

  • Ella

    I see your: Improbable doesn’t mean impossible.

    Eric is right to point out that there are degrees of improbability, and that when available probabilistic resources are sufficiently exhausted,
    improbability approaches impossibility. Indeed, as my Appendix 1 in the always linked through my handle discusses, that’s the foundation of statistical thermodynamics.

    Why not look then at my argument in that said Appendix [and the main document], and come back to us on a probabilistically plausible non-metaphysical (no infinite multiverses, please!) account for the origin of functionally specific, complex information [FSCI, a key subset of CSI] at the origin of life and in the key origin- of- body- plan level Macroevolutionary case?

    Then, too, maybe you can show me why it is not a positive argument to:

    [a] observe that such FSCI, in every directly known case, is the product of agency.

    [b] note that of the three main causal patterns, chance, agency and mechanically necessary natural regularities, only chance and agency account for things with high contingency similar to long enough digital strings [500 - 1,000 bits of storage capacity being the relevant threshold of "long enough].

    [c] observe that when we face islands and archipelagos of functionality in such configuration spaces of scale at least 2^ 500 to 2^1,000 [~ 10^150 to 10^301 "cells"], such islands are unlikely to be found through random searches even once in the scope of the observed cosmos [~10^80 atoms, 13.7 BY] — but are routinely successfully targetted by agents [e.g. this post].

    [d] infer that such FSCI on relevant cases even when we do not directly observe the causal event chain is the product of agency, on inference to best explanation — the same basis on which we routinely infer to far less plain cases in science and statistics. (Just think about the relative sizes of he rejection and acceptance regions. We are perfectly willing to accept a huge penalty of false negatives, because of the significance of the relevant positives.)

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Let’s see if I am back on ye old mod pile permanente . . . .

  • The basic rule for reproductive isolation (i.e. sub-speciation events) for the ID/Genetic Entropy will hold that all “reproductive isolation” events will come at a cost of information from the parent species.

    For a clear example of this principle being obeyed over deep time:

    The following article is unique in that is shows the principle of Genetic Entropy being obeyed in the Trilobites, over the 250 million year fossil history of their life on earth (Note: the Trilobites appeared suddenly at the very beginning of the Cambrian explosion with no evidence of transmutation from the “simple” creatures that preceded them).

    http://www.terradaily.com/repo.....s_999.html

    of special note:

    He focused on actively evolving characteristics. The trilobite head alone, for example, displays many such characteristics. These include differences in ornamentation, number and placement of spines, and the shape of head segments. His findings: Overall, approximately 35 percent of the 982 trilobite species exhibited some variation in some aspect of their appearance that was evolving. But more than 70 percent of early and middle Cambrian species exhibited variation, while only 13 percent of later trilobite species did so.

    “There’s hardly any variation in the post-Cambrian,” he said. “Even the presence or absence or the kind of ornamentation on the head shield varies within these Cambrian trilobites and doesn’t vary in the post-Cambrian trilobites.”

    This is a clear example of the “culling of information” that is predicted to take place with the ID/Genetic Entropy .

    Special note: at no time during the 250 million years did the fossils ever decide to grow a fin or to start to become a fish. All minor variation found for Trilobites stayed within extremes and all variability markedly decreased over time.

    This is not an isolated incident!

    “As Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould pointed out almost three decades ago, the general pattern for the evolution of diversity (as shown by the fossil record) follows precisely this pattern: a burst of rapid diversity following a major ecological change, and then a gradual decline in diversity over relatively long periods of time.” Allen MacNeill PhD.; Teaches introductory biology and evolution at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

    Allen Macneill is more honest than most evolutionists but still tries to brush over the reality of what the fossil record is actually showing when he says general pattern. In fact it is a very consistent pattern with no exception in the fossil record. On top of all that it conforms exactly to the ID/Genetic Entropy . And contrary to the evolutionary that can fit any evidence that comes along, con be falsified by showing an increase in morphological variability over deep time!

    As far as recent sub-speciation events:

    The recent infamous fruit fly sub-speciation event has a narrowed window of variability for the fruit fly sub=species. Thus conforming to genetic entropy.

    Observed recent plant sub-speciation events are a bit more tricky to discern Genetic Entropy in, for there are a few sub-speciation examples that double the number of chromosomes for the plant, Yet Dr. Sanford goes over exactly this type of event in his book, Genetic Entropy, and explains why doubling the number of chromosomes actually decreases functionality and “useful” information in the genome. Please note, Dr. Sanford is an expert on plant genetics and has worked in this field for decades. As well, He spearheaded the biolistic “Gene Gun” breakthrough.

    This ID/Genetic Entropy is very testable and I truly am surprised at how well all evidence fits into the !

  • Since I feel this is very important, I’m going to clean up what my baby sitter filter ate:

    The basic rule for reproductive isolation (i.e. sub-speciation events) for the ID/Genetic Entropy mo^del will hold that all “sub-speciation” events will come at a cost of information from the parent species that abruptly appeared in the fossil record.

    For a clear example of this principle being obeyed over deep time:

    The following article is unique in that is shows the principle of Genetic Entropy being obeyed in the Trilobites, over the 250 million year fossil history of their life on earth (Note: the Trilobites were a species that appeared suddenly at the very beginning of the Cambrian explosion with no evidence of transmutation from the “simple” creatures that preceded them (Trilobites have been a major thorn in evolutionary thought ever since Darwin’s day)).

    http://www.terradaily.com/repo.....s_999.html

    of special note from the article:

    He focused on actively evolving characteristics. The trilobite head alone, for example, displays many such characteristics. These include differences in ornamentation, number and placement of spines, and the shape of head segments. His findings: Overall, approximately 35 percent of the 982 trilobite species exhibited some variation in some aspect of their appearance that was evolving. But more than 70 percent of early and middle Cambrian species exhibited variation, while only 13 percent of later trilobite species did so.

    “There’s hardly any variation in the post-Cambrian,” he said. “Even the presence or absence or the kind of ornamentation on the head shield varies within these Cambrian trilobites and doesn’t vary in the post-Cambrian trilobites.”

    This is a very clear example of the “culling of information” that is predicted to take place with the ID/Genetic Entropy mo^del.

    Special note: at no time during the 250 million years did the fossils ever decide to demonstrate novelty, to grow a fin, to start to become a fish, or a shrimp. All the variation found within the foundational establishing of the Trilobites stayed within extremes, and all observed variability markedly decreased over time. (NOTE: This is exactly the opposite of what is predicted by standard Neo-Darwinian Thought!)

    This is not an isolated incident!

    “As Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould pointed out almost three decades ago, the general (consistent) pattern for the evolution of diversity (as shown by the fossil record) follows precisely this pattern: a burst of rapid diversity following a major ecological change, and then a gradual decline in diversity over relatively long periods of time.” Allen MacNeill PhD.; Teaches introductory biology and evolution at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

    Prof. Allen Macneill is more honest than most evolutionists, but still tries to “gently” brush over the hard reality of what the fossil record is actually showing us when he says “the general pattern for evolution”. In fact, it is a very consistent pattern with NO exception in the fossil record. On top of all that it conforms exactly to the ID/Genetic Entropy mo^del. The hard evidence, contrary to the evolutionary mo^del that can fit any hard evidence that comes along, fits the ID?Genetic Entropy mo^del to a tee. Plus, unlike evolution, the ID/Genetic Entropy mo^del can indeed be falsified by simply showing an increase in morphological variability/diversity over deep time!

    As far as recent sub-speciation events are concerned:

    All recent sub-speciation events can be proven to fall within the ID/Genetic entropy mo^del,

    The recent infamous fruit fly sub-speciation event, as well as all other sub-species insects, have a narrowed window of variability for the fruit fly sub-species. Thus conforming to genetic entropy. (Note: such as cave scorpions loosing their eyes)

    Observed recent plant sub-speciation events are a bit more tricky to discern the Genetic Entropy in, for there are a few demonstrated sub-speciation examples that double the number of chromosomes for the plant, Yet Dr. Sanford goes over exactly this type of sub-speciation event in his book, Genetic Entropy, and explains why doubling the number of chromosomes actually decreases functionality and the “useful” information in the genome. Please note, Dr. Sanford is an expert on plant genetics and has worked in this field for decades. As well, He spearheaded the biolistic “Gene Gun” breakthrough.

    As opposed to the multi-faced evolutionary mo^del that can fit any evidence, The ID/Genetic Entropy Mo^del is very testable and I truly am surprised at how well all evidence fits into the mo^del!

    On top of all this it fits into the recent Encode findings of 100% functionality of the genome.

    The mo^del has exceptional explanatory power that does not have to wait for future discoveries to gain validation as evolution does, but in fact can lay its premises directly on foundational pillars of science: The second law of thermodynamics, and the law of conservation of information. Whereas, Evolution has to drastically pollute the beauty and simplicity of these foundational laws.

  • Bugsy [160], I took your advice and Googled the paper (for those watching, it’s “Unacknowledged Information Costs in Evolutionary Computing: A Case Study on the Evolution of Nucleotide Binding Sites.”) Wow! What a story if true. As the story goes, Dr. Dembski put this refutation of Tom Schneider’s “ev” program on the evo-info website and crowed about how Schneider had not responded to it. Then when the paper was soundly refuted and shown to contain devastating errors, it was removed without comment from the site.

    Now, if this story is true, it seems scandalous. Dr. Dembski has routinely decried the Darwinist rewriting of history that he observes. (He did so just weeks ago in the case of Homer Jacobson.) Is there any place where he either retracts the paper publicly, contests the refutation by Schneider and others, or offers another explanation for its disappearance? I would like to believe that the story is not as it seems.

  • I’ve been thinking a lot lately that speciation probably happens more than the liberal darwinist media tells us. If you believe Ernest Mayer then I am probably a different species than an Eskimo, since we don’t usually run into each other in the kinds of places we go. there is a lot of america between us! but even if some moved in around here or i had to work with one i doubt i would even be attracted to her although they would probably be attracted to me.

  • MacT you stated:

    This is utter nonsense. There is no evidence from TMS studies that memory is not instantiated in brain processes. I do not use TMS in my own work, but we do have a modern TMS facility in my institute, and I am familiar with the technology.

    Yet I present this evidence:

    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel.....sponse.htm

    of special note:

    Neurophysiological research is being performed using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), in the course of which a localized magnetic field (photons) is produced. TMS can excite or inhibit different parts of the brain, depending of the amount of energy given, allowing functional mapping of cortical regions, and creation of transient functional lesions. It allows assessing the function in focal brain regions on a millisecond scale, and it can study the contribution of cortical networks to specific cognitive functions. TMS is a non-invasive research tool to study aspects of human brain physiology including motor function, vision, language, and the pathophysiology of brain disorders as well as mood disorders like depression, and it even may be useful for therapy. In studies TMS can interfere with visual and motion perception, it gives an interruption of cortical processing with an interval of 80-100 milliseconds. Intracortical inhibition and facilitation are obtained by paired-pulse studies with TMS, and reflect the activity of interneurons in the cortex. Also TMS can alter the functioning of the brain beyond the time of stimulation, but it does not appear to leave any lasting effect. (14).

    Interrupting the electrical fields of local neuronal networks in parts of the cortex also disturbs the normal function of the brain, because by localized electrical stimulation of the temporal and parietal lobe during surgery for epilepsy the neurosurgeon and Nobel prize winner W. Penfield could sometimes induce flashes of recollection of the past (never a complete life review), experiences of light, sound or music, and rarely a kind of out-of-body experience. These experiences did not produce any transformation.(15-16) After many years of research he finally reached the conclusion that it is not possible to localize memories inside the brain.

    Did you catch that:

    Nobel prize winner W. Penfield COULD SOMETIMES INDUCE FLASHES OF RECOLLECTION OF THE PAST (never a complete life review)

    Doesn’t sound like “utter non-sense” to me MacT!

    Matthew 19:26

    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

  • ellazimm in comment 40:

    An intelligent designer would have to have introduced design at some place and time and using some process to implement the design. I think those are the most interesting questions about intelligent design. Why not try and answer those? If there’s no data then let’s find it!

    That’s your opinion. Without a time-stamp just how can one determine when something was designed?

    And just how could we figure out the exact design process used? True we may be able to figure out a way to duplicate it but we will never know if that method was the one used originally.

    in comment 158:

    I find the DNA evidence of common descent extremely compelling. What do you think of the endogenous retrovirus arguments?

    I find the DNA evidence very weak. That is because no one has been able to use the DNA data to exolain the physiological and anatomical DIFFERENCES observbed. As for ERVs- it very well could be that they just look like ERVs. Why would one expect to see an ERV intact enough to be used as a genetic marker after millions of generations that included the mutations that allegedly led to those observed differences?

    The same goes for pseudogenes. Very weak argument- and there isn’t any way to test either. That is we cannot introduce a retyro virus and then sit around for millions of generations to see if it is still there.

    As for the alleged pseudogenes- that they persist should be an argument that they are not useless remants.

    When evolutionists start explaining the physiological and anatomical differences observed they will have something scientifically testable.

    Until then all the theory of evolution is, is dogma.

    As for antibiotic resistance- please read the following:

    Is Bacterial Resistance
    to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?
    (hint-No)

    I have also read the essays pertaining to Behe and HIV. All that I have read point to the authors not understanding what Behe is saying.

  • MacT,
    Why have not the near-de^ath experiences of people like Pam Reynolds made an impression on you?
    For crying out loud MacT, She was proven to have no electrical activity in her brain whatsoever, yet at the same time she was scientifically proven to be de^ad, she gave an accurate description of the scene in the operation room. And this is just one of thousands of testemonies for near-de-ath experiences found in Judeo-Christian cultures.

    Taking into consideration your profession it is hard for to see how this escaped your attention.

    Do you have a naturalistic explanation for the event?

    In regards to Joseph’s comment in 166

    The ID/Genetic Entropy mo^del, if found consistent for loss of morphological variability and Genetic Variability, can provide a fairly accurate “time stamp” for design implementation and the fossil record itself, when known in fairly accurate detail can also infer a fairly accurate place stamp for origination of parent species.

  • ellazimm,

    I agree that genetic information strongly suggests common descent. But two things you have to consider which the data does not show.

    1. There is no evidence for the mechanism of how the separate species acquired the same genetic information. In other words this does not support gradualism. Gradualism would explain it but there is no evidence that it actually was the cause. For support of gradualism, there must be evidence elsewhere showing that it had an effect other than the trivial. We use the expression “trivial” frequently because gradualism does operate in micro evolution all the time producing change, but change that is irrelevant for evolutionary biology where the issues are the appearance of novel functions. These trivial changes can have very significant effects in terms of medicine and disease and most of modern medicine is based on this phenomena. This is not an ID issue and probably most of agree with that assessment.

    So what are the mechanisms for common descent? There are four broad categories that are proposed and each could have variations and maybe there are more.

    A. Gradualism or what is usually referred to as neo Darwinism. This is what is taught in all the textbooks, which by the way only use trivial examples to illustrate it. I wonder why.

    B. Massive changes to the genome that cause sudden and dramatic changes to the genome. What are the mechanisms that cause these changes? Allen MacNeill listed 47 possible mechanisms but no evidence to illustrate how each might have worked and admits that there is no evidence for any really novel functions arising from these mechanisms.

    Of course A and B could be the explanation for change if there were any evidence for such. But there is none now and B is just speculation and mainly based on models of how change could have occurred. B is problematic because the genomes are so fine tuned that it is unlikely a massive change would serendipity hit upon a new novel function . Anything is theoretically possible but too many low probability events start to get you wondering.

    C. Some intelligence now and then affects the genome of an organism, creating novel functions and in effect creating a new species, family or order or in the Cambrian, new phyla. This is one form of the ID hypothesis. How many times did it happen. Unknown, but the odds are at least once in the creation of life and probably at some other times.

    This is easily mocked and Darwinists will refer to it as the “poof” explanation using such terms to try to make its adherents look like fools because no one has ever witnessed or has evidence for a “poof.” Well we just had a minor poof at Case Western where genetic engineering have produced a very different mouse that ostensibly has superior characteristics for a mouse. It is initially called Mighty Mouse and we will have to see where this goes.

    D. Some intelligence created one or more cells that had the genetic information within it to create all the life we see on the planet today and all the life in between the formation of the earth and today. This is called front loading and there are many fans of this process amongst ID adherents.

    None have any evidence to support it. Most evidence in the evolutionary biology area is negative evidence against the other possible mechanisms.

    Second, Common descent can have two meanings. It can mean everything is descendant from some one celled organism and all life forms have branched out from this LUCA (Last Unique Common Ancestor.) Some has suggested there were several LUCA’s for different part of the evolutionary tree.

    Or it can mean that some species are descendant from one particular species and no implication outside of this. Humans and chimps may have a common ancestor but it does not mean they are descendant from reptiles in any direct way. The evidence for this is mainly non functioning molecular sequences in the genome.

    So when you bring up common descent you should be aware of the issues involved. It does not point to any particular mechanism for speciation. For that evolutionary biology uses negative arguments against the other mechanisms.

  • MacT,
    The more I look at this site, The clearer mind/generating “structured matter” becomes to me ;

    http://www.irishscientist.ie/2.....sight3.xsl

    Eric Kandel and colleagues demonstrated that persisting neural (electrical) activity leads to gene activation and the translation and synthesis of new proteins necessary for the structural change in the nerve cell connectivity pattern that accompanies the acquisition of complex behaviour in sea slugs.

    It is as clear as daylight, the neural activity (thought of mind) precedes the generation of structured matter.

    In materialism, What is the foundational basic presumption?

    The presumption is that everything emanates from a material foundation, Theism would postulate the exact opposite. What does the evidence heavily suggest MacT?
    It clearly suggest that thought precedes the generation of structured matter..

    It could not be any simpler!

  • That’s your opinion. Without a time-stamp just how can one determine when something was designed?

    Could we maybe correlate a nested hierarchy with the fossil records to determine when each of the original kinds appeared? That should really get us close to the timing of the design event.

    And just how could we figure out the exact design process used? True we may be able to figure out a way to duplicate it but we will never know if that method was the one used originally.

    That is certainly the problem inherent in materialist abiogenesis research. But surely, IDers can do better than that.

  • The problem, Bourne, is that those experiments are about neural activity, i.e. electrical signals propagated along axons. Last time I checked, electrons were part of the material world. So what you need to do is show that there is something immaterial that’s causing the neural activity itself (i.e. electrical signals). The causal relation between neural activity and gene activation, by itself, won’t cut it.

  • 131

    ellazimm said,

    An intelligent designer would have to have introduced design at some place and time and using some process to implement the design. I think those are the most interesting questions about intelligent design. Why not try and answer those? If there’s no data then let’s find it!

    To which Joseph responded:

    That’s your opinion. Without a time-stamp just how can one determine when something was designed?

    And just how could we figure out the exact design process used? True we may be able to figure out a way to duplicate it but we will never know if that method was the one used originally.

    Joseph, you’re asking questions that should be research fodder for ID-friendly scientists, which I think was ellazimm’s point. We don’t need to figure out, necessarily, the exact design process used, as there could be more than one. What we need to do is show that any design process is sufficient, but before we do that, we have to identify such a process. If you’re not willing to do the work of science, then you’re not doing science, simply put. “I know it when I see it” just isn’t science.

  • Carl Sachs,

    My whole premise is that information is “spiritual” in nature, and, In my opinion, I established that fact with trans-cranial magnetic stimulation studies of Penfield, the NDE of Pam Reynolds, the John Hopkins hemispherectomies studies, (which was challenged by MacT, but I maintain he is wrong for he is concentrating primarily of mind/body deficits and is not ascertaining the retention of information both before and after surgery, while the John Hopkins study did focus on the retention of personality, To MacT’s credit He did point out the “physical” recovery was not as complete as I was led to believe)
    As well I could get into required information of the Big Bang, which clearly preceded the material of this universe. But for now, my premise is strong and I maintain that the “information” being thought about, triggers the formation of structured matter in the brain!.

    As I stated before, the primary postulation of materialism, postulates that EVERYTHING arises from matter (Electricity included!)
    The primary postulation of Theism postulates that, actuated thought preceds the formation of matter.

    What does the evidence clearly indicate?

    Actuated thought preceding the formation of structured matter!

    Materialism foundational presumption would be the opposite since electricity, gravity thought and even life itself is dependent on a material basis.

    I’ve always wondered why materialism was not called on this one point long ago.

    Shoot, it is increasingly apparent that even gravity does not arise from a material basis!

  • Is anybody going to respond to the story I seem to have discovered above [167]?

  • Ellazimm, if you are still here,
    I only brought up punctuated equilibrium because it seems to me to be a mere butress for a flagging theory. But I honestly have not read enough of Gould, so I should probably not say more about it.
    About your concern with refutations of Dembski and Behe, it is obvious that no one here knows which refutations you are talking about specifically, so no one has the motivation to address your concerns. Do you have a specific link for us, a specific argument you could describe? But clearly, the best source is Dr. Behe himself (or Dembski). Look at Behe’s amazon blog. He addresses many of his critics there.

  • The fossil record could only provide a time-stamp if we know HOW it was formed. Fossils don’t come with time-stamps either.

    Mutation rates could only do so (provide a time-frame) if we knew what was originally designed. Then we could work back to that point.

    To Stanton:

    Please read- The Design Inference- Why it matters- revisited:

    ID critics & anti-IDists are always saying that ID isn’t science because it doesn’t attempt to answer questions about the designer- such as its capabilities; the implementation process/ mechanism of design (how); when or where it was designed.

    But that is exactly why ID is scientific. Because it forces us to ask those questions. Which should be enough of a driving force to get people seriously looking.

    IDists understand that in order to possibly answer those questions there is quite a bit of work to be done. The first is the detection- that is what gets archaeologists and SETI researchers going. Then we look for more (clues of design) while others are going over the first. We fit the pieces together, unless of course we find a short-cut, but the answer turns out to be 42** but we don’t know the question. (those darn mice).

    I have always maintained that ID isn’t interested in answering those questions but IDists are. I have always maintained that is the same as the ToE not being concerned with life’s origins but evolutionists are. IOW the theory of evolution is about what happened after life appeared. But if life didn’t arise from non-living matter via unintelligent, blind/ undirected (non-goal oriented) processes, i.e. the only scenario that excludes ID, then there wouldn’t be any reason to infer its subsequent diversity arose solely due to those type of processes. I never could or will understand why anti-IDists can’t understand that pure & basic logical connection. But anyway…

    Why isn’t ID interested in those questions? ID is about the detection and understanding of the design. SETI- first detect then try to understand; archaeology- first identify artifacts (detect) and then put the pieces together (understand). In the absence of direct observation or designer input the ONLY way to make a reasonable inference about the designer is by studying the design. The same goes for how, why, when and where.

    Now if we turn that around and ask the anti-IDists about a process or processes all we get in return are vague- random mutations culled by natural selection’ lateral gene transfer and; genetic drift. No details what-so-ever.

    Heck no one even knows whether or not the transformations required* are even possible.

    * that is if all of life’s diversity owes its collective common ancestry to some unknown population(s) of single-celled organisms.

  • Ellazimm (#154)

    “From your brief discussion I wonder why the DNA double helix which does keep a mirror image copy of itself while replicating doesn’t fit the bill.”

    The original context was the RNA world, and my original comment was a criticism of that hypothesis. There is nothing the matter with the DNA double helix; it fills the bill perfectly. However, the RNA world scenario was originally broached as a work around for a “chicken or egg” problem inherent in DNA replication, namely, DNA requires proteins to replicate (it’s a passive template in that respect) and proteins require DNA encoding in order to be built in the first place. Therefore, both have to exist in just the right arrangement for any kind of life to get off the ground. Even chance worshippers have a problem swallowing the vast improbabilities of the de novo generation of the way that life replicates now. If an RNA molecule could replicate itself and provide some other (unspecified) catalytic functions, maybe, just maybe, one wouldn’t need multiple universes of probabilistic resources to get it going. Enter von Neumann’s caveat: replication requires a template which includes the specification for the device that does the actual copying. I think you can see the problem!

  • getawitness,
    no. Nobody here knows what is going on. Or if they do, they obviously won’t say anything. My guess is that it was an embarrassment so they took it down. It is hard to stand up in front of the whole world with your pants down, as it were, and say “I was wrong, I so so sawwy.” But one wrong paper does not cause a whole idea to be wrong. Maybe you should email Dr.Dembski. If he doesn’t respond, I guess evolution is true. Darn.

  • Rather than worry about which genres of particles and forces materialism limits itself to, why not go with Jacques Monod’s chance and necessity? We can define materialism as that philosophical stance that allows teleology or agency no fundamental priority. At best agency is seen as derivative of chance and necessity–never as elemental.

  • I would like to mention the fact that in order to replicate DNA or RNA there needs to be free nucleotides. Yet the ONLY place we find nucleotides is in living organisms (and in some previously alive).

    I guess that is the big sticking point- how to go from amino acids to nucleotides (Miller-Urey produced amino acids, not nucleotides).

  • 140

    Joseph, if you were replying to my post #176, I don’t see any relevance in your response. Perhaps you could explain it for me.

  • Bornagain77, the long-term memory storage and activation study in rats that you cited (#73) is quite interesting. Especially interesting is the authors’ careful avoidance of some of the clear implications of this work. One of these is the absence of any identification of the sites and mechanism of whatever it is in the rat that determines to store the memories. The researchers obviously assume that this basic problem of finding the neurological basis of the consciousness that motivates forming a memory in the first place is not really a problem. Since neuroscience is certain beyond a doubt that there is such a mechanism and that the problem of “qualia” is not really a problem.

    Another implication that is carefully avoided is the conflict between their hypothesis that long term memory storage is in the neocortex, and the virtual absence of a neocortex is some hydrocephalic humans with apparently still normal mental functioning.

  • In my last post, I meant #173.

  • magnan,

    I never thought of it, but you are right. Materialists are absolutely required to thoroughly define thought to a varying material basis of some sort.

    The best they can do is point to the varying electrical field of the brain. But they fail to realize even electricity is rigidly defined to a material basis in materialism. Thus what is actually causing the electrical field to vary? They will never prove that varying matter of the brain preceded the varying electrical field! It is simply ludicrous to presume so, even at first glance.
    In fact, The electrical field is shown precisely, in this study, to precede the formation of structured matter.

    Yea you are absolutely right Magnan, Failing to find any sort of material mechanism for thought is a major blunder in logic as far as the mathematical foundational of materialism is concerned.

    Materialism can never answer this following question that it is required to answer: What exactly is telling the electrical field to vary? And remember Materialism does all it can to rigidly define even electricity to a material basis!
    The clear fact is that materialism is absolutely required to explain ALL thought to a preceding material basis, since thought is said to arise from material basis.

    You are right Magnan, There is the absence of any identification of the sites and mechanism of whatever it is in the rat that determines to store the memories.

  • getawitness: “Is anybody going to respond to the story I seem to have discovered above [167]?”

    Hey there friend! I read the story. There’s not much to say. It looks like Dembski and Marks were wrong. Maybe they’ll acknowledge it, and maybe they won’t. I don’t know. Maybe they’re working on correcting their errors and are preparing to re-publish the work. Who knows? But you seem to be implying that this story has some broader implications of some sort. I don’t see that it does. Please enlighten us.

  • Joseph, if you were replying to my post #176, I don’t see any relevance in your response. Perhaps you could explain it for me.-Stanton Rockwell

    The relevance is IDists are doing the work of science.

    Also we do NOT have to know a process BEFORE we can make a design inference. We do NOT need to know when, why or by whom before making a design inference.

    Then there is the fact that we may never know what process could be used and that does not matter one bit to a design inference. That is because some things will remain beyond our grasp.

    And the bottom line is ID should be held to the SAME standards as any reiging paradigm. And so far the theory of evolution is void of details pertaining to processes.

  • Magnan and Carl Sachs,

    I believe that this one piece of evidence, we have been talking about, is key. I am by no means an expert in this area, but the ramifications seem quite clear to me. It would in fact be proof of principle to the whole Theistic ID claim! But, As Carl has clearly pointed out:

    So what you need to do is show that there is something immaterial that’s causing the neural activity itself (i.e. electrical signals). The causal relation between neural activity and gene activation, by itself, won’t cut it.

    To me it seems simple intuition that the matter of the brain is not causing the changes in the neural activity but is in fact caused by my creative will, but the trick is to concretely prove it scientifically is it not? Hmmm, this is very interesting problem. But one that I think is very well worth solving for it would blow a hole in the evolutionists claim that we have no mechanism to speak of for the origin of life scenario!

  • getawitness,

    “Is anybody going to respond to the story I seem to have discovered above [167]?”

    I answered this in the Cheryl Crowe cheese-grader-TP blog, which, ironically, has seemed to disappear itself. Anywho, I found the paper in question via Google in about a minute (first page 5 or 6 down):

    http://web.ecs.baylor.edu/faculty/marks/T/ev2.pdf

    Wellwell, I figured I’d check to see if the .pdf link was still working before I posted this… it is but; it no longer takes you to the paper you’re hunting. I saw it last night, now it’s a different paper. Weird. Wish I would have saved the thing. The mystery continues.

    Regards.

  • Is there any place where he either retracts the paper publicly, contests the refutation by Schneider and others, or offers another explanation for its disappearance?

    http://cayman.globat.com/~trad.....s/eev.html

    Thanks to those who pointed to a bug in our software. This paper has been withdrawn.

    For revised analysis, see HERE.

    Not sure if Bill has publicly stated if they intend to revise and resubmit. You could try emailing Bill to see what he plans:

    http://cayman.globat.com/~trad.....eople.html

  • “And then, unknown chemical reactions caused life to form.”

    ellazimm:

    It is being honest however.

    It is being honest about the unknownness of the mechanism. It is not honest about the degree of certainty, or warrant for the conclusion, that material things were the cause of life.

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