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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

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December 22, 2005

Poor Put-Upon Intelligent Design

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Posted by Derek

I was driving last night and listening to NPR, when they broadcast a commentary by Joe Loconte of the Heritage Foundation. This was bemoaning the Dover decision tossing Intelligent Design out of the local Pennsylvania school curriculum, and I'm afraid I ended up adding some loud and vulgar commentary of my own while hearing it.

Loconte's analogy was to the Big Bang theory in cosmology. He claimed that when the theory was proposed, that some of the objections to it were because of its similarities to the creation account in Genesis. I wasn't aware that the Big Bang was considered too religious, but it seems that this was the case for some physicists. That's quite an irony, though, considering some of the religious objections to it now. (Here's a rundown from everyone's favorite creationist web site, Answers In Genesis, certainly the first time I've ever linked to them. Hours of entertainment await you there, though, I have to admit.)

And you can see where the rest of the commentary went. We should make room for seemingly heretical theories in science, even if they seem to have religious overtones, because the orthodox dogma of the scientists can indeed be overthrown, yea verily, just as it was with the Big Bang theory. Loconte has sounded this note before, many times - see this CNN transcript where he goes on about the "high priests of evolution" and the "divergence of views within the scientific community" on the issue.

But Loconte neglected to mention that Big Bang cosmology won its case by providing empirical evidence, and plenty of it. And this was done completely within the framework of scientific discovery - making testable predictions, for one thing.

And that's where the analogy with ID breaks down. If Intelligent Design has made any testable predictions, I've missed them. If it's advancing due to further research, I've missed that, too. Loconte has made the error, which is unfortunately common in those with no scientific background, of assuming that ID is just another scientific theory because it claims to be. "I can't see how something this complicated could have happened except by God doing it" is not a basis for scientific discovery. For that, you want something like "I can't see how something this complicated could have happened. Let's look at all the evidence we can get and follow it no matter where it leads."

Comments (147) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Current Events | Intelligent Design


COMMENTS

1. dave s on December 22, 2005 11:22 AM writes...

There's a great old joke slamming civil engineers, how can you tell from the way women are built that God is a civil engineer? Answer - who else would put a waste disposal site next to a recreation area! And a rather more tasteful riff on the same theme: "incompetent design" http://www.seedmagazine.com/news/2005/11/the_other_id.php?page=1 which talks about too many teeth and built-in back problems, etc.

Permalink to Comment

2. John Johnson on December 22, 2005 11:34 AM writes...

In addition to getting my adrenaline pumping to unhealthy levels, each day I look at ID arguments I find more and more that the whole movement is a sham. Not only is ID not science, it's not religion. It claims to start from "data" and "evidence" and arrive at God, or maybe not God but another being by that name, or something. It's a mutant "theory" designed solely for political purposes, nothing more.

While fair criticism against the prevailing theory is all part of the scientific process, creating "scientific" objections to the theory with post-hoc "evidence" that doesn't even rise to the level of "confirmation bias." It's simply dishonest, and I'd rather this country have the whole movement relegated to a dark spot in a history textbook.

If they want to have religious arguments against evolution, fine. I support that. Let's just be honest about what it is.

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3. michael class on December 22, 2005 2:02 PM writes...


I wonder, would a public school teacher in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, be allowed to say the following:

"It is interesting to contemplate ... [all the many forms of life on earth] ... HAVING BEEN ORIGINALLY BREATHED BY THE CREATOR INTO A FEW FORMS OR INTO ONE; and that from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

Just imagine a public school teacher who says those words: that God created life and placed it on the earth in a few forms, and then that life evolved according to the physical and natural laws that God put into place in the universe.

Would that be allowed?

Actually, it should be REQUIRED FOR THE TEACHER TO SAY THAT.

Why? Because the quote is from: On the Origin of the Species, Chapter XV, Recapitulation and Conclusion, By Charles Darwin.

If you are going to teach Darwin's theory of evolution in public schools, you should teach what Darwin actually wrote about it.

Michael S. Class
Author / Photographer / Publisher

Anthony and the Magic Picture Frame: An American History Book for Right-Thinking Children and Their Parents

The Story of the Boy Who Traveled into the Past
by Stepping through the Picture Frame on His Bedroom Wall
and Returned to See His Own Time in a New Light

Look Inside the Book: www.MagicPictureFrame.com

Permalink to Comment

4. Derek Lowe on December 22, 2005 2:09 PM writes...

Nice ad for your book, Michael. As for your quote from Darwin, most of the ID people wouldn't agree with any of the rest of it. Evolved? Changed? One species turning into another? They wouldn't hear of it. You remind me of the way that Loconte and others love to quote Richard Dawkins on the appearance of design, without any of the rest of his paragraph.

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5. RKN on December 22, 2005 2:40 PM writes...

Devil's advocate here.

If Intelligent Design has made any testable predictions, I've missed them.

A shortcoming which pesters evo as well, vis-a-vis its inability to show, predictively, one species change into another in a labarotory setting. Nevertheless, you're right about ID.

If it's advancing due to further research, I've missed that, too.

It's worthwhile noting that Michael Behe (see http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=31&isFellow=true), qua PhD biochemist and a chief proponent of ID, has in fact published articles in peer reviewed journals. Without much difficulty at all I found this one on-line: http://www.proteinscience.org/cgi/content/abstract/ps.04802904v1. It was originally published in Protein Science. I wouldn't call it "ID research," per se. I read some of it. It tries to show the minimal population required to fix a two-amino acid change in a protein in a genetic population, and that the size required to do so would be impossible in a standard evo model.

Again, this is not pro-ID research as I see it, but if the conclusions are true, and the science sound (hey, it was peer reviewed!), then it exposes a weakness in the evo model, and thus calls it further into question.

Casting skepticism on evo has been the main achievement of ID if you ask me.

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6. paul j. on December 22, 2005 3:52 PM writes...

This reminds me of a heated discussion I had with a fellow researcher when I was in grad school. I had wondered aloud why nature "chose" (for lack of a better term) one enantiomer of amino acids over another, L over D.

This lead me to think (again, out loud) of what would happen if we had primarily D instead of L. Would I be left handed instead of right? Would Americans drive on the other side of the road...

This whole line of thought was because it was late and I was running a huge, ugly silica column (eluting with some solvent mixture that involved pyridine) that had multiple colors that were some shade of brown...

Anyway, the researcher in question had a simple answer to it all: "God chose L". Well, suffice it to say, the discussion turned ugly at that point.

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7. Jim Hu on December 22, 2005 3:57 PM writes...

Nice comment on the ad, Derek...did you catch the spam comment that was on one of your older posts yesterday?

IANAL, but my understanding was that the teacher is free to say that or even discuss ID if she wants to. The ruling was about whether or not the board could require it. My recollection of the coverage was that the science teachers in Dover didn't want this.

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8. SteveSC on December 22, 2005 4:30 PM writes...

I have always believed that science and religion, especially the existence/nature of God, should be kept independent as essentially orthogonal dimensions. Unfortunately, both sides of the ID debate are trying to collapse the issue into a single dimension, with God/ID on one side and science/no God on the other. It is similar to the way the MSM collapses all the varied political issues in to a simple right/left dichotomy.

Marginalized from the discussion are true scientists who believe in God, as well as pseudoscientific quacks who don't believe in God (e.g., astrology, crystals, Gaia, etc.), similar to the way Lieberman and others who don't fit into an 'approved' little box are shouted down by one side or the other (or both).

Of course, when two opposing scientific theories harden into sclerotic ideological camps, it often leads to a new paradigm breaking the logjam. We can only hope...

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9. Palo on December 22, 2005 4:34 PM writes...

I don't think the ID militants have any interest in evidence or testable hypothesis. If you attended any of Michael Behe's talk, you know that he closes with the most 'conclusive' evidence: a picture of a duck, and then he recites: "If it walks like a duck...." to allow the chorus of faithful believers to conclude "It is a duck!". It is very amusing if it wasn't so sad. Missing in Behe and his cheerleaders is the irony in the fact that what he calls a duck is actually a picture of a duck!. 'Evidence' to Michael Behe, as the trial showed, is reduced to knowing when something is designed. I think their use of the Big Bang as an analogy is simply another dishonest use of whatever is available to confuse the issues. Judge Jones blasted the members of the Dover School Board for pretending to advocate an ethical religious life while lying to no end when it suited their purposes.
Behind ID is simply a bunch of guys who think their 'call' in life is to be soldiers of faith, warriors for the Lord. I don't think Behe or Demsky or all the others care one bit about science and evidence. The do it to get a good sit when they "meet the Lord". If there was a God he wouldn't let these idiots make his case.

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10. A Christian Prophet on December 22, 2005 4:48 PM writes...

Testable predictions? As if Evolution could ever be tested. As if any scientific theory of beginnings could ever be tested? It seems science merely pretends not to be religious, then goes on making leaps of faith. The Holy Spirit's messages on The Christian Prophet blog say that both theories are incorrect, but the Holy Spirit does seem to be concerned by mindless worship of science. The good news is on The Holy Inheritance blog there's a message that says we were all created by love.

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11. Timothy on December 22, 2005 5:49 PM writes...

What is it about ID posts that always bring out the nutters? This is the blog of a research chemist, I wonder how many IDists are regular readers. My supposition is somebody at the Christian Coalition is busy forwarding emails with "Go attack this guy" and a link.

Permalink to Comment

12. jim on December 22, 2005 5:59 PM writes...

SteveSC: You're obviously not an IDiot, but, please, ID is not a scientific theory, and is not even in the same ballpark as modern evolutionary theory. There's no logjam. Just scary ignorance and twisted politics. I also don't see how scientists that believe in a god are marginalized; I'm pretty sure a great number and perhaps a majority of scientists are theistic evolutionists. With regard to the public discussion, I've heard or read more than one scientist discuss the "orthogonality" (as you nicely put it) of these issues.

Also, as a side note, you and some others have referred to "Gaia" and such, and I wonder if there is some parallel universe where that stuff is hugely influential, and that I'm not aware of. I've lived in three major US cities (including one that's not all that far from Sedona) and yet I've never seen that kind of thing come up any more than on this (and similar) blogs. Thanks.

Permalink to Comment

13. Anonymous on December 22, 2005 6:06 PM writes...

"Casting skepticism on evo has been the main achievement of ID if you ask me."

Um, no. Skepticism of propositions related to science is a major achievement of...scientists. That's one of the big things we do, buddy. Evolutionary theory is no exception. And, behold, much has stood up to inquiry, and some has been revised/refined (note to book-selling guy: there's more to evolution than Darwin). Let's see how ID research has done...oh, never mind.

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14. jim on December 22, 2005 6:08 PM writes...

Sorry, that was me, not anonymous.

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15. RKN on December 22, 2005 7:22 PM writes...

That's one of the big things we do, buddy.

I understand, I am a scientist, and so is Michael Behe.

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16. Dennis on December 22, 2005 7:26 PM writes...

Michael: I frankly wouldn't want teachers to be teaching "Darwinism" anyway. They should be teaching modern evolution. Darwin got some things wrong. No modern biologist believes that he got everything right. If he did, why the hell are we still funding research? Sheesh.

Permalink to Comment

17. wcw on December 22, 2005 9:02 PM writes...

Holy Hannah, where do these people come from?

The ID crowd fails utterly both at science and at theology. It wouldn't know a testable hypothesis if it were gored by one in a bullring, nor identify a working exegesis if one fell out of the sky like manna. Consistently to produce nothing but utter failure at science and pure marginalia at theology is something of an achievement, but it's not something I want to watch in real time.

Ugh.

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18. Jim Hu on December 22, 2005 9:07 PM writes...

Arg...another comment off to moderation heaven...

RKN,

Regarding the Behe paper you cite...see also the Sept 2005 issue of Protein Science for a rebuttal paper by Lynch, Behe's response, and an editorial.

You also say that you are a scientist and so is Behe. Behe is indeed a card-carrying biochemist who trained with Walter Englander and has many publications on DNA structure that predate his infatuation with ID, which I believe is unlikely to have been part of his scientific worldview when he published his 1990 TIBS article pointing out that large parts of histone genes are dispensible, or the 1991 PNAS paper from his sabbatical with George Rose, which is about the robustness of proteins to mutational substitutions. (Darwin's Black Box is from 1996...I haven't read it so I don't know if Dr. Behe describes his personal journey to ID)

But are you a scientist? When I click on your links, it seems that you are a blogging Airedale terrier! Most remarkable, and difficult to explain by neo-Darwinian mechanisms. ;^)

Congratulate your master on the impending nuptials!

Permalink to Comment

19. jim on December 22, 2005 9:28 PM writes...

RKN,
You should definitely do more research on Behe. There's lots of nice references in the Dover decision, for instance. Here's one:
"The one article referenced by both Professors Behe and Minnich as supporting ID is an article written by Behe and Snoke entitled "Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues." (P-721). A review of the article indicates that it does not mention either irreducible complexity or ID. In fact, Professor Behe admitted that the study which forms the basis for the article did not rule out many known evolutionary mechanisms and that the research actually might support evolutionary pathways if a biologically realistic population size were used."
And just one more (for now): "First, defense expert Professor Fuller agreed that ID aspires to "change the ground rules" of science and lead defense expert Professor Behe admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses ID, would also embrace astrology."

Permalink to Comment

20. Steve C on December 22, 2005 11:25 PM writes...

"Loconte has made the error, which is unfortunately common in those with no scientific background, of assuming that ID is just another scientific theory because it claims to be."

Nice post, Derek, except for the line quoted above. I'm not a scientist, but a liberal arts type, a writer, whose been a science aficionado since grade school. The statement about Loconte causes me great frustration because I've seen numerous scientific minds approach the ID issue this way over the last 10 years. Please help me understand how so many extremely bright people can be so myopic, naive, and well, perhaps egotistical. I don't know how to characterize your [all] behavior, so enlighten me.

Loconte DID NOT make an error. It was all, just like ID itself, very carefully calculated. It's all rhetoric aimed at the average conservative voter. These ID people all understand ID is not science, otherwise they'd be in the lab or the field, not squabbling over high school curriculum. The Discovery Institute, the Dover school board members who committed perjury, Senator Santorum [who's backtracking like mad], the Heritage Foundation and their ilk -- they all understand they are lying; they all understand this is a fight about political power and not science; and they all understand the objective is to influence the scientifically illiterate American electorate.

Why is this so difficult for so many scientists to comprehend? The entire ID movement is AMORAL [read the trial transcripts]. So far the scientific community has played along while letting ID set up the rules, choose it's opponents, choose the arena, and choose the audience. Their ultimate tactical goal is to control science's purse strings by going over your heads to the funders -- American taxpayers. The Dover ruling, to take nothing away from Judge Jones, is only a speed bump to these people. The Discovery Institute had already written off the Dover dolts by refusing to be involved with the trial.

Loconte didn't "forget", "neglect", "sound", "make an error", or etc. He lied. Period. Read Judge Jones' decision, then google the Discovery Institute's reactions in various media streams. Look at all the evidence and follow it no matter where it leads.

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21. Blair on December 23, 2005 12:20 AM writes...

This was a fun read. And here's my take on it.

Science is religion. They both start with initial, unprovable assumptions and then go from there. Geometry proves theorems based on postulates. Pick a different set of assumptions (beliefs), you get a different theory (religion).

What sets science apart from religion is the belief that the laws of nature apply the same everywhere at all times. Religion allows for miracles or unnatural events. If you can take seriously a mathematics that studies irrational and imaginary numbers, why can't religion have a few valid cause-effect theories?

Each law of nature describes a cause and effect relationship. Can you imagine Newton claiming that the force of gravity acts randomly?

But evolution is not a science or religion. Evolution says the observed effects are random and unpredictable. How do you test and replicate randomness?

Evolution dismisses the notion of cause and effect. Nobody knows what gravity is but we can see and predict its effects.

Evolution says there is no cause and the effects are random.

I don't see how the philosophy of evolution could be taken seriously as a science or religion.

(What do you think?)

Permalink to Comment

22. UndergradChemist on December 23, 2005 2:14 AM writes...

Blair, at a certain point, yes, science does rest on things that are assumptions (i.e. what we observe is reality, or reality insofar as we can call anything reality), but I completely disagree with your so-called "derivation."

First of all, you have evolution wrong. Evolution doesn't dismiss cause and effect. One of the two main tenet of evolution is Natural Selection, which is kind of a really basic logical tautology; that which survives best, survives best. Thus, organisms that have survived till now have probably, as far as we know, survived till now better than those that aren't around any longer. The other main tenet is a generation of variety, which is via mutations. Bats have wings, we have arms, and those differences are due to genes. That the structure of our arms and the structure of bats' wings seem to be common in terms of biological control, development, genes, and so on, with small variety allowing for wings and fingers, leads us to suspect that perhaps we come from a common ancestor whose descendents eventually became bats and humans. All the other genetic (and thus speciatic) variety that might have existed via mutations just didn't survive (e.g. the Neanderthal, the ancestors to the horse, etc.), due to Natural Selection.

And how does this lead one to say that there are no cause and effects in evolutionary theory? I mean, if you're just looking for non-predictability or sheer "randomness", tons of natural phenomenon have just that. Quantum mechanics predicts only probabilities, not any particular event. Similarly, classical mechanics has limited predictive power when applied to complex situations such as turbulent water flow, or the propogation of a crack in a cement block. Are these "gaps" in classical physics evidence that Newton's laws just ain't so? Of course not.

As for those who claim that evolution is hardly predictive, I'd say it quite is. Predictions hardly need to be small laboratory experiments. General relativity wasn't proven by experiments in a lab, but observations of stars and planets, of clocks on spaceships, and so on. Proof is often indirect; before the advent of spectroscopy, chemical structures were elucidated by various chemical tests, which were hardly direct proofs of structure. Similarly, we can look for indirect proof of evolution. If evolution really is correct, fossil records will concur and fit within the framework. Molecular and gene patterns will fit. Mathematical models (say, of population genetics) with sufficient complexity and accuracy to real life should predict things that can be verified against what actually happens. And, wonder of wonders, it all happens to. So....it seems that evolution is a very good description indeed of the world at large, since everything we've found so far agrees with it. We've found evidence for common ancestry. We've found evidence for mutational fluctuations with populations, as well as genetic drift.

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23. Jeff Bonwick on December 23, 2005 6:01 AM writes...

Here's the key difference between science and ID. If an Intelligent Designer were to show up in a lab and demonstrate his/her ability to design things intelligently, scientists would admit they had it wrong, pull up a chair, and listen. If, on the other hand, Nature were to publish an article tomorrow that closed every hole in evolutionary theory and explained how you too can reproduce the creation of life from elements to elephants... the ID movement would still persist.

Religion is robust for the same reason the Internet is robust. It interprets data as damage and routes around it.

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24. RKN on December 23, 2005 7:40 AM writes...

But are you a scientist?

Yes. I hold an M.S. in geophysics and worked in exploration for big oil for about twenty years in the role of geophysicist and software developer. I am presently pursuing a PhD in biomedical science.

When I click on your links, it seems that you are a blogging Airedale terrier! Most remarkable, and difficult to explain by neo-Darwinian mechanisms. ;^)

Indeed. It's my Airedale's blog, occasionally he channels me.


Congratulate your master on the impending nuptials!

Thank you, I adore her.

Permalink to Comment

25. Marc on December 23, 2005 8:25 AM writes...

I agree with undergradchemist about blair`s interpretation of evolution.

However, Blair does have a point about Geometry, as exposed by Euclid. High school geometry is based on The Elements. It has an arguably 'unscientific' philosophy.

But then again, it is classified as math, not science. And as far as I know except for a few old russian guys no one has an alternate theory for triangles.

Geometry in schools would make an interesting debate

Permalink to Comment

26. Jim Hu on December 23, 2005 1:35 PM writes...

Marc,

Having unproveable premises isn't what marks something as science or not. The notion that nature follows rules at all, or even exists outside your imagination (where you is whoever is reading this post) is not proveable...this goes back to Descartes, Hume et al. But of course, that doesn't make it likely that you are the center of the universe and life is but a dream. I'd guess that most scientists share my view of the unproveability of anything from cogito ergo sum - that's nice, but it's completely useless to the practice of science.

Jeff Bonwick,

I have to admit that the Designer would probably be escorted off the premises by security as a crank...depends on the nature of the demonstration, I suppose!

RKN,
I actually was pretty sure that your providing a link was evidence that you wouldn't be claiming to be a scientist unless you really were one. Asking was part of teasing you about the blog being authored by Rufus. But thanks for the additional details. I have some thoughts on Rufus' post on the ID debate, but I'll leave a link on your blog comments if I elaborate on my blog.

Permalink to Comment

27. Blair on December 23, 2005 7:56 PM writes...

Thanks Undergrad.

1. "Evolution doesn't dismiss cause and effect. One of the two main tenets of evolution is Natural Selection, which is kind of a really basic logical tautology; that which survives best, survives best. Thus, organisms that have survived till now have probably, as far as we know, survived till now better than those that aren't around any longer."

That which survives survives. The ones that survive are better at surviving. My Webster's college dictionary says a tautology is a proposition that's true in all its forms. A circular statement. It gives this example: "The candidate will win or lose."

Math is the language of science. In scientific terms, y = y where y is a survivng life form. It survives because it survives. It causes itself. How do you plot that out if x=time? Let's say 1=extant and 0=extinct.

When or how long will y=1 and when will y=0? It depends on ability to survive. If a life form becomes extinct, the cause of extinction was inability to survive. Sure, any number of circumstances can cause the extinction. So when does evolution predict whales will become extinct? Evolution does not predict what species will be "selected" to survive. Selection just happens "naturally". Its predictions are beginning and end points of line segments in the past.

Once a species becomes extinct, can it come back to life?

2. "The other main tenet is a generation of variety, which is via mutations. Bats have wings, we have arms, and those differences are due to genes. That the structure of our arms and the structure of bats' wings seem to be common in terms of biological control, development, genes, and so on, with small variety allowing for wings and fingers, leads us to suspect that perhaps we come from a common ancestor whose descendents eventually became bats and humans. All the other genetic (and thus speciatic) variety that might have existed via mutations just didn't survive (e.g. the Neanderthal, the ancestors to the horse, etc.), due to Natural Selection."

Did Neanderthals become extinct because nature decided (selected) to have fewer species and a de-generation of variety? Or did the homo sapiens conduct a genocide?

Which mutation will cause y=0? Which mutation will cause y=1? What's the force? Natural Selection. How do you predict which species will come into existence and which ones will die off in the future. Predicting past events is not a prediction. Actually, evolution predicts a set of probablistic outcomes once a given mutation has occurred randomly.

Evolution seems more like astrology than quantum mechanics. Intelligent design postulates an unseen force to explain why mutations (etc.) happen. Natural selection insists the cause that effected the mutation is natural albeit unknown. More circular reasoning.

At the core of every science is faith. The problem is the evolution faith wants to exclude other faiths for fear that an unconventional idea may come along and supplant evolution (take away the research money). By not including and competing with opposing ideas, evolution has stagnated and not evolved much since the days of Darwin.

Every major scientific breakthrough occurs by rejecting a basic assumption. Which postulate will we reject next? What new theory will unify evolution and intelligent design?

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28. LNT on December 23, 2005 9:57 PM writes...


I'm a believer in God and a PhD organic chemist. God doesn't intervene in my reactions (hopefully!) and therefore my chemistry is (usually) reproducible. But what good is a belief in God if I believe that he has never intervened in history?

The teachings of evolution presuppose that God has never directly acted in history. This is a RELIGIOUS assumption. Since our scientific endevors have never "caught" god "in the act", we assume he/she has never acted. If purist evolution is taught in schools, it is essentially a promotion of athiesm. There is no room for a god if he/she has never acted in history.

Statements about the absence of a god acting in "creation" are inappropriate. I think that more scientists need to keep an open mind that there MAY be more to the world than we can see with our eyes.

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29. Derek Lowe on December 23, 2005 10:04 PM writes...

LNT: "But what good is a belief in God if I believe that he has never intervened in history?"

Y'know, you'd get agreement to that rhetorical question from people at the complete opposite ends of the argument. . .

Permalink to Comment

30. tgibbs on December 23, 2005 11:24 PM writes...

Michael: Actually, it should be REQUIRED FOR THE TEACHER TO SAY THAT.

Why? Because the quote is from: On the Origin of the Species, Chapter XV, Recapitulation and Conclusion, By Charles Darwin.

If you are going to teach Darwin's theory of evolution in public schools, you should teach what Darwin actually wrote about it.

This is the sort of comment one often hears from creationists, and it illuminates one of the key differences between religion and science. The fundamental mode of thought in religion is appeal to authority: the sayings of the prophets, the words of the Bible. So creationists love to quote some remark apparently critical of evolution from Darwin or some other famous scientist, obviously convinced that they have made a telling point--and then can't understand why the scientists look at them as if they are idiots.

Because, of course, to a scientist, a theory exists independently of the guys who originated it--it rests not upon their authority, but upon the subsequent data that supports it. So Darwin's ideas on the origin of life, Isaac Newton's alchemical ideas, or Kepler's notions about nested solids may be of interest as historical footnotes, but they are not relevant to discussion of the modern theories that still bear their names. A modern biology class is not expected to teach evolution as Darwin understood it, but evolution as it is understood today, including gene duplication, symbiotic origin of organelles, epigenetic inheritance, and all of the other stuff that Darwin never knew about.

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31. Still Scared of Dinosaurs on December 24, 2005 1:08 AM writes...

Blair wrote: "But evolution is not a science or religion. Evolution says the observed effects are random and unpredictable. How do you test and replicate randomness?"
It's called statistics. People have a very unfortunate tendency to view randomness as implying that all outcomes have an equally likely chance of coming up, so that all random binary processes are 50/50 and all random selections of 10 outcomes must average out to 10% each. Baseball batting averages are an example of random phenomena where 0.3 is pretty good, and Benford's Law is a surprising example of where the latter assumption is not true.
Randomness is tested when you assume that observed events are selected from a certain distribution randomly and test whether your results are consistent with the assumption. You have to make assumptions that, if true, mean something, and in the end you have to make a judgment as to whether you are convinced that your model is valid.
Then, if you're a scientist, you have to convince other scientists in your field to judge your model valid. The frustrating thing for scientists about ID, I think, is that IDers seem to feel that if you can't eliminate every last shred of judgment about the validity of evolution then it's all open to question. The scientific consensus is that the evidence for evolution as the best explanation of the diversity of life on Earth, as compared with any other explanation including YEC or ID, is overwhelming. This was core to Jones's decision in the Dover case.
I wonder if you could test assumptions about random genetic changes by culturing two types of single-celled creatures with different supposed rates of mutation. If each is known to occasionally display a mutation that gives it an overwhelming advantage over the other, but one is 4x more likely to occur than the other, you might expect 100 cultures to ultimately lead to 80 dominated by one and 20 by the other. Lot's of other assumptions would have to hold true for the model to be valid, and scientists might debate about whether these also need to be tested.

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32. Jeff Bonwick on December 24, 2005 1:53 AM writes...

ID folks: you say that scientists should be open-minded. You're right. I am open to being convinced. Can you offer either of the following:

(1) Any new fact that we have learned through ID research.

(2) Any experiment that either has been run, or at least could be run, that would confirm or deny ID.

No changing the subject, please: just a fact or a test.

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33. Jim Hu on December 24, 2005 3:34 AM writes...

LNT,

"The teachings of evolution presuppose that God has never directly acted in history."
Really?...I think it would be more accurate to say that the teachings of evolution provide a model where divine intervention is not required to explain biological diversity that had been previously been attributed to God acting directly in history. I don't think it says anything about what a Judeo-Christian God did outside of the first part of the Book of Genesis...but I haven't read the whole thing.

"If purist evolution is taught in schools, it is essentially a promotion of athiesm."
I'm an actual atheist, so perhaps I'm tone-deaf on this...but I disagree. If science and the supernatural are nonintersecting, then purist evolution says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of a deity. Some prominent atheists (e.g. Dawkins) admittedly act like it does.

"There is no room for a god if he/she has never acted in history."
Couldn't one still have a god who observes and provides judgement, reward, punishment, salvation, and/or forgiveness in the afterlife?

"Statements about the absence of a god acting in "creation" are inappropriate."
I agree. I hope nobody actually does this as an affirmative statement (but I am afraid that I won't be surprised if some do). But I think that it is appropriate to teach the absence of a requirement for a god to explain the generation of biodiversity after abiogenesis.

"I think that more scientists need to keep an open mind that there MAY be more to the world than we can see with our eyes."
Well, our eyes are pretty limited and scientists think about all kinds of invisible things all the time.

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34. Brian on December 24, 2005 10:37 AM writes...

I don't know, but it seems only in the US that this debate goes on. How can a country that is so advanced be so regressive and primitive at the same time.

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35. LNT on December 24, 2005 6:50 PM writes...

>LNT: "But what good is a belief in God if >I believe that he has never intervened in >history?"

>Derek: Y'know, you'd get agreement to that >rhetorical question from people at the complete >opposite ends of the argument. . .

My point is that I believe that God HAS interviened in history even though science hasn't and won't ever observe it. Science studies the reproducible. God's interventions are (by definition) not reproducible. The biggest intervention of all is what many of us celebrate tomorrow! Merry Christmas!

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36. Phil Owens on December 26, 2005 11:05 AM writes...

Nevermind evolutionists vs. scientific creationists, let's talk about evolutionists vs. evolutionists. If most scientists accept evolution (macro evolution) to be a fact, it's not due to any research that they've done on their own but rather the blind faith that they have put in those who say it is a fact.

Evolutionists vs Evolutionists -

"It is therefore of immediate concern to both biologists and layman that Darwinism is under attack. The theory of life that undermined nineteenth-century religion has virtually become a religion itself and, in its turn, is being threatened by fresh ideas. The attacks are certainly not limited to those of the creationists and religious fundamentalists who deny Darwinism for political and moral reason. The main thrust of the criticism comes from within science itself. The doubts about Darwinism represent a political revolt from within rather than a siege from without."—*B. Leith, The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism (1982), p. 11.

Just as pre-Darwinian biology was carried out by people whose faith was in the Creator and His plan, post-Darwinian biology is being carried out by people whose faith is in, almost, the deity of Darwin. They've seen their task as to elaborate his theory and to fill the gaps in it, to fill the trunk and twigs of the tree. But it seems to me that the theoretical framework has very little impact on the actual progress of the work in biological research. In a way some aspects of Darwinism and of neo-Darwinism seem to me to have held back the progress of science."—Colin Patterson, The Listener [senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, London].

"Throughout the past century there has always existed a significant minority of first-rate biologists who have never been able to bring themselves to accept the validity of Darwinian claims. In fact, the number of biologists who have expressed some degree of disillusionment is practically endless."—*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1986), p. 327.
"I personally hold the evolutionary position, but yet lament the fact that the majority of our Ph.D. graduates are frightfully ignorant of many of the serious problems of the evolution theory. These problems will not be solved unless we bring them to the attention of students. Most students assume evolution is proved, the missing link is found, and all we have left is a few rough edges to smooth out. Actually, quite the contrary is true; and many recent discoveries . . have forced us to re-evaluate our basic assumptions."—*Director of a large graduate program in biology, quoted in Creation: The Cutting Edge (1982), p. 26

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37. WBurke on December 26, 2005 11:21 AM writes...

So Derek you're in for another round of "As The World Burns"? You "scientists" possess the only minds in the world wherein you claim you believe only that which is proven - yet have as your foundation that which has never been proven, nor ever could be for that matter. You possess the only imaginations that have elevated to god-like status a veritable outcast of his own generation whose philosophies are the product of science fiction rather than science fact.

Point #1 - Nowhere in the history of mankind has there ever been witness or accounting of one kind, male and female, coming together to produce another kind of creature - songbirds are still songbirds and apes are still apes and people, well some of them, are still people.

Point #2 - Only in the mind of a "scientist" would it be plausible to ignore the Creator and spend trillions of dollars and manhours investigating and espousing ideologies about the createds formation outside of the realm of reality and that be viewed as a benefit to mankind.

Point #3 - Denying a fact does not make it no longer a fact. And the fact remains Derek that you and all of your friends and foes will one day give an account to the Creator for every thought word and deed. This God you profane and ignore will hold you accountable for every wicked intention of your heart, every lie, lustful thought, covetous and angry thoughts as well will not go unpunished but for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ none would be able to escape God's wrath. Evidence reveals there was a flood in which all but 8 of the Earth's inhabitants were wiped out due to their wickedness (their thoughts were only evil continuously), yet you deny that evidence as if your denial has any weight on the reality of God. Evidence reveals the Son of God came to this Earth and lived a sinless life and suffered more than any other man to pay the debt we could not begin to pay, a debt He did not owe but willingly He laid down His life that all who repent and trust in Him might be spared the eternal sufferings we deserve. He rose from the dead, a fact evidenced by the faithfulness to the death of His followers and the lack of any evidence to the contrary, a skeleton, any remains at all would surely have proven this claim false, but alas none existed for He was resurrected and seated at the right hand of His Father to judge you and to judge me.

Now I'm not gonna convince you that evolution is a farce, because people choose to believe what they choose to believe. And likewise I cannot convince you of your need to repent and trust in Jesus Christ because the Holy Spirit is responsible for that and I haven't the ability aside from the aid of the Holy Spirit working through me, but know this much Derek - the days are numbered before which you will stand to give your account, with each passing night you step one day closer to the realization that every so-called accomplishment of your life matters not, lest you have the protection of the Son of Man on that day you too will perish into the flames for all eternity. There is nothing outside of the reach of God to change or accomplish but rather with Him "all things are possible".

I know your pride is welling up inside of you and you're about to burst either into nervous laughter or fiery anger at my use of your space for the purpose I'm using it. How dare I, right? But know this Derek - God will bear witness to you that He is real and He is who the Bible says He is either now when you repent and trust or after your last breath when it is too late for you to change your course. No one comes to the Father but the Spirit draws him - don't let your last chance slip away Derek.

www.needGod.com

In Christ,
Bill

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38. Psychic Chemist on December 26, 2005 8:27 PM writes...

Oh come on Burke, Maybe there were only 8 people left in Israel after a flood. Maybe you ought to read some other OLDER texts like the Rig Veda or the Avesta. The world's been fine for a long time. If you still think there is a hell, then you are probably in one and you will continue to burn in it for the rest of your life.

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39. UndergradChemist on December 27, 2005 1:03 AM writes...

Sigh. These are tiresome discussions....

"Its predictions are beginning and end points of line segments in the past."

Well, some of its predictions are that, yes, those points (kind of) exist, except that these are less line segments and more broad spectra of variability isolated by physical means that prevent reproduction. There are other predictions that can occur, in terms of genomic relationships and inheritence, but the fact that line segments begin in the middle of other line segments is one prediction, and that line segments that began from the same line segment will tend to be genomically and physically related.

"Did Neanderthals become extinct because nature decided (selected) to have fewer species and a de-generation of variety? Or did the homo sapiens conduct a genocide?"

Why is that at all relevant? Nature doesn't "decide" anything. The humans may have killed them off; I don't know. The fact that they don't exist anymore, however, and existed in the past, gives evidence that somehow, humans survived better, whether by sheer luck (e.g. a plague wiped out almost all the Neanderthals), competition (e.g. humans wiped them out via war, hunting, or competition for resources), or predation from other things that may have killed them off.

Anyhow, the point is that evolution predicts that such intermediary species or coevolved species as Neanderthals would exist, and we found that they did. That they don't exist anymore in the present is not a problem.

"Predicting past events is not a prediction. Actually, evolution predicts a set of probablistic outcomes once a given mutation has occurred randomly."

First of all, predicting past events is *so* prediction. I drop a ball. I use Newton's gravitational law to predict the time it takes to hit the ground based on the mass, the radius of the earth, the height from the ground, and the mass of the earth. I check back to see if what theory predicts matches up with what *just happened* (i.e. in the past). Theory confirmed. It is only a small difference in mechanics that the event was five minutes ago versus a much longer time ago. Cosmic background radiation is a thermal effect from an event from much longer ago, at least according to current physical models, but it is predicted by inflationary universe theories. As long as a theory can predict something to occur without considering the data, then it's prediction, regardless of the order of theory and experiment. It is *logical* order that dictates prediction, not temporal.

"Evolution seems more like astrology than quantum mechanics. Intelligent design postulates an unseen force to explain why mutations (etc.) happen. Natural selection insists the cause that effected the mutation is natural albeit unknown. More circular reasoning."

You just said that evolution predicts a set of probabilistic outcomes after a random mutation. That's prediction, whether you like it or not, and not like astrology at all. Anyway, you've got it all backwards. Natural selection has nothing to do with the cause of mutations, *at all*. Natural selection gives the "set of probablistic outcomes once a given mutation has occurred randomly," as you so stated yourself. Mutations are probably natural in origin, because we have no evidence of any mutations that would not be from natural (i.e. physical) causes. If you can demonstrate one, please, publish.

"By not including and competing with opposing ideas, evolution has stagnated and not evolved much since the days of Darwin."

It definitely competed with opposing ideas. Lamarckian ideas died hard when Darwin's ideas came out (and later, Mendel's, since they supported Darwin and not Lamarck). Scientists, still today, debate whether natural selection did produce something, or whether it was a byproduct of selecting for other things (e.g. your bones are white, but they probably weren't selected to be so...). The debate about evolution is not that it doesn't happen, but to what extent it is responsible for the creation of certain biological mechanisms. Is it coincidence that caffeine kills bugs, or was that natural selection? We do not assume that evolution has to hold true in all circumstances, but debate and then resolve by analysis, data collection, and logical inference.

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40. jim on December 27, 2005 3:20 AM writes...

UndergradChemist,
Very good post. Thanks for that.

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41. WBurke on December 27, 2005 11:35 PM writes...

Psychic - Not interested in Hinduism or whatever you'd call Avesta's religion - but thanks for the comment brah - means alot. And just so you don't get caught up in that open mind debate, its not that I don't have an open mind, it is just that the man with experience is not subject to the arguments of others. My experience with God Almighty and the Holy Spirit is experience that renders comments like yours powerless.

www.needGod.com Psychic - answer now or pay later. If you think life on this side of death can represent the sufferings of hell you have no idea how wrong you are - imagine a torment beyond any other (Lake of Fire, if you will) in which each day leaves you no closer to the end than the day you arrive. That is what awaits those who refuse the gift of Salvation that comes through only One, Jesus Christ who conquered death.

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42. Phil on December 28, 2005 10:03 AM writes...

UndergradChemist

Did you say the Neanderthals coevoloved "with" humans? Weren't they said to be man's ancestors?

For about 100 years the world was led to believe Neanderthal man was stooped and apelike. This false idea was based upon some Neanderthals with bone diseases such as arthritis and rickets.s Recent dental and x-ray studies of Neanderthals suggest they were humans who matured at a slower rate and lived to be much older than people today.t Neanderthal man, Heidelberg man, and Cro-Magnon man are now considered completely human. Artists’ drawings of “ape-men,” especially their fleshy portions, are often quite imaginative and are not supported by the evidence.

. Jack Cuozzo, Buried Alive: The Startling Truth about Neanderthal Man (Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books, 1998).
. Boyce Rensberger, “Facing the Past,” Science 81, October 1981, p. 49.


“Fossil evidence of human evolutionary history is fragmentary and open to various interpretations. Fossil evidence of chimpanzee evolution is absent altogether.” Henry Gee, “Return to the Planet of the Apes,” Nature, Vol. 412, 12 July 2001, p. 131.

The debate about evolution is a bit more entailed than that. We have evolutionists as well as creationist who do not accept evolution as it applies to macro evolution.

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43. PandaFan on December 28, 2005 10:22 AM writes...

Sigh. What the anti-evolution crowd, such as the previous poster quoting Gee (as well as the claims that evolutionary science has 'stagnated'), consistently ignore is that modern evolutionary theory synthesizes & organizes a large collection of information from _many_ sources. The fossil record is far from perfect -- but it corroborates the molecular record. The molecular evidence is incomplete -- but it corroborates the developmental evidence. And so on.

On the flip side, evolutionary thinking provides a useful framework for designing new experiments -- this is the essence of prediction & what differentiates a science from a pseudo-science such as astrology or ID. No, we haven't seen a speciation event in the lab -- but we can hypothesize about what speciation events would do to DNA (or how DNA might drive speciation) and then go looking for the signatures we predict should be there.

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44. Phil on December 28, 2005 12:14 PM writes...

Sigh,

So what it PandaFan saying? Sounds rather vague.
He or she states that the fossil record is far from incomplete but it somehow corroborates the molecular record? How? Such psuedo-scientific explanations require the same kind of faith that the psuedo-scientific theory of macro evolution relies on.

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45. qetzal on December 28, 2005 2:20 PM writes...

Phil,

Maybe it would help if you think of evolution (and all other scientific theories) not so much as explanations, but as ways for predicting future observations. (Note that this includes future observations about past events.)

The theory of evolution (ToE) says that the current diversity of life on Earth arose through certain mechanisms (e.g. natural selection acting on heritable variation). Those mechanisms allow us to predict that in particular situations, we should observe certain things, and not others.

For example, suppose we discover a new rodent in 2006. If we sequence its genome, ToE says the sequence will match most closely to another rodent. ToE also says the sequence won't be chimeric on any large scale. In other words, we won't find that chromosome 1 of our new rodent matches well with some species of mouse, while chromosome 2 matches better with some species of vole.

That's just an example, and not necessarily a very good one. The point is, ToE allows us to accurately predict what we will observe in certain situations. Just like any other bona fide scientific theory.

ID, on the other hand, makes no such predictions (that I know of). Its proponents typically focus on criticizing ToE, as if any legitimate gaps are somehow evidence for ID. The reality is that even if ToE were entirely discredited, ID would still be an empty claim, unsupported by evidence and making no positive predictions. In short, it would still be unscientific.

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46. Phil on December 28, 2005 3:56 PM writes...

Qetzal,

ID does agree with adaption or as some say microevolution within species. Microevolution describes variations "within" a species based on which knowledge, yes, we can make other predictions. However, what it disagrees with is macroevoultion, one species evolving into a new species. Mechanisms such as natural selection and mutation "do" account for variation "within" a given species but they "do not" explain one species evolving into an entirely new species. So when you hear them talking about the complexity of living organism, this is what they are alluding to.

Notice, natural selection cannot produce new genes; it only selects among preexisting characteristics. As the word “selection” implies, variations are reduced, not increased

“[Natural selection] may have a stabilizing effect, but it does not promote speciation. It is not a creative force as many people have suggested.” Daniel Brooks, as quoted by Roger Lewin, “A Downward Slope to Greater Diversity,” Science, Vol. 217, 24 September 1982, p. 1240.
In 1980, the “Macroevolution Conference” was held in Chicago. Roger Lewin, writing for Science, described it as a “turning point in the history of evolutionary theory.The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No. Roger Lewin, “Evolution Theory under Fire,” Science, Vol. 210, 21 November 1980, p. 883.

As you can see challenges to Evolution isn't something new that proponents of ID are just now coming up with. These challenges have always been present.
So when people tell you that ID is is just creationism or religion repackaged, they're lying to you.

"Throughout the past century there has always existed a significant minority of first-rate biologists who have never been able to bring themselves to accept the validity of Darwinian claims. In fact, the number of biologists who have expressed some degree of disillusionment is practically endless."—*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1986), p. 327.

"It is therefore of immediate concern to both biologists and layman that Darwinism is under attack. The theory of life that undermined nineteenth-century religion has virtually become a religion itself and, in its turn, is being threatened by fresh ideas. The attacks are certainly not limited to those of the creationists and religious fundamentalists who deny Darwinism for political and moral reason. The main thrust of the criticism comes from within science itself. The doubts about Darwinism represent a political revolt from within rather than a siege from without."—*B. Leith, The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism (1982), p. 11.

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47. qetzal on December 28, 2005 5:11 PM writes...

Phil,

Please re-read the final paragraph of my previous comment. You're doing exactly what I pointed out - focusing on supposed criticisms of ToE. That is not the same as providing evidence for ID.

If your only point is that there are, in fact, gaps in ToE, I completely agree. There are gaps in every scientific theory. Based on your most recent comments, we certainly disagree about the size and significance of the gaps in ToE, but that's another matter.

Again, my point is that finding flaws in ToE proves nothing about the scientific validity of ID.

ID could, in principle, be more than just creationism repackaged. But only if the major ID proponents themselves begin to treat it as such. Unfortunately, their own actions make it abundantly clear that for them, it is indeed all about religion.

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48. Steve C on December 28, 2005 6:24 PM writes...

Let me try this again. This discussion, while interesting, has basically been a philosophical discussion, not one about science and politics. As long as the pro-science side engages on this level it will lose.

The number of straw men, contextless facts, and cherry-picked information put up by the IDers here are rhetorical argumentation essentially divorced from current evolutionary biology research. It sometimes has the appearance of referring to actual evolutionary science, but these people evidence no concept of current research and theory when pushed for details. Just try asking them to put evolutionary positions into their own words, and you'll see.

Look at this thread. There's very little focus on the fact that ID is all about changing school curriculum. ID supporters routinely [and the Discovery Institute ad nauseum] call it "an emerging scientific theory" but ID has no scientific publishing, no theoretical work, no growing body of evidence, no developing directions for future experimental work, no new discipline-specific collegial groups, no labs onboard, no funding for research, no plan for research, no research -- none of the hallmarks of a new, anti-establishment theory coming to the fore. The Discovery Institute, which originated and finances the ID campaign, is all about curriculum change.

ID's quest for immediate inclusion in schools amounts to demanding special treatment, of "not playing by the rules" all other scientific content has played by in making it's way into high school science curriculum. This reality turns ID's "fairness" argument on its head, doesn't it?

The immaculate conception of the Intelligent Design "movement" 15 years ago and it's rapid rise to national prominence is taken, chapter and verse, from big tobacco. It has been using the highly successful model the tobacco industry pioneered -- selling doubt. They are taking the doubt which is central to the scientific method -- one of it's strengths -- and easily transmuting it into an Achilles's heel.

Yes, I'm equating the ethics of the ID "movement" with the amorality of big tobacco. Pro-ID scientists lie about science, the Discovery Institute lies about it's religious intent, and even four pro-ID board of education members of tiny Dover, PA., were caught in multiple lies under oath during the recent "evolution" trial there. Remember creationist's/ID's attempts across the nation in the late 80s and early 90s to elect "stealth candidates" to such boards? This disobeying of the commandment, "Thou shall not commit false witness", runs throughout the ID movement, top to bottom.

This is, of course, the ultimate in situational ethics, so thoroughly decried by those on the right. Highly hypocritical. Their belief in their "ultimate reality" allows them to lie about any situation in service of that "ultimate reality". They feel no obligation even to follow their own commandments as befitting, they dare not argue, their own "special" nature. Anyone with more than a veneer of historical knowledge can see this type of personality throughout history and the immense amount of grief, destruction, and misery it has caused.

In other words, Loconte is lying when he equates the Big Bang theory with ID, and he knows it. There was no Big Bang Institute spending millions of dollars on a campaign to get "the controversy" about the Big Bang Theory taught in high schools. There were no law professors writing op-ed pieces on the legal arguments for putting Big-Bang in high school curriculum. There were no circuit-riding Big-Bang scientists spending hundreds of hours a year speaking to congregations in churches across the country. Loconte is simply a politician in front of a microphone lying. Ergo, he's an amoral operative seeking to manipulate the citizenry, and should be treated as such.

ID is very explicit about it's desire to change the definition of science to include supernatural causation, and such a redefinition of science is currently happening in Kansas. Here's creationism/ID's pedigree. First it was made illegal to teach evolution across the U.S. When the Supreme Court ruled such laws unconstitutional, the bible was turned into a science, "creation science", which was simply a name change. There was a concurrent attempt to turn science into a religion, "secular humanism". When the Supreme Court ruled against equal time for creation science, creationists turned to our increasing knowledge of persuasion science and now a much more sophisticated rebranding is happening. First, they've expurgated the divine simply by removing it, renaming it, and then developing various nomenclature that sound's like science to the uneducated. For awhile they pushed for the teaching of ID, but they corrected that and now argue for the teaching of "evidence against evolution", aka, "teach the controversy". Second, they are also attempting to change the definition of science -- literally taking that definition away from history and scientists, and giving it local elected officials. If they are successful in that endeavor, the ball game's over.

No one is preventing ID from spending a decade or two in the field and at the bench building up a body of scientific work that will bolster and refine a theoretical approach to biology. But no one is doing that work. Instead, all their energy is being focused on curriculum at the high school level. [There has never been any type of science that's proceeded in this manner.] Any scientists involved with ID, if they were honest, would be decrying this focus at every possible opportunity, because the experimental work would eventually bring the theory into the classroom. None are.

The ID "movement" is exclusively a political/cultural operation. Anyone familiar with their output knows they are capable of any falsehood they believe they can get away with. Scientists, so far, have either been reacting like the stereotypical detail-obsessed, divorced-from-reality, socially-clueless egghead, or deer caught in headlights. This issue is about using our public education system to change basic cultural characteristics of our society. Thinking about ID in any other terms simply feeds the monster. You are then responding exactly in the way they want you to. You are being outflanked and defeated. You can't prevail against a political operation by making scientific arguments.

This isn't about science, it's about psychomarketing. Virtually all of the published pro-ID reaction to Judge Jones' ruling is from non-scientists and has nothing to do with actual science, instead using political code words and psychomarketing tactics. The far-right's marketing-factory-cum-think-tanks have recently been cranking out more and more screeds all using the same set of dishonest, misleading talking-points. Discussing actual science isn't on the list.

Science is facing a very sophisticated, amoral political machine -- masquerading as a scientific movement to a scientifically illiterate public through skillful propaganda -- that has no concern at all for what damage it may cause science. Remember, the demarcation between "amoral" and "evil" is a very nebulous boundary.

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49. Anonymous on December 28, 2005 7:12 PM writes...

Qetzal,

You don't seem to be able to see the forest for the trees. If by looking at the data one can conclude that what we observe did not come about by itself then we should be able to conclude that there was an agent behind what took place. We should be able to come to that conclusion without looking at evolution.

DNA is not just a molecule – it is a coding system with a language & alphabet, and contains a message
All languages, codes and messages come from a mind

We should be able conclude or at least hypothesize
that their was an agent responsible for the formation of DNA

Intelligent Design take into consideration the law of biogenesis, the law of mass action, fluid condensation, the reaction that chemical compounds have with oxygen, proteins and hydrolysis, when concluding that an agent/designer was resposible for the origen of life.

When Intelligent Design sees the the complexity of certain organism such as the the cell, the eye, etc., observes each working component indivually, observes that that each part is dependent is dependent on the other; they can conclude that each working part required the other to have any value and therefore conclude that intelligence was responsible for all working parts.

Medical science uses cause and effect as an analysis on a regular basis.

The Challenge of evolution for most people is a challenge to their belief system. This explains their emotional responses as if it were a personal attack;it explains their lack of objectivity to any idea that might challenge evolution. Why do you think people are so quick to challenge ID without even knowing what it's about? People who can't even say what the mechanism for evolution is yet they defend it fiercely

How many people

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50. Steve C on December 28, 2005 9:07 PM writes...

I had decided to deconstruct whatever post came immediately after my last, to illustrate my point about the nature of the ID campaign and how to respond to it, but this isn't fair. It was a gift.

Still, it makes my point. The ID campaign is solely about putting this market-tested language into the hands of citizens so they can construct reasonable-sounding [to them] political campaigns out of it. "Anonymous" clearly has no understanding how non-sensical his post was. And just as clearly doesn't understand most of this thread, or is just using it as an opportunity to trot out his talking points.

But, I'll do a bit.

"If by looking at the data one can conclude that what we observe did not come about by itself ..."

How do we "conclude" something "did not come about by itself", and do so from data?

"DNA is not just a molecule - it is a coding system with a language & alphabet, and contains a message"

Actually, every molecule in the universe fits this description. How long ago did you take chemistry?

"All languages, codes and messages come from a mind"

Depends on you define mind, and language. There's no doubt that a variety of animal species use elaborate "codes" to pass "messages" between individuals.

"We should be able conclude or at least hypothesize that their was an agent responsible for the formation of DNA"

You can hypothesize all you want. Why insist this hypothesis go into science curriculum without a body of research behind it? I can hypothesize agents responsible for the creation of various real world elements, as thinkers and philosophers have done for millenia. So they all should be put into our high school science curriculum?

"Intelligent Design take into consideration the law of biogenesis, the law of mass action, fluid condensation, the reaction that chemical compounds have with oxygen, proteins and hydrolysis, when concluding that an agent/designer was resposible for the origen of life."

Zero attempt made to cite or explain the research showing each of these enumerated items.


"Medical science uses cause and effect as an analysis on a regular basis"

No attempt to define "cause and effect" and what this has to do with high school science curriculum.

"Why do you think people are so quick to challenge ID without even knowing what it's about?"

Zero attempt to provide any evidence to anything. Who are these people? What constitutes this reaction you're citing. Prove they they don't understand ID. People do tend to get upset when they are involved in discussions with indivduals who repeatedly lie, and then lie about lying when caught. We're a highly social, small-group-living species that has evolved to detect and punish cheaters in our alturistic-dependent social groups.

This is not a discussion about science, in any way. "Anonymous" is a foot-soldier in a political campaign, just like in the last election we had thousands of Americans debating stem cell research without any good idea of what stem cells are or scientific research is.

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51. WBurke on December 29, 2005 8:45 AM writes...

Wise men are instructed by reason; men of less understanding, by experience; the most ignorant, by necessity; the beasts, by nature. M.T. Cicero

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. Aldous Huxley

Wise words which are very applicable to the discussion at hand, but the most relevant quote that comes to mind is from Edmund Burke who very eloquently stated: "They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance."

People get tunnel vision when their livelihood and "religious" beliefs are on the line. Knowing therefore that it takes more "faith" to believe all humans came from a "cosmic soup," as Darwinian disciples would have one believe, devoid of any evidencial support, rather than from one man and one woman as Creation Science or ID would make a case for, something which we have witnessed for as long as history accounts - they attack what is not central to the issue - "Faith in God", belief in the Bible, etc... - never realizing that the very thing they purport to proclaim, "science", is not even a part of their own argument.

Anonymous said it well when he/she stated: "The Challenge of evolution for most people is a challenge to their belief system. This explains their emotional responses as if it were a personal attack;it explains their lack of objectivity to any idea that might challenge evolution."

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52. PandaFan on December 29, 2005 10:37 AM writes...

Ah, Mr. Burke makes a testable hypothesis & it can be definitively set aside -- it is clear that humans contain far too much variation to have descended from a single ancestral pair of humans, particularly in the timeframe a young earth creationist would insist upon.

Saying that the various evidence corroborates is not pseudoscience, it is the observation. The relatedness between organisms (suggesting the pattern of common ancestors -- what is commonly drawn as a tree) can be estimated from fossil evidence, but that evidence is sometimes insufficient or insufficiently clear to resolve every relationship. For example, the human-chimp(s)-gorilla branching. Molecular evidence gives very similar trees but with higher resolution (due to the enormous number of datapoints). Molecular evidence from DNA/protein has definitively separated that one (we're closer to the two chimps than they are to gorillas). However, molecular evidence can't be linked back to anatomical evidence, because we don't yet understand the mapping. So we can get congruent trees from multiple lines of evidence, but we can't yet precisely say which molecular changes led to which anatomic changes.

The molecular data illustrates why ID is not a scientific theory. Chimp DNA is more similar to human DNA than to gorilla DNA -- why? Why are orangs even more distant? Why is the same story repeated in the structure of chromosomes? Common descent provides a useful framework for all of these observations.

The idea that new genes can't be generated is simply bunk. First, existing genes can be duplicated and those duplicates then diverge in roles. There is much evidence for this. Second, various transposable elements can generate entirely new genes or portions of genes -- the evidence for this is also widespread.

Penultimate point: the difficulty in devising a clear definition of species would be a major scandal if ID were a scientific theory -- ID/creationism posits that there are immutable biological entities at the species (or slightly higher) level. For an evolutionary framework, mutability of species is expected, so the difficulty in sharply defining species (e.g. ring species) is a nuisance but not a show stopper.

Finally, if ID is such a powerful theory then where are the useful inferences from it? Where are the predictions? Where are the experiments testing its hypotheses? Even if ID had scientific validity, it wouldn't be taught in schools because it simply hasn't proven itself. But, since it is utterly untestable, it won't ever get to that stage.

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53. WBurke on December 29, 2005 1:08 PM writes...

Dana - Nice Straw Man - why don't you step out of the confines of your head and this forum and step into a real world debate with the likes of Kent Hovind (who'll offer you a chance at $250K should you be able to provide PROOF of Darwinian Evolution, aka Macro-Evolution)? I've see nteh debates and they are an embarrassment to the world of science, not the world of Creationists. Now I know ID and Creation are not the same thing, but they are both more solidly grounded in the science world than the idea of our evolution from apes or the cosmic soup theory.

Panda - rap on brother - you still have never shown that humans don't come from humans and apes don't come from apes. You can suggest that we didn't come from one pair of humans, say an Adam and an Eve, but you see that is a stupid argument to even posit because if such were not the case you would have had to have the same unscientific evolutionary event occurring throughout the world, and then the fiction scale on your STORY goes way up.

Again you two are proving the statement of Edmund Burke (no relation) "They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance."

In Crist,
Bill

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54. UndergradChemist on December 29, 2005 2:29 PM writes...

My posts seem to have been swallowed up by the moderation system, so I'll try again...

There is plenty of evidence for speciation, or "macroevolution," though really it's all the same as microevolution. The main difference between creating variation within species and speciation is that with the latter, the mutations and genetic changes cause a physical partition of the gene pool, whereas with the former, they don't.

Some citations for evidence of observed speciation in action:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

And for those who don't like talk-origins and would like a journal, Science has an article about observations of the beginnings of speciation:
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/310/5756/1878
(the part about speciation is in the middle).

These are all very nice results corroborating evolution as a mechanism for the origin of new species.

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55. Steve C on December 29, 2005 4:08 PM writes...

WBurke--

If you would be so kind...

1. Define the scientific method.

2. Specifically, what makes it "clear" that humans are too varied to have a single pair of ancestors circa 10,000 years ago.

Anybody can hide their ignorance by speaking in generalities or using language prefabricated to hide and distract.

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56. UndergradChemist on December 29, 2005 4:44 PM writes...

As a point of fact, the human species is not that diverse at all, at least compared to genetically larger and more diverse populations such as the chimpanzee. Most of our population growth has been fairly recent, which means that on the time scale of population genetics, we're closer to the diversity of a 10,000 person population. That's why things like the HapMap project (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v437/n7063/full/nature04226.html) are even conceivably feasible.

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57. Phil on December 29, 2005 7:10 PM writes...

Diana, PandaFan, Steve

[This is just Part I]

Ok, Steve, I'll start with you since I'm not sure how late you're allowed to stay up.

Statement: " How do we "conclude" something did not come about by itself"

Response: Well, ask yourself how do archeologists come to that conclusion when they come across ancient artifacts? Why not simply conclude that omnnipotent chance was responsible?
Why did scientists look for signs of intelligent life on Mars? How would they have arrived at such a conclusion based on your argument against ID?

Statement: "Depends on [how] you define mind and language. There's no doubt that a variety of animal specieces use elaborate "codes" to pass messages ' between individuals"

Response:so what's your point? Animals have minds right? Please clarify.

Diana & PandaFan

Statement: "... if ID is such a powerful theory then where are the useful inferences from it? Where are the predictions? Where are the experiments testing its hypotheses? Even if ID had scientific validity, it wouldn't be taught in schools because it simply hasn't proven itself. But, since it is utterly untestable, it won't ever get to that stage."

Response: Now, one can’t have it both ways. One can’t say both that ID is unfalsifiable (or untestable) and that there is evidence against it. Either it is unfalsifiable and floats serenely beyond experimental reproach, or it can be criticized on the basis of our observations and is therefore testable. The fact that critical reviewers advance scientific arguments against ID (whether successfully or not) shows that intelligent design is indeed falsifiable.(testable)

Behe states:
A prominent claim I made in Darwin’s Black Box is that, not only are irreducibly complex biochemical systems unexplained, there have been very few published attempts even to try to explain them. This contention has been vigorously disputed not so much by scientists in the relevant fields as by Darwinian enthusiasts on the Internet.

In fact, my argument for intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box (Behe 1996) I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum—or any equally complex system—was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.

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58. UndergradChemist on December 29, 2005 7:57 PM writes...

ID in general is impossible to falsify, simply because it is untestable; that there is a supernatural intelligent designer is impossible to refute by direct evidence, because each of these is a mere "example" of the idea that there is a creator, and refuting each example is not a refutation of the existence of a creator in general. We can, however, deconstruct and falsify specific examples cited by ID supporters, because these are assertions of natural facts that one can observe. The point is to show that there are no natural facts that support or deny the claims that a supernatural creator exists, and thus ID is not a idea emergent from the natural world, and thus not a scientific theory.

As for the flagellum, these two pages should give a brief description of why this is not conclusive evidence in favor of ID:
http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design1/article.html
http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

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59. Jeff Bonwick on December 29, 2005 8:52 PM writes...

Twenty comments ago, I kindly asked the ID supporters here to offer any new fact discovered by ID research, or any experiment that could either prove or disprove ID. I'm still waiting.

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60. Steve C on December 29, 2005 9:52 PM writes...

How do we "conclude" something "did not come about by itself", and do so from data?

"Well, ask yourself how do archeologists come to that conclusion when they come across ancient artifacts? Why not simply conclude that omnnipotent chance was responsible? Why did scientists look for signs of intelligent life on Mars? How would they have arrived at such a conclusion based on your argument against ID?"

1. I'm not asking myself, I'm asking Anonymous. And it's not a rhetorical question. He says "by looking at the data one can conclude" but mentions neither data nor explicates a methodology for reaching conclusions. These are the core of science. Without that, it's just a political statement aimed at the scientifically ignorant. You did exactly the same thing. Very dishonest. You avoided answering the question. Saying "you do it just like these other scientists", is avoidance.

If you want to answer the question, answer it specifically. What data and what method to apply to that data to reach conclusions? In your example, how do archaeologists decide something dug up was manufactured, and not a chance object. It's your example, you tell me. Be honest.

2. I can't imagine more than a handful of scientists in a relevant field looking for intelligent life on Mars in the last 50 years, or more. Name a few. As for "my argument against ID" being relevant to conclusions about life on Mars, you're lapsing into dishonest rhetorical device again -- you're putting words in my mouth. I've made no argument against ID remotely relevant to that issue. So, in your own words, explain what my argument against ID is. That is relevant.

3. Finally, "Response:so what's your point? Animals have minds right? Please clarify." is factually wrong, or at least it makes my point. All animals [complex mutlicelluar organisms with specialized organs[help me out, biologists!] ] have BRAINS, more or less, but whether they have minds, or when a brain becomes a mind, is a matter of definition.

But, I think I can extend the argument even further, though I'm on shakier ground in botany. There's been various research over the last decade or so showing there are plant species that signal chemically to others of the same species nearby about changes in their environment that result in appropriate responses in the individuals receiving the communication. For, example, a tree infected by insects or blight might send a chemical signal through the ground or air that causes other trees to change their biochemistry in ways that enable them to effectively fight that particular infection. This is communication, but does it come from a mind?

Do trees have minds? Prove it, pro or con. It's a matter of definition, and the more inclusive the definition the less logical weight it carries in argumentation. Animists often believe rocks have minds, but to bring that into science is dishonest. It ain't science.

But respond to my points 1 and 2. I've called you a lier, twice. I think I've made a good case. You're a propagandist, and you are very carefully avoiding anything that actually constitutes science and avoiding or mischaracterizing what I said.

P.S. You lied in your response to Diana and PandaFan, and Behe lied twice in the quotes you used, one of which showed up in his recent Dover trial testimony. But if you want to just spew out a string of lies and refuse to be held accountable for them, it's political suicide to engage you on those specific topics. I'm offering you an opportunity to prove you're not an intentional sinner, starting with me.

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61. Phil on December 29, 2005 10:52 PM writes...

WARNING TO ALL PROPONENTS OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN AND ALL NON-EVOLUTIONISTS:

DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME TRYING TO REASON WITH THESE DEVOUT DARWINIAN DISCIPLES!

Trust me on this. If you'll read the previous posts you will note that they display zero objectivity.Oh and Steve is just plain LD .

The Challenge of evolution for them is an attack on their belief system.This explains their lack of scientific objectivity to any ideas that might challenge the sanctity of evolution.

I quote: The irony is devastating. The main purpose of Darwinism was to drive every last trace of an incredible God from biology. But the theory replaces God with an even more incredible deity—omnipotent chance


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62. WBurke on December 30, 2005 12:07 AM writes...

Steve, PLEASE!!!

You are funny and I'd be laughing myself out of my seat were it not so sad to me to imagine one so enveloped in his convoluted sense of reality that he deems original thought to be "prefabricated" as if to persuade others to believe intent to manipulate an argument in a deceptive and premeditated manner out of the realm of honest intellectual dissent and into some contrived gauntlet of ideology that confuses the issue and distracts rather than addresses the problem at hand. All that said to simply say this, your statement "Anybody can hide their ignorance by speaking in generalities or using language prefabricated to hide and distract." - what is it about? I raised a seemingly basic problem with the whole macro-evolution ideology you Darwinian Disciples hang your hats on without any recognition that you've crossed over into Science Fiction, because NEVER has a scientist ever witnessed one kind of creature producing another kind of creature. Interestingly enough this is exactly how the Genesis account of Creation states it. If you've got something substantial to overturn this simply stated FACT - then by all means bring it forth. Otherwise there is really no reason to continue to embarrass your intelligence.

You want the definition of the scientific method - I'll accept wikipedia's at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

As for #2 - you might want to work on your phrasing of a question, if this is how you would make out a questionnaire you'll be hard pressed to get any consistency in your answers. The question is poorly worded and I ask what exactly are you in search of? I have no doubt that all races came from the offspring a 8 survivors of a worldwide flood in which the landscape of the earth was forever altered - but that's because Evidence backs the Biblical account of Creation whereas the Evolutionary trail is littered with bogus claims and illogical theories/beliefs, namely Nebraska Man, Lucy, Piltdown Man, Heidelberg Man, Peking Man, Neanderthal Man, New Guinea Man, Cro-Magnon Man?

Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds of all time wrote often about God in ways that those seeking scientific knowledge would be wise to pay attention to:

"In the view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views."
The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, page 214

"We know nothing about [God, the world] at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. Possible we shall know a little more than we do now. But the real nature of things, that we shall never know, never."
The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, page 207

"I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts. The rest are details."
The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, page 202

Source God Doesn't Believe in Atheists by Ray Comfort and http://www.marcusfitzhugh.com/einstein.html

I'll rest here.

In Christ,
Bill

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63. Jeff Bonwick on December 30, 2005 1:08 AM writes...

Phil, WBurke -- you *can* reason with me. I am open to persuasion. All I've asked for is a single fact discovered by ID, or an experiment that could prove or disprove ID.

That's all I'm asking for. A fact or a test. Just one.

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64. Anonymous on December 30, 2005 11:20 AM writes...

Jeff,

Several examples have been given already in previous posts. As stated, archeologists don't have to rely on omnipotent chance so why do proponents of ID? You obviously have the Internet. If you're truly objective, research the information for yourself. If there is a point that you disagree with, bring in it up for discussion. You can start with the argument presented by Behe a few posts up. If you need more information, search "Behe responds to critics"
in the search menu. You'll find plenty of information there including responses to the point Undergrad makes about flagellum. Notice that Undergrad seems content to simply find an evolutionist(s) that disagrees with Behe and I guess assumes the rest of us should be too. Is that objective thinking? If one isn't a Darwinian sheep, that certainly wouldn't be enough. Evolutionists can't afford to rest on faith like the creationists. They must go further and ask the questions, what make one scientist right and the other wrong. In fact Behe has very impressive credentials:

He has a Ph. D. in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania (received an award from Sigma Xi for "Best Thesis), postdoc'd for four years at the National Institutes of Health (as a Jane Coffin Childs Fund postdoctoral fellow), has been an academic biochemist for 14 years. He has gained tenure at a reasonably rigorous university; he's published a fair amount in the biochemical literature, and has continuously had his research funded by national agencies (including a five-year Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health).

Oh and he's not alone I could give you a steady growing and extensive list of scientists that have up with the same conclusions that he has. The fact that a majority of scientists choose to hold a particular view means nothing just as it hasn't in the history of science.

What's frustrating though is when after reading a post where Behe spells out how to test one of his hypothesis, Undergrad comes right behind him and says it isn't testable.

Also note how on December 29th PandaFan begins with..."Ah, Mr. Burke makes a testable hypothesis & it can be definitively set aside" and then ends with "Even if ID had scientific validity, it wouldn't be taught in schools because it simply hasn't proven itself. But, since it is utterly untestable, it won't ever get to that stage."

Give me a break!, testable then untestable?

Maybe Phil's right and this debate is a waste of time

Oh, but I love how he bates Steve with questions like "Don't animals have minds"?
(LOL)

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65. WBurke on December 30, 2005 11:56 AM writes...

I'll close my commentary with this quote from Dr. John Morris Ph.D. in his article "What Are They Afraid Of?" which can be found at:
http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=news&action=view&ID=50

Evolutionists purport that there is no real science supporting intelligent design, that ID is just religion, or at least a “backdoor” to religion. But the facts are that many secular scientists, through observation and experimentation and based on the scientific evidence and data they’ve obtained, have come to the conclusion that life has been designed, not created by mere chance from nothing.

Science involves conducting research, using the scientific method in various disciplines, and reporting on the data and results. There’s no religion in the facts. ICR has recently discovered groundbreaking evidence about rock dating, carbon-14 in diamonds, excess helium within zircons, and other geologic data supporting a young earth. ICR is adamant that this science be available for scrutiny by critical thinkers—that students, specifically, are able to evaluate the evidence and formulate their own beliefs If the science points to a designer, so be it. But if the evidence suggests otherwise, which we’re sure it does not, then so be it. Let the chips fall where they may.

Perhaps evolutionists’ avoidance of these kinds of data exposes a basic insecurity in their position. ICR has long held that evolution cannot stand the test of science—it must avoid the light of open inquiry. Only by limiting the debate can evolutionists hope to maintain their monopoly on education. Yet, it serves us well to recognize that the debate involves a deeper issue than just control of academic content. If evolutionists admit that science does indeed support intelligent design, then they are admitting that there is a possibility of a Creator. Perhaps what evolutionists are truly afraid of are the implications of the presence of a higher power. Higher power means higher authority and, ultimately, higher accountability.

Dr. John is from a Creationist point of view, as am I, so debating for ID is not my interest as I believe there is only one designer and to leave doubts as to His Name is to withhold from them the only Truth that can set them free. I jumped into the fray here because the evolutionist arguments are mind-numbingly simplistic and defy any scientific grounding, that is if they aren't outright lies and deception.

Jeff if you want answers on ID check out some ID websites like:

http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/

http://www.y-origins.com/

Final comment: Where did cars come from? The product of the creative minds of DESIGNERS. Where did the computer you're working on come from? The creative minds of DESIGNERS. Where did buildings and shopping malls and office complexes come from? The creative minds of DESIGNERS of these things. All of these are far less complex mechanisms thant the human or even animal anatomy and physiology - yet we are supposed to have our children believe that these even more complex things came by chance? That common characteristics are to mean a relationship in ancestry rather than a common design idea of a DESIGNER such as say: monitors, keyboards and a mouse for computers, engine, wheels and a steering wheel in cars or doors and windows in buildings? It defies common sense in the highest magnitude to believe Darwinian Disciples misguidance about how we came into existence - were it not so short on support it would not be such a battle to keep the science classroom free of alternatives like Creation Science and ID. Science supports Creation and ID while only "scientists" support Darwinian evolution. As for your question Jeff about what scientific fact ID discovered (carefully worded question) - the movement seems to have at minimum taken facts ignored by Darwins Disciples and assembled them to make their case. Not being an ID spokesperson I cannot say which facts they've come up with, but if you are seriously interested, then you'll seriously research it, and quite assuredly if you are open to reason and reality you will find convincing evidence for ID.

In Christ,
Bill

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66. Steve C on December 30, 2005 3:22 PM writes...

WBurke,

Sorry, I screwed up my question #2. PandaFan said that when responding to you [52]. I was trying to understand why you would say that, but you didn't. No wonder I was confused.

You and Phil pepper your discussion with the word "science" and it's derivitives, but it seems likely you are using that with a different meaning than most others here. I'm just trying to get these definitions explicit.

Why? Here's an example. You said, "NEVER has a scientist ever witnessed one kind of creature producing another kind of creature." I assume your implication is this is detrimental to evolutionary biology. But NO biologist has ever argued that has happened. Ever. Only anti-evolutionists argue so. It's a straw man.

This is what I mean by scripted or prefabricated. You are defining evolutionary science in a way that suits your argument, then drawing inferences from YOUR definition, and pinning them on evo-bio. This is dishonest.

An honest approach would be to start with "facts", or positions, that are actually the products of evolutionary biology and then use the inherent consistency of evo-bio [hypotheses, theories, data, and experimental results] to disprove aspects of, or all of it. But mischaracterizing or fabricating a position, then falsely attributing it to someone by implication or otherwise is, well, false.

Another way this is scripted or prefabricated is that you didn't come up with this statement. Most, if not all, of your points have not come from you. These are all over the nation now, and they've been generated by a tiny group of people for very particular effect. You're just a mouthpiece. I'm simply trying to get you and Phil to go beyond all this prepared material and actually talk about science. The point of all this interest in ID is, usually, getting it introduced into high school science curriculum. That's why it's relevant to talk about science.

I'll give you one deconstruction of some prefabricated script which is also a lie, in many ways: the Behe that Phil quotes
"... my argument for intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. . .I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can't be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum's, or any equally complex system, was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven."

Nobody can, at this point in time, set up a lab experiment to evolve bacterial flagellum. Behe knows why, but he's witholding that information so he can make an argument that seems credible to scientifically illeterate people who won't look beyond his setup. That's a lie in anyone's book.

Let me explain.

First, we have no idea what precursors are necessary in a bacterium for it to evolve flagellum. If precusors aren't necessary, that means every bacterial species has the potential to directly evolve flagellum, and again virtually nobody believes this. So, some ballpark figures. Let's say there are a million bacterial species on Earth. 10,000 have the necessary precursors, or 1 out of a thousand, or 0.1%. I can't do a statistical analysis to figure out how many different species would have to be tested, but it's a lot more than a thousand.

You can also add to that the possibility these precursors are not randomanlly distributed on Earth. For example, it might be more likely to find flagellum precursors in bacteria in water habitat than inside stone.

Second, we have no idea what sorts of selective pressures lead to flagellum. Saying "mobility" is assinine. There are many of types of mobility, it's not a simple nor singular thing -- mobility for feeding is something different from mobility for predator avoidance, and mobility for feeding on fixed, soft food is different from mobility for feeding on moving, hard food. What if it takes cyclically fluctuating selective pressure*s* to evolve flagellum? And the experimenter gets everything right except the period of the cycle. The list goes on and on.

And, it doesn't have to be mobility. For a long time it's been assumed that the pulsing of jellyfish hoods was a means of propulsion. I'm not familiar with the extent of debate on this matter among jellyfish researchers. But some of those researchers have recently been producing experiemental evidence that jellyfish undulations are much more effective as feeding mechanisms than as propuslion systems. This opens up the possibility that one is a by-product of the evolution of another.

We can only put together hypotheses for how flagellum evolved. There are tens of millions of species on the planet living in highly diverse, still mostly hidden, ecosystems tied to physical environments. In the past there were ecosystems in physical environments that no longer exists. Science has just scratched the surface of this "Earth laboratory." To say, or imply, as Behe does, we can figure out what selective pressure SHOULD lead to flagellum, is dishonest.

Third, why ten thousand generations? What if it takes a million generations? Or 100 milliion? Who's to say? How long do you run such an experiment?

Looking at the details of Behe's proposed experiment it's clear that, for the foreseeable future, it's failure would be meaningless and it's success a probability approaching zero. The number of potential variables runs beyond the millions into the unknowable. So while, yes, theoretically the specific claim that bacterial flagellum are irreducibly complex could be disproven, the only way to test that definitively is to watch natural selection itself over time. [That's being done, by the way, but to an infintesimal degree.] In fact, it would be hard to argue that Behe's lab experiment, if successful, would NOT be the result of an intelligent designer, e.g., the scientist setting up the experiment.

The fact that he knows this, but ignores it, is suspect.

But here's what's key about Behe's statement. He's not proposing a Theory of Intelligently Designed Flagellum. ID's paradigm allows it to simply say, Oh, well, I guess flagellum aren't intelligently designed, but there's still B, C, D, E, etc. How many "examples" must be disproven before ID fails? A real science would be creating a theoretical framework that would allow it to differentiate, say, mathematically, between designed and undesigned features that otherwise all seemed designed. Then, ID proponents themselves would hunt out the designed feature most easily and credibly faslified and make mulitple attemps to prove it undesigned, publish the results, and design further experiements based up their experimental weaknesses.

No one is doing this. All that's happened is a couple scientists have dreamed up a list and said, "so there!" And this hasn't been presented to the scientific community, but instead to the public. Science doesn't work this way, politics does.

Now, this is prefabricated because ID backers aren't discussing any of this with regards to science. You can't have science without a consensual approach to the definition of data and the types of analysis appropriate to specific data. ID types repeatedly use "science", "scientifically", "evidence", etc. but it's impossible to get them to actually discuss science or how they are using these terms. [So I was interested in your definition/understanding of the scientific method, not someone elses.] I'm increasingly concluding that's because they have no concept of what science is or how it works or how these terms apply. They just clam up. Plus, it's the same arguments, over and over and over. You and Phil are very bright people, but you're presenting the same general arguments as Anonymous did, and scores of others. I'm just trying to get specific terms defined, but there's no there there.

I asked Anonymous some very specific questions which, at least I thought, showed his statements were, more or less, meaningless. "Empty rhetoric" if you will. Phil responded with generalities, and even attempted to make claims about my argumentation without any specificity. So I asked him some simple questions to illustrate his responses were disengenuous. I still think a made a good case for that. But once again, move off-script, someplace where he needs to account for what he's actually saying, and he bails. This is typical behavior

Back to Behe for a moment. He also claims that immune systems are an example of irreduceabley complex systems. In the Dover trial he claimed that science hadn't been able to prove the immune sytem had elvolved. He was then presented with a number of books, book chapters, and research papers all dealing with the evolution of the immune system. Around 50 of these. [I'm not going back through the transcripts, this is all paraphrase.] He was familiar with a few at most, possibly none.

However, he claimed that he didn't need to be. Because of the nature of his argument, he knew none of these publication addressed his point. Now stop here. This is Behe testifying truthfully, under oath. He said that the content of any research in these publications was not material, regardless of what it was. He knew it was wrong without needing to see it or understand it. How can that be science?

He can believe that. I have no quarrel with his belief. And, those papers may very well have nothing to do with his belief. No problem. But to claim he's doing science on the one hand, and on the other say that scientific research is irrelevant to his particular "science", is, fundamentally, a lie. How else would you characterize it? There are many, many ways to lie.

I actually have no desire to oppose the pursuit of Intelligent Design as a possible new addition to scientific endeavor. Nor am I interested in mounting any kind of "defense" of evolutionary biology.

What has motivated me to spend this time here, and other places, is the national campaign to get ID, in any fashion, included in high school science curriculum. Every single piece of this campaign I've come across is completely dishonest. This dishonesty ranges from sophisticated manipulation to obvious, bald lies. And it's being done with exactly the same type of political campaign strategy and tactics the far right has developed and used over the last 3 decades. It's a house of cards that is easily collapsed if focused on. I can discuss this is great detail from a professional's point of view. It's very difficult to get people to focus on this. They tend to run for the hills.

But if you're not interested in forcing ID into school curicullum; if you're willing for it to first take the time to develope as every other field of science has, then we have no disagreement.

Also, all of my discourse, except for the references to scientific research results, came out of my own mind. I neither read it nor heard it anywhere else.

[I need to go, so this is going up un-spellchecked].]

P.S. Anonymous: Define "a steady growing and extensive list of scientists". The last time I came across such a claim it was shown to be out and out falsehood by the staff at Scientific American. Detail provided upon request.

And I don't understand how Phil's comment about minds was baiting. All I said was, that Anon's original statment meant nothing because he provided no definitions to very broad terminology. You still haven't.

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67. Anonymous on December 30, 2005 11:22 PM writes...

For those of you who still don't get the concept of irreducible complexity end evidence for intelligent design, here's a challenge for you. After reading the following passage, explain the step by step evolutionary process of the defense mechanism for the following insect, The Bombardier Beetle

*Note - If you don't know please don't waste space with common evolutionist's tactics namely: talking around the issue with philosophical jargon, meaningless criticism of the source or the most common deceptive ploy, posting links where the answer can be found.

"Whenever our beetle friend is approached by a predator, such as a frog, he squirts the stored chemicals into the two combustion tubes, and at precisely the right moment he adds another chemical (an antiinhibitor). This knocks out the inhibitor, and a violent explosion occurs right in the face of the poor attacker.
"Could such a marvelous and complex mechanism have evolved piecemeal over millions of years? The evolutionist is forced to respond with a somewhat sheepish "yes," but a brief consideration of this opinion will reveal its preposterous nature.
"According to evolutionary "thinking" there must have been thousands of generations of beetles improperly mixing these hazardous chemicals in fatal evolutionary experiments, blowing themselves to pieces. Eventually. we are assured, they arrived at the magic formula, but what about the development of the inhibitor? There is no need to evolve an inhibitor unless you already have the two chemicals you are trying to inhibit. On the other hand. if you already have the two chemicals without the inhibitor, it is already too late, for you have just blown yourself up. Obviously, such an arrangement would never arise apart from intelligent foresight and planning. Nevertheless, let us assume that our little beetle friend somehow managed to simultaneously develop the two chemicals along with the all important inhibitor. The resultant solution would offer no benefit at all to the beetle, for it would just sit there as a harmless concoction. To be of any value to the beetle, the antiinhibitor must he added to the solution. So, once again, for thousands of generations we are supposed to believe that these poor beetles mixed and stored these chemicals for no particular reason or advantage until finally, the anti inhibitor was perfected. Now he is really getting somewhere! With the antiinhibitor developed he can now blow himself to pieces, frustrating the efforts of the hungry predator who wants to eat him. Ah yes. he still needs to evolve the two combustion tubes, and a precision communications and timing network to control and adjust the critical direction and timing of the explosion. So, here we go again; for thousands of generations these carefree little beetles went around celebrating the 4th of July by blowing themselves to pieces until finally they mastered their new found powers.
"But what would be the motivation for such disastrous, trial and error, piecemeal evolution? Everything in evolution is supposed to make perfect sense and have a logical purpose, or else it would never develop. But such a process does not make any sense at all, and to propose that the entire defense system evolved all at once is astronomically improbable, if not impossible. Yet, nature abounds with countless such examples of perfect coordination. Thus, we can only conclude that the surprising little bombardier beetle is a strong witness for special creation, for there is no other rational explanation for such a wonder."
(Scott Huse, The Collapse of Evolution, pp. 78-79, Baker Book House, 1983)

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68. WBurke on December 30, 2005 11:41 PM writes...

Steve,

Sorry I didn't take the time to read your novel above because I was floored by this statement and a few others where you are reframing the debate in ways that defy reality, and I quote:

"You said, "NEVER has a scientist ever witnessed one kind of creature producing another kind of creature." I assume your implication is this is detrimental to evolutionary biology. But NO biologist has ever argued that has happened. Ever. Only anti-evolutionists argue so. It's a straw man."

I wish that were the case Steve, but it is not. It is exactly why we are here at this point because biologists and many other "scientists" have taught for years that man came from apes. So the simple fact that you would try to ignore this pivotal Darwinian teaching is inexplicable to put it mildly.

'nuff said.

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69. Jeff Bonwick on December 31, 2005 1:05 AM writes...

Anonymous: the beetle quote is an example of "proof by lack of imagination." The fact that you can't solve a puzzle doesn't mean that no solution exists.

I share your wonder at the natural world. I agree that there does not yet exist any adequate theory to explain it all. However, I do not conclude that we should throw up our hands and appeal to magic.

If there really is a God, surely he did not put us here for so shallow and vain a purpose as worship him. To imagine God in this way is to imagine God as a Hollywood actor. Whether there's a God or not, we should endeavor to understand our world. Evolution has helped us to understand at least some small part of it. ID cannot say the same.

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70. Steve C on December 31, 2005 9:18 AM writes...

WBurke.

You're wrong. You are doing the reframing. Virtually no scientist in the world argues two members of species A reproduce and derive species B. Quote me someone explicitly saying this.

Here's what they say, generally:


1."Species" has to be defined. For a long time that was simply defined as a group of organisms that could only produce fertile offspring among itself. As always, nature doesn't slice and dice so easily. That definition gets a little trickier when you go down in the tree of life far enough sexual reproduction is left behind. But, there have been a series of discoveries over the last several years of groups of animals [plants too?] that seemingly look to be a single species are actually differentiated species that have some hidden component of their existence they don't share, and when split apart on this component, do not reproduce fertile offspring, or only marginally so.

For the sake of discussion, let's define species as "a group of animals that can only produce fertile offspring among itself."


2 Species A, pair A1 produce offspring A2, A2 pairs and produces offspring A3, A3 derives A4, A4 -> A5, A5->A6->A7->A8 and so one. This goes down through time with each offspring receiving a unique set of genes, constantly bringing in new genes from outside the line. Take an arbitrary number of generations, lets say 500. It's possible to move a 25-generation long frame down along the line A1->...->A500 and any one of those 25 generations would produce fertile offspring with any other one, yet A1 and A500+ be incapable of producing fertile offspring. There doesn't have to be any obvious variation between A1 and A500 other than what's present in the entire species at A1 -- just that a descendent population stream turn infertile to the parent population stream. Every individual would still look like chimps or cardinals or dimpled yeast.

This doesn't necessarily lead to a new species. A500+ could easily reacquire fertility with A1. But it's also possible that a, let's say "temporarily infertile", descendent stream gets separated from it's parent population by something other than genetic drift. Say, the closing of a gap in a mountain range by a new volcano. Both populations are still essentially the same species in every way except they're mutually infertile. They look the same, have the same biochemistry, etc. The two total gene pools are different however. As long as the two populations remain infertile and separated, the chance of the reacquiring mutual fertility is extremely low.

Further, if you introduce some important physical change to just one of these groups' environments, say something that favors lighter weight, over time you end up with two groups that look the same except one group is obviously smaller in size than the other one, and they are not mutually fertile. You're off and running with two species. Now, keep them in separate environments that go through two separate streams of churning, changing environments for 100,000 generations. Like a new predator for only one to deal with. And the spread of a previously minor fruit tree. These two species can end up looking very different. Somewhere along the line one of them becomes species B, but that's arbitrary placement. Is it when the descendent stream becomes infertile to the parent, or when the volcano isolates the two sub-populations, or when they start to physically look different?

This is what biologists say happens.

Where in this discussion is there two member of species A reproducing a Species B offspring in other than a nominal manner? Nobody but you guys say it happens. That's a conclusion you've made up and you're trying to shove it down evo-bio's throat. You may think this is what evo-bio says, but that doesn't make it so. You're being dishonest, you are committing false witness. This is YOUR idea, not evolutionary biology's. You're reframing by drawing a conclusion no evo-bio scientist would agree with, and trying to force it onto them.

Again, once more I'm asking you to get up off your butt and do some work. Give me five examples of reputable evolutionary biologists who think species A can mate and produce species B.


I've got news for you. Humans are mammals, humans are primates, and humans are apes.


There have been a series of ID people throwing out detailed challenges, almost all of it simply copying someone else's work, and complaining no one is bothering to answer. I take one of them and go into great detail about how it's a farce, and you complain I'm writing too much. You guys are all lazy. Let's have some original thought about science instead of this propaganda. I mean look here -- you state, over and over, one bogus sentence with nothing other than an "I say so" as defense. It takes this much to explain to you either something you don't know, or are intentionally hiding. Let see what you do with this.

Anonymous posts this long beetle piece which is full of rhetorical holes and challenges someone to respond, but only within his narrow range of accepted responses. The quotation contains one straw man after another. You guys have produced almost nothing original on this board, all you've been doing is quoting others and spewing political jargon someone else has developed. You make provocative, unsupported statements or "clever" ones so generalized to be meaningless and are afraid to respond to challanges and requests for more information. This thread is replete with this stuff.

People have made substantive responses to ID challenges and posts and been ignored. I've asked simple questions about statements that seem meaningless to me, I've pointed out obvious lying, I spent a great deal of energy countering some Behe BS, and spent even more time analyzing your use of language and rhetorical devices and political tactics. I've gotten very little substantial back. You've got these little proaganda shields you're hiding behind and you're too cowardly to come out. watta I gotta do to get some on-target debate. Bring it on.

It's all prescripted, preconstructed propaganda. You morons can't even do your own thinking.

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71. WBurke on December 31, 2005 10:47 AM writes...

Steve said: "I've got news for you. Humans are mammals, humans are primates, and humans are apes."

Thanks Steve for explaining that to me, now I understand. So it's like, say, God is God, Jesus Christ was God, Jesus Christ was human, we are all humans, therefore we are all God?

There is a point Steve when cleaning out your ear with a Q-Tip that you do need to stop pushing. When you feel pressure STOP! Apparently you've failed to do this on several occassions and the damage is beginning to show.

It is one thing to be from the same "grouping" of creatures as scientists have done with the primate classification - that is step one of the mistaken journey Darwinian Disciples go on in their misadventure of Macro-Evolution. Step two, the ultimate hoodwink occurs when they go into science fiction and say that humans came from apes which has never in history been chronicled or proven by any findings whatsoever. Therefore for you to say humans are apes because in your mind humans and apes are both primates is to cross a unbridgeable chasm without any bridge of logic or evidence whatsoever. You've stepped out of the realm of reality and into the realm of mental illness at which point I really must suggest you consult with Derek and see what kind of drugs you can get to quicken your death, I mean cover up your symptoms of psychosis.

In all honesty Steve I mourn for your clearly delusional condition and your abilty to write excessively yet say very little worth considering at all. I challenge you now Steve, before you accuse me of writing prefabricated statements to deflect the discussion, to show one place on this internet wherein the same things I have said are replicated to prove my ideas are anything but original.

Done for now.

Still human - still not an ape - still in Christ,
Bill

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72. Anonymous on December 31, 2005 11:01 AM writes...

Jeff,

Ah, your lack of objectiviy finally surfaces!

statement: " The fact that you can't solve a puzzle doesn't mean that no solution exists."


reponse: That's FAITH Jeff, FAITH! As indicated in the text, there's tons of examples like that one. I sure don't want my son's science teacher responding as such with every example given.

Just like there are those who have faith in in an intelligent designer, you have faith in omnipotent chance! ID is an attack to your belief system as was stated in the previous post. If you say it isn't; you're in DENIAL!

Your logic is flawed. Yes, your statement is true in some cases but not in all cases. If I were you say to you I have a rock that I want to see fly on its own, would you respond with the same rhetoric.?

statement: "proof by lack of imagination."

response: Such a retort should be reserved for those who have a CLUE how such a process could happen.


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73. Derek Lowe on December 31, 2005 2:30 PM writes...

Something that I've been wanting to ask creationists is: how do those fossils that look part-ape and part-human fit in? Are they any relation to apes, or any relation to humans? Or are they just out there by themselves?

And a more general question - are various groups of animals (or plants) related to each other in any way, do you think? Is, say, a leopard more like a jaguar than it's like a polar bear, for example? If we see any similarities based on anatomy and DNA, are those just accidents, or were they created that way to look as if they were related?

For those of you hear who are ID/creationist types, I'd be quite interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. . .

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74. qetzal on December 31, 2005 3:40 PM writes...

Anonymous,

Jeff is not engaging in faith. He's making an inference. An assumption based on evidence is not faith.

We know that the mechanisms of evolution exist. Mutations occur in genomes and get transmitted to offspring. Some of those mutations alter the phenotypes of the offspring. If the change in phenotype makes it more likely for that offspring to survive and breed, it is more likely to pass on its genes, including the mutation, to future generations.

Heritable variation plus natural selection leads to changes in populations. We know this to be a fact. We observe it happening, in real time, constantly.

Now the question is, can this process account for the complete diversity of life? Can it explain complicated structures like eyes and flagella? Can it account for organisms as different as euglena and elephants?

The scientific response is to say, "OK, if this process does explain all these things, what should we expect to see? Obviously, we can't go back in time and watch to see if some ancient unicellular organisms evolve and diversify into euglena, elephants, and all the rest. Instead, can we make predictions about what we should observe now?"

And indeed we can. We can make predictions about relationships between the DNA sequences of organisms hypothesized to have a common ancestor. We can make predictions about nested hierarchical relationships between all extant creatures. We can make predictions about the expected dates of fossils representing different lineages.

Then we can go and see if those predictions are correct. And lo and behold, they usually are! Not always, admittedly, but every time they've been wrong, it's been in a small way, one that requires some revision to the overall theory, but not one that requires rejecting the theory outright. And make no mistake - there are plenty of observations that could have required rejecting the whole theory. No such show-stopper has ever been demonstrated (to date, of course).

So now let's examine your bombardier beetle. You want to know how it could have possible evolved by a stepwise process. I don't claim to have an answer for you. Maybe no-one currently has a good answer.

But it's entirely reasonable to assume that it can and eventually will be explained through evolution, because evolution has successfully explained many other complex features and organisms. We have evidence that evolution occurs. We have evidence that it generates complexity.

In contrast, we have no evidence for intelligent design (excluding genetic engineering performed by humans). Note that arguing evidence against evolution is not evidence for ID.

In light of all this, it is quite reasonable to assume that evolution can account for the bombardier beetle.

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75. Steve C on December 31, 2005 4:39 PM writes...

Excellent, WBurke!

You've taken the one [partly] flippant item in my last post and virtually ignored the rest of it. Most of it was a response to counter your completely unsupported assertion about species reproducing second species. You have still provided no evidence that this is other than your attempt to construct a straw man.

Let me recapitulate. You slander of large group of honest, hardworking scientists. I call you on it. You repeat your dishonest accusation again without offering any evidence.

So I --

1) Asked you for evidence showing science proposing one kind of creature (species) can begat another kind of creature (species). I asked you twice.

2) I gave you a lucid, layman's explanation of specifically how one SPECIES could derive from another SPECIES without an INDIVIDUAL of one species birthing an INDIVIDUAL of another species.

You ignored 1) and 2). Is it unreasonable to ask you to defend outrageous, slanderous statements, or ask that you respond in kind to serious, detailed, thoughtful explanations and critiques? Again, you respond to the one flippant remark. You ignore the rest, essentially, and spend half your post calling me mentally ill.

By refusing to acknowledge my efforts at debate and dialog, except for the small bit you can sloganeer about, you are being dishonest. You're clearly bright enough to understand this characterization, and in your heart you understand. Cherry picking is cheating. God commands us, "Thou shall not commit false witness." I'd place my postings here [well, there are a few exaggerations] and my intent before God's judgment any time.

I'd be happy to respond to your request for evidence of your talking points being derivative if you first backtrack and respond to my numerous requests to you for clarification, evidence, data, and response which you ignored. Are you trying to exhaust me? Like I said before, let's see you get off your butt -- I've been off mine for several days.

P.S. Where did I say "humans are apes because in your[my] mind humans and apes are both primates"? I never said that, nor implied that, nor do I think that. If you aren't clear on a point, or I'm not, why can't you ask for clarification? You are twisting what people say and assert to fit your own cubbyholes, and laying the responsibility on others. Repeatedly. This is sociopathic rationale [no, I don't think your are a sociopath]. This is evidence that you are basically interested in scoring points, not in dialog, or even listening to oppositional positions. Again, this is very dishonest. WHERE did I say that? I can't be more explicit or break down this "debate" to a simpler level. Specifically, where? You simply didn't understand my point. No ... no ... no ... it's not like "God is God, Jesus Christ was, etc."


Anonymous,
You apparently want to be the arbiter of who's allowed to answer your questions and on what basis they may respond, while still refusing , at will, to answer questions put to you. This is an excellent technique for keeping a debate "on script". This is EXACTLY the way psychomarketing consultants train politicians to manage the press and the public -- how to stay "on message". You've learned well.


Derek,
May I add to your list?

1) Why are all [?] the bipedal, hopping marsupials in Australia?

2) It's my understanding that about one quarter of all the identified terrestrial animal species on the planet are beetles. Does God have a thing for beetles?

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76. Anonymous on December 31, 2005 7:33 PM writes...

quetzal,

Statement: Jeff is not engaging in faith. He's making an inference. An assumption based on evidence is not faith.

Response: What inference did he make? What evidence regarding the bombardier beetle did he present?

Statement: Obviously, we can't go back in time and watch to see if some ancient unicellular organisms evolve and diversify into euglena, elephants, and all the rest.

Response: Based on what we know of chemistry and molecular biology we can determine what was most likely to have happened. I would elaborate but I don't want to go off on a tangent and make this longer than it needs to be. [HINT - STEVE]

Statement: blah, blah, blah,blah,blah

Response: ok, variation WITHIN a specieces.

Statement: But it's entirely reasonable to assume that it can and eventually will be explained through evolution, because evolution has successfully explained many other complex features and organisms. We have evidence that evolution occurs. We have evidence that it generates complexity.

Response: Name a few, and I don't mean variation within a species. I mean 3 or 4 brand spankin' new species capable or reproducing with another of the same species.

As far as generating complexity, give me a few examples of some having various interdependent parts and the evolutionary value that each pychic part had as it evolved independently.

statement: In contrast, we have no evidence for intelligent design

response: False, just because because evidence is not based on omnipotent chance doesn't mean it's not evidence. As stated before, not all science relies on omnipotent chance.

Finally, why such an elaborate defense mechanism? Was this beetle just an overachiever? Why not just stop where other beetles did if there was no evoultionary value for doing so?

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77. Anonymous on December 31, 2005 7:57 PM writes...

Derek,

Statement: Something that I've been wanting to ask creationists is: how do those fossils that look part-ape and part-human fit in? Are they any relation to apes, or any relation to humans? Or are they just out there by themselves?

Response: I assume you're aking for purpose of debate given that the information that you seek can easily be found on the web.

However, at least for me, given that there has been so many hoaxes and deception on the part of supposedly serious scientists determined to spread their religion, I don't take what they have to say seriously.

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78. Steve C on January 1, 2006 3:57 AM writes...

Anonymous,

If the pubished reports, and the specimens themselves, of , at least the fossils Derek mentions, are all lies, what about all the other hundreds of thousands of fossils found. Are some of them manufactured hoaxs also?

And then, is it just paleaontolgy that's composed of so many dishonest people? Are any other sciences like this? If you think there are other fields like this, how do you determine what's based on legitimate experiment, observation, and data? Or what approach do you take to evaluating the validity of specific science and technology?

This is a serious question. I was surprised by your response to Derek.

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79. Jeff Bonwick on January 1, 2006 4:50 AM writes...

Hmmm. We don't seem to be making much progress on the abstract stuff. Let's try something specific.

Smallpox.

(1) Was it designed?

(2) If so, was its eradication an act of evil?

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80. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 10:58 AM writes...

Since fossils are usually fragmented and incomplete, any conjecture based on them is likely to be completely speculative. As a matter of fact, the reconstructions (drawings or models) made by the evolutionists based on fossil remains are prepared speculatively precisely to validate the evolutionary thesis. David R. Pilbeam, an eminent anthropologist from Harvard, stresses this fact when he says: "At least in paleoanthropology, data are still so sparse that theory heavily influences interpretations. Theories have, in the past, clearly reflected our current ideologies instead of the actual data".61 Since people are highly affected by visual information, these reconstructions best serve the purpose of evolutionists, which is to convince people that these reconstructed creatures really existed in the past.

Piltdown Man

The skull belonged to a 500-year-old man, and the jaw bone belonged to a recently deceased ape! The teeth had been specially arranged in a particular way and added to the jaw, and the molar surfaces were filed in order to resemble those of a man. Then all these pieces were stained with potassium dichromate to give them an old appearance.

Nebraska Man

Nebraska man was even pictured along with his wife and children, as a whole family in a natural setting all based on what turned out to be a pig’s tooth!

Archaeologists in China had unearthed a fossil of a half-bird/half- dinosaur. This fossil was proclaimed to be irrefutable evidence of a transitional form between one species and another -- evidence that evolutionists have long sought but never found.

Then the truth came out.

In reality, the Archaeoraptor fossil turned out to be the remains of two animals pieced together. While some call it an honest mistake, most now believe that it was actually an elaborate and deliberate hoax. But why, you may ask, is the scientific community so quick to embrace disreputable evidence? And why would an institution like National Geographic fail to take steps to confirm the reliability of such an “amazing” discovery?

The answer? - - They're desperate.

You see, the lack of any evidence for transitional forms is one of Darwinism's dirty little secrets, and some scientists will do just about anything to keep it a secret - even to the point of fabricating evidence.

For much less peole have turned their back on the church and on God!

*Information taken from a various different sites

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81. allaboutme on January 1, 2006 1:47 PM writes...

I'm wondering, seriously, where the testability of evolution occurs? What experiments have been setup to test evolution? Any links to it would be appreciated, also.

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82. Derek Lowe on January 1, 2006 2:31 PM writes...

Piltdown Man was indeed a complete fraud, no doubt about it. And it was suspected of being one for some time, and was proven to be a fraud over fifty years ago. Nebraska Man was also a complete mistake, too - from 1922. Do you have any more recent examples, Anonymous? Something from the most recent half-century?

The reason that the Archaeoraptor fossil was faked, as far as I can see, was so it could be sold for much more money. And the mistake was found and corrected, which is how science is supposed to work.

I have to admit that I was surprised by your response. There are all sorts of homonid fossils out there, from many regions of the world. I would sincerely like to know how creationists account for them, and hearing only some talk about "frauds" and "hoaxes" doesn't satisfy me.

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83. Steve C on January 1, 2006 3:12 PM writes...

Anonymous

Thank you for responding.

I assumed I understood why you were responding to Derek in [78]. That wasn't what I was asking you about.

I'm trying to better understand your approach about the rest of science, vis-a-vis the honesty of scientists. The "allegedly" part-ape-part-human fossils are only a bit of a handful when compared with a huge number of other animal and plant fossils that have and are being found.

There are many, many fields peripherally involved with paleontology. For example, spore and pollen experts who might from time to time analyze fossil pollens.

And the great mass of scientific work is beyond all I've so far mentioned.

If you would, please, reread my question. I'm curious about your approach to assessing the honesty of scientists and the implications on their results. In general. How do you discern?

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84. WBurke on January 1, 2006 5:43 PM writes...

Derek asks: "How do those fossils that look part-ape and part-human fit in? Are they any relation to apes, or any relation to humans? Or are they just out there by themselves?"

Pt 1: as evidenced by the aforementioned numerous HOAXES presented by scientists to puff up Darwinian Evolution it must be confirned that any such fossils are accurate and reliable. At which point you may want to consider Derek that abnormalities like this do occur yet today in some victims of physiologically deformative diseases therefore rather than taking an anomaly and making it part of a progressive evolutionary chain of development and ASSUMING facts not in evidence it should be the TRUE SCIENTISTS goal to present supportable findings and leaving the fictional characters to Hollywood.

Pt 2 - I think someone with Darwinian evolution tunnel vision, unable to consider anything other than the ape became man idea, would seek agreement that the second part of your questions would have to be related. Why are you so bent on claiming your ancestry goes through the jungle rather than accepting that it began with one man and one woman as God Almighty Created it?

Pt 3 - See answer to part 1 as it is an assumption that is impossible to prove to consider any such fossil is a link in an evolutionary chain beginning with apes and ending with man. The only place that chain exists is in science books.

As for other hominid fossils Derek, such as what? Things die in floods, take a trip through MI and witness the devastation that occurs, or a visit to NO where there was sedimentary layers left after weeks of flooding, layer in which assorted formerly living were deposited. I witnessed the very same thing here in Kansas City in '93 from the floods that ravaged the area and developed what the fossil record insists must have been the product of millions of years. Granted it was on a much smaller scale but the process is still the same. The question you need to ask is this Derek, barring any ability to test for relativity of one fossil to another as the majority of fossils ever considered pre-dated DNA testing, how is it that scientists pushing the Darwinian Evolutionary idea have routinely found fossils and crafted lengthy familty lineages from an often small sample of their bones? That would be like going through a graveyard and linking up skeletal remains into some grandiose historical tale and saying it is without a doubt the only official story about their past when in fact every bit of it was total fiction.

And Steve, brother, you are unable to remember your own post? It was you who said very clearly, and I quote: "I've got news for you. Humans are mammals, humans are primates, and humans are apes." in post 71.

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85. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 7:01 PM writes...

Derek,

Before mentioning the hoaxes I had stated the following:

Since fossils are usually fragmented and incomplete, any conjecture based on them is likely to be completely speculative. As a matter of fact, the reconstructions (drawings or models) made by the evolutionists based on fossil remains are prepared speculatively precisely to validate the evolutionary thesis. David R. Pilbeam, an eminent anthropologist from Harvard, stresses this fact when he says: "At least in paleoanthropology, data are still so sparse that theory heavily influences interpretations. Theories have, in the past, clearly reflected our current ideologies instead of the actual data".61 Since people are highly affected by visual information, these reconstructions best serve the purpose of evolutionists, which is to convince people that these reconstructed creatures really existed in the past.

If there were just a couple of hoaxes or attempts at deception that be one thing, but when it starts to become a pattern,when the objectivity of scientists is discouraged and are pressured to conform to a certain way of thinking or loose credibility, standing, and funding, that's when I start to look elsewhere for answers.

Here are two more recent example of fraud. Keep in mind though, even as you indicated people can be left in the dark for as long as 50 years before the truth comes out. People are putting their faith in a theory based on evidence that is in dispute now and like to change yet again in the next decade. The supposed evidence keeps on changing. Meanwhile, what hold it all together? Faith.

1959, set of mismatched bones discovered by Louis Leakey The discoverer conceded that it was the skull of an ape

Skull 1470 1973, 2.8 million year old skull by Richard Leakey A modern person (such as a teen) with a small brain

Neanderthal Germany, described as totally human. Deformed vertebra from arthritis. DNA studies show no link to any human groups.

Steve,

I don't what else to tell you. Hoaxes in my book would be dishonesty. If evolutionists can use artists to tell us what our ancestors looked like based on a pig's tooth, do think it's much of a challenge for them based on on an actual skull?
Leaving out dated and refuted information in our children's science textbook is misleading and dishonest.

Jeff,

From what I've gathered so far, small pox is believed to be the result of mutation of a microorganism(s)However, I would need to research it further.

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86. Derek Lowe on January 1, 2006 7:31 PM writes...

Anonymous, you're rather fond of that quote from Pilbeam. But keep in mind that he's talking about various flavors of evolution when he talks about theories. The human fossil record has indeed been the scene of all sorts of terrible arguments - but they're between paleoanthropologists who all see it in an evolutionary perspective and argue about the details after that.

It's like physicists talking about possible subtle changes in the laws of gravitation. That doesn't mean that there's no such thing as gravity, or that it doesn't vary (almost all the time) as an inverse square. Dragging in that quote as an anti-evolution statement is disingenuous, but I'm pretty sure that you're already aware of that and aren't bothered too much.

As for your other "frauds", I'd call those mistakes, corrected by the normal processes of science. Scientists make mistakes, and they or other scientists correct them. It's not like an argument over scripture, you know. (Piltdown Man, now, that was a fraud for you).

And how does your whole list of examples stand up against all the generally accepted discoveries? They're outnumbered by what, a thousand to one? Are they all frauds? Where's this "pattern of deception" you're talking about, anyway?

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87. Steve C on January 1, 2006 7:37 PM writes...

WBurke,

Once again, you are deliberately twisting and misrepresenting statements other people make. This is not moral behavior -- whether it's IMmoral behavior, or AMoral behavior is splitting hairs.

But there is also the possibility you are mistaken. I'm trying to get you to dialog with me, and stop sloganeering, so we can determine whether or not this is mistaken communication.
-
-
-
Here is, excerpted, verbatim, the chain of discussion between us on the point:

#1. Me [71]: I've got news for you. Humans are mammals, humans are primates, and humans are apes.

#2. You [72]: [Therefore for you to say] humans are apes because in your mind humans and apes are both primates ...

#3. Me [76]: Where did I say "humans are apes because in your[my] mind humans and apes are both primates"? I never said that, nor implied that, nor do I think that ...

#4. Me [76 continued...]: . . . If you aren't clear on a point, or I'm not, why can't you ask for clarification?

#5 You [85]: It was you who said very clearly, and I quote: "I've got news for you. Humans are mammals, humans are primates, and humans are apes." in post 71.
-
-
-
A. Statement #1 does not equal statement #2 *grammatically*.

B. Statement #1 does not equal statement #2 *logically*.

C. My request in # 3 is not fulfilled in statement #5.

D. Specifically, "Humans are mammals, humans are primates, and humans are apes." does not equal "humans are apes because [in your mind] humans and apes are both primates". In no way.

E. You are asserting [implicitly] my statement contains a logical deduction. It does not contain a logical deduction.

F. There is no, nor did I intend for there to be, implied logical deduction in my original statement.

G: You, not I, are inserting the logical deduction, specifically,(#2)"humans are apes BECAUSE they are both primates." There is no "BECAUSE" in my statement. There is no "THEREFORE" in my statement. You are reading it into my statement when it's not there, nor is it intended to be there.

Do you understand? I'm unsure that you do.
-
-
-
Let me try this angle. Why is the reference to mammals in my original statement?

I have even a better way. I think I can illustrate how this may be mistaken communication, simply and quickly, if you would agree to conduct a very brief Socratic dialog with me. I can ask you a [very short] series of simple questions. This may indicate we are not connecting on the content of my original statement.

I am not proposing this to try to trick you or trap you in any way. I know the scientists reading this thread can see there is a potential communication problem here, and would probably agree that my proposal is a good way to get at it.

So, in hopes you'll agree, here's the first question:

How do YOU define the word "mammal". In other words, when you think of mammals, as a group distinct from all other animals, what are the common mammalian characteristics that allows you to group them together, and apart from other animals. Most simply, what is a mammal, what do YOU think of as a mammal? Not somebody else's understanding of "mammal". YOUR understanding.

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88. Steve C on January 1, 2006 8:23 PM writes...

Anonymous

I'm having the same problem with you as I just elucidated with WBurke. Both of you are responding to what you "think I said/asked", which is not what I said/asked. Please reread my two previous queries to you [79] & [84].

I'm not interested in human evolution questions with you. I'll stipulate to your entire post [86]. Every word of it.

I'm interested in whether you think there's significant similar dishonesty involving the non-human parts of paleontology. And even more so, in science beyond digging up the past I'm interested in how YOU personally assess the honesty of scientists and validity of their claims.

I'll give you two examples, but I'm not interested in the examples per se or your response to them. It's just a way to make my question less abstract.

1) I agree with your comments about outdated textbooks. All sorts of material gets into them from secondary sources. Suppose a text book took from a secondary source drawings [even photographs] of various pollens to illustrate what pollen looks like, groupings, etc. How would you, or even would you, evaluate the validity of those illustrations? What if, somehow, the source of the illustrations was being used by your allergist to treat you. Would you/do you concerne yourself with the possible fraudulency of the base information?

2) We have in the news right now an extremely visible incident of, let me stipulate, serious case of scientific fraud by a recently lionized South Korean stem cell researcher. Nasty, totally dishonest, etc. No argument from me. Let's assume there's more of this over a few years and stem cell research, already suspect by a lot of Americans, falls in reputation. What I'm trying to understand, is at what point would you suspect/dismiss stem cell research in general based on this dishonesty? And I'm even more interested in how you would analyze some different field of biomedicine that partially developed out of KNOWLEDGE first discovered in stem cell research?

How would you react if you, or say, your child, was recommened medical therapy based on knowledge that came from such a history of research.

I understand how you're judging human paleontology. I'm not interested in that. How do you assess broader, less related fields of science. Or is it only human paleontology you approach this way?

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89. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 11:37 PM writes...

Statement: paleoanthropologists who all see it in an evolutionary perspective and argue about the details after that.

Response: Yeah, yeah, more cart before the horse thinking. Glad you admit it.

Statement: It's like physicists talking about possible subtle changes in the laws of gravitation. That doesn't mean that there's no such thing as gravity,

Reponse: Oh geez, what a comparison!

Statement: As for your other "frauds", I'd call those mistakes, corrected by the normal processes of science. Scientists make mistakes, and they or other scientists correct them.

Response:"From the almost total absence of fossil evidence relative to the origin of the phyla, it follows that any explanation of the mechanism in the creative evolution of the fundamental structural plans is heavily burdened with hypothesis. This should appear as an epigraph to every book on evolution. The lack of direct evidence leads to the formulation of pure conjecture as to the genesis of the phyla; we do not even have a basis to determine the extent to which these opinions are correct."—*Pierre-Paul de Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms (1977), p. 31.

What? That's not what Derek says! They're just little mistakes!

Statment:And how does your whole list of examples stand up against all the generally accepted discoveries? They're outnumbered by what, a thousand to one? Are they all frauds? Where's this "pattern of deception" you're talking about, anyway?

Response: I don't need to even address your exaggerated figure. What's is being highly disputed by scientists is the mechanism on which the theory of evolution is based. Disprove the mechanism and your theory falls apart. So which is it? mutation, natural selection, puntuated equilibrium, something new?

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90. WBurke on January 1, 2006 11:49 PM writes...

Steve,

Mammals are not all of one KIND as I've stated, they represent many KINDS of animals and living creatures. Therein lies your confusion when you make your absurd claims about "humans being apes" as I've quoted twice already from the middle of your post #71. Just as people wonder how Noah could have fits all the different animals on the ark, this supposes that he had one of every animal when in fact the Bible is very clear he had one of every KIND (as in 1 dog from which could be born every type of dog breed, 1 cat from which could be spawned every breed of cat, etc...) Again I must repeat NEVER in human history has any account of one kind producing another kind of creature ever been recorded, thus to claim adherence to the ape to man evolutionary path is beyond science into the realm of science fiction.

That is all I'm led to say on this as you are clearly in no way interested in an honest and/or fruitful conversation on this as you've repeatedly claimed mine and other anti-evolutionist posters are provided prefabricated statements which could not be further from the truth in my case.

It has been interesting, albeit sad to see the depths some will stoop to to hold onto their faith in Darwinism and their desire to disprove God's existence so they can silence their conscience. Sad, truly sad.

In Christ,
Bill

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91. Jeff Bonwick on January 2, 2006 2:18 AM writes...

There's no such thing as Darwinism or evolutionism.

Evolution is something we've observed, in real time at the micro level and in the geologic record at the macro level. Darwin is the guy who first noticed it -- that's all. He is not a deity, and his word is not considered gospel. If a better theory comes along, it will replace (or refine) evolution just as surely as Einstein's general relativity replaced (or refined) Newton's model of gravity.

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92. Steve C on January 2, 2006 3:39 AM writes...

WBurke

I'm confused. Your are using the word mammal. I'm trying to understand how you are using it.

For example, do you consider snakes to be mammals? Or do you consider bluebirds to mammals? Most people would not.

On the other hand, do you consider yaks to be mammals? Do you consider dogs and cats to be mammals? Most people would.

Do you just have a list, essentially, memorized? If I gave you an unfamiliar animal, could you attempt through your own observations to determine if it was a mammal or not? Would you look to someone else to decide?

Most people I've been around easily, if informally, differentiate between insects, birds, fish and reptiles as seperate groups/types of animals. Are you saying you don't do this. I can accept that you don't see animals in this way, but do you? Or some other way?

That's all I'm trying to comprehend. Do you not think there are mammals? Seriously, I don't understand. Are you just using the word mammal in discussing this with me, and otherwise it's a word and a meaning you don't consider valid.?

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93. Jeff Bonwick on January 2, 2006 5:35 AM writes...

Regarding the mammal question: I don't see how this is useful. Taxonomy has always has a large subjective component, which is unavoidable. If I were to show you my garage and ask you to classify all the tools, you'd probably invent a category called "wrench" that contained all the monkey wrenches and crescent wrenches; and you'd probably have a category called "pliers" that would contain standard and needle-nose pliers. But what about the vise grip? Wrench or pliers? You could make a case either way. Neither answer is wrong.

But I digress. The point is that taxonomy has nothing to do with either evolution or intelligent design. We observe a great many creatures in the world, and we note similarities, so we group them as best we can. The existence of the vise grip does not vacate the general usefulness of grouping wrenches and pliers.

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94. Derek Lowe on January 2, 2006 8:27 AM writes...

Anonymous, with that de Grasse quote you seem to be working your way through the Creation Science Foundation's "Revised Quote Book". What you've left out is another line from the same work:

"Zoologists and botanists are nearly unanimous in considering evolution as a fact and not a hypothesis. I agree with this position and base it primarily on documents provided by paleontology, i.e., the history of the living world. . ."

There are, in fact, thousands of hominid fossils. Many of these are fragments, but there are some fine Neaderthal specimens, as well as many nearly-intact skulls of all sorts, and of course there are the "Lucy" and "Turkana Boy" skeletons, which are quite impressive.

But am I correct in thinking that your response to the fossil evidence is that it's all fraudulent or misattributed? Let me know if that's the case, because it'll save us both a lot of time.

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95. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 1:45 PM writes...

Statement: Anonymous, with that de Grasse quote you seem to be working your way through the Creation Science Foundation's "Revised Quote Book". What you've left out is another line from the same work:

"Zoologists and botanists are nearly unanimous in considering evolution as a fact and not a hypothesis. I agree with this position and base it primarily on documents provided by
paleontology, i.e., the history of the living world. . ."

Response: The old attack the source tactic eh? Happy you were able to come up with a name for them.

Does the additional information you provided suppose to negate the quote I posted or does it show an inconsitency of thought? I'll post it again. I'm rather fond of that one too.

Response:"From the almost total absence of fossil evidence relative to the origin of the phyla, it follows that any explanation of the mechanism in the creative evolution of the fundamental structural plans is heavily burdened with hypothesis. This should appear as an epigraph to every book on evolution. The lack of direct evidence leads to the formulation of pure conjecture as to the genesis of the phyla; we do not even have a basis to determine the extent to which these opinions are correct."—*Pierre-Paul de Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms (1977), p. 31.

Statment: there are some fine Neaderthal specimens, as well as many nearly-intact skulls of all sorts, and of course there are the "Lucy" and "Turkana Boy" skeletons, which are quite impressive.


Response: Neanderthal, described as totally human. Deformed vertebra from arthritis. DNA studies show no link to any human groups.

Neanderthals were a human race, a fact which is admitted by almost everybody today. Evolutionists have tried very hard to present them as a "primitive species", yet all the findings indicate that they were no different from a "robust" man walking on the street today. A prominent authority on the subject, Erik Trinkaus, a paleoanthropologist from New Mexico University writes:
Detailed comparisons of Neanderthal skeletal remains with those of modern humans have shown that there is nothing in Neanderthal anatomy that conclusively indicates locomotor, manipulative, intellectual, or linguistic abilities inferior to those of modern humans.

Luy: A fossil skeleton 40% complete. Bones found miles apart at different depths. The hip was cut and reglued so that it looked like she walked upright Still in dispute but they are apes that were just as bipedal as other monkeys.

KNM-WT 15000 or Turkana Child skeleton on the right, is probably the oldest and the most complete human fossil ever found. Research made on this fossil which is said to be 1.6 million year old shows that this belongs to a 12 year old child who would become around 1.80 m. tall if he reached adolescence. This fossil which very much resembled to the Neanderthal race, is one of the most remarkable evidence invalidating the story of human's evolution.

The evolutionist Donald Johnson describes this fossil as follows: "He was tall and skinny. His body shape and the proportion of his limbs were the same as the current Equator Africans. The sizes of his limbs totally matched with that of the current white North American adults."

Satement:But am I correct in thinking that your response to the fossil evidence is that it's all fraudulent or misattributed?

Response: It's the interpretation of the fossils and the imaginary transitionals forms that I'm critical of. Yes

And I close with yet two more quotes:
(Nah, make it three)

Every time I write a paper on the origin of life, I determine I will never write another one, because there is too much speculation running after too few facts." —*Francis Crick, Life Itself (1981), p. 153. [Crick received a Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA.

"The over-riding supremacy of the myth has created a widespread illusion that the theory of evolution was all but proved one hundred years ago and that all subsequent biological research—paleontological, zoological and in the newer branches of genetics and molecular biology—has provided ever-increasing evidence of Darwinian ideas."—*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 327

*This is one of my favorites:

"I think, however, that we must go further than this and admit that the only acceptable explanation is creation. I know that this is anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me, but we must not reject a theory that we do not like if the experimental evidence supports it."—*H. Lipson, "A Physicist Looks at Evolution," Physics Bulletin, 31 (1980), p. 138.

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96. Steve C on January 2, 2006 4:38 PM writes...

Jeff

Once again I thought my point was obvious. I'll try to be more explicit.

My point has NOTHING to do with taxonomy. That just happens to be the content of the communication.

How can, say, two, people have an intelligible conversation, let alone a debate, if they routinely use words which they are differentially defining? If I continually use A, which to me is 8+5, and you continually use A, which you assume to be 2+9, how can we possibly communicate unless we understand how we are both defining the term? I fail to see how. We don't have to agree, but we have to know.

I made a simple declarative sentence [see [88]]. It is three non-dependent clauses, each structured exactly the same -- one-word subject, one-word verb, and one-word object, with only the object varying each time. WBurke read into this a meaning that is not there, nor intended to be there, either grammatically or logically. At first I thought he was intentionally distorting my statement. Now I'm just trying to understand why he interprets my statement that way. [Yes, my statement was taxonomic in content]

His explanation in [91], first paragraph I don't understand. Can you explain it to me? And, re: this post, explain how he's defining "kind" there -- does he mean the two cats on the Ark gave rise to lions, tigers, civets, lynx, jaguar, mountain lion, leopards, snow lepoards, bob cat, etc, i.e. felines, or that a pair of domestic cats gave rise to Persian, siamese, Norwegian forest, Maine Coon, etc. i.e. breeds?

Let me use your example about wrenches and pliers. Vice grips could be classified as a wrench, or pliers, or both. No problem. [Think set theory in mathematics, one item can be contained within more the one set.] But you still are using the word "wrench" and the word "pliers" to refer to a groups of tools that have some common characteristics, otherwise how can you use the word to refer to a group? There are adjustable wrenches, open-end wrenches, box wrenches, socket wrenches, etc. but you wouldn't put a screwdriver in that group and refer to it as a wrench.

Suppose we're outside, working on your car and you ask me to go inside your shop and get the large screwdriver from the toolbox. I do so and come back and hand it to you. You respond, "You idiot! Follow me." You lead me back into the shop and pull a rasp out of the toolbox and say, "This is a large screwdriver."

Then I don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about. What the hell do I bring you when you ask for a voltmeter?

Throughout my postings I have made simple statements that have elicited bizarre responses, and asked for definitions or made attempts to understand other's usage, and most of the response I take as some sort of evasion or debating tactic. I am only trying to understand what people are saying. Admittedly, that's out of place in this thread.

Anonymous said [49] All languages, codes and messages come from a mind.

I don't know if I agree or disagree. Without definitions it's a meaningless sentence. The English language has hundreds, probably thousands, of words that have many meanings. We can readily use those words in English because we derive meaning from context. But here all four of the nouns have multiple meanings. There is no context.

I consulted my desk dictionary. For "language" it lists 8 definitions, for "code" it lists 4 definitions, for "message" it list 2 definitions, and for "mind" [noun] it lists 11. So, just for fun, there are 8 x 4 x 2 x 11 possible contexts, not even considering the verb and modifiers.

Anonymous has a real delight in pulling quote after quote after quote from all over while providing little context. This might be one of those, or his original idea. I assume it has substance, particularly in his mind. But as a piece of English communication, it's meaningless.

My response was that it depends on the meaning of "language" and "mind". Doesn't it? The response I got back [not from Anon] was nonsensical.

There's an extraordinary amount of talking past one another in this thread and often that's clearly because interlocutors are using different definitions for the same word.

In summary: A *rational* discussion can not occur if there is not an understanding of the definitions of the language used to carry on that discussion. I am just trying to comprehend WBurke's misunderstanding of my statement, indeed, even if there is a misunderstanding. Feel free to explain this to me if you have an idea how to.

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97. Jeff Bonwick on January 2, 2006 5:32 PM writes...

Steve: sorry, I have no idea how to help. I was just hoping to preempt a 20-post digression into what defines a mammal.

But it's pointless. I give up. I may as well yell at a brick.

The ID crowd here has repeatedly dodged my simple appeal for a fact or a test.

How do you argue with someone who can't distinguish between a hypothesis (which can be tested) and faith, or between reason and sophistry? Who dismisses all contradictory evidence as fraud, and offers no new facts or tests of their own?

I am what you might call a doubting atheist. That is, I don't believe, but I don't rule it out. But every time I have a real-life encounter with someone like anonymous I'm reminded of why I hated church so much as a child: it wasn't the sermons (I actually enjoyed those), it wasn't the scratchy clothing, it wasn't the music -- it was the conversations after the service. The air was just so thick with pious BS. There is nothing less genuine than a conversation in which everyone is talking about "God wants this" and "God has a plan for you" and so on because they're all just MAKING IT UP. Children are far better BS detectors than adults, unemcumbered by the polite presumption of sanity. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

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98. Steve C on January 2, 2006 6:56 PM writes...

Jeff,

You did help! You response was on point, plain-spoken, and unambiguous. How refreshing.

Thank you.

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99. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 9:08 PM writes...

Jeff,

Yes, I did notice your cries for attention on several instances. But Both Burke and I were already busy responding to other posts. However, we did respond to you in a few posts 58,65,66. Specifically, post #58 addresses how ID can be tested to see if it is falsifiable. Now you can either go back and read those posts on your own or I/we can walk you through them. If you need further clarification on what has already been said, be specific, ask specific questions. Keep in mind there is only so much we can respond to in one post without making it too long.

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100. Derek Lowe on January 2, 2006 9:08 PM writes...

Anonymous, you'll have to explain to me how finding that the Turkana skeleton would have been tall somehow invalidates the idea of human evolution.

Actually, I take that back about explaining it to me. I get the strong impression that there is no fossil evidence that would cause you to change your mind. Everything, every time, will turn out to have something wrong with it.

As for me, though, there are any number of things that would cause me to suddenly reassess what I think that I know about human evolution, or evolution in general. A five-million-year-old skull with the brows and brain case of a H. sapiens would do the trick. Just one. A fossil rabbit from the Precambrian, to use an example of Haldane's, would make us all have to start from scratch.

Is there any piece of evidence that would cause you to do the same?

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101. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 10:11 PM writes...

Dereck,

Yep, as I stated previously. if someone could show me a couple of species that have evolved into a completely new species capable of reproducing of a like species, that would do it.
Disputable fosils won't do the trick.

Just out of curiousity, what do evolutioists say that rabit evolved from?

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102. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 10:37 PM writes...

Dereck,

I forgot to ask, which evolved first the man or woman. Did their sexual organs evolve at the same time as well?

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103. Derek Lowe on January 2, 2006 10:45 PM writes...

Anonymous, would you have been drinking tonight, by any chance? That last comment of yours is pretty alarming.

I'm going to assume, for now, that that's not a joke or an attempt at one. That said, I think I'm going to take my leave of you. Not because your arguments have driven me from the field with my evolution-addled head spinning - but because that question shows that you're not willing to take the subject seriously enough to be worth arguing with.

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104. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 11:07 PM writes...

Derek,

Yep, let me know if you figure it out.

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105. Steve C on January 3, 2006 2:36 AM writes...

Anonymous,

Honesty compels me to admit your post [100] made me realize something obvious I'd overlooked -- that you and Burke have been fielding a plethora of challenges and there are only two of you participating from your point of view.

If I may take you up on your offer to Jeff, I'd like to ask you something specific about post [58] on, I assume you refer to, Behe's thought experiment on "how ID can be tested to see if it is falsifiable". But first, I'd ask you to please accept two caveats to my specific request.

Caveat 1. I'll be less active in this thread from now on. So please, give this a low priority if convenient.

Caveat 2. I made a response [67, paragraphs 7 - 19] to Behe's testability proposal in [58]. But I'm NOT asking you to comment on my response. If you do, I'll read it with interest, but that's NOT my specific request.

Specific request: Thought experiments as Behe uses have long history in science; Einstein used them to good effect. If someone, Behe or Darwin, say, uses them to propose a falsifiability test, does just the act of making such a proposal satisfy a request for a falsifiability test? Let me ask this same question from another angle. What sort of evaluation, IF ANY, does a proposed falsifiability test have to meet before it can be considered a valid falsifiability test?

For example, off the top of my head, is it enough for a proposed falsifiability test to be logical. Or perhaps that's irrelevant. Or perhaps that's necessary but not sufficient. Etc. But, in general, is evaluation necessary, or not.

In this thread there's been a lot of back and forth about falsifiability tests, and I'm just trying to better understand *how you perceive the issue*.

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106. Anonymous on January 3, 2006 7:50 AM writes...

Steve,

In the case of Behe; he states what would satisfy him to disprove his claim. Each case would would have to be look at individually. The person(s) making the hypothesis should be able to determine and conceed to what would be a valid test.

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107. Anonymous on January 3, 2006 11:38 AM writes...

I came across a very interesting and more recent detailed cased study of the bombardier beetle. In fact it was written after makes reference to the article found in the site which is a favorite amongst evolutionists.

Isaak, M., Bombardier Beetles and the argument of design, The Talk Origins Archive, 24 April 2001.

Although the article which I speak of is found in a creationist site,

http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v17/i1/beetle.asp,

It does point out, the some errors in my original post regarding the bombardier beetle.

"Gish made mention that the hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxides were ‘explosive,’ when clearly, these two compounds are not explosive when combined—they just turn brown as a result of the oxidation of the hydroquinones to quinones. The fact is, they are stored by the beetle in large quantities and yet they remain completely clear and colorless, even after the beetle has died (our personal observations).
Gish stated that there must be an ‘inhibitor’ present in the mixture, added by the beetle to prevent an explosive reaction. Gish used the word ‘explosive’ based on a translation error made by Dr Robert Kofahl on an early article published in German on the Bombardier Beetle.13,23 A correct translation might have been ‘unstable,’ according to Gish.23 Meanwhile, the evolutionists, particularly Frank Awbrey and William Thwaites23 seized upon the notion that Gish had made a mistake and publicly ridiculed him."

At the same time, the case study points to further frustrations of evolutionists for the evolution of the beetle:" Bombardier Beetles in general have similar collecting canals, however there are some differences. The Ozaenini and Paussini tribes have identical collecting canals, and this supports the widely accepted theory that the Paussini have developed from the Ozaenini, but it is agreed that these are not directly related to the Brachinae.6,9 Other authors lament the close similarities in defensive systems in very disparate organisms. In fact the chemical secretions of the Brachinae ‘bear a close resemblance to those of certain … millipedes … earwigs and cockroaches.’5 Thus evolutionists are faced with the vexing conundrum that this defence system evolved independently in separate groups.2,4,5,9,11 These evolutionists might state that ‘convergent evolution’ was responsible for this, but that simply does not address the question."

After reading this case study, I do acknowledge the corrections that may need to be made to my original post. If you are interested, please take the time to read this revealing case study of the bombardier beetle in its entirety. I would be interested in reading the comments of those who actually read the case study as opposed to to the familar tactic of evolutionists who would simply choose to respond by critiquing the site itself.

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108. Anonymous on January 3, 2006 12:01 PM writes...

Steve,

Here's another example where the persons involved in the above case study are stating what kind of valid test would necessary for their hypothesis:
It may be that we are observing irreducible complexity in the defensive system of these carabid beetles, but, in order to make that claim we would have to show that all of the genes involved in forming the secretion lobes, reservoirs, oscillating valves, reaction chambers, muscles, hydrogen peroxides, hydroquinones, inhibitors and enzymes are all essential for the working Bombardier system. In addition we would have to demonstrate that the system would fail to function if one of these components were removed. If we could succeed in demonstrating this, an argument may be made that the concept of irreducible complexity applies to anatomical structures, just as they do to biochemical complexes, but such an argument is beyond the scope of this study.

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109. Steve C on January 3, 2006 7:54 PM writes...

Anonymous

Reading back over my question [106] I see I could have done a better job specifying it. Especially, my use of the word "proposed", which is ambiguous in context. So, permit me to take another stab at my question. Your response isn't exactly in the arena I'm thinking about.

There are two distinct things.

#1. A PROPOSAL for a falsifiability test. This includes, very generally, A) a test/experiment, B) resultant data, C) a means/guideline for evaluating the data [such and such result equals the idea under discussion is falsified; such and such result equals the idea under discussion is not falsified.], and D) a rationale, an exposition as to why/how the entirety of A) + B) + C) qualifies both as a general falsifiability test and as a specific falsifiability test, [the latter means it falsifies, or rebuts, the particular idea under discussion].

#2. An EVALUATION OF THE PROPOSAL itself. This includes, very generally, A) does the proposed test/experiment actually deal with issues as the PROPOSAL defines them, so the resultant data is relevant, B) are the proposed data evaluation methods appropriate to both the data and to the connection between the test and the idea under discussion, C) does the PROPOSAL actually constitute a falsifiability test, and D) does the PROPOSAL actually consitute a falsifiability test of the idea under discussion.

Your response [107, 109], as I understand it, is discussing #1, part C. I was discussing #2 in total.

So my question is NOT how to evaluate a proposed falsifiability test. My question is how to evaluate THE PROPOSAL for a falsifiability test.

I know this is very abstract, but I've been unable to come up with concrete-but-not-actual example, and I want to stay away from specific details already at play. Maybe the following can get at it.

In [107] you said, "In the case of Behe; he states what would satisfy him to disprove his claim. Each case would would have to be look at individually. The person(s) making the hypothesis should be able to determine and conceed to what would be a valid test."

That's not what I am interested in, I think [but am still unsure]. Is your meaning -- "The person(s) [here it's Behe] making the hypothesis [here it's the Theory of Intelligent Design] should be able to determine and conceed to what would be a valid [falsifiability] test"?

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110. Anonymous on January 3, 2006 10:38 PM writes...

Steve,

To your first question, I guess I'm going to simply say I don't know.

As for your second question. Yes, Behe or anyone who is knoweledgeable enough and objective enough to make an unbiased determination. I include Behe since he flat out states what conditions would need to be met to satisfy what he proposes.

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111. Steve C on January 4, 2006 1:40 AM writes...

Anonymous

Okay, I understand.

But this, then, leads to a situation that creates a problem for me.

By definition, as it were, falsifiability is a necessary [but not sufficient] requirement for a hypothesis under discussion to qualify as a scientific one. You're proposing, as I understand it, that the person(s) makinging[proposing] the hypothesis should be/can be/etc. the arbiter/judge of what constitutes a valid falsifiability test. This means the originator of the hypothesis defines the falsifiability of it. There's no inherent correcting mechanism.

Are you comfortable with that? Am I missing something?


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112. PandaFan on January 6, 2006 6:53 AM writes...

Perhaps this thread was losing steam & I shouldn't fire it back up -- but why not? :-)

Burke didn't understand my comment about 2 humans, which is my fault -- creationists don't tend to be up on population genetics. It is simple: if each living 'kind' orginated from 2 individuals, particularly in the very recent (

Behe's method of disproving the flagellum hypothesis is truly ludicrous -- nobody suggests it evolved on short timescales. But it does illustrate the underlying problem with 'irreducible complexity' -- it is 'testable' only in the sense that you can imagine all possible evolutionary routes to a structure and can rule all of them out. If you've missed one, then you could erroneously conclude that a structure could not have evolve. Biology is too complex for such a method to be practically applicable. Or, to put more simply, this is the problem in science of proving the negative -- it is generally the wrong thing to shoot for because you never know if you have really covered all the bases.

Bombardier beetles: it is simply premature to dismiss an evolution of their weaponary as we really just don't have the information. In particular, we have a very poor understanding right now as to how changes in genes map to changes in anatomical structure -- it may be that a very small number of genetic changes can cause very large anatomic changes very quickly. This illustrates a striking difference between science (evolution) and ID: ID talks you into not bothering to look (can't have happened!), whereas evolution suggests a line of inquiry (how do genetic changes map onto anatomic changes). The latter are not easy to do, but progress is slowly being made (by the 'evo-devo' crew).

To attempt to explain my earlier comment: Creationsm/ID in the whole is _not testable_, as we can always explain something away as the C/D's whim. C/IDers occasionally make testable hypotheses, but there is not a good example that survives testing. If the IDers would make substantial hypotheses AND rigorously explore them, they might actually get some respect. Behe's Protein Science paper seems to be the closest approximation of this, though he still bungled badly in the interpretation. But in general they are too busy trying to score publicity to actually try and grow some scientific respect.

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113. Steve C on January 6, 2006 12:21 PM writes...

PandaFan

I don't think your approach will work, although it's crystal clear. I finally got anonymous to the point where he was clearly up against the wall scientifically, though perhaps he didn't realize it.

He's starting from a base that he builds everything else up from, but the base is flawed. The theorist gets to define falsifiablity. Forget about the problem, in such a controversial area as ID, of theorists simply lying, people makes mistakes. Anon considers it OK .

Behe's ideas about flagellum FAIL to provide falsifiability. But if anon believes Behe is the one who gets to decide what's an appropriate test, every word beyond that is wasted breath. In [109] he's presenting another idea for falsifiability, but there's a mistake, or a leap, in it that's inappropriate/wrong and makes it so much easier to function as a falsifiability test. Short of exposing these base mistakes, no amount of lucidity will communicate with them.

I'm going to repeat part of a post of mine from The Loom --

Many ID-types have a great capacity for data and for pattern-recognition. This allows them to debate minutia and ideas at great length, and scientist way too often get sucked right into such debates -- you can see this on Derek's blog. It's a mistake. In this kind of format, IDers can make abundant sense to the general public. There's evidence these two [anon and WBurke] actually believe they understand what science is.

As a writer and student of communication I see trouble brewing, big time. ID is essentially a giant psychomarketing campaign, and the voices of sanity had better get on the same train, which is leaving the station.

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114. James Powell on January 7, 2006 3:20 AM writes...

Someone was posting about evolution within a species. I can come up with a fair example...how do you define a "horse"?

Is it by DNA similarity? In which case, the one I have out back at 32" tall is the same species as a 100" tall Clydesdale...weighing something in the order of 30 times as much...

Or are you going to define them as the ability to cross breed successfully? (Male Clyde-Female Mini. Male Mini-Female Clyde)

Because there is a fair amount of evidence that would favour evolution by using species that we (the only ID I can think of) have played with to get what we want out of. Cows, Horses, Dogs come immediately to mind, as to plants of various forms. I'm not talking about modern genesplice techniques, but the far simpler ones of breeding for charateristics.

Is not by the definition of a non interbreedable (by "nature") pair not define a seperate species? ergo, that is _some_ proof that evolution works at a macro scale...that a Clyde and a Mini are just not likely to try and reproduce, because they are not likely to successfully reproduce, therefore demonstrating that the pressures of local areas are going to influence what works, and what survives? It does involve some thought experiments here to allow that breed x and breed Y are not truely "natural" in there selection, but most of the charateristics are not ones that have been forced via human influence.

If we do it, could not nature do it to select the most suitable traits? Coupled with competition for resources, it would lead to? Oh, where we are...

ID is not to my mind science. It is religion. It has a place, just as religion does. But it is not science. Science does not exclude religion, but religion may exclude science.

James Powell

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115. WBurke on January 7, 2006 3:26 PM writes...

James please, we don't need ot know what happens in your mind, what you believe or not really does not matter because after all isn't "science" about evidence and proof? You ignoring the scientific evidence that is solidly backing ID over Darwinian Evolution does not make it something it is not. Religion, in most cases identifies THE Supreme Being: Christianity:Jesus Christ, Islam:Allah, Hinduism:Who knows what they call those millions of little gods?, Bhuddism:Bhudda, etc... yet ID simply says that there was a designer behind things far too complex for nature to have created. Cases in point:

Cars: you would have to be separated from your intellect to consider that over millions of years a functioning automobile would result from mere happenstance and random acts of nature. It is highly illogical to consider that one would go to a junkyard and find a part off of a '57 Chevy and a '79 Harley Davidson and convince anyone that they are from the same factory: Harley factories produce Harley's and Chevrolet factories produce Chevrolet's - simple enough.

Computers: It would be equally as illogical to surmise that from millions of years of mere chance and random occurrences that a Dell computer or an HP laptop could be a plausible result and yet these are far less complex than the human being, much less many animals from nature and even less they are not as complex as the interworkings of creature and environment an experiment that is revealing the dire consequences of human error throughout our world even as we speak and yet those professing to be EVIDENCE based "scientists" ignore the facts and hang their beliefs on tales and fantasy stories that have been told over the past 150 years or so often enough that under-educated simple minded preoccupied masses have determined to go along to get along rather than to stand up to the elitist influence of a group of people sworn to deny anything other than man is the ultimate determiner of his own destiny. That man is the highest form of evolution, without need of anything higher (God or Jesus Christ in particular) and that all problems are within the realm of man to correct through "science" not supernatural influence of a designer or God Almighty Himself.

Psalm 14:1 - written long before Jesus Christ came and suffered more than any man before or since for the remission of the sins of all who call upon His name and repent of the wicked ways and turn to God, says very clearly what you all seemingly want to ignore to your own demise and eternal punishment, it says: The fool has said in his heart,“There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.

I mourn for you guys - so caught up in your own imaginations and delusions of grandeur, adulation of like-minded death-wish merchants that you ignore even the most basic and abundantly clear evidences for the true origins of man. You say ID is not science when in fact you change the definitions of science repeatedly to serve your own purposes. You make up mesmerizing accounts of why people should believe in Darwinian Evolution and yet to do so you ignore the very essence of the Scientific Method and chuck it for a bunch of stories made up out of whole cloth about fossils offspring and such that could never be considered scientific by any stretch of the imagination. But I digress...

Have at it Panda, James and Steve - you three seem determined to believe all of the most nonsensical extremes the scientific community has to offer in defense of Darwin, your "movement" has no legs to stand on in a court of debate so it has turned to the elitist scum of the Earth Judicial system to do its bidding because in a side-by-side exhibition of facts Darwin has and would again flop and Creation Science/ID would reign supremely superior and far more scientifically valid - but so long as your bidders control the media, teaching associations and governmental influencers the day of Darwins demise is postponed.

I'd invite you three, if you haven't already, which I'm doubting because the debates are not even close, but I'd invite you to visit www.drdino.com and watch one of the debates between an educated Creation Science teacher and those who've taken him up on his $250K challenge for proof of Darwinian evolution. Write Dr. Hovind to see if you can get a copy of some of his debates - I would have been embarrassed if I were an Evolutionist to see the unsupportable lunacy Darwins defenders present.

In Christ,
Bill

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116. Anonymous on January 7, 2006 9:04 PM writes...

To your first question, I guess I'm going to simply say I don't know.

As for your second question. Yes, Behe or anyone who is knoweledgeable enough and objective enough to make an unbiased determination. I include Behe since he flat out states what conditions would need to be met to satisfy what he proposes.

Statement: I finally got anonymous to the point where he was clearly up against the wall scientifically, though perhaps he didn't realize it.

Response: No, you finally got anonymous to where he was tired of answering the same question, unfortunately not to your satisfaction.

Panda's statemente: Behe's method of disproving the flagellum hypothesis is truly ludicrous

Response: How do your credentials in microbiology measure up to Behe's to qualify to characterize his hypothesis as ludicrous?

Apart from a few exceptions (Lima-de-Faria, 1988; Chauvin, 1997), most contemporary biologists and other scholars accept natural selection as a real process in nature. However, as to the extent of the effects of natural selection on the differentiation and the origin of new species and higher systematic categories, the differences of opinion are enormous; see, for example, Bell (1997), Catania (1994), Cziko (1995), Dawkins (1986, 1995, 1987/1996, 1998), Dennett (1995), Mayr (1997, 1998), Ruse (1996), versus Behe (1996), Berlinski (1996), Dembski (1998a), Junker and Scherer (1998), Lönnig and Saedler (1997), ReMine (1993), and Schützenberger (1996). The first group of authors firmly believes that natural selection is the key process for the origin of all life forms on earth, whereas most scientists of the second group are entirely convinced that the action of natural selection is only of limited significance and that it is largely incompetent to explain the origin of life’s major features from biochemistry to systematics, especially the origin of higher systematic categories. Both groups claim that scientific reasons are the basis of their position in biology. ‘Missing links’ representing nearly all possible shades between the views of these two groups may also be found; see, for instance, Chandebois (1993), Denton (1985, 1998), Gould (1996, 1997), Ho and Saunders (1984), Kauffman (1993), Prothero (1998), and Stanley (1998).

According to Litynski, 1961, p. 63):
Out of 120,000 fertilized eggs of the green frog only two individuals survive. Are we to conclude that these two frogs out of 120,000 were selected by nature because they were the fittest ones; or rather - as Cuenot said - that natural selection is nothing but blind mortality which selects nothing at all?

Griffith and colleagues state in agreement with these authors (1999, p. 564):
Even a new mutation that is slightly favorable will usually be lost in the first few generations after it appears in the population, a victim of genetic drift. If a new mutation has a selective advantage of S in the heterozygote in which it appears, then the chance is only 2S that the mutation will ever succeed in taking over the population. So a mutation that is 1 percent better in fitness than the standard allele in the population will be lost 98 percent of the time by genetic drift.

The results I have summed up in "the law of recurrent variation" (Lönnig, 1993, 1995; Kunze et al., 1997). This law specifies that, for any case thoroughly examined (from pea to man), mutants occur in a large, but nevertheless limited spectrum of phenotypes which - in accordance with all the experiences of mutation research of the 20th century taken together - cannot transform the original species into an entirely new one. These results are in agreement with the statements of several renowned evolutionary geneticists, two of whom are quoted here. Hans Stubbe wrote after a lifetime spent in mutation research (1966, p. 154):

The improved knowledge of mutants in Antirrhinum has provided some essential experience. During the years each new large mutation trial showed that the number of really new mutants recognized for the first time, was steadily diminishing, so that the majority of the genetic changes was already known.

The observations summarized in the law of recurrent variation directly lead to the question of the origins of new genes. The probability of obtaining an entirely new functional DNA sequence (necessary, for example, for the origin of the more than five thousand extant different gene families of today’s living organisms) due to gene duplications with subsequent nucleotide substitutions by point and other mutations has been calculated by several authors to be less than 1 in1050, even granting billions of years for natural selection working on random mutations (ReMine, 1993; Kunze et al., 1997). The result is, simply put, that the probability is so low that no reasonable person would expect to obtain a target or goal in any other area of life by such small chances


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117. Anonymous on January 7, 2006 9:11 PM writes...

Statement: ID is not to my mind science. It is religion. It has a place, just as religion does. But it is not science. Science does not exclude religion, but religion may exclude science.

James Powell

Response: And evolution is about 5% science and about 95% speculation/religion

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118. Anonymous on January 7, 2006 9:14 PM writes...

 Every time I write a paper on the origin of life, I determine I will never write another one, because there is too much speculation running after too few facts." —*Francis Crick, Life Itself (1981), p. 153. [Crick received a Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA.

 "The over-riding supremacy of the myth has created a widespread illusion that the theory of evolution was all but proved one hundred years ago and that all subsequent biological research—paleontological, zoological and in the newer branches of genetics and molecular biology—has provided ever-increasing evidence of Darwinian ideas."—*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 327

 The irony is devastating. The main purpose of Darwinism was to drive every last trace of an incredible God from biology. But the theory replaces God with an even more incredible deity—omnipotent chance."—*T. Rosazak, Unfinished Animal (1975), pp. 101-102

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119. Anonymous on January 8, 2006 1:15 PM writes...

Statement:The theorist gets to define falsifiablity

Response:

"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."
--Charles Darwin, Origin of Species

Did you catch that? That's all we gotta do!

It may be that we are observing irreducible complexity in the defensive system of these carabid beetles, but, in order to make that claim we would have to show that all of the genes involved in forming the secretion lobes, reservoirs, oscillating valves, reaction chambers, muscles, hydrogen peroxides, hydroquinones, inhibitors and enzymes are all essential for the working Bombardier system. In addition we would have to demonstrate that the system would fail to function if one of these components were removed. If we could succeed in demonstrating this, an argument may be made that the concept of irreducible complexity applies to anatomical structures, just as they do to biochemical complexes,


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120. Derek Lowe on January 8, 2006 10:31 PM writes...

Y'know, if you're going to quote that line from Darwin - and ID proponents are understandably fond of it - you should at least do yourself the favor of reading the chapter it's taken from :

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/origin/chapter6.html

It's quite interesting. I could line up all sorts of interesting counter-quotes from it, but I find these quotation wars a bit weird. Darwin isn't some sort of inerrant scripture, you know.

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121. Steve C on January 8, 2006 10:57 PM writes...

Anonymous

Re: Darwin quote, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ . . . my theory would absolutely break down."

Yes, I agree with your "Did you catch that? That's all we gotta do!"

However the history of evolutionary science, biological science, and indeed, all of science, is chock-a-block full of the discovery of straightforward, reproduceable, sometimes [think Einstein] completely illogical, etc. explanations for what had previously been inexplicable, considered magic, non-existant, etc. In a scientific sense, proving "could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications" can't be done through argumentation alone.


I didn't make a claim similar to Panda's that the flagellum idea was ludicrous, which you parried by discussing qualifications. I specifically pointed out [67] how and why it didn't qualify as an experiment that addressed the falsification process for Intelligent Design. No one has responded with specifics.

You apparently don't want to talk about Behe's falsifiability via flagellum proposal. It wasn't an example of your's, so, let's look at the one you brought up in [120] and [109].

Here's another example where the persons involved in the above case study are stating what kind of valid test would necessary for their hypothesis:

"It may be that we are observing irreducible complexity in the defensive system of these carabid beetles, but, in order to make that claim we would have to show that all of the genes involved in forming the secretion lobes, reservoirs, oscillating valves, reaction chambers, muscles, hydrogen peroxides, hydroquinones, inhibitors and enzymes are all essential for the working Bombardier system. In addition we would have to demonstrate that the system would fail to function if one of these components were removed. If we could succeed in demonstrating this, an argument may be made that the concept of irreducible complexity applies to anatomical structures, just as they do to biochemical complexes, but such an argument is beyond the scope of this study."

There's an error in their thinking here -- "we would have to show that all of the genes involved in forming the secretion lobes...[etc]are all essential for the ...system...[and]...demonstrate that the system would fail to function if one of these components were removed."

This sets the bar too low. Irreducible complexity, as I understand it, is defined by, here, a system that can only function as it currently exists and there can be no alteration of it that works [the idea being that it could not have evolved in any step-wise, or incremental, fashion]. This quote sets up two arbitrary levels of proof that are discontinuous, and they are used in a way that leaves a big logical hole between the two levels.

It's highly likely the beetle's defensive system will fail if a component is removed. Evolutionary biology doesn't argue that, and, if I understand correctly, neither does the concept of irreducible complexity. The true question, or standard, is, will the entire Bombadier defensive system still function if one, or more, of it's components are modified. Put another way, could this system have functioned in a useful way, with some sort of precusor set of genes that are different from it's current set.

I would be interested to know if I'm not interpreting the concept of irreducible complexity correctly up to this point.

So, to provide falsifiability, ID should argue in this case that all the genes involved are necessary for the defensive system to work. Inserting the "component" level is a red herring. This could be a simple mistake, or an intentional misrepresentation in their rhetorical argument. Because the relevant question is not whether the system will work minus a component, but whether it will work if one or more components are MODIFIED, i.e., genes are altered. There's a big difference between the system working WITHOUT an oscillating valve and it not working with a MODIFIED oscillating valve. One might argue this goes to the heart of the communication problem between ID and evolutionary biology proponents.


I'm not addressing whether this constitutes a valid proposal for falsifiability, that's a seperate question.

My point is, without some error correction methodology, without some sort of dialog, there's no ability to assess the proposal. If you look back through this thread [and others] a common tactic for IDers, maybe the most common one, is to dump huge amounts of others' thinking, some of it highly detailed, as a response to critiques of ID. Then, more or less, refuse to discuss the matter further.

So, on this topic, science says ID is not falsifiable, therefore, it's not science. Various ID proponents' ideas are dumped into posts, as if to say, "Ha! Here! This proves it falsifiable." As if that in itself settles the question.

It's very difficult to discriminate the motivation for this type of behavior. It could be that IDers think that's suffifcient to answer the falsifiability critique, or that they don't know how to proceed beyond quotation, or they feel, or know, there are weaknesses in the arguments, etc. What obviously bothers the anti-ID point of view, what gets these debaters hot under the collar, is a characteristic tactic among IDers to pontificate, but eventually avoid a detailed, logical, and informed discussion of specfics. Not always, but generally.

Some of this quote-itis is on point, such as yours I just discussed, and much of the rest of yours. But most ID postings exhibit a disturbing pattern of repetitious criticism, wild speculation [e.g., scientists abandoning evolution], scripted monologue, intentional distortions and falsifications, and failure to admit error. This consistant inability to focus on the scientific issues implies the entire ID point of view is motivated by something other than science. In other words, people infer ID is disengenous and deceitful by observing the behavior of those defending it.


I'd also agree with your idea in [118] that evolutionary biology is some mixture of science and speculation, but would, roughly reverse your percentages. There are literally tens, maybe a few hundred, of thousands of peer-reviewed research reports that are all about quantified, reproduceable data. Yes, there is speculation about how the data fits into the whole, and the past, but specualtion can be part of science when it's based on experimental results. In fact science can't proceed without it.

There is a huge body, perhaps incomprehensibly large, of experiemental results that, in general, can all be meshed together comprehensibly under the concept of biological evolution in response to variations in environment. Could this overarching, basically simple, explanation of the vast amount of data be wrong? Of course. But to be science, an alternative explanation must also account for all the existing data, more or less. And the new explanation needs to take existing data, reconceptualize it, and from that make predictions [consistant with existing data] that can be the basis for experiments and observations that produce new data the mesh with the old data. Finally, all of that needs to pass muster with professionals who understand the width and depth of the field's pre-existing experiemental results, the existing problems and issues in that ouevre, and the intellectual attempts to move the science forward.

I have no objection, at all, to Intelligent Design proceeding in that manner. But to me it seems obvious it's not, for whatever reasons. Or have I missed it?

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122. daen on January 9, 2006 4:42 AM writes...

Steve C: ID will not be taken seriously by the scientific community for precisely as long as its proponents insist that it deserves special treatment. Scientific revolutions do not start with petulant foot stamping by those with a vested ideological interest in changing the rules of the game (which they do not understand anyway) to suit their own world view. Scientific revolutions start with an insightful perspective which needs to be supported by overwhelming evidence, superior explanatory power and strongly predictive theoretical structure until the precocious and surprising alternative becomes mainstream.

I suspect that Europe would benefit enormously if ID were to supplant established evolutionary theory in US schools, because I can imagine that a goodly number of skilled US life scientists would rapidly emigrate with their families to Europe, similar to how an entire generation of skilled European scientists escaped to the US in the first half of the 1930s.

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123. Steve C on January 9, 2006 5:01 AM writes...

Daen

I agree.

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124. Anonymous on January 9, 2006 10:03 AM writes...

Derek,

Statement: Y'know, if you're going to quote that line from Darwin - and ID proponents are understandably fond of it - you should at least do yourself the favor of reading the chapter it's taken from :

Response: Same old familiar tactic, somewhere, someplace, in the remaining text, something will be found which totally [b] negates[/b] what has been said. This of course is very misleading. [b]Just state what is![/b]

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125. Anonymous on January 9, 2006 10:12 AM writes...

Steve,

Your posts are entirely too long. I won't bother responding to anything longer than a couple short paragraphs.

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126. Anonymous on January 9, 2006 10:44 AM writes...

Daen,

You spoke of vested ideological interest. Do you mean like for example some of the teachers, parents, etc, in Fresno that are now protesting because they don't want other parent's kids to learn about ID in a Philosophy class?

That fact that evolution is for the most part an ideology is what is making it difficult for the ID scientists.

"Nine-tenths of the talk of evolutionists is sheer nonsense, not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by facts. This museum is full of proofs of the utter falsity of their views. In all this great museum, there is not a particle of evidence of the transmutation of species."
-Dr. Etheridge, senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History, cited in Dr. Scott Huse, The Collapse of Evolution.


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127. Derek Lowe on January 9, 2006 10:45 AM writes...

Here's "what is", anon: It's true that Darwin's theory would fail if there were some structure found that absolutely could not be formed by gradual mutational change - but Darwin went on to point out how difficult it would be to prove that, and why.

It remains difficult, for just the reasons he stated, and for others that he couldn't have known at the time. Darwin worte, for example, about how different structures are used for widely different purposes in different organisms, but no one back then knew how that thoroughly that extended down to the molecular level.

Large consequences can come from small changes at that level. Changing one amino acid can totally change the function of a huge protein, for example. Darwin couldn't have known that, but I think he'd be surprised and delighted at that and the other complexities his ideas have taken on.

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128. Derek Lowe on January 9, 2006 10:48 AM writes...

I'd like to add, Anon, that it's rather disingenuous of you to complain about the "same old tactic" of hunting somewhere through a text to find a part which negates the original point.

This from someone who posts a quote from (thoroughgoing evolutionist and outright atheist) Francis Crick in support of an intelligent design argument. Really, now.

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129. Derek Lowe on January 9, 2006 11:04 AM writes...

By the way, Anon, your "Dr. Etheridge, senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History", in #127, turns out to be an "assistant keeper in geology" who was employed at the British Museum for a few years in the late 1800s. (http://members.cox.net/ardipithecus/evol/lies/lie029.html)

Cut the crap, please.

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130. Anonymous on January 9, 2006 11:19 AM writes...

Steve,

I'll cut you some slack.

Will a slight modification still work? No, especially not when randomness is involved.
You will get something that doesn't work. Now, there are different kinds of bombarier beetles with slightly modified mechanisms. However, their complexity is just as great. Each interdependent part is necessary for the defense mechanism to work. Given that each of these parts are interdependent, they would have no evolutionary value as independent parts/components.

It is easy enough to make up stories of how one form gave rise to another, and to find reasons why the stages should be favoured by natural selection. But such stories are not part of science, for there is no way of putting them to the test."
-Dr. Colin Patterson, ibid.

"To improve a living organism by random mutation is like saying you could improve a Swiss watch by dropping it and bending one of its wheels or axis. Improving life by random mutations has the probability of zero."
-Albert Szent-Gyorgi, Nobel Laureate (Medicine, 1937).

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131. Anonymous on January 9, 2006 11:33 AM writes...

Derek,

Statement: This from someone who posts a quote from (thoroughgoing evolutionist and outright atheist) Francis Crick in support of an intelligent design argument. Really, now.

Response: That's just it! Why should the public take evolution seriouly when leading evolutionists are make such statements?

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132. Anonymous on January 9, 2006 12:08 PM writes...

Derek,

Statement:By the way, Anon, your "Dr. Etheridge, senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History", in #127, turns out to be an "assistant keeper in geology" who was employed at the British Museum for a few years in the late 1800s.

Response: Dr. Etheridge was known as one of the "world's leading paleontologist" so I'd say "assistant keeper in geology" is again a bit misleading. Feel free to explain what the site you mention means by "assistant keeper" Furthermore, your site indicates that he was there for 10 years. I don't know but that seems long enough to be able to come to the conclusion that he did. I mean there were fossils in the late 1800s right? Didn't Darwin rely on the fossil record when he came up with his theory in the 1800s?

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133. Anonymous on January 9, 2006 12:25 PM writes...

Derek,

Statement: Large consequences can come from small changes at that level. Changing one amino acid can totally change the function of a huge protein, for example. Darwin couldn't have known that, but I think he'd be surprised and delighted at that and the other complexities his ideas have taken on.

Responses: Ya think?

"The evidence for Darwinism is not only grossly inadequate, it's systematically distorted. I'm convinced that sometime in the not-to-distant future, people will look back in amazement and say, 'How could anyone have believed this?' Darwinism is merely materialistic philosophy masquerading as science."

Jonathan Well, Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology, specializing in vertebrate embryology, 1994, from UC Berkeley.
---------------------------------------------
". 1 A prominent British biologist, a Fellow of the Royal Society, in the Introduction to the 1971 edition of Darwin's Origin of Species, said that "belief in the theory of evolution" was "exactly parallel to belief in special creation", with evolution merely "a satisfactory faith on which to base our interpretation of nature".
2 2. L. Harrisoin
Matthews, "Introduction" to Origin of Species (London, J.M. Dent and Sons 1971, p. X.

---------------------------------------------

Just as pre-Darwinian biology was carried out by people whose faith was in the Creator and His plan, post-Darwinian biology is being carried out by people whose faith is in, almost, the deity of Darwin. They've seen their task as to elaborate his theory and to fill the gaps in it, to fill the trunk and twigs of the tree. But it seems to me that the theoretical framework has very little impact on the actual progress of the work in biological research. In a way some aspects of Darwinism and of neo-Darwinism seem to me to have held back the progress of science."
—Colin Patterson, The Listener [senior paleontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, London].

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134. Derek Lowe on January 9, 2006 12:34 PM writes...

Anon, if you're just going to quote a paragraph from me, add two words ("Ya think?") and then append some more greatest hits from your quote file, I'm strongly minded to stop wasting my time trying to converse with you.

The reason I object to things like your Crick quote is, of course, that these are being used to make it look as if all these great biologists think that evolution isn't true. And that's what isn't true. When I say "great biologists", by the way, I'm not referring to your man Etheridge - if you have any independent evidence that he was one of the "world's leading paleontologists", I'd love to see it. Please do cite his publications in the paleontological literature at your first opportunity - references to his work from other paleontologists of his era would serve as well.

I prefer your responses to Steve C. I disagree with them, but they're the closest you've come to advancing substantive arguments about what you think.

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135. daen on January 9, 2006 3:45 PM writes...

You spoke of vested ideological interest. Do you mean like for example some of the teachers, parents, etc, in Fresno that are now protesting because they don't want other parent's kids to learn about ID in a Philosophy class?

No, Anonymous, I don't, and you are obviously far too lazy or quick-fingered to be bothered to read what I wrote with any due care and attention, which I shall deal with shortly. You also seem to be trying to paint those parents and teachers who aren't happy about the class in a rather negative light. According to today's Herald Tribune (http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060106/APN/601061052):

So far, some parents have written the school in opposition, but no group has tried to stop the class from being taught. "I don't agree with teaching kids religion," said parent Tammy Rossiter, who has a son and daughter at the school. "It's something that should be done at home."

I agree that a philosophy class seems like a better forum for ID except for the fact that no doubt something more deserving of contemplation needs to be cut from the curriculum to make space. Better still, make space in religious education classes for ID and other creation myths.

Last time I checked, the right to represent a dissenting opinion and engage in debate is part of the democratic process (as is voting off school board members who act in an unconstitutional manner by mixing religious education with the school's lay science education).

But the discipline of science itself is a meritocracy, not a democracy. It proceeds by means other than how persuasively you can engage in rhetoric or what your particular belief system is.

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136. Steve C on January 9, 2006 4:45 PM writes...

Anonymous

Each interdependent part is necessary for the defense mechanism to work. Given that each of these parts are interdependent, they would have no evolutionary value as independent parts/components.

The two boldface segments above are assumptions. Or, hypotheses. Why should we take someone's word that this is reality? In fact, science can get at these through experimental work and it is exactly these two types of issues that evolutionary biology is interested in.

There's a logical jump in your rhetoric that isn't in my previous post. What's the rationale for the position that the parts either all have to be considered together or all seperately. One component can be removed and all the others remain together.

And now you're bringing in randomness. Would you please explane why that is connected to the issue? I thought the idea of the original quote was about an example of irreduceable complexity, and a way to disprove that concept.

[I can write concisely. I was trying to cover a chain of logic, and restating points multiple ways to reduce misreadings]

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137. Steve C on January 9, 2006 4:53 PM writes...

Derek

I prefer your responses to Steve C. I disagree with them, but they're the closest you've come to advancing substantive arguments about what you think.


That's the only thing I've been trying to achieve.

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138. Anonymous on January 9, 2006 4:55 PM writes...

I know it can be kind of frustrating when experts, especially evolutionists, disagree with what you are trying to get people to swallow. On the other hand, I find it a great time saver when talking to disciples of evolution. Of course then the Darwinian sheep try to take comfort in that the quote must be taken out of context. Well, then if that's the case prove it! Just don't come back every time with the same old argument that the rest of the text negates what was previously said.

Even if all evolutionists don't agree on an issue, which very often is the case, the fact that there are prominent evolutionists who aren't afraid to admit to what the evidence really shows, is enough to give the public reasonable doubt. That's what the public is being kept in the dark about. That's why the parent's in Fresno don't what other parents kids to learn about ID even in a Philosophy class! It's the very reason why evolutionists are so quick to try to discredit any evolutionist
that challenges the theory. All of a sudden, let's check their creditials. Never mind their credentials before they spoke out against evolution. It's an attack on your belief system.


And yet another quote:

Most scientists are working in very narrow fields; they do not see the overall picture, and assume, even though their field does not prove evolution, that perhaps other areas of science probably vindicate it. They are well-meaning men. The biologists and geneticists know their facts, and research does not prove evolution, but assume that geology does. The geologists know their field does not prove evolution, but hope that the biologists and geneticists have proven it. Those who do know the facts, fear to disclose them to the general public, lest they be fired. But they do write articles in their own professional journals and books, condemning evolutionary theory.

"The over-riding supremacy of the myth has created a widespread illusion that the theory of evolution was all but proved one hundred years ago and that all subsequent biological research—paleontological, zoological, and in the newer branches of genetics and molecular biology—has provided ever-increasing evidence for Darwinian ideas."—*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 327

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139. Anonymous on January 9, 2006 5:02 PM writes...

"The over-riding supremacy of the myth has created a widespread illusion that the theory of evolution was all but proved one hundred years ago and that all subsequent biological research—paleontological, zoological, and in the newer branches of genetics and molecular biology—has provided ever-increasing evidence for Darwinian ideas."—*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 327

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140. Derek Lowe on January 9, 2006 6:24 PM writes...

Anonymous, I didn't say that you'd achieved your goal of getting across an argument of substance. Believe me, you haven't.

Your #139, above, seems closer to your real goal: to sow doubt and confusion. It's not a very elevated occupation.

Almost every time someone has tried to pin you down to a direct question, you emit another cloud of ink. Falsifiability, flagellar proteins, bombardier beetles - it doesn't seem to matter. Another batch of inflated and misconstrued quotations (found anything by Etheridge yet?) comes spewing out, and we're back where we started.

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141. daen on January 9, 2006 8:33 PM writes...

Anonymous, as you're so keen on quotes, here's one for you.

Professor Behe admitted in "Reply to My Critics" that there was a defect in his view of irreducible complexity because, while it purports to be a challenge to natural selection, it does not actually address the task facing natural selection. Professor Behe specifically explained that "[t]he current definition puts the focus on removing a part from an already functioning system", but "[t]he difficult task facing Darwinian evolution, however, would not be to remove parts from sophisticated pre-existing systems; it would be to bring together components to make a new system in the first place." In that article, Professor Behe wrote that he hoped to "repair this defect in future work;" however, he has failed to do so even four years after elucidating his defect. (Judge Jones's ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, p73 --> http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/educate/ktzmllrdvr122005opn.pdf)

Why is Behe so reluctant to republish a definition of irreducible complexity framed in these new terms? Could it be, perhaps, because it then gives Darwinian evolutionists precisely the framework to explain how so-called irreducibly complex biological systems can evolve from ancestral forms by descent with modification? Perhaps it's not the Darwinian evolutionists who are keeping the public in the dark, Anonymous ...

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142. Anonymous on January 10, 2006 8:58 AM writes...

Statement: (Derek)Another batch of inflated and misconstrued quotations

Response: Yes, the qotations must be misconstrued Folks! Any evidence of this? Of course not!

Statement: found anything by Etheridge yet?) comes spewing out, and we're back where we started.

Response: Don't need to. How about you go check what his credentials were before he made the statement you didn't like and I 'll check them afterwards

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143. Anonymous on January 11, 2006 9:03 AM writes...

In "Behe's Black Box. 0: On the Frontiers of Ignorance" Robison states:

Suppose you challenge me to show that a standard mousetrap is not irreducibly complex. You hand me all of the parts listed above. I am to set up a functional mousetrap which at least mostly resembles the standard one, except I hand you back one piece. Can it be done? Yep. The wooden base can be discarded. Where do you put a mousetrap? On the floor.

That's an interesting reply, but you've just substituted another wooden base for the one you were given. The trap still can't function without a base. Furthermore, you were essentially given a disassembled mousetrap, which you then assembled. All of the parts were preadapted to each other by an intelligent agent. The point that has to be addressed is, how do you start with no pieces (at least none specifically designed to be part of a mousetrap), and proceed to a functioning, irreducibly complex trap.

Behe Responds to Postings in Talk Origins Newsgroup [the sacred source!]

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144. Anonymous on January 11, 2006 9:13 AM writes...

So I searched the literature as thoroughly as I could for relevant information and tried to be as rigorous as possible. Perhaps there are step-by-step, Darwinian explanations in the literature for the complex systems I describe in my book, but if there are I haven't seen them, nor has anyone brought them to my attention.

My book has now been reviewed quite widely, including reviews by academic biochemists. Several of them were quite hostile to my idea of design, but all agreed that the systems I described are enormously complex and currently unexplained. The hostile reviewers were confident that the systems would eventually be explained by Darwinism in the future. I do not share their confidence. Neither did James Shapiro, a biochemist at the University of Chicago who reviewed Darwin's Black Box for National Review a few weeks ago. He, too, thinks Darwinism has failed for these systems, but hopes that they will be explained by some other non-intelligent mechanism.

Behe Responds to Postings in Talk Origins Newsgroup [the sacred source!]

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145. Anonymous on January 11, 2006 6:24 PM writes...

Statement:(Daent) No, Anonymous, I don't, and you are obviously far too lazy or quick-fingered to be bothered to read what I wrote with any due care and attention,

Response: When it comes your writting, I'd say it's a little of both.


Statement: You also seem to be trying to paint those parents and teachers who aren't happy about the class in a rather negative light. According to today's Herald Tribune (http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060106/APN/601061052):

Response: Yes, I am. First of all, the class is an elective. If the parent's don't want their kids in the class, that their prerogative. They have no business trying to impose their ideology on other parent's kids. If they want equal time for evolution given that's fine.

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146. Anonymous on January 11, 2006 6:33 PM writes...

Derek,

Statement: Anonymous, I didn't say that you'd achieved your goal of getting across an argument of substance. Believe me, you haven't.

Response: Why I'm not trying to convert you. I respect every man's religion.

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147. daen on January 11, 2006 9:57 PM writes...

Statement:(Daent [sic]) No, Anonymous, I don't, and you are obviously far too lazy or quick-fingered to be bothered to read what I wrote with any due care and attention,

Response: When it comes your writting [sic], I'd say it's a little of both.

I can spell, think and type at the same time. Shame you can't. Two typos in two lines simply proves my point. You are the weakest link. End of discussion, you're too dullwitted to continue arguing against. Goodbye, Anonymous.

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