The Questionable Authority

Everybody’s favorite creationist neurosurgeon is back. Today, Michael Egnor brought forth yet another remarkably inept attempt to find a way to justify egnoring the relationship between natural selection and antibiotic resistance. This time, he’s apparently decided that there’s no hope in finding a substantive argument, so he’s resorting to nothing more than a childish rhetorical game. One of the authors of a recently published scientific paper that examined antibiotic resistance left a comment at The Panda’s Thumb noting that his research did in fact rely on Darwinian evolution. In a spectacular display of combined arrogance and ignorance (aka Egnorance), Egnor decided to inform the authors that they are mistaken if they think that natural selection was actually involved in any way:

Dr. Dardel is both candid and mistaken. His comment that the use of Darwin’s theory is “unusual in structural biology” is obviously true, and refreshingly candid. He is, however, mistaken about the application of Darwin’s theory to his recent work. His assertion that “…we selected bacteria…by plating…” is artificial selection, not natural selection. Artificial selection is breeding, in this case microbial breeding. The principles of breeding date back thousands of years, and owe nothing to Darwin. In fact, Darwin claimed that non-teleological processes in nature could produce changes in populations just as teleological processes like breeding could. Even Darwin didn’t claim that his theory explained the outcome of intentional breeding. It’s astonishing that a modern professional scientist like Dr. Dardel doesn’t recognize the difference between artificial selection and natural selection.

In Egnor’s world, it is impossible to study natural selection in the lab, because once you enter the lab, you’ve moved from natural selection to artificial selection. That’s the level of argument that he’s been reduced to – word games.

Dr. Dardel’s team obtained the resistant strains that they investigated through a very simple process. They took the bacteria, placed them in an environment that contained the antibiotic, and let the bacteria reproduce. The bacteria that survived to reproduce were (not surprisingly) the bacteria that were most resistant to the antibiotic.

The differences between what the scientists did in a lab and what happens in nature are small, and not incredibly significant. The scientists worked in a lab. They artificially replicated a set of conditions (an antibiotic-rich environment) that occur in nature. Finally, they placed the bacteria into this environment – something that happens spontaneously outside the lab. Strangely, I find that I’m not as impressed as Egnor is by these differences.

Still, let’s be nice and (purely for the sake of argument) grant Egnor his rhetorical fun. We’ll pretend that anything that happens in a lab must be artificial selection, and that it is totally and completely wrong to use the phrase “natural selection” when referring to these experiments. Even if we make those assumptions, Darwin’s work remains relevant to the experiments.

Darwin was the first to demonstrate that selective pressures caused by the natural environment have the same effects on a population as selective pressures created by humans. That discovery justifies the use of laboratory experiments (like the one Dr. Dardel’s team reported) to investigate phenomena (like antibiotic resistance) that occur spontaneously in nature.

Comments

  1. #1 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    March 7, 2008

    A scientist would immediately acknowledge the theory (selective pressures). Egnor not only not care about the science but readily shows that his IDeology is a religious story (“teleological processes”), an IDol-ogy.

    Seems Dover pushed the DI hacks over the edge, and they have been free falling into publicly using religious language ever since. Making science supporters job so much easier.

  2. #2 Eamon Knight
    March 7, 2008

    Even Darwin didn’t claim that his theory explained the outcome of intentional breeding.

    WTF?!? Considering that whole tedious chapters of OoS are devoted to discussing farm animals, pigeons, etc, I find that a remarkable statement. (Though Egnor, no doubt, has some novel definition of “Darwinism” that lets his silly statement be true).

    In Egnor’s world, it is impossible to study natural selection in the lab, because once you enter the lab, you’ve moved from natural selection to artificial selection.

    Considering that Egnor considers intelligence to be this magical-mystical non-material thing, he may very well believe having scientists deliberately challenge bacteria with antibiotics is qualitatively different from having it happen in the wild. While he’s at it, why doesn’t he also insist that the petrie dishes be arranged according to the rules of Feng Shui, or the experiment won’t work? It’s just as stupid.

  3. #3 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 7, 2008

    This isn’t even original stupid:
    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/03/yes-they-think.html#comment-145233
    On the other hand, Egnor may be posting under the handle “Pole Greaser” – yecchh.
    If I were chief of staff at his hospital, I would lift his antibiotic prescribing privileges immediately.

  4. #4 Robert B
    March 7, 2008

    While it may be artificial selection from the human point of view,
    isn’t it still natural selection from the bacterial point of view?

  5. #5 David Margolies
    March 7, 2008

    I think Egnor is saying that the resistance was already in the bacteria genome. He said something similar when discussing a paper PZ Myers referred him to about this very subject (sorry, no idea when), where he denied that induced anti0biotic resistance resulted in new information.

    As I understand it, Dr. Dardel is saying he and his colleagues but the bacteria under stress in the hopes they would mutate in a particular way (which, if I understand it, they did) resulting in new [whatever part of the dna changes in mutation -- note I am not a biologist] different from what existed previously. He is saying that it was Darwin’s principles that led them to use this method: such stress will either kill off all the bacteria or result in survivors with newly evolved capability to survive.

    Dr. Egnor is saying the capability to survive was already present in the bacteria. All that the stress did was eliminate those individuals where this ability was too weak. Just as breeding horses for speed does not need (as I understand it) mutations, but rather selecting among existing genes to maximize speed over other traits.

    My understanding of experiments of this kind start with a single bacteria individual which is killed by an antibiotic and which multiples (to presumably genetically identical copies) but then (usually) the antibiotic does not kill all the individuals, so something must have changed, presumably by mutation.

    But as I say, I am not a biologist so I may be misunderstanding.

  6. #6 jeh
    March 7, 2008

    They always want to attack artificial selection because they know that it clearly demonstrates the plausibility of large scale morphological change when any kind of selection process operates on the genetic variation that exists in nature. They can pretend all they want that is something different, but it is pure subterfuge. In a changing environment, it would take some kind of divine intervention to prevent evolution by natural selection from occurring.

  7. #7 Hank Roberts
    March 7, 2008

    It’s not Darwinian if it’s not done using a sailing ship!

  8. #8 Glen Davidson
    March 7, 2008

    Technically he’s probably right, that it wouldn’t be considered to be “natural selection” proper. It would not, however, be considered to be “artificial selection” proper, either.

    It’s what is called an experiment, testing the principles of natural selection in a specific case. Unless, of course, they want to rhetorically deny to us the ability to test natural selection in the lab, they have to accept that this is all related to natural selection and its principles, whatever it’s called.

    It is, of course, all word games, which IDists substitute for science. If we do a gravity experiment in the lab, we recognize that this is “natural gravity,” but because we don’t have “artificial gravity” (no, centrifuges and the like don’t count, even if they can test for gravitational effects) there is no problem with the language.

    However, “natural selection” is different in important ways from “artificial selection,” and so we tend to think of it as happening outside of the lab. Doesn’t make any difference, of course, since it’s the same principles, the same science, when genetically engineered bacteria lose their engineered capabilities via selection in vats, or in “nature” (it’s all nature, after all). The distinction is artificial, in the end, especially when we’re not “designing organisms” by artificially selecting them.

    It might be best just to speak of “selection via the environment” or some such thing when responding to their word games. That’s all that is important, that is how we test “natural selection” in the lab.

    Egnor’s only real, if inadvertant, point is that he doesn’t “get science”, something he demonstrates constantly.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  9. #9 Ben
    March 7, 2008

    This “artificial selection” word game played by ID is pure white noise. Artificial selection, in general, as it refers to human agency distinguishes selection based on one maximizing variable (milk production, for example)verses the complete selection of nature. Natural selection “sees more” in that it is testing for the full fitness of an organism to the environment.

    To the extent that the above experiment recreates the relevant controlling factors of selection in the natural world with respect to antibiotics, it can then be applied to that extent to the natural world.

    This foolishness by Engor amounts to throwing out the notion of research and test groups completely, of controlling and studying any variables. Heizenburg is not a basis for eternal supersticious solipsism.

  10. #10 Paul
    March 7, 2008

    Sigh.

    Antibiotic resistance has as much to do with evolution as a tealeaf has to do with the East India Trading Company.

    Still, don’t let that spoil your fun.

  11. #11 CleveDan
    March 7, 2008

    Dr. Egnor has been on the ID the Future podcast with Casey Luskin lately…….its painfull to listen to

    Dr Steve Novella usually hadles Egnor well:
    http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php?p=198

  12. #12 Interrobang
    March 7, 2008

    Antibiotic resistance has as much to do with evolution as a tealeaf has to do with the East India Trading Company.

    Hm, what is “One tiny segment of a much larger system”? Thank you, Alex, I’ll have Egnorance for five hundred, please.

  13. #13 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 7, 2008

    Tell me then, Paul, why did the sessions on antibiotic resistance at the clinical microbiology meeting I attended last week (CACMID 2008) refer over and over again to evolution and natural selection?

  14. #14 MDPotter
    March 7, 2008

    Antibiotic resistance has as much to do with evolution as a tealeaf has to do with the East India Trading Company.

    which is to say, everything to do with it.

  15. #15 Unsympathetic reader
    March 7, 2008

    Hmm… Antibiotic resistance is found in the wild. The cause is a particular allele that is not found in sensitive strains. This allele’s product bears strong resemblance to others found in nature but it has differences that allow it to inactivate the antibiotic.

    IDers admit no familial relationship between the similar structures. They say, ‘Proteins are too sensitive to changes in their sequences. You could never interconvert them by natural means! The intermediates would be useless!’ Sometimes they say, ‘Those sequences always existed and the presence of the antibiotic only allows you to find them!’

    You go into the lab and pull out a strain grown from a single bacterium that is sensitive. Now you know what was originally present in the genome of the founding population. Next you expose your bacterium’s kids to antibiotics at levels comparable to what strains in the ‘wild’ probably see. A bit later, you find that some of the lab bacteria actually survive! Comparing their genes to that of the founding bacterium you notice that there is a change in one of the genes. Low and behold, mutations have arisen spontaneously (the researchers certainly didn’t engineer those changes directly!) and we find that the mutations map to locations in a gene carried by many ‘wild’ bacteria that display antibiotic resistance. In fact, you find that this gene’s product, when modified with slight changes, is particularly good at taking out different antibiotics. No surprisingly, the results in the lab and the results in the field actually mesh.

    IDers, confronted with the clear result that spontaneous mutations can interconvert proteins with altered functions that have selectable phenotypes then claim, ‘But it was done in the lab! It must be intelligent design!’

    So, when they don’t see something happen right in front of them, IDer’s believe it could have been done by Invisible Pink Unicorns (Despite the fact that nobody has ever found physical evidence that IPUs exist). But when they watch it happen in the lab, then whatever CSI the Invisible Pink Unicorns imbued in humans when they created us somehow oozes out and leaks into the petri dishes.

  16. #16 PoxyHowzes
    March 7, 2008

    It’s not clear to me (although I’m neither a biologist nor a “Darwinist”) that this was even artificial selection in the lab. In “classical, or “barnyard” artificial selection, we see a trait that is already there, and we select to be bred the organisms that have the most (least in some cases) of that trait.

    Here, I believe, the bacteria either didn’t have or weren’t known to have this particular resistance. You throw a bunch of bacteria in an environment that stresses them, and if there are survivors you assume that the survivors have evolved a new trait. Having for the first time observed that trait, you can now begin “artificial selection,” if you wish.

    A second point: How is the “artificial” environment of the petri dish in the lab different from the “artificial” environment of a human walking around pumped full of a non-“natural” antibiotic the bacteria have never seen before?

  17. #17 David Margolies
    March 7, 2008

    I wonder is Egnor would reply to Unsympathetic reader as follows:

    “You say that almost everything necessary for resistance to the antibiotic is already present in the bacteria. It is just a simple mutation, nothing like the creation of a whole new structure, that is required. Well, yes, I have always believed that very simple mutations can happen and if that is all that is necessary for development of resistance to an antibiotic, then I agree that is what is happening, and it could happen in the lab or in nature when the bacteria encounters the antibiotic. But this is not evolution, at least in any meaningful sense. 99.9999% of the resistance was already present. Yes it was a simple mutation that turned it on but nobody denies that those simple mutations occur and in a few cases, like this one, are beneficial. But where did the 99.9999% come from, if not from ID?”

    That is, I think he would first say ‘Those sequences always existed and the presence of the antibiotic only allows you to find them!’ (quoting UR), but failing that, I think he would say something like what I say above. In short, a little change but no real new information because almost all the necessary information was already present.

  18. #18 Unsympathetic reader
    March 7, 2008

    Egnor could have made such a reply, but didn’t. He wouldn’t even accept something so simple and clear.

    And perhaps I wouldn’t even accept the response proposed (one we’ve heard many times previously from other creationists). In the past, Egnor has been unable to provide a useful information metric let alone determine how much ‘had to be added’ at particular stages in evolution. In that regard, he’s in the company of other IDers like Dembski and Spetner who likewise have failed, even if Egnor is even more clueless about actual details.

    Our inner ears are former jawbones, and many of our clotting factors, proteases that had former applications. What ‘new’ structures appeared in the human/ape split that weren’t 99.99% already there? What is the problem of incremental accumulation of adaptive traits?

  19. #19 Unsympathetic reader
    March 7, 2008

    PoxyHowzes, to add to your comments… Early humans didn’t necessarily know what they were doing. Were the first wolves domesticated because humans went out and actively sought species and individuals that were most adaptable for human domestication or was that inadvertent? Did humans breed the first dogs or did nearness to humans drive dog evolution? The thing is, one can drive the adaptation of organisms to specific environments while having no clue about breeding or even actively trying to direct a specific outcome.

  20. #20 Dave W.
    March 7, 2008

    In Egnor’s world, it is impossible to study natural selection in the lab, because once you enter the lab, you’ve moved from natural selection to artificial selection.

    IDists have a long history of claiming that intelligence has been “snuck into” experiments and computer simulations and the like, and I think that’s the core of what Egnor is saying here.

    I say we let them have that. Taken to its logical end, it means that every experiment or simulation is “contaminated” by human intelligence and design. Thus, any research that an IDist points to as being evidence of design can simply be brushed off with, “well, sure: that research was done by human beings, so of course there’s intelligence all over it.”

    In other words, all results that indicate “design” must necessarily be false positives. Let the IDists have this argument – agree with them – because it makes them shoot themselves in the foot again by invalidating everything (even the math and logic!) that they claim supports their conclusions.

    Of course, biologists and teachers of biology mostly ignore these arguments anyway. That shouldn’t change. I’m talking about agreeing with them for rhetorical purposes, only in blogs and newspapers and other media outlets. The IDists wouldn’t want “all human endeavors are contaminated by human intelligence and design” to be taught, anyway.

  21. #21 David Margolies
    March 7, 2008

    (I hope it is clear that I do not agree with Egnor. I am just trying to tease out his argument.)

    Egnor: “Dr. Dardel’s observation that the use of Darwin’s theory in structural biology is “unusual” is true enough, but understated. Darwin’s theory is an historical inference in evolutionary biology, of debatable verity, and is worthless to structural biology. Dr. Dardel’s assertion that Darwin’s theory was essential to his recent research was remarkably uninformed. He bred the bacteria he wanted, and it had nothing to do with ‘natural’ selection.”

    The question is, why would stressing the bacteria as Dardel did be a useful technique? If I understand Dardel, he did it because it was likely to produce new [whatever], different from anything that existed before, or at least existed in his collection of bacteria, resulting in bacteria more suited to his experiment. ([whatever] is alleles or proteins or whatever would be the new thing.)

    I think Dardel is saying that he thought this was likely to succeed because the way to get new things, according to Darwin’s theory, is through environmental stress. Now this may or may not work, but actually for bacteria, if the change is not too great, it often does.

    So again, the key is the newness. Dardel says: “we used selective pressure to obtain mutants of the enzyme.” But in Egnor’s piece, the word “mutant” appears only in a quote from Dardel, and the word “new” does not appear at all. I think Egnor believes that nothing new is happening. It would be interesting to ask him what the use of “breeding” is if you need new things.

    So the answer to Egnor’s question:

    “exactly what aspect of ‘natural’ selection was indispensible to Dr. Dardel’s work? Please be specific. Please phrase your answer this way: ‘The theory that ‘Natural selection of heritable non-teleological variation accounts for all biological complexity’— which is Darwin’s theory— was indispensible to this research because…’.”

    is (running one from “because”)

    “it led us to apply environment stress in the hope of producing mutant bacteria containing new enzymes which would be more suited to our experiment. If we did not understand modern evolutionary theory, or did not believe it, we would have not reason to believe such new enzymes were likely or even possible.”

  22. #22 Unsympathetic reader
    March 7, 2008

    I think Dardel is saying that he thought this was likely to succeed because the way to get new things, according to Darwin’s theory, is through environmental stress.

    It’s probably not ‘stress’ that is leading to the production of resistant mutants, but simply background mutation. Selective pressure is used to enrich for those bacteria that have resistance mutations. Those mutations can happen with or without stress. In fact, we can throw enough antibiotic into the media that all non-resistant cells die. In that case, nothing changes in response to stress: The cells either developed the mutation before exposure or they died. But with all the sensitive cells dead only the resistant ones are left and they take over the culture. At that point they’re easy to isolate.

    I agree with your argument that if we went with the assumption that novel features arise only from ID then we’d have to ask: Why we bother trying to isolate resistant mutants in the lab? Also, in the clinic, why bother using multidrug cocktails against HIV when the virus is never going to change enough to evade a single drug?

  23. #23 Dale Husband
    March 7, 2008

    Didn’t Darwin himself use the selective breeding of pigeons as an example of how natural selection might work? And in COSMOS, Carl Sagan also used artificial selection of domesticated animals and plants over thousands of years to suggest how natural selection might work over billions of years. Therefore, Michael Egnor’s argument is a challenge to both of them as well, but a dishonest one. Selection is selection and change is change. To suggest that there must be an absolute distinction between natural selection and artifical selection is a rhetorical technique known as “moving the goalposts”.

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2007/05/impossible_expectations_and_mo.php

  24. #24 David Margolies
    March 7, 2008

    Thank you, UR. Here is my revision:

    So the answer to Egnor’s question:

    “exactly what aspect of ‘natural’ selection was indispensible to Dr. Dardel’s work? Please be specific. Please phrase your answer this way: ‘The theory that ‘Natural selection of heritable non-teleological variation accounts for all biological complexity’— which is Darwin’s theory— was indispensible to this research because…’.”

    is (running on from “because”)

    “it led them to apply environment stress to select for mutated bacteria that produce new enzymes more suited to their experiment. If we did not understand modern evolutionary theory, or did not believe it, we would have no reason to believe such new enzymes were likely or even possible, and there would be no point in trying to isolate mutated bacteria that produced them.”

  25. #25 qetzal
    March 7, 2008

    Egnor claimed:

    Artificial selection is breeding, in this case microbial breeding.

    Really? Dardel picked which microbes to breed to which other microbes? I’d like to see that!

  26. #26 zy
    March 7, 2008

    The antibiotics fed to livestock are showing up far from the original farming concerns via migration through soil, groundwater, ingestion and excretion by soil fauna, and other pathways. Some of the environments in which these antibiotics are appearing are well removed from direct human activity, enough that it’s safe to call their location “in the wild.” They can show up in nature preserves and other protected areas, where “breeding” and artificial selection are assiduously avoided. The rise of resistant strains in these locations, well-removed from the original source, is an example of the evolution of resistance in “nature,” by almost any definition of nature. If Egnore wants to quibble about what constitutes nature, and if any environment subject to human interference, whether intended or accidental, can no longer be called nature, then we must perhaps concede that nothing occurs in nature because nature has ceased to exist, a point made by naturalist Bill McKibben who wrote of The End of Nature decades ago.

  27. #27 Keith Eaton
    March 7, 2008

    Once again we have to engage the world famous Eaton BS filter for the few innocent readers who might otherwise succomb to the true believer, darwin suckups on the panda post.

    Here’s the skinny from a real PhD. scientist with some factual comments on the subject.

    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

    Truth, Justice, and the American Way

  28. #28 Ravilyn Sanders
    March 7, 2008

    Ha, the original authors themselves say they used principles of evolution and Keith here has dug up a “real PhD” who argues otherwise.

    Hey Keith, go ask your “real PhD” how did the nylon eating bacteria evolve? It happened out there in a waste pond, not in a petri dish! What about bacteria eating crude oil?

  29. #29 prof weird
    March 7, 2008

    Once again we have to engage the world famous Eaton BS filter for the few innocent readers who might otherwise succomb to the true believer, darwin suckups on the panda post.

    Here’s the skinny from a real PhD. scientist with some factual comments on the subject.

    http://www.trueorigin.org/bacteria01.asp

    Odd – I thought BS filters REMOVED BS, not apply a walloping dose of it ! How kind of you to show new readers what BS is by directing them to a big steaming pile of it !

    Too bad that, IN REALITY, evolution of antibiotic resistance IS evolution – secondary mutations in many other genes can ‘cover’ the ‘cost’ of gaining resistance.

    They still seem to be blithering on with the ‘ALL MUTATIONS are losses of information !!1!!1!!’ whine.

    Too bad that, IN REALITY, gains of genetic information are possible. At best, they’ve launched a crimson whale corpse to stink up the place.

    I note the trueorigin whiners didn’t mention penicillin resistance. Is that because they cherry picked to avoid mentioning the fact that one mechanism of pencillin resistance is the fact that the bacteria evolved the ability to digest beta-lactams ?

  30. #30 Jim Thomerson
    March 7, 2008

    I think the concept of artificial selection as distinct from natural selection is foolish. An organism’s fitness is a measure of its success in face of the challenges life throws at it. It makes no difference to the organism if the challenges are only from Mother Nature (so to speak), or both directly from Mother Nature, and through her agent, Bacteriologist Bob. So there is simply selection, and it is all natural. After all, B. Bob is a natural being, part of nature. Of course, those who think B. Bob a divine being, apart from nature, will not agree.

  31. #31 rimpal
    March 7, 2008

    Dr. Jonathan Wells has been engaged in a blog debate with several Darwinists about a recent advance in research on bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Egnor doesn’t understand the terms debate and several. If you consider several=none; and debate=gibberish trotted out by a paper-less biology grad (Wells); then Egnor is right. And yeah, every quack with a scalpel could also call himself a neurosurgeon!

  32. #32 Dolly Sheriff
    March 8, 2008

    I can recommend Mike Behe’s book “The Edge of Evolution” which is the first real scientific attempt to try and understand the limits of unguided natural selection acting on genetic mutations over many generations, particularly looking at malaria. Clearly, “resistance to antibiotics” is easy for natural selection to achieve – We would be surprised if it didn’t. It certainly doesn’t require the wisdom of Darwin to figure that out.

  33. #33 Keith Eaton
    March 8, 2008

    Gee this early in the AM and I have to teach a class on logic and rational thought to the moron crowd.

    First the difference between artificial selection and natural selection is quite simple to explain, if your audience has a brain.

    RM and NS are darwinian if and only if the process is unaided by the injection of intelligence by an outside agent, otherwise its intelligent aided design.

    Reluctantly, I admit a team of evolutionary biologists working out the pathways, designing the experiment, controlling the environment, so-called pressures, and using a controlled lab with lots of equipment does qualify as the injection of intelligence.

    It’s the small scale bacterial equivalent of creating varieties of dogs.

    You’re stuck in the stone ages while NGE under the work of Shapiro and his peers march on leaving RM and NS behind as relatively insignificant aspects of a hyperbolically complex information based complex of distributed intelligence, processing, codes, sensory feedback, switching, mobile elements, and reconfiguration based on rational, sensory information.

    Do you still use punch cards and magnetic tape in your lab computations?

    Even Darwin knew these two phenom were not the same thing.

  34. #34 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 8, 2008

    And here are some reviews of Behe’s “Edge of Evolution”:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/06/not-for-the-fai.html

  35. #35 Joel
    March 8, 2008

    I can recommend Mike Behe’s book “The Edge of Evolution” which is the first real scientific attempt to try and understand the limits of unguided natural selection acting on genetic mutations over many generations, particularly looking at malaria.

    Do you really mean to say that nobody in the past 148 years has made a real scientific attempt to understand the limits of unguided natural selection? Really? Seriously?

    I have a recommendation for you, never mind, you’re irreducibly complex already.

  36. #36 Keith Eaton
    March 8, 2008

    I just cranked up the power to the BS filter so that the innocents can read a neat e-dialog between an evo and Dr. Spetner and Ed Max on the subject at hand.

    I so enjoy the clear evidence of a Evo like Max being chewed to pieces by a genius opponent like Spetnet.

    http://www.trueorigin.org/spetner1.asp

    Oh, be sure and note the pennicillin and streptomycin parts where Max eats his pencil on line.

    Come back when you can show a bacteria becoming a baboon in which case please name it P.Z.

  37. #37 Rolf Aalberg
    March 8, 2008

    Keith Eaton triumphantly points to a ‘real PhD’ (what makes him more real than other PhD’s?) and a document he has prepared. Now, since I am one of the innocents that Keith wants to warn (against being misled by mainstream science?), I thought I better follow his advice. But what did I find? Even to my untrained eye, it looked more like a propaganda pamphlet created by an elaborate quote mill to arrive at a predetermined conclusion, that a scientific report on actual research.

    So I wonder, what are Keith’s own qualifications, and how much time and effort did he spend studying the pamphlet? Since he sees himself qualified to judge the realness of PhD’s, I presume he is at least a regular PhD too?

    Then we have Dolly Sheriff. I am afraid I cannot see how Behe’s EE is any better than his Empty Box. To me it all looks like wishful thinking. If you had taken the effort of checking to see what reception the EE got from science you would not have made a fool of yourself.

    I see Keith still is at it. What a bore. If he hasn’t got anything else than links to creationist crap, what the heck is he doing here? I am not a scientist but am insulted by ignorant people.

    I am a very gullible person and willing to believe most anything – but I prefer facts before hearsay.I have made it a habit to compare creationist drive with what real scientists say and science wins 100 cases out of 100.

    I suggest Keith and Dolly have a rendezvous at the talk.origins newsgroup. It is tailor-made for them.

  38. #38 Rolf Aalberg
    March 8, 2008

    I also note that Spetner’s article is dated 2000, while Max has a later response updated Jan 10. 2001 at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/fitness/spetner.html

    Besides, that is all seven or more years ago and older than last year’s snow. Nothing new in creationism but the same old “evolution cannot be true because I don’t believe it” because that is what creation “science” says?

  39. #39 Unsympathetic reader
    March 8, 2008

    From the TrueOrigins page cited by Keith Eaton:
    Resistant mutations do impose a biological cost, though, in the loss of pre-existing biological systems and activities. Such biological cost is not compensated by reversion or suppression mutations. Even though such mutations may not always result in detectable levels of reduced �fitness,� they stand as the antithesis of common �descent with modification.�

    This is “Spenterian metrics” at its most flagrant. Change = loss of information.

    Here’s how Spetner frames mutations:
    Point Change = loss of original state = loss of information
    Duplication = no new change (despite the fact that more ‘information’ is required to encode a duplicate).
    Acquisition of new DNA via horizontal transfer = no net information increase in the biosphere.
    Point change or rearrangement of horizontally acquired genes to increase fitness of organism = (see above Point Change or Duplication)
    Rearrangement of sequences to generation new function = loss of original state = loss of information.
    OR = non-random mutation = non-Darwinian process.

    Back to secondary, compensatory mutations. That’s one reason why antibiotic resistant strains can persist in the environment long after exposure to the the antibiotic is stopped. In fact, with the streptomycin resistance system cited in the article, the resistance mutation and the compensatory mutations create an IC system: In the absence of streptomycin, the bacterium carrying only one of the mutations is less fit compared to those lacking both mutations or those carrying both mutations.

    prof weird: “They still seem to be blithering on with the ‘ALL MUTATIONS are losses of information !!1!!1!!’ whine.

    Precisely.
    Further, why would a point mutation be considered a gain or loss of information? Spetner never figured it out…

    Spetner never developed a clue: Or rather, it seems he might have had an inkling considering he kept shifting the goalposts about what constituted “new information” whenever confronted with information against his thesis. Note how his final refuge was “non-random mutations” being behind evolutionary change.

  40. #40 Keith Eaton
    March 8, 2008

    I agree Rolf, you are undoubtedly extremely gullible, ionnocent, I doubt it, but quite gullible to absorb the BS from Evos on this highly biased post for the kissup darwin sychophant crowd.

    I do not have a PhD. but really do you need one to cut up a frog and shout, ” Look Bob, I just cut up this evolutionary frog and found it’s heart”.

    If every evo scientist fell in hole tomorrow morning science would explode in efficiency and progress.

    Dr. Spetner PhD. in physics from MIT …yeah what does he know or understand?

    Gene duplication adds zip in terms of new information. It’s like having two copies of the alphabet and expecting writers to improve on Hamlet because they have two of each letter to choose from.

    Evos …braindead and sinking.

  41. #41 pough
    March 8, 2008

    Dr. Spetner PhD. in physics from MIT …yeah what does he know or understand?

    Is it physics?

  42. #42 pough
    March 8, 2008

    Dr. Spetner PhD. in physics from MIT …yeah what does he know or understand?

    Knowing where to put the period in “Ph.D”?

  43. #43 haroldlanceevans
    March 8, 2008

    There is no such thing as artificial selection.

    Humans are just as natural as all other species.

    Natural selection which occurs because of human activity, whether deliberately on the part of humans (breeding etc) or unintentionally on the part of humans (massive numbers of examples), is still natural selection.

    I think Egnor is saying that the resistance was already in the bacteria genome.

    Which makes no difference. Whether an expressable allele which is already present is selected for, and thus increases in frequency in the population, or whether a new allele enters the population roughly contempraneously with the new selective pressure – as may especially often seem to happen, from the human perspective, when short generation time organisms like some microbes and insects are being studied – it’s still natural selection.

    Sigh.

    Antibiotic resistance has as much to do with evolution as a tealeaf has to do with the East India Trading Company.
    Still, don’t let that spoil your fun.

    All posts that begin with the word “sigh” are written by pretentious fools.

    The East India company existed because of tea leaves, of course, ironically.

  44. #44 harold
    March 8, 2008

    I agree Rolf, you are undoubtedly extremely gullible, ionnocent, I doubt it, but quite gullible to absorb the BS from Evos on this highly biased post for the kissup darwin sychophant crowd.

    This is very ironic, considering the a$$-kissing and submission to authority of “creationists”.

    I do not have a PhD.

    No shit, Sherlock.

    but really do you need one to cut up a frog and shout, ” Look Bob, I just cut up this evolutionary frog and found it’s heart”.

    Well, no, you don’t need a PhD to do that. You might get into trouble for it though. What’s that got to do with anything? Do “logic and rational thought” connect this bizarre, childish statement with the topic at hand?

    Dr. Spetner PhD. in physics from MIT …yeah what does he know or understand?

    He’s a crackpot who knows nothing about biology, and has a PhD in related but quite different field. There are isolated crackpots with PhDs in physics who make wrong statements about physics, too, for that matter.

    Gene duplication adds zip in terms of new information.

    This statement is trivially untrue. At a very basic level. There is no meaningful definition of the term “information” that could allow this to be true.

    It’s like having two copies of the alphabet and expecting writers to improve on Hamlet because they have two of each letter to choose from.

    It’s like making a copy of “Hamlet”, and then being able to make changes to the copy, without necessarily changing the original.

  45. #45 Paul
    March 8, 2008

    Same ol’ same ol’. Non-darwinists half-misrepresenting things either wilfully or through ignorance. Darwinists thinking that they only need to take any notice of the bits that the non-darwinists get wrong. Isn’t anybody interested in cutting out the slanging match and actually talking science for a bit? Isn’t that what is supposed to go on on these sort of blogs? Presumably not, which is why I lost interest some way back – real scientific discourse rather than religious posturing happens elsewhere.

    When I said that antibiotic resistance has as much to do with …. well, you know … the point I was making is that the fact that antibiotic resistance evolves proves precisely nothing about the validity of darwinism as an explanation for the origin of complex structures or development of species. Everyone knows that natural selection works – to an extent. The reference to Behe’s second book is absolutely the right one to make – because he suggests what antibiotic resistance might tell us about the limits of natural selection. And the fact that Panda’s Thumb has some negative reviews on it is a matter of supreme irrelevance, since they made no attempt to actually address the scientific content of the book.

    As for the mantra-like invocation of “darwinism” in relation to this paper – well, we’ve been here before. It guarantees a high profile for a paper – because the pro-ID crowd will point out that it has nothing to do with darwinism (and it doesn’t – any more than a successful cow breeding programme can be described as a positive result for darwinism), and then the anti-ID crowd will accuse the pro-ID crowd of being anti-science – and will cite the paper as evidence for darwinism anyway. Voila! A million internet hits and citations.

  46. #46 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    March 8, 2008

    isn’t it still natural selection from the bacterial point of view?

    Apt. That is exactly the interpretation we should draw when we see that we can do this in the lab instead of in nature. (I.e. there is no difference in the evolutionary model.)

    You throw a bunch of bacteria in an environment that stresses them, and if there are survivors you assume that the survivors have evolved a new trait.

    Yes. And it can be that selection only fixated a single allele or a balance among them, AFAIU. Even without mutants this would be predicted by evolutionary biology.

    But this is not evolution, at least in any meaningful sense.

    Considering what I said above, it is apparent to everyone but Egnor that this is exactly evolution, and meaningful as it is a validation of the theory. He is just blathering without acknowledging how science works in general.

  47. #47 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    March 8, 2008

    no real new information because almost all the necessary information was already present.

    Egnor gets it precisely backward since he doesn’t care for real information theory. Selection decrease variation and thus increase information, while mutations increase variation and thus actually decrease information. Dawkins explains this thoroughly – it turns out that Shannon information theory describes exactly how the populations genome learns about the current environment:

    Of course the total range of variation is topped up again in every generation by new mutation and other kinds of variation. But it still remains true that natural selection is a narrowing down from an initially wider field of possibilities, including mostly unsuccessful ones, to a narrower field of successful ones. This is analogous to the definition of information with which we began: information is what enables the narrowing down from prior uncertainty (the initial range of possibilities) to later certainty (the “successful” choice among the prior probabilities). According to this analogy, natural selection is by definition a process whereby information is fed into the gene pool of the next generation.

    If natural selection feeds information into gene pools, what is the information about? It is about how to survive. Strictly it is about how to survive and reproduce, in the conditions that prevailed when previous generations were alive.

    Non-darwinists half-misrepresenting things

    Very funny considering that you call people interested in supporting science “darwinists”, when the MET is so much more. Gravitation theory isn’t Newtonian any longer, and similarly biologists have moved beyond Darwin.

    Everyone knows that natural selection works – to an extent.

    Apparently not, as Egnor doesn’t recognize that it is selection that contributes information.

    It is very simple – simple systems can produce other systems with simpler or more complex behavior (more information). Otherwise we would need an infinite regress from an infinitely complex system down to the simplest – and that is not what we see. Compare for example with chaotic systems, lots of information out of simple physics.

    It is also very easy to understand learning, as we use it ourselves. That populations genomes or software can learn by using bayesian inference (trial-and-error without foresight) is not more brow raising than that the world is not flat.

    because the pro-ID crowd will point out that it has nothing to do with darwinism

    If you mean evolution, which I somehow doubt (see above), it has. The paper describes how (as an author points out) – or have you found any scientific fault? We, and the author, are eager to know.

  48. #48 minimalist
    March 8, 2008

    Same ol’ same ol’. Non-darwinists half-misrepresenting things either wilfully or through ignorance. Darwinists thinking that they only need to take any notice of the bits that the non-darwinists get wrong.

    Yeah, well, if creos could ever actually get anything right, I think that would be something worthy of notice. Though the temperature in Hell might be bigger news.

    And the fact that Panda’s Thumb has some negative reviews on it is a matter of supreme irrelevance, since they made no attempt to actually address the scientific content of the book.

    Yes, actually, there were plenty of links to such. A search for “Edge of Evolution” turns up links to reviews by Jerry Coyne, Mark Chu-Carroll, Paul Gross, Richard Dawkins, Ken Miller, Nick Matzke, PZ Myers, and ERV, all of whom eviscerate EofE from a variety of scientific angles.

    Maybe (though I doubt it) you actually have detailed, thoughtful refutations to each of their points. But to say that they don’t engage the science at all? That is a flat-out untruth, and it’s why nobody is convinced when bozos like you pretend to be ‘even-handed’ to both sides of the conflict when you won’t even do some very basic reading. The best one can say about such behavior is that it is supremely lazy; the more likely is that you, like the employers of the “Teach The Controversy!” tactic, are being completely disingenuous in order to obscure your actual agenda.

    Either way, you (and the “non-Darwinists”) aren’t doing a very good job of it.

  49. #49 Paul
    March 8, 2008

    Everyone knows that natural selection works – to an extent.

    Apparently not, as Egnor doesn’t recognize that it is selection that contributes information.

    So are you saying that Egnor doesn’t understand natural selection? (Unsustainable) Or are you saying that the natural selection which led to antibiotic resistance did so with the addition to significant new information? (Currently unverifiable, I suspect – but I suspect that it is actually loss of information which leads to the increased resistance)

    I can go one better than refuting the “reviews” of Edge of Evolution. Behe did it himself. “MARSHALL McLUHAN: — I heard, I heard what you were saying. You, you know nothing of my work. How you ever got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing.”

    I’m not bothered by your name-calling or the general lack of hospitality shown. I don’t give a stuff whether you think I’m even handed or not, though it disturbs me greatly that you think that you are – “I really don’t think I’m arrogant, but I do get impatient with people who don’t share with me the same humility in front of the facts.” – Doh! I have no other agenda, except to highlight the intellectual bankruptcy of a purely materialistic worldview. I’ve long since given up taking seriously anything on this sort of blog – or, for that matter, Uncommon Descent – because your fundamentalism blinds you to reason.

  50. #50 minimalist
    March 8, 2008

    Yawn, another crank with a grandiose self-opinion and nothing of substance to offer. Not to mention ignorance, empty bombast and chest-thumping… am I forgetting anything?

    I can go one better than refuting the “reviews” of Edge of Evolution. Behe did it himself. “MARSHALL McLUHAN: — I heard, I heard what you were saying. You, you know nothing of my work. How you ever got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing.”

    I’m not bothered by your name-calling

    …oh, yeah, and a complete lack of irony. You’ve pretty much exhausted the crank checklist, Paul.

  51. #51 rimpal
    March 8, 2008

    Doh! …I’ve long since given up taking seriously anything on this sort of blog… Ooh! that hurts! Yeah, right! Like this blog run by a scientist really misses the ill-read ramblings of a quack!

    Hey Keith, what is intelligence? How do you inject it? Do you read what you write before you click [Submit] or ever at all?

  52. #52 Rolf Aalberg
    March 9, 2008

    What a pleasure to debate someone as well informed and articulate as Keith! You really pushed me over! As I said, I am always very gullible – when facts are presented. From now on I will be on your side in our fight against science, Brave New World is right around the corner. Please send me that list of invectives of yours; I realize my English is not what it ought to be for this kind of debate.

  53. #53 Citizen Z
    March 9, 2008

    Reluctantly, I admit a team of evolutionary biologists working out the pathways, designing the experiment, controlling the environment, so-called pressures, and using a controlled lab with lots of equipment does qualify as the injection of intelligence.

    He put bacteria on a plate with an antibiotic. Some “injection of intelligence”. And how exactly are “lots of equipment” involved in an “injection of intelligence”? Besides the slate, what pieces of equipment affected the experiment, and by what magic? Are the researchers’ shoes considered equipment? Should they walk around barefoot to avoid “intelligence injections”?

  54. #54 Paul
    March 9, 2008

    Everyone knows that natural selection leads to evolutionary changes on a limited scale*. Everyone accepts that it is likely that artificial selection works on a bigger scale** – it is easier to drive a particular developmental result if you isolate a population and breed selectively, which is what happens when you take a particular culture and put it in a lab to work on. And by “everyone” in this context I include creationists, proponents of ID and probably even illiterate peasants from the middle ages. It is called “breeding”.

    So this experiment doesn’t only work because the people doing it believed in darwinism/evolution/the absence of a creator. To suggest that “this only works because of evolution” – as the authors apparently do – is pretty stupid – you might have noticed that antibiotic resistance is accepted by non-darwinists, and is discussed at length by Behe.

    Also, to be honest, the debate as to whether it is “natural selection” or “artificial selection” misses the point. The selection is “natural” in that the experimenters aren’t picking particular organisms – but it is “artificial” in that it is effectively a breeding program. However, the significant thing is not whether it is “artificial” or “natural” – what is more significant, from the point of view of the debate between darwinists and IDists, is what this experiment says about where the edge of evolution is – whether there is a limit to what the selection could achieve. That is a much more interesting scientific question.

    *However, it is disputed that natural selection leads to evolutionary change on a macro scale – for example, in the generation of large-scale morphological features, or complex biochemical machinery.

    **However, it is pointed out by opponents of darwinism that there are bounds to what even artificial selection can achieve. Breeding hasn’t turned dogs into cats, for example, and at the extremes of breeding, serious barriers – in terms of fertility and physiology – arise.

  55. #55 guthrie
    March 9, 2008

    Ahh, Paul, I had thought you had given up being silly about this, apparently not. This of course is the kind of reply you will slag me off for, but tough, you’re being silly and still acting as if ID has anything relevant to say at all, when it doesn’t.

  56. #56 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 9, 2008

    Paul, where are these quotes from? Behe, I assume.

    Incidentally, your incredulity (and Behe’s) that natural selection can produce specie-to-specie change over time doesn’t move me in the least and is not an argument against “Darwinism”, whatever the hell that is.
    If I used the same “logic”, I would be disputing the theory of relativity, and much of neurophysiology.
    ID is solipsism: “I can’t understand it, therefore it’s wrong”. In the end, “it’s all about ME!”

  57. #57 Keith Eaton
    March 9, 2008

    Yeah Rolf, I remember you in the movie “Sound of Music”…looks like you’re still living up to your native heritage.

    Let me dumb this down for teh audience of evo sychophants, if possible.

    Evolution occurs by 100% random processes 99% of the time by your own theory. Random mutations from a uniform distribution over the population of base pairs, etc. Followed by possible “selection” by a concatenation of random natural phenomenon that supposedly provide a ratchet to contain some favorable trait.

    Random processes do not create codes, channels, sources, interpretive agreements such as are apparent in the cell….not ever.

    The only increase in information, as in specified complex information with a prescribed meaning that is operationally understandable, directive and operative in a ratioanl functional sense ever observed or experienced is under teh guidence of intelligence…wher cognitive thought is impressed upon matter by an intelligent agent from outside the matter itself.

    If you have counter examples in the real world of science and technology,trot them out with evidence.

    Laughable…but pitiful….that’s evolution.

  58. #58 Citizen Z
    March 9, 2008

    Everyone knows that natural falling occurs on a limited scale. Everyone accepts that it is likely that artificial falling also occurs – it is easier to make something fall when you put it in a lab to work on. And by “everyone” in this context I include proponents of Intelligent Falling and probably even illiterate peasants from the middle ages. It is called “dropping”.

    So this experiment doesn’t only work because the people doing it believed in newtonism/gravitation/the absence of a creator. To suggest that “things fall because of gravity” – as the authors apparently do – is pretty stupid – you might have noticed that there are instances of natural falling accepted by non-newtonists.

    But for scientists to think that dropping something in a lab has anything to do with gravity, they are mistaken. Artificial falling is dropping. The principles of dropping date back thousands of years, and owe nothing to Newton. It’s astonishing that modern professional scientists cannot tell the difference between artificial falling and natural falling.

    Falling is newtonian if and only if the process is unaided by the injection of intelligence by an outside agent, otherwise its intelligent aided falling.

    Reluctantly, I admit a team of experimental physicists working out the pathways, designing the experiment, controlling the environment, and using a controlled lab with lots of equipment does qualify as the injection of intelligence.

  59. #59 harold
    March 9, 2008

    Paul –

    Your comment is so mixed up that I will actually comment on it. Almost every line you write reveals that you haven’t got a clue what you are talking about.

    I’m usually polite in my replies but in your case I will refer to lying and hypocrisy from time to time, as I honestly don’t think that what you wrote can be adequately critiqued without this.

    I suppose doing this will serve as a good mental exercise for myself, and may enlighten a lurker. I know I can’t break through your denial, and I’m not sure I’d even want to.

    Everyone knows that natural selection leads to evolutionary changes on a limited scale*. Everyone accepts that it is likely that artificial selection works on a bigger scale** – it is easier to drive a particular developmental result if you isolate a population and breed selectively, which is what happens when you take a particular culture and put it in a lab to work on.

    This paragraph is too incoherent, and uses terminology too incorrectly, for me to even begin to talk about.

    *However, it is disputed that natural selection leads to evolutionary change on a macro scale – for example, in the generation of large-scale morphological features, or complex biochemical machinery.

    There’s no dispute – natural selection alone cannot remotely explain life’s diversity, and no-one says it does. This is an asinine straw man. How dare you misrepresent what mainstream scientists accept?

    **However, it is pointed out by opponents of darwinism that there are bounds to what even artificial selection can achieve. Breeding hasn’t turned dogs into cats, for example, and at the extremes of breeding, serious barriers – in terms of fertility and physiology – arise.

    Breeding is natural selection – humans are natural. If foxes use their intelligence to come up with a new way to prey on a certain species, and natural selection of the prey species results, it’s still natural selection. Same here. Human intelligence is natural, like fox intelligence. That’s true regardless of religious perspective.

    Inbreeding can result in serious problems (although populations with a bottleneck or a few founders often survive). This is not remotely an argument against evolution. The explanation as to why some dogs have these problems relies on the same science that shows that biological evolution is inevitable.

    So this experiment doesn’t only work because the people doing it believed in darwinism/evolution/the absence of a creator.

    You don’t know whether or not they believed in a creator. They may or may not have. They said nothing about this. You yourself may claim to believe that there is a dichotomy between acceptance of evolution and belief in a creator, but you know many others don’t. Since you KNOW that some people accept evolution and also believe in a creator, that means that you are by definition, I am sorry to say, a serious hypocrite to have written this.

    To suggest that “this only works because of evolution” – as the authors apparently do – is pretty stupid

    No, to deny this is profoundly stupid. Of course your stupidity is fake – you pretend not to understand (perhaps fooling yourself at some level) in order that you can misrepresent.

    If life didn’t evolve, bacteria couldn’t evolve antibiotic resistance, and the experiment would not have been possible.

    - you might have noticed that antibiotic resistance is accepted by non-darwinists, and is discussed at length by Behe.

    This is the same as saying that the existence of smallpox was accepted by those who believed it was caused by demons. You can’t deny the obvious fact of antibiotic resistance, but you are asinine enough to deny its obvious explanation.

    Also, to be honest, the debate as to whether it is “natural selection” or “artificial selection” misses the point.

    Ironically, this statement is correct in isolation.

    The selection is “natural” in that the experimenters aren’t picking particular organisms – but it is “artificial” in that it is effectively a breeding program. However, the significant thing is not whether it is “artificial” or “natural” – what is more significant, from the point of view of the debate between darwinists and IDists, is what this experiment says about where the edge of evolution is – whether there is a limit to what the selection could achieve. That is a much more interesting scientific question.

    No-one ever suggested that natural selection alone can account for evolution, so this is not a debate, interesting or otherwise.

    I have some sympathy for the socially and educationally deprived creationists who have difficulty with basic spelling and grammar. They have been misled by those they trusted, and mistakenly perceive themselves to be threatened.

    I have almost no sympathy for the “big word creationist” types like you. What a piece of work. You literally cannot accurately describe the most basic thing about biological evolution. Yet you arrogantly post distorted straw man arguments.

    My perception is that your goal, conscious or unconscious, is to deceive the less educated, and I find that very annoying indeed.

  60. #60 minimalist
    March 9, 2008

    Nice post, Harold. I think it should be noted that Paul’s attitude can be summed up in this quote:

    To suggest that “this only works because of evolution” – as the authors apparently do – is pretty stupid

    Paul, when a scientist with over two decades of published research expresses an view on his own work that diverges with your own, this would typically prompt a humbler person to consider a re-examination of his own understanding of the subject.

    I’m not even sure you understand Behe’s view, and how this study roundly refutes it. Behe (and the rest of the DI) base their arguments on the supposed inadequacy of mutation, not natural selection. Behe has in fact pretty much given away the farm by staking his argument on this claim — he accepts common descent and natural selection (along with other evolutionary mechanisms), putting him in a precarious position with other creationists.

    You either have a lot of trouble with the difference between mutation and natural selection, or the concepts of artificial vs. natural selection. Most likely both. In other words, your definitions are based on some loose, half-assed “common sense” understandings of the term without any apparent understanding of what this might actually entail in terms of the real-world findings of scientists who have been studying this stuff for a couple centuries now.

    One of the qualities of the crank is that they’re so enamored of their own “raw intellect” that they think their mental tools — a grab-bag of half-understood concepts and semantic game-playing with inaccurate layman terminology — constitutes reasoned analysis and justifies looking down on those silly, dumb scientists.

    Science is work, fella. Show your work. It’s not enough to argue from your own ignorance and claim that just because you don’t understand it (read: never bothered to study it), nobody does.

  61. #61 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 9, 2008

    Laughable…but pitiful….that’s (Keith Eaton).

    Fixed that for you.

  62. #62 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    March 9, 2008

    @ Paul:

    So are you saying that Egnor doesn’t understand natural selection?

    If he doesn’t get the implication from selection I described, he doesn’t fully understand it, no. Remember. it was you who claimed that “everyone knows that natural selection works”, but Egnor doesn’t know that it works in relation to information learned from the environment.

    Or are you saying that the natural selection which led to antibiotic resistance did so with the addition to significant new information?

    Obviously, if one reads the link I provided. All one needs for verification is to ascertain that acquiring antibiotic resistance demanded selection, less variation among the alleles in question. But as the author describes how he used selection, the point is moot.

    If you want to claim that selection doesn’t lead to an increase in information, you have to show us how Dawkins analogy fails.

  63. #63 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    March 9, 2008

    @ Keith:

    Evolution occurs by 100% random processes 99% of the time by your own theory.

    References please. I would think that a lot more that 1 % of species are under selection pressures. Heck, even humans are, according to the latest research – so we are evolving as we speak, and by mainly deterministic processes to boot.

    Random processes do not create codes, channels, sources, interpretive agreements such as are apparent in the cell….not ever.

    Now you are simply confused. Coding theory describes random processes that have all these characteristics. And evolution contains both deterministic and random processes.

    And as for how coding theory applies to the biology of the cell, read the reference I provided. It isn’t a terribly difficult read, if you are interested in information theory and how it applies here. You asked for evidence, didn’t you?

  64. #64 Chris Noble
    March 9, 2008

    Dr. Egnor has been on the ID the Future podcast with Casey Luskin lately…….its painfull to listen to

    I got the impression that it was painful for Casey Luskin too. Egnor was so unbelievably stupid that even the most credulous ID proponent must have some inkling that he is speaking from the wrong orifice.

    Why does the big ID tent continue to give shelter to these fools? Surely they must realise that Egnor despite his “credentials” is making them all look like fools.

  65. #65 Keith Eaton
    March 9, 2008

    Let me know when you can document a random process that generates a coded “message” which can be interpreted by a purely natural receiver though a channel for which there is no apriori translational agreement of meaning and upon translation of the purely random sequence perform an action, function, or other demonstration of understanding.

    CAT does not conjure up a mental picture of the family pet, unless there is a prespecified understanding of english and a mental image of the interpreted symbols both by the receiver and the sender.

    Likewise a codon would not be in any way indicative of the protein to be manufactured unless there were a presupposed interpretive agreement between DNA, mRNA, tRNA, and the ribosome, etc. as to explicit meaning and operative instructions. Such never arises by chance and is external to the matter and chemistry upon which it simply rides.

    I missed the reference somehow.

  66. #66 harold
    March 9, 2008

    Keith Eaton –

    Likewise a codon would not be in any way indicative of the protein to be manufactured unless there were a presupposed interpretive agreement between DNA, mRNA, tRNA, and the ribosome, etc. as to explicit meaning and operative instructions. Such never arises by chance and is external to the matter and chemistry upon which it simply rides.

    In fact, the theory of evolution deals with cellular and post-celluar life. Cellular life already has these features.

    Bluntly, it is true that we don’t know for certain how the genetic code and the relationship between genes, mRNA, tRNA, and amino acids originated. This is a very interesting field, and one with some active hypotheses. However, it is true that we don’t know how these things came into being historically, and because that was a very long time ago, we may never have anything better than models that show us how they could have arisen.

    Therefore your obvious implication that they arose by magic cannot be refuted with strong, specific evidence, although others may refer to interesting hypotheses and models in the field. I don’t think they did arise by magic, and I don’t think that has anything to do with religion, but I don’t know exactly how they arose. I just generally prefer not to choose magic as an explanation for physical things.

    However, this also has nothing to do with biological evolution as we now understand it. Cells that have a nucleic acid genome, tRNA, mRNA, ribosomes, etc, evolve.

    You are confusing the theory of evolution, which describes how life evolves, with abiogenesis, the far less developed, albeit interesting, field which studies how life may have emerged.

    Abiogenesis may some day extend the theory of evolution, but for now, it isn’t part of the theory of evolution.

    So you see, you don’t really even know what evolution is. You could have saved yourself a great deal of time by finding out, before concluding that you are compelled to argue against it.

    Let me know when you can document a random process that generates a coded “message” which can be interpreted by a purely natural receiver though a channel for which there is no apriori translational agreement of meaning and upon translation of the purely random sequence perform an action, function, or other demonstration of understanding.

    This sounds like something that would be impossible, although I’ll see what others say. So what? This has absolutely nothing to do with biological evolution. It’s not even moving the goal posts. There aren’t any valid goal posts. This is just some nonsense that you made up. Evolution operates through mechanisms that are not only possible, but are easily observed. Again, you should try to understand what the theory of evolution is before arguing against it.

    It’s certainly revelatory of your mind set (“I will never admit any ‘evidence’ for evolution under any circumstances”).

  67. #67 Dave S.
    March 10, 2008

    Chris Noble writes:

    I got the impression that it was painful for Casey Luskin too. Egnor was so unbelievably stupid that even the most credulous ID proponent must have some inkling that he is speaking from the wrong orifice.

    Why does the big ID tent continue to give shelter to these fools? Surely they must realise that Egnor despite his “credentials” is making them all look like fools.

    As you know from dealing with AIDS denialists, saying stupid or even mutually contradictory things is generally ignored – as long the person in question is a fellow denialist, he’s fighting the good fight. They rarely correct one another.

    And the credentials mean everything to them. Even their top scientists are guys like Behe or Wells who have done next to no science (of any kind) in the past decade or more. Anyone with letters after their name will do.

    Even Casey Luskin.

  68. #68 Keith Eaton
    March 10, 2008

    Great, I’ve marked Harold down in the I believe in hypotheses that have no scientific foundation and hang entirely on wishful thinking and metaphysical propositions column.

    Of course your admission as to absolutely no concept of how the cell operations arose means you agree that there is no possibility of evolution adding information to the genome since that is precisely what abiogenesis required.

    It’s great that you agree with information theoriests Werner Gitt and Herbert Yokey. They have examined many aspects of coded information, and concluded that information obeys many laws, one of which is that a coded information system can only arise by intelligent agency.

    Thanks for the support of ID, you may be useful later on so stay in touch.

  69. #69 T. Bruce McNeely
    March 10, 2008

    Once more in plain English for you, Keith Eaton:
    Abiogenesis is not evolution.
    Evolution is not abiogenesis.
    Got it?

  70. #70 harold
    March 10, 2008

    Keith Eaton –

    You’ve certainly proved my point.

    ‘It’s certainly revelatory of your mind set (“I will never admit any evidence for evolution under any circumstances”).’

    Rather than be polite again, which you may perceive as “weakness”, I’ll use your style of communicating this time – you ignorant, dishonest, dumba$$. It’s not personal. I just think it will be more effective.

    Of course your admission as to absolutely no concept of how the cell operations arose

    I didn’t use the meaninglessly vague term “cell operations”. Nor did I “admit” to “having absolutely no concept” of anything.

    In sharp contrast to you, though, I am an honest and educated person. I admit it when I don’t know something, or in this case, when something isn’t known. I don’t know exactly how life arose.

    means you agree that there is no possibility of evolution adding information to the genome

    I doubt if you have any idea what “information” or “genome” actually mean.

    Gene duplication is just one very obvious example of an evolutionary process adding information to the genome.

    Let me spell it out real simple, bozo. If there can be more than one copy of something, then the number of copies alone is information to an observer. In fact, if there are 2^n possible copy numbers, that’s “n” bits of information. New copy, new information.

    Furthermore, dumba$$, that would be true even if every copy was identical. Since they never are, differences between the copies is also information. Again, it’s actually childishly simple to anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about. If there are 2^n observable differences, that’s “n” bits of information.

    since that is precisely what abiogenesis required.

    I don’t get it. Are you arguing that abiogenesis was magic? Your English is very hard to understand. You were arguing against evolution before.

    Abiogenesis would need to be magic if modern cells appeared instantaneously. As I said, I can’t prove that didn’t happen. However, if you base the meaning of your dumba$$ life on that, you may go even crazier if a good model of abiogenesis is developed. Too bad you can’t just relax and accept physical reality without freaking out, like the pope, the Dhali Lama, the 10,000 clergymen of multiple denominations who signed the clergy project, etc. But that’s your problem.

    It’s great that you agree with information theoriests Werner Gitt and Herbert Yokey. They have examined many aspects of coded information, and concluded that information obeys many laws, one of which is that a coded information system can only arise by intelligent agency.

    Here’s something from the Wikipedia article on Gitt…go to Wikipedia to track down the references – the emphasis is mine. Herbert Yokey doesn’t even google – are you sure you spelled his name spelled right?

    Gitt’s arguments have been rejected by the scientific community. Rich Baldwin of talk.origins explained that Gitt has incorrectly cited research that used “algorithmic randomness and not statistical randomness”, which has led to false conclusions.[6] Secondly, Gitt “describes his principles as “empirical” but Baldwin explained “the data is not provided to back this up.” Similarly, Baldwin explained Gitt “proposes fourteen ‘theorems,’ yet fails to demonstrate them”. Similarly, Tom Schneider of the Molecular Information Theory Group at the National Institutes of Health, an expert on the application of evolution to biology similarly criticizes his use of unproved “theorems”, use of circular reasoning, self-contradiction, “Gitt has gotten Shannon backwards” and that Gitt falls into a “standard misunderstanding that information is not entropy, information is not uncertainty”[7].”

    one of which is that a coded information system can only arise by intelligent agency.

    What garbage. I can think of easy examples from animal behavior to disprove this off the top of my head – the dances that bees use to tell each other where the nectar is. Or the special colorings that toxic animals and plants use to “warn off” predators – which are unwitting imitated by other species at times.

    Thanks for the support of ID, you may be useful later on so stay in touch.

    First of all, buckaroo, you’re obviously a YEC, so you’re a hypocrite to pretend that “ID” is what you’re touting here. I would regard honest YEC as one step above ID. Too bad there is no honest YEC.

    Second of all, please, never, ever, ever, ever accuse me of “support of ID”.

  71. #71 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    March 10, 2008

    As I said, confused. This has nothing to do with either coding theory or evolution.

    Read the reference to see how coding theory applies to evolution. It describes precisely the learning that you ask for, and why it is the deterministic part of the evolution process that contributes learning, not the random.

    Such never arises by chance

    More confusion, between evolution and abiogenesis.

    Abiogenesis is a different area, which has nothing to do with the workings of evolution and how coding theory applies to existing populations. The inability to explain how an initial state arose is not a problem in any science models, the theory will give the necessary predictions anyway.

    your admission as to absolutely no concept of how the cell operations arose means you agree that there is no possibility of evolution adding information to the genome since that is precisely what abiogenesis required.

    How stupid a person can be. The link I provided explains exactly how evolution adds information to the genome. You are asking how abiogenesis added information to protobiontic communities without todays type of genomes, which is a totally different question.

  72. #72 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    March 10, 2008

    However, it is true that we don’t know how these things came into being historically, and because that was a very long time ago, we may never have anything better than models that show us how they could have arisen.

    Yes, but compelling models, which furthermore breaks the problem down to digestible bites instead of Eaton’s mess of godsmusthavedoneitbecauseIdon’tgetscience-all-at-once.

    AFAIU it is fairly uncontroversial that RNA genomes predated DNA genomes, and as viruses seems to have contributed certain proteins they may also have contributed the later. More interesting is hints that tRNA may have predated rRNA, or (which really is a different proposition altogether AFAIU) that tRNA can be used to trace the evolution of Archaea, Eukarya, Bacteria and Viruses further back, and possibly root the tree.

    The result (supported by other papers, it seems) is that Archaea may be the root, and Viruses an old split after Eukarya-Bacteria split off. At the same time the paper maintains it is compatible with the old ancient virus world hypothesis due to the complex origins of viruses and the erasure of deep evolutionary history.

    But the point is that modern evolutionary studies reach back to the origins of four domains of life. Not bad, and hopefully a help to constrain abiogenesis research.

  73. #73 Science Avenger
    March 11, 2008

    Keith Eaton: RM and NS are darwinian if and only if the process is unaided by the injection of intelligence by an outside agent, otherwise its intelligent aided design.

    Keith talks about “intelligence” as if it was physical, like some sort of cognitive serum, or a plague, that is transferred by a touch. These guys just can’t help but think magically.

    This argument really is the litmus test for who is genuinely seeking and who is full of shit. The argument that somehow by setting up an experiment the scientists are contaminating it with intelligence is so obviously wrong only an idiot or a liar could buy it.

  74. #74 Paul
    March 11, 2008

    Harold (and others): You say that denying that this only works because of evolution is stupid. But that only works because you have redefined telic processes (breeding) as atelic (natural selection) because “we are natural”.

    You haven’t provided a scientific response to the issue. You have used semantics to define the issue away.

  75. #75 atari_age
    March 11, 2008

    So, being new to paying attention to the details of Creationist reasoning, I need to ask:

    Do Creationists use, as their absolute reference for evolution theory, the Origin of Species, without any modification or acknowledgment of *current* theory? It sounds that way on the surface, anyway.

    But isn’t that like saying Newton is full of crap because of Einstein’s (and co.) deeper discoveries in physics?

    I guess by the time I got training, molecular genetics and evolution flowed right into one another. Reading Egnor’s quote just had me scratching my head thinking “does this guy read scientific literature at all?”

  76. #76 MartinM
    March 11, 2008

    Likewise a codon would not be in any way indicative of the protein to be manufactured unless there were a presupposed interpretive agreement between DNA, mRNA, tRNA, and the ribosome, etc. as to explicit meaning and operative instructions.

    This easily qualifies as one of the most amazingly stupid statements I’ve seen recently. Ever heard of the laws of physics, by any chance?

  77. #77 harold
    March 11, 2008

    Paul –

    I see that you disappeared for a couple of days and then came back to ignore what I actually said and throw up a repetition of stuff that has already been shown wrong. Typical.

    Harold (and others): You say that denying that this only works because of evolution is stupid.

    Correct, it very much is.

    But that only works because you have redefined telic processes (breeding) as atelic (natural selection) because “we are natural”.

    More fancy words that add up to nothing.

    Obviously, any genetically determined trait that humans can select for by breeding could also be selected for if the same type of pressures are encountered in any other way. There is no fundamental difference between selective breeding and natural selection. The mechanisms are identical.

    The case of antibiotic resistance is a particularly obvious example of this.

    Your argument is the exact logical equivalent of claiming that gravity isn’t the reason that an apple falls to the ground if it is deliberately dropped by a human, because being dropped was a “telic” process that involved “intelligence”. It’s still gravity, though, despite weasel words.

    You haven’t provided a scientific response to the issue. You have used semantics to define the issue away.

    Incorrect. That is what YOU are doing. For a very strange reason. A scientist did an experiment that involved selecting for antibiotic resistant bacteria as a first step.

    He made the almost trivial observation that the experiment wouldn’t work if bacteria could not evolve antibiotic resistance and be selected for it; therefore, if biological evolution didn’t occur, the experiment couldn’t have been done.

    A technically correct, if moronic, creationist response, might be that this is only a very simple example of some short term evolution.

    But you’re trying to claim that selection of antibiotic resistant bacteria has nothing to do with evolution. And using a lot of silly big words that I’m not sure you really understand in an effort to do so.

    Doh! I have no other agenda, except to highlight the intellectual bankruptcy of a purely materialistic worldview

    Then you are truly wasting your time lying about evolution, which has absolutely nothing to do with this.

  78. #78 minimalist
    March 11, 2008

    Paul,

    Please see Science Avenger’s post directly above yours. You seem to be making the same error as Keith.

    The fact of the matter is that you are the one who have been playing semantic games from the start, and I have called you on it. Let me break it down for you:

    Selection weeds out individuals lacking a certain trait (X).

    This reduces the overall breeding population, concomitantly increasing the proportion of potential breeding partners with trait X.

    This is essentially the same effect as a breeder choosing which animal breeds with which — a reduction in potential breeding partners.

    Breeding affects the tempo of the selection process, which means that the rate at which trait X spreads through the artificially-bred population will be greater than in nature. This is because the breeder will, as much as possible, want to breed X with X, wheres the animal in nature still has a greater choice of partners.

    This does not affect the rate of mutation, except that inbreeding will perhaps result in more defects when artificially bred, as the breeding population will be much smaller than in nature. The more egregious defects — ones that will be highly detrimental to health early on — can be weeded out, just as death would do in nature.

    At any rate, the breeder, like nature, is dependent on mutation for novel traits to appear — no direction is involved.

    Unlike nature, the breeder may have a greater range of traits to choose from: changes in coat color, length of coat, limb length, etc. Things that would likely be of neutral value in nature, or even detrimental (if potential breeding partners in nature were less likely to view it as being ‘like self’).

    In short, this is how breeding can drive dramatic morphological changes in a short period of time, over nature. And the selective pressures, whether human or ‘natural’, are not substantially different from the organism’s point of view. Both amount to a limitation in potential breeding partners.

    I think you’re limited by two things here (well, three if we count your ego):

    1.) Your definition of species. Scientists have known for decades that it’s far more fluid in nature than most laymen appreciate. Where do ligers and tiglons fit into your view? The North Atlantic herring gull and other ‘ring species’?

    2.) The difference between mutation and natural selection. Again, Behe’s entire argument rests on the supposed limitations of mutation, which he does by hilariously misunderstanding concepts like fitness landscapes and ignoring direct, observed evidence of mutations that he claims should be impossible.

    But don’t take my word for it, let’s hear it from the man himself (in EoE):

    In the past hundred years science has advanced enormously; what do the results of modern science show? In brief, the evidence for common descent seems compelling. The results of modern DNA sequencing experiments, undreamed of by nineteenth-century scientists like Charles Darwin, show that some distantly related organisms share apparently arbitrary features of their genes that seem to have no explanation other than that they were inherited from a distant common ancestor. Second, that random mutation paired with natural selection can modify life in important ways. Third, however, there is strong evidence that random mutation is extremely limited. Now that we know the sequences of many genomes, now that we know how mutations occur, and how often, we can explore the possibilities and limits of random mutation with some degree of precision–for the first time since Darwin proposed his theory.

    Behe’s confused enough about pretty much everything he rambles about, so I shouldn’t be surprised that his readers, who know even less and therefore depend on him for enlightenment, might end up even more confused. But this is getting embarrassing for you.

  79. #79 minimalist
    March 11, 2008

    Damn, I work on and off at work, and of course harold beats me to the punch in that time, AGAIN.

    Anyway, Paul, here’s a thought experiment for you, to see if you can apply what people have been trying to teach you:

    Let’s say it was possible for a certain species of fish in a pond to evolve cyanide resistance. It would only require a few generations to achieve.

    How would this process occur differently if the cyanide were from:

    1.) an infestation of cyanide-producing bacteria in the pond;

    2.) runoff from a nearby mine; or

    3.) added by scientists at a concentration similar to the above?

    Remember, we’re not talking about the potential origin of the mutation, so don’t try to bring in “front-loading” or anything. Just take it as a given that the mutation is possible, and address the selection angle.

  80. #80 Robin
    March 11, 2008

    Eaton:

    Gee this early in the AM and I have to teach a class on logic and rational thought to the moron crowd.

    First the difference between artificial selection and natural selection is quite simple to explain, if your audience has a brain.

    RM and NS are darwinian if and only if the process is unaided by the injection of intelligence by an outside agent, otherwise its intelligent aided design.

    Reluctantly, I admit a team of evolutionary biologists working out the pathways, designing the experiment, controlling the environment, so-called pressures, and using a controlled lab with lots of equipment does qualify as the injection of intelligence.

    It’s the small scale bacterial equivalent of creating varieties of dogs.

    You’re stuck in the stone ages while NGE under the work of Shapiro and his peers march on leaving RM and NS behind as relatively insignificant aspects of a hyperbolically complex information based complex of distributed intelligence, processing, codes, sensory feedback, switching, mobile elements, and reconfiguration based on rational, sensory information.

    Do you still use punch cards and magnetic tape in your lab computations?

    Even Darwin knew these two phenom were not the same thing.

    Ummm…just so I understand you then, that man can “artificially breed” a new capability into an organism, such as antibotic resistance in an organism group that had no such resistance or sulphuric acid consumption in an organism that originally received energy from the sun somehow dismisses the logical conclusion that the organisms actually changed? In other words, your completely dismissing the conclusion that, because this occurred in a lab using biological organisms, the ability to change must be present in said organisms? Is that what you/Eigor are saying?

  81. #81 michaelf
    March 11, 2008

    This is so hard. Whose conclusions do I accept – the evil darwinian overlords who have PhDs in biology, teach at universities, write competitive grants, publish research in peer-reviewed journals or Keith who won’t tell us what he does for a living, where he went to school, what degrees he has earned….

    Try this out – a thrush learns that by dropping a snail on a rock, the shell will smash and he/she can eat the snail. This selects for shell thickness and shell color. Is the thrush intelligent? If so is this artificial selection?

  82. #82 michaelf
    March 11, 2008

    Another example that may be more akin to human action is the “farming” of aphids by ants.

  83. #83 Keith Eaton
    March 11, 2008

    Not that I think the dunderheads herein really want to acknowledge facts and evidence or understand that evolution at any stage cannot and has never added information to the genome; but , if by chance a new reader wanted to get some true enlightenment from qualified individuals they could peruse the following.

    http://trueorigin.org/dawkinfo.asp by Dr. Royal Truman

    As to intgelligence and experimentation the standing challenge is for one of the knobheads here to demonstrate any scientific experiment in evolution where so called information is added to the genome by RM and NS and there was no intelligent planning, no guidence, no controlled conditions, no genetic information was made available “free” to support the effort.

  84. #84 michaelf
    March 11, 2008

    Here is the credentials of the great biologist Royal Truman – wait.. he’s an organic chemist…

    PHOTOREDUCTION OF PHENYL KETONES BY AROMATIC DONORS
    by TRUMAN, ROYAL JOHN, Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1984, 505 pages; AAT 8424485
    Abstract (Summary)

    Substituent effects on the photoreductions (k(,r) and (phi)(,Max)) of phenyl ketones by aromatic donors were examined for a series of benzophenones, acetophenones, and (alpha),(alpha),(alpha)-trifluoroacetophenones. Linear log k(,r) vs E(,red)(‘*) plots were obtained for the photoreductions of substituted benzophenones (lowest n,(pi)* triplets; slope = -0.162/kcal) and substituted (alpha),(alpha),(alpha)-trifluoroacetophenones (lowest (pi),(pi)* triplets; slope = -0.209/kcal) using p-xylene in acetonitrile. A break in the plot for substituted acetophenones indicated that the acetophenone (pi),(pi)* triplets are less reactive.

    The substituents p-Cl, p-CN, and p-Ac were found to decrease the k(,r) values of acetophenones but not of benzophenones. Apparently these substituents cause triplet state inversion so that the (pi),(pi)* state is lowest for the acetophenones.

    A log k(,r) vs E(,red)(‘*) plot for acetophenones with lowest (pi),(pi)* triplets showed about a 10-fold decrease in reactivity compared to the extrapolated line which includes only acetophenones with lowest n,(pi)* triplets.

    Replacing p-methyl by p-tert-butyl led to greater k(,r) values for valerophenone, benzophenone, acetophenone and (alpha),(alpha),(alpha)-trifluoroacetophenone, but the last two compounds showed reduced (phi)(,Max) values with bulky substitution.

    Isotope effect studies involving toluene and toluene-d(,8) were performed with several compounds: k(,r)(‘H)/k(,r)(‘D) = 3.3 for benzophenone (but the (phi)(,Max)(‘BB) values were similar), and 2.4 for 4,4′-dimethylbenzophenone. In contrast, p-trifluoromethylbenzophenone showed an isotope effect of 3.4 on (phi)(,Max)(‘BB) but the same k(,r) values, indicating that the photoeducation proceeds via an exciplex pathway, with a difficult proton-transfer step following the initial complexation. Finally, p-methoxy-(alpha),(alpha),(alpha)-trifluoroacetophenone showed almost no isotope effect on k(,r) and (phi)(,Max)(‘BB).

    Primary/tertiary P/T product ratios from the photoreductions of phenyl ketones by p-cymene correlate with E(,red)(‘*) and log k(,r) values. This indicates that the amount of CT varies in an exciplex according to the thermodynamic demand of the ketones. The correlations were much better for compounds possessing lowest (pi),(pi)* triplets.

    Steric interactions were found to lower P/T ratios, especially for ketones with low E(,red)(‘*) values.
    Indexing (document details)

  85. #85 harold
    March 11, 2008

    Keith Eaton wrote –

    As to intgelligence and experimentation the standing challenge is for one of the knobheads here to demonstrate any scientific experiment in evolution where so called information is added to the genome by RM and NS and there was no intelligent planning, no guidence, no controlled conditions, no genetic information was made available “free” to support the effort.

    Moron, information is created by the observer. Man, you don’t know one thing, do you? What’s your “religion”? Tell me so I can make sure NOT to convert to it.

    Also, I already told you…

    I doubt if you have any idea what “information” or “genome” actually mean.

    Gene duplication is just one very obvious example of an evolutionary process adding information to the genome.

    Let me spell it out real simple, bozo. If there can be more than one copy of something, then the number of copies alone is information to an observer. In fact, if there are 2^n possible copy numbers, that’s “n” bits of information. New copy, new information.

    Furthermore, dumba$$, that would be true even if every copy was identical. Since they never are, differences between the copies is also information. Again, it’s actually childishly simple to anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about. If there are 2^n observable differences, that’s “n” bits of information.

    As for Royal Truman – an organic chemist who’s a creationist is a crackpot.

    Having said that, org chem is a very applied field sometimes (nothing wrong with that). I can see how some industrial guy working in an ink factory or something might be able to maintain a delusion.

  86. #86 harold
    March 11, 2008

    However, I do retract this –

    What’s your “religion”? Tell me so I can make sure NOT to convert to it.

    I actually don’t care what Keith’s religion is, and I strongly support his right to live and believe as he wishes – as long as he respects the rights of others to do the same.

  87. #87 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    March 11, 2008

    @ Keith Eaton:

    or understand that evolution at any stage cannot and has never added information to the genome

    Funny note from a guy who has repeatedly demonstrated that he doesn’t understand evolution.

    Now, I provided a link a couple of days ago describing how information about the environment is learned by an entire population’s genome. You reply here by saying “NUH-HUH” not even pretending that you have a problem with the description, again confirming that you don’t understand evolution, you don’t want to understand evolution and is satisfied with farting dogmas in polite company.

  88. #88 harold
    March 11, 2008

    Torbjorn –

    It is amply clear that Keith has no understanding of either evolution or the most basic rudiments of information theory.

    At first I thought that he might have some applied training in a computer field, maybe an associate’s or something, and have some familiarity with information theory.

    However, he’s just getting all his material from AIG.

  89. #89 Keith Eaton
    March 11, 2008

    I would refer to each detractor by name but it,s clear I am writing to a monolithic culture of evo morons who long ago lost any trace of ability to think independently and can only parrot what their keepers permit under penalty of being purged from the darwin cult of true believers.

    I have no idea why we keep writing new texts, plays, songs, theories, poems, or information of any kind since we only seek to develop new information for consumption, new ideas for progress, new reflections for improvement and better ideals, and entertainment for leisure.

    According to your TOE all we need is a copy machine and we can double the amount of information and bingo all is progress and well being.

    Now put on your dunce caps, go sit in the corner, and write I will keep my ignorant rants to myself 5,000 times.

    Now I see what my teacher friends mean when they say the last two decades of students are dumber than posts.

    Explain those laws of physics to me that cause molecules to have the ability to develop and understand coded messages.

    We’re not going back to chemical predestination are we …because that’s ground for having you committed to an asylum.

    Tell me you paid those student loans back at least, so I can sleep better tonight.

  90. #90 Science Avenger
    March 12, 2008

    Keith revealingly said: …demonstrate any scientific experiment in evolution where so called information is added to the genome by RM and NS and there was no intelligent planning, no guidence, no controlled conditions, no genetic information was made available “free” to support the effort.

    Now Mr. Thinks-intelligence-is-physical is demanding we perform a scientific experiment without controlled conditions. Yeah, this is someone qualified to criticize science. Worse yet, he demands we create said experiment without any intelligent planning, which of course by his very self-serving idiosyncratic definitions is impossible, since the mere touch of a human, intelligently-guided hand infects the entire system with intelligence. Perhaps he should touch his own head. A Lot.

    Yeah, I know, but that’s too easy.

  91. #91 michaelf
    March 12, 2008

    Keith,
    I will donate $100 to charity if you can operationally define “information” for us and then let everyone on this site discuss whether “information” can increase without “intelligence”. You may need to define “intelligence” also. You can’t change your definition once submitted.

    AiG is an apologetics organization not a science organization. Its sole purpose is to validate the literal “truth” of the Bible (KJV preferred). I suggest Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation Controversy
    Arthur N. Strahler 2nd edition, Prometheus, 1999, 528 pp for your reading pleasure. As one reviewer commented “a masterpiece”.

  92. #92 Science Avenger
    March 12, 2008

    According to your TOE all we need is a copy machine and we can double the amount of information and bingo all is progress and well being.

    The surest sign that an evolution-denier is barking from his bunghole is when he draws an analogy between evolution and non-reproducing machines. It reveals an error of an embarrasingly basic level. He’s the intellectual cousin of those that demand crocoducks.

  93. #93 Keith Eaton
    March 12, 2008

    “Let me spell it out real simple, bozo. If there can be more than one copy of something, then the number of copies alone is information to an observer. In fact, if there are 2^n possible copy numbers, that’s “n” bits of information. New copy, new information.

    Furthermore, dumba$$, that would be true even if every copy was identical. Since they never are, differences between the copies is also information. Again, it’s actually childishly simple to anyone who actually knows what they’re talking about. If there are 2^n observable differences, that’s “n” bits of information.” Harold ( from your team)

    I never read AIG but I do refer to Trueorigins from time to time, you’re dead wrong to assume I read AIG.

    As a grad student in a Liberal Studies program with an emphasis in the History of Science, I am reasonably
    well versed in the subject.

    Any moron who can’t follow the logic that all experimentation requires intellectual thought, cognitive thought, rational thought, planning, implementation and thus imposing such on matter to achieve a result is either ignorant or dishonest…take your pick.

    This does not diminish the process, the techniques, the people or results except in the case where the scientists proclaim that their results are perfectly forensically congruent with unobservable historical physical reality in a precise simulated sense and that in the case of biology particularly somehow demonstrate the supposed deep time operations of evolution in creating the diversity of life from a first replicator.

    Modern theories of intelligence see at least seven types of intellect extant in the population.

    Howard Gardner’s is as good as any: “A biopsychological potential to process information that can be activated in a cultural setting to solve problems or create products that are of value in a culture.”

    Information:

    Sensory perceived data constructed according to biopsychological specifications, agreements, conventions and codes capable of being processed by intelligent agents to effect actualization of problem solving and product development in a cultural setting of intelligent agents.

    Please make your check out to the non-profit and IRS legally defined charity “The Discovery Institute”. Provide some proof of your donation prior to unleashing the evo hords of brownshirts on me, otherwise I will not respond.

  94. #94 Foggg
    March 12, 2008

    Eaton is touting Hubert Yockey? Who has said ID and its acolytes are not merely utterly wrong, but engage in “deliberate deception”?
    http://www.cynthiayockey.com/pages/1/index.htm
    Another Own Goal by our arrogant ignoramus.

  95. #95 michaelf
    March 12, 2008

    Keith,
    You obviously have no idea what “operationally defined” means. How could you quantify information based on your definition?
    Who said you got to pick the charity?

  96. #96 Science Avenger
    March 12, 2008

    Keth Eaton: Any moron who can’t follow the logic that all experimentation requires intellectual thought, cognitive thought, rational thought, planning, implementation and thus imposing such on matter to achieve a result is either ignorant or dishonest…take your pick.

    It’s imposed on matter in a controlled way to control for mitigating factors and produce a result to confirm or disconfirm the hypothesis. The mistake you and the rest of the ID twits keep making is inferring that because I set up my bacteria/antibiotic experiment using my intelligence that somehow I have “injected” the bacteria with intellect. You are turning the scientific method on its head, which I guess explains why the scientific output of your crowd is so sparse, to put it kindly.

  97. #97 Keith Eaton
    March 12, 2008

    Avenger,

    I never made such a statement, period, you are a bold faced liar. Evolution constantly relies on metaphysics, I do not.

    The statement and explanation stands as submitted..I’m right ..you are wrong.

    I submitted refutations by qualified scientists showing alternative and bons fide explanations for antibiotic resistance by Dr. Spetner and Dr. Kevin Andersen which refute in devastating terms th silly arguments of evos on the subject.

    I understand that all the evos don’t get the math, prob, stats, information theory explanations because biologists and all evos are people who flunked out of engineering school, flunked out of physics, are proud of their college algebra and trig for elementary biology teachers class that was the apogee of their math education.

    I have no issue, really, because we need a place for the not quite up to it group to go and biology is a nice little philosophical exercise for the less fit.

    Spetner’s demolition of natural selection and evolution in general via his not by Chance book and supplementary writings does inflict mortal pain to evos , I understand, but we intellectuals have a mandate to correct ignorance to prevent further erosion of science.

  98. #98 Keith Eaton
    March 12, 2008

    michael,

    I assume your nonresponsive, evasive reply and backtracking is a retreat, apology, surrender, and recognition you’re way out of your league.

    Stick to coaching little league soccer or something equally innocuous.

  99. #99 michaelf
    March 12, 2008

    Keith,
    I asked how your definition was operational. You tell me how you would measure information using your definition. How would you test if information increased with your definition?
    I do coach little league soccer and it is much more challenging than anything you have ever done. At least I am doing something positive with my life.

  100. #100 Science Avenger
    March 12, 2008

    I never made such a statement, period, you are a bold faced liar.

    Ah, I see now why Keith and the other creationists always get so confused when we badger them about quote mining. They apparently consider it lying to quote them verbatum. What a loon.

    I submitted refutations by qualified scientists showing alternative and bons fide explanations for antibiotic resistance by Dr. Spetner and Dr. Kevin Andersen which refute in devastating terms th silly arguments of evos on the subject.

    Yes, except, as usual, their arguments are rejected as crap by 99% of qualified scientists in the relevant fields. So why should we listen to the loons? You don’t get to pick and choose your data…or your “experts”.

    I understand that all the evos don’t get the math, prob, stats, information theory explanations because biologists and all evos are people who flunked out of engineering school, flunked out of physics, are proud of their college algebra and trig for elementary biology teachers class that was the apogee of their math education.

    [Yawn] As an actuary, I can say without qualification that I have never, not once, seen a creationist or IDer who understood statistics at even the mst basic level. Something as simply as conditional probabilities is beyond their grasp, as their constant reference to 747-junkyard type arguments (or copy machines) attests.

    But I don’t blame them for all their baseless assertions. It’s all they’ve got.

  101. #101 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    March 12, 2008

    harold –

    Yes, I noticed. By that confirmation we now have arrived at more information. :-P

    @ Keith:

    it,s clear I am writing to a monolithic culture of evo morons who long ago lost any trace of ability to think independently

    Yet you got individually answers, with for example two different ways the evolution process can increase the information in the populations genome.

    If there is a lessening of variation we are just responding to the selective pressures of dumbing down responses to a narrow choire of creationist ninnys that don’t want to ask relevant questions on science and don’t know how to build new strawmen to replace the torched ones.

    According to your TOE all we need is a copy machine and we can double the amount of information and bingo all is progress and well being.

    NUH-HUH! Because you must consider a minimal working theory, such as “hereditary variation with selection”, or you won’t have evolution. And the example you distort told you so.

  102. #102 Keith Eaton
    March 12, 2008

    Dear SFBrains Avenger,

    Fred Hoyle the mathmatical astronomer was the orginator of the junkyard-747 argument made after he and his peers concluded a serious statistical study of evolution writ large. What a dumb butt quoting your own people more qualified than you by 10000% as somehow assisting your position.

    Seems your ability to perform table lookups of precalculated mortality tables has gone to your head.

    Now go back to your miserable little cubical and grunt some more.

  103. #103 harold
    March 12, 2008

    I’m beginning to suspect that Keith Eaton is a parody poster…

    Every sentence is so comical.

    At this point there are as many “parody creationists” as creationists. Pole greaser and so on.

    Good thing I’d get in trouble for posting with two names. I’d be tempted to do some of this parody stuff myself.

  104. #104 Science Avenger
    March 12, 2008

    Keith Made shit up thusly: Fred Hoyle the mathmatical astronomer was the orginator of the junkyard-747 argument made after he and his peers concluded a serious statistical study of evolution writ large. What a dumb butt quoting your own people more qualified than you by 10000% as somehow assisting your position.

    I know who made the asinine ignorant 747 argument you presumptuous twit. It’s a textbook example of the sort of argument people who don’t understand shit about statistics make, and it sure as hell was not the result of any serious study of anything. It’s the kind of thing one learns to debunk in undergrad courses. Hoyle was out of his element, embarrasingly so, as are you.

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