What Does it Mean To Teach ID?

Lee McIntyre has a good article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is discussing the wholesale assault on truth in our culture:

To see how we treat the concept of truth these days, one might think we just don’t care anymore. Politicians pronounce that global warming is a hoax. An alarming number of middle-class parents have stopped giving their children routine vaccinations, on the basis of discredited research. Meanwhile many commentators in the media — and even some in our universities — have all but abandoned their responsibility to set the record straight. (It doesn’t help when scientists occasionally have to retract their own work.)

Humans have always held some wrongheaded beliefs that were later subject to correction by reason and evidence. But we have reached a watershed moment, when the enterprise of basing our beliefs on fact rather than intuition is truly in peril.

It’s not just garden-variety ignorance that periodically appears in public-opinion polls that makes us cringe or laugh. A 2009 survey by the California Academy of Sciences found that only 53 percent of American adults knew how long it takes for Earth to revolve around the sun. Only 59 percent knew that the earliest humans did not live at the same time as the dinosaurs.

As egregious as that sort of thing is, it is not the kind of ignorance that should most concern us. There is simple ignorance and there is willful ignorance, which is simple ignorance coupled with the decision to remain ignorant. Normally that occurs when someone has a firm commitment to an ideology that proclaims it has all the answers — even if it counters empirical matters that have been well covered by scientific investigation. More than mere scientific illiteracy, this sort of obstinacy reflects a dangerous contempt for the methods that customarily lead to recognition of the truth. And once we are on that road, it is a short hop to disrespecting truth.

Indeed!

The whole article is interesting, and is apparently based on a forthcoming book. But that’s not the main reason I’m calling it to your attention. It’s this part that is worth noting:

In Merchants of Doubt (Bloomsbury Press, 2010), two historians, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, have shown how the strategy of denying climate change and evolution can be traced all the way back to big tobacco companies, who recognized early on that even the most well-documented scientific claims (for instance, that smoking causes cancer) could be eroded by skillful government lobbying, bullying the news media, and pursuing a public-relations campaign. Sadly, that strategy has largely worked, and we today find it employed by the Discovery Institute, the Seattle organization advocating that “intelligent-design theory” be taught in the public schools as balance for the “holes” in evolutionary theory, …

Let me tell you, that did not sit well with the folks over at the Discovery Institute. Here’s Sarah Chaffee, parroting the party line:

Many critics have falsely claimed that Discovery Institute tries to push intelligent design into public schools. But Lee McIntyre, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, is no ordinary critic. A research fellow at Boston University’s Center for Philosophy and History of Science, he claims to be nothing less than an authority on the defense of truth. His new book is Respecting Truth: Willful Ignorance in the Internet Age. Yet McIntyre did not take the time to check the accuracy of what he says about us.

Goodness! It looks bad for McIntyre. So what is the Discovery Institute’s position on science education? According to Chaffee, it is this:

Recognizing the potential for sharp conflict in this area, Discovery Institute believes that a curriculum that aims to provide students with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories (rather than teaching an alternative theory, such as intelligent design) represents a common ground approach that all reasonable citizens can agree on.

Apparently believing that Chaffee’s post was insufficient for correcting McIntyre’s calumny, David Klinghoffer got into the game. In a blog post entitled, “Say What You Want About Intelligent Design” Klinghoffer writes

I mean literally say whatever you want. There’s a strange ethical tenet in the media that holds that when it comes to ID, you can assert anything that seems expedient, or like it kind of ought to be true given what everyone else in your crowd says — however far that may be from factual.

It’s as if there were a special license issued to ID critics, “The bearer of this certificate is entitled to publicize any untruth about intelligent design that he pleases, and is guaranteed not to be challenged on it.” Other than by Discovery Institute.

He goes on to write:

No. In fact we’ve always opposed mandating ID in public schools, and strongly caution teachers against trying to freelance on the subject. We say this in public and private. Unambiguously. Over and over. Why? One good reason is that scholarship on ID would not be advanced — quite the contrary — by political controversies about teaching it in public schools.

On the other hand, that thoughtful adults, responsible journalists, and scientists in relevant fields should read up on it and consider the arguments, without fear of censure — yes, that we do support, but it’s a very different matter.

People more reasonable than Chaffee and Klinghoffer will be rolling their eyes at this point. They understand, you see, that there is exactly one difference between “teaching ID” and “teaching the strengths and weaknesses of evolution.” Here it is:

“Teaching the strengths and weaknesses of evolution” means putting before students a collection of highly dubious, frequently refuted arguments against evolution. “Teaching ID” means presenting precisely the same arguments in precisely the same way, and then adding, right at the end, “And therefore God did it.”

Let us recall that there is no actual theory of ID, beyond the bare claim that an unidentified agent of awesome intelligence and abilities did something, at some point (or perhaps many points) in natural history, for reasons that are entirely inscrutable to us. Other than that, their entire body of thought consists of nothing more than bad anti-evolutionary arguments. In short, Chaffee and Klinghoffer are asking us to take seriously a distinction without a difference.

Some of us are old enough to remember the Kitzmiller trial. That was the one where a local school board in Pennsylvania decided to mandate that ID be discussed in science classes. The Discovery Institute filed an Amicus Brief (PDF) on behalf of the school board, explaining why teaching ID in science classes ought to present no legal problems at all. And some of us remember the evidence presented at the trial that the board had contacted the Discovery Institute for advice prior to enacting their pro-ID policy. Did the Discovery Institute balk, and discourage them in no uncertain terms from taking that step? No they did not. From the judge’s decision:

At some point before June 2004, Seth Cooper, an attorney with the Discovery Institute contacted Buckingham [member of the Dover School Board and Chairman of the Board’s Curriculum Committee] and two subsequent calls occurred between the Discovery Institute and Buckingham. Although Buckingham testified that he only sought legal advice which was provided in the phone calls, for which Defendants asserted the attorney-client privilege, Buckingham and Cooper discussed the legality of teaching ID and gaps in Darwin’s theory. [transcript references].

The Discovery Institute forwarded Buckingham a DVD, videotape, and book which he provided to [Superintendent] Nilsen to give the science teachers. [transcript references]. Late in the 2003-04 school year, [Assistant Superintendent] Baksa arranged for the science teachers to watch a video from the Discovery Institute entitled “Icons of Evolution” and at a subsequent point, two lawyers from the Discovery Institute made a legal presentation to the Board in executive session. [transcript references].

That’s all pretty strange behavior from an organization that has always unambiguously opposed mandating the teaching of ID.

As for discouraging teachers from freelancing, some of us recall a certain article (PDF) in the Utah Law Review from back in 2000. It was written by Stephen Meyer, currently the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, together with David DeWolff and Mark DeForrest. The article asks us to consider the sad case of made-up teacher John Spokes, who, among other things, “wants to tell his students that a growing minority of scientists do see evidence of real, not just apparent, design in biological systems.” Does the article go on to lecture Mr. Spokes about not freelancing about ID? Not at all. Instead it goes on for page after page explaining that he is legally entitled to do so.

Klinghoffer frets that political controversies do not advance ID scholarship. Political controversies would seem to have this in common with ID proponents, but let that pass. Instead, let us cast our memories back still further, to the famous Wedge Document, in which the Discovery Institute told us in no uncertain terms about their goals:

Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature. The Center awards fellowships for original research, holds conferences, and briefs policymakers about the opportunities for life after materialism.

The document then goes on to outline the three phases of their plan for cultural domination. “Scientific research” is mentioned only as part of Phase One. Apparently ID scholarship exists only to service the political controversies, which would seem to be the real point of it all.

If Chaffee and Klinghoffer are genuinely concerned about people asserting untruths about ID, they should start by scolding themselves.

Comments

  1. #1 James Downard
    Spokane WA
    June 12, 2015

    The DI has been backpedaling on their education focus ever since Dover (when manifestly the hope of the Dover board was to slip ID, which for them included some YEC resources, into the curicculum). Since then they have whittled down their venue & the latest Luskin lesson plans for Discovering Intelligent Design focus on home schooling & private school.

    Pedaling into an ever narrow alley, they simply don’t recall their prior trajectory. I’ve been retracing that track in TIP 1.7 http://www.tortucan.wordpress.com, and currently have the trail of beadcrumbs picked up from their origin through to Dover, a tale of dissembling & evasions regarding their YEC allies, which they never even acknowledge, let alone criticize.

    I hope students of the field will be adding #TIP http://www.tortucan.wordpress.com to their quiver of arrows, along with NCSE and the many blogs devoted to the field. Feedback is most welcome at #TIP

  2. #2 dean
    June 12, 2015

    There should be no surprise about the lies Chaffee and Klinghoffer are trying to sell here: when someone works for an organization with a central thesis based on falsehoods, dishonesty on the job is to be expected.

    And this:

    There’s a strange ethical tenet in the media that holds that when it comes to ID, you can assert anything that seems expedient, or like it kind of ought to be true given what everyone else in your crowd says — however far that may be from factual.

    seems to be (as three creationist comments on other posts demonstrate) seems to be the tactic they favor for “disproving” evolution.

  3. #3 sean samis
    June 12, 2015

    I can’t think of anything kind to say about teachers of ID, so I’ll just listen in.

    sean s.

  4. #4 See Noevo
    June 12, 2015

    I think I understand why some do not want ID taught in science classes.

    And I think I would agree with them that ID should not be taught in science classes as an alternative to evolution.

    I don’t see ID as science.

    I see ID more as common sense.

    Here’s an analogy, with a question at the end.

    Bill Gates once observed that the DNA molecule was far more complex and far more information/INSTRUCTION-rich than anything Microsoft has ever produced.

    What if, in mankind’s first ever trip to a distant heavenly body, the astronauts found a complex and operable piece of equipment, the equivalent of, say, a laptop computer. But they find no trace of a factory, production line, blueprints, or aliens to make it all work together. (However, they do find in the planet’s soil one of the building blocks of computers – silicon.)

    Would the intelligent astronauts conclude that this complex piece of equipment self-organized itself over a long period of time, and was not designed, even, intelligently designed?

    I’d say “No. Not if they had any common sense.”

    Maybe the ID movement should change its name to the CS movement.

  5. #5 sean samis
    June 12, 2015

    Regarding

    What if, in mankind’s first ever trip to a distant heavenly body, the astronauts found a complex and operable piece of equipment, the equivalent of, say, a laptop computer. But they find no trace of a factory, production line, blueprints, or aliens to make it all work together. (However, they do find in the planet’s soil one of the building blocks of computers – silicon.)

    This is a PRATT.

    Suppose they found a single dead dog. Nothing else. Would we conclude the dog evolved THERE? No. Someone/something brought it. Likewise with the laptop.

    Would we think the laptop had evolved as a life form? Taking the given of the question, no. There’s none of the indicia of life in a laptop. PROBABLY manufactured. Very Probably.

    This hypo is irrelevant to the question of evolution on Earth. There are too many substantial differences.

    We don’t find many individual creatures as out of place as a laptop on the Moon. What we do find are alive (Duh!) and have an identifiable process for reproduction, mutation, variation, etc. etc.

    This is just Common Sense.

    sean s.

  6. #6 James
    June 12, 2015

    Ah yes, the appeal to common sense, the last bastion of scoundrels and charlatans.

  7. #7 dean
    June 12, 2015

    What if, in mankind’s first ever trip to a distant heavenly body, the astronauts found a complex and operable piece of equipment, the equivalent of, say, a laptop computer. But they find no trace of a factory, production line, blueprints, or aliens to make it all work together. (However, they do find in the planet’s soil one of the building blocks of computers – silicon.)

    Would the intelligent astronauts conclude that this complex piece of equipment self-organized itself over a long period of time, and was not designed, even, intelligently designed?

    No, they would not because, unlike you, the “intelligent astronauts” are neither idiots nor dishonest. You do realize computers are not living organisms don’t you?

  8. #8 JGC
    June 12, 2015

    Ahh, the classic “you find a gold watch” argument for intelligent design, updated now to include computers and spacetravel. Some jokes never get old.

  9. #9 See Noevo
    June 12, 2015

    And coming back to earth…
    what if, in a game of chess, you’ve checkmated your opponent.
    Have you REALLY checkmated him, if he’s too stupid to realize he’s been checkmated and he refuses to say the game is over?

    As someone, maybe a Rabbit, has probably said, “PROBABLY not. Very Probably not.”

    And, so, the “match” goes on…… in Wonderland.

    Your move, Alice.

  10. #10 sean samis
    June 12, 2015

    Regarding #9;

    I guess every now and then I need a reminder that SN really is not a serious person. I reply carefully to SN’s question (@4), SN replies buttheadedly.

    sean s.

  11. #11 dean
    June 12, 2015

    Sean, it seems as though when he asks something like “Have you REALLY checkmated him, if he’s too stupid to realize …”
    he is simply engaging in a moment of self-reflection – but then I remember his history and realize he doesn’t have the ability to realize what a fool he is.

  12. #12 Michael Fugate
    June 12, 2015

    If you go to Meyer’s book, you will find that the only weakness of evolution is that God is not considered an agent in the process. But why evolution and not all science? Why not the strengths and weaknesses of chemistry and physics without God? Does one really think that random collisions of molecules can result in new more complex molecules? Or godless gravity can keep planets in their orbits?

    Meyer doesn’t tell us why the inclusion of an unknowable and unpredictable God improves science (it couldn’t) – because his goals are not about science at all – that’s why? He is pushing the limits of science and the public’s lack of science literacy to promote purely theocratic goals. Science is materialistic because it works – I would be curious if any creationist engineer or chemist includes a prayer in their procedures or a God constant in their equations. We can ignore God because it has no impact on our ability to predict outcomes.

  13. #13 Tulse
    June 12, 2015

    The religious have attacked other sciences, such as cosmology, geology, climatology, and neuroscience.

  14. #14 sean samis
    June 12, 2015

    IMHO, the reason creationists like Meyer try to force their deity into evolution–but not so for most of science–is that theists can accept a materialistic view of nature because “God created it”. But evolution stands between us and any creator, reducing our apparent significance. It would mean that their deity intentionally left our “design” up to happen-chance. That is too much for many theists. This is also why theists often object to the “big bang”; it again puts distance between us and their creator.

    Of course, in the interests of their false science, they’ve learned not to admit to these things. So to answer the thread’s question; to teach ID, you need to be good at prevarication.

    sean s.

  15. #15 Michael Fugate
    June 12, 2015

    let’s face it evolution is really the issue – and they really are discrediting all science by their actions. They want human exceptionalism so badly that they will throw everything else under the bus.

  16. #16 sean samis
    June 12, 2015

    Tulse, even movements like theist-antiscience have their fringe members. And in the internet age, even minor fringes of minor fringes can garner a lot of attention.

    Theists tend to focus their energy on evolution and cosmology because those have greater doctrinal impact. Geology gets it because of its strong ties to evolution.

    As for climatology; they’re whoring themselves out for that. They understand one of the primary rules of publicity: you can’t buy credibility, but you can rent it.

    sean s.

  17. #17 JimV
    United States
    June 12, 2015

    Before ID could be taught in schools, it seems to me there would have to be good answers to these questions:

    1) What is design? How does it work?

    2) What is intelligence? How does it work?

    The answers that make sense to me are:

    1) Evolution; and 2) Evolution. I.e., trial and error plus memory. Trials are random combinations and mutations of previous ideas, error means there are selection criteria involved, such as survival in the marketplace. For memory (passing on good results to the next generation), biology uses DNA, whereas humans have brain memory plus language, writing, hard drives, et cetera.

    Meanwhile, Scott Aaronson recently came up with a good general response to bad science, which I would like to pass on:

    June 8th, 2015 at 6:50 am (in response to a climate-change denier named Hugo)

    Hugo #55: Sorry, Mark Russell #35 linked to some refutations of Monckton, but I was trying (unsuccessfully) to engage you in a more meta-level discussion. Every week I get emails from people claiming to have proved P=NP, or refuted quantum mechanics or the Second Law or Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, or something like that. Sometimes they even have YouTube videos. Should I read every website and watch every video before making up my mind? In fact I did try to engage many of these people, but I found that they had infinite energy to keep inventing perverse loopholes, switching without the slightest acknowledgment of error to a new one as soon as the last one was closed (in that sense only, they’re right that perpetual motion is possible! 🙂 ). I could easily waste my entire life on this. Clearly, then, a different approach to epistemology is needed.

    While the Argumentum Ad Populum might be a fallacy, the Argumentum Ad Scientific Consensusum has worked better than anyone could’ve imagined (at least in the hard sciences) since the beginning of the scientific revolution. What it says is emphatically not that the scientific consensus is always right: indeed, it draws its strength by saying almost the opposite. It says that the consensus could be wrong, and that if you think it’s wrong, then it’s your privilege and responsibility to change the consensus by convincing most of the relevant experts. Science is an error-correcting system; it exists to respond to new evidence.

    What you must never do, if you wish to be taken seriously, is attempt an end-run around science’s error-correcting gauntlet. So for example, if you think that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, try to convince the medical research community that you’re right. Until you can do that, you have no business telling governments to abandon anti-retroviral drugs (as Peter Duesberg did, more-or-less directly causing the deaths of 300,000 South Africans). Likewise, if you think global warming doesn’t exist (or has nothing to do with human activity, or whatever), then try to convince the chemistry and physics and atmospheric science communities that you’re right. Until you can do that, you have no business telling the general public and policymakers that the problem they’re trying to solve doesn’t exist. The fact that Monckton attempts just such an “end run,” is enough for me to reasonably conclude that he is a fraud.

  18. #18 JGC
    June 12, 2015

    Why evolution and not all science? Because evolution most directly undermines the integrity of core articles of faith forming the foundation of many religious systems.

    Consider Christianity: if we do not descned from the first man and woman created in the image of god as described in Genesis, if there were no garden of Eden, no tree of knowledge of good and evil, then clearly there can also be no inherited ‘original sin’ requiring Jesus to die for us on the cross to reconcile god and man, and no need to accept that sacrifice to achieve a personal salvation.

    If your religious/moral identity is inextricably linked to embracing the necessity of such a personal acceptance as lord and savior, that’sdisconcerting in a way conclusions following upon accepting human factos are contributing to climate change can never be.

  19. #19 Tulse
    June 12, 2015

    Geology gets it because of its strong ties to evolution.

    Depends on who you talk to — most of the attempted discrediting of geology seems to come from creationists, as a way to support The Flood.

  20. #20 sean samis
    June 12, 2015

    Tulse;

    Pretty much everything depends on who you talk to.

    I think that supporting The Flood and disputing the age of the Earth are creationist efforts in support of discrediting evolution.

    sean s.

  21. #21 Tulse
    June 12, 2015

    My sense is that Young Earth Creationists are, at the core, worried about preserving biblical literalism, and while evolution is a challenge to that, so is anything that suggests Genesis is not a history book. This is why you get weird notions like the Omphalos Hypothesis and claims that the speed of light was different in the past (to fit into a world 6,000 years old), and the attack on radiometric dating.

  22. #22 MNb
    June 12, 2015

    “More than mere scientific illiteracy, this sort of obstinacy reflects a dangerous contempt for the methods that customarily lead to recognition of the truth. And once we are on that road, it is a short hop to disrespecting truth.”
    I recognize two regular commenters on this blog.

    “That’s all pretty strange behavior from an organization that has always unambiguously opposed mandating the teaching of ID.”
    It confirms my Golden Rule for IDiots: they lie until proven otherwise. The only thing you need to do is read the introduction of the Wedge Document JR linked to. I have one addition:

    “serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.”
    They are talking about methodological naturalism here, ie the scientific method.
    The Wedge Document is completely unambiguous – they are anti-science. Period. So are our two fellows, no matter how often and how hard they deny it.

  23. #23 See Noevo
    June 12, 2015

    To Michael Fugate #12:

    “If you go to Meyer’s book, you will find that the only weakness of evolution is that God is not considered an agent in the process. But why evolution and not all science? Why not the strengths and weaknesses of chemistry and physics without God…”

    I haven’t read Meyer’s book, but I’ll answer your question.
    A person of faith, say a Christian, believes God IS an agent in ALL of science and for several reasons including…

    1) Science would not be possible unless the scientist makes philosophical/non-scientific/non-provable assumptions that the world is real AND that his senses and intellect can provide him a true impression of that real world. But this is NOT enough, because

    2) The scientist must also make a philosophical/non-scientific/non-provable assumption that this real world has a constancy of behavior seen, for example, in such “laws of nature” as gravitation, electromagnetism, the strong force. Without this assumed constancy, scientific experiments would be useless. What good are scientific experimental results here and now if we can’t assume those results will be the same somewhere else tomorrow?

    3) The scientist, and everyone else, knows that laws come from lawmakers (and that such lawmakers often double as upholders and enforcers of the law). They know that those “laws of nature” noted above have a lawmaker. It’s just that some scientists and some other people like to pretend they don’t know.

    4) So, science would be impossible without these laws made and enforced by the lawmaker. These constant laws of nature are laws everyone sees and/or experiences. It’s just that no one has ever seen or experienced the alleged “law” of evolution.

    Can scientists practice some good science without believing in the Lawmaker who made their science possible? Yes.

    Can teenage girls successfully drive to the store without knowing about internal combustion engines and the designers who made them? Yes.
    …..
    #15:
    “let’s face it evolution is really the issue – and they really are discrediting all science by their actions.”

    I think we both know that evolution is NOT really the issue.
    The hypothetical hyperventilators showed why in comment #1368 at http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/05/20/why-do-doctors-deny-evolution/#comment-402795

    Note to Jason Rosenhouse:
    Your “See Noevo Clicker Counter” (a.k.a. ScienceBlogs’ Respectful Insolence Neighborhood Watch) should show that hijacker See Noevo has posted 3 comments out of the first 23 or so (about 13%).

  24. #24 Michael Fugate
    June 12, 2015

    Why are creationists only able to employ inappropriate analogies?

  25. #25 Narad
    June 12, 2015

    The scientist must also make a philosophical/non-scientific/non-provable assumption that this real world has a constancy of behavior seen, for example, in such “laws of nature” as gravitation, electromagnetism, the strong force. Without this assumed constancy, scientific experiments would be useless.

    This betrays a truly breathtaking ignorance of physics, in which discovering the failure of such laws leads to Nobel Prizes, such as Cronin and Fitch for CP violation.

    Strangely, all the preexisting experimental particle physics was not rendered “useless.”

  26. #26 See Noevo
    June 12, 2015

    From above:
    “In Merchants of Doubt (Bloomsbury Press, 2010), two historians, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, have shown how the strategy of denying climate change and evolution can be traced all the way back to big tobacco companies…”

    “June 8th, 2015 at 6:50 am (in response to a climate-change denier named Hugo)…”

    “If your religious/moral identity is inextricably linked to embracing the necessity of such a personal acceptance as lord and savior, that’sdisconcerting in a way conclusions following upon accepting human factos are contributing to climate change can never be.”

    Speaking of tobacco and climate change, I was smoking a cigar today and noticed this report on the dire climatic straits we’re in NOW in June 2015… or rather, SHOULD be in, according to ABC News in 2008.
    It’s probably already too late to save the planet from ourselves.
    This video is terrifying!

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/scott-whitlock/2015/06/12/flashback-abcs-08-prediction-nyc-under-water-climate-change-june

    P.S.
    Of the two junk science cousins, evolution and AGW, the latter is obviously far more worrisome. We’ll have no problems with the climate, of course, but rather we have a lot to worry about regarding the devastating tsunami of government regulation and taxation with which we’ll be “saved.” Comparatively, evolution indoctrination is a mere ripple from a pebble in the pond. Evo has no effect on our daily lives.

    P.P.S.
    I’ve been called a “troll” many times at this website, but not (yet) on this particular thread. Given the way the term is used on this site, I think a revision to the definition is in order:

    Troll: Anyone who posts online comments which disagree with the perspective of the subject article and with the perspective of other commenters supporting the article.
    ……………..
    Note to Jason Rosenhouse:
    Update to the “hijacker tracker” or “See Noevo Clicker Counter” (a.k.a. ScienceBlogs’ Respectful Insolence Neighborhood Watch):
    See Noevo has made 4 posts out of the first 26 or so (about 15%).
    In other possible thread hijacker news, sean samis has 6 posts, Michael Fugate and dean 3 each.

  27. #27 JGC
    June 13, 2015

    The scientist, and everyone else, knows that laws come from lawmakers (and that such lawmakers often double as upholders and enforcers of the law).

    Uhhh…no, See. Scientific laws are not known to come from lawmakers who sometimes also act upholders or enforcers. They’re instead descriptive statements derived from observation, most frequently expressed as mathematical formulas, which predict the behavior of natural phenomena,

  28. #28 Kwinglofffer
    June 13, 2015

    Klinghoffer has got to be the most shameless liar of the Discovery Institute, and that’s saying something.

  29. #29 Armand K
    June 13, 2015

    ID as “common sense”… That’s actually a pretty good way of looking at it, if only because our “common sense” so often misleads us, especially when it comes to things much smaller or much larger (both size-wise and time-wise) than the middle-sized world we directly perceive. It’s a naïve tool for evaluating anything beyond or on deeper levels than our immediate experience — and it often fails us even there.

  30. #30 Phil
    June 13, 2015

    JGC,

    “Scientific laws are…descriptive statements derived from observation, most frequently expressed as mathematical formulas, which predict the behavior of natural phenomena”

    This is true in engineering and other applied knowledge pursuits. It is not true at all concerning evolutionary faith, which proceeds with nothing more than declarations. Got a problem? Just put a cool descriptor ahead of either evolution or selection, and nobody will notice. Like this:

    “In an example of convergent evolution, centipedes and spider neurotoxins used different strategies to turn the hormone into a potent neurotoxin. Both arthropods also have multiple versions of the venom molecules; a sign that they have been successful enough for new functions to be added on over evolutionary time.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611122959.htm

    Convergent evolution. A cheap, but amazingly effective way to cover a probabilities nightmare. No facts are necessary. No observation, no research, no data. Just a declaration of faith in the powerful “strategies” that accidents use.

  31. #31 colnago80
    June 13, 2015

    Re narad @ #25

    See Michelson/Morley experiment.

  32. #32 Michael Fugate
    June 13, 2015

    What Klinghoffer and the DI are conceding is that ID is religion and therefore cannot be taught in public schools. Their only recourse is to discredit science by misrepresenting what is science and how it works. The very idea that if science included the supernatural (whatever that is), it would be better is a joke – and they know it.

    Once again a man who thinks that Adam and Eve were real and that Eve was created from Adam’s rib and who thinks that ostriches, emus , kiwis and rheas were created a day after other birds – is bitching about observational skills of scientists – rich again!

  33. #33 dean
    June 13, 2015

    Once again a man who thinks that Adam and Eve were real and that Eve was created from Adam’s rib and who thinks that ostriches, emus , kiwis and rheas were created a day after other birds – is bitching about observational skills of scientists – rich again!

    To be fair, if they had even a minimal understanding of science, a sense of integrity, and didn’t lie, they wouldn’t be allowed to be creationists.

  34. #34 Narad
    June 13, 2015

    See Michelson/Morley experiment.

    One might also note that high-temperature superconductivity remains an open question. Just as clocks proved not to have “constancy of behavior,” neither does condensed matter.*

    Discovery in 1986, Nobel in 1987 for Bednorz and Müller.

    S.N. notes here that he thinks “ID should not be taught in science classes as an alternative to evolution.” He omits the other half:

    I might possibly be OK with evolution being taught in science classes (I’m already OK with it being taught in philosophy classes) IF the texts and the teachers would clearly make your disclaimer to the students: “We just DON’T KNOW it evolved.”

    His is a far-reaching ignorance, leaving him with nothing but hoplelessly garbled caricatures to attack.

    And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

    * And the “fixed stars” proved inadequate for navigation, which is why GPS is tied to ICRF-2.

  35. #35 Armand K
    June 13, 2015

    Convergent evolution. A cheap, but amazingly effective way to cover a probabilities nightmare. No facts are necessary. No observation, no research, no data. Just a declaration of faith in the powerful “strategies” that accidents use.

    What are you going on about? “Convergent evolution” is just the name given to the observed phenomenon where similar characteristics evolved independently in different species. (In your example, turning a hormone into a weapon; a probably better known and more often used one would be be the evolution of the eye cephalopods and vertebrates; and there are dozens more examples, as you’ll probably find in half a minute on google.)

    As for the use of the word “strategy”, your (intentional?) misapplying it to “accidents” merely compounds the error of the journalists from ScienceDaily who applied it to the neurotoxin instead of the organisms making the neurotoxin, as it’s commonly used in life sciences lingo. Your second error was to not realize that it wasn’t used in the common sense of “thought out plan (to achieve a goal)” but, again, in the specialized sense in which it’s used in life science (more to the point, in biology and medicine) – that of adaptation (whether structural, metabolic, behavioral) that serves a specific function (usually one that’s important for the survival/reproduction/whatever of the organism in question).

  36. #36 See Noevo
    June 13, 2015

    To multiple addressees…

    To Armand K # 29:

    Me: “I don’t see ID as science. I see ID more as common
    sense. Here’s an analogy…”

    You: “ID as “common sense”… often misleads us, especially when it comes to things much smaller or much larger (both size-wise and time-wise) than the middle-sized world we directly perceive. It’s a naïve tool for evaluating anything beyond or on deeper levels than our immediate experience — and it often fails us even there.”

    I didn’t say ID/common sense was the ONLY tool humans can and should use.
    One other tool is what I’ll call “curiosity applied” (i.e. discovery). But whether our curiosity is applied to the smallest or grandest things outside what you call our “middle-sized world” of perception, no curiosity and no tool can answer the most fundamental questions, such as, Why is there ANYTHING at all?

    And such as, WHAT is life and its purpose and how did it come to be?

    And such as, how did this DNA, which is orders of magnitude more INSTRUCTION-rich than anything Microsoft’s intelligent software designers ever designed, come to be?

    No mere curiosity and no tool, no matter how “scientific”, will bring us to the “knowing” of these things. But as for that last one (DNA), I think common sense gives us a pretty good start as to its origin.
    …….
    To Michael Fugate #32:

    “What Klinghoffer and the DI are conceding is that ID is religion…”

    If THAT is what Klinghoffer and the DI believe, then I disagree with them (see #4).

    “The very idea that if science included the supernatural (whatever that is), it would be better is a joke – and they know it.”

    I think that science, especially science education in public schools, should NOT include the supernatural. I just think it should include a lot more “We don’t know”s and “We have no idea how”s.
    …….

    To Armand K #35:

    “What are you going on about? “Convergent evolution” is just the name given to the observed phenomenon where similar characteristics evolved independently in different species.”

    I think what Phil was going on about regarding convergent evolution, and in fact ANY evolution, was that they have NEVER been observed.
    I think Phil also may have been going on about your, and all evolutionists’, “begging the question” (e.g. “Convergent EVOLUTION is just the name given to the observed phenomenon where similar characteristics EVOLVED independently in different species.”)

    I would go on about it, too.

    P.S.
    For those angry or frustrated with me, please, don’t blame me.
    Blame evolution. I just mutated this way.

  37. #37 Phil
    June 14, 2015

    SN,

    “I think what Phil was going on about regarding convergent evolution, and in fact ANY evolution, was that they have NEVER been observed.”

    Sortof. But the bigger problem is the probabilities of such things happening. There is never a pause to consider plausibility. DNA replication errors is all they have, and I can understand the reluctance to pick on the prima donna. But you’d think that at some point they’d rub a few neurons together and recognize that they didn’t wind up with around 90 billion of them accidentally.

  38. #38 Richard Wein
    United Kingdom
    June 14, 2015

    McIntyre: “…the Seattle organization advocating that “intelligent-design theory” be taught in the public schools…”

    Klinghoffer: “In fact we’ve always opposed mandating ID in public schools…”

    Note the switch from “advocating” to “mandating”.

    Honest K: “We don’t currently, openly advocate teaching that an intelligent designer did it, in public schools. We only advocate teaching that natural causes couldn’t have done it, as well as teaching a bogus ‘design inference’ methodology that–if accepted–pretty much forces one to accept that a designer did it.”

  39. #39 Michael Fugate
    June 14, 2015

    Klinghoffer: “In fact we’ve always opposed mandating ID in public schools…”

    Translated as “we would love it if you taught ID in schools, we just won’t back you up if you get caught.”

  40. #40 sean samis
    June 14, 2015

    Regarding #23

    … laws come from lawmakers (and that such lawmakers often double as upholders and enforcers of the law). They know that those “laws of nature” noted above have a lawmaker.

    Agreeing with JGC @27; The laws of nature are not ‘laws’ in the same sense as ‘human laws’; the word is borrowed; it’s merely a metaphor. A ‘law of nature’ is merely a human description of how nature has been observed to behave. Such ‘laws’ do not require “lawmakers”, they only require observers. Such ‘laws’ do not need “enforcers” because these ‘laws’ are merely descriptions of what happens; descriptions require no enforcement.

    Phil’s “reply” @30 to JGC was vacuously non-responsive, as is his habit.

    Armand K @29 said this well:

    ‘common sense’ so often misleads us, especially when it comes to things much smaller or much larger (both size-wise and time-wise) than the middle-sized world we directly perceive. It’s a naïve tool for evaluating anything beyond or on deeper levels than our immediate experience — and it often fails us even there.

    Since we know commons sense is unreliable (and we do know that!) then it is NEVER reliable at any level without proof of its reliability. But if we have that proof, we no longer need rely on “common sense”! So in every instance; “common sense” is either unreliable or redundant.

    sean s.

  41. #41 Krebiozen
    Followed the slime trail from RI
    June 14, 2015

    sean samis,

    The laws of nature are not ‘laws’ in the same sense as ‘human laws’; the word is borrowed; it’s merely a metaphor.

    Indeed, just as the use of words suggesting design, goals or a designer in evolution are metaphors. Creationists and ID proponents often struggle with metaphor. I remember a while ago on RI arguing with a chap who claimed that Dawkins says humans are literally giant lumbering robots swarming in huge colonies, created by genes to carry them around. The inhumanity! Sigh.

    I also agree that both Phil and See Noevo seem to have an inability to see that what we call “common sense” emerges from human scales of space and time. An event that is so unlikely that it will never happen during our lifetime seems impossible to us, and the idea of it happening by chance seems ridiculous (which it is from the perspective of a human lifespan). To an entity that lived a billion years that same event might seem almost certain to happen in its lifetime. With strange eons…

    The other problem they seem to have is that of seeing complexity as prima facie evidence of design. A complex organism that has evolved over eons may look, superficially, as if it has been designed in the same way as something a human created in a year. Clearly the two processes are not comparable, even if the end results may have similar characteristics. I don’t build a watch by randomly putting together all its components in every possible way until one way works. Conflation of these two concepts is at the root of a lot of ID and Creationist nonsense.

  42. #42 See Noevo
    June 14, 2015

    To Krebiozen #41:

    “I also agree that both Phil and See Noevo seem to have an inability to see that what we call “common sense” emerges from human scales of space and time. An event that is so unlikely that it will never happen during our lifetime seems impossible to us, and the idea of it happening by chance seems ridiculous (which it is from the perspective of a human lifespan). To an entity that lived a billion years that same event might seem almost certain to happen in its lifetime.”

    You would agree, then, with sean samis. He said the discovered laptop computer in #4 was “PROBABLY manufactured.”

    And I would say you and he have no common sense, even if we were a billion years old.

  43. #43 sean samis
    June 14, 2015

    Krebiozen;

    I hope you realize that any response to #42 is futile. Not only does it take my comment out of context, but the foolish writer is annoyed that I said something is PROBABLY true when the writer wanted “CERTAINLY true”. This is hair-splitting of the worst sort. There’s no reasoning with such a writer.

    sean s.

  44. #44 Phil
    June 14, 2015

    “Creationists and ID proponents often struggle with metaphor.”

    The actual struggle is the inability of materialists to express their beliefs without resorting to metaphorical language. It doesn’t happen because the concepts are difficult to express. It is because they are incoherent. Using terms like strategies, tinkering, etc. are just cog-diss eruptions.

    “An event that is so unlikely that it will never happen during our lifetime seems impossible to us, and the idea of it happening by chance seems ridiculous…”

    You’re trying to sweep a landfill under a rug. Impossibility is a reality. Everything knowable about humans says that they cannot run a 13 second mile. There are natural limits. Ideas like bioluminescence being the result of a long series of DNA replication errors exceeds natural limits.

  45. #45 sean samis
    June 14, 2015

    How oblivious are you Phil? You were unable to express that complaint “ without resorting to metaphorical language” !!

    ‘Struggle’ in the sense you used it is a metaphor. ‘Express’ derives from a metaphor. ‘Resort’ is a metaphor. Metaphor is how language develops. Your complaint is not with “materialists” as much as a complaint against language!

    The metaphor “law of nature” is quite coherent. Things that happen in nature can be described and categorized. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    So the triggering phrase stands: “Creationists and ID proponents often struggle with metaphor.

    Impossibility is a reality, but it’s also a positive assertion. Accepting the impossibility of something requires more than unreliable common sense. Uncertainty about explanations does not render them “impossible”.

    What is your evidence that bioluminescence cannot have originated naturally? You have none except that you cannot get your head around the idea (another metaphor!)

    There are many things science has not explained yet, there’s nearly nothing creationism explains. Notice that I leave open the possibility there is something, but I don’t know what it is. And “leaving open” is a metaphor in this instance; I hope you don’t object to it!

    Well, actually I don’t care.

    sean s.

  46. #46 Michael Fugate
    June 14, 2015

    Archaeology and Anthropology use science to distinguish between those things that are human designed and those that are not. Biology and Palaeontology use science to distinguish between those things that are organismically designed and those that are not. ID doesn’t use science and doesn’t do anything because it has no idea how an unknown and supposedly unknowable designer designs. It is useless from the get go. It is an empty assertion and no more.

  47. #47 Narad
    June 14, 2015

    Krebiozen;

    I hope you realize that any response to #42 is futile.

    I would call your attention to K.’s entry in the “location” field. The good news is that he has been unable to stick the flounce there, which strongly suggests that driving out this particular stoat is well within reach over here.

  48. #48 dean
    June 14, 2015

    “ID doesn’t use science and doesn’t do anything because it has no idea how an unknown and supposedly unknowable designer designs”

    Even before that, as the creationists here demonstrate, they haven’t been able to show that any of the explanations scientists currently have are wrong. There is a lot of “That can’t be correct because…” but what follows is simply personal incredulity and a constant refusal to read the articles they object to.
    If they can’t explain why what they don’t belive must be wrong they can’t have any idea how to develop a replacement explanation.

  49. #49 See Noevo
    June 14, 2015

    To sean samis #45:

    “Impossibility is a reality, but it’s also a positive assertion. Accepting the impossibility of something requires more than unreliable common sense. Uncertainty about explanations does not render them “impossible”.”

    You say impossibility is a reality.
    But one struggles to even imagine what you consider impossible.

    You consider it NOT impossible that evolution advances by losing (i.e. the DNA replication errors Phil’s been talking about)… if given enough time.

    You consider it NOT impossible that a laptop computer could self-assemble… if given enough time.

    You consider it NOT impossible that DNA, orders of magnitude more complex AND INSTRUCTION-rich than any laptop or the software it runs on, could self-assemble… if given enough time.

    One struggles for the right metaphor… for your mind.

  50. #50 Michael Fugate
    June 14, 2015

    @#48
    It is like the Russians against Mendel and Darwin in the 1920s – if you get rid of genetics and selection, you get rid of science in the bargain and replace science with ideology. Ideology doesn’t cure disease and grow crops – science does. These guys are still fighting the enlightenment 200 years on. Notice how they are already peeing their pants over the Pope’s upcoming commentary on climate change and it hasn’t even been issued. They using tactics that discredit everything they stand for.

  51. #51 Narad
    June 14, 2015

    Sorry, but…

    You consider it NOT impossible that DNA, orders of magnitude more complex AND INSTRUCTION-rich than any laptop or the software it runs on

    Despite your repeating the statement, (1) it is trivially false, and you haven’t even reached a point where the assertion would be anything but completely ignorant babbling that you’ve clumsily attempted to recycle; (2) you don’t know what “order of magnitude” means.

  52. #52 GregH
    June 15, 2015

    SN: We’ll have no problems with the climate, of course, but rather we have a lot to worry about regarding the devastating tsunami of government regulation and taxation with which we’ll be “saved.”

    So you disregard climate science because of your religious faith, but in case that isn’t enough, faith in simple-minded libertarianism will save the day. Kind of a belt-and-suspenders approach to ignoring reality.

  53. #53 eric
    June 15, 2015

    We don’t have to guess at how fundamentalists would teach biology given a free hand; they already produce textbooks for private schools and homeschooled children. We can just look at how they teach it. It does not look ANYTHING like See Noevo’s @36 “a lot more we don’t know’s.” Here are some choice quotes, starting with probably the most famous:
    “Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc.” Of Pandas and People, from the DI’s own press.
    “The Bible clearly describes God’s work in creating the universe out of nothing, or ex nihilo. Although there were no human beings watching as God created, the account He gave in Genesis is accurate.” Biology for Christian Schools, Bob Jones University Press.
    “The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second.” Ibid.
    “You may even find a ‘scientific’ explanation of the biblical locust (grasshopper) plague in Egypt…If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, n o matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.” Ibid.
    “Christians must disregard those guesses and beliefs that contradict the Bible.” Ibid.
    “Since the God who created everything that scientists study is the same god who gave the bible, primary allegiance in scientific study should be to the unfaltering standard of God’s Word” Ibid.
    “…many vital facts about the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the ultimate destiny of the cosmos cannot be discovered through science alone. To answer these questions, one needs the Book of boos, the bible, which contains information one cannot get from the study of nature.”Biology: God’s Living Creation, A Beka Books.
    “The facts about the manner and order of Creation that God has chosen to reveal to us in the Bible are all that we (including the scientist) can know with certainty about the beginning.” Ibid.
    “The Scriptures give us the truth about God and about man’s relationship to God and also provide us with a true account of the origin of all things.” Ibid.
    “The Bible is completely true and accurate when it speaks of scientific matters.” Biology: God’s Living Creation, the Teacher’s Guide, A Beka Books.
    “Biology, God’s Living Creation is written from the Christian perspective…It gives him [the student] an infallible source of truth – the Bible – with which to compare its observations.” Ibid.
    This is what it means to teach creationism and ID, and we know this, because this is what creationists and IDers ACTUALLY teach when they are given the freedom to do so. If it bears no resemblance to Chaffee’s, Klinghoffer’s, or See Noevo (@36)’s claims about what creationists would teach at all, well, we must conclude they are completely naïve about how creationists really act when they get in control of a science curricula, wildly misinformed by their own allies, or lying. Lest I be accused of impugning a regular poster, I will say that I don’t think SN is in the third category.

  54. #54 eric
    June 15, 2015

    I should add that I transcribed those quotes, so any errors should be assumed to be mine and not in the original text (though in hindsight I’d like to take credit for “Book of boos”, it was not intentional…”

  55. #55 Michael Fugate
    June 15, 2015

    Here is Meyer at the end of Chapter 19 “The Rules of Science” in Darwin’s Doubt :

    By now it should be clear why so many brilliant scientists have missed the evidence of design in the Cambrian explosion. Scott Todd, a biologist writing in Nature, succintly stated the reason: “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.” When scientists decide by fiat that intelligent design lies beyond the bounds of science, their decision will prevent them from considering this possibly or probably true explanation for the origin of animal form. But it will also deprive them of a new perspective that can generate new research questions and foster new avenues of discovery. Knowing this helps solve the final mystery of this book, but it also suggests a more productive way forward to address mysteries unsolved. Scientists committed to methodological naturalism have nothing to lose but their chains – fetters that bind them to a creaky exhausted nineteenth century materialism. The future lies open before them, and us. As we in the intelligent design research community like to say, let’s break some rules and follow the evidence wherever it leads.

    The source of Scott Todd’s quote is a letter to the editor of Nature. Todd was a professor at Kansas State during the controversy over evolution in Kansas schools.
    Nature 401, 423 (30 September 1999) | doi:10.1038/46661
    “A view from Kansas on that evolution debate”

    Todd left Kansas State soon after this letter was written to join Compassion International a Christian Organization devoted to eradicating poverty and, of course, turning poor people into Christians. What is interesting is how muddled the letter is about science – confusing statements on empirical versus observational? claiming evidence is excluded a priori? No wonder he left academia.

    Then again, we have yet to see any new research questions generated from “Darwin’s Black Box”, “Signature in the Cell”, or “Darwin’s Doubt” – so I don’t think the “unfettered” view is helping. When your explanation is “God did it”, you really haven’t solved any mystery, just created an even bigger one.

  56. #56 Michael Fugate
    June 15, 2015

    Thinking about it some more – that Meyer used that quote is so telling – it is taken out of context and used throughout the vast creationist quote-mine machine. It is incredibly obscure and not from the peer-reviewed literature (although that it is from Nature makes it appear so). Meyer would have known that Todd is a committed Christian and Todd’s letter is very sympathetic to theism. Meyer uses it quite dishonestly to equate evolution with atheism. Truly dismal scholarship.

  57. #57 eric
    June 15, 2015

    @56: the Meyer quote is telling in another way: as a benefactor of a fundamentalist venture capitalist (Ahmanson gives millions to the DI every year), he doesn’t need anyone’s approval to test ID hypotheses. He could just go ahead and do it and report the results. But with $millions/year for almost 20 years flowing through the intelligent design movement, the people with this “new perspective” and who can work these “new avenues of discovery” have discovered nothing.

    They keep insisting that if we only did X, science would be a lot more successful. The problem is, they do X and their science isn’t successful; it hasn’t been for 20 years. So why should we believe that line any more?

  58. #58 sean samis
    June 15, 2015

    But one struggles to even imagine what you consider impossible.

    Nothing for which the claim is not completely justified.

    “Possible” does not mean “happens” or “exists”; it means “might happen” or “might exist”. There’s a lot of stuff going on which we don’t know about or don’t understand; our ignorance cannot prove something’s impossible. There’s enough stuff intelligent persons have written off as “impossible” which turned out to be, that we all should know better.

    We should never declare things “impossible” unless we know FOR SURE they are. And even then we should brace ourselves for surprises. Not everyone understands this; not everyone is willing to accept it.

    sean s.

  59. #59 Michael Fugate
    June 15, 2015

    @57: It is also true that intelligent design is creaky exhausted 18th century theism. It was dying before Darwin and was only still clinging to life for lack of a viable mechanism.

    I agree if any creationist or intelligent design outfit wanted to do science – no one is stopping them. They only have themselves to blame for zero output. They want everyone to accept their “conclusion” and then do the work to confirm it – exactly backward.

  60. #60 See Noevo
    June 15, 2015

    To sean samis #58:

    “Possible” does not mean “happens” or “exists”; it means “might happen” or “might exist”. There’s a lot of stuff going on which we don’t know about or don’t understand; our ignorance cannot prove something’s impossible… We should never declare things “impossible” unless we know FOR SURE they are.”

    So then, you would say BOTH of the following are possible:

    1) A God not only exists, but He is all-loving and all-just.
    2) This God created all things about 6,000 years ago.

    Certainly, you’re saying both are possible. Because otherwise you’d be saying

    A) You and the scientists are infallible in judging what is ultimately loving and just, despite your admissions (i.e. “There’s a lot of stuff going on which we don’t know about or don’t understand; our ignorance cannot prove something’s impossible…”).

    B) You and the scientists are infallible in your interpretations of empirical data AND that your judgment of the accuracy and validity of the assumptions and mechanics of dating technologies is likewise infallible.

    Certainly, you’re saying both 1) and 2) are possible.

  61. #61 dean
    June 15, 2015

    The problem, sn, is that there is no effing evidence that either of your choices is true. You have a book that has been rewritten over the last 2000 years to fit the whims of the folks in charge, but there is no
    – geological evidence for the events there
    – historical evidence for the book’s hero
    – no external evidence of any kind (yes, we’ve read all your frothing at the mouth lies about it, but you haven’t produced anything)

    It has contradictory stories for the sequence of creation.

    The world around us, on the other hand, provides abundant evidence of the scientific explanations we have.

    Given the stark real difference in evidence, sane people go with the science.

  62. #62 See Noevo
    June 15, 2015

    To dean #61:

    “The problem, sn, is that there is no effing evidence that either of your choices is true.”

    I disagree, of course, with that statement, as well as with the ones that followed it.

    HOWEVER, EVEN IF what you say were true, ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE IS NOT EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE.

    So, certainly, you’re saying that both 1) and 2) are POSSIBLE.

  63. #63 Phil
    June 15, 2015

    “So you disregard climate science because of your religious faith, but in case that isn’t enough, faith in simple-minded libertarianism will save the day.”

    Disregarding “climate science” sort of depends on what the particular issue is. For all the squealing and hysterics, you don’t really hear much in the way of proposed paths forward. They might just as well lay it all out and zero in on who they want to tax, and who they have in mind to freeze or starve to death. And they should probably be up front about the fact that India, China, Russia, all of Africa and all of South America are going to cooperate at all. It will just be the US and a few European suckers.

  64. #64 dean
    June 15, 2015

    It is as possible as the Easter bunny actually existing. But any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students the Easter bunny was real would be removed. The same should happen to any loser who tries to reach the stupidity of id/creationism.

  65. #65 Phil B
    London
    June 15, 2015

    I don’t really think that SN is a poe, but does anyone else think that maybe we should be considering this possibility?

  66. #66 Phil
    June 15, 2015

    “But any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students the Easter bunny was real would be removed.”

    It happens all the time. They just call it natural selection now.

  67. #67 dean
    June 15, 2015

    I have. I decided against it simply due to perserverence on sn’s part, but that may not be the best marker to use.

  68. #68 Narad
    June 15, 2015

    I don’t really think that SN is a poe, but does anyone else think that maybe we should be considering this possibility?

    Heh.

  69. #69 See Noevo
    June 15, 2015

    To dean #64:

    “It is as possible as the Easter bunny actually existing. But any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students the Easter bunny was real would be removed.”

    How about any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students that a laptop computer with operable software (see #4) might possibly NOT be manufactured but rather might have assembled itself… if given enough time?

    Now, dean, be honest. I know it’s hard for you, but it might not be impossible.
    Try to be honest.
    How about that teacher being removed?

  70. #70 Another Matt
    June 15, 2015

    HOWEVER, EVEN IF what you say were true, ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE IS NOT EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE.

    So, certainly, you’re saying that both 1) and 2) are POSSIBLE.

    I have hesitated to jump in, but this is a useful point to address in general. “Possible” has at least two different senses, and it’s good to say which you mean. The first sense is epistemic, “possible for all we know.” Something that is possible in this sense now may eventually turn out to be impossible for reasons we don’t know. This is especially applicable to empirical claims, but it even comes into play in purely deductive fields. It’s possible (in this sense) that P=NP, and we won’t know until there’s a proof one way or the other, at which point speaking of possibility is nonsensical.

    The second sense is a physical or metaphysical possibility, something like “really, actually possible in the world,” which doesn’t depend on our knowledge or lack thereof. And like many things, from an epistemic standpoint, this kind of possibility is only ever confirmed (that is, once it manifests). Prior to the 20th century nobody knew whether or not it was actually possible to split the atom – it was possible-for-all-we-knew, and research seemed reasonable, but we could only say that it was possible in this second sense once it was actually demonstrated.

    Cold fusion is possible in the first sense, but nobody knows if it’s possible in the second sense. Something that violates a conservation law is just barely possible in the first sense, but most likely not in the second (we can always hold out hope that a discovery will be made, but nobody thinks one actually will).

    If you asked me, I would say that it’s possible that the events of the Bible are historical only in the first sense of “possible.” What about the second sense? I don’t know, just as I don’t know whether or not it’s possible for dragons to fly, or if it’s possible they even existed.

    Addendum: modal logic of the type employed by Plantinga et al. equivocates over these two senses of “possible.” So when he says e.g. that it’s clearly possible for God to exist in this world, it’s actually only a statement about the epistemic sense (and it is true in that sense). But then his later inferences treat it as though it’s a statement about actual metaphysical possibility, which is totally unwarranted because God has not been confirmed; nobody knows whether or not God is actually possible in this world. It’s a logic error similar to mistaking counterfactuals for proper conditionals.

  71. #71 Phil
    June 15, 2015

    “So when he says e.g. that it’s clearly possible for God to exist in this world, it’s actually only a statement about the epistemic sense (and it is true in that sense). But then his later inferences treat it as though it’s a statement about actual metaphysical possibility, which is totally unwarranted because God has not been confirmed; nobody knows whether or not God is actually possible in this world. It’s a logic error similar to mistaking counterfactuals for proper conditionals.”

    It’s a logic error to miss the easy fact that God verified His existence in forecasting history. The dots are not hard to connect unless your preoccupied with trying to prove your common ancestry with C elegans and bananas. I have to suppose that there is some kind of momentary comfort in obliviousness.

  72. #72 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To Another Matt #70:

    “I have hesitated to jump in, but…”

    You should have hesitated a while longer.
    And then kept hesitating.

  73. #73 Kel
    June 16, 2015

    I think the DI has settled on a nice strategy of plausible deniability. They don’t have to advocate the teaching of ID, nor much else, because there are plenty of full-blown creationists who will take up that fight. The DI can simply position itself as a benign alternative to atheistic evolution and the culture wars automatically place it as a viable alternative.

    There’s no need for a push into schools (anymore) and there’s no need to even address the basic concerns that the scientific establishment have about ID. ID wins by virtue of making room for God in a culture where belief in God is more important than having a reasoned view about things. This last point was hammered home to me by a pro-ID proponent whose entire argument was pointing as Jerry Fodor’s criticisms of current evolutionary theory. ID wins because natural evolution cannot do the job – or so the argument keeps going. No mechanism or testable hypothesis necessary.

  74. #74 Narad
    June 16, 2015

    You should have hesitated a while longer.
    And then kept hesitating.

    Perhaps you could address something specific. You’ve thrice* pounded your “INSTRUCTION-rich” shoe on the table yet also ignored the introductory material that I provided.

    Now, when Another Matt offhandedly mentioned – among other things – the directly related concept of whether P = NP, your “response,” as it were, was to tell him to just shut up.

    This is something that you put on the table, although you assuredly did not realize it. However, if all that you can muster in such situations is raw petulance, it seems entirely reasonable to ask what exactly you think is “going on” in the first place.

    * Nos. 4, 36, and 49.

  75. #75 dean
    June 16, 2015

    Yes sn, the person who said that about the computer would be removed. Nobody has said differently despite your lies to the contrary.

    I see phil is still lying about god forecasting the future. That man is dangerously dishonest .

  76. #76 JGC
    June 16, 2015

    A God not only exists, but He is all-loving and all-just.

    Sorry, but we know this one to be impossible: if god does exist,the problem of theodicy demonstrates it cannot be all-loving or all just.

    2) This God created all things about 6,000 years ago.

    Sorry, but this is also impossible due to the very large body of evidence demonstrating the universe is much older than 6000 years.

  77. #77 sean samis
    June 16, 2015

    Regarding @60:

    Certainly, you’re saying both 1) and 2) are possible.

    Given the following:

    1) A God not only exists, but He is all-loving and all-just.
    2) This God created all things about 6,000 years ago.
    3) No gods exist at all.
    4) Nothing in the universe was created by any god.

    Then 1) and 2) are possible no more than 3) and 4) are possible. All four are possible.

    We can say that 1) and 3) are mutually exclusive; they cannot both be TRUE; but until we have conclusive evidence, both are POSSIBLE. (Likewise for 2) and 4).)

    I have written elsewhere on the Problem of Theodicy. It provides strong evidence against 1), but it’s less than conclusive, imho.

    Regarding @62

    HOWEVER, EVEN IF what you say were true, ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE IS NOT EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE.

    Absence of Evidence IS most certainly Evidence of Absence. However; ABSENCE OF PROOF IS NOT PROOF OF ABSENCE. (Proof being a set of conclusive evidence establishing the truth of a claim).

    Better: Absence of Evidence is not Proof of Absence. Lack of evidence can incline a reasonable mind to doubt a claim, but it’s not enough to incline a reasonable mind to regard the claim as impossible.

    Another Matt wrote @70

    “Possible” has at least two different senses, and it’s good to say which you mean. The first sense is epistemic, “possible for all we know.” Something that is possible in this sense now may eventually turn out to be impossible for reasons we don’t know.

    This is a valid point, so let me be clear. I mean ‘possible’ in the sense “possible for all we know”. Anything not proven to be impossible may be possible, no matter how remote the probability. Certainly things can be so remotely possible that it’s practical to disregard them; but nature is full of little surprises.

    If you asked me, I would say that it’s possible that the events of the Bible are historical only in the first sense of “possible.”

    I agree.

    sean s.

  78. #78 Michael Fugate
    June 16, 2015

    Claiming that God did something is equivalent to saying I don’t know and not only that I neither want to know nor do I want anyone else to know. The Bible that our local creationists revere makes it clear that God is unknown and unknowable. To say “God is love” is to say I don’t know what love is. To say “God created” is to say I don’t know what creation is. ID is a retreat into ignorance.

  79. #79 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To dean #75:

    Me: “How about any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students that a laptop computer with operable software (see #4) might possibly NOT be manufactured but rather might have assembled itself… if given enough time? … How about that teacher being removed?”

    You: “Yes sn, the person who said that about the computer would be removed. Nobody has said differently despite your lies to the contrary.”

    Good! Me, too.

    Now, how about any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students that DNA, which is far, far more advanced than any software ever created, might possibly NOT be manufactured but rather might have assembled itself… if given enough time?

    How about THAT teacher being removed, even if his name was Bill Gates?
    http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/336336-dna-is-like-a-computer-program-but-far-far-more

  80. #80 dean
    June 16, 2015

    Sounds like the teacher is teaching science as it is understood by normal people. He would stay – probably to the dismay of people like you who dismiss any bit of scientific progress that came after the second century.

    It also sounds like you are still fishing for any way to dishonestly support your foolish religion.

  81. #81 Narad
    June 16, 2015

    Now, how about any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students that DNA, which is far, far more advanced than any software ever created

    As I’ve already pointed out, this statement is not just false, it’s literally meaningless.

  82. #82 sean samis
    June 16, 2015

    This whole thing about removing teachers is getting silly.

    It began at #64 with “But any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students the Easter bunny was real would be removed. The same should happen to any loser who tries to reach the stupidity of id/creationism.”

    And that was predictably twisted in #69: “How about any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students that a laptop computer with operable software (see #4) might possibly NOT be manufactured but rather might have assembled itself… if given enough time? … How about that teacher being removed?”

    Teaching creationism (ID is creationism) in public schools is very different from merely saying that a “laptop computer with operable software … might possibly NOT be manufactured”. The latter statement is true, even if only barely so. For a similar example: physics says that it’s possible to put a tea kettle on a hot stove in an ordinary home and yet its water freezes instead of boils. It’s so improbable that we should expect never to see this in the entire future of the universe, but it is possible. Similarly, this is true for that magical laptop; it’s possible, but I’d happily bet the farm against it ever being confirmed in the whole of the universe.

    Most of this confusion arises because some confuse ‘possible’ with ‘probable’.

    #75: “Yes sn, the person who said that about the computer would be removed.”

    Sorry, but no. Merely saying this thing about the computer is not grounds for removal. If a teacher said such a thing, I’d certainly want them to explain what they were talking about. But first I’d let them explain themselves.

    #79: “Now, how about any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students that DNA, which is far, far more advanced than any software ever created, might possibly NOT be manufactured but rather might have assembled itself … if given enough time?

    Well now we’ve gone from ‘complex’ to ‘advanced’; these are not the same things.

    The DNA we currently can observe probably is (almost certainly is) the product of natural processes.

    Bill Gates and others who deal with software can honestly tell the class that humans have been creating software by the analogous evolutionary process for many years, if not decades. We allow software to “evolve” by random mutation, and get from this process some of the most advanced and mind-boggling software we have: by random mutations. If DNA is compared to software, it should be compared to this “evolved” software; except DNA has not evolved over just years or decades, but millions of millennia. That’s more than “enough time”.

    sean s.

  83. #83 JGC
    June 16, 2015

    See, can you provide a precise definition for the term ‘advanced’ as you’re using it in your computer/DNA…well, for want of a better word, argument?

  84. #84 Michael Fugate
    June 16, 2015

    If one can’t operationally define one’s variables, then one’s hypotheses are useless. Variables like information, complexity, advancement, etc. are just word salad in the hands of anti-evolution campaigners. Kel mentioned plausible deniability – this is the method of “science” employed by ID proponents. Define one’s variables so vaguely that when someone else tests your hypothesis, one can always claim that’s not how its true definition.

  85. #85 JGC
    June 16, 2015

    Scientists committed to methodological naturalism have nothing to lose but their chains – fetters that bind them to a creaky exhausted nineteenth century materialism.

    They’ve a lot more to lose than the author suggests. The problem with electing to “lose your chains” by abandoning methodologic naturalism is that it’s only by embracing it–by excluding supernatural entities or forces when deriving explanatory models for phenomena observed to occur in nature–that they become falsifiable.

    In other words, it’s only by embracing methodological naturalism that science becomes able to distinguish between good explanations and a bad ones.

  86. #86 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To multiple addressees:

    To dean #80:
    Me: “Now, how about any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students that DNA, which is far, far more advanced than any software ever created, might possibly NOT be manufactured but rather might have assembled itself… if given enough time? How about THAT teacher being removed?”

    You: “Sounds like the teacher is teaching science as it is understood by normal people. He would stay – probably to the dismay of people like you…”

    Not probably. DEFINITELY to the dismay of people like me.
    ……………

    To sean samis #80:

    “…saying that a “laptop computer with operable software … might possibly NOT be manufactured”. The latter statement is true, even if only barely so… Most of this confusion arises because some confuse ‘possible’ with ‘probable’…
    The DNA we currently can observe probably is (almost certainly is) the product of natural processes.”

    So, sean samis believes
    1) A laptop computer with operable software COULD naturally self-assemble, although it’s not probable.
    2) DNA, which is far, far more advanced than any software ever created, not only COULD naturally self-assemble, but it’s HIGHLY PROBABLE/ALMOST CERTAIN that it did.

    Wow.

    “Bill Gates and others who deal with software can honestly tell the class that humans have been creating software by the analogous evolutionary process for many years, if not decades. We allow software to “evolve” by random mutation, and get from this process some of the most advanced and mind-boggling software we have: by random mutations. If DNA is compared to software, it should be compared to this “evolved” software; except DNA has not evolved over just years or decades, but millions of millennia. That’s more than “enough time”.”

    Well, some high school biology teacher named Bill Gates might tell his class that. But I don’t think Microsoft’s Bill Gates would.

  87. #87 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To JGC #83:

    “See, can you provide a precise definition for the term ‘advanced’ as you’re using it in your computer/DNA…well, for want of a better word, argument?”

    Ask Microsoft’s Bill Gates. I was using HIS term. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/336336-dna-is-like-a-computer-program-but-far-far-more

    I’m just guessing, but by “advanced”, Gates PROBABLY meant not just more complex but
    MORE INSTRUCTION-RICH.

    And if you think about it, “instruction” is far, far more than mere complexity, and far more than mere information.

  88. #88 sean samis
    June 16, 2015

    Regarding

    Scientists committed to methodological naturalism have nothing to lose but their chains – fetters that bind them to a creaky exhausted nineteenth century materialism.

    I would never trade the “fetters of materialism” for the chains and blinders of superstition.

    sean s.

  89. #89 Michael Fugate
    June 16, 2015

    I’m just guessing…

    Pretty much sums up everything you’ve ever said.

  90. #90 sean samis
    June 16, 2015

    Regarding #86, I’ve clearly exceeded the bounds of SN’s comprehension.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VrFV5r8cs0

    sean s.

  91. #91 JGC
    June 16, 2015

    Ask Microsoft’s Bill Gates. I was using HIS term. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/336336-dna-is-like-a-computer-program-but-far-far-more

    So you’re offering an argument against biolgoical evolution that’sbased on a term you don’t understand–that’s what you’re telling me now?

    Why am I not surprised?

    I’m just guessing, but by “advanced”, Gates PROBABLY meant not just more complex but
    MORE INSTRUCTION-RICH.

    Define “instruction-rich” as you’re using it, then, and identify a common method which allows one to quantify the instruction ‘density’ in software programs and DNA molecules.

  92. #92 Narad
    June 16, 2015

    Ask Microsoft’s Bill Gates. I was using HIS term.

    Bill Gates is now an expert in complexity theory? Cripes, I didn’t finish my computer science Ph.D., but this is undergraduate-level stuff.

    I’m just guessing, but by “advanced”, Gates PROBABLY meant not just more complex but
    MORE INSTRUCTION-RICH.

    DNA has 64 codons, which only code for 20 amino acids. This has already been stated. You don’t even know whether you’re “talking about” an architecture or a programming language.

    And if you think about it, “instruction” is far, far more than mere complexity, and far more than mere information.

    No, this is meaningless word salad.

  93. #93 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    To JGC #91:

    “Define “instruction-rich” as you’re using it, then, and identify a common method which allows one to quantify the instruction ‘density’ in software programs and DNA molecules.”

    I would define “instruction-rich” as being rich in instruction, obviously.
    But the key is what is “instruction”? (In fact, “instruction” is similar TO a “key”!)

    In discussions of DNA or other biological system “complexity”, I always prefer to use the term “instruction” instead of “information.” It tells you so much more and is so much more precise.
    [Just as I prefer to use the term “pro-abortion” instead of “pro-choice”, even if an observant Jew such as yourself espouses and tries to use the latter.]

    Merriam-Webster’s definition of “instruction” is not wrong, but it’s inadequate, or at least it fails to highlight the necessary complexity of the term. Perhaps this is because the complexity is so obvious it goes without saying. But I’ll say it:

    An instruction requires:
    1) A first party which DESIRES the achievement of a certain GOAL,
    2) A first party which also DEVELOPS the STEPS needed TO ACHIEVE that goal,
    3) Other parties, almost invariably, who are needed to PERFORM the steps to achieve the goal,
    4) A LANGUAGE with which the first party can COMMUNICATE the steps to the other parties,
    5) An effective MEANS OF ISSUING the communication (Analogously, it does you no good to have a good idea in your head unless you have a means of getting the idea out, such as with vocalization or writing or gestures.),
    6) A FACILITY with which the other parties can both RECEIVE AND UNDERSTAND the language of the communication from the first party (e.g. The SENSES of hearing or sight AND an adequate EDUCATION received earlier in understanding the language or, alternatively, a TRANSLATOR of the first party’s language into the other parties’ language.)
    7) An assumption on the part of the first party that the communicated and received steps will be DOABLE and will be ACTED UPON by the other parties.

    Perhaps I could add some other things, but you get the idea: “instruction” is more complex than it might initially appear.

    I won’t give you “a common method which allows one to quantify the instruction ‘density’ in software programs and DNA molecules.” That could take more time than I have and more space than this website has.
    [Oh boy. Here it comes. Release the hounds! Come on, boys/girls/its! It’s all of us against See Noevo! Dismiss him for failing to answer the question. Even better, take a bite out of him!]

    But I’ll give you an analogy:
    Information: “The sky is clear today.”
    Instruction: “IF the sky is clear today, then proceed in sequential order with launch procedures #1 through #2316.” [As might be communicated by mission control to the astronauts at Cape Canaveral.]

  94. #94 sean samis
    June 16, 2015

    chuckle. really.

    #93 is a demonstration of the blinding power of a misapplied metaphor. This is pure, mule-headed obstinance; willful stupidity; nothing more.

    sean s.

  95. #95 JGC
    June 16, 2015

    I see your problem, See: you’re trying to apply a definition for ‘instruction’ that isn’t operative in either biological systems in general or the biological mechanisms of inheritance in particular, since your definition pre-supposes multiple features not found in such system: an intelligent and aware ‘party’, which exhibits desire, possess intent, acts to acheive a preferred and predetermined goal.

    I think I’ve said this before, but if you want to criticize evolutionary models you’re really going to have to stick to addressing what they state and predict, the actual mechanisms by which they operate, etc.

    blockquote>Perhaps I could add some other things, but you get the idea:

    Yeah, I get the idea: you’re trying to define for ‘information’ in such a manner that it would require an intelligent entity to create it, regardless of whether or not such a definition is appropriate to biological systems. Didn’t work for Dembski, isn’t working here.

    I won’t give you “a common method which allows one to quantify the instruction ‘density’ in software programs and DNA molecules.” That could take more time than I have and more space than this website has.

    <Got nothing, huh? Why am I not surprised.

  96. #96 Michael Fugate
    June 16, 2015

    Who knew that “information-rich” means “rich in information”?

  97. #97 Phil
    June 16, 2015

    JGC,

    “you’re trying to apply a definition for ‘instruction’ that isn’t operative in either biological systems in general or the biological mechanisms of inheritance in particular, since your definition pre-supposes multiple features not found in such system: an intelligent and aware ‘party’, which exhibits desire, possess intent, acts to acheive a preferred and predetermined goal”

    Replication enzymes are such a party. They function with specific intent, and act to accomplish a goal. This holds true for everything in biological systems because everything is highly regulated. Every cell, with notable exceptions, contains the entire DNA definition. Deliberate instructions are involved in the process of gene expression that differentiates between cell types.

  98. #98 dean
    June 16, 2015

    “Not probably. DEFINITELY to the dismay of people like me.”
    Yes, you’ve made it very clear you are against people actually obtaining an education in science.

    It is amazing: just when you think these creationists can’t show themselves to be any more idiotic, things like 93 and 97 happen.

  99. #99 Michael Fugate
    June 16, 2015

    @97 -The reason rocks fall off mountains is to get to the bottom. Is it deliberate? are they getting instructions from an intelligent source? Gravity or God’s hand – you decide. People usually get it right when they make their predictions after the event.

  100. #100 Narad
    June 16, 2015

    Merriam-Webster’s definition of “instruction”

    You lose.

    Now, instead of hammering home the point that you’re simply issuing proclamations to the external world* based on some internal concept-soup that has no mapping whatever to the very subject that you’re under the strange impression somehow helps you out, let’s cut to the chase.

    1. Demonstrate that a Turing-complete calculation that DNA performs.

    2. If you succeed in that task, explain what it would have to do anyway with the price of tea in China.

    * A necessary ontological entity in your case.

  101. #101 Narad
    June 16, 2015

    ^ “1. Demonstrate that a”

  102. #102 Narad
    June 16, 2015

    In fact, “instruction” is similar TO a “key”!

    *blink*

  103. #103 Phil
    June 16, 2015

    Michael Fugate,

    “The reason rocks fall off mountains is to get to the bottom. Is it deliberate?”

    Well no, but that doesn’t quite approximate what happens when errors are detected, removed and replaced, unless you know of some rocks that climb back up the mountain because their job is to roll down again.

    You can read about it here: http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/D/DNArepair.html

    If you really bear down on stuff like this, you might get close enough to the mutations goddess to notice that she ain’t really that cute, or normal. More like Ruth Bader Ginsberg. And if you read things like this:

    “The recent publication of the human genome has already revealed 130 genes whose products participate in DNA repair. More will probably be identified soon”,

    you might even start wondering how DNA replication errors and natural selection put all that together. Imagine that…you a free thinker, a real contender, actually asking lucid questions just like people who weren’t taught how not to at a university!

    But probably not, because that would be science, and you’re a materialist.

  104. #104 Phil
    June 16, 2015

    I beg your pardon…Ginsburg.

  105. #105 dean
    June 16, 2015

    “you might even start wondering how DNA replication errors and natural selection put all that together. Imagine that…you a free thinker, a real contender, actually asking lucid questions just like people who weren’t taught how not to at a university!
    But probably not, because that would be science, and you’re a materialist.”

    That is right up there with the most asinine things you’ve said. You are an infinite source of stupid.

  106. #106 See Noevo
    June 16, 2015

    Here’s what might be a fun exercise to keep you busy while I go get some dinner.

    Count the “instructions” in this thing that the very first plants developed, I mean evolved, in their very first day on earth:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis

    I’m hungry!

  107. #107 Michael Fugate
    June 16, 2015

    Here’s how you teach ID.
    1) declare everything designed by God
    2) given 1, everything must have a purpose
    3) find purpose – anything will do.
    4) done

    In my rock example, rocks are designed for 1) making pebbles and sand or 2) for rolling down hills. 2) is why rocks are heavier than air – otherwise their purpose would be to float. One could go all “humans are the reason” and claim rocks are designed for making roads, walls and houses.

    It’s easy. Give it a try. No PhD required.

  108. #108 JGC
    June 16, 2015

    They function with specific intent, and act to accomplish a goal.

    Nonsense, Phil. Replication enzymes exhibit no intent, and no more act to achieve a goal, than erosion operates with intent to achieve a goal such as creating geologic features like Arizona’s Grand Canyon, or tectonic uplift and subduction exhibits intent to achieve the goal of creating features like Mt Everest.

  109. #109 Phil
    June 16, 2015

    Enzymes Michael, not rocks. Think about replication enzymes, and the ‘natural’ processes that produced them, and ordered the sequence in which they perform their specific, super-complex roles. You shouldn’t have to punk around with rock analogies. You can grind into the published works of “millions of scientists”. Of course, they might have mastered the same pimp-and-distract methods that you use, so you might not find actual answers.

    ===

    JGC,

    You have no idea what you’re talking about. Read the article I posted above. You are not arguing with me. You are up against heavily researched science. Get familiar with some of it. Enzymes detecting and excising errors, and replacing incorrect sequences is not a chemical reaction, and doesn’t have jack shit to do with the Grand Canyon.

  110. #110 Phil
    June 16, 2015

    I guess, for the sake of expediency, I should correct “not a chemical reaction” to read “not just a chemical reaction” since this is exactly the kind of thing that Michael’s self-deceit method uses.

  111. #111 Michael Fugate
    June 16, 2015

    Think of those natural process that produced rocks!

    If you think enzymes have intent and purpose, then you are dumber than you look.

  112. #112 Michael Fugate
    June 16, 2015

    FYI Phil – I know your science literacy is very weak, but rocks are made of chemicals through chemical reactions.

  113. #113 Phil
    June 16, 2015

    “Think of those natural process that produced rocks!”

    Exactly, Michael. When they saw basalt, did they stop and fix it to be granite?

    “If you think enzymes have intent and purpose…”

    I do, because the scientists who research these enzymes use the word ‘repair’.

    This is pointless. Your atheism is driving you away from science. As I have pointed out many times, this is not about facts, or evidence, or data, or science. This is about ideological madness. Sleep well Mike.

  114. #114 Phil
    June 16, 2015

    “rocks are made of chemicals”

    Check. And so are enzymes. Good show.

  115. #115 Narad
    June 16, 2015

    Here’s what might be a fun exercise to keep you busy while I go get some dinner.

    You do not get to assign unrelated “exercises” (with a concomitant excuse, no less) to attempt to distract from your plain failure to defend the very hillock that you took it into your head to make a show of planting a flag on.

    Count the “instructions” in this thing that the very first plants developed

    Although the added autotrophic fail is a nice touch, especially because you’ve done it before.

    And run away.

    It is as plain as day to me, at least, that you have taken it into your head that, having sniffed what you imagine to be your “prey” – viz., a commentariat that (1) seems to contain members who apply the principle of charity in composing responses* and (2) has not already formed an opinion of you,** you simply figure that you might be able to get away with a do-over of your deplorable conduct at Orac’s.

    I’m pretty sure that I mentioned at some point there that I almost considered checking whether you could muster a coherent statement about RNA world (virus-first was waiting in the wings), but you fortunately elected to “let it all hang out” before I wasted any further effort attempting to see whether it was possible to distill a single drop of something that might contain a trace of some jaunty dimerish thing resembling Good Will and Sound Mind.

    How long until you resort to simply dropping Y—be videos?

    * The lack of clear misogynistic targets must be a disappointment.
    ** Likely ob pediculidas (no typo; good luck).

  116. #116 Another Matt
    June 17, 2015

    “Function” and “Purpose” are important concepts in biology for sure, but when scientists use them, they mean something different than they do in our everyday interaction with other human agents. Here’s a story:

    One day a mouse was being chased by a wild boar. The mouse happened upon a dead tree that had fallen across the river. It ran across the tree bridge just as the boar was catching up, and the boar was too big to run on the bridge, and gave up its chase.

    For the interests of the mouse, the tree functioned as a bridge. The mouse used it for the purpose of crossing the river. But the tree’s purpose is not to be a bridge, full stop, and it didn’t function as a bridge for the boar, because the boar lacked a capacity the mouse did. Nobody intended for the tree to be a bridge for the mouse.

    Here are some things that were not accidental:
    1) Something like a tree or other long solid piece of matter would be needed to make something that could function (that is, “be usable”) as a bridge. A banana wouldn’t suffice, for instance.

    2) In order for the mouse to escape across the tree, the size differential between the mouse and the boar would have to be sufficient enough to allow the mouse but not the boar to cross. The mouse might have been screwed had it been chased by a cat or a hawk.

    Here are some things that were accidental:
    1) The tree had fallen right at the spot where the mouse could put it to use.

    2) The tree was long enough to reach across the river.

    3) The tree was small enough to support the mouse but not the boar.

    The tree’s function as a bridge is only relative to the mouse’s interests and its ability to put it to use. Neither of those latter points is random or accidental; only the happenstance of the tree being in the right place at the right time was accidental, and it allowed the mouse to make use of it. This is all function and purpose in relation to the interests of the mouse, but we would not say that there was intent or purpose for the tree to behave like a bridge, nor was there any intent.

    The same situation applies to enzymes, with some differences. One obvious difference between the tree bridge and enzymes is that the tree bridge is external while enzymes are internal. Both arose from a combination of accidental and non-random facts about the world. The most important difference is that enzymes are part of a replication system, while the bridge is not,* so the bridge has no chance of being fixed by selection in a way that will benefit the interests of future mice.

    One other point: the three accidents I listed in the tree scenario do actually generate information, because they serve to reveal or imply the two non-accidental facts I listed. Those two are only manifest due to the accidental circumstances. The same kind of thing happens when something like an enzyme gets fixed in a population: the enzyme’s function-with-respect-to-the-interests-of-the-organism (or “function” for short) embodies information both about the organism’s environment and its internal organization. Thus an enzyme crucial to the interests of a kumquat may not have function at all in an orangutan.

    *That is, until humans started designing bridges.

  117. #117 Another Matt
    June 17, 2015

    Re:

    To Another Matt #70:

    “I have hesitated to jump in, but…”

    You should have hesitated a while longer.
    And then kept hesitating.

    Nice witness, bro.

  118. #118 See Noevo
    June 17, 2015

    Take 2:
    To Michael Fugate:

    Rocks don’t act. Rocks are ACTED UPON, by gravity, water, wind, jackhammers, etc.

    The closest thing to an “instruction” for a rock (but it’s not an instruction) is to get smaller (e.g. erosion) or bigger (e.g. stalactite formation).

    How does a rock’s “activities” compare to this…

    “Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy, normally from the Sun, into chemical energy that can be later released to fuel the organisms’ activities…Photosynthetic organisms are photoautotrophs, which means that they are able to synthesize food directly from carbon dioxide and water using energy from light.” ??

    The above is from that wiki link I provided earlier.
    Hey, did you try the “instruction”-counting exercise for it? How many did you get?

    And sUn of a gun,
    here’s ANOTHER piece on photosynthesis, published just a couple weeks ago:
    “Photosystem I (PSI) is an extremely efficient solar energy converter, producing one electron for nearly every photon absorbed… The energy of the photons absorbed by the PSI pigments is transferred to chlorophylls in the reaction center, where charge separation occurs… maximizes light harvesting while minimizing the cost of protein synthesis;
    … helps to explain how the pigment-protein complex achieves its remarkable performance.”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6238/970.summary

    Apparently, the above addresses only one of the two “large pigment-protein complexes: photosystem I (PSI) and photosystem II (PSII).”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6238/989

    I think some people just have rocks in their heads.

  119. #119 Michael Fugate
    June 17, 2015

    Are all catalysts designed and do all act with intent and purpose or only enzymes? If only enzymes, then why not the others? If all, then why aren’t rocks designed? How does a theist draw the line?

    Another Matt – don’t get too subtle claiming things can both have and not have function or even can have different functions – Phil won’t be able to keep up (pre-enlightenment thought and all). I keep suggesting he might want to read Dennett’s “Intuition Pumps”, but I sure he thinks it might burn his hands or make him go blind.

  120. #120 JGC
    June 17, 2015

    Phil, I’ve made a living as a research biologist for more than 30 years. I believe it would be accurate to state I’ve forgotten more about enzymes in general and most likely restriction enzymes in particular than you ever bothered to learn googling frantically to craft some kind of hand waving argument to polish your turd of a preferred and predetermined conclusion.

    You’re talking nonsense, and I suspect you’re actually aware that is the case. Unless you truly believe individual molecules are self aware, that is.

  121. #121 JGC
    June 17, 2015

    Oh, and Phil? That suggestion that atheism may drive people away from science? I’d like to mention I’m not an atheist.

  122. #122 JGC
    June 17, 2015

    By your same argument enzymes don’t act, See, but instead are also acted upon by forces like hydrophobic interaction, hydrogen bonding, etc.

  123. #123 JGC
    June 17, 2015

    See, from that same Wiki link you offered and presumably accept as authoritative:

    The first photosynthetic organisms probably evolved early in the evolutionary history of life and most likely used reducing agents, such as hydrogen or hydrogen sulfide, as sources of electrons, rather than water.

  124. #124 Narad
    June 17, 2015

    I think some people just have rocks in their heads.

    You are the one who has elsewhere claimed to have solved the halting problem while nonetheless having to resort to G—ling dictionaries in order to try to back away from your aphorism-sourced pronouncements about “information theoretic” metrics.

  125. #125 eric
    June 17, 2015

    Phil @109:

    Enzymes detecting and excising errors, and replacing incorrect sequences is not [just] a chemical reaction

    Okay expert, what else is going on other than chemical reactions, and how do we test your hypothesis? Name an alteration in the DNA produced by one of these repair enzymes that is not the result of a chemical reaction.

  126. #126 Phil
    June 17, 2015

    eric,

    You can call it whatever you like. But if something incorrect is identified, removed and replaced with something correct, it is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring. That is an act of discrimination.

  127. #127 Krebiozen
    June 17, 2015

    It seems to me that See Noevo lacks the intellect to grasp natural selection and evolution, whereas Phil merely lacks the imagination.

    I think DNA repair mechanisms are one of the easiest artifacts to imagine developing through natural selection. They certainly don’t “function with specific intent, and act to accomplish a goal”, though after millions of years of evolution we can expect them to look as if they did..
    Enzymes merely have to improve the efficacy of an existing process enough to give their owner a reproductive edge. The power of an enzyme lies entirely in its shape, i.e. the structural configuration of the amino acids that form it, which is determined by its genome. That shape can vary almost infinitely, and some of those shapes will have effects on the processes going on around it.

    When you have a huge range of possible enzymes available to you that can accomplish the most astonishing things , and almost limitless time, what seem like the most peculiar things to us can occur, indeed must occur (though we can’t predict precisely which peculiar things).

    Digressing a little, I have been reading some Dennett (Darwin’s Problem) recently, and came across the idea of the genome library. This is a hypothetical library that contains every logically possible genome (within some limits on size and structure), and their expressed phenotypes. Each of us would be there somewhere, as would every living, dead or possible future creature based on DNA. The vast majority of genomes would not lead to a viable organism, and of those that did, the vast majority (I imagine) would not be biologically possible i.e. there is no logical sequence of changes that could have resulted in that organism through natural selection (intermediate forms have to be viable and reproduce). Sadly that library has no index or Dewey Decimal System, so we couldn’t simply look up ‘pterosaurus’ and find a suitable genome to plug into our DNA synthesizer in the basement.

    This is a bit like thinking of a statue as emerging from a sculptor’s block of marble, and fits with the term ‘evolution’ rather nicely, I think, since ‘evolution’ literally means ‘unfolding’. In a sense the statue/organism is there already, and the sculptor/natural selection simply has to remove the excess marble that obscures our view of it. The problem is, obviously, that there are a near infinite variety of sculptures hidden in that marble block, and without prior knowledge, no way of finding them beforehand that does not require intelligence. Natural selection doesn’t have that problem with our raw, untouched, genome blocks. It has an almost infinite number of then to play with, so that anything interesting that emerges can be put to one side to be worked on some more, and everything else discarded. It has no intelligence, it just randomly removes exposed pieces of marble (note parallel to contingency in natural selection – have to make do with available raw material i.e. mutations at hand).

    After some aeons our collection of interesting-looking sculptures would probably include some interesting specimens (maybe even a Mt Rushmore lookalike). Our spoil pile would be immense and, unlike the natural selection ‘spoil pile’ which is almost invisible, extremely conspicuous.

    I thought this an interesting way to think about natural selection and evolution, and wondered if it might get through to some whose rejection of evolution is due to an inability to understand rather than to religious ideologies.

  128. #128 Michael Fugate
    June 17, 2015

    In Meyer’s The Signature in the Cell, he published a list of “predictions” from ID. Most are silly and wouldn’t tell us anything even if tested, but the overarching theme is just my rock example – finding post-hoc functions to put into their designer’s mind.

    For instance they know that the information content of a string of DNA is the same whether it codes for a protein or not – that’s why they came up with “double secret information” aka CSI. Then they claim double secret information can’t arise without “active information” input. Things we know are possible, they still deem impossible. Recent work on Drosophila genomes show that a single point mutation leading to a “start” codon in a non-coding DNA region has led to new coding regions and new functional genes. In ID lingo, this creates double secret information, but that can’t happen. What’s an IDer to do? Here’s my prediction, he or she will simply claim that non-coding regions have many functions and one of them is an incubator for developing new genes. The designer put those regions there just for that purpose – wasn’t it so clever! ID wouldn’t predict this and will continue to deny it can happen until it is common knowledge – when they will simply say they predicted this all along. ID is completely reactive and will always remain so.

  129. #129 eric
    June 17, 2015

    Phil:

    But if something incorrect is identified, removed and replaced with something correct, it is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.

    That’s not an example, that’s just baldly reasserting the same original statement. What else is going on beyond organic chemistry? Is God miracling some change in bond structure that couldn’t occur naturally? Are conservation laws being broken? What is occurring beyond/other than chemical reactions?

  130. #130 Michael Fugate
    June 17, 2015

    With Phil the comedy never stops – even if it is unintentional on his part. Only in the bizarro world of Phil do enzymes understand the fitness implications of point mutations and act accordingly. In the world the rest of us inhabit, enzymes facilitate the chemical reactions without regard to needs or wants or anything teleological – they simply torque molecules that fit their active sites.

  131. #131 Verbose Stoic
    June 17, 2015

    That’s not an example, that’s just baldly reasserting the same original statement. What else is going on beyond organic chemistry? Is God miracling some change in bond structure that couldn’t occur naturally? Are conservation laws being broken? What is occurring beyond/other than chemical reactions?

    If it is ACTUALLY identifying errors, removing them, and replacing them with the correct thing, then it can’t be a chemical reaction because chemical reactions — at least, at the simple chemical reaction level — can’t identify errors and can’t understand concepts like “correct”. You’d need some kind of “mind” for that. What chemical reactions CAN do is react with incorrect things and that chemical reaction might then change the “incorrect” thing to the “correct” thing, but to say that the reactions actually do that is only a metaphor, not an actual description.

  132. #132 eric
    June 17, 2015

    to say that the reactions actually do that is only a metaphor, not an actual description.

    Phil seems to be taking it as more than a metaphor.

    And you’re right (IMO); some claims of ID proponents imply or require that DNA molecules have some kind of mind. The notion that only ‘bad’ genetic changes can be made is the big one: this would imply that the thing doing the mutating (be it a cosmic ray photon or enzyme) looks into the future, sees what sort of phenotypic impact the genetic change will produce, and mutates or not-mutates the strand based on what it sees. Without some feedback from future phenotype to present genotype, their claim seems prima facie impossible.

  133. #133 JGC
    June 17, 2015

    Same thing has been seen in bacteria, Michael. In flaobacterium K172 a single point insertion (a thymidine at position 99 of a sequence now specified as nyl b) caused a frame shift, creating a new open reading frame expressing a novel enzymatic protein with a unique property: it’s capable of digesting nylon oligomers.

    PMID: 6585807

  134. #134 Phil
    June 17, 2015

    JGC,

    “Unless you truly believe individual molecules are self aware”

    No, I don’t believe that, and haven’t insinuated that. All I did was point out how replication enzymes function, and there is obviously purpose involved.

    If you know a lot about enzymes, perhaps you explain the signals that initiate and carry out the replication process. Do forces like hydrophobic interaction and hydrogen bonding cause polymerase to recognize errors?

    ===

    Krebiozen,

    “I think DNA repair mechanisms are one of the easiest artifacts to imagine developing through natural selection.”

    Well, I have to concede that your imagination outperforms mine because, like all proteins, enzymes are synthesized. They don’t just form.

    But since you brought it up, how would natural selection be involved in the developmental process you imagine?

    “They certainly don’t “function with specific intent, and act to accomplish a goal”, though after millions of years of evolution we can expect them to look as if they did.”

    I see. So they don’t actually repair replication errors, they just appear to do that?

    “When you have a huge range of possible enzymes available to you that can accomplish the most astonishing things…”

    Accomplish? You just said that they don’t act to accomplish a goal. Accomplishments always have a point of completion. What is the enzyme difference between an accomplishment, and a goal?

    ===

    Verbose Stoic,

    “What chemical reactions CAN do is react with incorrect things and that chemical reaction might then change the “incorrect” thing to the “correct” thing, but to say that the reactions actually do that is only a metaphor, not an actual description.”

    Can you run through this one more time? I’m not getting the part about chemical reactions and correctness.

    ===

    eric,

    “Phil seems to be taking it as more than a metaphor…some claims of ID proponents imply or require that DNA molecules have some kind of mind”

    Oh, I don’t think so. And I/they would not claim that leukocytes, for instance, are thinking when they do what they do. The whole metaphor distraction can easily be dispatched. All you have to do is rewrite the replication process and use actual terminology instead of metaphors. The literature always says that the enzymes ‘recognize’ errors, and I’m sure you consider that metaphorical. So what would you use as a substitute for that word?

    Actually, my personal interest in replication enzymes, or things like ribosome, is not really about what they do, or how they do it. It is about how they got here, and I think Krebiozen has aptly expressed the heaviest thing materialists have to offer…their imagination.

  135. #135 JimV
    United States
    June 17, 2015

    Krebiozen #127:

    “The problem is, obviously, that there are a near infinite variety of sculptures hidden in that marble block, and without prior knowledge, no way of finding them beforehand that does not require intelligence.”

    I was with you until then (and again after that). As you point out, biological evolution does find the analogous viable shapes in the analogous block of marble, which would seem to contradict your statement. The key point to me which eliminates the contradiction (and destroys ID at its source) is that “intelligence” is a word which humans made up to describe the capability that human brains have to (occasionally) figure things out; and whereas IDers presume that some kind of supernatural magic is involved, which they don’t understand and can’t explain, I think human brains work by a process of trial and error (with selection criteria to identify the errors, similar to natural selection), and memory to retain good results and pass them on the next generation. As an engineer, most of what I did in my career was apply rules and processes worked out by previous generations (existing genes). When I had to help design something new, I first checked to see if I could find something similar to base it on (horizontal gene transfer), “brain-stormed” (a process that produces mostly bad mutations of previous ideas, but occasionally something worth trying), then tested ideas with computer models, …, and finally, built something in the shop and tested it to see if it worked. (If so, then it would be tested for survival of the fittest in the marketplace.)

    Currently there are computer programs which can beat humans at chess and Jeopardy, and today I read that a program has been written which analyzed an English dictionary and used the rules it developed to beat most humans on the verbal section of randomly-selected IQ tests. Whether “intelligence” uses the evolution algorithm, as I think, or something else, it is a mechanical, algorithmic process, not magic, and the fact that it exists and uses at least some evolutionary techniques is quite consistent with the theory of evolution.

  136. #136 MNb
    June 17, 2015

    @128 MF states the obvious: “ID is completely reactive and will always remain so.”
    That’s what happens when your “theory” is build on teleology. It’s why Aristoteles’ physics, despite his genius, was a total failure. The funny thing is that Phil and SN, unlike Aristoteles, use teleology not as a general principle, but as an ad hoc argument. Of course, even if they won’t admit it, this is just theology. Their Grand Old Designer according to them selected his purposes carefully.
    Which Phil nicely confirms in 134 with “there is obviously purpose involved”.
    If Phil says it’s obvious we skeptic can do nothing but humbly bow our heads for his infinite god given wisdom, even if he says it’s obvious that the Earth is flat, ‘cuz the Bubble, he has looked outside of his window and has read his Rowbotham.
    Of course he doesn’t say that, but that’s isn’t my point. My point is that he uses exactly the same method as Flat Earthers – science dictated by his particular version of religion.

  137. #137 Phil
    June 17, 2015

    MNb,

    “If Phil says it’s obvious we skeptic can do nothing but humbly bow our heads for his infinite god given wisdom…”

    No, what you can do is talk about the enzymes which appear to be dedicated to fidelity as they are involved in DNA replication. Or you could even tax your imagination and try to explain how such an array of specialized enzymes could be the result of millions of years of Darwinian evolution.

    But MNb, you know as well as I do, that you aren’t gonna test your religion in front of your support group. You don’t have the sack to do that. Your skeptical little head is already humbly bowed.

  138. #138 Phil
    June 17, 2015

    JimV,

    “As you point out, biological evolution does find the analogous viable shapes in the analogous block of marble”

    And of course it does not, and cannot, because biological evolution isn’t looking, and therefore cannot find anything. It’s all accidents, all the time. No planning, no tinkering, no strategies.

    But, since you follow this tack, could you elaborate on how random errors put together analogous viable shapes like replication enzymes? The part the confuses me is why they would form with no role to play. Can you touch on that?

  139. #139 Verbose Stoic
    June 18, 2015

    eric,

    Phil seems to be taking it as more than a metaphor.

    While I can’t really speak for him as I haven’t been following the thread, I think the overall cusp of these sorts of arguments is that the only reason that people can say that this is all chemical reactions and have that make sense is because they couch their descriptions in metaphors that include, at least, teleology. As evidenced by Phil asking for you to describe the process without the metaphors, the general idea is that once you strip out the teleology suddenly things don’t make sense, or you can’t actually describe, say, what the enzymes are doing here WITHOUT saying that it corrects errors … but actual correction of error is not available at the level of chemical reactions.

    Phil,

    Can you run through this one more time? I’m not getting the part about chemical reactions and correctness.

    Let me use the marble example to make it clearer. Say we have a chunk of white rock. Part of it is white marble — is that actually a thing? — and part of it is packed salt. If we run water over it, the salt will be dissolved, and the marble will (generally, I think) remain. Because the salt is interspersed with the marble, this will create a shape, and a shape that might well look like something, and so what we’ll be left with is a decorative sculpture of marble. It might be tempting to say, then, as a metaphor that nature or the water sculpted the marble into the sculpture, but all that really happened was a chemical reaction: the water dissolved the salt and left the marble behind.

    The same thing is true of the “correcting” mechanisms for DNA. They don’t actually correct anything, because they aren’t capable of correction. Instead, what we have in an enzyme that reacts differently chemically to DNA that is “correct” and to DNA that is “incorrect”. I don’t know enough about biology to describe it any better, but all that happens is that the enzyme reacts in such a way with some of the whatevers so that, at the end of it, the ones that aren’t viable are gone. But, again, the enzymes don’t do it because they know they aren’t viable, and it is quite possible to have enzymes that do the exact opposite (ie remove the “good” and leave the “bad”). All it is at this point is simple chemistry.

  140. #140 eric
    June 18, 2015

    The literature always says that the enzymes ‘recognize’ errors, and I’m sure you consider that metaphorical. So what would you use as a substitute for that word?

    The enzyme chemically reverses the mutation reaction or catalyzes a back-reaction. See how easy that was?

    Here is one example, from the Wikipedia entry on DNA repair: “The formation of pyrimidine dimers upon irradiation with UV light results in an abnormal covalent bond between adjacent pyrimidine bases. The photoreactivation process directly reverses this damage by the action of the enzyme photolyase, whose activation is obligately dependent on energy absorbed from blue/UV light (300–500 nm wavelength) to promote catalysis.[12]”

    So, when UV light hits a cell, at least two things happen; it can damage the DNA, and it can cause a reaction in the enzyme photolyase, changing it. When both happen, the chemical alteration to the photolyase causes it (or other things, if its a catalyst) to react with the new covalent bond between pyrimidine bases, with the result that that newly-formed “mutant” bond is broken. No God required; just chemistry.

    It is is easy to see how such a system could evolve: a mutation in DNA that leads to the production of photolyase will increase the fitness of that organism as it is less likely to produce fatally mutated offspring, yet the presence of photolayse (at least in small amounts) has no downside as it doesn’t do anything until UV like actually strikes the cell, and even then, it doesn’t do anything to normal DNA, just pyrimidine dimers.

    So again, no God required. Some organisms mutate to produce offspring with a new chemical in their cells; this chemical breaks up pyrimidine dimers when exposed to the same UV light that causes those dimers to form. These mutated offspring organisms statistically produce more of their own healthy offspring, so the mutation spreads throughout the population over time.

  141. #141 JGC
    June 18, 2015

    blockquote> No, I don’t believe that, and haven’t insinuated that.
    Then who or what is it you believe is doing the discriminating? Be specific.

    All I did was point out how replication enzymes function, and there is obviously purpose involved.</blockquote?
    I see no evidence—let alone obvious evidence–demonstrating that there is purpose involved, Phil. What evidence do you believe you’re aware of that I am not? Again: be specific.

    Do forces like hydrophobic interaction and hydrogen bonding cause polymerase to recognize errors?

    They cause molecules to bind to each other in specific orientations, at specific regions, etc. This includes binding between regions within DNA polymerase molecules and single stranded DNA–for example, to the region where a DNA polymerase adds bases to the 3-prime end of a growing complementary strain, or to the polymerase region which functions as a 3-prime exonuclease, which removes mismatched base pairs.

  142. #142 JGC
    June 18, 2015

    Darn–blockquote error.

  143. #143 Phil
    June 18, 2015

    “blockquote error”

    And not repairable.

  144. #144 eric
    June 18, 2015

    Using arguments like @143 to respond to points such as 139-141…is what it means to teach ID. Phil’s response reminds me of Dembski’s video response to the Dover ruling.

  145. #145 JGC
    June 18, 2015

    You didn’t answer my question, Phil. I’ll repeat it:

    Since you don’t believe the molecules involved in DNA repair are themselves intelligent or self-aware, who or what is it that you believe is engaging in an act of discrimination?

  146. #146 Michael Fugate
    June 18, 2015

    Is moving water or intelligence sorting sediments?
    http://thehappyscientist.com/study-unit/sorting-sediments

  147. #147 See Noevo
    June 18, 2015

    To Krebiozen #127:

    “It seems to me that See Noevo lacks the intellect to grasp natural selection and evolution, whereas Phil merely lacks the imagination.”

    I grasp natural selection and evolution very well. That’s why I reject them.

    “When you have a huge range of possible enzymes available to you that can accomplish the most astonishing things , and almost limitless time, what seem like the most peculiar things to us can occur, indeed must occur (though we can’t predict precisely which peculiar things).”

    You do NOT HAVE almost limitless time.
    You have about one day.
    The first plants on earth had to mutate their system of photosynthesis before the sun went down on their first day of life. In a few more days they had to mutate a reproductive system.

    And what’s with “the most peculiar things to us can occur, indeed must occur (though we can’t predict precisely which peculiar things)” ?
    Seems to me if something MUST occur we certainly CAN predict it.

    “This is a bit like thinking of a statue as emerging from a sculptor’s block of marble, and fits with the term ‘evolution’ rather nicely, I think, since ‘evolution’ literally means ‘unfolding’. In a sense the statue/organism is there already, and the sculptor/natural selection simply has to remove the excess marble that obscures our view of it… After some aeons our collection of interesting-looking sculptures would probably include some interesting specimens (maybe even a Mt Rushmore lookalike).”

    Nature could sculpt Mt. Rushmore, if given enough time?

    How remarkable, that you actually admit to this belief.

  148. #148 Another Matt
    United States
    June 18, 2015

    Um, if you think photosynthesis had to evolve in a day, you most certainly do not understand natural selection as you claim. This is almost the opposite of what evolution by natural selection would predict.

  149. #149 eric
    June 18, 2015

    You do NOT HAVE almost limitless time.
    You have about one day.
    The first plants on earth had to mutate their system of photosynthesis before the sun went down on their first day of life. In a few more days they had to mutate a reproductive system.

    That is absurd. There are many more sources of chemical energy than just the sun, and there is no reason to believe that a primitive replicator would need a constant energy input given that practically no living things on earth need that.
    Moreover, we only consider primitive organic chemical replicators as being candidates for OOL, so no, they would not have “evolve” a reproduction system. Unless you are claiming they would have to evolve sex (i.e., gene mixing to produce offspring). That is absurd in a different way; since we know of organisms which do without it even today, there is clearly no reason why the original primitive replicators had to have it.

    , and given that chemical evolution considers live arising from some early set of replicators, they would not need to mutate a reproductive system.

  150. #150 JGC
    June 18, 2015

    “The first plants on earth had to mutate their system of photosynthesis before the sun went down on their first day of life.”

    Why?

  151. #151 JGC
    June 18, 2015

    “Is moving water or intelligence sorting sediments?”

    Consider a gold miner’s trammel, which uses hydraulic sorting to separate gold from everything else in the soil. Would Phil argue that it actively and purposefully discriminates between gold and non-gold?

    Or would he be willing to admit that the ‘discrimination’ is simply a function of the difference in density between gold and all other components in the soil fed into the trammel?

    It’s a trick question: Phil would just wave his hands and argue “Hydraulic sorting has jacksh!t to do with enzymes detecting and excising errors”.

  152. #152 Narad
    June 18, 2015

    And what’s with “the most peculiar things to us can occur, indeed must occur (though we can’t predict precisely which peculiar things)” ?
    Seems to me if something MUST occur we certainly CAN predict it.

    Prepare an entangled pair of photons. A measurement of the polarization of one must yield one of two results. Predict the outcome of the measurement.

  153. #153 eric
    June 18, 2015

    The first plants on earth had to mutate their system of photosynthesis before the sun went down on their first day of life. In a few more days they had to mutate a reproductive system.

    Another good example of what it means to teach ID.

  154. #154 sean samis
    June 18, 2015

    The first plants on earth had to mutate their system of photosynthesis before the sun went down on their first day of life. In a few more days they had to mutate a reproductive system.

    Another example of willful misrepresentation. Evolution neither predicts, requires, nor expects this. Apparently the commandment against bearing false witness does not apply to IDers.

    sean s.

  155. #155 See Noevo
    June 18, 2015

    To multiple addressees…

    To Michael Fugate #128:
    “Recent work on Drosophila genomes show that a single point mutation leading to a “start” codon in a non-coding DNA region has led to new coding regions and new functional genes. In ID lingo, this creates double secret information, but that can’t happen. What’s an IDer to do?”

    And over the 5,000 or so generations of Drosophila experimented upon, how many times has a “single point mutation leading to a “start” codon in a non-coding DNA region has led to new coding regions and new functional genes” led to an NON-Drosophila?
    …….

    To eric #149:
    “Moreover, we only consider primitive organic chemical replicators as being candidates for OOL… and given that chemical evolution considers live arising from some early set of replicators, they would not need to mutate a reproductive system.”

    Regarding the OOL, I know that abiogenesis has never been observed in nature nor coerced in a lab, but what are the other candidates for OOL besides “primitive organic chemical replicators”?

  156. #156 JGC
    June 18, 2015

    Theories for the origins of life tend to take one of two forms, either the “replicators first” model you mention or competing “metabolism first” models.

  157. #157 Narad
    June 18, 2015

    how many times has a “single point mutation leading to a “start” codon in a non-coding DNA region has led to new coding regions and new functional genes” led to an [sic] NON-Drosophila?

    Your ultimate baraminology has already been noted. Would you care to define a specific cutoff, or is it necessary to dance around the question for purposes of endless reuse?

  158. #158 Narad
    June 18, 2015

    ^ For reference, one might wish to recall the explicit, original location of the goalposts:

    I’m not sure but I don’t think Richie even attempted to answer the one question posed to him:
    “Can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?”

  159. #159 Krebiozen
    June 18, 2015

    See Noevo,

    I grasp natural selection and evolution very well. That’s why I reject them.

    What you have written here and at RI repeatedly demonstrates, beyond any reasonable doubt, that you do not understand them at all. Ironically this latest protest merely underlines your previous efforts.

    The first plants on earth had to mutate their system of photosynthesis before the sun went down on their first day of life. In a few more days they had to mutate a reproductive system.

    There’s a good example. I don’t have the slightest idea why you think that has to be true. It bears no relationship to any of the evolutionary biology I have studied. Photosynthesis evolved in prokarytotes that later became chloroplasts in an endosymbiotic relationship with other prokarytotes, IIRC. Plants came much later.

    Seems to me if something MUST occur we certainly CAN predict it.

    Theoretically, if we knew every single variable involved (and ignored any quantum processes), then we could predict evolution. In reality the number of variables acting on, say, a unicellular organism, is so huge it is impossible to track them all, even if we had a computer powerful enough to process all that data, which we don’t.

    Nature could sculpt Mt. Rushmore, if given enough time?
    How remarkable, that you actually admit to this belief.

    I remember you mocked the idea that random forces could erode a mountain to look very like Mt. Rushmore, given enough attempts and enough time. I still maintain that not only is this possible, but given enough attempts and time it is inevitable. Exact simulacra of Osama Bin Laden and Howard the Duck would also have appeared during this period of experimentation, purely by random chance.

    Haven’t you heard of pareidolia? Did you look at some of the artificial life programs I suggested to see what complexity can emerge from very simple rules?

    As if to emphasize my point about your ignorance:

    And over the 5,000 or so generations of Drosophila experimented upon, how many times has a “single point mutation leading to a “start” codon in a non-coding DNA region has led to new coding regions and new functional genes” led to an NON-Drosophila?

    Given the constraints of living in a human body and time scale, of course we haven’t seen such evolution. The number of mutations that would be required could not possibly have occurred in the period of time we have been experimenting in this way. The same goes for abiogenesis. IIRC Dawkins pointed out somewhere that if we did see abiogenesis or speciation of this sort in the laboratory it would show we have something terribly wrong. It doesn’t and we don’t.

    This reminds me of antivaccine nuts who complain that no case of cervical cancer has ever been prevented by an HPV vaccine. What they fail to mention is that it takes more than 15 years for an HPV infection to lead to cancer, and the vaccine has only been licensed for less than a decade. It’s what we expect to see.

  160. #160 Michael Fugate
    June 18, 2015

    A person who claims to understand evolution asks when has a single point mutation led to a new genus or family – comedy, pure comedy.

  161. #161 Narad
    June 18, 2015

    Of course, there’s another counterexample to the following that is more in S.N.’s wheelhouse:

    Seems to me if something MUST occur we certainly CAN predict it.

    When’s the Second Coming going to occur?

    (This also goes to his need to ignore the halting problem or, rather, the observation that he has necessarily claimed to have solved it.)

  162. #162 ?
    June 18, 2015

    “I remember you mocked the idea that random forces could erode a mountain to look very like Mt. Rushmore, given enough attempts and enough time. I still maintain that not only is this possible, but given enough attempts and time it is inevitable.”

    Good Lord! Teddy Rooselvelts’ spectacles and everything?

  163. #163 Phil
    June 18, 2015

    eric,

    “The enzyme chemically reverses the mutation reaction or catalyzes a back-reaction. See how easy that was?”

    A little too easy. That doesn’t substitute for “recognize” or any of the other words used such as proofread, detect, identify, check. You described what happens after the error is recognized. Feel free to try again.

    This is the only thing I’ve found that asks the question and tries to answer it:
    “As an example of the general mechanism of base excision repair, the removal of a deaminated C by uracil DNA glycosylase is shown in Figure 5-50A. How is the altered base detected within the context of the double helix? A key step is an enzyme-mediated “flipping-out” of the altered nucleotide from the helix, which allows the enzyme to probe all faces of the base for damage (Figure 5-51). It is thought that DNA glycosylases travel along DNA using base-flipping to evaluate the status of each base pair. Once a damaged base is recognized, the DNA glycosylase reaction creates a deoxyribose sugar that lacks its base. This “missing tooth” is recognized by an enzyme called AP endonuclease, which cuts the phosphodiester backbone, and the damage is then removed and repaired (see Figure 5-50A).”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26879/

    This article mentions mutation several times, but almost exclusively in a normal context. It also mentions evolution, but only to say that it occurs, and not how anything as sophisticated and precise as the enzymes it mentions could have formed on a random basis.

    Which brings me to this:

    “It is is easy to see how such a system could evolve: a mutation in DNA that leads to the production of photolyase…”

    I see how easy that was, too. But:

    “Photolyases consist of a single polypeptide of 500 to 700 amino acid residues and two noncovalently bound cofactors/chromophores.”
    http://what-when-how.com/molecular-biology/photolyasephotoreactivation-molecular-biology/

    Do you really think a mutation will produce this? Look up cofactor.

    This speaks to the way evolution is taught. It is a mode of thinking about how to pave a smooth road for the theory to work, and you’ve learned it very, very well.

    “So again, no God required”

    Right, and I can see why you think so.

    “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

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

    He hit you right in the pills.

  164. #164 Phil
    June 18, 2015

    JGC,

    “Since you don’t believe the molecules involved in DNA repair are themselves intelligent or self-aware, who or what is it that you believe is engaging in an act of discrimination?”

    If excision occurs, and it does, then the enzyme is getting some kind of signal from the template strand that something is wrong. I don’t know what that signal is, or how it works. And honestly, I don’t really care. The real issue is how in hell random, unguided, purposeless, meaningless, mindless, coincidental accidents could produce something as dizzyingly complex as enzymes that do this.

    You may now proceed to your default excuse, and announce that billions of years worth of Darwinian evolution can do anything. Have you actually studied enzymes for decades, and in all that time, no questions ever even flickered in your mind?

  165. #165 eric
    June 18, 2015

    A little too easy. That doesn’t substitute for “recognize” or any of the other words used such as proofread, detect, identify, check. You described what happens after the error is recognized

    These are chemicals. If they come into contact, they react. If they don’t, they won’t react. No “recognize” is necessary.

    Or are you asking why photolyase reacts with those dimers and not other stuff? Because of its chemical structure. Again, no “recognition” necessary.

    “Photolyases consist of a single polypeptide of 500 to 700 amino acid residues and two noncovalently bound cofactors/chromophores.”
    http://what-when-how.com/molecular-biology/photolyasephotoreactivation-molecular-biology/

    Do you really think a mutation will produce this?

    All at once, ex nihilo? No. Via incremental modification or exaptation? Yes. Yet again, you guys try and argue against the TOE by arguing against saltation, but saltation is YOUR theory. Creationism is saltationist. Every time you argue that such a large, multifaceted change could not occur in one fell swoop, you are arguing against your own hypothesis.

    He hit you right in the pills.

    Who did? You cite an unattributed quote from someone I probably don’t agree with on this point as if it controls what I should think. I have no a priori commitment to materialism. Show me reproducible, reliable telepathy, I’ll accept it. Show me reproducible, reliable faith healing, I’ll accept it. Show me reproducible, reliable spontaneous creation of new species, I’ll accept it. But you can’t. These things have never been shown in a reproducible or reliable manner. That is why I don’t accept them as real.

  166. #166 See Noevo
    June 18, 2015

    Phil,

    That quote of evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin in #163 is exquisite.

    But I don’t think it will hit eric in the pills, or even between the eyes .Because I don’t think he has either pair.

    In #164 you asked JGC “Have you actually studied enzymes for decades, and in all that time, no questions ever even flickered in your mind?”

    I think if JGC ever had any flame enlightening his mind, that flickering went out about 30 years ago.

  167. #167 Phil
    June 19, 2015

    eric,

    “These are chemicals. If they come into contact, they react. If they don’t, they won’t react. No “recognize” is necessary.”

    No, everything tangible is chemicals. These are chemical that are organized into function. And this is really freakin dumb.

    “Or are you asking why photolyase reacts with those dimers and not other stuff? Because of its chemical structure. Again, no “recognition” necessary.”

    Good grief. But okay, let’s keep going. How in the name of Natural Selection do you account for organized, reactive chemical structures? And once again, if nothing like recognition is necessary, why do the articles describing the process use the word, and what nonsensical paragraph would you use as a substitute?

    “All at once, ex nihilo? No. Via incremental modification or exaptation? Yes.”

    Wonderful. But you said, in keeping with your meticulous training, “a mutation”.

    That aside, you’re not talking about a population where natural selection can pound its mighty hammer. You’re relying on nothing but random assembly, and no replication. So incremental doesn’t work, at all. Do you think that 500 amino acid residues kept trying to group up and find their role in the cosmos? Was it a grass roots movement? When did the cofactors accidentally join the party?

    The really great big question, regardless of your answer, is about this exact process happening countless billions of times. My reliable incredulity serves me very well on this question. It is the reason I never became a soldier for Suckerville, but I do serve a King.

  168. #168 Michael Fugate
    June 19, 2015

    Anyone get the feeling that these people are fighting for vitalism? Something that was put to bed in the 19th c. It really is a though time stopped in the early 1700s and the enlightenment never happened.

  169. #169 Narad
    June 19, 2015

    But I don’t think it will hit eric in the pills, or even between the eyes .Because I don’t think he has either pair…. I think if JGC ever had any flame enlightening his mind, that flickering went out about 30 years ago.

    At least S.N.’s personal collapse eigenmode has been reached somewhat promptly.

  170. #170 eric
    June 19, 2015

    How in the name of Natural Selection do you account for organized, reactive chemical structures?

    How the enzyme originated is a different question from whether it can break specific dimer bonds (or do some other ‘repair’ function) without a magical detection capability or guiding hand. So before we move on to the ‘where did it come from’ question, let’s finish out your first question: given the biological examples provided by me and JGC and the illustrative example provided by VS, do you now accept that enzymes like photolyase can perform reactions that ‘repair’ DNA without needing any magical powers or divine intervention to do so? If yes, we can move on to the question of how we can account for them having the structures that they do.

    And once again, if nothing like recognition is necessary, why do the articles describing the process use the word,

    We use them because it communicates an idea quickly and easily to the reader, and except for the occasional literal-minded creationist, nobody has a problem at all understanding the non-agency-implying gist of the sentence. Tell me, do you also infer intelligent intervention must be present in these actions? “A photon observes an electron going through a slit.” “A flower detects the sun and opens.” “Soap molecules recognize dirt particles and remove them.” If the answer is ‘no,’ then why do you bend over backwards to insist the sentence “Enzymes recognize dimer bonds and break them” implies some intelligent agency? This is basically exactly the same description as the soap one. If the latter sentence must imply some agency, so must the former. OTOH if the former can be read naturally as not implying some divine intervention in soap suds or intelligent agency in soap bubbles, so can the latter.

  171. #171 OccamsLaser
    June 19, 2015

    But if something incorrect is identified, removed and replaced with something correct, it is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring. That is an act of discrimination.

    Phil –

    Just to make sure this point is directly addressed, are you stating that you have concluded, based on your scientific analysis, that there are one or more steps in these processes that cannot occur solely due to chemical processes?

    If that is your claim, which step or steps specifically cannot occur due to chemical processes? It is important for you to specify the step or steps you have analyzed and for which no chemical explanation is possible, according to your research.

    Spell it out.

  172. #172 See Noevo
    June 19, 2015

    To eric #170:

    You wrote to Phil:
    “How the enzyme originated is a different question from whether it can break specific dimer bonds (or do some other ‘repair’ function) without a magical detection capability or guiding hand. So before we move on to the ‘where did it come from’ question, let’s finish out your first question… like photolyase can perform reactions that ‘repair’ DNA without needing any magical powers or divine intervention to do so… do you also infer intelligent intervention must be present in these actions? “A photon observes an electron going through a slit.” “A flower detects the sun and opens.” “Soap molecules recognize dirt particles and remove them.”

    I infer intelligent intervention, or at least intelligent involvement, in all of the above and more.
    I infer intelligent involvement in there being ANY universe at all. I infer intelligent involvement in all of the universal constants/forces (e.g. gravitation, electromagnetism, strong force) being at their VERY PARTICULAR and NECESSARY settings, without which no universe as we know it could exist.

    When you get to chemical processes and then to biological processes, and ultimately to life itself, then the intelligent involvement just becomes more obvious.

  173. #173 eric
    June 19, 2015

    [eric] do you also infer intelligent intervention must be present in these actions? “A photon observes an electron going through a slit.” “A flower detects the sun and opens.” “Soap molecules recognize dirt particles and remove them.”

    [See Noevo] I infer intelligent intervention, or at least intelligent involvement, in all of the above and more.

    Great, another answer to Jason’s original question: this is what it means to teach ID.

    But it seems wierd, SN, that if you infer intelligent design in (all) chemical and biological processes, why you would reject the theistic evolutionary stance. After all, their position is much like this: that God’s involvement is to be found in the natural processes that occur, rather than being thought of as a replacement for natural explanations.

  174. #174 Narad
    June 19, 2015

    I infer intelligent involvement in all of the universal constants/forces (e.g. gravitation, electromagnetism, strong force) being at their VERY PARTICULAR and NECESSARY settings, without which no universe as we know it could exist.

    You’ve already tried this and failed badly. I suggest that you stick to the subject of the blog.

  175. #175 dean
    June 19, 2015

    I infer intelligent intervention, or at least intelligent involvement, in all of the above and more.
    I infer intelligent involvement in there being ANY universe at all. I infer intelligent involvement in all of the universal constants/forces (e.g. gravitation, electromagnetism, strong force) being at their VERY PARTICULAR and NECESSARY settings, without which no universe as we know it could exist.

    Translation: Since I’m too lazy and uneducated to actually study any science I will simply say my god did it. booya.

  176. #176 Michael Fugate
    June 19, 2015

    So that tornado that rips through a town is just God’s guiding hand in action…..

  177. #177 sean samis
    June 19, 2015

    Regarding

    I infer intelligent involvement in … [blah blah blah]

    In this use, ‘infer’ is indistinguishable from ‘assume’; the writer assumes intelligent involvement in whatever; but they know they can’t actually say what they mean. So they dissemble.

    sean s.

  178. #178 MNb
    June 19, 2015

    @137 Phil: “you know as well as I do, that you aren’t gonna test your religion in front of your support group.”
    Of course I’m going to. I don’t have any religion.
    Silly guy.
    But thanks for missing the point I made. I’m happy to repeat it:

    “My point is that he uses exactly the same method as Flat Earthers – science dictated by his particular version of religion.”
    And you have brought up exactly zero to contradict this.

  179. #179 MNb
    June 19, 2015

    Ah, silly me and my typos.
    Please read
    Of course I’m not going to.

  180. #180 See Noevo
    June 19, 2015

    To eric #173:

    “Great, another answer to Jason’s original question: this is what it means to teach ID.”

    No, not really.
    As I said in #36, I think that science, especially science education in public schools, should NOT include the supernatural. I just think it should include a lot more “We don’t know”s and “We have no idea how”s.
    I’d keep my inferences to myself. Besides, belief or disbelief in evolution has ZERO effect on real science, specifically, zero effect on studying WHAT IS OBSERVED.

    “But it seems wierd, SN, that if you infer intelligent design in (all) chemical and biological processes, why you would reject the theistic evolutionary stance. After all, their position is much like this: that God’s involvement is to be found in the natural processes that occur, rather than being thought of as a replacement for natural explanations.”

    It should not should not seem “w i e r d”, which is a weird way of spelling weird.

    The reason I reject theistic evolution is quite simple. Well, actually I should say reasonS. Let me count the ways:

    1) In my 12+ years reading the science literature on evolution, I have found it unconvincing at best, and ludicrous at worst, with most of it falling into the latter category. And I mean ludicrous empirically, logically, and scientifically.

    2) MY understanding of the words of Genesis 1 & 2 does not jive with a long-ages, evolutionary view.

    3) The Church’s traditional understanding of the words of Genesis 1 & 2 does not jive with a long-ages, evolutionary view. (By “traditional” I mean the Church Fathers, and virtually all Church leaders for the first 18 centuries of Christianity.)

    4) The Church says that I may remain a Catholic in full communion with the Church while holding to a creationist viewpoint.

    5) I find little comfort, to put it VERY mildly, that those pushing “theistic evolution” tend to be mainline Protestants and “orthodox” Evangelicals who seem, on other matters of Christian faith, to be anything BUT mainline and orthodox. (To put it another way, “I smell a rat.”)

    Related to this, I need to clarify something about these words of yours: “After all, [theistic evolutionists] position is much like this: that God’s involvement is to be found in the natural processes that occur, rather than being thought of as a replacement for natural explanations.”

    There is a HUGE difference between
    a) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in natural processes which we observe, and
    b) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in processes which we have NEVER observed (i.e. evolution) and which science has not made close to a convincing case could ever happen.

    There’s also a difference between creating something and sustaining something.
    But God does BOTH:

    “for `IN HIM we live and move and HAVE OUR BEING.’” [From Acts 17:28]

    “He is before all things, and IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.” [Colossians 1:17]

    “but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also HE CREATED THE WORLD.
    He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, UPHOLDING THE UNIVERSE by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” [Hebrews 1:2-3]

    Amen.

  181. #181 eric
    June 19, 2015

    As I said in #36, I think that science, especially science education in public schools, should NOT include the supernatural. I just think it should include a lot more “We don’t know”s and “We have no idea how”s.

    Yes, and I note you never really replied to my @53 post. The way actual ID creationists teach science when they are given their lead and don’t have to obey 1st amendment restrictions looks nothing like what you claim your group will teach. When we allow ID creationists to teach biology the way they would like to teach it, they do exactly the opposite of adding more “we don’t knows.” They teach that the bible does know, and that when any scientific finding or observation that conflicts with it, the bible must be given precedence. They teach that birds DID begin with feathers, fish DID begin with scales, and so on. They claim to know, and it’s all religion-based.

    So please excuse me if I am somewhat skeptical about what you say ID wants to teach. Because when we let them teach, it doesn’t look anything like your prediction/proposal.

    There is a HUGE difference between
    a) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in natural processes which we observe, and
    b) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in processes which we have NEVER observed (i.e. evolution) and which science has not made close to a convincing case could ever happen.

    Offhand, I would guess that we have observed UV-activated photolyase breaking dimer bonds. So in that case, what do you say? Do you think – despite the fact that we can observe these reactions happening – that Phil is right and there must be some non-natural component to what’s going on in this particular DNA repair mechanism?

  182. #182 Narad
    June 19, 2015

    Besides, belief or disbelief in evolution has ZERO effect on real science, specifically, zero effect on studying WHAT IS OBSERVED.

    With that as your “operational definition,” it’s little wonder that you’re having so much trouble with every single branch of science that you’ve made proclamations about.

  183. #183 See Noevo
    June 19, 2015

    To eric #181:

    “The way actual ID creationists teach science when they are given their lead and don’t have to obey 1st amendment restrictions looks nothing like what you claim your group will teach.”

    First amendment? Apparently, you think such alleged ID creationist teachers are not obeying the First Amendment and so are in effect Congressman establishing a religion which must be followed by citizens.

    Remarkable.

    “When we allow ID creationists to teach biology the way they would like to teach it, they do exactly the opposite of adding more “we don’t knows.” They teach that the bible does know…”

    Assuming for the sake of argument that’s true, I’d say as long as such teachers don’t penalize the students for disagreeing on the biblical/God stuff, but grade them fairly on the curriculum content dealing with EMPIRICAL, FACTUAL biology, with OBSERVED REALITY and NOT UNOBSERVED ORIGINS, then, all is well.

    “Offhand, I would guess that we have observed UV-activated photolyase breaking dimer bonds.”

    Offhand, I would guess I would agree.
    What further do I say?
    I’d say the public school biology teacher should keep her mouth SHUT about INSISTING on some natural OR non-natural component causing this particular DNA repair mechanism. Otherwise, that teacher might be accused of being a Congressman establishing/forcing a naturalistic/atheistic religion OR a supernatural/theistic religion.

  184. #184 Narad
    June 19, 2015

    I’d say the public school biology teacher should keep her mouth SHUT about INSISTING on some natural OR non-natural component causing this particular DNA repair mechanism.

    That rings a bell [see also, e.g., #1120 (“Watch your mouth, girl!”), #1277].

    Setting aside the well-documented misogyny, however, there are at least two core elements to S.N.’s “definition” of Real Science that he has to avoid stating outright: (1) Certain observations should not be made in the first place – for example, his complaint about the very existence of modern cosmology at Ethan’s.*

    Closely related is (2) the example just presented: inquiry into the causes of observations is Not Real Science. This is tantamount to forbidding inference and also provides a more parsimonious explanation for element 1 than his original: rather than being a matter of “practical applications,”** the objection is to observations that invite dangerous questions.

    * He also summarizes the world view in comment #1174 at the RI thread: “Commitment to epistemic virtues? I guess you mean knowing for the sake of knowing. Kind of like ‘ars gratis artis’. Both garbage.”
    ** Which fails anyway, as GPS trivially demonstrates.

  185. #185 jgc
    June 19, 2015

    If excision occurs, and it does, then the enzyme is getting some kind of signal from the template strand that something is wrong. I don’t know what that signal is, or how it work prs.

    It’s called steric hindrance: when a mismatched base is added to the 3 prime end of the growing complementary strand by DNA polymerase, it cannot fold appropriately into a helical structure. This prevents the polymerase from continuing to move along the template strand adding bases to the complementary strand.

    When that happens, replication is paused, the 3 prime end of the complementary strand melts and is attracted (due to hydrophobic interactions, h-bonds, etc.) to a nearby region of the polymerase that functions as a 3 prime exonuclease.

    The exonuclease cuts off several bases from the complementary strand–typically the mismatched base and the 2 preceding bases.

    At that point you’re left with a remaining template and complementary strand folded in the correct helical structure, allowing the polymerase to again move along the template strand adding bases to the 3 prime end of the complementary strand.

  186. #186 jgc
    June 19, 2015

    Finding or inferring God’s involvement in processes which we have NEVER observed (i.e. evolution) and which science has not made close to a convincing case could ever happen.

    Far from all-caps NEVER, we have directly observed evolution occurring, in real time, in living populations both in controlled laboratory settings and uncontrolled in the wild, Note that tthese observations include speciation events, which by definition represent macroevolution.

  187. #187 Michael Fugate
    June 19, 2015

    When creationists mention “real” science you know it is neither real nor science.

  188. #188 Narad
    June 19, 2015

    Note that tthese observations include speciation events, which by definition represent macroevolution.

    You’re mistaking Who Gets To Make The Definitions:

    “I’ll keep this short. I believe in Dachshunds and Great Danes, and believe they’re both dogs which will never ‘become’ cats.”

    The rest of it is pretty good as well, given that S.N. clumsily t o o k p a i n s above to point out a typo (only to promptly misspell “jibe”).*

    * E.g., not the past participle of “prove” from Ms. Thistlebottom.

  189. #189 Narad
    June 19, 2015

    ^ In mocking S.N.’s comment #180, I of course also forgot a “[sic]” in “ars gratis artis.” I’ve refrained from these in the past here, but if he’s going to make a show of pretending to be a one-man gantlet, it’s just another invitation.

    After all, “the origination [sic] of language is just another conundrum [sic] for evolutionists.”

    Further pedagogy on the subject here:

    So, again, why haven’t many and varied types of animals evolved language, the way they evolved eyes?

    I’ll try to answer for you again: “Because they didn’t.”

    Class dismissed!

    Beware, S.N. is formidable.

  190. #190 Narad
    June 19, 2015

    I believe that S.N. may have asserted his legal expertise at RI, but in any event, this one merits a brief de novo review.

    Recall that the context is public education.

    First amendment? Apparently, you think such alleged [sic] ID creationist teachers are not obeying [FAIL] the First Amendment and so [FAIL] are in effect Congressman [MASSIVE FAIL] establishing a religion [FAIL] which [USAGE FAIL*] must be followed [FAIL] by citizens [MOAR FAIL].

    By all means, let me know if anything needs to be clarified.

    Remarkable.

    I’ll say.

    * S.N. actually deployed “thee” at RI.

  191. #191 eric
    June 19, 2015

    Apparently, you think such alleged ID creationist teachers are not obeying the First Amendment and so are in effect Congressman establishing a religion which must be followed by citizens.

    Did you really misunderstand my reference? The first amendment prevents public school teachers from endorsing a religion. When creationists set up their own private schools, they no longer have to follow this rule and they can choose to teach biology any way they want. They choose to teach that biology says this: If the [scientific] conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them. That’s a warping of science; not the actual method. And it is certainly not any sort of more open or less-premise-dictated methodology, it’s a more philosophically restricted methodology.

    I’d say as long as such teachers don’t penalize the students for disagreeing on the biblical/God stuff, but grade them fairly on the curriculum content dealing with EMPIRICAL, FACTUAL biology, with OBSERVED REALITY and NOT UNOBSERVED ORIGINS, then, all is well.

    Then all is not well in ID creationland, because the teacher’s edition of one of their textbooks says The Bible is completely true and accurate when it speaks of scientific matters. and Biology, God’s Living Creation is written from the Christian perspective…It gives him [the student] an infallible source of truth – the Bible – with which to compare its observations. That sounds very much like the teacher’s edition is stating that answers consistent with the bible are unequivocally right, and answers inconsistent with it are unequivocally wrong.

    In any event, IMO all those quotes are strong evidence that you are just plain wrong about what ID creationists want to teach. Regardless of how they may grade unbiblical anwerrs, they clearly want to teach biblical creationism as the correct theory and that scientists should defer to the bible whenever there is a conflict between empirical observation and biblical literalism, because that is exactly what they do teach.

  192. #192 See Noevo
    June 20, 2015

    To eric #191:

    Oh, eric, eric. Settle down.

    This world is full of problems big and small. And some will never go away despite our best efforts (e.g. “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:8)

    But just how big is this “problem” of ID/creationist biology teachers?
    Specifically, about how many students are using this teacher’s edition textbook, the one you say “says The Bible is completely true and accurate when it speaks of scientific matters. and Biology, God’s Living Creation is written from the Christian perspective…It gives him [the student] an infallible source of truth – the Bible – with which to compare its observations” ?

    Secondly, I’m not sure “The first amendment prevents public school teachers from endorsing a religion.”
    However, I think the First Amendment might NOT prevent a public servant from mentioning God and appealing to God’s power. Because if it did so prevent, a lot of public servants would be in jail, including most living presidents of the United States. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyeLMNIyIrI

    You complain that these ID teachers are guilty of “a warping of science”. I think if they’re guilty of anything it, would not be of a “warping” of science but rather of a “warping” of pre-history/pre-recorded history. That is, giving an opinion on the unobserved origins of what science DOES observe.

    I wonder if you’re likewise worked up about the warping of RECORDED history, for example http://www.wsj.com/articles/lynne-cheney-the-end-of-history-part-ii-1427929675

    I bet you’re not.

    “In any event, IMO all those quotes are strong evidence that you are just plain wrong about what ID creationists want to teach.”

    No. IMO it is YOU who are just plain wrong. I don’t recall ever saying anything about what ID creationists WANT to teach. I only indicated what I, SEE NOEVO, would want to teach or see others teach (ref #180, #183).

  193. #193 Narad
    June 20, 2015

    I only indicated what I, SEE NOEVO, would want to teach or see others teach (ref #180, #183).

    Thank goodness you finally managed to crystallize the relevance of your performance.

    Oddly enough, I had already done that for you back at comment 34:

    I might possibly be OK with evolution being taught in science classes (I’m already OK with it being taught in philosophy classes) IF the texts and the teachers would clearly make your disclaimer to the students: “We just DON’T KNOW it evolved.”

  194. #194 Phil
    June 20, 2015

    eric,

    “do you now accept that enzymes like photolyase can perform reactions that ‘repair’ DNA without needing any magical powers or divine intervention to do so?”

    Do I “now” accept that? Of course I accept that. I accept that everything tangible is composed of chemicals, and I accept that the processes in DNA repair are chemical interactions.

    But that is not the issue. What you are trying to do, is somehow squeeze the glaring reality of purpose out of the picture. And you can’t. There is no angle or perspective that is going to let you get away with error correction being nothing more than chemical reactions. The enzymes are there for a reason. The lesions they see, recognize, smell, detect, notice or however you want to qualify the function, are errors. The enzymes are there to correct those errors. That’s what they do.

    The problem for you, is that the idea of purpose has frustrating ideological implications. Your religious convictions about creation rely on the power of random, accidental events. And you’ve been trained to think, for instance, that an accident-driven process can experiment with amino acid combinations until it winds up with photo-reactive enzymes combined with cofactors/chromophores that chemically react with DNA sequence errors so that they are excised and replaced.

    If you are good with that, and don’t have any questions left over, then you are where you belong. But you ought to be able to grasp why there will always be people who are not going to buy such nonsense.

  195. #195 JGC
    June 20, 2015

    Phil, why are you confusing “what they do” with “why they’re there”? You’re observing function but imagining it’s purposeful.

  196. #196 Michael Fugate
    June 20, 2015

    Means, Motive, and Opportunity
    We can answer these for evolution, can the ID/creationists do the same? Can they provide evidence that could hold up in a court of law?

  197. #197 MNb
    June 20, 2015

    @180 SN: “There is a HUGE difference between
    a) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in natural processes which we observe, and
    b) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in processes which we have NEVER observed (i.e. evolution) and which science has not made close to a convincing case could ever happen.

    Oooohh, I love this!
    Gravity is a process which we have NEVER observed. What we have observed is moving things, accelerations, things that get their shape changed and stuff like that. As our dear SN hasn’t specified what he means with convincing we are allowed to label anything we don’t like “unconvincing” and today, while writing this very comment, I dislike Newtonian and Einsteinian gravity.
    Result: SN has made an excellent case for

    http://www.theonion.com/article/evangelical-scientists-refute-gravity-with-new-int-1778

    God must be involved.

    “There’s also a difference between creating something and sustaining something.”
    Of course. Here we see SN’s god doing both:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-temperature_superconductivity

    Of course we have never observed this process either. What we observe are little things floating in the air. And science hasn’t made any case at all.
    Inevitable conclusion: god at work.

  198. #198 See Noevo
    June 20, 2015

    To multiple addressees…

    To JGC #195:

    “Phil, why are you confusing “what they do” with “why they’re there”? You’re observing function but imagining it’s purposeful.”

    I don’t think Phil is confusing anything.

    Phil and you (and I) can agree on WHAT they do.

    A completely different issue, which has NOT been confused or conflated with the “what”, is the HOW and WHY. The “how”/”why” might be called the ORIGIN or CAUSE.

    You say the origin/cause of, say, a complex DNA repair process, is randomness and “mindlessness”.
    I, and probably Phil, would say it’s not.
    ………………

    To Michael Fugate #196:

    “We can answer these for evolution, can the ID/creationists do the same? Can they provide evidence that could hold up in a court of law?”

    Speaking of courts of law, sometimes such courts produce travesties of justice.

    I sure hope people like you are never on a jury for a first degree murder case.

    Here’s a movie recommendation for you: “12 Angry Men.”
    …………….

    To MNb #197:

    “Oooohh, I love this! Gravity is a process which we have NEVER observed.”

    Oooohh!
    Perhaps the stupidest statement by an atheist/evolutionist this week.

  199. #199 OccamsLaser
    June 20, 2015

    But Phil, you said,

    But if something incorrect is identified, removed and replaced with something correct, it is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring. That is an act of discrimination.

    Please specify what part of the process to which you refer “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    Be specific.

  200. #200 Phil
    June 20, 2015

    JGC,

    “..why are you confusing “what they do” with “why they’re there”? You’re observing function but imagining it’s purposeful.”

    I don’t see a lot of difference between function and purpose. I entered function in several thesauri (had to look up the plural), and they all mention purpose. How would you explain the purpose of something without mentioning how if functions?

    ===

    OccamsLaser,

    “Please specify what part of the process to which you refer “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.” ”

    The excision part, because it is undoing something.

  201. #201 OccamsLaser
    June 20, 2015

    OccamsLaser,
    “Please specify what part of the process to which you refer “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”
    The excision part, because it is undoing something.

    So you believe that excision cannot occur due to chemical processes, and that God is instead manipulating the chemicals to cause the excision. Is that correct?

  202. #202 Another Matt
    June 20, 2015

    I think I can see what’s going on here. Our ID pair seems to think that purpose is an intrinsic property, like mass or redness. Purpose is better thought of as a relationship between something and its surroundings. What if we said X has purpose to Y if it serves the interests of Y. The purpose of penicillin to humans is to kill infectious bacteria that harm us: that’s why we produce it. But that can’t have been its purpose before it was discovered; its purpose to us only came into being during the course of its discovery and application. To human interests, penicillin went from “something that kills bacteria” to “something for killing bacteria.” It would cease to have this purpose on the sun or on the deck of the Titanic, because it serves no interests there.

    Asking what the purpose of an enzyme is is kind of like asking what the purpose of electricity is. The only way to make sense of the question is to ask “to whom” or “to what?” An enzyme that serves my interests has purpose to me, while the same enzyme in a panda might be harmful to it. The enzyme does not itself have to act purposively to have purpose to me. And its purpose did not have to be known in advance. In this respect, the evolution of an enzyme is more like a discovery than an invention: when something useful to Y is discovered, its purpose to Y is born with the discovery. Lots of things in engineering, pharmacology, etc. are simply happened upon accidentally, and this fact doesn’t change even when they serve crucial purposes in later endeavors.

  203. #203 See Noevo
    June 21, 2015

    #72, redux.

  204. #204 JGC
    June 21, 2015

    Phil, the “undoing something” happens as a 3 prime exonuclease (an enzyme) hydrolyzing a phosphodiester bond–just a chemical reaction.

  205. #205 JGC
    June 21, 2015

    PHIL: We’re not tying to explain the purpose of something without describing its function, are we? You’re approaching the question backwards, by seeing function and presuming purpose.

    See: “how” would address the sequence of chemical reactions that occurs during repair-it wouldn’t speak to possible origins. And there’s no reason to presume a ‘why’–i.e, that systems of DNA repair arose to satisfy a predetermined need or goal.

    And please note that I’m not presuming mechanisms of DNA repair arose through ‘timelessness and randomness’: natural selection operates in a non-random manner.

  206. #206 See Noevo
    June 21, 2015

    As I may have said on one of these blogs recently, I used to believe in evolution, for about 30 years.

    But sometimes when people find out that I no longer believe in evolution, they’ll ask me why, or ask me what particular part of evolution do I have a problem with.

    And my honest answer is that, after studying this stuff for over 12 years, I don’t have a problem with just one part of evolution, or even with 2 or 3 aspects.
    I have problems with EVERY, SINGLE, SOLITARY aspect of evolution. I see problems with the theory in every direction. And not small problems. No. Enormous, insurmountable problems of empiricism, science, logic, philosophy, and yes, religion.

    And not only with biological evolution in general or the evolution of DNA repair mechanisms in particular.
    I see a plethora of problems with COSMOLOGICAL evolution, as well.

    The atheist “rocket” scientists do, too. You just don’t hear about it much in the main stream media.
    Here’s a sad but hilarious example which you probably won’t see on the evening news:
    http://www.space.com/29641-multiverses-big-errors-astrophysics.html

    Some excerpts:
    ======================
    “… a very serious embarrassment”

    “… their results differ from the measured results by about 120 orders of magnitude, or the number 1 followed by 120 zeros…
    This is a large number even in astronomy.”

    “To make a math error that big you know you really have to work hard at it. It’s not easy.”

    “But where does such an astoundingly large error come from? So far, the panelists said, scientists are stumped.”

    “Then people have come up […] with the possibility that there actually is not just one universe, there is a multiverse. There is a huge ensemble of universes.”

    “…if enough universes are created, at least one of them is bound to have the right combination of factors for life.”

    “Priyamvada Natarajan, a professor of astronomy and physics at Yale University who studies exotic matter in the universe, emphasized how the deck seems stacked against a universe that is hospitable to life.”

    “The fact is that you need about six numbers to describe all the properties of our universe — the past, present, future. And we can measure [those numbers] to varying degrees of accuracy. And if any of these numbers actually departed even very slightly from what we measure them to be, then life would not have been possible,” Natarajan said. “So there’s a real fine tuning problem. […] Things have to be just so to have the universe that we have.”

    “So why did our universe end up with the perfect arrangement of variables? Is there a physical cause that scientists can uncover and describe mathematically? Or is our universe just one possible multiverse, determined by a roll of the dice? “This possibility raises the blood pressure of many physicists,” Livio said. “Others think it’s the only way out.”

    “I think even [Stephen] Hawking himself called it a ‘council of despair,'” Frieman said. “Because basically you’re saying we’re never going to figure out a physical explanation for this.”

    “Natarajan finished the discussion by noting that currently, scientists studying the universe are “in a very awkward situation,” wherein they have managed to learn a great deal about dark matter and dark energy, and yet are missing some very fundamental pieces of the puzzle, such as knowing what kind of particle dark matter is made of.”

    “So I think we need to be open to all matter of speculations, given the sort of awkward situation we find ourselves in.”
    ==================

    I think I’d revise one of the quotes above – “Others think it’s the only way out” – and say:

    Get me the hell out of this insane asylum.

  207. #207 Narad
    June 21, 2015

    “Oooohh, I love this! Gravity is a process which we have NEVER observed.”

    Oooohh!
    Perhaps the stupidest statement by an atheist/evolutionist this week.

    Using your own essential criterion of satisficing, why would anyone have randomly observed that clocks run slower on airplanes?

  208. #208 Narad
    June 21, 2015

    ^ “in flight,” etc.; I doubt there’s an evasion too cheap for S.N. (who is being handily outperformed by Phil) at this point.

  209. #209 JGC
    June 21, 2015

    See, what process do you believe is responsible for the existence of the diverse species populations we observe, if it’s not evolution?

  210. #210 Phil
    June 21, 2015

    OccamsLaser,

    “So you believe that excision cannot occur due to chemical processes…”

    No, I believe that there is an attitude that people can acquire that compels them to regard critical thought as a nuisance. You can kinda tell when this happens, because they will trivialize and oversimplify things until they can’t see any difference between things like error-correcting enzyme functions and alka-seltzer. It’s actually a very weird deal, but it is incredibly common.

    Yes, chemical processes are in play with tasks that enzymes perform. But as SN points out, this does not answer questions about why they do this. Perhaps the mysteries about the signals involved can be unlocked. But even if they are, there are still two points we are trying to make that are completely unrelated to chemical interactions.

    The first is that blindly accepting the idea that random events are responsible for the origins of complex, functional enzymes is short-sighted and unthinking. I linked to an article above that describes just one DNA repair enzyme, which Eric mentioned. Photolyases (there are two types) “consist of a single polypeptide of 500 to 700 amino acid residues and two noncovalently bound cofactors/chromophores”. Perhaps you have trouble grasping the odds against winding up with hyper-functionality like this on a random basis. Try again: http://what-when-how.com/molecular-biology/photolyasephotoreactivation-molecular-biology/

    The second point is that there are, or have been, countless billions of biological specialties like photolyase….everything from the simplest proteins, to full-blown organs and systems, to giant collections of sensory-laden organisms like us. Materialism demands that all of it developed incrementally, and without any coercion or guidance. But there is not a single minute step that can be called “likely”. “Remotely possible” would actually be a generous concession. There is no metric that can make any of this look realistic. Science and materialism are mutually exclusive enterprises.

    That is one isolated corner of my personal rationale for not accepting sappy ideas about mutations and natural selection. There are several other more important aspects, the most profound being in view today. I know my Father.

    ===

    Another Matt,

    “I think I can see what’s going on here. Our ID pair seems to think that purpose is an intrinsic property, like mass or redness.”

    ID stops short of answers. I am a Creationist.

    “Purpose is better thought of as a relationship between something and its surroundings.”

    Everything to do with evolution has to be “thought of” in a certain way for it to work. As has been admitted here, imagination is the vital element.

    ===

    JGC,

    “there’s no reason to presume a ‘why’–i.e, that systems of DNA repair arose to satisfy a predetermined need or goal.”

    Exclusion is the foundation of materialism, which has its own declared predetermined needs and goals.

  211. #211 Another Matt
    June 21, 2015

    You can kinda tell when this happens, because they will trivialize and oversimplify things until they can’t see any difference between things like error-correcting enzyme functions and alka-seltzer.

    The alka-seltzer gambit! “Can’t see any difference between…” is kind of like accusing materialists of not being able to see the difference between their automobile and their breakfast banana, an accusation which is falsified by the fact that no materialist tries to drive a banana to work. Saying something is “just a chemical reaction” is consistent with any distinction one would want to make about the nature of different reactions and what kinds of capacities they avail.

  212. #212 Michael Fugate
    June 21, 2015

    Means, Motive, Opportunity – the ball is in your court guys.

  213. #213 Krebiozen
    June 21, 2015

    See Noevo,

    As I may have said on one of these blogs recently, I used to believe in evolution, for about 30 years.

    You may have said it, but I don’t think it’s true. I don’t believe you have ever understood evolution or natural selection. Here’s what you wrote at RI a few weeks ago:

    For each of the following, please demonstrate 1) how and why it evolved, 2) the beneficial function of each of these things in isolation, 3) how and why all of them “co-located” in just the right place and in just the right way. Such that, Voila! I see:
    Cornea
    Retina
    Pupils
    Iris
    Rods
    Cones
    Aqueous humor
    Optic nerve

    No one who has, or who has ever had, any sort of grasp of the concepts of natural selection and evolution would ask such a question.

  214. #214 Narad
    June 21, 2015

    Here’s a sad but hilarious example which you probably won’t see on the evening news

    No, I don’t imagine one would, given that it’s a mess even by pop-sci standards. How you “ran across it” is left as an exercise for the reader.

    Nonetheless, you have already had the undiluted ignorance of trying to hang your hat on the string landscape pointed out. I have already pointed out that attempting a do-over of this failure here is neither more nor less than an attempt to change the subject.

    Of course, you have further established that your ultimate defense is “THIS THREAD WOULD BE NOTHING WITHOUT SEE NOEVO!!1!1!!”

    Nonetheless, you have managed to incorporate one additional ingredient in your landscape failure by virtue of pointing at this entry from space.com, a site obviously known for in-depth reporting on fundamental physics. Your assignment is merely to accurately name this and what it flows from. It is hinted at by the two words “big errors” (these are not “errors” at all, but you have further demonstrated that you think that the title of a journal paper is referred to as a “headline”; well, here you have one), but not actually provided.

    “Sad but hilarious,” indeed.

  215. #215 MNb
    June 21, 2015

    @ 198 SN: “Perhaps the stupidest statement by an atheist/evolutionist this week.”
    Alas for you even my 14 year old pupils know better. Gravity is a force. You can’t observe forces. You can only observe consequences of forces – like the ones I mentioned.
    Thanks for showing how little you understand about science. You’re the one looking stupid, not me, because you don’t even get your own arguments.

  216. #216 MNb
    June 21, 2015

    @213 Krebiozen: “No one who has, or who has ever had, any sort of grasp of the concepts of natural selection and evolution would ask such a question.”

    This is where my Golden Rule becomes active: IDiots and creationists are lying until proven otherwise. That nicely applies to SN’s “I used to believe in evolution, for about 30 years.” SN’s word obviously is no evidence.

  217. #217 See Noevo
    June 21, 2015

    To MNb #215:

    Me:
    “There is a HUGE difference between
    a) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in natural processes which we observe, and
    b) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in processes which we have NEVER observed (i.e. evolution) and which science has not made close to a convincing case could ever happen.”

    You: “Oooohh, I love this! Gravity is a process which we have NEVER observed.”

    Me: “Oooohh! Perhaps the stupidest statement by an atheist/evolutionist this week.”

    You: “Gravity is a force. You can’t observe forces. You can only observe consequences of forces – like the ones I mentioned…You’re the one looking stupid, not me, because you don’t even get your own arguments.”

    Oh. I SEE.
    My stupid mistake was using the somewhat imprecise, somewhat colloquial verb “observe” (e.g. Observe gravity; Observe the Sabbath; Observe someone growing up.)

    And even if stretched to be more precise, “observe” usually is understood to involve only one of the senses, eyesight.

    I should have used more verbs and more precise and inclusive verbs, like “perceive” AND “experience”.

    Revision:
    “There is a HUGE difference between
    a) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in natural processes which we PERCEIVE and/or EXPERIENCE, and
    b) Finding or inferring God’s involvement in processes which we have NEVER PERCEIVED and/or NEVER EXPERIENCED.

    And it should go without saying, but I better say it anyway: ALL living things have PERCEIVED and/or EXPERIENCED gravity.

    OK, stupid?

  218. #218 Narad
    June 21, 2015

    Oh, I missed this bit:

    “The fact is that you need about six numbers to describe all the properties of our universe — the past, present, future….” Natarajan said.

    This is of course wrong when taken out of context – and I have a very good idea of what she’s referring to – but it’s a far cry from your previous sad but hilarious conflation of the number of landscape false vacua with the number of unpossible “parameter” values, isn’t it?

    I see a plethora of problems with COSMOLOGICAL evolution, as well.

    How does the amount of time you’ve spent “studying this stuff” compare with the “over 12 years” you’ve dedicated to evolutionary biology?

  219. #219 JGC
    June 21, 2015

    Your B statement, however, is false: we have observed evolution occurring, directly in real time, in living populations (note these observations include speciation events, which represent macroevolution by definition) and the the case for evolution has been made as strongly as has the case for any other scientific theory you’d care to name.

    Meanwhile all you and Phil have brought to the table in your attempts to invalidate evolutionary models are arguments from personal incredulity.

    Ohh–and your calling another poster stupid? You owe me an irony meter.

  220. #220 Narad
    June 21, 2015

    And it should go without saying, but I better say it anyway: ALL living things have PERCEIVED and/or EXPERIENCED gravity.

    This is trivially false, given the strength of the “force,” among other things, such as Brownian motion.

    OK, stupid?

    Self-summary duly noted.

  221. #221 Narad
    June 21, 2015

    ^ Shorter, if repetitive, version: Define gravity.

  222. #222 Phil
    June 21, 2015

    Krebiozen,

    “No one who has, or who has ever had, any sort of grasp of the concepts of natural selection and evolution would ask such a question.”

    Yeah, that’s the problem. It’s easy enough to bark about concepts, but answering questions about how they actually operate is not easy at all. If you grasp conceptual natural selection and evolution, why evade the questions?

  223. #223 Phil
    June 21, 2015

    JGC,

    “all you and Phil have brought to the table in your attempts to invalidate evolutionary models are arguments from personal incredulity.”

    Well, not really. I’ve tried to explain in detail why the evolutionary models don’t square with reasonable expectations about chance events. You may not like that, and you may consider incredulity to be a bad trait. But being credulous is much worse.

    I should not have to remind you that you bring your evolutionary models come to the table with no statistical support for the mechanisms. If that were not the case, you wouldn’t have to whine about my skepticism.

  224. #224 OccamsLaser
    June 22, 2015

    Phil –

    You stated that excision cannot be a process involving only chemical processes. Your words are memorialized here, so there’s no denying that, unless you wish to retract what you said earlier.

    Let’s review. First, you said,

    if something incorrect is identified, removed and replaced with something correct, it is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring

    Just to be clear, you stated that some part of the process is not possible as just a chemical reaction, and that therefore there is another agent at work, which you do not specify.

    I then asked for more specificity, and you stated that excision “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.” That is, excision, in your view, must involve some other agent, because it’s not possible as a chemical reaction. So far, so good; you’re sticking with your position.

    Because you specifically stated that excision cannot occur as a chemical process, and that therefore there must be another agent at work to make excision occur, I then asked,

    So you believe that excision cannot occur due to chemical processes, and that God is instead manipulating the chemicals to cause the excision. Is that correct?

    However, at this point, you become extremely evasive and would not answer that simple, direct question.

    Why are you unable to simply answer that question? You’ve already flatly stated that excision is definitely not just a chemical process. Simply state what agent you believe is responsible for performing the parts of the excision process that you claim are definitely not due to chemical reactions.

    So simple.

    What’s your answer? Step up and give a direct reply, Phil. Direct.

  225. #225 See Noevo
    June 22, 2015

    Re: #224:

    OccamsLaser: “So you believe that excision cannot occur due to chemical processes, and that God is instead manipulating the chemicals to cause the excision. Is that correct? Why are you unable to simply answer that question? You’ve already flatly stated that excision is definitely not just a chemical process. Simply state what agent you believe is responsible for performing the parts of the excision process that you claim are definitely not due to chemical reactions. So simple. What’s your answer? Step up and give a direct reply, Phil. Direct.”

    An automobile’s internal combustion engine requires the proper working of a carburetor, which might be likened to a chemical excision process. The carburetor excises excess air and excises excess gasoline to create the optimal combustible mixture of the two.
    I guess you could say the carburetor’s excision is a mechanical AND a chemical process.

    OccamsLaser, would you please simply state what agent you believe is responsible for performing the parts of the carburetor excision process? So simple. What’s your answer? Step up and give a direct reply, OccamsLaser. Direct.

  226. #226 Narad
    June 22, 2015

    An automobile’s internal combustion engine requires the proper working of a carburetor

    No, it doesn’t.

    which might be likened to a chemical excision process.

    Only if one has exactly zero knowledge of what a carb does. Are you somehow confusing this with a catalytic converter?

    I mean, seriously, you should stick to embarrassing yourself on esoteric subjects. Phil seems to be “doing fine” on his own.

  227. #227 Narad
    June 22, 2015

    ^ Oh, dear, the first bit was so jaw-dropping that I missed the elaboration:

    The carburetor excises excess air

    No, it doesn’t. How is the air “excised” from the mixture? Be specific.

    and excises excess gasoline

    No, it doesn’t. Where does this “excised” gasoline go to? Be specific.

    to create the optimal combustible mixture of the two.

    Please define “optimal” with an eye to differentiating the word from “adequate.”

    I guess you could say the carburetor’s excision is a mechanical AND a chemical process.

    Only if one has no idea what “chemical process” means.

  228. #228 eric
    June 22, 2015

    Phil @210:

    Yes, chemical processes are in play with tasks that enzymes perform. But as SN points out, this does not answer questions about why they do this.

    Chemical thermodynamics and kinetics are why they do this. Chemical potential is why they do this. The empirical properties of these molecules are all that is needed to explain why the reactions occur the way they do. Photolyase doesn’t “know” its correcting an error. It can’t tell what’s an error from what’s an original bond from what may an improvement. When it contacts a certain type of dimer bond, it breaks it, because of the chemical properties of it and those dimer bonds. That’s it. That’s all that is happening. Fortunately for us, our regular DNA doesn’t contain any of those dimer bonds, so this chemical reaction has the effect of correcting errors when it occurs. But there is no more purpose here than there is purpose in a buffer “keeping” a solution at a certain pH.

    Perhaps you have trouble grasping the odds against winding up with hyper-functionality like this on a random basis.

    I think it is you who have trouble grasping the odds. You keep using adjectives to describe just how unlikely evolution is, but you never do any math to back up whether the populations and times involved make the net effect likely or unlikely.

    Fortunately, the actual ID scientist Michael Behe has done such calculations. He’s published on them. And you are wrong; they are not so unlikely that these events can never occur. See for example day 12 of the Kitzmiller trial. In it, Behe runs through his calculations that estimate the mutations he’s discussing would require a population of 10E9 prokaryotes. Billions! But then he’s confronted by the lawyer who points out there are 10E16 prokaryotes in a single ton of soil; a million-fold more than what is needed, even though Behe’s model excludes from its parameters some of the processes by which we know evolution occurs (i.e. exaptation), so it’s really an underestimation of the probability of this mutation occurring. Behe himself later volunteers that the population of prokaryotes one earth in one year is about 10E30 and on earth throughout time is something like 10E40. Astronomically more than what would be needed for his “impossible” multi-step mutation to occur.
    So, when ID creationists put actual probabilities to these biological processes, their improbability numbers combined with empirically known estimates for number of organisms, support the conclusion that multi-step mutations can occur.

  229. #229 eric
    June 22, 2015

    Phil @223:

    Well, not really. I’ve tried to explain in detail why the evolutionary models don’t square with reasonable expectations about chance events.

    You have not provided any such explanation. You provide qualitative assertions that these events are too improbable to happen, but you don’t have any math or empirical observations of likelihood to back those assertions up. Lacking any supporting data about improbability vs. mutational rates and populations, these qualitative assertions amount to nothing more than an argument from incredulity.
    Nobody is taking Phil’s word on what is probable and improbable; your assertion of improbability is not an explanation. if you want to convince us, you have to cite data on mutational likelihoods, data on population numbers etc… Behe, to his partial credit, has at least tried to do that. He fails to make his case, but at least he tried. As far as I can tell, you don’t even bother to try. You’re arguments are stuck at the level of ‘it seem too improbable to me, so it couldn’t have happened.’

  230. #230 eric
    June 22, 2015

    See Noevo @162:

    I think the First Amendment might NOT prevent a public servant from mentioning God and appealing to God’s power. Because if it did so prevent, a lot of public servants would be in jail, including most living presidents of the United States.

    So, the way you interpret the first amendment, it is okay for a Hindu public school teacher in a biology class to mention Vishnu, and appeal to Vishnu’s power in creating Brahma and then ordering it to create the world?

  231. #231 JGC
    No, Phil: just more personal incredulity
    June 22, 2015

    I find it interesting that See, in his attempts to find some clever analogy to serve in lieu of an actual argument against or valid criticism of biological evolution has chosen automobile carburetors, things that operate in a completely mechanical manner to regulate fuel/air mixtures in internal combustion motors.

  232. #232 eric
    June 22, 2015

    @231: in some (most?) designs there is a throttle or valve that controls the air/fuel mixed, and this is linked to the accelerator. So there is some intelligent agency involved in what mixture is produced. But See’s original rhetorical question @225 is still very easy to answer: in designs where the carburetor is linked to the accelerator, the driver is the intelligent agent responsible for the specific mixture produced. Foot goes down, valve opens up. Empirically we observe equivalent to a ‘driver’s foot’ in (example) dimer-bond-breaking by photolyase.

  233. #233 eric
    June 22, 2015

    Ack should read “nothing equivalent.”

    I blame Jason’s ads. They are starting to cause drops in text as well as annoyingly shifting the page to the location of the ad, sometimes aggressively so (i.e., multiple times a second so that I have to hold down a mouse button just to keep reading a comment).

  234. #234 Michael Fugate
    June 22, 2015

    Phil claims to be a YEC. Who knows what SN believes.
    Given this, Phil has stated previously that a god spoke? some words and something came from nothing. This is quite vague. Phil can you take us through, say, day 5 of creation week? Take us through a single bird, a raven for instance, from start to finish. What is going in this god’s mind before, what words are spoken, how do words rearrange atoms? Can you tell us why this god created, what was its motivation? What purpose does creation have for this god? Why did creation stretch out over time – why not instantaneous creation?

  235. #235 See Noevo
    June 22, 2015

    To eric, et al:

    Two sides of the “cred” coin:

    The evolutionist’s definition of INcredulity: A creationist’s or IDer’s refusal to believe a “1-in-a-trillion-ish” long shot happening on the ONE AND ONLY roll of the dice (e.g. The one Big Bang’s rolling the universal constants at their precise and necessary settings; Photosynthesis mutating into being before the first green plant died.)

    The creationist’s or IDer’s definition of CREDulity: An evolutionist’s refusal to DISbelieve that the “1-in-a-trillion-ish” long shot happened on the ONE AND ONLY roll of the dice.

  236. #236 dean
    June 22, 2015

    The difference between the points of view yiu dishonestly present at 235 sn, is that the scientists have all the supporting data from nature on their side. Creationists have liars and people who don’t take the time to understand, or even study, science.

  237. #237 eric
    June 22, 2015

    See Noevo:

    The evolutionist’s definition of INcredulity: A creationist’s or IDer’s refusal to believe a “1-in-a-trillion-ish” long shot happening on the ONE AND ONLY roll of the dice

    Show me your math. What’s the probability of photosynthesis evolution, and how did you calculate it?

  238. #238 JGC
    June 22, 2015

    See, what you’re having trouble believing is a straw-man depiction of evolution of your own devising that bears no resemblance to anything actual evolutionary models state or predict. )For one thing, abundant evidence demonstrates photosynthesis did not first arise in plants but but arose much, much earlier in populations of photosynthetic microrganisms from which plants later descended–see http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/timeline-of-photosynthesis-on-earth/)

  239. #239 OccamsLaser
    June 22, 2015

    Marty “See Noevo” K wrote,

    OccamsLaser, would you please simply state what agent you believe is responsible for performing the parts of the carburetor excision process? So simple. What’s your answer? Step up and give a direct reply, OccamsLaser. Direct.

    Marty, let’s get something out of the way. You are a coward. This has been demonstrated repeatedly here.

    This is another outstanding example of not just your cowardice, but your painful lack of intelligence and knowledge. Phil has stated that some aspects of the DNA repair process are merely chemical reactions, but at least one aspect — excision — “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    I’ll be charitable and work around your laughable ignorance of how a carburetor performs its function — and of what its function is. I understand that as part of your profound Dunning-Kruger syndrome, you are simply not intelligent enough to be aware of how unintelligent and ignorant you are; this has been amply demonstrated repeatedly in recent weeks on this board, and examples abound. So, I will help you, because you need a great deal of help in the knowledge and thinking departments. I’ll re-word your meaningless question in a way that I think represents what you might be trying to ask:

    “OccamsLaser, would you please simply state what agent you believe is responsible for performing the parts of the carburetor’s function that cannot be attributable to processes known to science? So simple. What’s your answer? Step up and give a direct reply, OccamsLaser. Direct.”

    My answer to this question is that I do not believe there are any parts of the carburetor’s function that require any intervention by an agent. The way in which a carburetor performs its function is in accordance with scientific principles. This is in direct contrast to Phil’s claims regarding DNA repair.

    Do you agree with Phil that excision “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring?” What’s your answer? Step up and give a direct reply, Marty. Direct.

  240. #240 Krebiozen
    June 22, 2015

    Phil,

    “No one who has, or who has ever had, any sort of grasp of the concepts of natural selection and evolution would ask such a question.”
    Yeah, that’s the problem. It’s easy enough to bark about concepts, but answering questions about how they actually operate is not easy at all. If you grasp conceptual natural selection and evolution, why evade the questions?

    What specific question is anyone evading? SN’s statement revealed his belief that the components of an eye evolved separately in isolation and then “relocated” to work together as an eye. That straw man version of what he thinks evolutionary biology tells us is all we need to know about SN’s level of understanding.

    I’ve tried to explain in detail why the evolutionary models don’t square with reasonable expectations about chance events. You may not like that, and you may consider incredulity to be a bad trait. But being credulous is much worse.

    As has been discussed, what you describe as “reasonable expectations about chance events” are rooted in a human time scale. The likelihood of an event happening during a given period depends not just on its probability but also on how long it is observed for. Isn’t that obvious?

    I should not have to remind you that you bring your evolutionary models come to the table with no statistical support for the mechanisms. If that were not the case, you wouldn’t have to whine about my skepticism.

    But there is a huge amount of statistical and other support for the mechanisms! I am by no means up to date in this area but even I know that the probabilities of specific mutations, genetic drift, and the time scales involved have been calculated for various organisms and for the most part it all meshes with what we observe. <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3748133/"This article, grabbed just as an example, looks at how well hypothetical models fit with observations and areas where they do not. There are undoubtedly surprises to come, and we don’t understand every detail, but natural selection is the main driver of evolution without a shadow of a doubt. If you have come to believe otherwise I honestly believe you have missed something important or otherwise taken a wrong turn somewhere.

    I’m probably wasting my time here, but I suggest you read Dawkins’ ‘The Blind Watchmaker’, if you haven’t already. The entire book is about natural selection (metaphorically) imitating design, the very problem you seem to be struggling with. It’s a simply written book that isn’t too technical; sadly SN found it beyond his intellect but perhaps you might fare better.

  241. #241 Krebiozen
    June 22, 2015
  242. #242 Phil
    June 22, 2015

    OccamsLaser,

    “you become extremely evasive and would not answer that simple, direct question.” which was “God is instead manipulating the chemicals to cause the excision. Is that correct?”

    No, I don’t think that. First, it is not necessary for God to mediate every biological interaction, and second, it is obvious that He does not. However, I am very confident that there are enzymes which are specifically designed to repair DNA damage and replication failures.

    “You’ve already flatly stated that excision is definitely not just a chemical process.”

    That should be obvious to anyone who reads the papers. Error removal is not just metaphorical terminology. It is one of many specific specific enzyme functions. Purposeful functions.

    “So simple.”

    No, it is anything but simple, but it works very well. Don’t lose sight of the fact that replication enzymes are there to remove the “grist of the mill of evolution”.

    Got any ideas about how they evolved?

    ===

    eric,

    “Photolyase doesn’t “know” its correcting an error. It can’t tell what’s an error from what’s an original bond from what may an improvement. When it contacts a certain type of dimer bond, it breaks it, because of the chemical properties of it and those dimer bonds. That’s it.”

    Well, that’s actually not it.

    “Nucleotide excision repair is a general DNA repair mechanism which is based on the ability of the excision nuclease to recognize bulky lesions that distort the DNA helix (Sancar, 1996). Photolyase, in binding to photoproducts and ‘flipping out’ the damaged dinucleotide, increases distortion of the DNA helix at the damage site and thereby accelerates damage recognition and assembly of the excision repair complex (Sancar et al., 1984; Hays et al., 1985; Sancar and Smith, 1989)…..…The detailed mechanism of stimulation of excision repair is unknown; it is unaffected by light, and no physical interaction between photolyase and the excision repair machinery has been found.”

    “I think it is you who have trouble grasping the odds. You keep using adjectives to describe just how unlikely evolution is, but you never do any math to back up whether the populations and times involved make the net effect likely or unlikely.”

    First of all, I don’t mind pointing out that the reason you’ve bought into this nonsense has nothing to do with numbers. Going all the way back to Darwin, people believe it for one reason…they like it. Statistics and probabilities have nothing whatever to do with it, and the lawyer’s penetrating analysis is about as deep as it will ever go. You can prove me wrong by linking to something in the journals, but in the meantime, with the combined brainpower of millions of evolutionary-ologists at your disposal, you ought to be embarrassed at having to resort to an attorney.

    Second, the organisms in the soil deal is full of flaws, not the least of which is the obvious reality that nobody is claiming to find evolution happening in every cubic yard of dirt. I’ve posted many examples like this one:

    “so well preserved that microscopic analysis revealed that they could make out its DNA structure…..it preserved cytoplasm, cytosol granules, nuclei, and even chromosomes in various stages of cell division. Morphometric parameters of interphase nuclei match those of extant Osmundaceae, indicating that the genome size of these reputed “living fossils” has remained unchanged over at least 180 million years—a paramount example of evolutionary stasis.”
    http://phys.org/news/2014-03-million-year-old-fossilized-fern-identical-modern.html

    I don’t need to describe just how unlikely evolution is. I can show you.

  243. #243 See Noevo
    June 22, 2015

    To multiple addressees…

    To dean #236:

    “The difference between the points of view yiu dishonestly present at 235 sn, is that the scientists have all the supporting data from nature on their side.”

    If so, then why are they in a “council of despair” regarding the very poor odds, to put it mildly, in support of their position (see #206)?
    ……

    To eric #237:

    Me: “The evolutionist’s definition of INcredulity: A creationist’s or IDer’s refusal to believe a “1-in-a-trillion-ish” long shot happening on the ONE AND ONLY roll of the dice (e.g. The one Big Bang’s rolling the universal constants at their precise and necessary settings; Photosynthesis mutating into being before the first green plant died.)”

    You: “Show me your math. What’s the probability of photosynthesis evolution, and how did you calculate it?”

    I don’t have the math handy on photosynthesis mutating before the first green plant died (or before the first proteobacteria died).
    Perhaps you can help me with the math by reviewing what photosynthesis involves: https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Photosynthesis

    I think I DO have the math, though, for the one Big Bang’s ONE AND ONLY roll of the dice to produce the universal constants at their precise and necessary settings. I greatly understated the odds (the “1-in-a-trillion-ish” was somewhat tongue-in-cheek). The probability is roughly one divided by infinity. See, the potential “settings” for any of the universal constants is infinite, but only one setting works.
    So, the math is 1/infinity.
    ………………………..

    To OccamsLaser #239 (a.k.a. Braveheart):

    “My answer to this question is that I do not believe there are any parts of the carburetor’s function that require any intervention by an agent. The way in which a carburetor performs its function is in accordance with scientific principles.”

    And what caused the carburetor to exist and perform its function?
    ……..

    To Krebiozen #240:

    “SN’s statement revealed his belief that the components of an eye evolved separately in isolation and then “relocated” to work together as an eye.”

    I don’t know where you got that idea. You know I don’t believe in evolution.
    I was asking YOU to demonstrate, for each of the following, 1) how and why it evolved, 2) the beneficial function of each of these things in isolation, 3) how and why all of them “co-located” in just the right place and in just the right way. Such that, Voila! I see:
    Cornea
    Retina
    Pupils
    Iris
    Rods
    Cones
    Aqueous humor
    Optic nerve

    Not even evolutionists believe all of the above mutated at the same time. So, what was the sequence of mutational miracles? Was the retina accidentally created first? If so, what was it behind?
    As far as location, did the cones first appear around the belly button, and then many other places around the body, but decided to hang around only when they somehow “detected” some useful function they were providing in a specific area of the head?

    So many questions. Probably trillions of questions.

  244. #244 JGC
    June 23, 2015

    The probability is roughly one divided by infinity. See, the potential “settings” for any of the universal constants is infinite, but only one setting works.

    Except there’s no reason to presume that “only one setting works”, See–your problem is that you’re asking the wrongquestion, “what are the odds that a universe just like this one capable of supporting life as we know it, could exist?” rather than the relevant question, which is “What are the odds that some universe capable of supporting some form of life, even if very different than the life we’re familiar with, could exist?”

    It turns out that physical constants can vary over very large ranges–we’re talking orders of magnitude–and still generate universes where stellar lifetimes are sufficient to allow for living organisms to arise (see http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cosmo.html

  245. #245 Sean T
    June 23, 2015

    Phil and See (or anyone else who wants to take a shot at it):

    If I understand at least one of your lines of argument correctly, you argue that the probability of certain biological systems occurring via evolution is too low to have reasonably expected that process to have been the actual origin of those systems. Now, given that, how improbable is too improbable? IOW, you are proposing an argument of the form event A has a probability x of actually occurring. x is a very small number. Therefore, event A could not have occurred. How small must x be in order to make this a valid argument?

  246. #246 eric
    June 23, 2015

    First of all, I don’t mind pointing out that the reason you’ve bought into this nonsense has nothing to do with numbers.

    The reason I support it is because there is strong evidence consistent with evolution. The statistical issue is really a problem for your side, not ours, as it is YOU who are claiming some event is too improbable to have happened by evolutionary mechanisms. You can’t say that with any sort of credibility unless you have a probability calculation to back it up. No calculation means that (at best for you, at worst for us) we don’t know the probability, in which case it is unwarranted to assert that some additional mechanism is necessary. If you don’t know the odds, then the strongest conclusion you can make is that you don’t know if additional mechanisms are needed or not. You simply can’t get from ‘don’t know the odds’ to ‘Jesus required.’

    can prove me wrong by linking to something in the journals,

    Nope, I won’t be wasting my time. You’ve shown in the past that you don’t bother reading links, even ones that are provided to you in response to your requesting information or asking for evidence.

    I don’t need to describe just how unlikely evolution is. I can show you.

    Okay, I’m waiting for an unlikelihood calculation. Pointing out that some ferns alive today have been on the planet a long time is not it.

  247. #247 eric
    June 23, 2015

    See Noevo @243:

    I don’t have the math handy on photosynthesis mutating before the first green plant died

    Others have commented on just how badly wrong the last part of your statement is, but if you don’t have the math, you can’t say what the odds are, and if you can’t say what the odds are, you have no basis for inferring design was needed for it to occur.

    Its theoretically possible that in the future, scientists will collect evidence demonstrating some saltational change which calls Darwinian evolution into question. Example: a parent-offspring genetic comparison showing a massive, sophisticated, integrated set of genetic mutations occurred in one generation. That would be a test of evolution, and in such a case your probability calculations would be relevant and you might indeed have an empirical justification for inferring some non-Darwinian mechanism. But without any such case, your intuitional assertion that without data you think chlorophyll evolution is too improbable is utterly worthless.

    I think I DO have the math, though, for the one Big Bang’s ONE AND ONLY roll of the dice to produce the universal constants at their precise and necessary settings. I greatly understated the odds (the “1-in-a-trillion-ish” was somewhat tongue-in-cheek). The probability is roughly one divided by infinity. See, the potential “settings” for any of the universal constants is infinite…

    They are? Can you point me to the physics measurement that shows the fundamental constants could be any value? Can you point me to the empirical data that shows all values are equiprobable? How do you know that there are an infinite number of possible values for, say, the fine structure constant? Please, point me to the work which shows this.

    Spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist. The physicists who do this stuff are doing something like ‘worst case scenario planning.’ They have no real data on what values these constants can attain. So what you are referencing is not really an estimate of the improbability, its a lower bounds on it.

  248. #248 JGC
    June 23, 2015

    That would be a test of evolution, and in such a case your probability calculations would be relevant and you might indeed have an empirical justification for inferring some non-Darwinian mechanism.

    Of course, that would still leave the identity of the non-Darwinian mechanism unknown–we’d have gone from “Evolution did it all” to “Evolution didn’t do it all”, not from “Evolution did it” to “God did it” (or its secular cousin “Intelligent Design did it”).

  249. #249 OccamsLaser
    June 23, 2015

    Phil, you’re being evasive. You do know that the reason people are evasive that they are fearful of giving a direct, truthful answer, don’t you? Why are you afraid of giving a direct, truthful answer?

    You said that some aspects of the DNA repair process are merely chemical reactions, but at least one aspect — excision — “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    Please state what agent is causing excision to take place, if it’s not a chemical reaction.

    Don’t be evasive. You know what that would mean.

  250. #250 OccamsLaser
    June 23, 2015

    See Noevo wrote,

    And what caused the carburetor to exist and perform its function?

    I’m surprised you don’t know, but I guess I shouldn’t be, given your stark ignorance on this and other subjects. But you’re evading, Marty. I answered your question, but you haven’t answered mine. That’s because you’re afraid of a truthful answer, of course.

    Do you agree with Phil that chemical reactions can’t cause excision?

  251. #251 See Noevo
    June 23, 2015

    To multiple addressees…

    To Sean T #245:
    “IOW, you are proposing an argument of the form event A has a probability x of actually occurring. x is a very small number. Therefore, event A could not have occurred. How small must x be in order to make this a valid argument?”

    How about effectively zero, as in one divided by infinity?
    ……..

    To eric #247:

    Me: “I think I DO have the math, though, for the one Big Bang’s ONE AND ONLY roll of the dice to produce the universal constants at their precise and necessary settings. I greatly understated the odds (the “1-in-a-trillion-ish” was somewhat tongue-in-cheek). The probability is roughly one divided by infinity. See, the potential “settings” for any of the universal constants is infinite…”

    You: “They are? Can you point me to the physics measurement that shows the fundamental constants could be any value? …The physicists who do this stuff are doing something like ‘worst case scenario planning.’ They have no real data on what values these constants can attain.”

    First of all, how would YOU comfort the “council of despair” (e.g. Stephen Hawking, Priyamvada Natarajan) noted in #206?
    What would you say to them to make them feel less “awkward”?

    Secondly, I think the scientists DO have real data, or at least theoretical data, on what values these constants can attain. And there appears to be very little wiggle room, in the real world.

    Here is one example, an academic paper by Fred C. Adams, an astrophysicist and professor of physics at the University of Michigan. His PhD is from the University of California, Berkeley.

    Adams’ paper deals with only three parameters – G,α,C which are the gravitational constant, the fine structure constant, and a composite parameter that determines nuclear fusion rates, respectively. http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/64225/jcap8_08_010.pdf?sequence=1

    At first, Adams appears to see a lot of wiggle room: “Roughly one-fourth of this parameter space allows for the existence of ‘ordinary’ stars”!

    However, if one delves just a little deeper into the paper, one finds that, apparently, this stunning finding is based on a model of star behavior for other universeS (i.e. in a hypothetical multiverse).

    Here some cut and paste from Adam’s paper, with [my comments]:

    “In this paper, we have developed a simple stellar structure model (section 2) to explore the possibility that stars can exist in universes with different values for the fundamental parameters that determine stellar properties…
    “… we conclude that universes with stars are not especially rare (contrary to previous claims), even if the fundamental constants can vary substantially in other regions of space–time (e.g. other pocket universes in the multiverse).”

    [Lord forbid that someone should make a contrary claim about the rarity of stars in other universes, let alone a contrary claim that the very notion of multiverses is at best an extraordinary hypothetical.]

    “For universes where no nuclear reactions are possible, we have shown that unconventional stellar objects can fill the role played by stars in our universe…”

    [Good word choice. “Unconventional” goes well in a sentence on “universeS.”]

    “In fact, all universes can support the existence of stars, provided that the definition of a star is interpreted broadly.”

    [You don’t say!? Is that a fact!? I do declare!]

    “Dark matter particles can also (in principle) form degenerate stellar objects.”

    [And here I thought I read elsewhere that not only have dark matter particles NOT been discovered, but that the allegedly near-omnipresent dark matter in toto has not been observed, and remains shrouded in astronomical mystery.]

    “The issue of alternative values for the fundamental constants, as considered herein, is related to the issue of time variations in the constants in our universe. However, current experiments place rather strong limits on smooth time variations, with timescales exceeding the current age of the universe.”

    [Timescales exceeding the current age of the universe? The universe’s birthday-giving Big Bang goes poof? I do declare!]

    “Another possibility is for the constants to have different values at other spatial locations within our universe, although this scenario is also highly constrained.”

    [Another possibility. I can only imagine how highly constrained.]

    “An important related question (beyond the scope of this work) is whether or not stellar bodies can be readily made in universes with varying values of the constants.”

    [I thought he had already said that in his hypothetical multiverse the stars could possibly form, but I guess my reading wasn’t nuanced enough.]

    “Finally, we note that this paper has focused on the question of whether or not stars can exist in universe with alternative values of the relevant parameters. An important and more global question is whether or not these universes could also support life of some kind. Of course, such questions are made difficult by our current lack of an a prioritheory of life.”

    [Life, beyond the stars, so to speak. Oh boy. This is where evolutionary authors add ‘These findings raise questions for further exciting research.’]

    “Nonetheless, some basic requirements can be identified (with reasonable certainty). In addition to energy sources (provided by stars), there will be additional constraints to provide the right mix of chemical elements (e.g. carbon in our universe) and a universal solvent (e.g. water). These additional requirements will place additional constraints on the allowed region(s) of parameter space.”

    [Additional, additional, additional. Yada yada yada.]

    Sadly, this paper also appears online in the library of an alma mater of mine, Cornell University.

  252. #252 See Noevo
    June 23, 2015

    To OccamsLaser #250:

    Me: “And what caused the carburetor to exist and perform its function?”

    You: “I’m surprised you don’t know, but I guess I shouldn’t be, given your stark ignorance on this and other subjects.”

    But of course I DO know.
    I was just asking YOU the question.
    But you’re evading, Braveheart.
    You haven’t answered my question. “That’s because you’re afraid of a truthful answer, of course.”

    P.S.
    Of course chemical reactions CAN cause excision.
    The question is, how did that chemical capability come to be? And how did the carburetor come to be?

  253. #253 Michael Fugate
    June 23, 2015

    If an organism is less probable than the enzyme it produces, then isn’t it likely that a god is less probable than the universe it produces? I think you guys have just made it impossible for gods to exist.

  254. #254 Michael Fugate
    June 23, 2015

    Here is something to chew on from an Anglican vicar and geologist Michael Roberts. It makes me wonder why more
    Christians aren’t speaking up forcefully….

    Creationism is totally untrue. It exposes people of the book – many of whom […] see no contradiction between evolutionary theory and their faith – to ridicule. And if it gains traction with governments or other authorities, then the public practice of science and research will be hindered.

    See here for complete context.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2009/nov/15/evolution-islam-religion-creationism

  255. #255 eric
    June 23, 2015

    See Noevo @251: I get an error referencing that article so I’ll have to withhold judgment on whether Adams says he has empirical evidence for what values these constants can attain. But none of your excerpts support that. What he’s making in your excerpts is a series of conditional arguments: if the values are X, then Y would happen. This is not the same as saying that he has empirical proof the value can be X.

    You also seem to be reading a few of his excerpts drastically wrong, which leads me to believe you probably haven’t found the smoking gun you think you’ve found. Here are the main two:

    [Adams] “The issue of alternative values for the fundamental constants, as considered herein, is related to the issue of time variations in the constants in our universe. However, current experiments place rather strong limits on smooth time variations, with timescales exceeding the current age of the universe.”

    [See Noevo] [Timescales exceeding the current age of the universe? The universe’s birthday-giving Big Bang goes poof? I do declare!]

    No, Adams is not claiming anything like something happened on a timescale before the big bang. His actual point is pretty simple: we can use empirical data to put limits on how much the constants could be varying over time, and when we do that, we see that any significant variation would have taken longer than the age of the universe, and so isn’t a realistic possibility. He’s saying we can empirically rule out change over time.

    [Adams]“Another possibility is for the constants to have different values at other spatial locations within our universe, although this scenario is also highly constrained.”

    [See Noevo] [Another possibility. I can only imagine how highly constrained.]

    Again you seemed to have misinterpreted his statement quite badly. He’s saying they can’t really vary much over space because those variations would be inconsistent with what we observe. His talk of ‘constraint’ is not him making some artificial assumption, he’s saying that if someone wanted to propose a variation in the constants over space and have it be consistent with empirical data, that variation would have to be very small. I.e., constrained.

    In short I don’t see anything in your excerpts that contradicts my point. You still have no evidential basis for saying these constants can vary or by how much. You have no empirical basis for your ‘infinite’ denominator. But I will read the full article on another computer when I can.

  256. #256 JGC
    June 23, 2015

    See, the Fred Adams publication you cited actually reaches exactly the opposite conclusion that you beleive it does. From the abstract (bold for emphasis):

    Working within this model, we delineate the portion of parameter space that allows for the existence of stars. Our main finding is that a sizable fraction of the parameter space (roughly one-fourth) provides the values necessary for stellar objects to operate through sustained nuclear fusion. As a result, the set of parameters necessary to support stars are not particularly rare.

    Contrary to your claim the model wasn’t developed to look at stars in other universes, it was developed to look at stars in all universes defined over the range of values for G,α,C Adams considered, which includes our universe.

    Table % should have made that clear–note the triangle that represents the parameter space for our universe, falling well within the parameter s;pace for all universes allowing the existence of long-lived fusion type stars.

    what Adams found (similarly to what Stenger found in the article I cited and you’ve painstakingly ignored) is that the rather than requiring fine tuning or precision the values for such “universal constants” can vary over very large ranges.

    Adams found that the constants G, α,and C three vary by 2 orders of magnitude in any direction, in any combination and long lived fusion type stars can exist (in fact, G itself can be decreased by 5-10 orders of magnitude whileallow for stars to develop).

  257. #257 JGC
    June 23, 2015

    Sigh–table 5 (sticky shift key).

  258. #258 See Noevo
    June 23, 2015

    To eric #255:

    “In short I don’t see anything in your excerpts that contradicts my point. You still have no evidential basis for saying these constants can vary or by how much. You have no empirical basis for your ‘infinite’ denominator. But I will read the full article on another computer when I can.”

    How the hell do you come up with this crap?

    MY POINT is that these constants can NOT vary by even a little. And the same point is made by Stephen Hawking, et al (#206). Go check THEIR math.

    Fred C. Adams purports to have an evidential basis, or some kind of basis, for saying these constants CAN vary and by how much (i.e. up to 25%), BUT this comparatively HUGE range is POSSIBLE ONLY only in his (and JGC’s) make-believe, science fiction world of multiverses.

    You live in the land of Oz.

    Time to wake up, Dorothy.

  259. #259 JGC
    "You! Yesyou! Put down the Dunning-Kruger and step away from the keyboard!"
    June 23, 2015

    MY POINT is that these constants can NOT vary by even a little.

    Your point, however, has been shown to be invalid by people with actual academic training, advanced degress, and records of published contributions to the field of cosmology (like Adams, Stenger, etc.).

    All you’re bringing to the table, yet again, is another argument from personal incredulity.

  260. #260 eric
    June 23, 2015

    MY POINT is that these constants can NOT vary by even a little.

    Sigh. You don’t know the probability of the fine structure constant being what it is, because you don’t know what other values it could attain. You don’t know the possible range of values. Adams doesn’t know that either. Einstein didn’t know it. Nobody knows it. You are trying to claim that Jesus is necessary because if the fine structure constant could be any number, then there’s an infinitely small probability it would turn out to be our number. But you don’t know if the fine structure constant could be any number. Yours is a conditional argument that is only as good as the unsupported premise you start with. It could have only one possible value (i.e., be fully dependent on some unknown physical law). It could vary from its current value by +/- 0.0001%, or +/-10%, or +/- 1,000,000,000%. Heck, it could vary over infinite possible values but with a gaussian distribution centered on our value and that would still eliminate the need for design – even with an infinite possible range!!! So, “therefore Jesus required” is completely unwarranted at this point.

    What seems to have confused you is that people like Adams are exploring possibilities. which you have mistaken for known parameters. Adams wants to determine if these constants varied, could stars still form. But he doesn’t know whether they can vary or how much they can vary in other universes/during universe formation. Its an entirely theoretical exercise. That doesn’t mean its useless or pointless – we can still learn stuff from it – but there is a big difference between a scientist saying “let’s see what happens if we let alpha vary by an order of magnitude” and a scientist saying “I know alpha can vary by an order of magnitude when universes are created.” We do the first. We do not assert the second. At least, not yet.

  261. #261 Narad
    June 23, 2015

    the possibility that stars can exist in universes with different values

    Copying and pasting PDF ligatures is not a sign of having put much thought into things.

  262. #262 Harry Pecksmerl
    all over
    June 23, 2015

    Humans and dinosaurs did coexist. There is evidence of that everywhere. Even the Bible talks about Behemoth and Leviathan.

    evolution is some dream that a hairy old man dreamed up because he was mad at God. I cannot believe that people buy into evolution and global warming. two false religions if every there were one.

  263. #263 Krebiozen
    June 23, 2015

    See Noevo,
    You have admitted that you arrived at your disbelief in evolution through your faith in the Roman Catholic Church, so it seems unlikely anyone will reason you out of it. Given this, it seems odd that you would cite Stephen Hawking as support for your position. You might find this TV show of interest (you did express a preference for citation by YouTube IIRC). In it Professor Hawking clearly states:

    Did God create the quantum laws that allowed the Big Bang to occur? In a nutshell, do we need a God to set it all up so that the Big Bang could… bang? I have no desire to offend anyone of faith but I think science has a more compelling explanation than a divine creator. […]
    You can’t get to a time before the Big Bang because, there was no ‘before the Big Bang’. We have finally found something that doesn’t have a cause, for there was no time for a cause to exist in. For me this means there is no possibility of a Creator.

    You might disagree with Prof. Hawking, but please don’t try to pretend he is on your side of this argument.

  264. #264 Narad
    June 23, 2015

    The probability is roughly one divided by infinity. See, the potential “settings” for any of the universal constants is infinite, but only one setting works.
    So, the math is 1/infinity.

    Yes, you’ve deployed this performance repeatedly elsewhere (e.g., this). The core issue is that you assume that physics has stopped – I mean, it’s actually worse, because your starting point was the failure of SUSY* and your inability to grasp that this was utterly irrelevant. The fact that you proved unable to identify an actual constant even after plain mulishness failed you was just icing on the cake.

    Moreover, I pointed out that you might as well just get it over with and start pointing to the value of pi as a slam-dunk for G-d rather than wasting everybody’s time babbling about physics. This predictably sailed right over your head.

    Then, bizarrely, you attempted to ridicule the failure mode, viz., the “anthropic principle,” for no reason other than to invoke the anthropic principle, but personalized.

    Now, I haven’t had time to review the record since you were asserting that carburetors were essential to automobiles, despite their having utterly vanished and never been part of diesel engines, and that regulating a fuel–oil mixture constituted a chemical reaction. I don’t think I’ll have the time tonight.

    Anyway, before that, I was wondering whether you could even identify the name for the “big errors” pointed to by the space.com item that you thoughtlessly plopped out. A quick search suggests that you have not.

    So, allow me to work through that: The space.com piece uses the phrase “vacuum catastrophe,” presumably because the talk was aimed so low as to avoid the actual name, the cosmological constant problem. That this is nothing but a dumb distraction is easily demonstrated by pointing out that everybody knows QM and GR are incompatible, so there’s no reason to expect QFT to predict Λ in the first place. John Baez (if we’re playing argument from authority, I win) sets this out very simply here.

    Now, to cycle back, there are two questions: (1) Is QFT actually a low-energy effective field theory?** Or (2) is there something deeper that underlies SU(3) × SU(2) × U(1) that could extend to high energies?

    Until you can say something coherent about these questions, you’re just wallowing in your ignorance and simultaneously demanding a punt for G-d.

    * Extra credit: What was the idea in the first place?
    ** Extra extra credit here.

  265. #265 Narad
    June 23, 2015

    Argh, I have a three-link comment in moderation. That reminds me of something:

    I’ve REALLY got you worked up, haven’t I, daran?

    Looks as though the moderator here expunges comments with a third hyperlink, but not those with profanity.

    I mean, what really is the probability that Unicode has such precise yet unpredictable values?

  266. #266 OccamsLaser
    June 23, 2015

    Marty, you said,

    Of course chemical reactions CAN cause excision.

    But Phil said excision “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    Maybe you can convince Phil that he’s wrong.

  267. #267 JGC
    June 23, 2015

    Humans and dinosaurs did coexist. There is evidence of that everywhere.

    Citations needed: point us to that abundant evidence, please.

    Even the Bible talks about Behemoth and Leviathan.

    You’re speaking as if the bible were known to be an accurate historical account of actual events, or to possess some inherent authority–why?

    evolution is some dream that a hairy old man dreamed up because he was mad at God.

    Please explain to me how that ‘hairy old man’ then somehow falsified the tremendous body of evidence from which evolutionary theories derive–including false evidence from entire fields of scientific inquiry (genetics, molecular biology, etc.) that would not be discoverrd until decades AFTER his death (pseudogenes; conserved retroviral insertions and transposons; genetic and peptide homologies; convergence of independent phylogenies, etc.)

    “I cannot believe that people buy into evolution and global warming. two false religions if every there were one.”

    Argument from personal incredulity duly noted. Appears Phil and See are in ‘good’ company…

  268. #268 Phil
    June 23, 2015

    Sean T,

    “you are proposing an argument of the form event A has a probability x of actually occurring. x is a very small number. Therefore, event A could not have occurred.”

    Well no. The problem with that is that “biological systems occurring via evolution” would not just be about event A. It would be lots of events. You don’t wind up with a protein thousands of amino acid units long being synthesized after one event. There are also at least two further complications that I can think of. The first is that the more complex something becomes, the more specific the requirements are. The second is that every event has to result in some selectable advantage. In the case of something like eyes, even a good imagination won’t fill in all the blanks.

    ===

    eric,

    “The statistical issue is really a problem for your side, not ours…”

    Yeah, it actually is. But I can appreciate your not-so-candid admission that serious analysis has never been conducted. And it won’t be. And it won’t matter. Who in their right publishable mind, would be so stupid as to even hint that something might be statistically wrong with the paradigm? You’re safe.

    “Pointing out that some ferns alive today have been on the planet a long time is not it.”

    Right. Safe again. If I were you, I wouldn’t let 180,000,000 supposed years worth of no mutations, no natural selection, no evolution at all cross my mind again.

    ===

    OccamsLaser,

    “You do know that the reason people are evasive that they are fearful of giving a direct, truthful answer, don’t you?”

    Of course I do. Do you know how many people I’ve asked about the origins of DNA replication enzymes?

    I’m not evading anything. You just want to reduce enzyme function to nothing but a chemical reaction, and I’m not buying it because it isn’t. Read the literature, and bring me quotes and links that would lead anyone to conclude otherwise. This is not some creationist notion. Actually, it would do you good to read about things like this. It might actually arouse your curiosity long enough to make you wonder about how in hell something like regulated, coordinated, role-specific, hyper-functioning enzymes could result from random errors.

    ===

    Harry Pecksmerl,

    Welcome to the discussion.

  269. #269 JGC
    June 23, 2015

    In the case of something like eyes, even a good imagination won’t fill in all the blanks.

    Of course, we don’t have to rely on imagination to fill in the ‘blanks’ (i.e., intermediate structures) since many are still found in living organisms like planaria,, nautiluses, etc.
    (see http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/eye_stages.html)

  270. #270 JGC
    June 23, 2015

    You just want to reduce enzyme function to nothing but a chemical reaction, and I’m not buying it because it isn’t.

    You’ve asserted this repeatedly, but not only have you yet to demonstrate enzyme function requires anything more than chemical reaction, you’ve yet to suggest why we should assume anything more must be involved or indicate what that something more might be.

  271. #271 See Noevo
    June 23, 2015

    To eric #260:

    “Sigh… you don’t know if the fine structure constant could be any number. Yours is a conditional argument that is only as good as the unsupported premise you start with.”

    Sigh. Just how G d stupid are you, boy?

    The NECESSARY fine tuning of the fine structure constant is NOT a position I, See Noevo, came up with.

    It is Stephen Hawking’s position and Priyamvada Natarajan’s position and virtually every other scientist’s position in physics, cosmology, astrophysics that the FINE STRUCTURE CONSTANT is NECESSARILY fine-tuned for our universe to exist.
    That’s why they despair (#206).

    It is Stephen Hawking’s position and Priyamvada Natarajan’s position and virtually every other scientist’s position in physics, cosmology, astrophysics that the GRAVITATIONAL CONSTANT is NECESSARILY fine-tuned for our universe to exist.
    That’s why they despair (#206).

    It is Stephen Hawking’s position and Priyamvada Natarajan’s position and virtually every other scientist’s position in physics, cosmology, astrophysics that the OTHER UNIVERSAL CONSTANTS/FORCES are NECESSARILY fine-tuned for our universe to exist.
    That’s why they despair (#206).

    Speaking of which, you never answered my questions: How would YOU comfort their “council of despair”? What would you say to them to make them feel less “awkward”?

    “What seems to have confused you is that people like Adams are exploring possibilities.”

    What seems to have confused Adams and YOU and JGC is that the “possibilities” he’s exploring is science FICTION (i.e. multiverses), NOT SCIENCE.

    Sigh. I think I’ll listen to some music.

  272. #272 See Noevo
    June 23, 2015

    To JGC #259:

    Mr. eric can be Dorothy, but in the update to the Wizard of Oz, whose land you live in, we’ll create a new character just for you:
    The pro-evolution, pro-abortion, anti-Holy Writ, observant Jew.

    The wizard may need to give him MANY things he hasn’t got.

  273. #273 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    To Krebiozen #263:

    “You have admitted that you arrived at your disbelief in evolution through your faith in the Roman Catholic Church, so it seems unlikely anyone will reason you out of it.”

    A complete falsehood.
    And just how G d stupid are YOU, boy?
    Or how much of a liar?

    I NEVER admitted that my disbelief in evolution came about through my faith in the Roman Catholic Church.
    And I would have no reason to, because it wouldn’t be true.

    I’ll ask you what so far eric hasn’t answered:
    How would YOU comfort Stephen Hawking and the other scientists in the “council of despair” (#206)?
    What would you say to them to make them feel less “awkward”?

  274. #274 Phil
    June 24, 2015

    JGC,

    “The diagram below shows a simple eye spot. Let us assume it is in the skin of a multicellular creature. It has a dark backing, because that makes vision a bit more directional.”

    Yeah, let’s assume that dark backing. The backing that is the result of random DNA replication errors. What exactly is the selectable value of this dark backing that can’t see jack shit? Are we assuming that there is already a neuron path to the brain as well?

    “Next, an inward dimple happens under the eye spot. The eye spot begins to be on the surface of a shallow pit or depression. This increases the visual acuity, and also protects the eye spot from damage.”

    How about that! An inward dimple just happened. I love things that just happen, and especially for a good reason. Why wouldn’t it just happen, since it increases visual acuity and protects an evolving eye that can’t see anything at all.

    “The dimpling continues until the depth of the pit is about equal to its width. This is now much like the eye of a planarian (flatworm).”

    Well of course the dimpling continues. Because random dimpling DNA replication errors are just waiting in the wings to help out.

    “Next, the rim of the pit begins to constrict. In camera terms, the eye begins to have an “aperture”.”

    And how do you freakin like that? The rim simply begins to constrict. Now who couldn’t appreciate that kind of error-driven cooperation?

    “Next, the rim of the pit begins to constrict. In camera terms, the eye begins to have an “aperture”.
    At some point – perhaps now, or perhaps later – the pit fills with a clear jelly. This may be a small mutation, or it could just be that the creature is covered by a slime layer anyway. In either case, the jelly or slime helps to hold the shape of the pit, and helps to protect the light sensitive cells from chemical damage. And, the jelly keeps mud out.”

    I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but would you suppose that three distinct tear-film glands that we have are in the works at this point?

    “The aperture continues to decrease. Visual acuity increases until the aperture gets so small that it begins to shut out too much light. There will come a point when the aperture is the perfect size. A bigger aperture gives worse eyesight, and a smaller one gives worse eyesight. (The exact size that is “perfect” depends on how bright the lighting is.)

    This is now much like the eye of a nautilus.”

    How perfectly precious…a decreasing aperture. No quotation marks necessary this time on the aperture, because we are pedal on the metal evolving now. And there will surely be a point when the aperture is the perfect size, because natural selection is sort of like Goldilocks, and it understands the importance of “just right”.

    BTW, since we’re this close to the eye of a nautilus:

    “The Nautilus is known as the living fossil due to the fact that it has remained largely unchanged for almost 400 million years.”
    http://www.leisurepro.com/blog/featured/the-nautilus-a-living-fossil-of-the-seas/

    “The eye above is a perfect “pinhole camera”. It can only be improved by adding a lens.

    To get a lens, one mutation is needed.”

    I’m sure, and it’ll be a real beauty. We’re just one little DNA replication screwup away from crystal-clear proteins. This is like watching Hoosiers. Will Ollie make the second free throw? I bet he will.

    “Now that the eye has a lens, the aperture is in the wrong place. The eye will be more acute if the lens moves inward, towards the center of curvature of the light-sensitive surface.”

    Well that’s sort of a bummer, isn’t it? He just stated what was wrong, and didn’t even bother to mention a miracle.

    “The lens continues to move inward. As it moves, the laws of optics say that a thicker and thicker lens is valuable.

    Also, the refractive index of the center of the lens changes. This is possible because the lens is made from a mixture of proteins. The ratio of the proteins can be different in different places, so the lens material is not optically uniform. It is common for a biological lens to have a higher refractive index at the center than at the edges. This “graded index” is a very valuable property.”

    Now we’re back on track, whereby the solution just happens in response to the problem. And I love the reference to the laws of optics. Natural selection must have mastered these back in the Cambrian. But I don’t really get how we were one lousy mutation away from a lens, and now he’s going on about protein mixtures and ratios, and optical uniformity. What a nitpicker. We’re trying to evolve eyes.

    “And we’re done. This is a fish eye, complete with a spherical graded-index lens, placed at the exact center of the light-sensitive layer. The optical quality is excellent, being “aberration-free” over a 180 degree field of view.”

    I’m exhausted. What a ride that was. Can we get this into middle-school textbooks? I’d hate for kids to grow up confused about how the world really works.

  275. #275 Narad
    June 24, 2015

    And just how G d stupid are YOU, boy?

    On this note, I think I’m just going to try to repost what I attempted before, in the hope that it was just the link count and not the length; the content seems inoffensive enough.

    —–

    The probability is roughly one divided by infinity. See, the potential “settings” for any of the universal constants is infinite, but only one setting works.
    So, the math is 1/infinity.

    Yes, you’ve deployed this performance repeatedly elsewhere (e.g., this). The core issue is that you assume that physics has stopped – I mean, it’s actually worse, because your starting point was the failure of SUSY* and your inability to grasp that this was utterly irrelevant. The fact that you proved unable to identify an actual constant even after plain mulishness failed you was just icing on the cake.

    Moreover, I pointed out that you might as well just get it over with and start pointing to the value of pi as a slam-dunk for G-d rather than wasting everybody’s time babbling about physics. This predictably sailed right over your head.

    Then, bizarrely, you attempted to ridicule the failure mode, viz., the “anthropic principle,” for no reason other than to invoke the anthropic principle, but personalized.

    Now, I haven’t had time to review the record since you were asserting that carburetors were essential to automobiles, despite their having utterly vanished and never been part of diesel engines, and that regulating a fuel–oil mixture constituted a chemical reaction. I don’t think I’ll have the time tonight.

    Anyway, before that, I was wondering whether you could even identify the name for the “big errors” pointed to by the space.com item that you thoughtlessly plopped out. A quick search suggests that you have not.

    So, allow me to work through that: The space.com piece uses the phrase “vacuum catastrophe,” presumably because the talk was aimed so low as to avoid the actual name, the cosmological constant problem. That this is nothing but a dumb distraction is easily demonstrated by pointing out that everybody knows QM and GR are incompatible, so there’s no reason to expect QFT to predict Λ in the first place. John Baez (if we’re playing argument from authority, I win) sets this out very simply here.

    Now, to cycle back, there are two questions: (1) Is QFT actually a low-energy effective field theory?** Or (2) is there something deeper that underlies SU(3) × SU(2) × U(1) that could extend to high energies?

    Until you can say something coherent about these questions, you’re just wallowing in your ignorance and simultaneously demanding a punt for G-d.

    * Extra credit: What was the idea in the first place?
    ** Extra extra credit here: arxiv[.]org/abs/1503.00809.

  276. #276 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    Sigh.
    I think this one’s even better.
    [I wonder if Krebiozen thinks a Fender Stratocaster would self-assemble if just given enough time.
    Like with Mt. Rushmore (#127, #147). Rock on.]

  277. #277 Narad
    June 24, 2015

    I had not seen the following S.N. entry before link-pruning my foregoing comment:

    Mr. eric can be Dorothy, but in the update to the Wizard of Oz, whose land you live in, we’ll create a new character just for you:
    The pro-evolution, pro-abortion, anti-Holy Writ, observant Jew.

    The wizard may need to give him MANY things he hasn’t got.

    Yes, G-d’s footstools are kippa’d with foreskins, or something.

    I wouldn’t have wasted my time addressing S.N.’s “physics-based” fine-tuning collapse if I’d known just how primitive its set of knobs really were, much less its ineptitude at adjusting them.

  278. #278 Another Matt
    United States
    June 24, 2015

    Seeing as how Fenders don’t reproduce, there can’t really be any natural selection pressure causing them to evolve.

  279. #279 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    Sigh.
    While I’m addressing Robin Trower’s “Too Rolling Stoned” and Fender Stratocasters, I’ll continue, with an even better Strat player’s take on rolling stones:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTspI0qEldY

    P.S.
    To Another Matt: Mt. Rushmore doesn’t reproduce it either.

  280. #280 Narad
    June 24, 2015

    One further bit of collapse:

    The NECESSARY fine tuning of the fine structure constant is NOT a position I, See Noevo, came up with.

    The great thing is that HE, SEE NOEVO had never even heard of the fine-structure constant until Eric spoon-fed it to him. This is precisely why the best he could come up with earlier – when pressed and pressed was G (=1) as a Magic Number.

    I doubt he understands the reason why this constant is different from all the other constants that he can come up with on his own, though, despite tremendous volunteer assistance on the notion of orders of magnitude.

    So it goes. S.N. is unwilling or unable to stake his claim on a fundamental constant that he should be able to understand: triangles don’t add up to 180 degrees in all geometries any more than the circle defies squaring.

    If G-d is a mathematician, it would be extraordinarily foolhardy for someone who is wholly ignorant of the subject itself to start randomly circumscribing what is knowable for yucks and attention.

  281. #281 Narad
    June 24, 2015

    ^ “This constant” being α.

  282. #282 eric
    June 24, 2015

    Phil:

    [eric] The statistical issue is really a problem for your side, not ours…”

    [Phil] Yeah, it actually is.

    You’re just wrong here. The person who asserts “X is unlikely” has the burden of proof of showing X is actually unlikely. That’s ID creationists.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t let 180,000,000 supposed years worth of no mutations, no natural selection, no evolution at all cross my mind again.

    This is just a variant on the “why are there still monkeys” argument. Parent species do not disappear when a daughter species develops. They may disappear due to environmental changes or predation/parasitism/competition from other species, but if none of that kills them, they will continue to exist.

  283. #283 eric
    June 24, 2015

    See Noevo: @270. These scientists are pointing out that we don’t know why the constants have the values they have. They’re also pointing out that we don’t know how to solve the problem of QM giving the (wildly, astronomically) wrong answer for vacuum energy. They despair (though personally I think they’re being melodramatic, and I’d bet they quite enjoy thinking about these problems) that we may never know.

    That is very different from saying we know that these values are highly improbable because we know they can attain a multitude of values.

    Speaking of which, you never answered my questions: How would YOU comfort their “council of despair”? What would you say to them to make them feel less “awkward”?

    I’d say: “Worship Vishnu, Stephen, because Hinduism is clearly the right answer to the fine tuning problem.”

    What, you don’t think that’s good advice? Me neither. But the same reasons against it would apply to your flavor of creationism too.

    In all seriousness, as I said above I doubt they really feel despair; I think they were being rhetorical/melodramatic. I think they might be upset that these problems will not be solved in their lifetimes, but I think my advice would simply mirror the conclusions they’ve already come to: keep doing science. Keep working on the problems. Even if you don’t solve these particular problems in your lifetime, you’ll probably solve others and enjoy doing so.

  284. #284 Sean T
    June 24, 2015

    Okay, Phil. A series of events 1 through x (where x is some unknown number) has only a probability of y of occurrence. This probability is extremely low. Therefore the series 1-x cannot have occurred.

    How small must y be to render this argument valid. You merely dodged my original point.

    BTW, I was using the term “event” in its normal definition in probability theory, namely as a subset of the sample space of a random variable. In probability theory, one speaks of the event of tossing a coin 10 times and having it land heads all ten, even though each toss is a separate event colloquially speaking. My apologies for not being as clear as I should have been.

  285. #285 Sean T
    June 24, 2015

    SN,

    Each separate step in a proposed evolutionary pathway has some nonzero probability of occurrence. The overall probability of the sequence is the product of these individual nonzero probabilities. Since none of the individual probabilities equal zero, it follows that the probability of the sequence is nonzero as well. Now, again, without dodging the question, how small must the probability of the occurrence of a sequence of events be before we can conclude that the sequence did not occur? Effectively zero is not the same as zero. Put another way, how small must the probability be to be effectively zero. I am looking for a hard number here, not just some vague answer.

  286. #286 eric
    June 24, 2015

    See Noevo:

    The pro-evolution, pro-abortion, anti-Holy Writ, observant Jew.

    I knew you were a creationist and would likely have guessed you were pro-life, but putting observant Jew on this list? Seems you’re the whole Mel Gibson package!

  287. #287 eric
    June 24, 2015

    Phil:

    [citation] “The diagram below shows a simple eye spot. Let us assume it is in the skin of a multicellular creature. It has a dark backing, because that makes vision a bit more directional.”

    [Phil’s response] Yeah, let’s assume that dark backing. The backing that is the result of random DNA replication errors. What exactly is the selectable value of this dark backing that can’t see jack shit?

    Do we also have to explain genetic drift to you?

    Are we assuming that there is already a neuron path to the brain as well?

    LOL yes. You know, just like pretty much all other skin cells have. As far as I know a pigmentation change doesn’t alter nervous system structure. I won’t analyze your other comments but this one was just too fun to pass up.

  288. #288 JGC
    June 24, 2015

    What exactly is the selectable value of this dark backing that can’t see jack shit?

    What is selectable is the improved ability of the eyespot to determine the direction from which any light that’s detected is coming—the words “a bit more directional’ should have been a clear giveaway.

    Are we assuming that there is already a neuron path to the brain as well?

    No, we’re not. Recall we see this eyespots present in organism like bacteria that do not possess brains, where they demonstrably confer increased fitness.

    How about that! An inward dimple just happened.

    Why are you again expressing personal incredulity? All that would be necessary for an inward dimple to occur would be a small change in genetic expression at the time the eyespot was forming in the immature organism.

    I love things that just happen, and especially for a good reason.

    No one is arguing that this change occurred for a reason—you’re presuming goal orientation again.

    Why wouldn’t it just happen, since it increases visual acuity and protects an evolving eye that can’t see anything at all.

    But it isn’t conferring improved protection for an eye that can’t see anything—it’s conferring improved protection for eyespots which can detect not only light but determine the direction that light is coming from.

    Well of course the dimpling continues. Because random dimpling DNA replication errors are just waiting in the wings to help out.

    They might well be—recall that the genes conferring antibiotic resistance are present in some portion of bacteril populations even when there are no antibiotics present in the environmental niche they exploit. As a result when antibiotics are introduced the sub-population possessing alleles for resistance exhibits greater fitness, contributes to the gene pool of subsequent generations to a greter extent compared to non-resistant competitors within the population, and the expression of the resistant alleles increases in the population over generations (i.e., evolution occurs).

    And how do you freakin like that? The rim simply begins to constrict.

    What forces would prevent genetic changes from arising which would cause the rim to restrict, Phil, and what would prevent natural selection from acting to conserve these changes in subsequent generations if they resulted in increased relative fitness? Be specific.

    I honestly don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but would you suppose that three distinct tear-film glands that we have are in the works at this point?

    No, of course not: we’re still describing intermediate forms, not a complex fish-eye or the equivalent.

    How perfectly precious…a decreasing aperture.

    And again, Phil—what forces would prevent genetic changes from resulting in a gradual decrease in aperture over the course of generations, and what would prevent natural selection from acting to conserve these changes in subsequent generations if they resulted in increased relative fitness? Be specific.

    No quotation marks necessary this time on the aperture, because we are pedal on the metal evolving now. And there will surely be a point when the aperture is the perfect size, because natural selection is sort of like Goldilocks, and it understands the importance of “just right”.

    No one is arguing that natural selection understands anything, Phil—that’s your anthropomorphic take on things. Natural selection is instead neither aware nor intelligent and does it work to achieve preferred predetermined outcomes. It simply acts to conserve changes that result in increased fitness and to cull changes that result in decreased fitness. That’s really all that’s necessary to achieve an final outcome that appears “just right’ with respect to function in a specific environment.

    The Nautilus is known as the living fossil due to the fact that it has remained largely unchanged for almost 400 million years.

    I’m sorry—did you have a point? Is there some reason that we would predict that nautiluses should not be found to be largely unchanged for that length of time?

    I’m sure, and it’ll be a real beauty. We’re just one little DNA replication screwup away from crystal-clear proteins.

    Is there some reason we would predict more than one genetic change would be necessary to result in lenses arising?

    Well that’s sort of a bummer, isn’t it? He just stated what was wrong, and didn’t even bother to mention a miracle.

    Not something that’s wrong, Phil, just something that if different might confer increased fitness in some environments as a result be selectable.

    Now we’re back on track, whereby the solution just happens in response to the problem.

    There’s no solution and no problem here, Phil—there’s simply changes that, if they occur, may result in improved function and confer greater fitness.

    And I love the reference to the laws of optics. Natural selection must have mastered these back in the Cambrian.

    There’s that anthropomorphism again– natural selection isn’t intelligent but simply acts as a function of relative fitness with respect to environment. It does this in a purely mechanistic manner: individuals which exhibit greater fitness survive in greater numbers and as a consequence make a greater contribution to the genetic composition of subsequent generations, while individuals which exhibit lesser fitness survive in lesser numbers and make a smaller contribution to the genetic composition of subsequent generations.

    We’re trying to evolve eyes.

    No, we’re not trying to evolve anything: evolution doesn’t operate with foresight to acheive predetermined and preferred outcomes. I really think your presumption that it does is your major intellectual stumbling block to understanding evolution and natural selection.

    I’d hate for kids to grow up confused about how the world really works.

    Patently false, given the effort you’ve been expending here trying to promote a false understanding of how the world really works (e,.g., the idea that DNA excision requires more than well understood and characterized chemical reactions to occur).

  289. #289 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    To eric #282:

    “These scientists are pointing out that we don’t know why the constants have the values they have… They despair… that we may never know.
    That is very different from saying we know that these values are highly improbable because we know they can attain a multitude of values.”

    Are you saying then that these values are NOT highly improbable?

    Because I think these scientists ARE saying that these values ARE highly improbable, and that’s why they’re despairing.

    “…keep doing science. Keep working on the problems.”

    I’m fine with scientists doing that. I’m NOT fine with scientists doing that with close-minded, non-scientific, materialistic/naturalistic, illogical presumptions undergirding their work.

  290. #290 JGC
    June 24, 2015

    The pro-evolution, pro-abortion, anti-Holy Writ, observant Jew.

    In a prvious thread on RI See inquired as to whether or not I was an atheist. He seemed perplexed when i told him I was instead an observant Jew, for two reasons I suspect:

    1) I’m sure he had a whole series of ‘ad hominem/poisoing the well’ arguments all ready to go that required I reject any beleif in a god or gods

    and

    2) he clearly had no idea what the term “observant Jew” meant (he had to ask me to explain its meaning in a following post).

    I’ll note also that he has no way to know what my position on abortion–as it isn’t germane to a discussion of biological evolution I ‘ve ignored his request that I identify it

  291. #291 JGC
    June 24, 2015

    Are you saying then that these values are NOT highly improbable?

    There’s no reason to conclude they are any more ‘highly improbable’ than any of the other other values they might take which also allow for long-lived fusion based stars to exist.

    I’m NOT fine with scientists doing that with close-minded, non-scientific, materialistic/naturalistic, illogical presumptions undergirding their work

    See, if you’re doing science you have to embrace a naturalistic methodology, since only by doing so do theories become predictive and falsifiable–i.e., ut’s teh only way it becomes possible to tell a good explanation from a bad one.

  292. #292 Krebiozen
    June 24, 2015

    See Noevo,

    I wonder if Krebiozen thinks a Fender Stratocaster would self-assemble if just given enough time.

    A guitar self-assembling out of all the different necessary molecules with no means of reproducing, mining, creating and forging metals, growing a tree, cutting it down, shaping the wood etc. etc.? You seriously believe that’s the same thing as pareidolia appearing in an eroding rock?

    Thanks for reminding me that it is pointless arguing with someone who is so clueless, not just about the point under debate but the entire context of the question.

    Phil’s effort at #273 is even better in some ways. He talks as if he is ranting at a speeded up video of the ontological development of an eye in an embryo, rather than the phylogenetic development in a series of members of a species over a period of millions of years. “How about that! An inward dimple just happened.” Just happened over a period of a hundred million years!

    We had already established that Phil’s level of personal incredulity is high, we just don’t yet know specifically why. Perhaps Phil might like, as he has been asked, to share how unlikely something has to be to make it impossible. If something with a probability of X is impossible, but that of 10X is not, why we can’t just wait ten times longer to make it possible again? I know there’s the limit of the lifespan of the universe, but that doesn’t seem to apply in this instance, with mutation rates easily accounting for the changes we have observed in the fossil record.

    But then he writes something like: “We’re trying to evolve eyes”, and I realize we’re back to trying to explaining metaphor in an attempt to stop the Creationists from eating the menu and bragging about how good it tastes. Again.

  293. #293 Michael Fugate
    June 24, 2015

    Here’s a little take home exercise for our creationists:
    Make a list of all the things humans once thought gods did and now attribute to natural (materialistic) causes because of scientific investigation. This is should take some time – so start early.
    Once you have your list, ask yourself why abiogenesis, common ancestry, natural selection, speciation etc. are significant. Does it diminish God any further?

  294. #294 eric
    June 24, 2015

    See Noevo:

    Are you saying then that these values are NOT highly improbable?

    I’m saying we don’t know the probability. Up above you kept claiming you’d like people to say that more often – so creationist, take your own advice. But I predict you won’t, because ‘we don’t know’ doesn’t support creationism. ‘We don’t know the probability’ gives us no reason to infer a creator or designer, so you’re not going to say it. Instead, you’ll keep claiming that you DO know that our constants MUST be highly improbable.

    I’m fine with scientists doing that. I’m NOT fine with scientists doing that with close-minded, non-scientific, materialistic/naturalistic, illogical presumptions undergirding their work.

    If you think you have a more effective way to do science, you are welcome to try it. After you use this new method to succeed, we’ll pay attention to it. That’s the way science works. But nobody is going to change their lab practices because of what some armchair quarterback says in his living room.

  295. #295 eric
    June 24, 2015

    [Phil] Well of course the dimpling continues. Because random dimpling DNA replication errors are just waiting in the wings to help out.

    [JGC] They might well be—recall that the genes conferring antibiotic resistance are present in some portion of bacteril populations even when there are no antibiotics present in the environmental niche they exploit. As a result when antibiotics are introduced the sub-population possessing alleles for resistance exhibits greater fitness, contributes to the gene pool of subsequent generations to a greter extent compared to non-resistant competitors within the population, and the expression of the resistant alleles increases in the population over generations (i.e., evolution occurs).

    You may need to step it back to an even simpler level of discussion. Phil’s comments give me the vague feeling that he’s forgetting that a more-dimpled organism is merely one out of many variations that occur. Mutation is nondirectional and can be expected to produce a wide variety of less-dimpled, normal-dimpled, and deeper-dimpled critters in this species. The deeper-dimpled ones leave more children. When a different mutation (like aperture restriction) comes along a hundred or a thousand generations later, it very likely occurs in the deeper-dimpled variety because in the intervening time that strain or variant type has likely outbred the others.

  296. #296 JGC
    June 24, 2015

    I don’t think Phil’s problem is that the discussion isn’t going on at a sufficiently simple level, but that at whatever level it takes place he feels the need to simply ignore anything which might invalidate his preferred and predetermined conclusion.

    We could step back incrementally until we were )metaphorically) viewing the subject from orbit, and he’d still be saying “There must be something more going on”.

  297. #297 Michael Fugate
    June 24, 2015

    Which all goes back to my suggestion months? ago that Phil get off his butt and measure variation in a population. I think I suggested flour beetles – interestingly a paper on sexual selection in Tribolium in Nature this week. Nothing like doing some actual science to cure ignorance, but will it ever happen? Highly improbable is an apt term that might be applied appropriately here.

  298. #298 OccamsLaser
    June 24, 2015

    Phil, you were quite clear. You stated that the act of excision “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    I’ve asked you repeatedly simply to state what other agent is involved in the act of excision, but you keep evading.

    I’ll ask again: What is that agent that is involved in excision?

    Don’t evade again. Just state what that other agent is.

  299. #299 MNb
    June 24, 2015

    @270 SN “It is Stephen Hawking’s position …..that the FINE STRUCTURE CONSTANT is NECESSARILY fine-tuned for our universe to exist.”
    Warning: MNb’s Golden Rule applies again. Assume that SN is lying until proven otherwise.
    This is NOT what Hawking wrote in A Brief History of Time. In chapter 8 he discussed the anthropic principle (both a weak and a strong version), NOT the Fine Tuning Argument. Science deniers like SN deliberately confuse the two. We also safely can assume that SN neglects another point: Hawking brings up a few objections against the strong anthropic principle – which is of course still weaker than SN’s Fine Tuning.
    For those who are smart enough to understand (ie not SN and Phil, any other creationist and many an apologist): Fine Tuning is the strongest anthropic principle thinkable plus teleology (Goddiddid with the specific purpose to lead history towards Homo Sapiens).
    SN lies when he writes that Hawking backs him on this topic. That’s nothing new of course.

  300. #300 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    To Sean T #284:

    “Put another way, how small must the probability be to be effectively zero. I am looking for a hard number here, not just some vague answer.”

    OK. For about the third time, a probability of one divided by infinity.
    Why one divided by infinity? Consider the formula describing the gravitational constant:
    G = 6.673 x (10^-11)( N m^2/kg^2)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_constant

    What do YOU think is the range of possible values for each variable? For example, could the 6.673 instead be 0.214465 or 191.555 or something else? Could the negative 11 power be positive 143 or negative 561 or something else?

    I think the range of possible values is infinite.

    So, one divided by infinity is my hard number here.

  301. #301 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    Revision To Sean T #284:

    “Put another way, how small must the probability be to be effectively zero. I am looking for a hard number here, not just some vague answer.”

    OK. For about the third time, a probability of one divided by infinity.

    Why one divided by infinity? Consider the formula describing the gravitational constant:
    G = 6.673 x (10^-11)( N m^2/kg^2)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_constant

    What do YOU think is the range of possible values for each variable? For example, could the 6.673 instead be 0.214465 or 191.555 or something else? Could the negative 11 power be positive 143 or negative 561 or something else?

    I think the range of possible values is infinite.

    And the scientists say (e.g. in #206) that even a slight variation in the force of gravity would render our universe non-existent.

    Only one formula works out of an infinite number of possible formulas.

    So, one divided by infinity is my hard number here.

  302. #302 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    To Krebiozen #291:

    Me: “I wonder if Krebiozen thinks a Fender Stratocaster would self-assemble if just given enough time.”

    You: “A guitar self-assembling out of all the different necessary molecules with no means of reproducing, mining, creating and forging metals, growing a tree, cutting it down, shaping the wood etc. etc.? You seriously believe that’s the same thing as pareidolia appearing in an eroding rock?”

    Well, let’s see. I THINK you earlier said here or on another thread that something virtually identical to Mt. Rushmore WOULD occur, MUST occur, by erosion if given enough time. (I could check if you insist.)

    Now, a Fender Stratocaster is less complex and instruction-rich than a laptop computer. What was your response on the question of the origin of a laptop computer with operable software found on mankind’s first visit to a distant planet? Would you say the ONLY sane opinion is that it was designed by some intelligent being, or would you say it might have self-assembled?

  303. #303 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    Why is the number of universes in the science fiction known as “multiverses” so large?
    Like 10^10^16 large?

    http://phys.org/news/2009-10-physicists-parallel-universes.html

    I think one reason may be that scientists think they’d need 10^10^16 “rolls of the dice” to come up with the universal constants of our universe.

  304. #304 Another Matt
    June 24, 2015

    Just one laptop that can’t replicate, or a “biome” of replicating laptops with a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, software, and niches to inhabit?

  305. #305 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    To Another Matt #303 and Krebiozen #291:

    What if, in mankind’s first ever trip to a distant heavenly body, the astronauts found a complex and operable piece of equipment, the equivalent of, say, a laptop computer. But they find no trace of a factory, production line, blueprints, or aliens to make it all work together. (However, they do find in the planet’s soil one of the building blocks of computers – silicon.)

    Would the intelligent astronauts conclude that this complex piece of equipment self-organized itself over a long period of time, and was not designed, even, intelligently designed?

    What’s your answer?

  306. #306 JGC
    June 24, 2015

    What do YOU think is the range of possible values for each variable? For example, could the 6.673 instead be 0.214465 or 191.555 or something else?

    According to the paper by Adams which you cited previously, constants for G, α,and C three could vary by 2 orders of magnitude in any direction, in any combination, and still define universes where long lived fusion type stars could, exist while G itself could be decreased by 5-10 orders of magnitude and still allow for some universes where such stars could develop.

  307. #307 JGC
    June 24, 2015

    See, are you suffering from some drug or alcohol induced delusion that your example in 304 is in any way analogous to the body of evidence from which evolutionary models are derived?

  308. #308 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    To JGC #305:

    In the Wizard of Oz update, the new character of JGC – the pro-evolution, pro-abortion, anti-Holy Writ, observant Jew – will receive from the Wizard a brain, similar to the one the Scarecrow receives.

    But unlike the other characters, JGC will also receive at least one more gift – a set of eyes.

    The WoO update is due out this Christmas.

  309. #309 Phil
    June 24, 2015

    eric,

    “You’re just wrong here. The person who asserts “X is unlikely” has the burden of proof of showing X is actually unlikely. That’s ID creationists.”

    And on the other hand, the person who asserts that accidental events resulted in ribosome doesn’t have to prove anything. That’s materialists.

    “This is just a variant on the “why are there still monkeys” argument.”

    No, that particular discovery is just another confirmation of what Gould and Eldredge said. The fossil record doesn’t show evolution. Their answer was that it must occur is undetectable spurts, and yours is that some ginkgo trees and nautiluses moved on to become something else. Both of these ideas are tales from the no empirical evidence zone. To apply what science has actually determined would be to recognize the reliability of replication enzymes.

    “Do we also have to explain genetic drift to you?”

    No. It is about things disappearing, like when you move from Duluth, to Seattle, to Omaha, to Montreal. Here it is, right out of the dictionary:

    “variation in the relative frequency of different genotypes in a small population, owing to the chance disappearance of particular genes as individuals die or do not reproduce.”

    ===

    Sean T,

    “How small must y be to render this argument valid?…..I was using the term “event” in its normal definition in probability theory”

    Anything involving unknown values is going to involve me not knowing. We aren’t talking just events, though. In the context of biological development, it is DNA alteration that is complementary to a previous change, and in a specific place in a large target. There are also inhibitors, and lots of ways to lose changes that actually occur….drift, low probability of fixation, reversion to wild type, etc. I would like to answer your question, but I won’t pretend to know how to quantify all the variables. Even if someone could do this, everything would be a special case. There is no simplicity to appeal to.

    Ultimately Sean, this is always going to come down to intuition and judgment based on what is known, what is understandable, and what is appealing. Individual humans, for all the crowing about rational thought, try to square up what they know and can comprehend with what they like.

    ===

    JGC,

    “What is selectable is the improved ability of the eyespot to determine the direction from which any light that’s detected is coming—the words “a bit more directional’ should have been a clear giveaway.”

    Blemishes typically don’t detect light orientation as far as I’m aware.

    “All that would be necessary for an inward dimple to occur would be a small change in genetic expression at the time the eyespot was forming in the immature organism.”

    Right. Just a small change. So, what is the selectable value of this inward dimple?

    “it’s conferring improved protection for eyespots which can detect not only light but determine the direction that light is coming from.”

    So, does this mean walk towards the light, or run away from it?

    “What forces would prevent genetic changes from arising which would cause the rim to restrict, Phil, and what would prevent natural selection from acting to conserve these changes…”

    Well, there are several forces, beginning with the check and repair function of replication enzymes. But you have to get rid of the idea that natural selection acting. Natural selection is just inferior specimens not being able to compete and dying off. It is not ethereal, and it is not a fairy. I can fully appreciate how people learn to think of it in those terms after hearing the drone of “selected for” and “favored” a few zillion times, but this is horse shit. Unlike enzyme function, It is not a purposeful force. It is just what happens to sick or unfit organisms die.

    “Is there some reason we would predict more than one genetic change would be necessary to result in lenses arising?”

    Well, we might not, but I would. I read an article about a Nobel laureate who said that the PAX 6 gene is a master switch initiating some 2000 genes which are required for eye morphogenesis in fruit flies. So, based on that, I think that one DNA replication error is probably in view.

  310. #310 Another Matt
    United States
    June 24, 2015

    @304:

    Just one laptop that can’t replicate, or a “biome” of replicating laptops with a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, software, and niches to inhabit?

  311. #311 Phil
    June 24, 2015

    Corrections:

    “It is just what happens to sick or unfit organisms. They die.”

    “So, based on that, I think that more than one DNA replication error is probably in view.”

  312. #312 See Noevo
    June 24, 2015

    To Another Matt #309:

    Ref: #304:
    Just one laptop.

    So, what’s your answer and why is it your answer?

  313. #313 JGC
    June 25, 2015

    Phil, eye spots aren’t blemishes.

    As for your question about selectable value, could you define that term as you’re using it here?

    Different organism will react differently upon detecting changes in ambient light. Organisms like scallops.for example, Don’t walk anywhere: instead they reflexively close their shells when the light detected by their eye spots is included.

    DNA repair enzymes aren’t sufficient to prevent genetic changes from accumulating , as they are not 100% efficient:

    As for natural selection being horse sh!t, we observe it directly, acting in living populations to conserve or oppose the conservation of alleles on the basis of relative fitness.

    ‘RE: more than one change in an alleles being necessary, I’ll note all you’re offering again is an argument from personal incredulity. But let me offer a thought experiment: what do you suppose would happen if that single genetic change occured within the PAX allele itself?

  314. #314 Sean T
    June 25, 2015

    SN and Phil,

    Well, at least SN gives me an answer, but a useless one. His answer is that y must be zero to conclude that an event cannot have happened. That is just basic probability theory, though. I already knew that an event with zero probability is impossible. Your “1 divided by infinity” is just the mathematical equivalent to zero.

    As others have pointed out, your argument is not necessarily as strong as you think. This one sentence from your post points that out: “I think the range of possible values is infinite”. What evidential basis do you have to think this? How do you know that the fundamental constants of the universe were not constrained in some way by the conditions present in the early universe or by some physical law that we have not yet discovered?
    Even granting your argument, it’s still not as strong as you think. For instance you can use that same argument to demonstrate that if you measure the length of a simple object, you would have to conclude that the probability that the length of your object is exactly 4 inches (or any other value) is zero. That is true because there is always some inherent uncertainty in the measurement of the length of an object. That is, the true length of an object which we nominally call 4 inches is really 4 inches +/- x, where x is some nonzero value. Generally, x can be made very small by doing better measurements, but it cannot be made zero. Now, mathematically, that means that the true value of your measurement must be a real number in the interval [4-x,4+x]. Knowing anything at all about the real numbers, you would know that any nonzero-length interval of the reals is infinite. Therefore, the probability of measuring exactly 4 is 1 (only one value is exactly 4) divided by infinity (and infinite number of possible values for your measurement). Mathematically, that is equivalent to zero.

    Phil, your nonsense about relying on intuition and whatever else you babble on about is even worse. How can one look at an event and say it’s too improbable to have occurred if you cannot even identify the criteria by which we would make that conclusion? It’s just argument from incredulity. Until you can provide me a number, I won’t address your argument at all.

  315. #315 John Harshman
    June 25, 2015

    Nilsson D., Pelger S. A pessimistic estimate of the time required for an eye to evolve. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B 1994; 256:53-58.

  316. #316 See Noevo
    June 25, 2015

    To Sean T #313:

    Me: “I think the range of possible values is infinite”.

    You: “What evidential basis do you have to think this? How do you know that the fundamental constants of the universe were not constrained in some way by the conditions present in the early universe or by some physical law that we have not yet discovered?”

    The only evidential basis I have is what the scientists say. And they say that our universe could not exist unless the universal constants were at their particular settings.

    Perhaps you’d like to propose a new theoretical universal constant – a Meta Constant?
    Perhaps you’d like to propose that a Meta Constant constrained all of the other constants in the early universe. Kind of like a Physical Law Maker. But then, what are the probabilities that the particular settings of the Meta Constant/Physical Law Maker would be just so?

    If you’d like to so propose, you should know it’s already been proposed by others. But It goes by another name.

    “Knowing anything at all about the real numbers, you would know that any nonzero-length interval of the reals is infinite. Therefore, the probability of measuring exactly 4 is 1 (only one value is exactly 4) divided by infinity (and infinite number of possible values for your measurement). Mathematically, that is equivalent to zero.”

    Likewise, I guess, the probability of your skull being blown off by a .44 Magnum “projectile” that’s currently 4 inches from your skull is exactly 1 (only one value is exactly 4) divided by infinity (and infinite number of possible values between the bullet and your skull). Mathematically, that is equivalent to zero.

    But for all practical purposes, you’d have something to be worried about.

    Make my day, and tell me how lucky you feel.

  317. #317 JGC
    June 25, 2015

    I’m sure Phil’s take on Nilsson et al would be something along the lines of “Less than 2000 steps? Wow! Whatever unknown and un-evidenced “something else” I insist just has to be operating in addition to natural biochemical processes works even better than I thought!”

  318. #318 JGC
    June 25, 2015

    And they say that our universe could not exist unless the universal constants were at their particular settings.

    None of them, however, have said that universe is the only kind of universe that could exist, or that it’s the only kind of universe capable of allwoing living rganissm to arise.

    You’re really addressing the wrong question here, See, by asking “What are the odds that this universe capable of supporting life as we know it could arise by chance?” when the relevant question is “What are the odds that this some universe (even if different than the one we observe) capable of supporting life (even if differnt than we know it) could arise by chance?”

    Megabucks lotteries are a good analogy to ilustrate this problem: you’re in the position of someone holding a winning ticket asking “What were the odds that this exact sequence of 7 numbers would be drawn at random, such that I would win?” when the operative question is instead is “”What were the odds that some sequence of 7 numbers would be drawn at random, such that someone, somewhere would win?”

  319. #319 See Noevo
    June 25, 2015

    To Sean T, JGC, et al:

    I don’t think anybody’s responded to my question, so I’ll ask it again:
    Why is the number of universes in the science fiction known as “multiverses” so large?
    Like 10^10^16 large?

    http://phys.org/news/2009-10-physicists-parallel-universes.html

    I think one reason may be that scientists think they’d need 10^10^16 “rolls of the dice” to come up with the universal constants of our universe.

    Why do YOU think the number is virtually indescribably enormous?

  320. #320 Another Matt
    United States
    June 25, 2015

    If it were just one laptop, then I would say that it probably did not evolve. There is no replication and thus no selection. Moreover nothing in its environment seems to indicate that the laptop’s capacities are adaptive.

  321. #321 JGC
    June 25, 2015

    according to Linde and Vanchurin, it’s because the number of distinguishable locally Friedmann universes generated by eternal inflation is

    a) proportional to the exponent of the entropy of inflationary perturbations

    and

    b) limited by e^(e^3N)

    where N is the number of e-folds of slow-roll post-eternal inflation. *

    Does that help? Yes, it’s a very large number, but it has nothing to do with some required number of ‘hypothetical dice rolls’.

    *See http://arxiv.org/pdf/0910.1589.pdf

  322. #322 eric
    June 25, 2015

    See Noevo @299:

    Consider the formula describing the gravitational constant:
    G = 6.673 x (10^-11)( N m^2/kg^2)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_constant

    What do YOU think is the range of possible values for each variable? For example, could the 6.673 instead be 0.214465 or 191.555 or something else? Could the negative 11 power be positive 143 or negative 561 or something else?

    I think the range of possible values is infinite.

    Yeah but you have no data to back that up. You don’t even have an hypothesis that would lead to an infinite range. So essentially your fine tuning argument is circular: you first assume that this universe is highly improbable (without design): that is your “I think the range is infinite.” From that assumption, you conclude the universe is highly improbable (without design). Quelle surprise! But really not much of a convincing argument for God.

    And no, scientists such as Adams are not saying that they know the range of values is infinite. As I said before, they are doing conditional studies. Exploring possibility space. Asking, “if the values can vary, what can we learn from that?” Scientists often take on hypothetical scenarios just to see what we can learn from them. Heck, there are statistical papers on under what conditions and how long it would take for a zombie epidemic to take over the world. You don’t think the authors of those papers seriously believe in zombies, do you? They’re in it for the mathematical and epidemiological aspects of the exercise. Similarly, scientists like Adams do not assert knowledge or claim knowledge of the range of possible values by the mere act of mathematically exploring what might happen if they were different.

  323. #323 See Noevo
    June 25, 2015

    I’m confident my “scientists” and “science fictionists” here from the other side found this to be one of the truest, most inspiring scenes from their favorite movie.
    Their only regret is that she doesn’t say “One in 10^10^16.” Anyway, you just can’t keep a dumb man down.

  324. #324 Narad
    June 25, 2015

    I spent a lot of time yesterday working on a draft reply to S.N.’s incoherent pronouncements about physics, but that won’t be finished until much later tonight, if then. Let’s just get this out of the way:

    Consider the formula describing the gravitational constant:
    G = 6.673 x (10^-11)( N m^2/kg^2)

    This was the only “universal constant” that he was able to come up with RI, and I see he didn’t figure out the response there: Nothing with units is a fundamental constant.

  325. #325 dean
    June 25, 2015

    “Anyway, you just can’t keep a dumb man down.”
    That, coupled with your penchant for dishonesty, explains your repeated posts. Do you ever read ANY of the articles your give as supporting your point of view?

  326. #326 Narad
    June 25, 2015

    according to Linde and Vanchurin, it’s because the number of distinguishable locally Friedmann universes generated by eternal inflation

    I would caution against confusing “eternal inflation” with “inflation”; the former is unnecessary and, IIRC, carries its own downsides, as well as often getting hitched to landscape “multiverses” (clearly, identical multiverses are nothing to get excited about).

    Inflation itself, however, makes successful predictions. I’ll repeat the point I made at RI and quote Syksy Räsänen:

    “The major success of inflation is not explaining the spatial homogeneity, isotropy and flatness of the background (although the last was not obvious at the time inflation was proposed), but accounting in detail for the perturbations in terms of quantum fluctuations, first discussed by Mukhanov and Chibisov.

    “The perturbation calculation is non-trivial, and it correctly predicted that the primordial perturbations are a) close to scale-invariant, b) dominantly scalar, c) adiabatic, d) statistically homogeneous and isotropic and e) Gaussian. These are real predictions, made before the observations were in. No other proposal has been able to account for them as well as inflation, even after the fact.”

  327. #327 See Noevo
    June 25, 2015

    After reading dean’s #324 about “repeated posts” and “dishonesty”, I decided to put together a little montage of dean’s many posts.
    I think this dean montage will give any new visitor here a flavor for the depth, breadth, insight and articulateness of dean’s scholarly and scientific style:

    “There should be no surprise about the lies Chaffee and Klinghoffer are trying to sell here: when someone works for an organization with a central thesis based on falsehoods, dishonesty on the job is to be expected.”

    “No, they would not because, unlike you, the “intelligent astronauts” are neither idiots nor dishonest.”

    “…I remember his history and realize he doesn’t have the ability to realize what a fool he is.”

    “To be fair, if they had even a minimal understanding of science, a sense of integrity, and didn’t lie, they wouldn’t be allowed to be creationists.”

    “…there is no effing evidence that either of your choices is true.”

    “But any teacher who stood in front of a science class and told students the Easter bunny was real would be removed. The same should happen to any loser who tries to reach the stupidity of id/creationism.”

    “…still lying about god forecasting the future. That man is dangerously dishonest.”

    “It also sounds like you are still fishing for any way to dishonestly support your foolish religion.”

    “It is amazing: just when you think these creationists can’t show themselves to be any more idiotic…”

    “That is right up there with the most asinine things you’ve said. You are an infinite source of stupid.”

    “Translation: Since I’m too lazy and uneducated to actually study any science I will simply say my god did it. booya.”

    “The difference between the points of view yiu dishonestly present … Creationists have liars and people who don’t take the time to understand, or even study, science.”

    “That, coupled with your penchant for dishonesty, explains your repeated posts.”
    ………………………..
    OK, folks out there. That’s enough for now. You get the idea.

  328. #328 dean
    June 25, 2015

    So pointing out things are dishonest is dishonest? So much for your “elite education”.
    I notice that you have dodged yet another question.

  329. #329 Narad
    June 25, 2015

    I don’t think anybody’s responded to my question, so I’ll ask it again:
    Why is the number of universes in the science fiction known as “multiverses” so large?
    Like 10^10^16 large?

    It was responded to at RI. The answer to this minor variation is the same: you don’t know what you’re talking about. The number of string vacua is normally cited as ~10⁵⁰⁰. Linde & Vanchurin’s effort is something else entirely.

  330. #330 See Noevo
    June 25, 2015

    I may have been a bit off in saying the science fiction of multiverses estimates 10^10^16 universes.
    The number may be 10^10^10,000,000!

    “So just how many of these different universes can inflation’s quantum fluctuations produce? According to Linde and Vanchurin, the total is about 1010^10,000,000 – that’s a 10 raised to a number ending with 10 million zeros. Suddenly string theory’s multiverse of 10^500 universes is looking rather claustrophobic.”

    http://www.sott.net/article/195824-Multiplying-universes-How-many-is-the-multiverse

    Just to give you an idea of how small, even “claustrophobic”, the superceded string theory number of 10^500 universes looks:

    100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

    … approximately.

    But that is so yesterday. The science fiction writers are on to much, much bigger things now.

    One does wonder, though, how science will observe and explore even one of theses other universes.

  331. #331 See Noevo
    June 25, 2015

    Ooops. I found a typo. Here’s the corrected version:

    I may have been a bit off in saying the science fiction of multiverses estimates 10^10^16 universes.
    The number may be 10^10^10,000,000!

    “So just how many of these different universes can inflation’s quantum fluctuations produce? According to Linde and Vanchurin, the total is about 10^10^10,000,000 – that’s a 10 raised to a number ending with 10 million zeros. Suddenly string theory’s multiverse of 10^500 universes is looking rather claustrophobic.”

    http://www.sott.net/article/195824-Multiplying-universes-How-many-is-the-multiverse

    Just to give you an idea of how small, even “claustrophobic”, the superceded string theory number of 10^500 universes looks:
    100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

    … approximately.

    But that is so yesterday. The science fiction writers are on to much, much bigger things now.

    One does wonder, though, how science will observe and explore even one of theses other universes.

  332. #332 Narad
    June 25, 2015

    Once again, you fail to grasp that you’re simply making a tediously long production number out of what is now two straw men that you can’t tell apart.

    This is a predictable result of scouring pop-sci Web sites. You already have access to the (rather stale, at this point) paper; why don’t you just read it?

    “The estimate of the total number of distinct geometries produced by inflation depends on the method by which one can make this distinction. In the first part of this paper we concentrated on investigation of all possible locally Friedmann geometries which can be produced after the end of eternal inflation. Our goal was to understand how many different locally-Friedmann (i.e. approximately homogeneous and isotropic) universes constitute the multiverse, which, as a whole, looks like a very inhomogeneous and anisotropic non-Friedmann eternally growing fractal. We found that the total number of such universes, in the simplest inflationary models, may exceed 10[^10^10^7]. This humongous number is strongly model-dependent and may change when one uses different definitions of what is the boundary of eternal inflation.

    Why would one use any?

  333. #333 dean
    June 25, 2015

    So sn doesn’t actually read the papers or answer questions. But we already knew that.

  334. #334 See Noevo
    June 25, 2015

    To dean #332, et al:

    How will science observe and explore even one of these other universes?

  335. #335 See Noevo
    June 25, 2015

    I’ve said earlier on these blogs that I used to believe in evolution for about 30 years. And that is absolutely true.
    (I never said I believed in AND understood evolution for 30 years. The understanding came later in my mid-40s when I began really reading the science literature on it. And that’s when I began DIS-believing evolution.)

    But I distinctly remember wondering as a child about all this old stuff like fossils and pots being dug up by today’s people (e.g. geologists, paleontologists, paleoanthropologists). Specifically, I thought that if all the old stuff is fairly deep below us, then we’re walking on “new” ground which is on top of the “older” ground. But then I thought that would mean the surface of the earth is growing, but how could that be?

    But in the words of another, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

    Of course, the answer to my childish wondering is that the earth isn’t growing at all; the old stuff dug up is just the stuff that flowed into collection areas, basins, if you will.

    Yet, sometimes, even adults may overlook or forget this observation. Even scientists! But some scientists remember, and then realize that studying things found ONLY in basins can lead to bias.
    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/43/7/643.abstract

  336. #336 Phil
    June 25, 2015

    JGC,

    “Phil, eye spots aren’t blemishes.”

    Well, technically, no they aren’t. Eyespots are found in all kinds of animals, but they only mimic actual eyes. Some are quite dramatic, like this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyespot_(mimicry)#/media/File:Mycalesis_patnia.jpg

    The process whereby natural selection acting on random DNA alterations resulted in sophisticated, interactive physiological imitations is not well understood.

    And there sensory eyespots in invertebrates and even algae. But the dark spot that was assumed to occur “in the skin of a multicellular creature”, that is just a blemish.

    “As for your question about selectable value, could you define that term as you’re using it here?”

    That shouldn’t be a mystery. The paradigm states, as you do below, that natural selection acts on the basis of relative fitness. An increase in fitness would be valuable, and a decrease would not.

    “…they reflexively close their shells when the light detected by their eye spots is included.”

    Why? Do they know that they are in danger?

    “DNA repair enzymes aren’t sufficient to prevent genetic changes from accumulating , as they are not 100% efficient”

    Well, consider the nautilus.

    “As for natural selection being horse sh!t, we observe it directly, acting in living populations to conserve or oppose the conservation of alleles on the basis of relative fitness.”

    In other words, the more fit specimens survive and reproduce, and the less fit do not. Natural selection does not reason or discriminate, so there is no acting or conserving or actual selection occurring. That is all just jargon, and imprecise at that.

    “ ‘RE: more than one change in an alleles being necessary, I’ll note all you’re offering again is an argument from personal incredulity.”

    Maybe so, but that is as opposed to ideologically driven gullibility.

    “But let me offer a thought experiment: what do you suppose would happen if that single genetic change occured within the PAX allele itself?”

    Exactly what we should expect, either nothing or bad news. The literature is loaded with the reliable results of genetic changes. They have a database for PAX6 that catalogues the diseases associated with such changes:

    “The PAX6 Mutation Database was created to satisfy the need for a single source of information about human PAX6 gene mutations which are associated with developmental eye anomalies….
    At the time of submission the database contained 94 mutations. Four of these describe neutral polymorphisms in the PAX6 gene which have been identified in normal individuals; the remainder describe mutations which have been found in individuals with aniridia and related eye disorders.…’Compound’ mutations (e.g., deletion and insertion at a site) are treated as two or more mutations which are linked within the database; there are three examples of this to date.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC147180/pdf/260259.pdf

    Can you link to a database of beneficial mutations?

  337. #337 OccamsLaser
    June 25, 2015

    Phil, are you abandoning your position?

    You were quite clear. You stated that the act of excision “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    I’ve asked you repeatedly simply to state what other agent is involved in the act of excision, but you keep evading.

    I’ll ask again: What is that agent that is involved in excision?

    Don’t evade again. Just state what that other agent is.

  338. #338 Phil
    June 25, 2015

    OccamsLaser,

    “What is that agent that is involved in excision?”

    I don’t know what that is. And I never qualified it as an agent. But I will not back down about the processes being more than just chemical reactions. They use the word ‘recognize’ because it expresses what happens. They use the words ‘excision’ and ‘replacement’ because that is what happens. They call them ‘errors’ because that’s what they are. Perhaps you can describe those functions with non-metaphorical language, but just saying that they are chemicals, and that certain chemicals react in certain ways does not express the roles adequately.

    And I’ll repeat my question to you; how and when could these enzymes evolve?

  339. #339 Michael Fugate
    June 25, 2015

    The problem is a mutation’s value is environment dependent – both the genetic environment of the organism and population and the physical environment. You should know that.

  340. #340 Narad
    over yonder
    June 25, 2015

    To teach ID means to teach the Truth.

  341. #341 OccamsLaser
    June 25, 2015

    Phil –

    I don’t know what that is. And I never qualified it as an agent. But I will not back down about the processes being more than just chemical reactions.

    I’m using the term “agent” to mean whatever being is responsible for doing what you have determined that chemical reactions cannot do during the act of excision.

    You believe there is such and agent, or being, who performs the parts of the excision process that are impossible with chemical reactions, correct?

  342. #342 OccamsLaser
    June 25, 2015

    ^such AN agent…

  343. #343 See Noevo
    June 25, 2015
  344. #344 Phil
    June 25, 2015

    Michael Fugate,

    “The problem is a mutation’s value is environment dependent – both the genetic environment of the organism and population and the physical environment.”

    And this is, of course, standard materialist pulp. Mutations that disable functional proteins are screwing things up. There is no happy environmental context for cancer.

    You may now proceed towards the homecoming queen for beneficial mutations….sickle-cell anemia and malaria resistance, and your list is almost exhausted.

    ===

    OccamsLaser

    “I’m using the term “agent” to mean whatever being is responsible for doing what you have determined that chemical reactions cannot do during the act of excision.

    You believe there is such an agent, or being, who performs the parts of the excision process that are impossible with chemical reactions, correct?”

    No, that is not correct. I you insist on agency, I believe that an Agent designed enzymes to do what they do.

    Your next question should be about why designed mechanisms often fail. And my answer would be about why I’m a creationist and not just an ID fan.

  345. #345 Narad
    June 25, 2015

    Side note: the current comment 339 is pathetic imposture:

    Narad
    over yonder
    June 25, 2015

    To teach ID means to teach the Truth.

    The only person to have done this recently is Philip Hills, Hope Osteopathic Clinic Essex, Thurrock Gateway Rotary, Brentwood Catenians. Despite S.N.’s intellectual dishonesty, I don’t think he’s that low.

    Only Jason can see the IP.

  346. #346 JGC
    June 26, 2015

    But I will not back down about the processes being more than just chemical reactions. They use the word ‘recognize’ because it expresses what happens.

    Phil, locks ‘recognize’ keys that are able to open them. Would you argue this must be due to something more than a mechanical process?

  347. #347 JGC
    June 26, 2015

    Mutations that disable functional proteins are screwing things up.

    Phil, if you’re already aware of sickle cell’s HbS allele conferring reducedfitness in some environments but increased fitness in others, how could you with any honestly make the claim above?

    I believe that an Agent designed enzymes to do what they do.

    What agent is that Pjil, how has it been demonstrated that agent exists, and what evidence demonstrates that agent intervened design enzymes to do what they do?

    Consider again flavobacterium K172, where a novel enzyme arose capable of digesting nylon oligomers. What evidence demonstrates this agent participated in that enzyme’s design?

  348. #348 JGC
    June 26, 2015

    Phil, I was beginning a response to your post @355, only to come to a full stop after finding this:

    In other words, the more fit specimens survive and reproduce, and the less fit do not. Natural selection does not reason or discriminate, so there is no acting or conserving or actual selection occurring. That is all just jargon, and imprecise at that.

    So first you claim natural selection is horsesh!t, then you give an accurate description of how selection occurs, then you claim that selection is not occurring as you just described?

    I’m at a loss for how to continue a productive discussion—either you lack the intelligence to understand biological evolution, natural selection, and the body of evidence from which it derives–which I’ll note includes examples of beneficial mutations such as antibiotic resistance in bacteria– etc. (which I’ll note doesn’t appear to be the case) or (more likely) although able to understand you’re actively refusing to understand, in order to cling to a preferred alternative.

  349. #349 OccamsLaser
    June 26, 2015

    Phil, you continue to be very evasive. Now you are trying to change the subject, which indicates that you are fearful of supporting the position that you have taken.

    I am not asking about how the excision repair process came to exist. I am specifically asking you about your assertion that the act of excision repair “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    Please do not evade. Simply state what agent, being, entity, force, etc. is intervening and performing those parts of excision repair that you claim are not attributable to chemical reactions.

    I hope you have the courage to directly answer that question.

  350. #350 Another Matt
    June 26, 2015

    I can guess based on one of the standard apologist tropes that Phil has in mind something like this:

    Water boiling in a tea kettle is not just a physical process, as it’s only occurring because someone wanted tea and acted to put the kettle on the stove. There’s physics plus purpose, whereas water boiling about an ocean volcano displays the same physics but no purpose. The latter case can be called JUST a physical process. Etc. But even in the latter case it would be common to use language of agency metaphorically: “the water around the volcano was boiling because the earth was trying to dissipate pressure, and it had nowhere to deposit its magma but the surrounding ocean.”

  351. #351 See Noevo
    June 26, 2015

    To OccamsLaser #348:

    “I am not asking about how the excision repair process came to exist.”

    Why aren’t you asking that?
    Probably for the same reason you wouldn’t answer my question in #252:
    [[Me: “And what caused the carburetor to exist and perform its function?”
    You: “I’m surprised you don’t know, but I guess I shouldn’t be, given your stark ignorance on this and other subjects.”
    But of course I DO know.
    I was just asking YOU the question.
    But you’re evading, Braveheart.]]
    ……..
    “I am specifically asking you about your assertion that the act of excision repair “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.” Please do not evade. Simply state what agent, being, entity, force, etc. is intervening and performing those parts of excision repair that you claim are not attributable to chemical reactions.”

    However you want to characterize the actions or reactions (e.g. chemical, mechanical), NO intelligent agent is directly intervening and performing them.
    However, an intelligent agent IS enabling and sustaining such actions and reactions.
    The same intelligent agent who created the actors and reactors to begin with.
    Analogously, consider the agent you refused to name behind the carburetor’s actions.

  352. #352 OccamsLaser
    June 26, 2015

    I can guess based on one of the standard apologist tropes that Phil has in mind something like this:

    Mm, I don’t think so. In this case, it seems clear that Phil is saying that chemical reactions can’t be responsible for the ACT of excision repair, because there are aspects to it that chemical reactions can’t accomplish, and that there is some other power at work that performs the steps that chemical reactions cannot perform.

  353. #353 JGC
    June 26, 2015

    However, an intelligent agent IS enabling and sustaining such actions and reactions. The same intelligent agent who created the actors and reactors to begin with.

    See, your evidence demonstrating that this ‘intelligent agent’ 1) exists; 2) is enabling and sustaining the enzymatic actions involved in DNA repair; and 3) created the relevant ‘actors and reactors involved in the first place’ would be…what, exactly?

    Be specific.

    I mean, you do have some…right?

  354. #354 See Noevo
    June 26, 2015

    To JGC #352:

    Dear atheistic, pro-evolution, pro-abortion, anti-Holy Writ observant Jew,
    what evidence do YOU have that this ‘intelligent agent’ does NOT exist and enable and sustain?

    Because you do NOT SEE Him or do NOT SEE Him doing these things?

    That would be pretty poor “evidence” to support your position.

    As for MY evidence, I have lots. Lots of reasons. In fact, you could say I have over 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
    000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
    reasons. Approximately.

  355. #355 JGC
    June 26, 2015

    Got nothing, See? Figured as much.

  356. #356 Another Matt
    June 26, 2015

    SN, this “observant Jew” business is nasty and borderline hateful. Were it my blog it would probably be grounds for showing you the door.

    Recently you showed me some compassion for the failure of the Church to keep people like me in the fold. A long time has passed since Roman Catholics were encouraged to behave abusively toward their Jewish neighbors, so maybe try to summon some similar compassion for them.

  357. #357 JGC
    June 26, 2015

    I find most interesting See’s simultaneous use of the labels ‘atheistic’ and ‘observant Jew” while attemtping to distract from his lack of any rational argument in support of his position: the cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.

  358. #358 See Noevo
    June 26, 2015

    To Another Matt #355:

    “SN, this “observant Jew” business is nasty and borderline hateful. Were it my blog it would probably be grounds for showing you the door.”

    Are you insane?
    How in the hell is calling someone an “observant Jew” in any way nasty or hateful?

    What’s nasty and hateful is YOUR idea that “observant Jew” could be considered a nasty and hateful term.

    And besides, “observant Jew” is JGC’s own SELF-DESCRIPTION.

  359. #359 Another Matt
    June 26, 2015

    Don’t be disingenuous. You’re including it in a list of terms that you’ve been very clear about your animosity towards. It’s transparent to everyone that despite JGC’s self description, you’re using it as a term of derogation. I’d urge you to stop, if only because of the symbolic nature of using “Jew” as an epithet.

  360. #360 Narad
    June 26, 2015

    Mutations that disable functional proteins are screwing things up.

    Tell that to pertactin-negative B. pertussis.

  361. #361 See Noevo
    June 26, 2015

    To Another Matt #358:

    “Don’t be disingenuous. You’re including it in a list of terms that you’ve been very clear about your animosity towards.”

    I think it is YOU who are being disingenuous.

    Is calling someone “atheistic” nasty and hateful?
    Is calling someone “pro-evolution” nasty and hateful?
    Is calling someone “pro-abortion” nasty and hateful?
    Is calling someone “anti-Holy Writ” nasty and hateful?

    No. People on this blog call THEMSELVES these things. And they’re PROUD of it.

    Anybody can call me an observant Catholic. Feel free, especially, since it’s true.

  362. #362 JGC
    June 26, 2015

    I haven’t called myself an atheist though, have I See? Nor pro-abortion, nor anti-Holy Writ (whatever tradition’s religious scripture you’re choosing to refer to by that term). And as far as I can tell, pro-evolution is a meaningless phrase, akin to ‘pro-gravitational attraction” or “pro chemical stoichieyry”.

  363. #363 JGC
    June 26, 2015

    “Pro-chemical stoichiometry”. Darn you, autocorrect (far as I know stoichieyry isn’t even a word)!

  364. #364 Narad
    beyond yon hills
    June 26, 2015

    IP, UP, we all have to pee sometime.

    – Narad

  365. #365 OccamsLaser
    June 26, 2015

    See Noevo –

    You write,

    However you want to characterize the actions or reactions (e.g. chemical, mechanical), NO intelligent agent is directly intervening and performing them.

    But Phil disagrees. He says the act of excision repair can’t be characterized as chemical reactions.

    Maybe you can convince him he’s wrong.

    But until then, I again ask him to stop evading, and to stand behind his assertion. So far, however, he has just avoided and evaded. I hope he summons the courage to just come out and say what agent/being/force/entity is executing the parts of the excision repair process that can’t be accomplished with chemical reactions.

    C’mon, Phil. Just say it.

  366. #366 proximity1
    June 27, 2015

    When someone–anyone–comes to this blog and argues, among other things, that science practice is at fault for failing to take adequate account of something which is dependent on a belief in divinty, supernatural phenomena, etc., that person has rejected the enterprise of science en bloc and, really, I must wonder what valid excuse he could have for frequenting this site and continually hijacking threads and subverting their topical character to serve his own abusive ends. I must also wonder why this is tolerated here to the bizzare extent that is evidently the case.

    If one rejects science outright, he has no business participating here–as I see it. This is another in the long line of hijacked threads. The blog’s value as a place for interesting discussion is now well past the point of mere “peril”. If current corcumstances persist, I’ll see no further reason to even open this site’s page and visit the recent activity as that shall have for so long proven to be a sheer waste of my time.

  367. #367 Phil B
    London
    June 27, 2015

    I think “proximity 1” has expressed something I’ve been feeling for some time. On a recent previous post I stated a concern that 1 or 2 individuals were hijacking the discussion for their own ends, and that their being excessively indulged by the people they had so successfully wound up would end up damaging the blog to the extent that people might just abandon it. Please don’t let this happen.

    I also expressed the view that Jason had been remarkably tolerant in accepting this behaviour. His previous rejoinder to SN has been largely ignored, and sensible people have been unable to resist giving responses to SN which his obtuseness nevertheless enables him effectively to ignore.

    As “proximity 1” puts it:-
    “When someone–anyone–comes to this blog and argues, among other things, that science practice is at fault for failing to take adequate account of something which is dependent on a belief in divinty, supernatural phenomena, etc., that person has rejected the enterprise of science en bloc”

    SN is surely guilty of this, and has indeed “rejected the enterprise of science en bloc”. Jason – do we really need to tolerate this indefinitely, at the expense of perhaps irretrievably damaging such a good blog?

  368. #368 Narad
    June 27, 2015

    Welll, with comment 363 being another appropriation of my pseudonym purely to inject noise, I’m inclined skip finishing the FTA comment.

  369. #369 See Noevo
    June 27, 2015

    To proximity1 #365:

    “If one rejects science outright, he has no business participating here–as I see it. This is another in the long line of hijacked threads”

    I think I probably would agree that those who reject science have no business participating here.

    But I don’t reject science at all. I think I value science, real science, more than you and others here.

    The reason I participate here, is that I object to the hijacking of real science by junk scientists and science fictionists (e.g. materialists, evolutionists, multiverse-ists).

    So, don’t put yourself in “peril”. Current “corcumstances” may persist here.

  370. #370 Phil
    June 27, 2015

    JGC,

    “Phil, locks ‘recognize’ keys that are able to open them. Would you argue this must be due to something more than a mechanical process?”

    No, I would argue the obvious. Locks are deliberately designed to function with specific keys.

    ===

    “Phil, if you’re already aware of sickle cell’s HbS allele conferring reduced fitness in some environments but increased fitness in others, how could you with any honestly make the claim above?”

    Because this is usually at the top of the list of exemplary beneficial mutations. I’m not sure that increased fitness is a good characterization since two parents with sickle cell trait (one normal gene, and one abnormal copy) can produce children who inherit two abnormal genes and the resulting sickness.

    The abnormal genes are the result of a single nucleotide substitution. Are damaged genes the mechanism for evolution?

    “What agent is that Pjil, how has it been demonstrated that agent exists”

    In my view, human history demonstrates, and will continue to demonstrate that.

    “Consider again flavobacterium K172, where a novel enzyme arose capable of digesting nylon oligomers. What evidence demonstrates this agent participated in that enzyme’s design?”

    I think this is the third time you’ve mentioned this. In reading about it (and there is lots to read), I would appreciate this the same way I would cave species losing sight and pigmentation. It appears to be a responsive/reactive adaptation. As with most things that are said to “arose” by chance, the odds against this happening are extremely low.

    “So first you claim natural selection is horsesh!t, then you give an accurate description of how selection occurs, then you claim that selection is not occurring as you just described?”

    No, I accept natural selection the way I described it. What I do not accept is the personification of the concept. It has been morphed into a force of some sort, and it is not that. I once heard Dawkins say something like “That just goes to show how powerful selection is!” But selection, it you even want to call it a process, is just removal, and that is all it is. Evolution cannot advance as the result of things dying off.

    ===

    OccamsLaser,

    “I am not asking about how the excision repair process came to exist.”

    No, and you won’t ask that. I’m asking that.
    I’ve explained my position about enzymes as best I can. I believe that inasmuch as they are extremely complex, and serve to catalyze very specific chemical reactions, that they owe their origins to a purposeful intellect. If you can read this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleotide_excision_repair and fail to appreciate my perspective, then anything else I could say will only further disappoint you.

    ===

    proximity1,

    “If one rejects science outright, he has no business participating here–as I see it.”

    Nobody here, on either side of the arguments, rejects science outright. Some of the discussions here are about whether or not beliefs are actually rooted in science.

    Phil B,

    The blog is Jason’s posts. There is no need for you to injure yourself by reading the comments section. But if you should read something particularly devastating, and still have some kind of composure, you can always express your own views.

  371. #371 OccamsLaser
    June 27, 2015

    Phil –

    You now say,

    I’ve explained my position about enzymes as best I can. I believe that inasmuch as they are extremely complex, and serve to catalyze very specific chemical reactions, that they owe their origins to a purposeful intellect. If you can read this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nucleotide_excision_repair and fail to appreciate my perspective, then anything else I could say will only further disappoint you.

    You’re evading again. We are not discussing your claim that “they owe their origins to a purposeful intellect.” We are discussing your very specific, clear, explicit claim that the act of excision repair involves something other than chemical reactions.

    If you are now retracting your claim, simply say so.

    If you stand by your claim that the act of excision repair ““is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring,” then simply say what agent/force/being/entity is responsible for performing the parts of the act of excision repair that you claim are not possible due to chemical reactions.

    Each time you evade this simple, direct question, you further erode your position. Just step up and say what you believe regarding what, besides chemical reactions, is responsible for accomplishing the act of excision repair.

    Just say it, Phil.

  372. #372 Narad
    June 27, 2015

    The reason I participate here, is that I object to the hijacking of real science by junk scientists and science fictionists (e.g. materialists, evolutionists, multiverse-ists).

    Yet you steadfastly ignore the observation that your (often wholly incoherent) invocations of the string landscape is neither more nor less than desperately clinging to a straw man. Did you not understand Baez? Räsänen? This comment, explaining what you yourself trotted out?

    Your protest that “I don’t reject science at all” is simply fatuous; you can’t recognize it at all.

  373. #373 Michael Fugate
    June 27, 2015

    If #368 is what SN really believes, then I agree he should be banned – he is either too ignorant or too delusional to participate in discussions pertaining to science.

  374. #374 Narad
    June 27, 2015

    ^ Further to my previous comment, it is perhaps worth reviewing one of S.N.’s definitions of “real science”:

    Besides, belief or disbelief in evolution has ZERO effect on real science, specifically, zero effect on studying WHAT IS OBSERVED.

    Yet:

    See, the potential “settings” for any of the universal constants is infinite, but only one setting works.
    So, the math is 1/infinity.

    Has infinity ever been OBSERVED? I seem to recall that Max Tegmark was on about this at some point.

    The response that that’s mathematical! fails out of the gate (see also my comment 279);* so is the Standard Model (comment 274).

    * S.N. failed to rise to the question of aleph numbers elsewhere.

  375. #375 dean
    June 27, 2015

    How will science observe and explore even one of these other universes?

    This is your answer to whether you ever read any of the articles you reference? I realize that in religious arguments you never have to provide evidence, since no thinking is required, only mind-numbingly slavish belief in legends and fake prophecies, but come on, that was a simple question.
    Do you read the things you refer to?

  376. #376 Narad
    June 27, 2015

    This is your answer to whether you ever read any of the articles you reference?

    S.N.’s invocation of a pop-sci report about Linde & Vanchurin – which really has nothing to do with the price of anything – suggests to me that he may not even understand his own reason for seizing upon multiversarianism and anything that sounds vaguely similar:

    Like his own position, it represents a retreat – indeed, a proposed halting – of scientific inquiry. There’s a natural affinity.

    The advantage that the multiversarians possess in this game, though, is that they predict nothing. S.N. is stuck with the hoary baggage of baraminology and the concomitant hand-waving.

  377. #377 MNb
    June 27, 2015

    Red flag: SN only values real science, ie science that confirms his religious biases. He himself wrote that he rejected evolution because of religious reasons ao. That makes him a science denier per definition.

  378. #378 MNb
    June 27, 2015

    Perfectly explainable on Evolution Theory, not so much on IDiocy or other forms on creacrap (though of course “real” science like that can explain anything and everything):

    http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/43354/title/Neanderthal-Human-Hybrid-Unearthed/

    Question: what does it mean to teach this fact in an ID class?

  379. #379 JGC
    June 27, 2015

    JGC: Would you argue this must be due to something more than a mechanical process?”

    PhiL: No, I would argue the obvious. Locks are deliberately designed to function with specific key.

    Phil, I didn’t ask you if you believed locks were a product of design. I asked whether or not simple mechanical processes are sufficient to explain a lock’s ability to distinguish between ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ keys.

    I take it that by your “No” above you agree they’re sufficient–is that correct?

  380. #380 Narad
    June 27, 2015

    Perfectly explainable on Evolution Theory

    That’s a softball. Try to get S.N. to defend parallel acquisition of ERVs.

  381. #381 Phil
    June 27, 2015

    “I believe that a large part of our difficulty in avoiding the invocation of agency and direction in evolutionary processes is our persistent inability to define natural selection in terms of physical laws and processes.”
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bies.201190011/full

    Yeah that does persist, doesn’t it? This guy’s urge to purge is like trying to achieve desired social results with politically correct language. It doesn’t change the abnormal nature of the problem. Humans express themselves in certain ways because they think in certain ways.

  382. #382 Narad
    June 27, 2015

    Humans express themselves in certain ways because they think in certain ways.

    You don’t have access to the contents of other people’s minds. In fact, you cannot demonstrate the existence of other people’s minds, so this statement per se is meaningless.

    The assumption of plural minds, however, is wholly unimportant for methodological materialism* (I happen to reject ontology outright). It is absolutely essential for any form of occultism or supernaturalism, though.

    * Cryptographic metaphors notwithstanding.

  383. #383 Phil
    June 28, 2015

    Narad,

    “You don’t have access to the contents of other people’s minds.”

    You just published some of yours, so yes, I do.

    Moore is addressing a problem that has to do with the contents of other people’s minds, and how they express those contents. He is contending with classic cog-diss.

    “In fact, you cannot demonstrate the existence of other people’s minds, so this statement per se is meaningless.”

    Right. That’s heavy.

  384. #384 Narad
    June 28, 2015

    Narad,

    “You don’t have access to the contents of other people’s minds.”

    You just published some of yours, so yes, I do.

    Nope. You have “access” to words that you saw, not any “mind.” This is such a philosophical truism that your attempted retort is baffling:

    Moore is addressing a problem that has to do with the contents of other people’s minds, and how they express those contents.

    So some other “mind” is talking about everybody else’s “minds,” and that settles that? No, sorry.

    You then devolve into the philosophical equivalent of nervously chattering to yourself in a corner:

    “In fact, you cannot demonstrate the existence of other people’s minds, so this statement per se is meaningless.”

    Right. That’s heavy.

    OK, so you admit that you can’t. More to the point, you can’t demonstrate that you yourself are not G-d and that all of “this” is your fault. I’d suggest that you’d be safer sticking to repetition points in your “comfort zone”; I’m happily free from such scripted baggage.

    BTW, were you going to get around to pertactin?

  385. #385 Krebiozen
    June 28, 2015

    A comment of mine has repeatedly disappeared into the ether. Is there a one link limit here?

    I’ll try posting it in smaller chunks.

    Phil’s personal incredulity reminded me of one of Derren Brown’s TV shows, ‘The System’, in which he gives a woman the names of five winning horses in a row, with the final cumulative bet winning £13,000.

    Here’s a short clip of Derren Brown from the same show, demonstrating how the same principle allows him to flip an unloaded coin ten times in a row and get heads each time.

    I wonder if either Phil or SN see how this is relevant to evolution and natural selection.

  386. #386 See Noevo
    June 28, 2015

    To Krebiozen #384:

    “Here’s a short clip of Derren Brown from the same show, demonstrating how the same principle allows him to flip an unloaded coin ten times in a row and get heads each time. I wonder if either Phil or SN see how this is relevant to evolution and natural selection.”

    I don’t see how it’s relevant, for several reasons:

    1) From a long-odds viewpoint, his coin flipping exercise is ridiculously simple and probable in comparison to the settings of the universal constants. The former had a probability of 1 in a thousand, the latter 1 in infinity.

    2) More importantly, Derren Brown made probably well over 500 attempts in over 9 hours to achieve his precise definition of success. But with the universal constants, the so-called Big Bang got just one attempt in one millisecond. One attempt to achieve an infinitely more precise definition of success.

    3) The coin flip results in zero defects. That is, even a flip of a fully-expected “Tails” is not defective or wrong, it’s just not what the flipper was hoping for to meet his precise but meaningless definition of success. Biological evolution requires defects. That is, UN-expected mutations (i.e. replication errors).

    4) The coin flip results in zero information and INSTRUCTION, while biological evolution requires a growing complex structure of information and INSTRUCTION.

    This might be a good time for you to review my reflection on the complexity of INSTRUCTION in #93.

    Oh, Krebiozen, Krebiozen, Krebiozen!
    What are the odds of a randomly-mutated mind randomly coming up with that exact preceding sentence of shock?
    I think about one in 58,089,409,991,159,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

  387. #387 Narad
    June 28, 2015

    The coin flip results in zero information

    Shannon or Kolmogorov? Oh, wait.

  388. #388 OccamsLaser
    June 28, 2015

    Phil –

    You still haven’t stated what being/agent/entity/power is involved in the act of excision repair, which you asserted “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    Are you deciding whether to retract your claim and to change your position, or are you just continuing to evade?

  389. #389 Phil
    June 28, 2015

    OccamsLaser,

    “You still haven’t stated what being/agent/entity/power is involved in the act of excision repair, which you asserted “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.” “

    And you haven’t stated anything at all. If you think this is just chemical reactions, then if falls on you to explain why every enzyme doesn’t do the same thing. If that is hard for you to understand, I’ll be glad to help. But you should read what is known about enzymes first.

    “Are you deciding whether to retract your claim and to change your position, or are you just continuing to evade?”

    Neither. My views about enzymes are based on scientific discovery, and what the literature says about how they function. If you know what they do, you can’t get away from purpose and intent.

    You have a perception problem, and a limited amount of time to get straightened out. You can only hide behind a boorish inquiry for so long. I know it’s fun, but at some point, you are going to have to stop playing games, and start asking yourself questions about why enzymes do specific things, and how and why such proteins “evolved”. If you really dig in on the important stuff, it is possible that you could be aroused to wonder how you wound up being just another materialist punk, completely disconnected from science. I cannot help you with that. You’ll have to start ignoring the people who have screwed you up, and start thinking for yourself.

  390. #390 Narad
    June 29, 2015

    If you think this is just chemical reactions, then if falls on you to explain why every enzyme doesn’t do the same thing.

    “I’ll have an H₂O too.”

    Don’t forget to tip your catalase.

  391. #391 JGC
    June 29, 2015

    If you know what they do, you can’t get away from purpose and intent.

    I do know what enzymes do, Phil: bind to substrates, with varying degrees of specificity based on the substrates tertiary molecular structure, catalyzing chemical reactions like hyrolysis, phosporylation, etc.

    Nowhere in their function do I see any indication they act purposefully or with intent.

  392. #392 OccamsLaser
    June 29, 2015

    Phil –

    Why are you being so evasive? You made a clear assertion, and yet you have repeatedly evaded a very simple question about your assertion. When someone is evasive about disclosing something that they believe, it is generally an indication that he is fearful of revealing what he really thinks.

    Why are you afraid of simply stating what you believe?

    So, Phil, what being/agent/entity/power is involved in the act of excision repair, which you asserted “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring”?

    Why are you so afraid of telling us what you believe?

    Are you starting to be unsure of your belief?

    If so, just come out and say it. If not, tell us what you believe: what being/agent/entity/power is involved in the act of excision repair, which you asserted “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring”?

    Don’t keep evading. Persistent evasion is a very bad sign for you and your position.

  393. #393 JGC
    June 29, 2015

    I’m not sure that increased fitness is a good characterization since two parents with sickle cell trait (one normal gene, and one abnormal copy) can produce children who inherit two abnormal genes and the resulting sickness.

    Let me allay your doubts, then. Recall that sickle cell disease is the result of an autosomal recessive allele, with individuals heterozygous for the sickle cell allele (HbS) protected against malaria but not subject to the disease,

    In populations where the HbS alele is present in the gene pool, in every generation 25% of individuals will be neither protected against malaria or suffer sickle cell anemia,50% will be protected against malaria but will not suffer sickle cell anemia, and 25% will be protected against malaria but suffer from the disease.

    So ignoring considerations of whether, in heterozygous individuals, sickle cell reduces fitness to a greater extent than protection against malaria increases it, the population as a whole will exhibit greater fitness in environments where malaria is endemic-, with twice as large a subset of the population protected against malaria as sufering from the anemia. that’s more than nenough to drive selection.

  394. #394 JGC
    June 29, 2015

    I would appreciate this the same way I would cave species losing sight and pigmentation. It appears to be a responsive/reactive adaptation.

    Escept that this doesn’t represent adaptation: adaptive change and evolutionary change, at least as those terms apply to the biological sciences, are two distinct entities. Adaptive changes occur at the level of individual organisms, do not involve changes in genetic composition, and are not inheritable (a good example would be the changes an athlete’s body undergoes when training at higher elevation leading to improved aerobic capacity).

    Evolutionary changes occur at the level of populations of living organisms, as the result of change in genetic composition of that population, and are therefore always inheritable.

    K172’s ability to digest nylon is the result of a genetic change (that point mutation at nyl B), is inheritable, and occurred at the population level (the entire population became nyl B positive in a few generations): this is evolutionary (not adaptive) change by definition.

    As with most things that are said to “arose” by chance, the odds against this happening are extremely low.

    Yet we saw it happen anyway. Clearly ‘extremely low’ odds that any particular genetic change might result in increased fitness odds isn’t sufficient to invalidate evolutionary models.

  395. #395 sean samis
    June 29, 2015

    Huh. 393 comments. I’m glad I was too busy to get sucked into this maelstrom. And I’m not seeing much change from the beginning.

    sean s.

  396. #396 Phil
    June 29, 2015

    JGC,

    “Nowhere in their function do I see any indication they act purposefully or with intent.”

    Well that’s unfortunate. Do you detect any distinction between chemistry and biochemistry? Enzymes function according to purpose. That is not to say that they are reasoning or thinking. But to claim they they do not have specific purposes is absurd. E. coli has about 1,000 different types of enzymes, and each one catalyzes a specific, necessary reaction. If you can attribute the assembly of functional strings of 100 to 1000 specifically ordered amino acids to chance, then we needn’t discuss this any longer.

    “with twice as large a subset of the population protected against malaria as sufering from the anemia. that’s more than nenough to drive selection.”

    If you think that accumulating disease resistance is what produced metamorphosis, then you have your champion.

    “Yet we saw it happen anyway. Clearly ‘extremely low’ odds that any particular genetic change might result in increased fitness odds isn’t sufficient to invalidate evolutionary models.”

    I think we both know that nothing is sufficient to invalidate evolutionary models. But acquiring three unique nylonase enzymes is enough to suggest that there is more to this than accidents.

    Regardless, an adaptation like this in bacteria does not scale up to the complexity that would be involved in supposed transitions from land animals to whales.

  397. #397 JGC
    June 29, 2015

    Enzymes function according to purpose.

    Phil, that’s just an unsupported assertion: repeating it oer and over is no substitute for evidence.

    If you can attribute the assembly of functional strings of 100 to 1000 specifically ordered amino acids to chance, then we needn’t discuss this any longer.

    I’m not attributing it to chance, however: recall that natural selection operates in an non-random manner.

    But I agree that unless and until you can offer more than unsupported assertions and arguments from personal incredulity there isn’t anything to discuss.

    If you think that accumulating disease resistance is what produced metamorphosis, then you have your champion.

    Where have I argued that “accumulating disease resistance produced metamorphosis”, Phil? Provide a direct quote from a post I’ve authored.

    I think we both know that nothing is sufficient to invalidate evolutionary models.

    I know nothing of the sort: like all scientific theories evolution is predictive and falsifiable. The classic observations sufficient to falsify evolution is of course finding fossil in the wrong place or sequence, like mammalian fossils in Devonian strata (i.e., the classic “Jurassic bunny”). Observations that violate the nested hierarchy of species would also be sufficient–finding species of non-vascular plant possessing seeds or flowers (only be found in vascular plants) or of amphibians or fish with differentiated or cusped teeth (only be found in mammals) would do it. At the very least it the current understanding would require fundamental revision.

    But while we’re on the subject of unfalsifiable beliefs, what is your preferred alternative to evolution, and what evidence would be sufficient to convince you that it was invalid?

    Regardless, an adaptation like this in bacteria does not scale up to the complexity that would be involved in supposed transitions from land animals to whales.

    Again, adaptation and evolution are two different things.

    But explain to me exactly what forces would prevent the serial accumulation of genetic changes, each selected for at the time they arise as a function of relative fitness with respect to environment, from resulting over sufficiently long periods of time in the creation of new populations from ancestral ones, even as different as today’s whales are from ambulocetus?

  398. #398 dean
    June 29, 2015

    does not scale up to…

    Interesting choice of words. Phil claims to have been (or possibly still is) an engineer, so he was trained in ways to scale things he worked with from one situation to another, and to recognize when that wouldn’t be possible.

    Since he has decided (to keep his religious views safe) to see everything as being designed by something, that training carries over and he’s unable to see how any other process could work.

  399. #399 OccamsLaser
    June 30, 2015

    Phil –

    You seem to be running away from your position that excision repair “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    If you’re retracting that claim, just say so.

    If you continue to hold that position, simply state what other agent/entity/being is responsible for performing those parts of the act of excision repair that you claim cannot be due to chemical reactions.

  400. #400 Narad
    June 30, 2015

    Regardless, an adaptation like this in bacteria does not scale up to the complexity that would be involved in supposed transitions from land animals to whales.

    Kolmogorov or cargo cult “complexity”?

    What is the “scale” up with which you cannot put? Does it have units?

    Oh, and: pertactin?

  401. #401 Sean T
    June 30, 2015

    Phil,

    I don’t want to jump in too deep since nearly everything that can be said already has been, and nobody’s going to budge, but one thing you mentioned jumped out at me. You ask whether there’s some fundamental difference between chemistry and biochemistry. The scientific answer is no. There is no difference, in principle between the two. Biochemistry merely deals with the chemistry of living systems. There are no laws of biochemistry that are different from the laws of chemistry. It’s been investigated; the chemistry of living systems, while more complex than most other systems, is not fundamentally different from the chemistry of nonliving systems.

    The principle you seem to be espousing with your question is the priniciple of vitalism. That’s the reason we have the term “organic” in chemistry. At one time, it was believed that organic chemicals contained a vital principle that only could be derived from living systems. That idea was conclusively debunked by the synthesis of organic chemicals from inorganic precursors. There is no vital priniciple; all of the things that living cells do boil down at the most fundamental level to chemical reactions.

  402. #402 See Noevo
    June 30, 2015

    To Sean T #400:

    “I don’t want to jump in too deep since nearly everything that can be said already has been, and nobody’s going to budge…”

    I think you’re probably right.
    And I know for certain that I haven’t budged.
    More than ever, I think evolution is, and will ultimately be revealed to all to be, perhaps the greatest embarrassment and shame in the histories of science and of rational thought.

    And I will continue to say so, and say why I say so. Thankfully, for the time being, I’m somewhat free to do so. [That freedom may end before too long, given the direction of this country, as exemplified by the trifecta of Supreme Court decisions last week.]

    “… but one thing you mentioned jumped out at me. You ask whether there’s some fundamental difference between chemistry and biochemistry. The scientific answer is no… The principle you seem to be espousing with your question is the priniciple of vitalism…At one time, it was believed that organic chemicals contained a vital principle that only could be derived from living systems… There is no vital priniciple; all of the things that living cells do boil down at the most fundamental level to chemical reactions.”

    Thankfully, you WOULD agree that there’s a fundamental difference between vital things (i.e. living things) and non-vital things (i.e. non-living things). Or would you?

    P.S.
    Any new news on abiogenesis?
    Why do you believe in abiogenesis, or at least give it the benefit of the doubt?

  403. #403 dean
    June 30, 2015

    “And I know for certain that I haven’t budged.
    More than ever, I think evolution is, and will ultimately be revealed to all to be, perhaps the greatest embarrassment and shame in the histories of science and of rational thought.”

    That, with your
    – refusal to answer any direct question
    – refusal to give any objection to science other than your repeated demonstrations that you will not make any attempt to understand it
    – your asinine predictions of the coming loss of free speech
    – your repeated lies

    Is why you are so easily recognized as a blithering idiot. (I won’t wait for you to answer any direct question, since you never have)

  404. #404 Michael Fugate
    June 30, 2015

    Phil,
    Do you think chemistry is magic? or is it predicated on random collisions of atoms and molecules? If the latter, then biochemistry is just chemistry in living things – random collisions altered by things like pressure, temperature, catalysts, atomic structure, free energy, etc. If you can understand that, then the next step is to view mutations as the randomness underlying biology. It is one and the same. You do have to step back and re-examine the basics.

  405. #405 Phil
    June 30, 2015

    Information. The difference is information.

  406. #406 Sean T
    June 30, 2015

    SN,

    I think you misunderstood. Vitalism is dead. It has been debunked scientifically. Vitalism was the idea that certain chemical compounds contained a vital principle. Because of this, those compounds could only originate in living creatures. Since organic compounds are now routinely synthesized from inorganic precursors, it’s clear that vitalism is no longer a viable idea.

    So are living systems different from nonliving ones? That depends on what you mean by “different”. If you just mean that living systems reproduce themselves and engage in metabolic activity, well, then sure living systems are different from nonliving ones. However, that’s a trivial answer; nobody’s going to claim that living systems and nonliving ones share ALL the same characteristics. Otherwise, why would we make a distinction?

    If we then restrict this to the question of whether there exists, on a fundamental level, some innate difference between living and nonliving systems, then the answer must be no. Living systems have been extensively investigated, and there is nothing that living systems do that cannot be explained in terms of chemical reactions. It’s a complex chemistry, to be sure, but none of the reactions that living systems utilize cannot be replicated in vitro. It’s all just chemistry at work. There are no separate laws or principles of chemistry or physics that apply to living systems but not to nonliving ones. Vitalism is still dead.

  407. #407 JGC
    June 30, 2015

    Information. The difference is information.

    Please define the word “information” as you’re using it here.

  408. #408 See Noevo
    June 30, 2015

    To Sean T #405:

    “If we then restrict this to the question of whether there exists, on a fundamental level, some innate difference between living and nonliving systems, then the answer must be no. Living systems have been extensively investigated, and there is nothing that living systems do that cannot be explained in terms of chemical reactions.”

    Then any disagreements here on this blog can be chalked up to differences in chemical reactions.
    Then certainly, you hold know animus against me or my views.
    Our chemistry is just… different.
    Vive la différence!

    P.S.
    You never answered my questions:

    Any new news on abiogenesis?
    Why do you believe in abiogenesis, or at least give it the benefit of the doubt?

  409. #409 Sean T
    June 30, 2015

    SN,

    I don’t know the answer to your question. I have no expertise on current research into abiogenesis. However, all life is chemical in nature. There have been experiments that show that the formation of organic chemicals necessary for life can occur naturally. There have been mechanisms proposed by which some of the features of living systems might have arisen (eg. self assembly of lipid bilayers to form membranes, nucleotides that self-catalyze their own replication). Such findings certainly make abiogenesis seem much less implausible.

    In any case, though, evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. Even if we assume that God poofed the first living cells into existence, evolution does quite a good job of explaining why we have the biodiversity we currently observe. All theories have a limited scope. No theory purports to explain everything. We don’t criticize general relativity (or Newtonian gravity before that) because it gives no explanation of the origin of matter. Those theories work just as well no matter how matter originated. Similarly, evolution works well no matter how life began.

  410. #410 Sean T
    June 30, 2015

    BTW, SN, “we don’t know, we’re still working to find an answer,” is a perfectly legitimate scientific answer to a question. As I said before, I am no expert on research into abiogenesis, but it seems to me that this would be the currently accepted scientific answer to your question about the origin of life.

  411. #411 OccamsLaser
    June 30, 2015

    Phil –

    You’re still ducking. Looks bad.

    Please state your belief regarding what other power is involved in excision repair in addition to chemical reactions.

  412. #412 MNb
    June 30, 2015

    @SN 407: “Why do you believe in abiogenesis, or at least give it the benefit of the doubt?”
    Because ID explains everything hence nothing: thunder and lightning (ID was accepted for this about 2000 years ago), your computer running smoothly and the origin of life. Oh – ID also explains Intelligent Falling, let’s not forget that one.
    It’s rather telling that you laughed it off iso explaining your methodology (why ID is required for life but not for gravity). It suggests you don’t have one, except what you called “common sense”.

  413. #413 JGC
    June 30, 2015

    Why do you believe in abiogenesis, or at least give it the benefit of the doubt?

    Perhaps because the body of evidence available at present best supports an abiogenetic origin for living organisms?

    What would you propose as an alternative, on the basis of what body of evidence?

  414. #414 sean samis
    June 30, 2015

    I’ve been watching this thread unwind, but been luckily too busy to participate. I just saw this article on NPR and I think it might explain the inability of each side to appreciate the other’s.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/06/29/418289762/don-t-believe-in-evolution-try-thinking-harder?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20150629

    Conjecture: creationists (including IDers) seem to rely on “common sense” and intuition as evidence of things; rationalists have learned the hard way that those two things are unreliable. So creationists and rationalists end up talking past each other.

    There might be some truth to this.

    sean s.

  415. #415 Phil
    June 30, 2015

    JGC,

    “Please define the word “information” as you’re using it here.”

    The word is pretty straight forward, and I wouldn’t know of a suitable substitute for what is commonly called the genetic code. In that context, information is data communicated towards specified production and specific results.

    “Perhaps because the body of evidence available at present best supports an abiogenetic origin for living organisms?”

    Indeed.

    ===

    Sean T,

    “evolution does quite a good job of explaining why we have the biodiversity we currently observe.”

    Not really. You have to stay with a very shallow and crafted narrative, like “the serial accumulation of genetic changes, each selected for at the time they arise as a function of relative fitness with respect to environment”, which is like hearing someone explain why communism works so well.

    “In any case, though, evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life.”

    Where is the demarcation between the two?

  416. #416 Narad
    June 30, 2015

    “Please define the word “information” as you’re using it here.”

    The word is pretty straight forward, and I wouldn’t know of a suitable substitute for what is commonly called the genetic code. In that context, information is data communicated towards specified production and specific results.

    This strange spatiotemporal metaphor is literally devoid of meaning. I suggest that you review the first link in comment 399.

  417. #417 JGC
    June 30, 2015

    The word is pretty straight forward, and I wouldn’t know of a suitable substitute for what is commonly called the genetic code

    It;s hardly straightforward as you’re using it here, and your attempted explanation doesn’t make things any clearer–can you now explain what you mean by ‘the genetic code’, as it appears you’re referring to something more than the sequence of base pairs found in DNA molecules (since your contention is that biochemcal raactions cannot create information, and we directly observe them creating such base pair sequences.

    In that context, information is data communicated towards specified production and specific results.

    What do you mean by ‘specified production’ and ‘specific results’? How does one distinguish between specified and all other forms of production in biological systems, and between specific results and all other results of biochemical reactions?

  418. #418 See Noevo
    June 30, 2015

    To seam samis #413:

    “I just saw this article on NPR and I think it might explain the inability of each side to appreciate the other’s.”

    The title of that NPR article, “Don’t Believe In Evolution? Try Thinking Harder”, has it 180 degrees wrong, at least in my case. After 30 years believing in evolution, I began NOT believing evolution WHEN I STARTED THINKING HARDER about it, and reading the evolutionists’ own literature.

    I also go against the alleged grain on some of the author’s suggested possibilities:
    “The first — suggested by the clever title of Gervais’ paper, “Override the Controversy” — is that all individuals have a tendency to reject evolution on an intuitive level, but that some individuals engage in a form of analytic or reflective thinking that allows them to “override” this intuitive response.”

    Not for me. I ACCEPTED evolution on an INTUITIVE level, and also because I had heard ‘evolution is true’ my whole life. I later rejected evolution on an intellectual and analytical level.

    “Yet, a third possibility — and one I find compelling — is that effects of cognitive style interact with cultural input… the beliefs they grew up with and that dominate their communities. What might require analytic and reflective thought isn’t (just) overriding cognitive systems that govern intuition, but overriding the norms of one’s upbringing and peers.”

    Again, not for me. My upbringing and my community and my culture had and have virtually ZERO to say about evolution. Among these there was what seemed to be a silent acceptance of evolution, and such was certainly the case for me for about 30 years. Hell, even at a Catholic Mass, I can’t recall ever hearing anything said about evolution.

    When someone in my circles discovers my position on evolution, they’re more often than not shocked. Too bad. But over the years I’ve found others outside my immediate circles who are of like mind with me.

  419. #419 JGC
    June 30, 2015

    Where is the demarcation between the two?

    Evolution addresses changes in genetic composition of populations of already living organisms over generations, while biogenesis addresses the origin of the first living organisms.

    Abiogenesis is a specific form of biogenesis, which addresses the body if evidence supporting living organisms having arisen from non-living precursors.

  420. #420 JGC
    June 30, 2015

    After 30 years believing in evolution…

    I ACCEPTED evolution on an INTUITIVE level…

    That’s your problem right there, see–for thirty years you believed in and intuitively accepted evolution, but your posts demonstrate you didn’t understand evolution: what the models state or predict, the evidence from which those models derived, or what observations would be sufficient to falsify them.

  421. #421 See Noevo
    June 30, 2015

    Top candidate for stupidest line of the day:

    “Abiogenesis is a specific form of biogenesis…”

  422. #422 OccamsLaser
    June 30, 2015

    Phil –

    Every single statement you make regarding science is going to be evaluated in light of the fact that you have asserted that excision repair “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring.”

    Furthermore, your complete inability to stand behind that clam is very telling insofar as your confidence in, and understanding of, your own positions.

    Phil, everyone who reads this thread will know that you will evade, avoid, distract, change the subject…anything but answer a simple, direct question about your claim.

    Why are you so terrified of coming out and saying what you believe, Phil? Why would you rather have everything you say be viewed through the lens of your evasions rather than reveal what you believe about the agent that is involved in the act of excision repair?

    Consider how it looks, Phil, that you are so deeply afraid of addressing this question.

    Set us straight. Answer the question. Continued evasion just digs the hole deeper, Phil.

  423. #423 See Noevo
    June 30, 2015

    To seam samis #413, part 2:

    Coincidentally and ironically, here’s another University of California professor, but one who has GOOD things to say about intuition, even in the field of science:

    http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2015/015523/shame-psychology

  424. #424 Phil
    June 30, 2015

    JGC,

    “can you now explain what you mean by ‘the genetic code’ “

    Well, yes, but you can search the phrase and find the essentials repeated as many times as you care to read about them. It isn’t like I made it up.

    “The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded within genetic material (DNA or mRNA sequences) is translated into proteins by living cells. Biological decoding is accomplished by the ribosome, which links amino acids in an order specified by mRNA, using transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules to carry amino acids and to read the mRNA three nucleotides at a time. The genetic code is highly similar among all organisms and can be expressed in a simple table with 64 entries….The code defines how sequences of these nucleotide triplets, called codons, specify which amino acid will be added next during protein synthesis.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_code

    “What do you mean by ‘specified production’ and ‘specific results’?”

    Specific proteins are synthesized to do specific things in specific cells, and it is all specifically regulated.

  425. #425 JGC
    June 30, 2015

    I’m confused, Phil–you’re now abandoning your previous position that something more than chemical reactions is necessary for biologically diverse species to arise? Nothing in your comments re: information, your definition of genetic code. of the fact that protein synthesis is regulated, that proteins have specific functions, or that their expression varies with cell type, argues otherwise.

  426. #426 Michael Fugate
    June 30, 2015

    So when you guys think of chemical bonds – do you think of marriages between atoms? And when you think of chemical reactions – do you think of emotional responses to stimuli?

  427. #427 OccamsLaser
    June 30, 2015

    Phil had forcefully asserted that excision repair “is definitely not just a chemical reaction occurring,” and he more generally seems to hold the same position about a wide variety of biological processes. However, when directly asked about this position, which is the underpinning of his entire anti-evolution position, he flees. This is likely indicative of the fact that he has realized he is uncertain about his own claims, and so he is afraid of giving an honest, direct answer.

    It would be so simple for Phil to say what he believes.

    But he can’t.

    Telling.

  428. #428 Phil
    June 30, 2015

    JGC,

    “you’re now abandoning your previous position that something more than chemical reactions is necessary for biologically diverse species to arise?”

    Of course not. Something more than chemical reactions is definitely necessary. The idea that random events can result in organization and complexity has been tested and falsified every day for millennia.

    “Nothing in your comments re: information, your definition of genetic code. of the fact that protein synthesis is regulated, that proteins have specific functions, or that their expression varies with cell type, argues otherwise.”

    My comments, and my interest in all these things, always comes back to the premise that they are the result of intellect, and definitely not fortuitous chemical reactions. They call it information because that is what it is. Information is not an accidental commodity.

  429. #429 Another Matt
    United States
    June 30, 2015

    Precise definitions of information and randomness have something else to say entirely than the colloquial ones. A truly random collection of data is one that can only be represented as itself – it can’t be compressed the way signals with repetition, and thus less information, can. One classic problem in signal processing derives from the fact that when a signal is buried in noise, there can be too much information in the noise to determine what is noise and what is signal.

    The problem is that for any kind of precise statistical analysis of or probability calculation on information requires a precise definition of information. The colloquial one doesn’t work because it’s qualitative, not quantitative.

  430. #430 OccamsLaser
    July 1, 2015

    No need even to get into Phil’s belief that something more than chemical reactions is definitely necessary for diverse species to arise;; Phil doesn’t even believe that chemical reactions can cause excision repair in species that have already arisen, and he claims that some other agent/entity/being/power is responsible for performing those steps in the act of excision repair that chemical reactions can’t cause.

    Phil, don’t keep your beliefs secret. What is that agent/entity/power that is participating in excision repair? So far, your silence is deafening.

  431. #431 See Noevo
    July 1, 2015

    Phil,
    I think you have created a monster in OccamsLaser.
    Actually, no. It’s probably more accurate to say he’s made his own madness.

    If ever there was a good example of grotesque obsession, perhaps insanity, it’s OccamsLaser’s rabid repetitions – ref: #171, #199, #201, #224, #249, #265, #297, #336, #340, #348, #351, #364, #370, #387, #391, #398, #410, #421, #426, #429.

    That’s 20 posts that are essentially identical.

    Jason Rosenhouse, are you seeing this circular circus? Recently you reprimanded me with “Your commenting has become so relentless, however, that you seem to think these threads exist solely as your own personal soapbox. I’m a little tired of seeing my “Recent Comments” bar filled up with your name. Yesterday you left seventeen comments on this thread. You don’t think that’s a little excessive? So please limit yourself to one or two comments per day. OK? I don’t think that’s unreasonable. You can say what you want to say without replying to every comment directed at you. You need to learn the art of letting things drop.” http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2015/06/10/the-cambrian-explosion/

    Jason, don’t you have any words for OccamsLaser?

  432. #432 Narad
    July 1, 2015

    The idea that random events can result in organization and complexity has been tested and falsified every day for millennia.

    You’re not particularly familiar with radioactive decay, are you?

    Is chemotaxis deterministic?

  433. #433 JGC
    July 1, 2015

    The idea that random events can result in organization and complexity has been tested and falsified every day for millennia.

    Citations needed: the evidence demonstrating that known natural mechanisms such as mutagensis and selection with respect to environment cannot create the ‘organization and complexity’ observed in living organisms would be what, exactly? Be specific.

    Or is this just one more expression of personal incredulity?

    My comments, and my interest in all these things, always comes back to the premise that they are the result of intellect, and definitely not fortuitous chemical reactions.

    Logical fallacy alert: affirming the consequent. The claim you’re trying to support is that something more than ‘fortuitous chemical ractions’ are necessary, remember? Your argument’s starting premise cannot be the conclusion you’re trying to defend.

    Information is not an accidental commodity.

    We have , however, see that comodty created by ‘accident’ as you charaterize random genetic change, as in the case of K 172. By the most rigorous standard for information content, a random event–a point insertion mutation–increased the toatl information content of the bacterial genome by one ‘bit’: thet inserted thymidine at position 99 of allele nyl B (whcih then created a new open reading frame, expressing a new protein, which exhibited a unique enzymatic activity, which conferred increased fitnes, which resulted in a cahnge in the expression of alleles in the bacterial population over generations–evolutionary change by definition).

    Gene duplication mutations–again ‘accidental’ by your characterization–demonstrably result in increases in infomration content of tens, hundreds or thousands of bits.
    Polyploidy–a common mecahnism leading to speciation in plants–represents doubling, tripling or more of information content ‘by accident’.

    Again–all you’re offering to argue that something more than known natural mechanisms cannot create ‘information’, in teh face of observed instance where it’s done just that–is an argument from personal incredulity.

    Let us know should you ever have something more to bring to the table.

  434. #434 JGC
    July 1, 2015

    That’s 20 posts that are essentially identical.

    And 20 posts Phil has been unable or unwilling to respond to in any substantive manner.

    I’d say occam’s made his point.

  435. #435 sean samis
    July 1, 2015

    Regarding #417; SN is not telling the truth. @4, SN wrote that “I see ID more as common sense. … Maybe the ID movement should change its name to the CS movement..” and @36: SN wrote “… as for … (DNA), I think common sense gives us a pretty good start as to its origin.

    The title of that NPR article can be misleading; it did mislead SN. It does not matter how HARD you think if you think THE WRONG WAY. If you rely on common sense and intuition (as the creationists on this thread are want to do) then your thinking is wrongly premised.

    A good example: @422, SN cited a “University of California professor, … who has GOOD things to say about intuition, even in the field of science:.” If SN had bothered to read the cite article, SN would have noted that the professor was talking only about intuition’s value in Psychology, not all science.

    And if SN actually read the cited article instead of merely letting the words slide off his Teflon-coated “common sense”, he would have paid particular note of these words:

    “Scientific and other methods, no matter how scrupulously applied, are helpless in the face of misleading tropes,” Scheff writes in the paper. He defines tropes as false assumptions — ideas taken for granted that may be untrue or only partially true.

    No one here can dispute the truth of that statement. What creationists forget is that “common sense” and intuition are the generators of most misleading tropes.

    sean s.

  436. #436 Michael Fugate
    July 1, 2015

    SN, does common sense tell you that you are on a planet spinning at up to 1700km/hr? or traveling around the sun at over 100,000km/hr? Read about the history of momentum as a scientific concept – how this played into geocentrism v. heliocentrism.

    If a human can detect a pattern – any pattern, does that mean an intelligence is communicating with us? Is that information?

  437. #437 OccamsLaser
    July 1, 2015

    See Noevo says,

    If ever there was a good example of grotesque obsession, perhaps insanity, it’s OccamsLaser’s rabid repetitions my scanning over 400 posts to make this silly list: #171, #199, #201, #224, #249, #265, #297, #336, #340, #348, #351, #364, #370, #387, #391, #398, #410, #421, #426, #429.

    FTFY, Marty.

    Jason Rosenhouse, are you seeing this circular circus?

    Cool. You’re not even intelligent enough to know what a circle is.

    You are doing a very effective job of showing just how empty the ID position is, and how dishonest its proponents are. Thanks!

  438. #438 See Noevo
    July 1, 2015

    To sean samis #434:

    “Regarding #417; SN is not telling the truth.”

    No. I’m telling the truth. It’s sean samis not telling the truth.
    As I said, for 30 years I ACCEPTED evolution on an INTUITIVE level, and also because I had heard ‘evolution is true’ my whole life. INTUITIVELY, evolution SEEMED reasonable to me (e.g. Little changes here and there and, given enough time, you go from some kind of simian to man!). But when I thought and read about it more, what had seemed intuitive and even common-sensical, became unconvincing to ludicrous empirically, scientifically and logically (as well as philosophically and theologically).

    [And if you think it’s logical and common-sensical to believe Mt. Rushmore could result from erosion or a laptop computer could self-assemble or DNA could be a happy accident or eyeballs convergently evolved, we don’t need to talk further.]

    “If SN had bothered to read the cite article, SN would have noted that the professor was talking only about intuition’s value in Psychology, not all science.”

    ONLY in Psychology? I think seam samis might not be telling the truth, again. From the article:
    “Scheff points to the example of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who spent his life trying to determine the orbit of Venus. Although his observations were meticulous, the science was sabotaged by the common belief that the planets revolved around the Earth. After Brahe’s death, Johannes Kepler, working with Brahe’s data, solved the problem through an accident of INTUITION.”
    …….

    “Scientific and other methods, no matter how scrupulously applied, are helpless in the face of misleading tropes,” Scheff writes in the paper. He defines tropes as false assumptions — ideas taken for granted that may be untrue or only partially true.”
    “No one here can dispute the truth of that statement.”

    Agreed.

    “What creationists forget is that “common sense” and intuition are the generators of most misleading tropes.”

    Disagreed.
    And what evolutionists forget is that their uniformitarianism, materialism, unwarranted extrapolation, and circular reasoning are among the most misleading of “tropes” or false assumptions.

  439. #439 Phil
    July 1, 2015

    JGC,

    “Citations needed: the evidence demonstrating that known natural mechanisms such as mutagensis and selection with respect to environment cannot create the ‘organization and complexity’ observed in living organisms would be what, exactly? Be specific.”

    I agree that citations are needed, but you’ve bought into this nonsense on the basis of a smooth narrative and grand overviews. If there was any “be specific” evidence that mutagenesis and selection could do what you think they can do, you could refer to it, and my personal incredulity wouldn’t be an issue.

    By the way, you seem charmed by ambulocetus, the famous supposed transitional whale form discovered by Thewissen. The reconstructed skeleton seen in museums around the world is a fraud, and you can hear Hans admit that the nostrils migrating to become a blowhole was entirely imaginary.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkwhd_gIR7c

    Same thing with the flippers and whale tail on Rodhocetus, total fabrication. And you can hear the prestigious Dr. Gingerich admit that as well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7e6C6yUqck

    credulity: a tendency to be too ready to believe that something is real or true.

  440. #440 Another Matt
    United States
    July 1, 2015

    SN, you never replied to me about laptops. Your go to examples of the self-assembling laptop and the Mt. Rushmore carved by erosion bear very little resemblance to any actual mainstream evolutionary theory, so I’m wondering what it is about them that appeals to you. If you think they are apt analogues, you will need to spell out how one parallels the other.

  441. #441 Phil
    July 1, 2015

    Another Matt,

    “Your go to …Mt. Rushmore carved by erosion bear very little resemblance to any actual mainstream evolutionary theory”

    Horsefeathers. Mainstream evolutionary theory responds to chicken/egg nightmares like ribosome with nothing more biological fantasia, and the standard “billions of years” mulch. The only weakness in SN’s analogy is that Mr. Rushmore isn’t complex enough to equate.

  442. #442 Another Matt
    July 1, 2015

    Sorry, no, the weakness in the Mt. Rushmore analogy is that there’s no replication and no selection pressure, and deals with a singleton rather than populations.

    Ribosome evolution is a bootstrapping problem, not a chicken/egg problem. When you learned that a C compiler can be written in C, you didn’t have to worry about whether the language or the compiler came first; the more pertinent question was whether a C compiler must be written in C, and if so, whether it could have been bootstrapped.

  443. #443 See Noevo
    July 1, 2015

    To Another Matt #439:

    “SN, you never replied to me about laptops. Your go to examples of the self-assembling laptop and the Mt. Rushmore carved by erosion bear very little resemblance to any actual mainstream evolutionary theory, so I’m wondering what it is about them that appeals to you. If you think they are apt analogues, you will need to spell out how one parallels the other.”

    And YOU will need to re-read the title and content of the article that started this blog.
    They’re about ID and the teaching thereof.
    I said early on that I see ID more as common sense. I wrote further the following:
    “Bill Gates once observed that the DNA molecule was far more complex and far more information/INSTRUCTION-rich than anything Microsoft has ever produced.
    What if, in mankind’s first ever trip to a distant heavenly body, the astronauts found a complex and operable piece of equipment, the equivalent of, say, a laptop computer. But they find no trace of a factory, production line, blueprints, or aliens to make it all work together. (However, they do find in the planet’s soil one of the building blocks of computers – silicon.)
    Would the intelligent astronauts conclude that this complex piece of equipment self-organized itself over a long period of time, and was not designed, even, intelligently designed?
    I’d say “No. Not if they had any common sense.””

    YOU said “If it were just one laptop, then I would say that it PROBABLY did not evolve.” (My emphasis.)

    Probably?

    You should have followed my suggestion in #72.

  444. #444 Phil
    July 1, 2015

    Another Matt,

    “Ribosome evolution is a bootstrapping problem, not a chicken/egg problem.”

    There’s the biological fantasia, and in full bloom. Let’s try to set a fact precedent. Here is the chicken/egg problem:

    “The ribosome is a large and complex molecular machine, found within all living cells, that serves as the site of biological protein synthesis

    “…ribosomes are synthesized…In eukaryotes, the process takes place both in the cell cytoplasm and in the nucleolus, which is a region within the cell nucleus. The assembly process involves the coordinated function of over 200 proteins in the synthesis and processing of the four rRNAs, as well as assembly of those rRNAs with the ribosomal proteins.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribosome

    So, if ribosome is critical to protein synthesis, and it takes over 200 proteins and other processes to synthesize ribosome, could you step out of your strapped boots and explain how this is not a classic chicken/egg problem?

  445. #445 JGC
    July 1, 2015

    I agree that citations are needed, but you’ve bought into this nonsense on the basis of a smooth narrative and grand overviews.

    No, I haven’t: confidence in evolutionary theories doesn’t derive from ‘smooth narrative’ or ‘grand overviews.It derives instead from their demonstrated ability to explain all evidence in their scope comprehensively and predictively.

    As for the youtube videos, they quite simply don’t support the claims that you and Dr. Werner think they support. See http://marmotism.blogspot.com/2015/01/whale-evolution-fraud-and-creationist.html for an explanation of why they fail to be valid criticisms of the evidence supporting extant cetaceans arising by descent from terrestrial ancestral populations.

  446. #446 Another Matt
    July 1, 2015

    By making a distinction between “designed” and “intelligently designed” is exactly the case I’m trying to make. Evolution by natural selection discovers solutions to engineering problems, and so the outcome is design. Fine. But this is where you go off the rails:

    Would the intelligent astronauts conclude that this complex piece of equipment self-organized itself over a long period of time, and was not designed, even, intelligently designed?

    This is not an analogy to evolutionary theory. You’re conflating individual development with population evolution. That’s why I asked about whether or not the laptop existed in a biome of other computers/robots. We would never have inferred evolution if all we were looking at were a single dog.

    And I’d say that the laptop in your scenario probably did not evolve because a) expressing certainty is a vice, and b) it could have evolved elsewhere and transported. If some alien were to find a dog on the moon, knowing what they do about evolution they could only conclude that it was cleverly manufactured or that it evolved elsewhere and was left there. No evolutionary model would have the dog self-assembling on its own on the moon over a long period of time.

  447. #447 Another Matt
    July 1, 2015

    So, if a compiler is critical to synthesizing an executable from C code, and it takes over 20,000 lines of C code to write a compiler, could you step out of your strapped boots and explain how this is not a classic chicken/egg problem?

  448. #448 JGC
    July 1, 2015

    Phil, you seem to be presuming that the biological mechanisms of protein synthesis we observe today, the ribosomes that we observe to be ‘critical to protein synthesis today, etc, may only and must have always existed in the exact forms they exhibit today. Why?

  449. #449 Phil
    July 1, 2015

    JGC,

    “No, I haven’t”

    Yes, you have, and you do. You do not deal with details at all. You don’t like details, and you won’t even begin to speculate about details. You’ve been trained in how to avoid details. You float with canned answers, unable to ask significant questions.

    Great link there, JGC. Adventures in fact-free Suckerville. Can you repeat the specific criticisms about the fossils that were addressed in this very heavy critique? Be specific, and bring on the heavy stuff, the “explanation” that inspires “confidence in evolutionary theories”.

    Fact-free, and source-poisoned. Welcome to Materialism.

  450. #450 Phil
    July 1, 2015

    Another Matt,

    “Evolution by natural selection discovers solutions to engineering problems, and so the outcome is design.”

    Good grief. No, I’m sorry, but evolution by natural selection is not looking, tinkering, experimenting, or watching tv, And therefore, it does not discover solutions. You are once again, out of science, and into the entrenched-in-your-mind, evolutionary jargon. I know it is a struggle to invoke the actual, theoretical mechanisms, but try again, and use those. You will find that you cannot do this, and perhaps, but not likely, you will be prompted to wonder why you can’t.

    ===

    JGC,

    “Phil, you seem to be presuming that the biological mechanisms of protein synthesis we observe today, the ribosomes that we observe to be ‘critical to protein synthesis today, etc, may only and must have always existed in the exact forms they exhibit today. Why?”

    Because there is not a speck of science to support this feckless idea. The minimum gene set living organisms is an established, scientific fact. If it was cut in half, it would still be an enormous catalog of genetic information. That is the truth. That is science. You are invoking things that science has no knowledge of. How in hell can you ask for citations, and then pimp ideas like that in the same thread?

  451. #451 Another Matt
    July 1, 2015

    Here’s a toy model of natural selection discovering solutions to engineering problem. This is obviously vastly simpler than molecular biology, but the demonstration is vivid.

    http://boxcar2d.com/

  452. #452 Michael Fugate
    July 2, 2015

    Whale evolution – if creationists weren’t so pathetic, they would be comic. The only thing in their favor is the complete biological ignorance of most people including Phil. Phil has never even seen a whale skull let alone studied comparative vertebrate anatomy, but he thinks whale evolution helps his creationist fantasies. Ignorance is bliss.

  453. #453 See Noevo
    July 2, 2015

    Top candidate for stupidest line of the day:

    “And I’d say that the laptop in your scenario probably did not evolve because a) expressing certainty is a vice, and b) it could have evolved elsewhere and transported.”

  454. #454 Narad
    July 2, 2015

    Top candidate for stupidest line of the day

    As this blather seems to be all that you have left, I’ll simply note that you’ve already cornered this market in perpetuity.

    If you have nothing to say, say nothing.

  455. #455 Sean T
    July 2, 2015

    Phil,

    I read the Wikipedia article you cited on ribosomes. Apparently you did not or you would see that theres is no chicken/egg problem here. Here’s a quote from that article:

    Crystallographic work has shown that there are no ribosomal proteins close to the reaction site for polypeptide synthesis. This proves that the protein components of ribosomes do not directly participate in peptide bond formation catalysis, but rather suggests that these proteins act as a scaffold that may enhance the ability of rRNA to synthesize protein.

    In case you don’t understand what this quote is saying, it is saying that the protein component of the ribosome is not necessary for the ribosome to function as a catalyst for protein synthesis. The RNA component is the functional component of the ribosome; the protein only enhances this function. A ribosome composed only of RNA would synthesize proteins, just not as well as the modern ribosome does.

  456. #456 JGC
    July 2, 2015

    The minimum gene set living organisms is an established, scientific fact.

    Citation needed, Phil.

  457. #457 dean
    July 2, 2015

    Narad@453:
    sn’s comment at greg’s blog was incredibly stupid, but this one from ethan’s, part of a discussion of cosmology in the 21st century, reflects (imo) an infinitely greater level of stupidity: sn had been making the usual content-and-understanding free comments about the topic, then said (trying to imply learning for learning’s sake is a waste)

    I don’t buy the argument that it’s just to learn. Nobody advocates, or should advocate, spending untold man-years and billions of dollars just to learn more about something that has no impact on our daily lives.

  458. #458 Narad
    July 2, 2015

    then said (trying to imply learning for learning’s sake is a waste)

    Oh, sure; that’s why I’ve been mentioning that GPS is tied to ICRF-2. As I’ve also mentioned, he made this one even dumber at RI:

    Commitment to epistemic virtues? I guess you mean knowing for the sake of knowing. Kind of like “ars gratis [sic] artis”. Both garbage.

    I think the brevity of the Laden comment really crystallizes the irony (and hypocrisy) of the routine here, which he’s now trotted out three times, though.

  459. #459 dean
    July 2, 2015

    I hadn’t seen

    Too bad the entire field of epistemology, of which science is one off-shoot, is just so much mental masturbation when it is without Catholic philosophy.

    before. You’re correct: there is no bottom to his gushing fountain of stupidity.

  460. #460 Michael Fugate
    July 2, 2015

    What is so hilarious about Carl Werner MD is that he thinks mistakes in displays at museums refute evolution – it is Well’s “Icons” strategy all over again. It is worrying about a speck in the eye of evolution while missing the log in the eye of creationism. If only he scrutinized creationist “articles” and “museums” as critically, but then the game would be up.

    If anything screams for common ancestry and descent with modification and against intelligent design it is cetaceans. One need only study morphology and genetics to realize this, but you do have to study comparative anatomy.

  461. #461 Phil
    July 2, 2015

    JGC,

    “Citation needed, Phil.”

    Haven’t you ever wondered about this?

    “ By far M. genitalium has become the prime candidate for minimal genome project. In fact these organisms are closest to minimal genome capable of self-replicating….Minimal set of essential genes are typically found by selective inactivation or deletions of genes and then testing the effect of each under a given set conditions. The discovery of essential genes have been done by the J. Craig Venter institute, they claim M. genitalium consists of 381 essential genes. ..…They have now fully identified almost all of the non-essential genes in M. genitalium, the number of gene disruptions based on colonies analyzed reached a plateau as function and they claim a total of 100 non-essential genes out of the 482 protein coding genes in M. genitalium”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimal_genome

    This one is dated, but still useful in understanding what is involved. (It also notes about 2 dozen of the ribosomal translation proteins in the table “Proteins conserved in bacterial and archaeal genomes.”)

    “The consensus of computational results suggests a set close to 300 genes. These predictions will be evaluated by engineering of small bacterial genomes.”
    http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Arcady_Mushegian/publication/51353853_The_minimal_genome_concept/links/549af4c40cf2b80371371733.pdf

    This one, by Koonin, is interesting as well:

    “The idea of a minimal gene set refers to the smallest possible group of genes that would be sufficient to sustain a functioning cellular life form under the most favorable conditions imaginable, that is, in the presence of a full complement of essential nutrients and in the absence of environmental stress”
    http://complex.upf.es/~andreea/2006/Bib/Koonin.MinimalGeneSetConcept.pdf

    That quote is important inasmuch as it emphasizes the fact that genomes are not bare minimum collections. They are prepared to respond to different situations.

  462. #462 Phil
    July 2, 2015

    Sean T,

    “In case you don’t understand what this quote is saying, it is saying that the protein component of the ribosome is not necessary for the ribosome to function as a catalyst for protein synthesis.”

    No, it is not saying that at all, but nice try. You’re not going to get rid of this or any other chicken/egg problem by trivializing scaffolding proteins. They are there for indispensable reasons.

    ===

    Michael Fugate,

    “What is so hilarious about Carl Werner MD is that he thinks mistakes in displays at museums refute evolution”

    I don’t know enough about him to know if he thinks that or not, but he has good reason to think that evolutionary narrators will not hesitate to fill in the blanks with fantasies. Those weren’t mistakes. That is called lying, which isn’t really funny. But this is:

    “Around 35 million years ago, when modern whales began to appear in the ocean, whale evolution ignited. Whales began as basically similar body types and evolved into everything from porpoises to blue whales over the next 5 million years, said study lead author Graham Slater of UCLA.”
    http://www.livescience.com/10672-whales-evolved-blink-eye.html

    Porpoises and blue whales aren’t even in the same suborder, and these aren’t bacteria. This would involve all kinds of radical, simultaneous structural alterations. You want to frame up a mutations outline for us?.

  463. #464 See Noevo
    July 2, 2015

    Who here agrees with Sean T when he writes
    “Living systems have been extensively investigated, and there is nothing that living systems do that cannot be explained in terms of chemical reactions” ?

    I don’t.
    But I responded to him with evolution-speak by saying “Then any disagreements here on this blog can be chalked up to differences in chemical reactions. Then certainly, you hold know animus against me or my views. Our chemistry is just… different. Vive la différence!”

    Who here wants to say my statements are wrong?

    Who here wants to say they’re chemical reactions are better than mine?

    Actually, I think the father of evolution might have agreed with my statements. He seemed quite concerned about the meaning and reliability of man’s mind.

    “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.” – Charles Darwin

  464. #465 See Noevo
    July 2, 2015

    Correction: Should be
    “Who here wants to say their chemical reactions are better than mine?”

  465. #466 OccamsLaser
    July 2, 2015

    Phil –

    Still ducking, I see. Your silence is deafening. Will you at least tell us why you refuse to reveal your belief regarding the agent that is responsible for performing those steps in excision repair that cannot be accounted for by chemical reactions?

    Take a moment to think about how it looks for your position that you have been avoiding this issue for so long.

  466. #467 Phil
    July 3, 2015

    I posted this earlier, but it got lost.

    JGC,

    “Citation needed, Phil.”

    Haven’t you ever wondered about this?

    “ By far M. genitalium has become the prime candidate for minimal genome project. In fact these organisms are closest to minimal genome capable of self-replicating….Minimal set of essential genes are typically found by selective inactivation or deletions of genes and then testing the effect of each under a given set conditions. The discovery of essential genes have been done by the J. Craig Venter institute, they claim M. genitalium consists of 381 essential genes. ..…They have now fully identified almost all of the non-essential genes in M. genitalium, the number of gene disruptions based on colonies analyzed reached a plateau as function and they claim a total of 100 non-essential genes out of the 482 protein coding genes in M. genitalium”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimal_genome

    This one is dated, but still useful in understanding what is involved. (It also notes about 2 dozen of the ribosomal translation proteins in the table “Proteins conserved in bacterial and archaeal genomes.”)

    “The consensus of computational results suggests a set close to 300 genes. These predictions will be evaluated by engineering of small bacterial genomes.”
    http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Arcady_Mushegian/publication/51353853_The_minimal_genome_concept/links/549af4c40cf2b80371371733.pdf

    This one, by Koonin, is interesting as well:

    “The idea of a minimal gene set refers to the smallest possible group of genes
    that would be sufficient to sustain a functioning cellular life form under the most
    favorable conditions imaginable, that is, in the presence of a full complement of
    essential nutrients and in the absence of environmental stress”
    http://complex.upf.es/~andreea/2006/Bib/Koonin.MinimalGeneSetConcept.pdf

    That quote is interesting inasmuch as it emphasizes the fact that genomes are not bare minimum collections. They are prepared to respond to different situations. Would you think that evolution learns from past extinctions, or does it plan ahead?

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