Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Darwin Day challenge

"I've got a bridge to sell you..."



Happy Darwin Day!

I've always believed in respecting other faiths, and few faiths are as fervent as Darwinism.

Here's my Darwin Day challenge to enlightened Egnorance readers:
Show me that random heritable variation and natural selection doesn't always reduce to "organisms change and survivors survive".
Darwinism is not a mechanism, nor is it an explanation of any sagacity. It's a banality and a tautology, dressed to look like science. As a philosophical scam, it's been damned effective. As science, it has contributed no explanation beyond banality.

Prove me wrong. I'll post intelligent replies, if there are any. 

116 comments:

  1. Seriously?

    Did you study evolutionary biology in a serious way? What textbook did you read?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Answer my question.

      I have no interest in appeals to authority, etc. Make your argument, if you can. What I've come to see over the years is that no one has a coherent argument that Darwinism is more than banality and tautology.

      Delete
    2. Look up the answer for yourself in any introductory textbook on evolutionary biology. You're just a lying piece of crap.

      Delete
    3. You're just a lying piece of crap.
      Typical Darwinist response!

      Delete
    4. "Typical Darwinist response!"

      That's because you, Egnor, and other cdesignproponentists are, in fact, lying pieces of crap. When something is true, then descriptions converge together. And the truth is, Egnor is a lying sack of shit. And so are you.

      Delete
    5. @anon:

      [And the truth is, Egnor is a lying sack of shit]

      Right. I've been sooo dishonest. I never express my real feelings on this blog.

      Delete
    6. Egnor is a lying sack of shit. And so are you

      I rest my case!

      Delete
    7. You pretend knowledge you don't have. That makes you a lying sack of shit.

      You ignore reality when it is presented to you. That makes you a lying sack of shit.

      You mischaracterize science that offends your religious sensibilities even when the actual science is handed to you. That makes you a lying sack of shit.

      This much is obvious to anyone who bothers to read your drivel.

      Delete
    8. "I rest my case!"

      So, your case is that you are a lying sack of shit? Good to see you have finally recognized reality.

      Delete
    9. I have hit on a sensitive nerve, didn't I? You should watch your blood pressure!

      Delete
    10. You're a grease painted clown and don't even realize it.

      Delete
    11. I also suggest you consult a psychiatrist or a head-shrink, you really need it!

      Delete
    12. "I also suggest you consult a psychiatrist or a head-shrink, you really need it!"

      You're the one who believes in magic fairy tales.

      Delete
  2. Michael,

    I might be wrong, but I have the impression that you and I are roughly the same age (around the mid 50s) and hence studied the basic biological sciences for our medical degrees in the '70s, and our subsequent careers have subsequently diverged.

    To be able to critique evolutionary biology, you need to understand a lot of basic biological sciences, such as genetics, ecology, zoology, botany, microbiology, etc, let alone other sciences as geology and chemistry.

    Have you kept up with these basic sciences? The skills needed to be a neurosurgeon are limited in range, albeit rigorous in depth.

    'Organisms change and survivors survive' is such a simplistic summary of evolutionary biology, I doubt if you have much understanding.

    Evolutionary biology relies on there being variation within isolated breeding populations and for there to be differential reproductive success within individuals.

    'Survivors survive' is incorrect because no individual survives physically. It's only the genes of the individual that survives if it manages to have offspring which then go on to have offspring who also successfully breed.

    Variation within breeding populations is increased by such processes such as mutations, but they aren't random. The mutations within genes have to be small and incremental, because large changes are much more likely to be bad and lethal, rather than good.

    Evolutionary biology makes predictions and is testable. It has been tested in the laboratory as in Lenski's 20+ year experiment on E coli, and in the wild as in the Grants' study of Darwin's finches in the Galapagos Islands.

    Your favored hypothesis, Intelligent Design (it doesn't get anywhere near to being a scientific theory), fails miserably.

    I have challenged you in the past to take the list of socalled predictions that your good friend Stephen Meyer lists in his 'Signature in the Cell' Appendix A as testable predictions of ID and discuss in future threads how they could be actually tested.

    ID is a hideous mess.

    Trying to demonstrate that ID is a science would be better than your recent threads, involving your paranoia about Cranston West High and your mindless cross posting from Catholic Thing from 2010 with the Chesterton poem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Lenski's 20+ year experiment on E coli"

      Well, everyone knows Lenski's experiments were full of it.

      ;-)

      Delete
    2. KT Cat,

      Full of what? They were very profound rigorous well thought out experiments. E coli acquiring the ability to metabolize citrate was a major development.

      Delete
    3. E coli acquiring the ability to metabolize citrate...
      That's micro-evolution and everybody accepts micro-evolution!

      Delete
    4. "That's micro-evolution and everybody accepts micro-evolution!"

      Only scientifically illiterate clowns think there is a distinction between "micro-evolution" and evolution.

      But then again, you rival Egnor is the grease paint department.

      Delete
    5. Just give me one example of observed speciation!

      Delete
    6. "Just give me one example of observed speciation!"

      Read and learn something.

      Delete
    7. "Full of what? They were very profound rigorous well thought out experiments. E coli acquiring the ability to metabolize citrate was a major development."

      It's a joke, son, a joke! E. Coli come from what part of the body? What's in there, boy, what's in there? I keep pitching them and you keep missing them. Pay attention, boy! You got to keep up with this if you're ever gonna get anywhere.

      (Nice boy, but a little slow on the uptake.)

      Delete
    8. Still waiting for a REAL example of OBSERVED speciation.

      Groupthink and myths won't cut it!

      Delete
    9. Luskin's "rebuttal" is moronic. he doesn't like the speciation that has been observed, so he claims it isn't speciation by changing the definition of speciation on the fly. That's just the usual cdesign proponentist dance: dodge, weave, evade, dissemble, and lie. The fact that you think it has any weight at all demonstrates that you are a clueless idiot.

      Delete
    10. You can go name calling as long as you wish. That won't change the fact that speciation has never ever been observed. Adding a pair of useless wings to a fruit fly is not speciation, it's poor bio-engineering!

      Delete
    11. The examples are, in fact, speciation: they are new populations that have developed that are capable of breeding true, but are no longer capable of breeding with the root stock. Changing the definition to something no biologist uses as a definition for speciation doesn't actually make your argument convincing. It just shows you have no leg to stand on. And changing the definition is all that Luskin is doing. It is a dishonest ploy, and transparently so.

      Luskin is violating the ninth commandment. And by repeating his lies, you are doing it as well. How does it feel to be a liar for Jesus?

      Delete
    12. Luskin is violating the ninth commandment...

      Since when do you believe in the 10 commandments?
      Are you comin' or goin'?

      What a loose cannon!

      Delete
    13. "Since when do you believe in the 10 commandments?"

      I don't. But you seem to. And yet you routinely lie.

      Delete
  3. Mike, you crack me up. Even young-earth creationists have figured out that this "argument" will not win them any cookie points. Arguments we think creationists should not use.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If there's no selective pressure, then populations don't evolve. So your premise is a failure right out of the starting gate.

    I know you're intelligent enough to see more importance in Evolutionary Theory than your blog entry portrays. But that's because you're really only interested in the ideological soundbites, and have no interest whatsoever in discussing actual science.

    Your blog is like watching a traffic accident - it's horrifying but fascinating. This blog post, for example, shows the intellectual maturity of Ken Ham or Kirk Cameron. It's pathetic coming from someone who apparently once achieved some success in an scientific field. I thought one had to be a decent scientist to be a successful surgeon, not just a decent mechanic. But blog posts like this prove me wrong.

    If understanding where the current species on Earth came from is unimportant to you, then I pity you. If it IS important, then why don't you tell us where YOU think they came from. If you're serious about having a discussion about science, you'll give that question a serious answer. If however, as I suspect, you're just fishing for opportunities to bang your ideological drum, then you'll just dodge the question while somehow managing to bring up Stalin and Mao.

    The ball is in your court, "Doctor" Egnor - demonstrate you're serious, and we can then discuss evolution.

    ----

    Charles Darwin consolidated many influences, added his own ideas and ordered thinking, and taught us more about human origins than the sum total of all theological writing of every religion on Earth combined. Not a bad life's work. So again, Happy Birthday Charles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @RickK:

      [If there's no selective pressure, then populations don't evolve. So your premise is a failure right out of the starting gate.]

      Pressure is force/area. Selection is not pressure. Selection is differential reproductive success. Some organisms reproduce themselves more effectively than others. That's true, in the same way that saying "some stars are brighter than others". But that's not any kind of meaningful scientific theory.

      Populations always evolve-- ie all populations are constantly changing. Most of the changes are oscillations- average sizes, colors, etc change around a mean. This is trivial, and doesn't constitute a scientific theory. The sun varies in brightness. That's not a scientific theory, but a rather banal observation.

      The causes for variation in populations (or in solar luminosity) are addressed by various scientific theories, and form the proper content of the discipline of evolutionary biology.

      RM + NS is of no value, and is not a meaningful theory.

      Delete
  5. You're mostly fluff. But there are points where you are coherent enough be wrong:

    [I know you're intelligent enough to see more importance in Evolutionary Theory than your blog entry portrays.]

    Evolution-- evolutionary biology-- is a discipline of biology. It is not a "theory", anymore than physics is a "theory".

    Darwinism is a theory. It is the theory that changes in populations over time are the result of heritable variation and differences in reproductive effectiveness. That is true, but trivially so. Darwin's theory addresses none of the important questions-- e.g.

    1) how does heritable biological variation occur and what principles govern it?
    2) What is the nature of the differential reproductive effectiveness of organisms? What principles govern it?

    Darwin's theory has nothing to say about these fundamental questions. Darwin's theory is banality (things change) and tautology (survivors survive).

    Darwin made other assertions (e.g. universal common ancestry) that are in fact real theories, and may be true. The evidence is not in yet.

    RM + NS is the core of his theory, and it is b.s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Egnor: Darwin's theory has nothing to say about these fundamental questions. Darwin's theory is banality (things change) and tautology (survivors survive).

      It's hard not to laugh at such silliness. You could say the same things about Newton's theory of gravity. It does not answer "fundamental questions" such as what is the origin of gravity? It simply describes how gravity works. Remember hypotheses non fingo? That's how scientific theories are. Welcome to the real world.

      Delete
    2. Michael,

      You're so ignorant about evolutionary biology, I wonder if you've actually read any books about it. Carl Zimmer's 'Evolution: the Triumph of an Idea' is a very good starting point.

      OK, Carl Zimmer's is 'just a science writer', but he's a very good one, and he puts together a very good summary of the evidence for evolution, one that you should perhaps be able to understand with your blinkers off.

      RM + NS wasn't the core of Darwin's theory. You're demonstrating your ignorance here. Darwin didn't have any idea of the nature of genetic inheritance. Gregor Mendel published after 'Origin of the Species' and his work was overlooked until it was rediscovered in 1900.

      Mutations weren't known about until the 1920s with Muller's experiments.

      All Darwin knew was that there was variation within populations, which was passed onto subsequent generations.

      There's plenty of evidence for common ancestry. If you think that the evidence isn't in, then you're more deluded than I'd thought. Examples include the fact that humans have the genes for all the enzymes to synthesise vitamin C, except one is 'broken' so humans are one of the few primates and mammals prone to scurvy. Another piece of evidence is that humans have all the 1,000 or so genes for olfactory receptor proteins of mammals, about half of which are similarly 'broken', due to the sense of smell not being much of an advantage on the open African savannah.

      Species change or the brightness of the Sun changes are not banal observations. They are critical absolutely fundamental observations demanding explanation. Darwin provided an explanation for speciation. The fact that there's variation within populations and the variation is passed from generation to generation (he didn't have a clue as to its mechanism) and provided several ways in which it could be modified, including natural and sexual selection and what would later be described as neutral drift (chance).

      You have a limited concept of the times involved in evolution. It's not years or centuries. It's hundreds of thousands and millions of years. Evolution is the steady incremental accumulation of very small changes in separate breeding populations.

      Evolutionary biology is a scientific theory. Biology and physics aren't theories. They're fields of study.

      Delete
  6. Any scientific theory can be expressed as a tautology. Which makes your argument meaningless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a stupid thing to say. What makes a scientific theory meaningful is that it is not tautological. The best theories are theories that are the least tautological. The best theories are theories that are not logically trivial, but empirically unique and precise.

      Einstein's 20 tensor equations are not the least tautological.

      Delete
    2. Michael,

      Darwin's theory of speciation wasn't your incredibly inane 'survivors survive', so it's not tautological.

      Delete
    3. "What makes a scientific theory meaningful is that it is not tautological."

      Incorrect. All scientific theories can be expressed as tautologies. You're just too dim to understand this.

      "Einstein's 20 tensor equations are not the least tautological."

      Einstein's 20 tensor equations are not a scientific theory.

      Delete
    4. "Einstein's 20 tensor equations are not a scientific theory."
      The doctor is referring to the Theory of Relativity. The Equations are a proof within the theory, and are not a tautology provided as an evidence of proof - the contrast.

      Delete
    5. CrusadeRex,

      OK, which theory of relativity, general or special, is Michael referring to?

      The equations also aren't a proof of the theory. Scientists still had to go out and confirm the predictions the theory made.

      'Survivors survive' is a tautology, but it's not an accurate description of Darwin's theory.

      I can come up with a tautology for Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, such as 'people run more slowly on planets with higher gravitational forces than the Earth'.

      True, but not an accurate description of relativity, even if it does get across the idea that time slows near large masses.

      Delete
    6. "The doctor is referring to the Theory of Relativity."

      And? The tensor equations are not the theory of relativity. All you've done is point out that Egnor is a virtual illiterate who doesn't understand what a scientific theory is.

      Delete
  7. Darwin and others of his time believed that offspring inherited a blend of their parent’s charicteristics. He rightfully saw that this was a huge problem for his theory because any positive change would be diluted to the point of irrelevancy after a few generations. It was long after Darwin’s theory was published that Mendel’s genetics and the subsequent discovery of DNA Darwin knew that for his theory to be correct blending inheritance could not be true. Darwin in effect predicted genetics and DNA, the perfect mechanism for the type of change necessary for evolution.

    Organisms Change, but only certain types of chance are compatible with the theory of evolution. The gradual changes of blended inheritance spread very slowly and have no chance of forming novel structures. Similarly, Lamarckian inheritance has no conceivable mechanism for the formation of novel structures.

    Survivors survive is similarly off base. Survival is indeed important, but survival of the individual is only part of what determines the real driving force of evolution, fitness. A male turkey all puffed up and acting like an idiot to attract a female is putting himself at risk. In this situation survival takes a secondary place to the urge to mate. There is far more to leaving successful offspring than merely surviving.

    -KW

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Darwin and others of his time believed that offspring inherited a blend of their parent’s charicteristics.."
      Well he was only a few thousand years late to the game. Parents and animal breeders had noticed this too.

      "It was long after Darwin’s theory was published that Mendel’s genetics and the subsequent discovery of DNA Darwin knew that for his theory to be correct blending inheritance could not be true."
      Charles Darwin died in April of 1882. Crick and Watson discovered and confirmed DNA in 1953. Darwin never knew of it. Darwin based his theory on 'protoplasm' forming the first single cells. Try READING 'Origins' KW.

      "Darwin in effect predicted genetics and DNA, the perfect mechanism for the type of change necessary for evolution."
      No. Just so 'off base' as to be unreal. He did not design the Apollo rockets either.

      "Survivors survive is similarly off base."
      Well they do, and that is the basis of NS theory. Any literate person can read and reduce it for themselves.
      Survivors survive (to breed).

      "There is far more to leaving successful offspring than merely surviving."
      Please explain how a dead animal may reproduce AFTER it's death?

      Delete
    2. CrusadeRex,

      Gawd ... You're so ignorant regarding the history of science, I don't know where to start. Blending inheritance had a long tradition, but other hypotheses were popular too. Many people believed that the father provided all the material necessary to form a new person, and the mother just provided a place for the new person to grow.

      Darwin sort of accepted blending inheritance initially, but he also developed the idea or circulating gemmules which combined to form a new person. He also noted that for time immemorial, fathers and mothers having been having sons and daughters and never offspring who are a combination of the two sexes (well hardly ever), so at least he realized that at least one trait, gender, wasn't blended.

      Watson and Crick didn't discover DNA in 1953. It had been known for decades earlier. Avery et al in 1943 confirmed that it was the genetic material, a fact overlooked at the time, because a few years later the Nobel Prize was awarded for work which appeared to indicate that protein was the genetic material.

      'Survivors survive' is an inadequate description of differential survival and reproductive success. Dead indiduals obviously don't reproduce. Nor do infertile individuals who live to be a hundred years old. Indiduals who don't put any energy into breeding will probably survive longer than those that do have children, assuming that they don't have any impairment that makes them unwanted as partners.

      Delete
    3. Oops,

      Sorry for the typos... CrusadeRex's stupidity was just too much for me late at night ...

      Delete
    4. "There is far more to leaving successful offspring than merely surviving."
      Please explain how a dead animal may reproduce AFTER it's death?

      Many animals breed only once, provide no parental care, and leave a huge number of eggs. The vast majority of individuals in species that use this strategy do not survive to reproduce. In these cases survival of the individual to breeding age is the exception, not the norm. The criteria for evolutionary success is not survival, it’s fitness. Pull your head out of your ass, you may learn something.

      -KW

      Delete
    5. On the big deal about Darwin:

      People have been observing this type of stuff for thousands of years.
      Neo-Darwinism is just a lame mono-dimensional tautology of classical naturalism with a little elitism, racialism, nihilism, atheism, and positivism thrown in for good measure.
      Perhaps we could call it a bag of philosophical cast-aways mixed with banal observations sold as scientific gold to the masses. A kind of pretentious neo-religious thing. Kind of like L Ron Hubbard without the yacht?
      Or how about: A little slice of scientistic utopia for the lazy soul, in the Everglades of bargain basement metaphysics. Get a FREE Cosmology-lite (upgradable) with every purchase!
      (Some 'beat poetry' for our resident anonymouse)


      I must be feeling sentimental to be so nice?

      Delete
    6. Bach,
      "Gawd ... You're so ignorant regarding the history of science, I don't know where to start. "

      How about at the beginning, oh ye sage and wondrous antipodal arch-arsehole. Shine your theological wisdom from within.

      "Blending inheritance had a long tradition, but other hypotheses were popular too."
      Oh I guess not. Maybe near the end then?

      "Many people believed that the father provided all the material necessary to form a new person, and the mother just provided a place for the new person to grow."
      Okay. Sure..and?

      "Darwin sort of accepted blending inheritance initially, but he also developed the idea or circulating gemmules which combined to form a new person."
      Again, what is the import of this little foray into the ether of Victorian scientism?
      Is it that all this nonsense was ALL bullshit and bluster? Much of it still is.

      "He also noted that for time immemorial, fathers and mothers having been having sons and daughters and never offspring who are a combination of the two sexes (well hardly ever), so at least he realized that at least one trait, gender, wasn't blended."
      Are you suggesting this is an original idea? It is a simplistic (if effective) refutation of an ancient argument (made by materialists).
      Yet more banality!

      "Watson and Crick didn't discover DNA in 1953"
      DNA, Bach. Deoxyribonucleic acid.
      Focus now.
      Not centuries old ideas about inheritance.
      Not observed nucleic acids in Victorian pus, not early xray images of theoretical proteins, not speculation about what they do... but the actual, modern, accepted concept of DNA.
      DNA, as we understand it was identified, named, imaged and finally understood as the GENETIC CODE in 1953. That is what is required for the disputed representation of Darwin's position.
      My point stands unmolested, if misunderstood.

      "Dead indiduals obviously don't reproduce."
      There we go! Now we are getting to the Earth shattering stuff. You may just be the next Darwin, Bach. Don't forget me when they hand you the laurels. And Don't DARE try to steal my Water Theory by means of your crafty tautologies (ie theory of wet or some such)



      'Nor do infertile individuals who live to be a hundred years old.'
      Profound.

      "Indiduals who don't put any energy into breeding will probably survive longer than those that do have children,"
      Eh? We are talking about living beings. Your simplistic abstractions do not prosper in groups? Benefit from having children?
      I thought it was supposed to me who was ignorant of Evolutionary theory and Darwin.

      BTW, Those who do not put any energy into breeding tend to be DEAD already. LOL

      Seriously, though... how on Earth do you reconcile such abstractions with reality, Bach?


      "...assuming that they don't have any impairment that makes them unwanted as partners."
      Which is exactly why they do not spend energy on mating and pairing. Whether it is physical or mental, their 'impairment' prevents them from fulfilling the breeding function of their physiology.
      Whether it also causes them to become recluse, changes feeding, or exposed them to predation would also all factor in. Obviously.

      "CrusadeRex's stupidity was just too much for me late at night ..."
      An Arsehole by any other name....
      Sleep tight now, Bach.
      Watch out for any emergent phenomena.
      :P

      Delete
  8. Mike,
    Your point mirrors my own ideas re: Banality.
    It is an observation about an observation that passes itself of as a theory.
    I have my own similar theory:
    Water is wet. That which is touched by or immersed in water is becomes wet, unless it cannot. That which is dry is NOT wet. Therefore wet objects are wet, and dry objects are NOT!!!
    See?
    No need for your God, water is JUST wet! It is ALL over the universe.
    (**head explodes**)

    ReplyDelete
  9. CrusadeRex,

    You've just demonstrated your banality. Water molecules aren't wet. Wetness is an emergent property of having large numbers of water molecules together under specified conditions of temperature and pressure.

    Similarly, Darwin's theory of evolution is also an emergent property of populations not individuals or small groups.

    Darwin's theory can be summarized as; common ancestry, descent with modification, the presence of natural variation within populations and mechanisms (such as natural and sexual selection and neutral drift) leading to changes in the proportions of the natural variation within populations.

    All of these postulates have been confirmed. All that's happened in the past 150+ years has been adding more detail and evidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "You've just demonstrated your banality."
      That was the intention. To display a banal observation like Darwin's that is easy understandable.

      "Wetness is an emergent property..."
      Wetness? Actually it is a sensation felt by living beings that come into contact with liquids.
      It is a sense perception. Just like your hearing, or your eyesight and the fossils in the ground you view with that sense.

      "Similarly, Darwin's theory of evolution is also an emergent property of populations not individuals or small groups."
      LOLOL Nice try.
      It is actually a theory written by a man, it did not emerge from anything but a book list or perhaps a pot of tea. The concept it addresses could, I suppose, be viewed in the light of that strange futilist concept of 'emergence' ('just so') - but to what end? Nihilism?
      We shall see....

      "Darwin's theory can be summarized as; common ancestry, descent with modification, the presence of natural variation within populations and mechanisms [...] leading to changes in the proportions of the natural variation within populations."
      In other words if we just drop the 'common ancestor' line, he had learned the wisdom of a cattle, goose, goat, dog, pig, fish, horse, or slave breeder from 6th millennium BC? This wisdom, known as writ to farmers and herders for millennia, he translated for the academic world to understand.


      "All of these postulates have been confirmed."
      Er, no. They were all established and understood to be true within species for countless ages.
      With one exception: A common ancestor for ALL species has NOT been confirmed, the science to confirm such an event does not currently exist.
      The sciences that may lead one to theorize in such a way (or the opposite) are in their embryonic stages.
      I know I will be attacked for not towing the 'common ancestor for all life on earth' line, but I refuse to accept it on 'faith' alone. Maybe one source, maybe one original organism, maybe not. Who knows?
      I do not know, nor would I pretend to.

      'All that's happened in the past 150+ years has been adding more detail and evidence."
      Right.
      That's why this old theory is now known as 'Darwin s Law of Evolutionary Biology via common ancestry' and the academe is in absolute accord on it.

      Delete
    2. Seeing as no one will grant me an ivy league or Oxbridge tenure for my water theory, what about my great challenge of RABBIT based scepticism.

      There are a few questions to consider here, about this rabbit.
      Let's see which and how Darwin's theory can answer them and how that confirms or contrasts with what our senses tell us.

      1. Why does the rabbit turn white in the Winter?
      2. How does the rabbit turn white in the Winter?
      3. When does the rabbit change colours for winter, and when does it change back?
      4. How can this change be of advantage to the observer.

      Answers? (D for Darwin, CS for common sense)
      1. D:To survive predation. Rabbits that do not are killed and do not reproduce as frequently.
      CS:To help evade predators, to camouflage themselves. Their parents were able to do so, and have passed on this ability to their offspring.

      2. D:The rabbit's physiology allows for it to grow out it's summer fur and replace it with a thick white layer for winter. Special chemical detectors in the rabbits physiology allow for these changes by sending chemical signals to the needed systems.
      CS:The rabbit grows a new thick (warm) white coat in the snowy months, and sheds it for a darker and thinner (cooler) one in the spring, which he feels with the change in the weather.

      3. D:The rabbit changes when it's body detects the environmental shift of temperatures and reacts with the proper growth or reduction in growth, and pigmentation.
      CS: The rabbit knows the winter or spring is approaching because he feels and has senses, as we do. He remembers the last spring or winter and his body reacts in kind, as is his nature. He is 'made' that way.

      4. D:It may be of use in comparing winter survival 'strategies' of wild animals.
      CS:It may help you hunt or raise rabbits.

      In this example we see a more complex comparison that the water, but we still see the same banality.
      The D factor shows us the same data as the CS factor, and in some cases omits. It is simply the scientific framing of basic observations framed as some sort of grand discovery. That is silly enough, but it gets worse.
      These ideas are used as a basis to attack the very ideas it intentionally omits by lazy minded, philosophically illiterates known as 'positivists' - those of the scientistic dysfunction.
      Ideas such as teleology, form, purpose are derided simply because this observation turned theory does not account for them.
      Consider:
      The mental state or purpose of the rabbit are of no concern to the D side of the column. NONE.
      Now we can clearly see the Nihilism buried in the Darwinism. The ideology mixed with the viewpoint that is dressed up as 'science'.

      Delete
  10. As a science, Darwinism will be dead by 2020!

    As a religion, Darwinism will live as long as there are people who believe in it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a science, Darwinism will be dead by 2020!

      In 2020, you'll be proclaiming that Darwinism will be dead as a science by 2030.

      And you'll be just as incorrect then as you are now.

      Delete
    2. Well, your religion will go on...

      Delete
    3. "Well, your religion will go on..."

      I always find it amusing when the worst insult theists can come up with is "well, your theory is religion".

      It isn't, but you'll keep claiming it is. And biologists will keep ignoring you and doing their work and advancing human knowledge while you and Egnor continue to smear grease paint on your faces and jump up and down in total irrelevance.

      Delete
    4. It was not meant as an insult but a statement of fact. You think you have no religion when in fact you do. Just think about it!

      Delete
    5. No, I have no religion. What I have are conclusions based the available evidence. Despite your constant bleating, the theory of evolution by natural selection isn't religion, and isn't going away any time soon.

      In 2020, you'll be bleating that "Darwinism" will be dead by 2030. When 2030 rolls around, if you are still around, you'll be bleating that it will be dead by 2040. And so on.

      Delete
    6. Oh yes! You do have a religion, but you don't even know it! Shows are smart you are...

      Delete
    7. "Oh yes! You do have a religion, but you don't even know it! Shows are smart you are..."

      If naturalistic Darwinism is a religion, it is the only one that has been demonstrated to provide actual results. All the others are still making unprovable claims and providing zero results.

      Delete
    8. Naturalistic Darwinism was declared a religion by the US Supreme Court.

      Delete
    9. No, it wasn't. Your ability to read Supreme Court opinions seems to be as limited as your ability to understand actual science.

      Delete
  11. Egnor: What a stupid thing to say. What makes a scientific theory meaningful is that it is not tautological. The best theories are theories that are the least tautological. The best theories are theories that are not logically trivial, but empirically unique and precise.

    Einstein's 20 tensor equations are not the least tautological.


    If Darwin's theory were trivial, there would be no point in arguing about it as its statements would be trivially true. Creationists would not be up in arms against it. Michael Egnor would not be writing exceedingly silly posts about evolution.

    In this latest comment, Michael shifts the goal posts. What he now wants from a theory is mathematical sophistication. I will grant him that Darwin's theory did not have that. (Modern theory of evolution does.)

    But no, the best theories we have can exhibit some elements of "tautology" as our host puts it. Take Newton's theory of gravity. It proclaims that the weight of an object is proportional to its mass. And how is mass determined? An object is weighed against a standard mass on a pan balance! (This extends all the way to the international standards of mass.) That sounds a bit tautological, so I have no doubts Professor Egnor will start a campaign against Newton's theory of gravity, pronto.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "What he now wants from a theory is mathematical sophistication. I will grant him that Darwin's theory did not have that."
      Of course it does not, and he does not.
      Mike is simply making the contrast.
      Biology, as a study, is not an abstraction like mathematical science.

      "(Modern theory of evolution does.)"
      Impossible. Further, this statement underlines the NEED for Mike's contrast / comparison.

      Delete
  12. The theory of common ancestry is superfluous, although, that has no bearing on whether it is correct.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The discovery of DNA started the driving of nails in Darwinism coffin; the realization that junk DNA is not junk after all will drive the final nails.

    DNA conveys information on how to build the living; information can only originate from a mind or intellect.

    This FACT is absolute and undeniable.

    Darwinists, atheists and secularists can try to bend logic any which way they want but that FACT will always remain true!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The discovery of DNA started the driving of nails in Darwinism coffin;"

      DNA confirms Darwin's theory. Everything we know about DNA only serves to support the theory of evolution by natural selection.

      "the realization that junk DNA is not junk after all will drive the final nails."

      I don't think you realize what junk DNA means. But that seems to be able par for the course for you.

      Delete
    2. DNA conveys information.
      Information can only originate from a mind.
      Therefore DNA originated from a mind.

      Delete
    3. "DNA conveys information."

      No, it doesn't. 'Information" is an organizing principle that humans impose upon DNA in order to understand it. DNA contains no more information than inorganic chemical processes do.

      "Information can only originate from a mind."

      Even if it were true that DNA were information, you have no basis for this claim.

      Delete
    4. 'Information" is an organizing principle that humans impose upon DNA in order to understand it.

      On the contrary, DNA is CSI (Complex Specified Information), whether you like it or not!

      As Bill Gates wrote in The Road Ahead:
      DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.

      You should read The Programming of Life by D.E. Johnson and stop believing in the Darwinist fogma!

      Delete
    5. "On the contrary, DNA is CSI (Complex Specified Information), whether you like it or not!"

      No. DNA is merely a collection of organic molecules that interact in a particular way. "Information" is an organizing principle humans impose upon nature in order to allow us to understand it.

      And you still have no basis for your claim that "information" even if it did exist, can only originate from a mind.

      Delete
  14. Michael,

    Well, it looks as if you've opted out of your own challenge. Not that I ever thought that you'd follow through on it. You seem to have left the field to your defenders; the ignorance and bluster of CrusadeRex and the ignorance of Pepe. You really need better defenders.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @bach:

      I stipulated "intelligent" replies. Still waiting.

      Delete
    2. bachfiend seems to consider name calling as being intelligent. He should know that Name calling is a cognitive bias and a technique to promote propaganda!

      Delete
    3. Michael,

      You can't arbitrarily decide what's intelligent and what's not. You're obliged to answer all comments, even if it is to note why they aren't intelligent.

      Why don't you try this one:

      Darwin's theory of evolution can be summarized as; common ancestry, descent with modification, presence of natural variation within populations and mechanisms for varying the proportions of the natural variations by various mechanisms (such as natural and sexual selection and neutral drift).

      All have been confirmed in the past 150+ years. All that's been added is considerable detail and evidence.

      Not exactly banal. Anyone thinking about it could have come up with the idea, but it took Darwin to do it.

      CrusadeRex committed a howler when he claimed that Watson and Crick discovered DNA in 1953, and then blustered when I pointed out that he was wrong.

      Watson and Crick described the structure of DNA. It was known that it was the genetic material. The proportions of its component parts were known accurately, such as the amount of adenine equals thymidine, and guanine equals cytosine. Anyone could have hit upon its structure by just thinking about it, but it took Watson and Crick with their model building to do it.

      In retrospect, an obvious and banal description. Their original paper was very short. Great ideas in retrospect often seem banal, despite the fact that at the time they seemed impossible.

      I won't comment on Pepe. He still hasn't shown any intelligence in all his comments.

      Delete
    4. I won't comment on Pepe. He still hasn't shown any intelligence in all his comments.

      Thank you, bachfiend!

      The more you throw insults at (and about) me, the more you prove that I am right! It always hurt when we learn we are wrong as you are, but you should accept your shortcomings with humility. Only then will you have any respect on this blog!

      Delete
    5. Michael,

      You actually wrote; 'Prove me wrong. I'll post intelligent replies, if there are any'.

      It was actually a meaningless couple of sentences without a stipulation of what would cause you to reply, and you'd stated that you'd be providing the intelligent replies, which would be a first from you.

      Delete
  15. Michael said: "Evolution-- evolutionary biology-- is a discipline of biology. It is not a "theory", anymore than physics is a "theory". "

    OK, so that's settled. We agree that evolution is as real as physics. You agree that species evolve, and current species are the result of evolution from earlier species.

    If you've already stipulated this, my apologies. I lose track of where different flavors of creationists choose to insert the divine magic.

    Now, let's build on your equivalence between evolution and physcis: physics is not driven by belief in fairies, or direct intervention by God, or any such things. It is driven by natural causes that can be understood and predicted.

    Evolution, like physics, is not driven by direct intervention of God or by fairies or by midichlorians. It is driven by natural causes that can be understood and predicted.

    That's the revelation that Darwin articulated so thoroughly. His theory was that current species evolved from earlier species, and the factors driving that evolution are: replication + variation + selection + time. That's a theory. It was strikingly different from the theory that species were divinely created in their current form. It was different from the Lamarckian theory of heritability of acquired characteristics. It was different from the concept that life was changing as a result of a pre-ordained plan. It was a theory that drew together morphology, domestic animal selective breeding, geology and biogeography. And it has been repeatedly reinforced by what we've learned since.

    - If Darwin's theory is true, then even radically different species have common ancestry. We now have the ability to prove this.
    - If Darwin's theory is true, then changes in environment that affect reproductive success should lead to change in species in response.
    - If Darwin's theory is true, then we will find examples of intermediate species between ancestral and descendant species. At the time he knew of few examples, but we've found many more. Darwin got it wrong when he thought change was steadily incremental - it actually happens in fits and starts.
    - If Darwin's theory is true, then a population that is not under selective pressure will not change. This turned out to be true and disproved the concept of an "innate drive for change".

    Finally, if Darwin's concept of evolution through natural mechanisms was so meaningless, there wouldn't be legions of people trying in vain to insert divine intervention into the field of biology.

    Darwinian evolutionary theory is very similar to Plate Tectonic Theory. Many diverse features in nature are explained through a relatively simple set of principles and (at high level) simple mechanisms. Both have overwhelming complexity underneath the conceptual framework. Both rely on concepts that are inherently NOT math-based. Both have been continually reinforced by observational data since their inception. Like evolutionary theory, plate tectonics was the synthesis of many lines of thought and had many contributors, though it didn't have one, single, thorough, definitive articulation equivalent to "On the Origin of the Species". And finally, both provide natural explanations for things formerly attributed to divine intervention by almost every religion.

    So by every possible measure, Darwin's concept of evolution was a well-articulated scientific theory.

    Now, let's look at your assertion that Darwinian evolution reduces to "organisms change and survivor survive".
    - You get it wrong when you say organisms change - they don't, not through evolution. Populations change.
    - You leave out the fact that individual variation is undirected
    - You leave out common descent
    - You leave out the premise that small changes, directed by selection, lead to radical differences in species

    So much for the validity of your little reduction.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Pepe said: "the realization that junk DNA is not junk after all will drive the final nails. "

    LOL. Sorry Pepe, but many of the remnants of crud left in your DNA by retrovirus infections suffered by your ancestors are indeed junk, just as registry entries on your computer left by uninstalled applications are junk. There's no other way to describe them. Ask Michael, or anyone who actually knows something about DNA.

    Oh, while you're at it - note the fact that you share these little bits of "junk" with other primate species in EXACTLY the pattern predicted by evolution.

    Pepe said: "DNA conveys information on how to build the living; information can only originate from a mind or intellect. This FACT is absolute and undeniable."

    No, sorry. What is an observed FACT is that we see information created through completely natural means. If you're going to reach back a billion years to say that the first time an organic molecule copied a portion of itself was the result of divine intervention, you can make that assertion. And you can join the ranks of millions who've attributed natural events to divine causes. Not once in all those millions has the divine cause been proved right, but you're welcome to try.

    But really, Pepe, doesn't it paint a rather demeaning picture of your god when you portray him as stooping in the organic soup to diddle with a few proteins?

    It reminds me of the "irreducible complexity" guys who portray God, the creator of the universe, as directly intervening in creating the spinning hair on a germ's bum.

    Now tell me - how did I bend logic?

    (But of course you won't - you'll ignore what I posted and just respond with some pithy saying in French, right? Isn't that what you do right after Michael introduces Stalin and Mao?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...an observed FACT is that we see information created through completely natural means...

      Oh! So you admit there is information?

      Your on the right track, Mac!

      Delete
    2. "Oh! So you admit there is information?"

      LOL!!!!

      Why do you bother?

      Delete
  17. Pepe,

    Well, there's information in a mountain too. A listing of the exact position of all the atoms in all the crystals comprising the mountain in three dimensional space would fill many DVDs.

    The considerable information comprising the mountain originated by natural means.

    Or are you suggesting that your god made it too?

    By the way, I'm still waiting for you to give your explanation of how the continents formed (before I answer your two questions). Giving your confused and inaccurate concept of how you think scientists explain the formation of continents isn't the same thing, a fact that should be obvious even to you, particularly when you went on to dismiss it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A listing of the exact position of all the atoms...

      That's not CSI!

      Or are you suggesting that your god made it too?

      My God made everything, including you!

      ...explanation of how the continents...

      This is a fixation! Get help soon...

      Delete
  18. Pepe,

    You're changing the goalposts now. Previously you'd stated 'information', and now you're saying 'CSI' (I assume 'complex specified information', whatever that is).

    A mountain contains complex specified information too. Its shape is critical in determining how much of a rain shadow there is (important for farmers on the opposite side to where the prevailing winds are originating). Its structure, particularly how much iron it contains, is critical in determining how many lightning bolts it will attract, particularly if you're foolish enough to climb it in a storm.

    We are making progress. You think your god made the mountain. Now you can reveal how you think your god made the mountain (and while you're doing that you could also tell us how your god made the continents too).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's use the most simple logic:

      DNA conveys information.
      Information can only originate from a mind.
      Therefore DNA originated from a mind.


      The information DNA conveys builds the living. A mountain does not convey information to build mountains.

      Are you thick or what?

      Delete
    2. Pepe,

      DNA conveys information? Yes, that's correct. Your other two assertions aren't correct. There's information in everything not created by minds, using perfectly conventional definitions of the word 'information'. You wouldn't dismiss the information in the Encyclopedia Britainica because it doesn't have the information to make further copies of itself, so insisting that it's the ability to reproduce itself is what makes it information is nonsensical.

      And anyway, abiogenesis was the process that created biological information in the first place. Evolution is the process that has been increasing the amount of biological information in the subsequent 3.8 billion years.

      Delete
    3. ...abiogenesis was the process that created biological information in the first place...

      Eh, bachfiend, how would you like to make a cool million? Since you seem to know how abiogenesis hapenned, why don't you apply to get the OOL Prize? (I will only take 30% of your gains for giving you this lead.)

      Evolution is the process that has been increasing the amount...

      Then you can use Evolution to multiply your wealth!

      PS1: Please tell me: was your Fairy Tale book written by Dickydawk?

      PS2: Is abiogenesis your GOD?

      Delete
    4. Pepe,

      I'll tell you how I think abiogenesis happened after you tell me how YOU think the continents formed. OK?

      I accept evolution because it's obviously true and reflects everything I learnt as a pathologist, studying disease.

      The origin of life prize is rigged and not likely to ever be paid.

      I have no gods. My wealth is being continually increased by a process similar to evolution. A lot of busy managers and workers toiling to make a profit in companies I own shares to pay me dividends.

      Delete
    5. I'll tell you how I think abiogenesis happened after you tell me how YOU think the continents formed. OK?

      If you will give me $1,000,000 I will tell you how continents formed.

      But you should get this 1 million from the OOL prize first. I don't want your check to bounce.

      You know, or should know, I have you checkmate here. Your continents stuff is no match againts my OOL challenge!

      PS: were you ever a hockey player? You really skate very well...


      :-)

      Delete
    6. I accept evolution because it's obviously true and reflects everything I learnt as a pathologist, studying disease.

      You remember me of this guy who said forests did not exist because he spent his hole life with his noze glued to a tree!

      Delete
    7. Pepe,

      Well, why don't you try? Give me your explanation as to how you think the continents formed (and I asked the question first, remember?), and I'll give you my explanation as to the origin of life.

      OK?

      Anyway, the origin of life prize people, whoever they are, will pay the $1,000,000 over 20 years, so you'd be waiting a very long time. Longer than even the time you reckon 'Darwinism' will take to be discarded.

      No, I was never an ice hockey player. Not a sport in Australia.

      Delete
    8. Regarding the current blog, I submit to you that I asked the question first. So stop beating around the bush and enlighten us on how abiogenesis happened. The $1,000,000 prize is nothing compared the fame and Nobel prize that will surely be awarded to you.

      Come on, bach, let us poor mortal partake in your superior knowledge!

      Delete
    9. Pepe,

      No I asked you the question first in 'An atheist was walking in the forest' thread.

      Delete
  19. Sorry Bach, but you have the definition of CSI wrong.

    According to Dembski, Complex Specified Information is information that can't be created by undirected evolution.

    Therefore, God!

    See how neatly that works?

    Dude, please try to get your definitions of creationist pseudoscience correct. After all, being spectacularly wrong is acceptable on their side of the argument (it's a point of pride, actually), but wrong is still wrong here in the reality based community.

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Rick,

    My apologies. It's difficult to keep the pseudoscience terms straight in my head.

    One slight quibble though. When you write 'wrong is still wrong HERE in the reality based community'. We're you being ironic, commenting in this swamp of unreason and illogic that we've come to love on Michael's blog?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I meant "here" in the fact-based, reality-based world where you and I live - where it is honorable to change your mind when presented with definitive new data. As opposed to Pepe's world, where the strength of your faith is measured by how many facts you can ignore or deny.

      Delete
  21. @bachfiend & RickK:

    What, if any, are the weaknesses of evolutionary theory? I.e. what are the most telling points against it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Species evolve - that's a fact. We have a lot to learn about details of historical changes, about how life first started, But asking what are the points against evolutionary theory is like asking what are the points against General Relativity, Atomic Theory or Plate Tectonics.

      What do you know about evolutionary theory?

      Delete
  22. Kent,

    There are no telling points against evolutionary theory. The weakness is that of all scientific theories; we don't know everything yet, and probably never will. The world of living things just on the Earth alone is a huge complex and confusing system, and teasing out the details and interactions will be a never ending process, assuming of course that humans don't go the way of at least 99.9% of species on Earth and go extinct.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I can list a few telling points against Darwinism (not to be confused with evolution, the micro kind that is):

      1) Miller–Urey experiment
      2) Darwin's tree of life
      3) Homology in vertebrate limbs
      4) Haeckel's embryos
      5) Archaeopteryx
      6) Peppered moth
      7) Darwin's finches
      8) Four-winged fruit flies
      9) Fossil horses
      10) Hominid evolution
      11) Junk DNA
      12) Piltdown man
      13) Nebraska man
      14) Tiktalllik

      to name the most obvious!

      All of these PROOFS of Darwinism have been debunked. Talk about falsifying a theory! Darwinism will not be dead by 2020 because it's been dead for more than 50 years. Only half-witted religious people still believe in Darwinism because that is what they were thought and were, at the same time, forbidden to think by themselves in order not to offend the great Charlie!

      Delete
    2. Pepe,

      'Debunked' by creationists, except for Nebraska Man and Piltdown Man, which were debunked by scientists.

      Nebraska Man was a misinterpretation of a single porcine tooth by a non-expert who was hyping his discovery.

      Piltdown Man was a fraud probably carried out by someone wanting human evolution to have occurred in England for prestige sake, and was quietly ignored and filed away in the museum as an embarrassment, since human evolution was known to have started in Africa.

      All the others, except for the Miller-Urey experiment (which has nothing to do with evolution and little to do with the origin of life), are perfectly good evidences of evolution.

      Delete
    3. @bachfiend:

      The weakness is that of all scientific theories; we don't know everything yet, and probably never will.

      Agreed -- science is definitely limited in what it can realistically ever offer as far as origins go. But I think that what evolutionists don't know is greater quantitatively, and of a more fundamental nature, than is generally admitted. G. A. Kerkut, in his book Implications of Evolution (1960), makes the following observations:

      There are...seven basic assumptions that are often not mentioned during discussions of Evolution. Many evolutionists ignore the first six assumptions and only consider the seventh. These are as follows.
      (1) The first assumption is that non-living things gave rise to living material, i.e. spontaneous generation occurred.
      (2) The second assumption is that spontaneous generation occurred only once. [But read Kerkut's context; he is aware of alternatives to common ancestry.]
      The other assumptions all follow from the second one.
      (3) The third assumption is that viruses, bacteria, plants and animals are all interrelated.
      (4) The fourth assumption is that the Protozoa gave rise to the Metazoa.
      (5) The fifth assumption is that the various invertebrate phyla are interrelated.
      (6) The sixth assumption is that the invertebrates gave rise to the vertebrates.
      (7) The seventh assumption is that within the vertebrates the fish gave rise to the amphibia, the amphibia to the reptiles, and the reptiles to the birds and mammals. Sometimes this is expressed in other words, i.e. that the modern amphibia and reptiles had a common ancestral stock, and so on.


      Now, to the best of my knowledge (and I'm open to correction), the situation is much the same as it was 50 years ago. We don't know if life arose from non-life by naturalistic means; furthermore, we don't know that abiogenesis is even possible. Assuming that abiogenesis did occur, we don't know if it occurred more than once, and given our present state of knowledge, it's not clear that we can ever know. We could go down the list. None of the seven propositions listed by Kerkut, from a strictly empirical standpoint, rises above the level of an assumption. Yet some proponents of evolution parrot them, in one form or another, as if they are established fact.

      Now it may be that naturalistic evolution will ultimately be vindicated. (Personally, I doubt it.) But to assert that "There are no telling points against evolutionary theory" seems patently absurd to me. Kerkut, in chapters 1 and 2, argues that such uncritical acceptance of evolution is sophomoric -- quite literally.

      Delete
    4. It is amazing how often creationists argue against data that is decades or centuries old.

      (1) We now know that non-living self-replicating organic molecules evolve - they become better replicators. So we have empirical evidence that evolution can pre-date life.

      (2) Nobody assumes it started only once - that's a fallacy.

      (3)-(7) We have vastly more evidence of common descent. And we have many examples of successful predictions based on our evolutionary assumptions about the "tree of life". You confirm a theory by testing it. ERV patterns, predicted intermediates, Theobald's statistical studies, and countless genetic studies have added thousands of confirming pieces of data and successful test.

      Evolution denial is a solid indicator of ignorance. And when the denier is educated, it's a solid indicator of self-delusion or dishonesty.

      Delete
    5. @RickK:

      Before proceeding, let me be clear that what I'm questioning is naturalistic macroevolution, not microevolution.

      (1) We now know that non-living self-replicating organic molecules evolve - they become better replicators. So we have empirical evidence that evolution can pre-date life.
      The question is not whether organic matter can pre-date life. All sorts of the building blocks of life can pre-date life, in theory. The question is whether non-life can produce life. Of course, even if it could, that would not prove that it did. This is simple, irrefutable logic; to deny it seems far more hazardous to science than denying evolution.
      This business of molecular "replication" is news to me. (But admittedly, I'm a scientific neophyte.) Can you point me to some reference material?

      (2) Nobody assumes it [life] started only once - that's a fallacy.
      "The assumption that life arose only once and that therefore all living things are interrelated is a useful assumption in that it provides a simple working basis for experimental procedure." (Kerkut, p. 8) If you truly believe that the graph of life is rooted in a single (distinguished) node (and you must, or it wouldn't be a tree), then you are operating on the working assumption that life arose only once, whether in fact it did or not. So, from a purely pragmatic standpoint, every adherent of common descent also holds the assumption (at least for experimental purposes) that life arose only once.

      (3)-(7) We have vastly more evidence of common descent. And we have many examples of successful predictions based on our evolutionary assumptions about the "tree of life". You confirm a theory by testing it.
      But arguably you have tested nothing of significance. Has the possibility of non-trivial change been demonstrated experimentally, e.g. by incrementally coaxing the development of some new organism (say, a whale) on one node of the tree from another extant organism (say, a frog) on an ancestral node? The answer, to the best of my knowledge, is "no, it has not". And even if the possibility had been demonstrated, it would not indicate that it had in fact happened in the past. Again, this is simple logic.

      Evolution denial is a solid indicator of ignorance. And when the denier is educated, it's a solid indicator of self-delusion or dishonesty.

      This is pure ad hominem, and does not merit a reply.

      Delete
    6. Kent,

      I'd be ashamed if I were using a 50 year old text on anything, let alone biology, which has made enormous progress in the past decades. When I was a student in the '70s, in medical school we were taught that Plasmodium, the genus that causes for example malaria in humans and other mammals, was a protozoan. It's been recently discovered that its actually a plant (it has defective chloroplasts) and probably evolved from free living algae, which were taken up by mosquitoes and injected into mammal hosts when the mosquito fed on blood, and eventually adapted to become a disease causing organism.

      You need to read something more current. I'd suggest Carl Zimmer's 'Evolution. The Triumph of an Idea'. He lays out the evidence for evolution in a straight forward way.

      Expecting to be able to cause a frog to evolve into a whale is expecting far too much. Evolution is very slow. To do it experimentally would be asking for a repetition of something that took around 300 million years to happen. Frogs today don't look anything like the amphibians of around 300 million years ago. No scientist is going to put in an application for such research, because he'd be dead an extremely long time before the experiment was anywhere near completion.

      It has never been discounted that life could have arisen more than once. It's just it's never been disproved. Exobiologists are keen to discover a second origin of life on Earth, because it's too difficult to go to Mars or Europa to explore for extraterrestrial life there, let alone any extrasolar planet. The assumption being that if life arose more than once on Earth, then it must be easy, and hence probably has arisen elsewhere too.

      Delete
    7. @bachfiend:

      I'd be ashamed if I were using a 50 year old text on anything, let alone biology, which has made enormous progress in the past decades.

      I knowingly and unashamedly used a text that was 50 years old because I was making a point about 50-year-old assertions, so I went to the primary source. And the point I was making didn't depend on Kerkut's biological knowledge being up-to-date by current standards. Kerkut asserts that, at the time of his writing (ca. 1960), none of the seven propositions he enumerates rises above the level of an assumption; that none of the assumptions had ever been experimentally proven possible; and that furthermore, even if one had been proven possible, it would not necessarily imply that it did in fact occur. I then asserted that, to the best of my knowledge, Kerkut's assertions are still true today – i.e. all seven propositions are currently mere assumptions. So far, I have not seen a direct response to my claim.

      My point is not that any of the seven propositions are in fact false, nor that it is necessarily wrong to use them as working hypotheses. But since they are merely assumptions, it seems to me that naturalistic evolutionists ought to be a little more cautious, and a little less dogmatic, in their language. The fact that they often do not govern their dogmatic tendencies tends to decrease their credibility rather then increase it.

      Thanks for the Zimmer book recommendation. I'll check it out. Do you know if Zimmer covers the replication of pre-biotic organic molecules to which RickK alluded in an earlier post?

      Expecting to be able to cause a frog to evolve into a whale is expecting far too much. Evolution is very slow.

      I was thinking more along the lines of tinkering with the process to significantly accelerate it: e.g. artificially increasing selective pressure, or doing some genetic tinkering, or something like that. Such acceleration may be beyond our practical abilities today, but to me (as a self-admitted scientific neophyte) such an experiment seems at least theoretically possible. According to the tree of life, the supposition that a frog has (for the sake of argument) evolved from node A to node B (the whale node) via a set of intervening nodes implies that a genetic pathway exists between the two profoundly different species. The fact that we have not experimentally traversed any significant edges between nodes in that genetic pathway (or any genetic pathway, for that matter) ought to be cause for concern.

      Delete
    8. @ Kent D

      "If you truly believe that the graph of life is rooted in a single (distinguished) node (and you must, or it wouldn't be a tree), then you are operating on the working assumption that life arose only once, whether in fact it did or not."

      The single root refers to a common ancestor, not necessarily one and only one origin of life. Life could have arisen more than once but with only one initial life form being successful. Alternatively, life may have arisen more than once and there is more than one tree of life. In either case though, within a tree of life model all lifeforms spring from a single common ancestor. So far investigations into molecular biology, comparative anatomy, genetics, paleontology and several other fields which I don't have time to list corroborate such a model.

      "The question is whether non-life can produce life. Of course, even if it could, that would not prove that it did. This is simple, irrefutable logic; to deny it seems far more hazardous to science than denying evolution."

      AND

      "... even if the possibility [non-trivial change] had been demonstrated, it would not indicate that it had in fact happened in the past. Again, this is simple logic."

      What you are getting at is "the problem of induction". What hampers science is that we cannot make definitive statements based on the assumptions of the inductive method. The best we can do is find facts that either corroborate or falsify a hypothesis. The Miller-Urey experiments for example falsified the hypothesis that organic molecules could not form from inorganic compounds. The conditions Miller and Urey used do not comport with what is currently perceived to be initial conditions of the earth's atmosphere, but that does not alter their conclusions.

      "Has the possibility of non-trivial change been demonstrated experimentally, e.g. by incrementally coaxing the development of some new organism (say, a whale) on one node of the tree from another extant organism (say, a frog) on an ancestral node?"

      Does a dino-chicken count?

      Delete
    9. Kent,

      I don't think that Carl Zimmer's book deals with the origin of life. That's not a question that evolutionary biology deals with. For that, you'd have to look at a book such as Nick Lane's 'Life Ascending', which won the Royal Society's best science book of 2009.

      Getting from a modern frog to a modern whale, no matter how much selective pressure you apply, is for all intents and purposes impossible. Frogs have been evolving for hundreds of millions of years and will have lost genes and modified most of the others.

      What might be possible would be to turn a chicken back into a dinosaur, or at least reactivate the genes for teeth, since birds and non-avian dinosaurs diverged around a hundred million years ago.

      Your talk of nodes reminds be of the joke about the tourist asking an Irish farmer for directions to village 'A' and was told that he can't get there from here, meaning there's no direct road and that he has to retrack his path and take another route. A modern frog to a whale means de-evolving to an earlier amphibian and then evolving to a whale.

      Delete
  23. Pepe also doesn't understand science. Nothing is ever proved in science. The best that one can say is that something has been failed to have been disproved.

    A piece of information may be evidence in favor of a scientific theory, never a proof. There may be a better theory not yet developed for which the piece of information is also evidence too.

    Nebraska Man was never a 'proof' against evolutionary theory, because it never was part of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing is ever proved in science.

      Of course a theory can never be proved and must be falsifiable. That is why mainstream science, the old materialist guard, calls Darwinism a fact since you cannot disprove a fact. That logic hoax does not work anymore and that makes the old materialist guard mad!

      There may be a better theory...

      Regarding Darwinism, i.e. RM + NS, you can bet the farm there is a MUCH better theory!

      Delete
  24. Pepe,

    Well, evolution is a fact. We know that life on Earth has changed over millions and bilions of years, with thousands and millions of species going extinct and being replaced by species that are either similar or radically different.

    Darwinism can be summarized as; common ancestry, descent with modification, natural variation within breeding populations and mechanisms for changing the proportions of the natural variants (Darwin described natural and sexual selection and something similar to neutral drift).

    Scientists have been elaborating and extending Darwin's theory for the past 150+ years, accumulating more and more evidence in its favor. Nothing has invalidated Darwin's basic theory.

    Anyone who thinks Darwin's theory is random mutation + natural selection doesn't know much about science. Natural selection isn't the only mechanism. Darwin had no idea of genetics, nor of mutations. All he knew was that there was variation within populations (a fact that was much more apparent to Wallace, who as a collector went out and accumulated many individuals of the same species instead of just one or two index samples).

    If you think there is a better theory, then what is it? How do you think that you'd be able to support it with real evidence? Proving your favored theory would also be impossible for much the same reasons. It's only by finding evidence supporting it (and none that would refute it) that you'd be able to claim that your favored theory is worth consideration. Incredulity isn't evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  25. If you think there is a better theory, then what is it?

    It's ID!

    ID will replace darwinism (or naturalism, materialism, scientism, atheism) because none of these isms can account for the information of life.

    You can deny that there is information in the living, like you are free to wear a blindfold while walking. The only problem with this kind of behaviour is that you will hit many obstacles as you are hitting with your worldview vis-s-vis modern biological discoveries.

    The funny thing is that only darwinists, naturalists, materialists, etc… believe that order can come out of chaos!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Pepe,

    OK, how does ID account for evolution, the fact that over at least hundreds of millions of years, in fact billions of years, thousands and millions of species have gone extinct to be replaced by species that are either similar or radically different. God as a serial incompetent creator perhaps?

    Order is well known to occur spontaneously, not by chance though, but by following physical and chemical forces. If life as we know it today popped into existence in an instant, then that would be chance. But it didn't.

    Australia's wealth depends largely on order coming from disorder. The rusting of the oceans 2.5 billion years ago due to the oxygen poisoning from Cyanobacteria, resulting in the formation of massive banded iron deposits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't know much about CIS, do you.

      Delete
    2. Pepe,

      You haven't answered my question. How does ID explain evolution? The fact that over hundreds of millions and billions of years, life has changed. Species have changed or gone extinct to be replaced by other species.

      Parroting complex specified information doesn't answer the question.

      At least you didn't mention Behe's irreducible complexity, which was discussed decades ago by Herman Muller, and realized not to be a problem.

      ID proponents are great at praising themselves for their great new insights. Michael Behe's reckons he made the greatest discovery ever. He didn't. William Dembski reckons he's the Isaac Newton of information science. He isn't.

      They're great at self promotion. Not so good at reality perception.

      Delete
  27. Kent - I'm not going to bother defending "naturalistic macroevolution" any longer until you provide one definitive, irrefutable example of divine causation of any physical event. Until you do that, then "naturalistic" is the ONLY valid premise. Back to you.

    "Macroevolution" is irrefutable - there is more evidence that current species evolved from earlier species (and that current species are related) than there all the evidence presented in every courtroom in history.

    So, since macroevolution happened (and continues to happen, just too slowly to satisfy creationists), and natural phenomena have natural causes, we're stuck with "naturalistic macroevolution" until you produce the divine.

    ReplyDelete