Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

The Mystery of Consciousness

The 1/29/07 issue of Time Magazine is captioned “Mind & Body Special Issue”, and starts out with a discussion of the brain’s geography, an endeavor well studied and categorized by now, but which is far overshadowed by the mystery of ‘consciousness’, often tagged as the ‘ghost within the neural machine’. Steven Pinker writes the centerpiece article, “The mystery of consciousness”, and indeed, consciousness is the centerpiece of the mystery regarding life itself.

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[Off Topic] Senator Jim Webb: Clueless

As I was watching the Democratic response to President Bush’s State Of The Union speech tonight Senator Jim Webb played the United States Marine card three times (for himself, his brother, and his son all Marines). I take it personally when someone does that.

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Stuart Kauffman critiquing Darwinism

I was reviewing recently Stuart Kauffman’s critique of the Darwinian selection mechanism and thought I would share the upshot of it here, especially in light of the recent discussion at UD concerning Haldane’s Dilemma: If selection could, in principle, accomplish “anything,” then all the order in organisms might reflect selection alone. But, in fact, there are limits to selection. Such limits begin to demand a shift in our thinking in the biological sciences and beyond. We have already encountered a first powerful limitation on selection. Darwin’s view of the gradual accumulations of useful variations, we saw, required gradualism. Mutations must cause slight alterations in phenotypes, But we have now seen two alternative model “worlds” in which such gradualism fails. The Read More ›

Another Form of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

In the Haldane thread, DaveScot responded to a comment I made with this: On Haldane’s Dilemma, I’ve determined the evolutionist argument goes like this: Orthodox evolution theory is a fact, not a theory. Therefore Haldane’s Dilemma must be wrong. I propose a corollary to DaveScot’s proposition: Orthodox evolution theory is a fact, not a theory. Therefore the fossil record, common sense, and simple statistical reasoning must be wrong. Common sense and a little elementary arithmetic suggest that: 1) given a few million years (the proposed timeframe for the mechanism of random mutation and natural selection to evolve humans from a primitive ape-like ancestor); 2) a generous assumption about generation time (let’s say, 10 years); and 3) a generous assumption about Read More ›

Richard Dawkins To Be Taught in Religion Class in UK

Intelligent design to feature in school RE lessons

Alexandra Smith
Tuesday January 23, 2007

Teenagers will be asked to debate intelligent design (ID) in their religious education classes and read texts by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins under new government guidelines.

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Wikipedia Suppresses Info On Haldane’s Dilemma

Wikipedia suppresses Haldane’s Dilemma by Walter J. Remine The key figure — a limit of 1,667 beneficial mutations to explain human evolution — was brushed aside (by falsely blaming it on creationists, instead of acknowledging that it arises solely from evolutionary theory, evolutionary genetics, and J.B.S. Haldane). This key figure was repeatedly expunged from the article, leaving readers with no idea about the severity of Haldane’s Dilemma. Evolutionists suppressed this key figure. They also suppressed their history — the fact that they never revealed any such figure to the general public. Much more at the link. Without looking I bet I can guess the names of the wiki-editor POV warriors who won’t allow balance in the article. See here. Update: Read More ›

Indian of the Gaps

My grandfather hunted arrowheads, and he found them, hundreds of them.  I was awed by his collection, and one of my most prized possessions is a frame containing 48 of his best specimens that I inherited from him.  Nearly two decades after his death that frame is still hanging on the wall in the room where I am typing this post. Sometimes when I was a kid I went arrowhead hunting with him, but I was not much good at it.  Many times I brought a promising specimen to papa for inspection, only to have him cast it aside and say, “Just a rock boy; shah, shah, shah.”  To this day I don’t know exactly what “shah” means, but from Read More ›

“Poetry in the Genetic Code” — does this mean that Natural Selection is now a poet?

The theme of silent mutations that are not so silent has been addressed here at UD before (e.g., go here). Here’s a piece that elaborates on the significance of this recent finding:

Silent No Longer: Researchers unearth another stratum of meaning in the genetic code
By Ivan Amato

The more scientists study the genetic code, the more it reads like poetry. In a poem, every word, every line break, even every syllable can carry more than a literal meaning. So too can the molecular letters, syllables, and words of the genetic code carry more biologically relevant meanings than they appear to at first.

Now, a cadre of researchers is discovering intriguing depths of meaning in “synonyms” in the genetic code—very short wordlike sequences, or codons, that translate into exactly the same amino acids during the construction of a protein. Scientists are finding that synonymous codons influence the temporal pattern by which a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule bearing genetic specifications from a cell’s nucleus is translated by machinelike ribosomes into protein molecules. Read More ›

Ph.D.s in Obfuscation — Or, Simple Truths Denied

In another forum, Denyse wrote: Bear with a simple lay hack here a moment: Why must we know a designer’s intentions in order to detect design? If the fire marshall’s office suspects arson, do the investigators worry much about WHY? Surely they investigate, confirm their finding, and turn the information over to other authorities and interested parties, without having the least idea why someone torched the joint. ALL they need to be sure of is that the joint did not torch itself, via natural causes. The observation Denyse makes is so obvious that one would need a Ph.D. in obfuscation not to see it. Common sense is not so common, at least among those with a foundational commitment to materialism.

Bats fly uniquely.

In case any one accidentally comes to the (?obvious) conclusion that the finding of yet more evidently brilliant design in biology may support ID, everyone must include the customary clear homage to the creator of all life, NDE. Science Daily “Kenneth Breuer and Sharon Swartz are determined to understand the detailed aerodynamics of bat flight – and ultimately the evolutionary path that created it.” “The assumption has always been that bats evolved from some sort of flying squirrel-type animals,” says Swartz an associate professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University. “Gliding has evolved in mammals seven times…. Now it doesn’t look like bats have any relationship to these gliding things.” “Interestingly both Breuer and Schwartz remark that it Read More ›

Evolutionary psychology solves the Problem of Beauty (Goodness and Truth are next)

It’s amazing what passes for science these days (as well as what doesn’t): The first evidence that beauty is infectious is published today by scientists who have shown that when women see a rival smiling at a man, he becomes more attractive as a result. . . . Why has nature designed women to be so in thrall to the opinion of others? Selecting a mate and raising children is what life is all about, according to the cold eyed view of evolutionary biologists. As a result, it pays to get as much information on a man as possible, including what other women think of him. “Using information from others can only improve your decision about a mate,” said Dr Read More ›

Part of the Discovery Institute’s secret research program uncovered

Through a little detective work, I found out where some of the Discovery Institute’s research funding has gone. It was an obscure comment in a paper that clued me in. The funding was for an exploration into the fundamental Speed Limits of Naturalistic Evolution. What was the plight of this exploration?
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