Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Extrachromosomal Transmission of Information: How Evolution Created Larmarckism

If you know nothing else about the theory of evolution you probably remember that it is supposed to be driven by natural selection acting on random biological change caused, for instance, by DNA mutations. But new research has found that parents can pass acquired traits to progeny without changing the DNA. Specifically, the research found that immune responses to viruses in worms can be inherited for many generations to come (they checked up to a hundred generations). As the researchers concluded:  Read more

The Best Schools: Neurolaw’s impact on criminal justice reform

At The Best Schools (December 15, 2011), Eagleman then goes on to his no-free-will views on penal reform. He provides a number of odd examples of people committing murder in “automatic” states. But his reasoning from that occasional fact to the idea that no one is ever really responsible feels very slippery. Most cases going through the criminal courts feature non-psychopaths who perhaps considered their alleged crime a risk worth taking. If neuroscience cannot deal with that fact, so much the worse for neuroscience. It is ultimately a moral issue that cannot be reduced to trivia and special cases. He goes on to argue that the legal system can dispense with free will because “… we may be able to Read More ›

Of Pulsars and Pauses

DrREC is not just any Darwinist.  He holds a doctorate and has published on complex matters of biology in peer reviewed journals.  He is not stupid.  That’s why I like to use his examples in my posts.  I am not picking on a defenseless layman.  He’s among the Darwinists’ best and brightest.  So let’s get to his latest pronouncement from on high: DrREC writes:  Pulsars often have a complex behavior. But is it specified? If we took the pattern of pulses we detect as the ‘design specification’ — the pattern we search for, we would conclude yes. Totally and undeniably circular. Prove me wrong. Here’s the problem with DrREC’s reasoning.  He seems to assume (despite being told the contrary numerous Read More ›

DrREC Bows to the Goddess Called “Chance”

This is really too delicious to leave hanging in a comment thread.   In my last post I calculated the probability of a poker player being dealt ten straight flushes in a row. The odds are 1/64,974^10 or approximately 1/1.34^48. That’s 1 in 1.34 raised to the power of 48.  If every person who ever lived played one poker hand per second from the big bang until now, we would not expect any of them to receive 10 straight flushes in a row.  I then explained how to use the concept of complex specified information to make a design inference in this situation (i.e., that someone is cheating).  Of course in this case the math simply confirms common sense. Darwinist DrREC objected Read More ›

DrREC Wants to Play Poker

DrREC writes that the concept of “specification” is a tautology, because in determining if something is designed, ID proponents start from the assumption that it is designed.  He gives a poker example to illustrate his point:  “A straight flush is an interesting example – out of 2.6 million poker hands, there are 40 straight flushes.  Which is the specification – getting one of them, or any of them?  Or any hand better than your opponent’s?  Choosing the specification inserts a design assumption – that 1 of the flushes, or all of them are what was ‘specified.’”  Let’s take DrREC up on his challenge and consider what a design inference might mean in a poker game.  First, we need to consider Read More ›

NOTICE: Abusive spammers know (or should know) the price of dialogue on serious matters — basic civility

Pardon a moment. Just a notice to let the abusive spammers know that the price tag for serious dialogue is basic civility.  (And in some cases, a lot of uncalled for stuff — for cause — would have to be removed and apologised for. Why should I or any sensible person let you do the verbal equivalent of repeatedly dumping garbage on my front lawn?) Oh, a follow-up snippet from my comment inbox, to see some of why I say this: . . . Where’s the “serious dialogue” here on your worthless site and in your threads on UD? Blocking and banning people who speak the truth isn’t “serious dialogue”. You don’t have the slightest clue as to what “serious Read More ›