Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Paley’s argument from design: Did Hume refute it, and is it an argument from analogy?

There are many modern-day skeptics who apparently still subscribe to the myth that the Scottish empiricist philosopher David Hume soundly refuted Rev. William Paley’s argument from design on philosophical grounds, even before Darwin supposedly refuted it on scientific grounds (see here, here and here for examples). The supposition is absurdly anachronistic: Hume died in 1776, and his posthumous Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion were published in 1779, but Paley’s Natural Theology was not published until 1802, three years before Paley’s death in 1805. Some of the more intelligent skeptics, such as Julian Baggini, are aware of this fact, but still make the risibly absurd claim (see here) that Hume anticipated and refuted Paley’s argument from design. The truth, however, is the Read More ›

Another F double minus: Continuing to correct Wikipedia’s article on ID

Yesterday, we saw how Wikipedia is one of the most influential sites on the Internet, how it vaunts itself on its commitment to NPOV, a neutral point of view: Editing from a neutral point of view (NPOV) means representing fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view. NPOV is a fundamental principle of Wikipedia and of other Wikimedia projects. This policy is nonnegotiable and all editors and articles must follow it. “Neutral point of view” is one of Wikipedia’s three core content policies. The other two are “Verifiability” and “No original research“. These Read More ›

Alternative Splicing Damage Control Still Underway

The headline says it all: “Evolution by Splicing.” Evolutionists once believed that the species arose by mutations that altered the nucleotide sequences of protein-coding genes. But these genetic differences between species do not seem to be very significant. Next evolutionists thought perhaps the differing expression levels of the genes did the job. Perhaps it was quantity rather than quality that created the species. But again the expression level differences are not so great. Now evolutionists have a new mechanism, and it is yet another example of evolution’s reliance on complexity, serendipity and misrepresentation.  Read more

They said it: contrasted introductions to (and definitions of) Intelligent Design at Wikipedia and New World Encyclopedia

News has just put up a post with the Meyer lecture on intelligent design (with a close focus on the pivotal case, origin of life, the root of Darwin’s tree of life analogy).  I responded here, in light of the history of ideas issues raised by the lecture as well as the question of why origin of life  is so pivotal tot he whole question at stake, but in so doing I had occasion to visit the Wikipedia article on Intelligent Design. I saw that it had further mutated and evolved under intelligent direction into an even more strident tone than the last time I bothered to look or comment, and so I think it instructive to contrast two introductions Read More ›

Here is How Genes Are Exquisitely Timed

You learned in your high school biology class that genes are copied, or transcribed, and that the transcript was used by the ribosome to synthesize a protein. But how does the cell know which genes to transcribe, which form of the gene to use, and when to transcribe it? These questions are answered by various mechanisms collectively referred to as gene regulation. The DNA region upstream of a gene may have various molecules and proteins attached which influence its expression, that DNA region and the histone proteins about which it is wrapped may have methyl groups or other small groups attached to them serving as signals, once transcribed the resulting mRNA transcript may be spliced into alternate forms, the mRNA transcript Read More ›

Evolutionists View Violence as Progress

You’ve heard of “red in tooth and claw,” natural selection, and the survival of the fittest. As one evolutionist put it, “The death of unfit individuals is what causes a species to adapt and improve.” This is because evolutionary theory is founded on that Malthusian idea of limited resources. Life is a zero-sum game. And so when a chance mutation happens to confer a reproductive advantage to one individual, he and his descendants survive and propagate at the cost of others, who do not. It is evolution’s version of a final accounting, but in this Darwinian spreadsheet there is no forgiveness, just survival. Of the fittest that is, and death of the unfit.  Read more

G.K. Chesterton on Why Materialists, Not Theists, Are The Dogmatists

The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them. The open, obvious, democratic thing is to believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a miracle, just as you believe an old apple-woman when she bears testimony to a murder. The plain, popular course is to trust the peasant’s word about the ghost exactly as far as you trust the peasant’s word about the landlord. Being a peasant he will probably have a great deal of healthy agnosticism about both. Still you could fill the British Museum with evidence uttered by the peasant, and given in favour Read More ›

Loftus’ faulty argument for atheism gets an F double minus

It has been eight years since the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, that took the lives of over 230,000 people. In his December 14, 2012 post, Today We Grieve With Those Who Grieve, Barry Arrington wisely warned against the vain enterprise of trying to “make sense of this senselessness,” and he quoted from the essay, Tsunami and Theodicy by theologian David Bentley Hart, who forthrightly asserts that we have no right to “console ourselves with vacuous cant about the mysterious course taken by God’s goodness in this world, or to assure others that some ultimate meaning or purpose resides in so much misery. Ours is, after all, a religion of salvation; our faith is in a God who has come Read More ›

Spliceosomes and Exons: The New Agents of Evolution

Remember when evolution created all of biology one mutation at a time? That quaint idea from your high school biology class was about as likely as an alien world smashing into the Earth last Friday. But at least it had the virtue of not being circular. No such luck today as now evolution has to create itself. Call it evolvability, call it pre planned evolutionary pathways or call it just plain serendipity, it all means the same thing: Evolution must have constructed elaborate mechanisms and structures which then became crucial agents of evolution, creating all kinds of biological wonders. Simply put, evolution must have created evolution. In recent years such serendipity in the evolution narrative has skyrocketed. If it were Read More ›

The Year in Review: Intelligent Design in 2012

It’s that time of year again. 2012 is winding down and 2013 looms on the horizon.  Intelligent design has had another productive year in 2012, and we look forward to the challenges and successes of the coming year. So what has the intelligent design community accomplished in the past 12 months? This year saw the publication of the ENCODE discovery that our genome, far from being replete with nonsensical ‘junk DNA’, is in fact alive with pervasive biochemical activity such as transcription, transcription factor binding, and histone modification (as much as 80% exhibiting such activity). This evidence is highly suggestive that our genome may be far more functional than has been traditionally assumed. The take-home message from the results is that at least “20% of Read More ›

Hallmarks of humanity in the culture of ancient man

It is not often that naturists complain to the BBC about people wearing clothes in one of their programmes. However, this has happened in the UK recently, after the broadcasting of scenes featuring early humans in the series “Andrew Marr’s History of The World“. A spokesperson said: “It is astonishing that the BBC, that once proud bastion of journalistic integrity, should be sacrificing its reputation for commercial reasons.” According to the Daily Telegraph’s report, “The group said that in the Exodus from Africa, Ancient Egypt, the Minoans, the Caribs, the Australian aborigines, and members of a contemporary South American tribe, the costumes were the product of the BBC censors, not history.” Instead of contesting the complainants, a representative from BBC Read More ›

FOR RECORD: A follow up on the implications of turning schools into soft targets in an age of mass attack events

While it is Christmas and we all hope to turn our attention to more pleasant matters, unfortunately there are some concerns that will not wait. So, pardon a few moments to address such. But first , let me wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. Now, in the past few days, Mr Arrington and I posted here and here at UD on the Newtown, CT school mass murder incident.  Over the past week, however, the incident has now been caught up in a global media firestorm. My attention has been drawn to an insightful remark by Mr Larry Correia, so I beg permission to take liberty to excerpt a personal blog post, on a sense of duty Read More ›

An Early Critique of Darwin Warned of a Lower Grade of Degradation

Adam Sedgwick was a class act and his November 24, 1859 letter to Charles Darwinis a classic. In the 1128 word missive the aging professor of geology at Cambridge University—after reading Darwin’s massive work in less than a week amidst his many other duties—managed to pack several cogent criticisms and profound observations of evolutionary thought.  Read more