Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Bigelowiella natans: Evolution Damage Control is Frantic

You’ve heard of novel genes—genes that are found in only one species, and you’ve heard of alternative splicing—complex genes that are edited in different ways. Now put them together and on steroids, and to top it off, all in a mere unicellar algae. It’s another damage control nightmare as evolutionists again can’t figure out what went wrong.  Read more

Is meaning located in the brain?

One of the clearest and most compelling arguments against materialism is that it is unable to account for the simple fact that our thoughts possess a meaning in their own right. As philosopher Ed Feser puts it in an online post entitled, Some brief arguments for dualism, Part I: Thoughts and the like possess inherent meaning or intentionality; brain processes, like ink marks, sound waves, and the like, are utterly devoid of any inherent meaning or intentionality; so thoughts and the like cannot possibly be identified with brain processes. The argument seems especially convincing when we consider abstract concepts. Consider the famous line, “Honesty is a greatly overrated virtue,” from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It seems preposterous to suppose Read More ›

From The Best Schools, “The 50 Best Colleges in the United States”, Including Some ID Friendly Programs

Our very own James Barham has just published a ranking of “the 50 best colleges in the United States” on his “The Best Schools” website. His list features some ID-sympathetic schools — for example, the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. The website lists the following five factors as being of particular value: (1) Record of achievement. When you graduate from any of the colleges in our ranking, you’ll have something to show for it. You’ll have a skill-set, a credential, a springboard to new possibilities. This can translate into cash, but it can also translate in other ways. (2) Diversity of study. We think excellence in a college education need not be confined to liberal arts and sciences. Business, engineering, architecture, seafaring, Read More ›

NOTICE: On the “Gish Gallop” false accusation tactic and fallacious dodge

In a recent comment clipped by GP in the Jerad thread, Keiths has used the rhetorically dismissive term “Gish Gallop.” Let me cite: KS: . . . with gpuccio it is sometimes possible to zero in on the crux of a disagreement. You can’t do that with Gish Gallopers. Now, as I will shortly show, this is a loaded and abusive, name-calling assertion that first seeks to smear a specific person, then to invidiously associate all who are skewered with it, with his alleged rhetorical crimes. For instance, this is how the so-called Rationalwiki defines: The Gish Gallop, named after creationist Duane Gish, is the debating technique of drowning the opponent in such a torrent of half-truths, lies,  and straw-man Read More ›

“The More We Find Out, The More Complicated Things Get”

As the truth becomes ever more clear, so too the mythology must become ever more powerful. As we learn more, we must deny more. They once said biology was made of simple building blocks, but as this BBC video shows in pixel-level detail, that was just another myth. So now we need a new one. I don’t know what the twenty first century’s origins theory will be, but it will be called evolution.  See more

“Junk DNA” Drives Embryonic Development, Study Finds

From here: “One of the first, and arguably most important, steps in development is the allocation of cells into three germ layers—ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm—that give rise to all tissues and organs in the body,” explains Mark Mercola, Ph.D., professor and director of Sanford-Burnham’s Muscle Development and Regeneration Program in the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center. In a study published in the journal Genes & Development, Mercola and his team, including postdoctoral researcher Alexandre Colas, Ph.D., and Wesley McKeithan, discovered that microRNAs play an important role in this cell- and germ layer-directing process during development. Click here to read the rest of the article. Or click here to read the paper.

The Marvelous Flight Capabilities of Birds: Why Evolutionists Never Bluff

“Avian flight,” a new studyexplains, “is one of the remarkable achievements of vertebrate evolution.” Indeed, there is the “complex biotechnical architecture of avian wings,” the “magic structural wing asymmetries” so important for aeroelastic flight control, and the “extremely precise coordination of the complex wing beat motions, together with a perfect flight guidance and control performance.”  Read more

Now Evolution Must Have Evolved Different Functions Simultaneously in the Same Protein

Proteins consist of a long sequence of amino acids and those amino acids are supplied by the so-called transfer RNA, or tRNA, molecules. The tRNA molecules, in turn, are loaded with the right amino acid by the so-called aminoacyl-transfer RNA synthetases, or aaRS, proteins. There are several different versions of aaRS proteins, which load the different tRNA molecules with the different kinds of amino acids. These aaRS proteins hang around the ribosome where proteins are constructed. But as I discussed in the previous post, the lysine aaRS, also known as LysRS, has an interesting dual role. Normally it hangs around the ribosome where it binds to another LysRS to form what is known as a dimer. In this dimer configuration, there is Read More ›

Detecting design (2): A reply to John Loftus

I’d like to thank skeptical philosopher John Loftus for his prompt reply to my post, Detecting the supernatural: Why science doesn’t presuppose methodological naturalism, after all. In his post, which is titled, Heads I Win Tails You Lose: Another Christian Apologist’s Trick, Loftus zeroes in on what he sees as the fatal weaknesses in my argument. Let’s take a look at them. (The image at the top, by the way, is of a humpback whale breaching, courtesy of Whit Welles and Wikipedia.) When discussing biological Intelligent Design, I calculated that by a very generous estimate, there had been perhaps 10,000,000 “acts of intervention” (to use Loftus’ term), during the 4,000 million year history of life on Earth. I also emphasized Read More ›

tRNA Synthetase Gene Sharing: Like the Movie Transformers

You’ve seen those amazing multi-purpose kitchen utensils and jackknifes that perform a dozen tasks, but it is all standard fare in biology. From the DNA molecule which stores all kinds of information (you can see examples here, here, hereand here) including overlapping genes, to molecules that fulfill various roles depending on the cellular context and gene sharing, biology is the model of efficiency. Call it multi-purpose design, component reuse, optimization of information density, or whatever, it is one of biology’s biggest unsung feats and last week yet another example was published.  Read more

Two Great Gifts

In the spirit of Christmas, I thought I would share with you all two intellectual gifts I received from my parents growing up. Read More

Detecting the supernatural: Why science doesn’t presuppose methodological naturalism, after all

Memo to Eugenie Scott and the National Center for Science Education: the claim that scientists must explain the natural world in terms of natural processes alone, eschewing all supernatural explanations, is now being openly denied by three leading scientists who are also outspoken atheists. I’m referring to physicist Sean Carroll, and biologists Jerry Coyne and P. Z. Myers, who hold that there are circumstances under which scientists can legitimately infer the existence of supernatural causes. That’s a pretty formidable trio. The NCSE is perfectly free to disown these scientists if it wishes, but I think it would be severely undermining its own credibility if it did so. Let me state at the outset that Intelligent Design, while open to the Read More ›

From Biocompare, “The Disease Fighting Potential of Long Non-coding RNAs”

From here: Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are mysterious molecules. They are almost-proteins—transcripts of about 200 or more nucleotides that appear not to encode proteins. Given their noncoding status, it is perhaps surprising that many lncRNAs are expressed in very specific anatomical or developmental patterns, suggesting that their regulation is of biological importance. At the cellular level, most lncRNAs, also called large intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs), are localized to the nucleus. In addition, most lncRNAs either overlap with genes that encode proteins, are transcribed antisense to genes that encode proteins or are expressed as intergenic or intronic regions. But why spend energy tightly regulating the expression and localization of RNA molecules that don’t eventually end up as proteins? And what do Read More ›