Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Horizontal Transfer Finally Reaches the Eukaryotes

If falsifiability is essential in science then perhaps evolutionary theory belongs in a different box. Repeatedly evolution sustains contradictory evidence without missing a beat and the latest example is the next step in the long story of horizontal transfer of genomic material. Once evolutionary theory held that when the species were compared they would form an evolutionary tree, common descent, pattern. And when the genes of bacteria violated this pattern, it was said they had been horizontally transferred—a complicated mechanism that allows bacteria to trade genetic material with each other rather than merely inheriting it. Suddenly the framework of evolutionary theory was much more fluid as most any genetic pattern could be explained. The horizontal gene transfer explanation was used Read More ›

RIP Carl Woese, 1928-2012

Carl Woese, world-renowned microbiologist and discoverer of the Archae (the third domain of life), has died at the age of 84, following a battle with Pancreatic cancer. The University of Illinois website reports, Carl R. Woese, who overturned one of the major dogmas of biology with the discovery of Archaea, the third domain of life, passed away following complications from pancreatic cancer at the age of 84. Carl was a professor of Microbiology and a faculty member of the Institute for Genomic Biology. No single individual has had a greater impact on the vitality of life at the IGB. Carl was truly a man of vision, creativity and passion, with a deep love of this university. He enjoyed deep respect from Read More ›

Cellular Machinery Redesigns Genes For Cold Temperature Operation

The central nervous system is constantly sending electronic impulses called action potentials which are propagated along nerve cells via the finely-tuned actions of various proteins that are located in the nerve cell’s membrane. First, there is a membrane protein that simultaneously pumps potassium ions into the cell and sodium ions out of the cell. This sets up a chemical gradient across the membrane. There is more potassium inside the cell than outside, and there is more sodium outside than inside. Also, there are more negatively charged ions inside the cell so there is a voltage drop (50-100 millivolt) across the membrane. In addition to the sodium-potassium pump, there are also sodium channels and potassium channels. These membrane proteins allow sodium Read More ›

Wiki’s F – – on ID, 2: Wiki’s ideologically driven corruption of the definitions of science and its methods

As we continue to mark up the Wiki article on ID, the next thing to notice is how the anonymous contributors have projected unto ID,  an accusation of trying to redefine science and its methods in service to supernaturalistic creationism: Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute . . . . Scientific acceptance of Intelligent Design would require redefining science to allow supernatural explanations of observed phenomena, an approach its proponents describe as theistic realism or theistic science. It puts forth a number of arguments in support of the existence of a designer, the most prominent of which are irreducible complexity and specified complexity.[5] The scientific community rejects the extension of science to include Read More ›

Was Paley a mechanist?

In my previous post on Rev. William Paley’s argument from design, I showed that the argument was carefully formulated to rebut Hume’s criticisms of design arguments that were current in his day. I also demonstrated that Paley’s argument was not (as is commonly believed) an argument from analogy; that it was not intended to be an inductive, probabilistic argument but a deductive proof; and that it was intended to establish the existence of a Deity Who is no absentee landlord or impersonal Force, but a living, personal Being Who continually maintains Nature in existence and keeps the various systems in the universe running, in addition to having designed them. In this post, I’m going to address another myth about William Read More ›

Mind Over Matter

In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could Read More ›