Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Usefulness of Chance & Necessity

Over on Panda’s Thumb Arthur Hunt protests Phil Skell’s essay in Forbes where Skell describes the theory of evolution as not being useful to modern experimental biology. Hunt goes on to give an example in how it is useful. But Hunt plays the old bait and switch game. Every honest person with some knowledge of ID knows that ID doesn’t dispute common descent as the reason why all living things are deeply related. ID disputes the notion that chance and necessity alone produced all the living things and the differences between them. I don’t think anyone (including Phil Skell) will argue that knowing all living things are deeply related is not a sometimes valuable guiding heuristic to experimental biology. So Read More ›

Phil Skell writing for Forbes says Theory of Evolution worse than useless

Nothing much for me to add since I entirely agree with Skell. I note that the comments following the Forbes article fail to include any substantive dispute – just the usual ad hominem and hand waving.

The Dangers Of Overselling Evolution

Philip S. Skell, 02.23.09, 01:47 PM EST

Focusing on Darwin and his theory doesn’t further scientific progress.

Last week, University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne criticized Forbes (See “Why Evolution Is True”) for including views skeptical of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in its forum on the 200th anniversary of his birth. As a member of the National Academy of Sciences, I beg to differ with Professor Coyne.

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Oopsie daisy… NSIDC misplaces 500,000 sq. kilometers of arctic ice

The National Snow and Ice Data Center had to pull down its January and February arctic ice extent data because a deteriorating sensor on a satellite was slowly changing ice to water. By mid-February when someone noticed the readings were off by a half-million square kilometers. That’s a lot of ice when you consider that the all-time low (at least since 1980 when measurement started) in 2006 was down by less than 1.5 million square kilometers from the average. Read more at NSIDC: Satellite sensor errors cause data outage In other “global warming” news, the NSIDC reports that antarctic sea ice is at a record high (at least since 1980 when measurement started). The new high is REALLY high. It’s Read More ›

Complex Specified Information? You be the judge…

This Google Ocean image is 620 miles off the west coast of Africa near the Canary Islands. It is over 15,000 feet deep and the feature of interest is about 90 miles on a side or 8000 square miles. In another thread ID critics complain there is no rigorous definition or mathematical formula by which everyone can agree on whether or not something exhibits complex specified information. Believe it not, they say it like mainstream science isn’t chock full of things that not everyone can agree upon. Like duh.

Chance & Necessity Whackaloons Dropping Like Flies

Zogby poll conducted at the end of January finds 78% of likely US voters favor teaching both strengths and weaknesses of Darwin’s theory of evolution. The same poll conducted in 2006 found 69% favored teaching both sides of the controversy. We’re winning in the public square. Big time.

Triassic Shore Birds?!

The late Triassic-early Jurassic predates Archaeopteryx, the most primitive bird known, which first appears in the fossil record in the late Jurassic fifty million or more years later. Yet here we have convincing traces of modern shore birds in strata that appears to be very well dated to the late Triassic. The authors point out this connudrum and suggest the strata is wrongly dated. However the dating appears to be, so to speak, rock solid. What’s up with that?

Application of neoichnological studies to behavioural and taphonomic interpretation of fossil bird-like tracks from lacustrine settings: The Late Triassic–Early Jurassic?

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Someone please send Barbara Forrest a thesaurus

Barbara Forrest responds to David DeWolf in The News Star. Early in the article Forrest puts forth a false dichotomy which undermines all that follows. My emphasis: DeWolf’s portrayal of ID as scientific is falsified by his defining it as involving the “actions of an intelligent agent as the cause of phenomena that natural processes are unlikely to produce.” If phenomena are not naturally caused, they are supernaturally caused. There is no other alternative. Not only are there other alternatives but supernatural isn’t even an antonym for natural. If we go to a thesaurus and look up the word natural we find listed among the antonyms the words technological and artificial. Notably we do not find the word supernatural listed Read More ›

Texas Mandates Teaching “The Trade Secret of Paleontology”

Stephen J. Gould, perhaps the most famous paleontologist of the 20th century, wrote: The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches … in any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the gradual transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and fully formed. Lest I be accused of quote mining you can find Gould discussing it in more detail in Gould’s book The Richness of Life, pages 263 and 264, found in its entirety on Google Books. So what did Texas mandate? The following is to be included in Read More ›

Cult Science

A physics professor at Princeton is the latest of hundreds and hundreds of scientists who’ve stepped up to the plate saying anthropogenic CO2 as the cause of global warming is bogus. Professor denies global warming theory “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.” In other news, what I said before is coming to pass. I wrote that when global cooling takes hold we’ll be left with only a fervent wish that more CO2 could warm it back up. Well, a newspaper editor in Flint Michigan has started praying Read More ›

Darwin’s Big Mistake – Gradualism

The big mistake in Origin that Darwinists won’t admit is gradualism. Darwin explained that according to his theory we should expect to observe a continuum of living species each with only the slightest of variations between them. He postulated that we don’t observe this because the fittest species take over and the insensibly slight variants die off leaving species that are fully characteristic of their kind which then makes possible taxonomic classification by those characters. It’s in the full title in the latter half “The Preservation of Favored Races”. That left Darwin with explaining the fossil record which is indisputably a record of saltation. Species in the fossil record appear abruptly fully characteristic of their kind, persist unchanged for an Read More ›

Do Darwinists acknowledge flaws in Origin of Species?

Steve Fuller, in the preceding article, begins by saying that Darwinists acknowledge the flaws in Darwin’s Origin of Species and seek to correct the flaws and expand on it. He further says this separates the Darwinist reading of Origin from the Christian reading the Bible. Well, I for one would like to know exactly what flaws in Origin of Species Fuller thinks are acknowledged. Furthermore, I know plenty of Christians who believe much of the bible is methaphoric. They don’t think the earth and life was created in 6 days. They don’t think Lot’s wife  was literally turned into a pillar of salt. They don’t think the entire earth was flooded and all the animals were saved in pairs on Read More ›