Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Life on Mars, ID, and a prediction

As many of you probably saw in the news NASA announced significant new evidence that microbial life exists on Mars. The evidence is methane plumes. There are some rare abiotic mechanisms which can produce methane but the probability that those account for it are slim. For those who follow such things you might also recall that a meteor from Mars found in Antarctica bore what looked like fossilized bacteria. Along with the recent discovery by Mars surface explorers of water and minerals which only form in the presence of water it’s looking like a pretty strong case when all this is taken together. So what does this mean for ID? Well, it means that those ID supporters who put stock Read More ›

Ribosome a diligent proofreader

As you’re reading this keep in mind it’s all due to a random dance of atoms. No design here. Matter, chance, and POOF it’s alive. Yeah right. From Science Daily The Ribosome: Perfectionist Protein-maker Trashes Errors ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2009) — The enzyme machine that translates a cell’s DNA code into the proteins of life is nothing if not an editorial perfectionist. Johns Hopkins researchers, reporting in the journal Nature January 7, have discovered a new “proofreading step” during which the suite of translational tools called the ribosome recognizes errors, just after making them, and definitively responds by hitting its version of a “delete” button. It turns out, the Johns Hopkins researchers say, that the ribosome exerts far tighter quality Read More ›

ID Debate at Opposing Views

I haven’t been following this debate at Opposing Views although I was invited to participate and am in frequent contact with those people writing for the ID side.  I believe the debate is closed now.  I declined the invitation because I thought it would simply be a rehash of all the old arguments and nobody ever really wins.   The argument from design, unlike what some people here have claimed, is as old as Plato and Aristotle.  It predates the birth of Christ by several centuries and probably much more.  Evidence of order and design in the universe is abundant and clear to any thinking individual and people have been thinking for a very long time.   The appearance of design is abundant and clear but the nature of the designer is not.  Thus in order to explain the where, why, and how of the design a plethora of creator mythologies have been made up out of whole cloth.  The notion that the modern ID movement is creation science in cheap tuxedo is a lie.  Creation science is a relative newcomer on the scene.   ID doesn’t try to find material evidence for and explanations of things like a global flood, a young earth, the parting of the Red Sea, people turning into pillars of salt, or any of that stuff.

Anyhow, all this is evident in the debate. You see our side is all about math, science, logic, and reason. The opposing side is all about accusing us of being nothing but god botherers wanting to get copies of the holy bible placed in all public school classrooms. The usual suspects and the usual arguments…

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Flying Spaghetti Monster
Flying Spaghetti Monster Creation of Adam

What is the Flying Spaghetti Monster actually mocking?

Flying Spaghetti Monster Creation of Adam Any questions on what exactly is being mocked? Hint: The answer is not the science of design detection. Any questions on how we define Intelligent Design here and elsewhere? Hint: Look on the sidebar under Definition of Intelligent Design.  It’s been there, unchanged, for years.  I should know as I put it there years ago.  This definition of Intelligent Design was worked out in a collaborative effort by all the usual suspects – fellows of the Discovery Institute.

A new look at an old idea – Geocentrism

In another thread a new sock puppet contributor on Uncommon Descent named TheYellowShark with an as yet undetermined appendage writes:

Geocentricsm was accepted beyond all reasonable doubt the scientific community circa 1610. Being in an echo chamber isn’t good for anybody.


And intelligent design was accepted by the scientific community prior to 1859. Both ideas were replaced, and rightfully so.

Rightfully so? Think again my cartilaginous fishy friend. Nothing in science is beyond refute.

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Finally – Proof of Evolution

It’s all over now. Evolution has been proven. I’ll get me coat… Earth’s Original Ancestor Was ‘LUCA’ ScienceDaily (Dec. 19, 2008) — An evolutionary geneticist from the Université de Montréal, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on earth, LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor). Their findings, presented in a recent issue of Nature, show that the 3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined. The study changes ideas of early life on Earth. “It is generally believed that LUCA was a heat-loving or hyperthermophilic organism. A bit like one of those weird organisms living in the hot vents along the continental ridges deep Read More ›

What aspect of life on the Earth requires supernatural powers?

Some people who support ID doggedly hold that life on the planet earth requires a supernatural agency to make it happen. Others who don’t support ID also doggedly hold that ID requires a supernatural agency. I’ve asked, many times, what is it about the construction of organic life on this planet that requires supernatural intelligence to make it happen? What laws of physics or chemistry must be violated to produce any aspect of any living organism thus far examined? I admit that the origination and diversification of organic life on the earth seems best explained by participation at some point or points by an intelligent agency but I don’t see where a supernatural intelligent agency able to bend or break Read More ›

Judge Jones and the double standard

In the Kitzmiller vs. Dover decision the honorable Judge Jones writes (or rather, to be more accurate, regurgitates from the complainants): While supernatural explanations may be important and have merit, they are not part of science. This self-imposed convention of science, which limits inquiry to testable, natural explanations about the natural world, is referred to by philosophers as “methodological naturalism” and is sometimes known as the scientific method. Methodological naturalism is a “ground rule” of science today which requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify. If only this was true. If this were the true ground rule of modern science then how is it that the chance Read More ›

Some Thanks for Professor Olofsson

I’m halfway through mathematics Professor Peter Olofsson’s essay titled Probability, Statistics, Evolution, and Intelligent Design which originally appeared in the journal Chance. The first thing I want to thank PO for is stating this early on: Although [religion] is of interest in its own right, in fairness to ID proponents, it should be pointed out that many of them do not employ religious arguments against evolution and this article does not deal with issues of faith and religion. The second thing I’d like to thank him for is describing ID as a valid scientific hypothesis in the discussion of the explanatory filter and the flagellum. PO brings up the same argument I’ve always pointed out when he talks about the Read More ›

Paley’s Watch found in cyanobacteria

Turns out it’s a bit more complicated than a Swiss watch. Emphasis added.

Science 31 October 2008:
Vol. 322. no. 5902, pp. 697 – 701
DOI: 10.1126/science.1150451

Structural Insights into a Circadian Oscillator
Carl Hirschie Johnson,1* Martin Egli,2 Phoebe L. Stewart3

An endogenous circadian system in cyanobacteria exerts pervasive control over cellular processes, including global gene expression. Indeed, the entire chromosome undergoes daily cycles of topological changes and compaction. The biochemical machinery underlying a circadian oscillator can be reconstituted in vitro with just three cyanobacterial proteins, KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC. These proteins interact to promote conformational changes and phosphorylation events that determine the phase of the in vitro oscillation. The high-resolution structures of these proteins suggest a ratcheting mechanism by which the KaiABC oscillator ticks unidirectionally. This posttranslational oscillator may interact with transcriptional and translational feedback loops to generate the emergent circadian behavior in vivo. The conjunction of structural, biophysical, and biochemical approaches to this system reveals molecular mechanisms of biological timekeeping.

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Yet another astounding production by Evolution

I have over a dozen new discoveries like this in my email backlog that I skimmed and saved as likely to be blogworthy here so expect more in the next few days as I work through it. I go into a political blogging frenzy for a few months once every four years and I’ve been derelict in posting science articles here as a result. It won’t happen again until 2012. I joined this blog shortly after the 2004 presidential election was over. This science article is one those where the researchers variously describe themselves as “stunned”, “amazed”, “surprised” or something else that conveys the notion that theory didn’t predict whatever it is they found. I also watch for discoveries that Read More ›

Evolution is simply amazing

The time that “evolution” has had to do all its creation of the machinery of life has been constant for over a century. Since around the year 1900 it has been the consensus that the earth is several billion years old. Before then it was variously argued at around a hundred million years by some, eternal by others, and just thousands of years by yet others. Back in Darwin’s day, when life at the simplest level was thought to be just blobs of protoplasm, “evolution” didn’t have such a big job to do. A hundred million years seemed adequate. Today we know that life isn’t blobs of protoplasm at the scale of single cells but in fact each of them is such a complex network of interdependent machines and codes it makes the US space shuttle, all its launch facilities, and all the engineering and manufacturing and support that makes it possible look like child’s play in comparison. Indeed, with every passing day we discover that life is more complex that we thought just the day before. Yet the time for evolution to perform all these miraculous inventions isn’t increasing. Here’s something discovered on one of those recent days that caught my attention:

Tunnelling nanotubes: Life’s secret network

New Scientist
18 November 2008
by Anil Ananthaswamy

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