Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Michael Levin on the Engineering Approach to Biology

Michael Levin puts into words the general understanding of the ID community regarding the relevance of design/engineering understandings of the cell, and how intuitions from computer science and other engineering disciplines relate to biology. Starting around 8:30 in the clip below: Computer science is all about understanding how to build things… You don’t really understand something until you can build one yourself. At the same time, one of the most powerful concepts in computer science is device independence – the idea that you can carry out an algorithm and it’s the same computation whether it’s made of microchips or beer cans and string or living cells or whatever it’s going to be. This is an important concept and it’s a Read More ›

A Tour of Directed Mutations

Many people think that directed mutations don’t exist. This video explores both the theory behind directed mutations (what is meant by “directed”, how is selection involved, etc.) as well as the mechanics and specifics of many different types of directed mutations. It’s a lot to take in but well worth your time.

A Whole Host of Mechanisms of Directed Mutation

I’m doing a series of videos on mechanisms of directed mutations that you all may be interested in. I have trouble how there remains adherents to the modern synthesis in light of all of the data to the contrary that has come out over the last 20 years. More videos to come, too.

Read More ›

Aquinas and Intelligent Design

For reasons beyond my comprehension, there is a significantly large (or at least loud) group of Thomists (followers of Thomas Aquinas) who reject Intelligent Design, allegedly on Thomistic grounds. I recently came across an old paper that addresses most of the criticisms of ID raised by Thomists that I have heard. Anyway, I had thought of writing a similar paper, but, voila, someone else already did it! St. Thomas Aquinas on Intelligent Design

TheConversation.com Makes an About-Face on Teaching Creationism in Science Classes – Now is Supportive!

TheConversation.com touts itself as having “academic rigor” combined with “journalistic flair”. In polite society today, creationism is usually out of bounds for this milieu. However, I was surprised to find that, in a recent article, they at least seemed to promote the idea of treating creationism with respect not just in history, but in STEM subjects. The article says that modern ways of teaching are problematic for students because the subjects prevent them from using their cultural worldviews, spirituality and language in the STEM learning setting. So what, specifically did they mean by spirituality? I clicked on the link, and lo and behold, it was about teaching creationism in the classroom! This is a radical shift from their previous position, Read More ›

Common Descent, Common Design, and ID

Mung had asked me to do a thread on common descent and common design. So, anyway, I’ll get things started by stating my own thoughts on these ideas. I intend this to be an open discussion, but I also find having a starting idea tends to help get things started. So, as I have maintained for the last decade, I believe there is no fundamental conflict between ID and common descent. That is, it is fully possible to hold to both at the same time. In fact, I would say that ID *potentially solves* many problems that common descent would bring. For instance, if you have gaps that are unbridgeable by a traditional Darwinian mechanism, you could posit that there Read More ›

Measuring the Directedness of Mutations

So, we’ve been talking about directed mutations a bit the last few days, whether reactivating pseudogenes, or recognizing that cells can direct mutations to genes that need mutating. The point that I made to Bob was that there is a middle ground between “general mutation rate” and “mutations going to a specific base pair that needs changing”. There’s a HUGE middle ground that is decidedly non-Darwinian. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only one who has attempted to come up with a measurement for this phenomena. The paper, published a year and a half ago, is titled Measuring Active Information in Biological Systems. Essentially, this shows how we can use the Dembski/Marks “Active Information” metric, which Dembski/Marks/Ewert use to Read More ›

What Most People Don’t Know About Mutations

One thing that I’ve found interesting is how ignorant many people – even many biologists! – are about the mutational processes in the cell. The idea that mutations come from copying “errors” is so embedded in our collective consciousness, that it is hard to get people to even fathom alternatives. Thinking of mutation as a biological process – one under the organization/direction of the cell – leads to a lot of interesting biology. There are indeed copying errors, but my guess is that by the end of the century we will find that the ones that are actually errors are by far the least numerous. This is like the discovery of microbes. We first found them *because* they caused disease. Read More ›

More Pseudogene Function

This is an old paper, but it is surprisingly little-known: Pseudogenes: Are They “Junk” or Functional DNA?. It’s a review paper of pseudogene function. My favorite example in the paper is the antigenic variation. Essentially, the pseudogenes store alternative configurations of parts of genes. The organism can quickly reconfigure itself by swapping various parts in and out of pseudogenes. Many species have been found with this ability. Pseudogenes used to be thought of as the ultimate example of “junk DNA” – something that we *KNOW* that was functionless. But, it turns out, pseudogenes continue to provide more and more evidence of function, much of it being part of directed mutation – something else that the Darwin lobby said couldn’t happen.

Naturalism and Its Alternatives Free Until Wednesday

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Naturalism and Its Alternatives in Scientific Methodologies, now is your chance to do so. The Kindle version has been made free until Wednesday, so, if you’re interested, pick it up now! If you have been curious about the question of methodological naturalism, and wondered what the alternative would be, and what scientific investigation would *look like* under non-naturalism, this book contains papers that explore that question, both generally and within specific disciplines, including disciplines which already employ non-naturalism as a foundation. Click Here