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Historian who follows ID: Significance of Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt exceeds that of Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box


Yesterday, I noted that Steve Meyer’s new book, Darwin’s Doubt is overwhelmed with trolls … and customers … at Amazon. Historian of the ID community, Tom Woodward kindly writes us to say,

As one of the “historians of ID” (“Doubts about Darwin” and “Darwin Strikes Back” were my two-part attempt at covering this story) I can say how bowled over I am over the historical publishing event we are living through. As I move through DD, one word kept coming to my mind and mouth and pen: Wow. I think I am well above 50 “WOW” scibblings in my page margins after the first 200 pages.

Our weekly apologetics/ID radio broadcast, “The Universe Next Door,” sponsored by the C.S. Lewis Society which I direct, is featuring the book three out of the next four weeks, including two full hour interviews with Steve Meyer and Casey Luskin. You can access the weekly broadcast by logging on to “bayword.com” at 5:05pm Eastern time, any Saturday afternoon, and clicking the “Listen Live” icon.

The DD publication surely equals, or more probably somewhat exceeds, the intellectual/historical significance of “Darwin’s Black Box” in 1996, or “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis in 1985/86, or “Darwin on Trial” in 1991.

As others have said, “Darwin’s Doubt” is unique in its breadth and completeness: is like a college course, delivered through a single book of 400 pages. I don’t know if I have ever experienced a read like this.

My kudos to Steve and his research team for making every topic so accessible. The chapters entitled “The Animal Tree of Life” and “Punk Eek” were sumptuous and masterful. Lastly, thanks to Steve for delivering many juicy historical nuggets (e.g. pp 340ff on Charles Thaxton; pp 170ff on Murray Eden and Marcel Schutzenberger at the Wistar Symposium).

Let the tremors begin!

Of course, in Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe was only addressing a couple of specific questions: For example, how could the bacterial flagellum have evolved by Darwinian means (not Ken Millerian means, where things just happen)?

It’s been 17 years, so it was time for a fuller, therefore more devastating assessment of Darwinism.

I really want to read this book. I've heard of biologist and Harvard professor Louis Agassiz; he wrote that the living world shows “premeditation, wisdom, greatness” and that a major purpose of natural history was to analyze “the thoughts of the Creator of the Universe.” Barb
I picked up the book Friday from B&N, and so far I'm predictably happy with what I'm reading. I suspect that Darwin's Doubt will end up exceeding Darwin's Black Box, but not because Behe's work is not equally important. The reason has to do with the nature of the arguments and the intellectual conventions within which they've been presented. Behe's argument for irreducible complexity is not just controversial, but it requires him to assume a heavy burden of proof in a community that functions within an intellectual atmosphere that makes it naturally predisposed to resist whatever proof he would offer, however compelling it may be. His argument, by its very nature, quickly places him in the position of having to answer critics who expect him to prove a negative, namely, that certain structures that he categorizes as irreducibly complex *cannot* have evolved. Moreover, Behe is expected to meet this challenge in a world where statements such as the following are found convincing by his opponents: "Now the type 3 system doesn't have the function of flegellar motility, but intelligent design people use this idea of 'irreducible complexity' to explain why these machines couldn't evolve. If you say, 'well, this system only does protein secretions, and that system only does surface recognition, and this system only does signal transduction', you know what you're doing? You're giving away the store, because you're explaining these systems could evolve, because first we evolve this part, then we evolve another part, then we evolve a third part, and the whole function comes from the totality of parts." (Kenneth Miller's comments during a debate with Paul Nelson, viewable here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLv-DSrTNUU) Why, according to Miller, are ID proponents "explaining these systems could evolve"? Because: "...first we evolve this part, then we evolve another part, then we evolve a third part, and the whole function comes from the totality of parts." I call that the "Bada Bing" argument, i.e. evolve all the parts separately and bada bing, ya got yur flagellum. Whatever you say, Ken. Meyer's book, on the other hand, begins from a position of strength, IMO, with a detailed journey into an already recognized problem: The Cambrian Explosion. It will be interesting to see how many "Bada Bing" arguments will be offered in response. ~Kaz Kaz
I got the ebook last night and have read the prologue and first chapter. Two comments: First: I never heard of Agassiz before. Most of the first chapter is about him. He is portrayed as a giant of science during Darwin's time and one who rejected his theory based on the evidence of the Cambrian. Someone I had not heard before. Second if Matzke is making the point that the Cambrian is 30 million years and anything in it cannot be considered an explosion then he has a lot of people to deal with. Wikipedia has a lengthy discussion of the Cambrian Explosion or Cambrian Radiation with this comment:
All present phyla appeared within the first 20 million years of the period. with the exception of Bryozoa who made its earliest known appearance in the upper Cambrian.
And of course James Valentine has a rather long book on it. Somewhere in my past there are some Valentine videos where I believe he or someone else narrows it even more. But the point is if 30 million years is considered a rather long time and what happened was not an explosion then Matzke is undermining his case. There was no evidence during the Cambrian of Darwinian change leading to significant changes so by saying it was a long period, he is actually refuting that Darwinian process are meaningful because something should have evolved in such a long period. So it is either a long time and somethings should have evolved/changed or it was a relatively short time and it was an explosion. He cannot have it both ways. Either way Darwinian processes are not observable/evident. Lot of niches to fill at this early stage of life development so it should have been a great opportunity for Darwinian processes. jerry
Timaeus, Thanks for your post. I had thought that Gregory had been making the case that he is friendly to ID but that he had some specific criticisms for Woodward and perhaps some others for going "too far." But then I reread his posts and realized he was saying that he USED to be friendly to ID. My apology does not mean that I agree with what he argues. Collin
Collin: If you accused Gregory falsely, you should of course apologize to him for whatever was false, and that's none of my business. However, Gregory is, if not "hostile to," certainly "vigorously opposed to," ID, where "ID" means either 1. "the conclusion, based solely on empirical evidence and reasoning, that certain features of nature are designed" or 2. "the enterprise of studying nature to inquire, based solely on empirical evidence and reasoning, whether certain features of it are designed." Gregory has heaped ridicule and scorn on ID *in these senses of the term* (which are the senses used here on UD, by the Discovery Institute, at Telic Thoughts, etc.) ever since I can remember. His own position on design in nature is hard to discern through all the flak in his posts, but after years of trying to grasp it, I have concluded that it is something like the following: 1. There is in fact design in nature, but we shouldn't use the word "design" to denote it, because the word "design" personally irks Gregory; 2. Such design as we can know of, we can know of only through faith, i.e., because Christianity tells us that the world is created. We cannot know of it from studying the arrangements of nature and reasoning from them to the conclusion that these arrangements come from a designing mind. Thus, someone without a divine revelation could never legitimately conclude that there was design in nature. Gregory's position seems much like that of most American theistic evolutionists, i.e., heavily fideist, scornful of natural theology, and compartmentalizing "faith" and "science" approaches to nature, rather than integrating them into a coherent view in which God has designed nature and has given us the perceptual and intellectual powers to discern that design. In this TE view, the Christian scientist must avoid all mention or even thought of "design" in nature when in the lab, at the blackboard, leading a seminar, etc., but can resume speaking of it on Sundays when he sets aside his scientific self to sing hymns or offer prayers to God for designing such a wonderful world. Most Christians alive today find such a compartmentalization unhelpful and unhealthy, but it has an appeal, in places such as the USA and Britain, for middle-class, university-educated, liberal Christians, whose professional, political, familial, social, and spiritual lives are built on a series of compartmentalizations anyway. It is actually quite odd that Gregory supports this conception, as his adopted intellectual tradition is not British or American, but Continental, and Continental thinkers have never been satisfied with Anglo-American compartmentalization but have always sought for unified accounts of reality. (E.g., Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Hegel, Heidegger.) And in a unified account, God's design of nature and man's knowledge of nature would be harmonized, not locked up in watertight compartments called "faith" and "science." I would think that any sophisticated contemporary German or Russian thinker would have contempt for the epistemology of TE, at least as it is formulated by BioLogos and most American evangelical scientists. Timaeus
Gregory writes, What is clear already, however, is that Woodward is an evangelical Protestant (non-denominational) Christian apologist who also supports IDT; he is an IDist. I don’t trust his endorsement of Meyer’s book, on that ground alone. Gregory here has employed the genetic fallacy, a type of ad hominem argument. Arguments of this kind focus not on the evidence for a view but on the character of the person advancing it; they seek to discredit positions by discrediting those who hold them. It proves nothing. Barb
Gregory, I owe you an apology. I misread what you wrote earlier, thinking that you were saying something you were not. Collin
"You are clearly hostile to ID. Do you claim to be unbiased or even friendly to it?" No, I'm not 'hostile' to IDists or to IDT. You're making this up for your own purposes. Please correct yourself or your impression of what I wrote. I oppose IDT because I think it is intellectually weak, based on a distorted (hyper-western) 'philosophy of science' and because IDists are often contradictory and purposefully deceptive wrt the influence of their worldview(s) on their 'beliefs' in IDT as a 'strictly natural scientific' theory. And I think non-IDists (both religious and secular) have come to more clearly see 'what IDT is' than IDists themselves, who are caught up in their 'revolutionary' (cf. paradigm shift) imaginations and activities. We all have our biases, and I have been up-front with mine on this topic in many writings, both professional and in on-line forums and blogs. Did you even read my 'brief history of the IDM'? Have you listened to my TEDx talk that tangentially mentions IDT? Do I seem 'hostile' to you after viewing it? We also all have our educational backgrounds and experiences with which to discuss 'theories' such as IDT. It happens that I've done quite a lot of research about it and also have had practical encounters and discussions with IDM leaders at the DI in Seattle. There was no 'hostility' displayed by either side towards the other, but I certainly didn't swallow the ideology they were and are still foisting on students in the USA. If they could more clearly distinguish between Uppercase IDT ('strictly scientific') and lowercase id (philosophical and theological) though it goes better by other names, i.e. 'design argument(s), the discussion could move forward. But they and many here at UD are insistent that IDT is a 'strictly natural scientific' theory, so we are at an impasse. I sincerely do not think that IDT is "the bridge between science and theology" and folks like Edward Feser have shown why. If Tom Woodward would like to question this, we might have an interesting discussion, which could take place in a 'friendly' atmosphere. What is clear already, however, is that Woodward is an evangelical Protestant (non-denominational) Christian apologist who also supports IDT; he is an IDist. I don't trust his endorsement of Meyer's book, on that ground alone. Thus, this thread should not turn into a critique of Matzke's review of Meyer's book (though many would like to 'jump the gun' and likely another thread at least will be dedicated to it), but rather focus on the wild claims that Woodward makes and has made about IDT, the IDM and ID leaders. That is what the OP is about. (Elizabeth and co. will have their time to critique DD elsewhere.) Collin, will you now answer quid pro quo? Do you really, in your heart of hearts believe it is prudent or in any way accurate to claim that Michael Behe is “The Galileo of future biological science,” “Bill Dembski is the Einstein of the IDM,” and Steve Meyer is “maybe the Isaac Newton of Intelligent Design”? Do you not consider that fanciful exaggeration by Woodward? And shouldn't his "well above 50" 'WOWs' therefore be considered with this in mind? Gregory
Regarding Nick's review...it was very detailed, and I have no doubt that he has more knowledge. I have not read the book (still anxiously awaiting its arrival...a book-sized box from Amazon showed up on my doorstep today and I practically skipped across the yard to it, only to discover that it was a box of breast pump flanges for my wife...). But I've had and observed debates with Nick on UD, and his tactic then was not open-minded, cold-blooded reason. He is clearly defending his worldview and career. As another poster said, we all have biases and it is naive to pretend that you don't while your opponent does. But even without reading the book, my impression of Nick's review was almost exactly what ecs2 wrote in #13 above. If he even addresses the central thesis of an ID argument, it is usually a simple condescending caricature ("Goddunnit"). Most of his technical critiques appear to not be central to the ID thesis, but I'll have to read the book and weigh the facts to decide for myself. Also, Nick's sickening argument from authority ("I've studied this, this is my career") is just boring. If it makes you feel better to say you're the expert, fine by me. I'll stick to the arguments. Maybe Nick wrote a truly devastating rebuttal. Even if that's the case, he should lose the authority arguments, because he would have won on the merits of his argument, anyway, not his transcript. uoflcard
I've taken a quick look at Matzke's critique of Meyer at Pandas Thumb. Just a few quick observations: When liberals critique their opponents, their criticism should always be understood as what they themselves are guilty of. So, e.g., Matzke writes in his opening paragraph: As I read through Meyer’s book, though, in case after case I see misunderstandings, superficial treatment of key issues which are devastating to his thesis once understood, and complete or near-complete omission of information that any non-expert reader would need to have to make an accurate assessment of Meyer’s arguments. And, then, in the 2nd paragraph, he writes: I’ll hit a few of the main points. It would be nice if I had the time to write a comprehensive review, explain the issues from scratch in a Phylogenetics 101 sort of way, and provide detailed references, but given what my summer looks like, this is not likely. So, I’ll just outline what occurs to me as the most significant points. So, after complaining that Meyer is guilty of "superficial treatment", what will Nick give us: "A comprehensive review"?! NOT! Because he can't "explain the issues from scratch", nor "provide detailed references." And why? Because his summer doesn't look like it will give him time. [But, Nick, I thought you were out from classes. Isn't that what "summer" break means?] So in the time it takes to go from one paragraph to another, Nick tips us off as to what shady methods he, himself, will employ, and then admits to them. How wonderful! Matzke's 3rd paragraph:
A. THE “EXPLOSION” TOOK AT LEAST 30 MILLION YEARS, AND WAS NOT REALLY “INSTANTANEOUS” NOR PARTICULARLY “SUDDEN” Darwin’s Doubt is festooned with illustrations, mostly redrawn from other sources in a rather strange cartoon-like format also found in other recent ID books. However, there is never an illustration like these:
And then we have two illustrations. If you look at the first illustration, you see that the Ediacaran fossils simply end in the Cambrian, unrelated to the taxa of the Cambrian explosion, same with "trace fossils" and with "skeletized fossils", while the illustration tells us that as far as any lineages that putatively led into the Cambrian BEFORE the Cambrian explosion are suspect because "phylogenetic uncertainty of many taxa makes counting and number of classes and genera difficult." We then see 'dashed lines' leading up into the Cambrian (where, apparently, they had no problem counting classes and genera! What do you know about that!) [Gee whiz, Nick. That really undermines Meyer's case, doesn't it?] And, then, the 2nd Illustration: This wonderful illustration---if you take the time to look at it---shows that almost everything they know about lineages before the Cambrian are NOT "known" ranges, but "extensions" of those ranges. An 'extension back in time'---sound familiar? Well, it's just like the evolutionists penchant for taking simple putative microevolutionary events and 'extend'(ing) them out to "macroevolution." It's called a 'sleight of hand', I believe. 2nd Illustration redux If one looks closer at Illustration #2, one finds that the "nodes" extended back in time are those "nodes" that come to us from "molecular clock estimates" of Peterson, 2004. (Wow, only nine-year old data, and data generated from the very problematic technique of molecular clock dating. See Michael Denton's demolishing of such techniques in his "Evolution: a Theory in Crisis". The same difficulties still apply to this technique.) So, there you have it: Paragraph 1: Matzke tips us off as to what methods he's going to employ by accusing Meyer of employing them Paragraph 2: Matzke tells us that he is going to use the shady methods he accuses Meyer of using. Paragraph 3: Matzke, complaining that Meyer didn't use the proper kind of illustrations, then supplies illustrations which effectively undermine anything else he's going to say since (1) the first illustration shows the "disconnect" between what came before the Cambrian and what then happened in the Cambrian, and since (2) the second illustration shows that any kind of connection between prior lineages and those of the Cambrian are no more than "extensions" back in time based on questionable methods. Paragraph 4: Sorry. I stopped reading the review. PaV
It turns out that quantum information/entanglement has been confirmed to be in protein structures as well;
Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature - Elisabetta Collini and Gregory Scholes - University of Toronto - Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73 Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state. http://www.scimednet.org/quantum-coherence-living-cells-and-protein/ Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011 Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way. Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from. To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,, Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins. That's a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo's equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics. http://www.technologyreview.com/view/423087/physicists-discover-quantum-law-of-protein/
Thus, because of the falsification of reductive materialism by quantum entanglement, and the finding of quantum entanglement on a massive scale in molecular biology, it is impossible, even in principle, to attribute the appearance of any life on earth, including the Cambrian explosion, to the reductive materialism (within space and time processes) of neo-Darwinism: Supplemental note:
Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry - Physics Professor - John Hopkins University Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the "illusion" of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry's referenced experiment and paper - “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 - “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007
Verse and Music:
John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Every Time I Breathe - Big Daddy Weave http://myktis.com/songs/every-time-i-breathe/
I would like to address why neo-Darwinism, as it is classically associated with atheism, cannot explain the Cambrian explosion (or anything else) from a slightly different angle. Neo-Darwinism must ultimately rely on the philosophy of reductive materialism to be true in order to maintain that purely material processes, completely apart from Intelligence, can 'randomly' produce the functional sequences we find in DNA and proteins. Yet advances in quantum mechanics have shown that reductive materialism, (or any type of physicalism/naturualism whatsoever) is not true for reality and that we in fact live in a Theistic reality. Professor Richard Conn Henry wrote an article in Nature in 2005 reflecting this fact:
The Mental Universe - 2005 - Richard Conn Henry - Professor of Physics John Hopkins University Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke "decoherence" - the notion that "the physical environment" is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in "Renninger-type" experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy. http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf The Renninger Negative Result Experiment - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3uzSlh_CV0
The situation has only intensified since Dr. Henry wrote his article in Nature in 2005. In 2007, a more stringent test than Bell's inequalities, Leggett's inequalities were verified by 80 orders of magnitude, thus stressing the fact that 'consciousness' is the base of reality, not some material/physical element:
Quantum physics says goodbye to reality - Apr 20, 2007 Excerpt: They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell's thought experiment, Leggett's inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we're not observing it. "Our study shows that 'just' giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics," Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. "You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism." http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640 A team of physicists in Vienna has devised experiments that may answer one of the enduring riddles of science: Do we create the world just by looking at it? - 2008 Excerpt: Leggett’s theory was more powerful than Bell’s because it required that light’s polarization be measured not just like the second hand on a clock face, but over an entire sphere. In essence, there were an infinite number of clock faces on which the second hand could point. For the experimenters this meant that they had to account for an infinite number of possible measurement settings. So Zeilinger’s group rederived Leggett’s theory for a finite number of measurements. There were certain directions the polarization would more likely face in quantum mechanics. This test was more stringent. In mid-2007 Fedrizzi found that the new realism model was violated by 80 orders of magnitude; the group was even more assured that quantum mechanics was correct. http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/the_reality_tests/P3/
And if that was not bad enough for the Atheist who wishes for whatever severely misguided reason that God did not exist, earlier this month Atheists have run out of loopholes with Bell's inequalities,,, by 70 'standard deviations':
Closing the last Bell-test loophole for photons - Jun 11, 2013 Excerpt: In the years since, many "Bell tests" have been performed, but critics have identified several conditions (known as loopholes) in which the results could be considered inconclusive. For entangled photons, there have been three major loopholes; two were closed by previous experiments. The remaining problem, known as the "detection-efficiency/fair sampling loophole," results from the fact that, until now, the detectors employed in experiments have captured an insufficiently large fraction of the photons, and the photon sources have been insufficiently efficient. The validity of such experiments is thus dependent on the assumption that the detected photons are a statistically fair sample of all the photons. That, in turn, leaves open the possibility that, if all the photon data were known, they could be described by local realism. The new research, conducted at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Communication in Austria, closes the fair-sampling loophole by using improved photon sources (spontaneous parametric down-conversion in a Sagnac configuration) and ultra-sensitive detectors provided by the Single Photonics and Quantum Information project in PML's Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division. That combination, the researchers write, was "crucial for achieving a sufficiently high collection efficiency," resulting in a high-accuracy data set – requiring no assumptions or correction of count rates – that confirmed quantum entanglement to nearly 70 standard deviations.,,, http://phys.org/news/2013-06-bell-test-loophole-photons.html
To put it simply, the atheist has run completely out of possible hiding places to postulate that any type of hidden variable cause (any type within space and time cause) can account for quantum entanglement. In harmony with the preceding empirical research, the following work adds it own angle to the defeat of reductive materialism,,
Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012) Excerpt: To derive their inequality, which sets up a measurement of entanglement between four particles, the researchers considered what behaviours are possible for four particles that are connected by influences that stay hidden and that travel at some arbitrary finite speed. Mathematically (and mind-bogglingly), these constraints define an 80-dimensional object. The testable hidden influence inequality is the boundary of the shadow this 80-dimensional shape casts in 44 dimensions. The researchers showed that quantum predictions can lie outside this boundary, which means they are going against one of the assumptions. Outside the boundary, either the influences can’t stay hidden, or they must have infinite speed.,,, The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,, “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121028142217.htm
But how does all this apply to the Cambrian explosion, and to molecular biology in general? Well, it turns out that quantum entanglement, which is shown to require a beyond space and time cause to explain its existence within space time, is now found to be in molecular biology on a massive scale:
Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA - Elisabeth Rieper - short video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/ Quantum entanglement between the electron clouds of nucleic acids in DNA - Elisabeth Rieper, Janet Anders and Vlatko Vedral - February 2011 http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1006/1006.4053v2.pdf
Gregory, You are clearly hostile to ID. Do you claim to be unbiased or even friendly to it? Collin
Thanks for everyone for indulging my question about Matzke. I invited him to come and comment here because I refuse to go to Panda's Thumb due to its bad reputation. Ms. Liddle, I would be interested to hear your opinion on the book when you are through. Collin
"I have a bridge for sale!" It is called "Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology"? Gregory
And one other point I have to make here. Throughout his rant, Matzke repeatedly calls Meyer's understanding of the various aspects of evolutionary biology about which he writes as "amateurish" or "laughable", etc, etc...ad nauseum. It is an unwritten rule among Darwinians that it is always the critic who doesn't understand what they're talking about. However, whenever the Darwinians write critiques (or in this case rants) of books or articles (or even blog posts) written by critics of evolution, they (the Darwinians) always have a perfect understanding of the position of those they are critiquing and never quote mine, misquote or misrepresent what is actually being said. For anyone who buys that line, please see me afterward...I have a bridge for sale! DonaldM
In his long rant (I won't even call it a review) about Darwin's Doubt over at Panda's Thumb, Matzke essentially gives away his game when he writes:
E. OTHER ISSUES Ironically, despite making such a hash of the key issues for dealing specially with the Cambrian fossil record and the phylogeny of animals, most of Meyer’s book is about other topics entirely. My guess is that Meyer sensed on some level that he actually was on weak ground basing his argument on the fossil record and phylogenetics, which in reality are the home turf of evolutionary biologists and both of which actually tell strongly against his argument to anyone who is actually familiar with the issues I have reviewed. Instead, Meyer’s main argument is really about “information”. Back in his Signature in the Cell book, Meyer asserted that the only known source of information was intelligence, and that therefore we could safely infer that intelligent design was behind the origin of life. This is problematic for all sorts of reasons, but one of the biggest was that intelligence is not the only known source of information – in particular, evolutionary processes of mutation+selection can produce it, thus intelligence is not the only cause of information, thus “information” isn’t some magical signal uniquely evidencing intelligence in the complete absence of any other evidence. This objection was particularly devastating to Meyer’s argument in Signature because of the way Meyer based his argument on mere “information”, rather than primarily on the difficulty of explaining the origin of life or some such. Meyer’s response to the but-evolution-produces-information counterargument was to argue that this didn’t answer how information came about during the origin of life, which happened before there was evolution. This actually isn’t necessarily strictly true – look up “prevolution” and Addy Pross – and, anyway, the vast majority of Meyer’s presentation of the information ==> intelligent design argument explicitly relies on the premise that information is uniquely and exclusively produced by intelligence. Furthermore, it was clear enough in Signature, and in the rest of Meyer’s writing, that he thinks, in a quite simple-minded way, that all genetic information everywhere in biology is produced by intelligence, and that evolutionary processes cannot do it at all. For Meyer, the origin of life, the origin of Cambrian groups, and the origin of each and every gene are all the product of one thing – divine intervention, barely disguised with the weasel words “intelligent design”. Thus, for several reasons, any and all evidence for the evolutionary origin of new information really was quite relevant to the assessment of Meyer’s argument in Signature.
Laying aside the obvious misrepresentation of Meyer's argument ("weasel words" Matzke says, in order to justify his accusation that Meyer is just saying "God did it!")just notice how easily Matzke's makes it magically appear that evolutionary biologists have readily explained the origin of CSI, which is what Meyer was talking about, without offering any actual proof. The reason for that? There is not one single scientific, peer reviewed research study that shows a detailed, testable, (and potentially falsifiable) model of how Darwinian evolution accounts for CSI. What we do have are any number of studies that assume evolution and identify CSI and then claim "poof...evolution did it!" In logic 101, this is called the fallacy of assuming the consequent. Here on the street, we call it "begging the question". One of the main points of Meyer's critique is that with most of the phylogentic studies, the very point at issue is merely assumed. Make no mistake, Matzke is guilty of it himself. Take a look the abstract of this study that Matzke and Shih just had published in PNAS where they write:
Even with more sophisticated relaxed-clock analyses, nodes that are distant from fossil calibrations will have a very high uncertainty in dating. However, endosymbiosis events and gene duplications provide some additional information that has never been exploited in dating; namely, that certain nodes on a gene tree must represent the same events, and thus must have the same or very similar dates, even if the exact date is uncertain.
Notice how the concept of "nodes" is used here. In evolutionary trees, nodes are essentially divergence points where new species arise. In other words, all the dating of nodes assumes that evolution (or more specifically, common ancestry)is a given, when it's really the very point at issue. I don't bring this up to sidetrack this discussion into a discussion of Matzke's paper, but rather to illustrate that he is guilty of the very thing of which he accuses Meyer. Indeed, Matzke's entire rant doesn't really engage Meyer's core arguments at all, but Matzke's straw man versions of it. And don't hold your breath expecting Matzke to answer any detailed challenges to his rant. He's a master at hit and run! DonaldM
"BA77 = too often OT = desire to derail?" BA77, an IDist colluder answers, "Yes, I try to derail with long posts and links, but so what?" Which 'evil Christians'? Does he mean IDists? No, just naive. DI people are decent, not evil. But this doesn't excuse their naivety. Woodward is probably a decent guy too, not an 'evil Christian,' though I haven't met him. But his Galileo, Newton, Einstein claims re: ID leaders are nevertheless laughable. BA77 believes IDism because he wants it to be true, good and beautiful. That's just a sad story, not a conspiracy. Gregory
Oh I'm sorry Gregory. I gave up on following your line of thought long ago. i.e. Too much sinister conspiracy lurking behind every bush by those evil Christians in your posts and not enough actual scientific substance to your posts if you know what I mean! Cotton candy posting in you will :) If you don't mind I would just rather continue not reading your posts if that's OK with you??? If you do mind,, OH well! I can't please every one: OT: Uncovering Quantum Secret in Photosynthesis - June 20, 2013 Excerpt: Photosynthetic organisms, such as plants and some bacteria, have mastered this process: In less than a couple of trillionths of a second, 95 percent of the sunlight they absorb is whisked away to drive the metabolic reactions that provide them with energy. The efficiency of photovoltaic cells currently on the market is around 20 percent.,,, Van Hulst and his group have evaluated the energy transport pathways of separate individual but chemically identical, antenna proteins, and have shown that each protein uses a distinct pathway. The most surprising discovery was that the transport paths within single proteins can vary over time due to changes in the environmental conditions, apparently adapting for optimal efficiency. "These results show that coherence, a genuine quantum effect of superposition of states, is responsible for maintaining high levels of transport efficiency in biological systems, even while they adapt their energy transport pathways due to environmental influences" says van Hulst. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130620142932.htm At the 21:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr Suarez explains why photosynthesis needs a 'non-local', beyond space and time, cause to explain its effect: Nonlocality of Photosynthesis - Antoine Suarez - video - 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhMrrmlTXl4&feature=player_detailpage#t=1268s bornagain77
BA77 = too often OT = desire to derail? Gregory
OT: Groundbreaking Genetic Discoveries Challenge Ape to Human Evolutionary Theory - June 17, 2013 Excerpt: Ultimately, the study results were contradictory to what evolutionists had theorized. Not only were genetic recombination rates markedly low in areas of human-chimp DNA differences (“rearranged” chromosomes), but the rates were much higher in areas of genetic similarity (“collinear” chromosomes). This is the reverse of what evolutionists had predicted. “The analysis of the most recent human and chimpanzee recombination maps inferred from genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism data,” the scientists explained, “revealed that the standardized recombination rate was significantly lower in rearranged than in collinear chromosomes.” Jeffrey Tomkins, a Ph.D. geneticist with the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), told the Christian News Network that these results were “totally backwards” from what evolutionists had predicted, since genetic recombination is “not occurring where it’s supposed to” under current evolutionary theory. Dr. Tomkins further emphasized that evolutionists greatly exaggerate the genetic similarities between humans and chimps, and often ignore areas of DNA where major differences do exist. “It’s called cherry-picking the data,” he explained. “There are many genetic regions between humans and chimps that are radically different. In fact, humans have many sections of DNA that are missing in chimps and vice versa. Recent research is now showing that the genomes are only 70% similar overall.”,,, http://christiannews.net/2013/06/17/groundbreaking-genetic-discoveries-challenge-ape-to-human-evolutionary-theory/ Here is the actual paper: Recombination Rates and Genomic Shuffling in Human and Chimpanzee—A New Twist in the Chromosomal Speciation Theory http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3603309/pdf/mss272.pdf bornagain77
There's an extremely detailed review by Nick at Panda's Thumb. Is that the one you are referring to, ecs2? It seems to me that he makes a pretty good case that Meyer has made errors, and indeed, Meyer's expertise is not in phylogenetics, the apparent subject of his book (and I've started it, not finished yet), and Matzke's is. Elizabeth B Liddle
It's coincidental that I was working on my master's thesis, which was 1/3 on the IDM and in which I wrote a 'Brief History of the IDM', at almost the same time that Woodward published his ‘historian of the IDM’ book. I did not read Woodward’s book in the research, though his history of the IDM sounds similar to what I found. I’ve just posted it on my blog, with the caveat that it is overly favourable to the IDM, something which might strike regulars here (and other onlookers) as surprising. Obviously, since 2004, with the help of attending the Discovery Institute’s Summer Program in 2008 and after the Dover trial (and other IDM failures and debacles), I’ve become more critical of IDism and the wishful claims of IDists such as Tom Woodward. The distinction between Uppercase IDT and lowercase id is a crucial and responsible one to make, thus protecting the philosophical and theological ‘design argument(s)’ from the IDM’s obvious (though repeatedly denied, based on weak American PoS) scientism. Tom Woodward actually (in the linked interview) called Michael Behe: "The Galileo of future biological science"!!! And he said “Bill Dembski is the Einstein of the IDM.” And that Steve Meyer is “maybe the Isaac Newton of Intelligent Design.” Folks, they so easily exaggerate and are trying so hard to be someone else, someone great and prolific and revolutionary and mainstream; someone they are not. Why?! Question to humbled and KF: Are you really suggesting that Tom Woodward is *not* an evangelical/Protestant Christian apologist? “We focus on apologetics,” says Woodward on his website www.apologetics.org. Is calling Woodward an ‘evangelical Christian apologist’ not a logical conclusion of ‘following the evidence where it leads’? Thus, the title “Evangelical Christian Apologist who follows ID: Significance of Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt exceeds that of Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box” or “Professor of Bible and Theology who follows ID: Significance of Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt exceeds that of Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box” sounds more accurate. But because IDism requires IDT to be ‘strictly natural scientific’ and *not* mainly about science, philosophy, theology/worldview discourse, as I and others (including Catholic philosophers) contend, the tendency is to intentionally hide the apologetics, the links between IDism and religion instead of full disclosure, transparency; speaking of reality. Do you acknowledge why this is considered distasteful both by people who have thoughtfully rejected IDT on science, philosophy, theology/worldview grounds and by those who reject it strictly for scientific or worldview purposes? p.s. 04:00 am – 06:30 am = big basketball tonight, game 7, for which ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ is thankfully silent! p.p.s. ecs2, interesting post. Is it to be understood from your pov that ‘worldview’ therefore plays an important role in the promotion of IDT also? & btw, what does "not really necessarily anID-proponent" mean? Thanks. Gregory
"Coincidentally", on another subject matter, ENV has a post up highlighting Mr. Matzke's below the belt debating tactics: What Darwinist Bullying Looks Like, and What It Doesn't http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/06/what_darwinist_073541.html bornagain77
Since someone asked about Matzke: I have read Matzke's review of this book and a variety of other topics and there is a central theme to his comments. First, there is typically a claim that the author has an inadequate understanding of the subject matter, and this is usually evidenced by pointing to some terminology errors on the part of the author. Nick also throws around some jargon and terminology and the intended net effect, I think, is to establish Nick as an authority and his subject as an amateur in the area. This is a shallow and baseless approach, in my opinion. Typically the areas in which he contradicts these other authors are minor and not centrally related to the soundness or veracity core issues under discussion. Second, Nick consistently confuses lack of acceptance of a theoretical construct of lack of understanding of the concept even if a basis for lack of acceptance is given. I think the bottom line is this. Nick is very deeply committed to evolutionary biology on a philosophical level as well as an academic level. So, in the end, his assessment is very simple: In my (Nick's) worldview, evolutionary biology is true, and if someones doesn't accept these theories, they must simply not understand them. Notice nowhere in that assessment is there an objective assessment of the issues at hand. Given many opportunities, I have never seen him circle back and address an honestly stated and valid concern. Note - I am not a creationist nor am I really necessarily an ID-proponent. I would have to do quite a bit of research to determine whether I am a theistic evolutionist or an ID-proponent or some combination thereof. ecs2
Related notes: Dr. Tom Woodward - The Mysterious Epigenome. What lies beyond DNA - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpXs8uShFMo "The Mysterious Epigenome: What Lies Beyond DNA" - May 2012 - podcast - Casey Luskin interviews Dr. Tom Woodward http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2012-05-30T12_57_28-07_00 bornagain77
I've read Dr Woodward's books, Doubts about Darwin and Darwin Strikes Back - I thought they were great. I was also a student of his for a short period of time. He is great teacher, a great researcher and his work documenting ID's history is excellent. Is he a devout Christian - of course. But so what? Most science books, articles etc these days are written by devout followers of Darwin. Obviously bias exists. My question is, why are we expected to trust followers of Darwin and not followers of Christ? Both are faith based... humbled
F/N: Dr Woodward did research on and published a version of his thesis as an history of the ID movement. The description therefore has some merit. (Remember, Churchill too counts as an historian.) KF kairosfocus
Yeah, Gregory, Wiki knows more about a person than the person does. Joe
Wiki says Woodward is a "Christian apologist." He is listed as a professor of "Bible and Theology" on Trinity College's webpage. The C.S. Lewis Society that Woodward runs can be found at www.apologetics.org He was called a 'Research Professor' before at UD. I guess he could be called a 'historian' (he has a BA in the field), but that's certainly not his day job. He sounds more like a missionary than a historian; a missionary IDist. Gregory
Nick's supposed refutation of Darwin's Doubt... http://www.amazon.com/review/R2ZTHZ38V22QG8/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0062071475&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books But ask him for a text book on macro evolution and Nick is gone.... Andre
The very same Nick Matzke that can not give us a text book on macro evolution? Or the one that disappear when you ask him a real scientific question? Andre
Eric, sometimes it could be a question of timing too. Meyer's book appears at a time when no small number of people have a LOT of questions about Darwinism. Many not ID folk. News
Our friend Nick Matzke gives an intelligent sounding critique of the book. Can I invite someone with more knowledge than me to address his criticism? Collin
I'm awaiting my copy as well, which I preordered in April. We'll see if it lives up to the hype. :D Chance Ratcliff
Anxiously waiting: Carly Simon - Anticipation - music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NwP3wes4M8 bornagain77
I pre-ordered the book when it first came available, but haven't read it yet. It is hard to believe that it will be more significant than either Behe's or Denton's books. Nevertheless, Meyer has done an excellent job in the past and I look forward to reading this work. Eric Anderson

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