Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Evolutionary biology

Ten (or so) Anti-Intelligent Design Books You Should Read

I have posted the second video in my two part book recommendation series on the YouTube channel. In the previous video I highlighted many books that argue for intelligent design. My view is that proponents of design should face the strongest criticisms possible, and not be afraid of doing so. In line with this philosophy, in this video I talk about just a handful of the many books that attempt to refute ID. Again, I would be interested to know what others think are the best books that attempt to show ID is wrong. Ten (or so) Anti-Intelligent Design Books You Should Read

2017 paper hoped to heal the rifts/paper over the cracks in evolutionary biology

The real problem is, nothing is happening the way evolutionary biologists shouted at the public about for decades anyway. Trilobites from 429 million years ago, for example, shouldn’t have eyes like bumblebees. But they do. Their internal warfare is, of course, a tactical distraction from the fact that basically, they’re probably all on the wrong track. Read More ›

Poor, Poor Darwinists!

A new study is out trying to find the LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor). Needless to say, things got even worse for those who place their belief in Darwinian thinking. Because the Concluding Remarks section is so devastating, I’m blockquoting the whole thing: Our work furnishes a new variable for the assessment of protein family evolution which compliments previous approaches based on conserved presence and phylogenetic topology. Using phylogenetic tree based approaches of the type used here, only limited information can be gained about the LUCA, leaving specific details on physiology largely speculative. Analysis of proteins such as the reverse gyrase, hydrogenase, and nitrogenase discussed here and elsewhere (Boyd et al., 2011a, b; Catchpole and Forterre, 2019) does not support Read More ›

FYI-FTR: Burning the fixity of species strawman

One of the lingering talking points used by darwinists in debates is fixity of species, which as usual is used in a way that is rhetorically resistant to correction. It just popped up here at UD, and so, by way of DDG search, let’s lay it to rest, starting with the much despised YEC’s. The logic here is a fortiori. Okay, from Creation Wiki, on Baraminology: Baraminology is a creation biology discipline that studies the ancestry of life on Earth (biosystematics). It draws from the presupposition that God created many separate kinds of organisms as described in the Biblical book of Genesis, and uses scientific means to determine which organisms belong to the same kind (baramin) and by contrast which Read More ›

Darwinian risks all, takes aim at gender theory

Look, as Barry Arrington noted recently, you can’t even publish research today that suggests that some teen girls believe they are boys mainly because of teen groupthink even though such a conclusion must be obvious to anyone who has spent time with teens. Now, a Darwinian has blundered in front of the overloaded freight train of Non-Binary Progress: A sturdy defender of Darwinian evolution, he was drawn into a discussion of gender studies a couple of years ago. In interviews he argued that gender ideology is incompatible with biological facts and theories. After severe criticism from feminists and gender theorists, he published a controversial book in 2016: Das Gender-Paradoxon. Mann und Frau als evolvierte Menschentypen (The Gender-Paradox. Man and Women as Read More ›

Evolutionary biology: Animals as restless clocks, unquiet machines

Historian of science Jessia Riskin wonders if a mechanistic view of life is due for a revival: Today, the tension between active and passive mechanism is still evident, for example, in evolutionary biology. While evolutionary theorists reject creationism, of course, concepts such as adaptation and fitness are in fact grounded in a passive-mechanist view of living structures. That view has traditionally banned any talk of evolutionary agency within living organisms, and instead ascribed their forms and structures to forces acting from outside them. At the same time, evolutionary theory retains an important inheritance from the active mechanist tradition; indeed, active mechanist ideas seem currently to be in the ascendant. Recent work on ‘niche construction’ for example attends to the ways Read More ›

Determining Irreducible Complexity Using Power-sets

Ever since Michael Behe published Darwin’s Black Box in 1996, the concept of irreducible complexity has played a central role in the debate over Darwinian theory. I am proposing a new, theoretical method of determining whether a system is irreducibly complex using power-sets. First, however, it is necessary to define irreducible complexity. Various definitions of irreducible complexity exist. Michael Behe defines it as “a single system which is composed of several interacting parts, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to cease functioning.” Critics have noted that this definition is actually a definition of interlocking complexity, a concept H. J. Muller had written about years earlier and which is perfectly compatible with Darwinian theory. In Read More ›

Startling Result–90% of Animals Less than 200 kya

From PhysOrg this morning, in a study using “DNA bar-codes” (mitochondrial DNA, using a specific gene COI) and conducted around the world, here’s the verdict: The study’s most startling result, perhaps, is that nine out of 10 species on Earth today, including humans, came into being 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. “This conclusion is very surprising, and I fought against it as hard as I could,” Thaler told AFP. The scientists can’t figure out what might have caused this. They ask: Was there some catastrophic event 200,000 years ago that nearly wiped the slate clean? Maybe a “flood”? About “bar-codes” there’s this: On the one hand, the COI gene sequence is similar across all animals, making it easy to pick Read More ›

Apologetics Academy webinar, with Paul Nelson, on ontogenetic depth – is it real?

Jonathan McLatchie writes to say, “This week we will be joined by philosopher of biology Dr. Paul Nelson, who will discuss the concept of ontogenetic depth and why it matters to evolutionary theory.” 9pm British time (4pm Eastern / 3pm Central / 1pm Pacific (Time zones.) In this session, Discovery Institute senior fellow Dr. Paul Nelson will explain why “ontogenetic depth” matters to evolutionary theory (and intelligent design), and why reports of the concept’s uselessness, or death, are wrong. Despite being currently impossible to measure — and Paul will show why — ontogenetic depth is nonetheless real and important. More information. Webinar. See also: Webinar: Paul Nelson on evolution as theory of transformation

Evolution as a Ralph’s Supermarket Store

Over at the The Skeptical Zone there’s a reference to a post from Larry Moran’s blogsite. The question of irreducible complexity is revisited, and, torn to shreds in the eyes of evolutionary thinkers. For them it seems sufficient to simply announce the “presence” of some needed ingredient of the putative IC system of proteins in order to debunk IC claims. For them, having identified certain portions of the needed complex somewhere else, and understanding this to be a part of the genetic tool box available to all because of common descent, is enough to make them feel they have satisfactorily undermined the latest attempt at identifying IC systems. That’s where the Ralph’s Supermarket comes in. Here’s what I mean: Let’s Read More ›

Dinosaurs are tearing paleontology apart?

Should we call on 9-11, the Humane Society, or the vegans… or on soft dino tissue, to restore order? From Matthew Reynolds at Wired: The [March 2017] paper overturned one of the most fundamental things that we thought we knew about dinosaurs – that they split neatly into two groups. This is dinosaur 101. The first group, the Ornithischia, which means ‘bird-hipped’ and includes the Stegosaurus, Triceratops and Iguanodon. The second group is called the Saurischia, meaning ‘lizard-hipped’, and includes predatory dinosaurs (therapods) such as the Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor as well as gigantic herbivorous dinosaurs (sauropodomorphs) including the Diplodocus and Argentinosaurus. … It’s hard to overstate how big a deal this is in the dinosaur world, says Paul Barrett, Read More ›

Transcription Factors Play “Football”

This just in from PhysOrg: We had no idea that we would discover that transcription factors operated in this clustered way. The textbooks all suggested that single molecules were used to switch genes on and off, not these crazy nano footballs that we observed.” The team believe the clustering process is due to an ingenious strategy of the cell to allow transcription factors to reach their target genes as quickly as possible. Professor Leake said: “We found out that the size of these nano footballs is a remarkably close match to the gaps between DNA when it is scrunched up inside a cell. As the DNA inside a nucleus is really squeezed in, you get little gaps between separate strands Read More ›

Are there really few thought experiments in biology?

A friend writes to draw our attention to an interesting 2014 paper Thought Experiments in Biology, by Guillaume Schlaepfer and Marcel Weber: Unlike in physics, the category of thought experiment is not very common in biology. At least there are no classic examples that are as important and as well-known as the most famous thought experiments in physics, such as Galileo’s, Maxwell’s or Einstein’s. The reasons for this are far from obvious; maybe it has to do with the fact that modern biology for the most part sees itself as a thoroughly empirical discipline that engages either in real natural history or in experimenting on real organisms rather than fictive ones. While theoretical biology does exist and is recognized as Read More ›

Design Disquisitions: Critic’s Corner-Sahotra Sarkar

My latest ‘Critic’s Corner’ post is now up. This one features the work of ID critic Sahotra Sarkar. Sarkar is one of the more sophisticated critics of ID so his work is worth engaging with. I have responded to some of his arguments in a previous post and plan to do more in the future:                          Critic’s Corner: Sahotra Sarkar