Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

The Design of Life

Intelligent design book by mathematician William Dembski and biologist Jonathan Wells

At Nautilus: The Ancient Wisdom Stored in Trees

What very old trees can teach us about life, death, and time. Jared Farmer writes: What’s the oldest known living thing, and how do we know? Why should we even want to know? The explanation is a history of curiosity and care. It’s about our long-term relationships—spiritual and scientific—with long-lived plants, as long as long can be. It’s all about trees. A tree is a plant that people call a tree—a term of dignity, not botany. Although people construct the meaning of “trees” and assign age value to the vascular plants they call “ancient trees,” people cannot themselves create life that grows in place for centuries. Exclusively, solar-powered organisms enact that miracle. Among plants, there are ephemerals, annuals, biennials, perennials—and, Read More ›

At Evolution News: “Why Life?”: A Question Atheist Scientists Never Ask

Stephen J. Iacoboni‘s article contains a profound question… One cannot understand organisms — that is, life itself — without incorporating the concept of purpose within biology, the science of organisms. Such purpose is observable and measurable, and therefore well within the bounds of scientific inquiry. In order to understand life, it is not sufficient to simply observe what is happening. The real question is why things are the way they are. However, did we not just decide that animals eat because they are hungry and avoid danger to eschew harm? Yes, these are clearly purpose-driven activities, and they all have a biochemical or physiologic basis. True enough. But the deeper question is, why are these physiologic stimuli there in the first place? Answer: to allow for Read More ›

At Phys.org: How fluctuating oxygen levels may have accelerated animal evolution

"Oxygen levels in the Earth's atmosphere are likely to have "fluctuated wildly" 1 billion years ago, creating conditions that could have accelerated the development of early animal life, according to new research. " Read More ›

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

On the Design Disquisitions YouTube channel, I’ve posted a new video where I recommend several books of interest, specifically pro-ID literature. Most of the suggestions may be familiar to you, but hopefully there are a few that you’ve not read before. I also give a brief summary of the content of each book. I don’t claim that the books mentioned are necessarily the best, but I think anyone who wants to join the discussion needs to be familiar with some of these. Let me know what you would add to the list! Ten (or so) Pro-Intelligent Design Books You Should Read

ID Breakthrough — Syn61 marks a live case of intelligent design of a life form

Let’s read the Nature abstract: Nature (2019) Article | Published: 15 May 2019 Total synthesis of Escherichia coli with a recoded genome Julius Fredens, Kaihang Wang, Daniel de la Torre, Louise F. H. Funke, Wesley E. Robertson, Yonka Christova, Tiongsun Chia, Wolfgang H. Schmied, Daniel L. Dunkelmann, Václav Beránek, Chayasith Uttamapinant, Andres Gonzalez Llamazares, Thomas S. Elliott & Jason W. Chin AbstractNature uses 64 codons to encode the synthesis of proteins from the genome, and chooses 1 sense codon—out of up to 6 synonyms—to encode each amino acid. Synonymous codon choice has diverse and important roles, and many synonymous substitutions are detrimental. Here we demonstrate that the number of codons used to encode the canonical amino acids can be reduced, Read More ›

Logic & first principles, 1: Analogy, Induction and the power of the principle of identity (with application to the genetic code)

One of the commonest objections we meet when we discuss design inferences — especially concerning the genetic code, is that a claim is “just an analogy” (with implied conclusion that analogies are weak or fallacious). This then extends to inductive arguments used. This common error must be corrected and (as will be shown) the principle of distinct identity helps us to do so. Before we show that, let us pause to note from the Stanford Enc of Phil, just to counter-weight the tendency of many objectors to be quickly dismissive of anything said by “one of those IDiots” without bothering to actually address the substantial issue at stake: >>An analogy is a comparison between two objects, or systems of objects, Read More ›

Mutations Degrade Inherited Intelligence

The remarkable “powers” of evolution are now shown to degrade (aka “mutate”) the human genes essential to intelligence.

Remarkably, they found that some of the same genes that influence human intelligence in healthy people were also the same genes that cause impaired cognitive ability and epilepsy when mutated, networks which they called M1 and M3.

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Robustness untangles ‘Evolution’

(it’s designed to) These are some thoughts prompted by the recent article Arrival of the Fittest: Robustness and flexibility are basic design principles. We design modules so that they are robust against minor damage, bad inputs and changes in other parts of the code. This aids ‘evolvability’ of the whole by untangling the knots so that parts of the design can be worked on independently. Think of Dawkins’ METHINKSITISLIKEAWEASEL parable. The string of text can evolve because each letter is selected independently. The system is designed to evolve. By contrast, in an undesigned bag of chemicals or genes you would have all kinds of cross interaction which means a change in one chemical could have wide-ranging unpredictable effects. The chemical/genetic Read More ›

How Keith’s “Bomb” Turned Into A Suicide Mission

Keith brought in an argument he claimed to be a “bomb” for ID. It turned out to be a failed suicide mission where the only person that got blown up was Keith. (Please note: I am assuming that life patterns exists in an ONH, as Keith claims, for the sake of this argument only.  Also, there are many other, different take-downs of Keith’s “bomb” argument already on the table.  Indulge me while I present another here.) In my prior OP, I pointed out that Keith had made no case that nature was limited to producing only ONH’s when it comes to biological diversity, while his whole argument depended on it.  He has yet to make that case, and has not Read More ›

ID Foundations 23: Dr Stephen Meyer on The Design Inference on Complex [often, Functionally] Specified Information and the Origin of Cell-based Life (OoL)

This lecture by Dr Stephen Meyer of Discovery Institute, with Q & A may be a good refresher and focus for thought on OoL, HT WK: [youtube NbluTDb1Nfs] WK — a useful blog to bookmark and monitor to see trends and issues — gives a helpful bullet point outline, in part: intelligent design is concerned with measuring the information-creating capabilities of natural forces like mutation and selection Darwinists think that random mutations and natural selection can explain the origin and diversification of living systems Darwinian mechanisms are capable of explaining small-scale adaptive changes within types of organisms but there is skepticism, even among naturalists, that Darwinian mechanisms can explain the origin of animal designs even if you concede that Darwinism Read More ›

ID Foundations, 22: What about evolutionary trees of descent and homologies? (An answer to Jaceli123’s presentation of a typical icon of evolution . . . )

As has been noted, sometimes people come to UD looking for answers to questions about what they have been taught regarding “Evolution”; typically in the context of indoctrination under the Lewontinian ideological a priori materialism that he outlined thusly in his infamous 1997 NYRB article: [T]he problem is to get [the general public] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations [–> note the implicit bias, polarising rhetoric and refusal to address the real alternative posed by design theory, — which was already topical in those days some months after Behe’s first book on Irreducible complexity. Namely, assessing natural (= chance and/or necessity) vs ART-ificial alternative causes on empirically tested reliable signs] of the world, the demons that exist only in their Read More ›

Getting me an Education

Larry Moran has decided to educate me about junk DNA. I appreciate the level of detail he has provided. I am not an expert in this field. I do however have a brain and, as a physicist, a vastly superior brain (I joke, sort of). I am not an IDiot, nor am I a larey moron (nor is he), and I like to see clear careful thought. I do not see this in a lot of the anti-ID polemics on the internet, nor in general presentations of evolution in the media. Thus, Larry’s latest posts are much more edifying to read. However, I still don’t agree with all the reasoning, and I don’t think he has told both sides of Read More ›