Culture Darwinism News

Do we imagine we see patterns in nature where there are none?

Spread the love

That is called cherrypicking patterns. A common argument against design in nature is that humans randomly evolved to see patterns where there are none. Many a Darwinian airhead advances such received wisdom at the usual bongfests.

He can be fairly sure that few bong-ees are going to point out the obvious: We evolved to see patterns that are there, for our own best interests. We are sometimes mistaken, but disparaging the seeking of patterns supported by evidence is hardly a solution.

Most often the patterns we see are there. Indeed, more people come to grief by not noticing than by noticing them. (“But I thought this would be an exception, you see…” or “But I never thought it would happen to me… ”)

Darwin’s followers themselves are constantly attempting to impose patterns in the fossil record, and watching them disintegrate in the light of evidence.

Casey Luskin notes that:

cladistics and other phylogenetics methods do not demonstrate common ancestry; they assume it. In other words, these methods don’t test whether all organisms fit into a nested hierarchy (i.e., phylogenetic tree). Rather, evolutionary systematics assumes that common ancestry is true and therefore all organisms belong within a nested hierarchy, and then it uses methods to force-fit any organism into the tree, even if that organisms has traits that don’t fit neatly within the tree.

Common ancestry, therefore, is a starting assumption about the data — not a conclusion from it. Another key lesson is this: just because you see evolutionary biologists creating an impressive-looking phylogenetic tree doesn’t mean that all of the organisms or their traits shown within that tree fit neatly into a nested hierarchy (i.e., a tree structure). One could cite many examples of organisms that don’t fit cleanly into a tree. Here are a few:

Sahelanthropus tchadensis is widely touted as a human ancestor that lived about 6-7 million years ago, sometime very soon after the supposed split between the human line and the chimp line. But it’s rarely mentioned that this specimen doesn’t fit into the standard hominin tree at all.

In any case, an evolutionary biologist could decide to group phyla according to early developmental processes, or according to symmetry, and that’s fine. If you weight one trait heavily, you’ll get one tree. But switch that weight to another trait and you’ll get another, conflicting tree. Either way, when you use one character set to create your tree, then the other character set is no longer distributed in a treelike fashion, and vice versa. That’s a major problem. More.

But they can get away with scuffing out serious discussion of genuine problems, questions, and puzzles to the extent that everyone “knows” that Darwinism is true. (“The debate is OVER, etc.”)

One of the serious harms done by court and other judgments demanding the teaching of “evolution” (that is, Darwinism) in the schools is that it helps raise generations not accustomed to asking intelligent questions when the data don’t fit. From Head Teacher Troll:

When the pattern doesn’t work, there is no pattern anyway, you see. Only ID people look for patterns… But now, if we can just tweak this, and then that, we could get our pattern to fit… You! You there! I can tell that you are thinking Wrong Thoughts! Stop thinking now!

Don’t believe me? See the Darwin in the schools lobby hard at work.

Rob Sheldon writes to say, re the claim about detecting patterns that aren’t there:

If all that is meant by this statement, is that people have an unusual gift to see teleology when mathematical algorithms cannot, then this is a truism that a man can be proud of.

But if this is a statement that only mathematical algorithms are justified in finding patterns, then I would have disagree, and ask if a computer made that judgment as well?

Or if this is a statement that you can fool people by claiming to find patterns that aren’t there, then I would say you are a naive Wall Street investor who has learned his first lesson.

The apparent pattern in the clouds may not be there; the apparent pattern in biotechnology stocks may be there after all.

ID is concerned not with finding patterns, which obviously exist in the mathematics of nature, (consider fractals or the golden ratio). Rather, ID studies patterns that look like they were generated by intelligence. A mere pattern endlessly repeats. A thought-out pattern stops at a point where purpose is detectible.  See the CSI
formulation of ID
.

This may be as good a place as any to note that I (O’Leary for News) will shortly be starting a series, “Talk to the Fossils,” at Evolution News & Views that talks about what we really know about situations where evolution does occur. What patterns do we really see?

Follow UD News at Twitter!

124 Replies to “Do we imagine we see patterns in nature where there are none?

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    ‘Darwinian airheads’. Thank you for telling it like it is, Denyse. It may seem trivial to you, but it calms my sense of outrage when others find no alternative to resorting to a metaphor which, however truthful, falls within the register of invective.

    They really do think in a manner you might expect from mythical creatures in a satire of Jonathon Swift. Even if he felt ‘tired and emotional’, after a few drinks too many, when set about writing it.

  2. 2
    Zachriel says:

    News quoting Casey Luskin quoting Bernard Wood about the “tidy model of human origins”:

    If we accept these as sufficient evidence to classify S. tchadensis as a hominid at the base, or stem, of the modern human clade, then it plays havoc with the tidy model of human origins. Quite simply, a hominid of this age should only just be beginning to show signs of being a hominid. It certainly should not have the face of a hominid less than one-third of its geological age. Also, if it is accepted as a stem hominid, under the tidy model the principle of parsimony dictates that all creatures with more primitive faces (and that is a very long list) would, perforce, have to be excluded from the ancestry of modern humans.”
    (Bernard Wood, “Hominid revelations from Chad,” Nature, 418 (July 11, 2002):133-35.)

    Reading Wood’s paper a bit further concerning the “untidy model” of human origins:

    In contrast, the untidy model would predict that at 6–7 million years ago we are likely to find evidence of creatures with hitherto unknown combinations of hominid, chimp and even novel features. Moreover, because it acknowledges substantial amounts of homoplasy, the model would further predict that certain structures — such as substantial brow ridges (which S. tchadensis has, as is evident in Fig. 1) — are likely to be unreliable for reconstructing relationships because creatures can share features such as brow ridges without necessarily inheriting them from a common ancestor.*

    * Citing Lieberman, D. E. in Development, Growth and Evolution: Implications for the Study of the Hominid Skeleton (eds O’Higgins, P. & Cohn, M. J.) 85-122 (Academic, London, 2000).

  3. 3
    Zachriel says:

    News: Darwin’s followers themselves are constantly attempting to impose patterns in the fossil record, and watching them disintegrate in the light of evidence.

    The biological nested hierarchy is objectively supported. There’s an active field within biology concerned with systematics and cladistics, which often use advanced statistical and computer techniques to derive phylogeny based on objective criteria.

  4. 4
    Virgil Cain says:

    There isn’t any model for human origins. And it is true that cladistics assumes descendent/ ancestor relationships.

    As for patterns, if evolutionism is true there wouldn’t be any expected pattern as the process is too messy to produce a predictable pattern.

  5. 5
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    The biological nested hierarchy is objectively supported.

    Intelligent design is the only known process capable of producing an objective nested hierarchy. Evolution is too messy to produce such a pattern. See Mayr, Darwin, Denton, Wagner and Knox.

  6. 6
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Intelligent design is the only known process capable of producing an objective nested hierarchy.

    Branching descent will produce a nested pattern of character traits.

  7. 7
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Branching descent will produce a nested pattern of character traits.

    No, it won’t as traits can be lost, gained or remain unchanged. Also transitional forms would ruin any attempt at an objective nested hierarchy.

  8. 8
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: No, it won’t as traits can be lost, gained or remain unchanged.

    If the rate of change is too fast, then we the nested pattern can be lost. However, we know the rate of genetic mutation, and can show this creates a nested pattern of, for instance, synonymous substitutions.

  9. 9
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    If the rate of change is too fast, then we the nested pattern can be lost.

    What nested pattern?

    However, we know the rate of genetic mutation, and can show this creates a nested pattern of, for instance, synonymous substitutions.

    We know that you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Please define “nested pattern”.

  10. 10
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: What nested pattern?

    Notably, you went from saying the nested pattern couldn’t be produced by anything other than “intelligent design” to “What nested pattern?”

    Here’s a simple example of nesting: Bears and rodents nest within mammals. Mammalia and aves nest within amniota. Amniota and amphibia nest within tetrapoda.

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    Poor Zachriel. Seeing patterns that aren’t there.

  12. 12
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Notably, you went from saying the nested pattern couldn’t be produced by anything other than “intelligent design” to “What nested pattern?”

    More notably, YOU went from nested hierarchy to nested pattern.

    Here’s a simple example of nesting: Bears and rodents nest within mammals. Mammalia and aves nest within amniota. Amniota and amphibia nest within tetrapoda.

    And evolution didn’t predict pattern that and common design did. Linnaeus based his classification on a common design using shared characteristics to flesh it out.

  13. 13
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Seeing patterns that aren’t there.

    Try a simple example; lion, bear, trout. When considering the entirety of traits, which one is not like the others.

    Virgil Cain: YOU went from nested hierarchy to nested pattern.

    The nesting pattern is obviously hierarchical, and follows from branching descent.

  14. 14
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel, Evolution does not predict a nested hierarchy. Branching descent will not produce a nested hierarchy. Darwin, Mayr, Denton, Knox and Wagner have all explained why this is true. It would be in your best interest to read them and find out why.

    A family tree is an example of branching descent and you cannot create a nested hierarchy of traits from a family tree. OTOH the US Army has nothing to do with branching descent and it is constructed as a nested hierarchy.

  15. 15
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Darwin …. have all explained why this is true.

    Quite the contrary.

    Darwin, Origin of Species: I request the reader to turn to the diagram illustrating the action, as formerly explained, of these several principles; and he will see that the inevitable result is that the modified descendants proceeding from one progenitor become broken up into groups subordinate to groups.
    http://darwin-online.org.uk/gr.....tions.html

  16. 16
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel, ” groups subordinate to groups” is not the same as groups within groups. Nested hierarchies require groups within groups not mere groups subordinate to groups. And even Darwin said:

    Extinction has only defined the groups: it has by no means made them; for if every form which has ever lived on this earth were suddenly to reappear, though it would be quite impossible to give definitions by which each group could be distinguished, still a natural classification, or at least a natural arrangement, would be possible.- Charles Darwin chapter 14

    So Zachriel proves, once again, that Zachriel doesn’t know jack about nested hierarchies and evolution.

  17. 17
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: ”groups subordinate to groups” is not the same as groups within groups.

    We used the term nesting in the same sense as Darwin referred to groups, and the same way as over a century of biological science. Semantics doesn’t represent a substantive argument.

  18. 18
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    We used the term nesting in the same sense as Darwin referred to groups, and the same way as over a century of biological science.

    You are obviously confused. In comment 10 you used the word nesting correctly. And now you have changed and you are being deceitful. Darwin didn’t say anything about nesting groups.

    Semantics doesn’t represent a substantive argument.

    Your ignorance, dishonesty and lack of integrity do not amount to an argument.

    Nested hierarchies are DEFINED as groups within groups. Groups subordinate to groups is not part of the definition of nested hierarchies.

  19. 19
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Nested hierarchies are DEFINED as groups within groups. Groups subordinate to groups is not part of the definition of nested hierarchies.

    Semantics still doesn’t constitute a substantive argument.
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....0_0/evo_06

  20. 20
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Semantics still doesn’t constitute a substantive argument.

    It does when semantics is point under debate.

    Are you really that obtuse that you can say when discussing how something is defined that properly defining it is not a substantive argument? Really?

    Evolution does not predict a nested hierarchy. Darwin said why it doesn’t. Mayr, Denton, Knox and Wagner have confirmed that it does not.

    Cladistics assumes ancestor-descendent relationships. And evolution doesn’t predict the pattern of any cladogram.

  21. 21
    Zachriel says:

    From the first mention of nested hierarchy on this thread:

    Casey Luskin: In other words, these methods don’t test whether all organisms fit into a nested hierarchy (i.e., phylogenetic tree).

  22. 22
    Virgil Cain says:

    Yet a phylogenetic tree is not a nested hierarchy and evolution doesn’t predict a nested hierarchy.

  23. 23
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Yet a phylogenetic tree is not a nested hierarchy and evolution doesn’t predict a nested hierarchy.

    Luskin is clearly noting the relationship between the nested hierarchy and the phylogenetic tree. You might want to take it up with him.

  24. 24
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Luskin is clearly noting the relationship between the nested hierarchy and the phylogenetic tree.

    What relationship? Please be specific.

    Linnaean taxonomy is the nested hierarchy. It has nothing to do with phylogenetics.

  25. 25
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: What relationship?

    “the modified descendants proceeding from one progenitor become broken up into groups subordinate to groups.”

  26. 26
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    “the modified descendants proceeding from one progenitor become broken up into groups subordinate to groups.”

    So no relationship at all. Why didn’t you just say that?

    Linnaean taxonomy is the nested hierarchy. It has nothing to do with phylogenetics. And it has nothing to do with “the modified descendants proceeding from one progenitor become broken up into groups subordinate to groups”.

    A family tree represents “the modified descendants proceeding from one progenitor become broken up into groups subordinate to groups” and they do not form nested hierarchies based on traits.

    Zachriel’s ignorance and deception do not constitute a substantive argument.

  27. 27
    wd400 says:

    Joe,

    Why does Linnaues’ biological classification worked so well, when his attempts to apply the same system to rocks and minerals failed so badly?

    I think it’s because the hierarchical system prefectly describes what you get from divergent evolution (groups united by their shared common ancestors). Because live evolved in this tree-like way, life can be described with a system like Linnaues’. Rocks didn’t come about in this way, so the system fails.

    Do you have a better answer?

  28. 28
    Virgil Cain says:

    wd400

    Why does Linnaues’ biological classification worked so well, when his attempts to apply the same system to rocks and minerals failed so badly?

    1- It wouldn’t if unguided evolution were true

    2- It does because unguided evolution isn’t true

    3- Rocks and minerals were not designed to a common specification, ie a common design.

    I think it’s because the hierarchical system prefectly describes what you get from divergent evolution (groups united by their shared common ancestors).

    Nested hierarchies are different from mere hierarchies. Darwin explained why we shouldn’t observe a nested hierarchy. He used extinction events to justify the distinct classes.

    Why do you ignore Darwin, Mayr, Denton, Knox and Wagner?

    Only intelligent design can produce an objective nested hierarchy. A tree is not a nested hierarchy. A nested hierarchy has specific entailments that are not inherent in a mere tree.

  29. 29
    wd400 says:

    A tree is not a nested hierarchy. A nested hierarchy has specific entailments that are not inherent in a mere tree.

    Go on then, what else does a tree need? Maybe demonstrate using a group like tetrapoda?

  30. 30
    Virgil Cain says:

    Go on then, what else does a tree need?

    Quite a bit. Start with the definitions, each set, each level- you really have no idea, do you?

    Animalia forms a nested hierarchy as it consists and contains all sets and levels under it. Animalia is not a population but a set of defining characteristics. All animals have to have these defining characteristics.

    The US Army also forms a nested hierarchy and each set and level is properly defined and assigned.

    Why do you ignore Darwin, Mayr, Denton, Knox and Wagner?

  31. 31
    wd400 says:

    Are snakes tetrapods?

  32. 32
    Virgil Cain says:

    Unguided evolution cannot explain tetrapods. You need to back up and find a mechanism capable of explaining what we observe.

    And yes, the nested hierarchy does have a few exceptions.

  33. 33
    wd400 says:

    Can you answer the question? Is archaeopteryx a bird despite having teeth? Or are Moa birds, despite not having any wings?

  34. 34
    Virgil Cain says:

    wd400- Darwin, Mayr, Denton, Knox and Wagner have all made the case that evolution is too complex and messy to produce a nested hierarchy which requires distinct and pristine groups.

    Your position cannot explain birds, nor Moa. nor anything beyond slight variations of the given starting populations of prokaryotes.

    Perhaps you should go learn about nested hierarchies and come back when you have specific questions. Also read the authors I mentioned- it would help.

  35. 35
    wd400 says:

    And does life have “distinct and pristine groups”? Snakes, moa , archaeopteryx….

  36. 36
    Mung says:

    wd400:

    Why does Linnaues’ biological classification worked so well, when his attempts to apply the same system to rocks and minerals failed so badly?

    Good question. Maybe life isn’t like other matter. Perhaps life is not just chemistry after all.

  37. 37
    Virgil Cain says:

    Animalia, the most part, with few exceptions, yes.

  38. 38
    wd400 says:

    “pristine in the most part”. Lol.

  39. 39
    Virgil Cain says:

    Nothing’s perfect and this is our scheme so exceptions would be expected. Under unguided evolution exceptions would be the rule, so much so that it may be impossible to objectively group organisms.

  40. 40
    Dr JDD says:

    Zachriel @8:
    How do you know the substitutions are synonymous?

  41. 41
    Zachriel says:

    Dr JDD: How do you know the substitutions are synonymous?

    Redundancy is part of the genetic code. More than one codon may encode a given amino acid.
    http://www.zachriel.com/blog/GeneticCode.jpg

  42. 42
    Virgil Cain says:

    Synonymous substitutions should not be confused with not altering the protein. We know of synonymous substitutions that cause problems because the protein didn’t fold properly, most likely due to timing from lack of certain tRNAs.

    And tryptophan has only one codon that represents it. It doesn’t have any redundancy.

  43. 43
    Dr JDD says:

    Zachriel: yes I understand redundancy but again I ask how do you know it’s synonymous?

    In other words, it may well be synonymous for the traditionally understood and accepted “primary” layer of code but what about other layers of codes and reading frames? A synonymous mutation in the +1 ORF will have a very different impact than in the +3 ORF.

    So again, I ask, how do you know it’s synonymous?

  44. 44
    Zachriel says:

    Dr JDD: yes I understand redundancy but again I ask how do you know it’s synonymous?

    Synonymous refers to the redundancy by definition. Perhaps you mean how do we know it is silent. One way we can crosscheck is to determine whether the pattern matches what would be expected of genetic drift. We can also look for biasing in the frequency of synonymous substitutions.

    In any case, most synonymous sites form a nested hierarchy across taxa largely consistent with the fossil pattern. Selection is observed as contrary to this overarching background pattern.

  45. 45
    Dr JDD says:

    Okay, let me rephrase:

    How do you know it’s a redundant mutation/substitution?

  46. 46
    Zachriel says:

    Dr JDD: Okay, let me rephrase: it’s a redundant mutation/substitution?

    Isn’t that the same question? It’s redundant because of the nature of the genetic code. There are various reasons why a particular synonymous mutation may not be silent, such as an alternate reading frame, or biasing due to how proteins are produced. However, that doesn’t change the fact that most synonymous sites form a nested hierarchy consistent with common descent.

    Consider prestin in mammals, a protein which is important to the sensitivity of hearing. When we sequence the gene, we can see that, while strongly conserved, it forms a nested hierarchy consistent with mammalian phylogeny, except in the case of whales and bats, both of which evolved high frequency hearing for echolocation. However, when we look only at synonymous substitutions, whales and bats are no longer exceptional, but fit the mammalian phylogeny.

  47. 47
    Virgil Cain says:

    How are you defining “nested hierarchy”? You seem to be unclear on what it entails.

  48. 48
    Dr JDD says:

    Yes it is the same question as I was giving you a chance to.not look foolish by thinking in.such a blinkered manner.

    By definition, if some mutation alters a protein sequence or rate of turnover – now listen carefully – by definition, that is NOT redundant. On one layer of code it may be redundant in that context alone, but it cannot be referred to in the general sense as “redundant” or the synonym “synonymous”. Which is why given our slow moving towards a deeper understanding of the genetic code, it’s complexity and layers of code contained within, how can we assume something is synonymous just because in the traditional ORF and 1-dimensional understanding of genetic code it appears so.

    But you hold on to that 1-dimensional thinking because you need it to be true for evolution and UCD to be true.

    As for the other aspect of your comments, I’m not sure it matters how many times you say to yourself “nested hierarchies prove UCD” it still doesn’t make it true. Specifically it doesn’t make sense when so many violations occur.

    But I forgot – we can just explain those violations as “convergence”. Funny that exceptions usually prove the rule yet convergence is no longer an exception; it is the rule as it is so commonplace. This making nested hierarchies a bit if a joke in the context of UCD.

  49. 49
    Zachriel says:

    Dr JDD: By definition, if some mutation alters a protein sequence or rate of turnover – now listen carefully – by definition, that is NOT redundant.

    Redundancy refers to the fact that more than one codon may encode a particular amino acid.

    Dr JDD: On one layer of code it may be redundant in that context alone, but it cannot be referred to in the general sense as “redundant” or the synonym “synonymous”.

    Which is why we suggested talking about silent mutations instead.

    Dr JDD: we can just explain those violations as “convergence”.

    Convergence has been part of the theory of evolution since Darwin.

    You ignored the example. Can you explain why the synonymous substitutions form a nested hierarchy consistent with the standard phylogeny?

  50. 50
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Convergence has been part of the theory of evolution since Darwin.

    How would you know? Can you please link to this alleged theory of evolution so we can all see what it really says?

  51. 51
    Zachriel says:

    Virgil Cain: Can you please link to this alleged theory of evolution so we can all see what it really says?

    Darwin, Origin of Species fifth edition 1869, Convergence of Character: “It is incredible that the descendants of two organisms, which had originally differed in a marked manner, should ever afterwards converge so closely as to lead to a near approach to identity throughout their whole organisation.

  52. 52
    Virgil Cain says:

    That’s Darwin, not the theory of evolution. We asked specifically for the theory of evolution.

    And your quote seems to say that Darwin was against convergence but that was on the grand scale- ie, whole organism

  53. 53
    Box says:

    Zach,

    Dr JDD: By definition, if some mutation alters a protein sequence or rate of turnover – now listen carefully – by definition, that is NOT redundant.

    Zach: Redundancy refers to the fact that more than one codon may encode a particular amino acid.

    And non-redundancy refers to the fact that there is something more going on (see Dr JDD comment).

  54. 54
    wd400 says:

    Yes it is the same question as I was giving you a chance to.not look foolish by thinking in.such a blinkered manner.

    By definition, if some mutation alters a protein sequence or rate of turnover – now listen carefully …

    Oh really JDD…

    It’s prefectly obvious from Zach’s first comment that this is irrelevant ot the point he was making. That even in the very rare cases that molecular convergences mean a gene tree doesn’t match the species it’s common for the synonymous mutations to follow the expected pattern.

    For some reason you see it as a chance to mount some high horse about alternative ORFs, without mentioning most such ORFs are small, in UTRs and relatively poorly conserved at the a/a level. Meaning (in addition to the fact you point doesn’t have much to do with Zach’s comment) most synonymous mutations in one ORF are just synonymous.

  55. 55
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Can you explain why the synonymous substitutions form a nested hierarchy consistent with the standard phylogeny?

    Umm, phylogeny and nested hierarchy are two different concepts.

  56. 56
    wd400 says:

    Joe — forget you peculiar ideas about nested hierarchies and answer the question.

    Why does the tree estimated from synonymous mutations match the standard phylogeny?

  57. 57
    Virgil Cain says:

    wd400- We don’t have any peculiar ideas about nested hierarchies. You are just ignorant of the concept. Don’t blame us for your ignorance.

    Everything we have ever said about nested hierarchies we have supported.

    Why does the tree estimated from synonymous mutations match the standard phylogeny?

    Why does standard phylogeny match variations from a common design?

  58. 58
    wd400 says:

    So you aren’t going to answer the question?

  59. 59
    Virgil Cain says:

    It’s a loaded question.

    Why does the tree estimated from synonymous mutations match the standard phylogeny?

    It should as “the standard phylogeny” is actually “the standard deviations from a common design”.

  60. 60
    Dr JDD says:

    Wd400:
    No actually I am not saying everything has an altORFor mounting a high horse overvthstb (despite the fact you seem to downplay their exexistence more than it deserves) I am suggesting there are multiple complexities to the genetic code and highlighting the way in which a materalist cannot really think outside their limitations of their favoured theory.

    As I have said before I am perfectly happy with much of the genetic code being far more similar in the past in the gene coding regions. Micro evolution is one explanation for nested hierarchy. Genomic instability contributes. Multiple functions of DNA contributes. You downplay the exceptions that violate this massively and the improbability of convergence being so common. Rapid diversification following special creation of kinds with common blueprint use can explain nested hierarchies.

    Anyone who is honest with themselves must come to question the molecular probabilities of convergence of distant species at the molecular level yet you accept the magic by stating Darwin predicted convergence so it’s fine. Even though Darwin knew nothing of molecular sequence and convergence at that level…….

    (And they say theists are crazy for believing in miracles)

  61. 61
    wd400 says:

    As I have said before I am perfectly happy with much of the genetic code being far more similar in the past in the gene coding regions. Micro evolution is one explanation for nested hierarchy. Genomic instability contributes. Multiple functions of DNA contributes.

    What? How?

    You downplay the exceptions that violate this massively and the improbability of convergence being so common. Rapid diversification following special creation of kinds with common blueprint use can explain nested hierarchies.

    Anyone who is honest with themselves must come to question the molecular probabilities of convergence of distant species at the molecular level yet you accept the magic by stating Darwin predicted convergence so it’s fine. Even though Darwin knew nothing of molecular sequence and convergence at that level.

    You really do love a rant. When you’ve climbed down, I made a back of the envelope calculating for how surprised we should be about molecular convergences here.

  62. 62
    Mapou says:

    Virgil Cain (we know who you are) single handedly kicked every Darwinist’s arse in this thread. Oh, the shame. Oh, the humiliation. Oh, the humanity.

  63. 63
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400 @ 61

    Back on an envelope, say changing a Proline to a Histidine would be favoured in an echolocating lineage.

    Any evidence that this is the case? And what, precisely are the required changes in the gene to move from non-echolocating to the echolocation function?

    Half of the second position mutations in a Pro codon will lead to His.

    Could you reference this please?

    Precise calculations would require us to know about the way mutations interact with each other to create the phenotype and their respective selective advantages.

    Did you include random environmental factors in your calculations?

    Calculating the probability that each lineage would find the same substitutions would require us to know about what other mutations might have the same effects (or to turn it around,, this finding is evidence that only a few mutations are able to generate better high-frequency hearing).

    I don’t think that evidence showing that the same substitutions may appear in different lineages does much to explain the origin of similar complex features arising independently.

  64. 64
    Mung says:

    wd400: Why does the tree estimated from synonymous mutations match the standard phylogeny?

    Because they both use the same assumptions and the same techniques?

  65. 65
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Because they both use the same assumptions and the same techniques?

    The observed patterns exist regardless of any theoretical explanation. In the case of prestin, the gene is very similar across mammals, but, nonetheless, is consistent with the standard phylogeny — except for whales and bats. If we look only at synonymous substitutions, then whales and bats also fit the standard phylogeny. Furthermore, the rate of change of synonymous substitutions fits the expected rate of divergence.

    The validity of an explanation is judged by its ability to explain the observed patterns, and by its ability to predict new observations. Wd400 asked above “Why does the tree estimated from synonymous mutations match the standard phylogeny?” Evolution provides a testable hypothesis.

    Silver Asiatic: And what, precisely are the required changes in the gene to move from non-echolocating to the echolocation function?

    If the changes in prestin were due to selection, then we would expect that the rate of change would exceed the expected rate of drift. We can test this by comparing synonymous and non-synonymous substitutions.

    Liu et al., Convergent sequence evolution between echolocating bats and dolphins, Cell 2010: “the {ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous rates} for sites showing a shift in functional constraint in the echolocating whales correlated significantly with support for convergence”

    If the changes were due to incremental evolution, then we would expect intermediate forms. We might investigate other mammals that have higher frequency, but not supersonic, hearing.

    Rossiter et al., Prestin and high frequency hearing in mammals, Communicative & Integrative Biology 2011: “Combining data from non-echolocating mammals to the results of our earlier studies of bats and dolphins adds some support to the idea that the tempo of change in Prestin correlates positively with the evolution of ultrasonic hearing in mammals”

    But how? They suggest a testable hypothesis.

    Rossiter et al., Prestin and high frequency hearing in mammals, Communicative & Integrative Biology 2011: “Yet the mechanism by which observed amino acid replacements in prestin might promote auditory sensitivity to high frequencies in echolocating and other taxa is not known. One possibility is that they result in conformational changes of the prestin protein, which in turn alter the shape and stiffness of the OHCs thereby allowing them to vibrate faster.”

    This suggestion is consistent with more recent studies of prestin structure.

    Gorbunov et al., Molecular architecture and the structural basis for anion interaction in prestin and SLC26 transporters, Nature 2014: “Biophysically, prestin most likely acts as an area motor by alternating between two structural conformations that occupy different cross-sectional areas within the membrane”

  66. 66
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    The observed patterns exist regardless of any theoretical explanation.

    It’s debatable that ‘patterns exist’ independent of an explanation. The question of whether there is a pattern or not is based on interpretations of the data. Common interpretations are the result of common assumptions.

  67. 67
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: It’s debatable that ‘patterns exist’ independent of an explanation.

    Observing the sky from your hometown, do the planets move against the background of the stars?

    Judging by overall character traits, which organism doesn’t belong {cat, trout, bear}?

  68. 68
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Evolution provides a testable hypothesis.

    No, it doesn’t as evolution cannot account for mammals. As for prestin, well unguided evolution doesn’t have an explanation for it, either.

    udging by overall character traits, which organism doesn’t belong {cat, trout, bear}?

    All three have many traits in common, by design. However cats and bears share more traits as they have a closer common design.

  69. 69
    Virgil Cain says:

    BTW Zachriel, we are still waiting for you to reference the theory of evolution. If you can’t then please stop talking about it as if one actually exists.

  70. 70
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Observing the sky from your hometown, do the planets move against the background of the stars?

    You may not recognize the assumptions embedded in your question.
    1. What is the sky? Why does it need to be what you say it is? Where in nature do we see something that calls itself ‘sky’?
    2. What is the difference between planets and stars? I could observe every thing as different and distinct with no reason to classify them together in groups. Or I could make them into several groups and deny the two you offered. There is nothing in the sky saying one must be called a planet and the other a star.

    Judging by overall character traits, which organism doesn’t belong {cat, trout, bear}?

    Of course, it depends on what a ‘character trait’ is and what it means – and why one would use those to judge the difference between those organisms (or if they’re even all organisms). All have eyes, for example. But all have different eyes. So, I call one ‘bear eyes’ the other ‘trout eyes’ and finally ‘cat eyes’. So, they’re not classified by eyes. They’re not similar on my own assumptions and standards.

    The point here is that ‘pattern’ or ‘similarity’ only exists when one accepts the assumptions, which are not observable. It’s an immaterial, organizational structure which does not exist in nature – like any abstract human mental construct. Like language. We call something language because we create assumptions and rules and add intelligence to the process.

    Language does not have an empirical existence.

  71. 71
    wd400 says:

    I don’t think that evidence showing that the same substitutions may appear in different lineages does much to explain the origin of similar complex features arising independently.

    You should try reading threads before you comment in them. People here have tried to make a big deal of molecular convergence (the same substitutions appearing in different lineages), going go far as to say anyone who thinks such convergences are possible are lying to themselves (!). All this calculation is trying to do is get an idea of how likely such convergences are.

    If you have question about the calculation now that you understand what is actually being calculated let me know.

  72. 72
    Silver Asiatic says:

    wd400

    All this calculation is trying to do is get an idea of how likely [the same substitutions in similar lineages] are.

    You referenced another thread where you claimed to answer the question:

    What was the probability that bats and whales would both develop echolocation from a common selection for amino-acid-altering mutations?

    Of course, it depends on where you start with the non-ecolocating organism but it should be far enough back that some probabilities on the emergence of magnetoception or light-sensing location functions (and other hypothetical, non-existent means of sensing direction) could be calculated also — as well as the probability that bats would have evolved mammalian eyes.

  73. 73
    wd400 says:

    You referenced another thread where you claimed to answer the question:

    What was the probability that bats and whales would both develop echolocation from a common selection for amino-acid-altering mutations?

    Yes, did you notice the first sentence of the reply?

  74. 74
    Dr JDD says:

    Now I am accused of ranting and on my high horse but I am merely trying to be a good scientist and assessing the information we have rather than have a blinkered view. Indeed, have a look here if you wish to downplay the potential lack of true redundancy of apparent synonymous substitutions:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....7414001457

    “Synonymous or “silent” positions in a gene’s sequence can be used to encode additional information that affects properties such as the speed or accuracy with which an mRNA is translated (Drummond and Wilke, 2008), how an mRNA is folded (Goodman et al., 2013) or spliced (Parmley et al., 2006), or, through translational pausing, how a protein folds (Zhang et al., 2009 and Zhou et al., 2013). These and other mechanisms mean that changes in a gene’s sequence that are silent with respect to protein sequence are not always silent with respect to function (Gingold and Pilpel, 2011). Indeed, there is growing evidence that natural selection acts widely on synonymous sites (Drummond and Wilke, 2008 and Supek et al., 2010).”

    Referring to the last point – why does “natural selection act widely on synonymous sites”? The papers imply importance in which optimised codons are used and that in fact, being truly a “silent” synonymous mutation is perhaps a misnomer.

    And of course, the observations that oncogenes contain an excess of synonymous mutations in tumours is telling about the impact of such mutations. This should not be underestimated and we would do well to remind ourselves how we are constantly told the impact of synonymous mutations is truly redundant and silent.

    So before we hear that these events are rare, let us take a moment to reflect on one paper’s estimations:

    http://genome.cshlp.org/conten.....f_ipsecsha

    “The comparison to intergenic DNA sequences indicates that about 39% of silent sites in protein-coding regions are deleterious and subject to negative selection.”

    So “silent sites” are not that silent after all. Which is my original point – perhaps there is variable function in apparent “synonymous” mutations.

    Further reading of interest, around degeneracy lifting:

    http://labs.mcb.harvard.edu/Cl.....%20et%20al.,%20PNAS.pdf

    Secondly, with regards to the likelihood of convergence wd400 your specific example is of one aa which is hardly outside the scope of natural processes easily achieving independently. However, when we see multiple amino acid changes that are the same in distant species you have to question the probability especially when you have no evidence that the intermediate mutations are neutral or rather non-deleterious.

  75. 75
    Virgil Cain says:

    Dr JDD- Every time you question a liberal you are ranting. Every time you don’t just accept the party-line, even though it ain’t your party, you are ranting. Good scientists are not welcome in liberal circles, unless you are a good scientist and tow the party line. 😎

  76. 76
    Dr JDD says:

    Indeed Virgil, indeed. One of the reasons I left academia for industry – no one gives 2 hoots about towing the line but rather are we going to cure people of disease with our drugs.

    Anyhoo, if interested here are the types of convergent evolution that defy belief:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/94/22/11992.full.pdf

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11070061

    http://www.botany.ubc.ca/keeli.....rgPNAS.pdf

  77. 77
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: 1. What is the sky?

    So your argument is that you don’t know what the sky is.

  78. 78
    wd400 says:

    JDD,

    The mounting of the high horse was all this “I was giving you a chance to.not look foolish…” stuff when it was readily apparent that the point you were making was irrelevant to Zach’s comment. You continue to make new versions of this point but they have yet to gain relevance.

    The “rant” is your tendency to go off on these evidence-free soliloquies throwing around words like materialism, presuming people who disagree with you do so in bad faith an erecting straw man opponents for you to beat. You latest one was about molecular convergences so I went back to one calculation on the probability of these. I don’t know which examples you have in mind that have intermediate states , let alone deleterious ones, I was speaking specifically about the ones people here talk about.

    When you actually provide some examples of this apparently overwhelming deluge of molecular convergences we get two >15 year old papers and a dead link.

  79. 79
    Mung says:

    wd400: Why does the tree estimated from synonymous mutations match the standard phylogeny?

    Mung: Because they both use the same assumptions and the same techniques?

    Zachriel:

    The observed patterns exist regardless of any theoretical explanation. In the case of prestin, the gene is very similar across mammals, but, nonetheless, is consistent with the standard phylogeny — except for whales and bats. If we look only at synonymous substitutions, then whales and bats also fit the standard phylogeny. Furthermore, the rate of change of synonymous substitutions fits the expected rate of divergence.

    The validity of an explanation is judged by its ability to explain the observed patterns, and by its ability to predict new observations. Wd400 asked above “Why does the tree estimated from synonymous mutations match the standard phylogeny?” Evolution provides a testable hypothesis.

    The question was why these two specific patterns “match” each other.

    I offered a possible answer as to why these two specific patterns “match” each other.

    Are you saying my answer is bogus? That the methods used by the pattern creators don’t use the same common assumptions and methods?

  80. 80
    wd400 says:

    Mung, you seem to be missing the context.

    Some folks make a big about the fact some genes, like prestin, give a tree that groups bats and dolphins. They further claim the evolutionary explanation for this, that these apparent relationship is the result of convergent evolution, is an ad hoc kludge to save common descent as an idea.

    In fact, if we look at the synonymous sites, which are not subject the positive selective pressure underlying the convergence, we get the same tree we get from normal sequences.

    Thus the same evolutionary history is contained even in these convergent protein’s DNA sequences. It can’t simply be that the assumptions and techniques applied, because those same assumptions are techniques are applied to the convergent trees too!

  81. 81
    Dr JDD says:

    I quote a >15yr old paper and get scorned whilst you lot quote a >150yr old statement about how “convergence is expected”.

    Irony?

    Yes, let’s ignore some evidence because it is a bit older so I don’t trust it. Look there are plenty of staggering examples of convergent evolution that are more recent. I didn’t post those for blind people like yourself wd400 but for those seeking truth.

    If you want something very recent how about this finding:

    http://m.pnas.org/content/112/7/2087.abstract

    Which has evolutionists now claiming you can’t go 2bn yrs without evolution so it must be convergent evolution.

    On those seeking truth, the irony is certainly not lost.

  82. 82
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Although the apparent 2-billion-year-long stasis of such sulfur-cycling ecosystems is consistent with the null hypothesis required of Darwinian evolution—if there is no change in the physical-biological environment of a well-adapted ecosystem, its biotic components should similarly remain unchanged—additional evidence will be needed to establish this aspect of evolutionary theory.

    It will be interesting to see the evidence that shows there was no change in the physical-biological environment for 2 billion years.

    But of course, failing that …

    Dr JDD: Which has evolutionists now claiming you can’t go 2bn yrs without evolution so it must be convergent evolution.

    I think wd400 has a nice term for that … “ad hoc kludge”.

  83. 83
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Dr JDD – the last link in your #76 isn’t working. Thanks.

  84. 84
    wd400 says:

    “you lot”?

    You really sound like someone out to seek the truth…

  85. 85
    Mung says:

    wd400: Mung, you seem to be missing the context.

    That is entirely possible!

  86. 86
    Mung says:

    wd400: “you lot”?

    erm, you people?

  87. 87
    Box says:

    Well, what do you know! A happenstance amalgamation of blind particles in motion feels offended by “you lot”!

  88. 88
    wd400 says:

    Not particularly offended, and don’t see how my (assumed) religious beliefs contribute to my ability to be offended.

    The comment just demonstrates who shallow all this “truth seekers” business is with JDD.

    (btw, you could go some way to distinguish yourself from this sort of team-ism by admitting your man Easterbrook was making a really awful argument here)

  89. 89
    bornagain77 says:

    “making a really awful argument”

    says the reigning king of ‘making a really awful argument’ and never, ever, admitting it.

  90. 90
    Dr JDD says:

    Sorry wd400 – I assumed as Zachriel always uses the term “we” in his responses and how you constantly agree and defend him that you must also accept this distinction. Just trying to use your terms!

  91. 91
    Box says:

    WD400: (…) my (assumed) religious beliefs (…)

    I am curious. Which is it? Are you a person or a happenstantial collection of irrational particles in motion?

  92. 92
    wd400 says:

    I’ve no idea what you are going on about now Box. I’m a person, fwiw, and not sure that particles can be irrational.

  93. 93
    Box says:

    WD400: I’m a person (…)

    Thank you. I’m sorry to have bothered you—I mistook you for a materialist.

  94. 94
    wd400 says:

    Are you seriously saying only non-materialists have a basis to call people people? I’ve read some bizarre claims here, but that would be pretty close to the top!

  95. 95
    Carpathian says:

    Box:

    WD400: I’m a person (…)

    Box: Thank you. I’m sorry to have bothered you—I mistook you for a materialist.

    Are you saying that someone who is not religious is not a person?

  96. 96
    Box says:

    WD400,
    My question to you was “are you person?” Obviously, materialism offers no basis for “person”.

    FOR SOLID EVOLUTIONARY REASONS, WE’VE BEEN tricked into looking at life from the inside. Without scientism, we look at life from the inside, from the first-person POV (OMG, you don’t know what a POV is?—a “point of view”). The first person is the subject, the audience, the viewer of subjective experience, the self in the mind.
    Scientism shows that the first-person POV is an illusion. Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person. But at least we’ll know that it’s another illusion of introspection and we’ll stop taking it seriously. We’ll give up all the answers to the persistent questions about free will, the self, the soul, and the meaning of life that the illusion generates.
    The physical facts fix all the facts. The mind is the brain. It has to be physical and it can’t be anything else, since thinking, feeling, and perceiving are physical process—in particular, input/output processes—going on in the brain. We can be sure of a great deal about how the brain works because the physical facts fix all the facts about the brain. The fact that the mind is the brain guarantees that there is no free will. It rules out any purposes or designs organizing our actions or our lives. It excludes the very possibility of enduring persons, selves, or souls that exist after death or for that matter while we live. Not that there was ever much doubt about mortality anyway.
    This chapter uses the science of Chapter 8 to provide scientism’s answers to the persistent questions about us and the mind. The fact that these answers are so different from what life’s illusions tell us from the inside of consciousness is just more reason not to take introspection seriously.
    The neural circuits in our brain manage the beautifully coordinated and smoothly appropriate behavior of our body. They also produce the entrancing introspective illusion that thoughts really are about stuff in the world. This powerful illusion has been with humanity since language kicked in, as we’ll see. It is the source of at least two other profound myths: that we have purposes that give our actions and lives meaning and that there is a person “in there” steering the body, so to speak. To see why we make these mistakes and why it’s so hard to avoid them, we need to understand the source of the illusion that thoughts are about stuff.

    [A.Rosenberg, ‘The Atheist’s Guide to Reality’, ch.9 ‘FAREWELL TO THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE’]

  97. 97
    asauber says:

    “Obviously, materialism offers no basis for “person”.

    Ah yes, but it does go hand in surgical glove with things like abortions.

    Person? What person?

    Andrew

  98. 98
    Carpathian says:

    Box:

    It is the source of at least two other profound myths: that we have purposes that give our actions and lives meaning and that there is a person “in there” steering the body, so to speak.

    Why do you think you need an external “purpose” to give your life meaning?

    Why do you think you need a soul that is separate from your body?

  99. 99
    wd400 says:

    OK then Box, i certainly won’t be wasting any more of my time talking to you then.

  100. 100
    Box says:

    WD400 #99,

    because materialism cannot provide a basis for “person”, you certainly won’t be wasting any more of your time talking to me?

  101. 101
    Carpathian says:

    Box:

    WD400,
    My question to you was “are you person?” Obviously, materialism offers no basis for “person”.

    I think this clearly shows that ID is not about the “message” as much as it is about the “messenger”.

    If one is religious, then he is a messenger to be listened to, on the other hand if one is not religious, his message can be dismissed.

    This makes debates easy to resolve since the “message”, e.g. science in this case, is irrelevant.

  102. 102
    Box says:

    Carpathian #101,

    There is no obvious link between ID and the fact that materialism cannot provide a basis for “person”.

  103. 103
    Carpathian says:

    Box,

    There is a link between IDists and a separate mind/brain architecture which leads to the materialist/non-materialist fallacy.

    Materialists are no less “persons” than religious people are.

    I see a tribal division where viewpoints from the non-religious are dismissed solely due to their source.

    This is what I see you doing now.

    There is no science backing up your point of view.

  104. 104
    Box says:

    Carpathian,

    WD400 transparent attempt to side-step the enormous problems, which follow from the fact that materialism cannot provide a basis for the existence of a person (see #96), by interpreting it as a personal attack, seems to appeal to you. Why are you willing to join WD400’s distortion?
    It is not a personal attack to point out that materialism cannot provide a basis for the existence of a person.

    Carpathian: If one is religious, then he is a messenger to be listened to, on the other hand if one is not religious, his message can be dismissed. (…)
    Materialists are no less “persons” than religious people are.

    Kindly, stop the nonsense. I’m not saying that materialists are less persons than anyone else. I’m pointing out that a materialist cannot ground personhood.

  105. 105
    wd400 says:

    I don’t think it’s a personal attack. I haven’t told you what my religious beliefs are and don’t find discussions about region very interesting.

    I just think you are deranged if you really think that only non-materialists can refer to people as people. More to the point, it’s indicative of a tribalistic position that makes genuine discussion pointless. That being the case I won’t bother.

  106. 106
    Virgil Cain says:

    Carpathian:

    Materialists are no less “persons” than religious people are.

    It takes faith to be a materialist so they are religious. There isn’t any science that supports materialism.

  107. 107
    Barry Arrington says:

    Box @ 104:

    Every time your opponent responds to your argument by pretending you said something you plainly did not say, that is a sure sign they’ve got nothin’. You win.

  108. 108
    Box says:

    WD400 (#105) I don’t think it’s a personal attack. I haven’t told you what my religious beliefs are and don’t find discussions about region very interesting.

    Well, thank you for clarifying, because in post #99 ….

    WD400 (#99): OK then Box, i certainly won’t be wasting any more of my time talking to you then.

    …. you come across as offended.

    WD400: I just think you are deranged if you really think that only non-materialists can refer to people as people.

    Consistent materialists can refer to people as people—as long as by that they mean something like ‘happenstantial collection of particles in motion’—but not as persons (see #96).

  109. 109
    anthropic says:

    Hmmm… It really is a head-scatcher why materialists are offended when someone points out that their own worldview precludes their status as persons.

    I mean, why take it personally?

  110. 110
    Carpathian says:

    Virgil Cain:

    It takes faith to be a materialist so they are religious. There isn’t any science that supports materialism.

    There is no science that supports ID.

    There is no argument that supports ID as every single one refers to the improbability of non-ID evolution.

    Show me one ID argument that at its core does not contain the assertion that non-ID evolution is improbable.

    Show me a positive ID argument.

    Show me a specification that existed before a life-form was “designed”.

  111. 111
    Carpathian says:

    anthropic:

    Hmmm… It really is a head-scatcher why materialists are offended when someone points out that their own worldview precludes their status as persons.

    That makes as much sense as saying someone’s worldview precludes their acceptance of the existence of pain.

  112. 112
    Carpathian says:

    anthropic:

    I mean, why take it personally?

    Because that’s the way it was meant.

    You can either address the message or the messenger.

    It appears that ID targets the messenger when it can’t handle the message.

  113. 113
    Carpathian says:

    Box:

    Kindly, stop the nonsense. I’m not saying that materialists are less persons than anyone else. I’m pointing out that a materialist cannot ground personhood.

    That makes no sense.

    I feel pain regardless of whether I can “ground the concept of pain”.

    ID is wrong or it isn’t, regardless of the worldview of the participants involved in the debate.

  114. 114
    Virgil Cain says:

    Carpathian:

    There is no science that supports ID.

    Of course there is. You wouldn’t know as you don’t know jack about science.

    There is no argument that supports ID as every single one refers to the improbability of non-ID evolution.

    There are plenty of arguments that support ID and not one that supports unguided evolution.

    Both evolutionary and genetic algorithms model guided/ intelligent design evolution. Unguided evolution can’t be modeled.

    Show me one ID argument that at its core does not contain the assertion that non-ID evolution is improbable.

    Umm science demands that we eliminate necessity and chance before considering design. So all design arguments have to dispense with that. As I said, you don’t know jack about science.

    Show me a positive ID argument.

    “Our ability to be confident of the design of the cilium or intracellular transport rests on the same principles to be confident of the design of anything: the ordering of separate components to achieve an identifiable function that depends sharply on the components.”– Dr Behe

    ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):

    1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.

    2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.

    3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.

    4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

    There you have it- to falsify Intelligent Design all one has to do is demonstrate that natural selection can produce irreducibly complex biological systems.

    As Dr Behe said:

    Now, one can’t have it both ways. One can’t say both that ID is unfalsifiable (or untestable) and that there is evidence against it. Either it is unfalsifiable and floats serenely beyond experimental reproach, or it can be criticized on the basis of our observations and is therefore testable. The fact that critical reviewers advance scientific arguments against ID (whether successfully or not) shows that intelligent design is indeed falsifiable.

    In fact, my argument for intelligent design is open to direct experimental rebuttal. Here is a thought experiment that makes the point clear. In Darwin’s Black Box (Behe 1996) I claimed that the bacterial flagellum was irreducibly complex and so required deliberate intelligent design. The flip side of this claim is that the flagellum can’t be produced by natural selection acting on random mutation, or any other unintelligent process. To falsify such a claim, a scientist could go into the laboratory, place a bacterial species lacking a flagellum under some selective pressure (for mobility, say), grow it for ten thousand generations, and see if a flagellum–or any equally complex system–was produced. If that happened, my claims would be neatly disproven.(1)

    How about Professor Coyne’s concern that, if one system were shown to be the result of natural selection, proponents of ID could just claim that some other system was designed? I think the objection has little force. If natural selection were shown to be capable of producing a system of a certain degree of complexity, then the assumption would be that it could produce any other system of an equal or lesser degree of complexity. If Coyne demonstrated that the flagellum (which requires approximately forty gene products) could be produced by selection, I would be rather foolish to then assert that the blood clotting system (which consists of about twenty proteins) required intelligent design.

    Let’s turn the tables and ask, how could one falsify the claim that, say, the bacterial flagellum was produced by Darwinian processes?

    I am sure all of that will be lost on you.

    Show me a specification that existed before a life-form was “designed”.

    Why is that a requirement?

    Show me a specification that existed of Stonehenge before it was built. Do you think they just placed the stones willy-nilly?

  115. 115
    kairosfocus says:

    Carpathian,

    when you have a worldview that has trouble grounding mind, morals and personhood on its core premises, that worldview — materialism — is looking at self referential absurdity.

    Again, Haldane:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. ]

    Saying I recognise myself to be a person but holding a worldview hopelessly unable to ground that, is to imply a factually inadequate worldview. Worse, the task of grounding is rational, so trouble with grounding mind leads to self-referential incoherence for materialism.

    Beyond, there is amorality, which leads to the absurdity, might and manipulation make “right.”

    Materialism is in deep trouble.

    KF

  116. 116
    Box says:

    Carpathian,

    Box: I’m pointing out that a materialist cannot ground personhood.

    Carpathian: That makes no sense.

    Indeed. I agree. However it is something that materialists have to deal with. It follows logically from metaphysical materialism: if particles in motion are all that exist, then there are no persons. See for instance the quote from A.Rosenberg’s book at post #96.

    Carpathian: I feel pain regardless of whether I can “ground the concept of pain”.

    Forget about pain, let’s talk about the “I” who is experiencing pain. Rosenberg — a consistent materialist — will tell you that your “I” (your first-person point of view) is an illusion.
    Read the quote at #96.

  117. 117
    asauber says:

    “It appears that ID targets the messenger…”

    Oh sure. We target the low hanging fruits first: Dumb Progs.

    Andrew

  118. 118
    Mung says:

    Carpathian is not a materialist.

    He believes in the immaterial OSI model in which only the physical layer is actually physical.

    Right Carpathian?

  119. 119
    Mung says:

    Carpathian: Show me one ID argument that at its core does not contain the assertion that non-ID evolution is improbable.

    What on earth is non-ID evolution?

    And what are you going on about? Even evolutionists admit evolution is improbable.

  120. 120
    anthropic says:

    Carpathaian —

    athropic:
    I mean, why take it personally?
    —————————————-
    Because that’s the way it was meant.

    You can either address the message or the messenger.

    It appears that ID targets the messenger when it can’t handle the message.
    ——————————————

    No fair pretending you have no sense of humor, Carp. I’m sure you really do! After all, you are a person, despite embracing a philosophy that denies it.

  121. 121
    goodusername says:

    I’m pointing out that a materialist cannot ground personhood.

    Is there a different view that can? If so, how?

  122. 122
    Mung says:

    goodusername: Is there a different view that can? If so, how?

    Yes. A view that is grounded in personhood itself by establishing that personhood is by participation.

    God in three persons, blessed Trinity. That’s how.

  123. 123
    Box says:

    goodusername: Is there a different view that can? If so, how?

    The short answer is: any metaphysics that—unlike materialism—posits persons as foundational to reality.

  124. 124
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Mung 122

    Its interesting – the concept of person was refined and distinguished through theology (building on metaphysics).

    There is no distinction between nature and person within materialism It’s illusory.

    In fact, the term ‘human nature’ is meaningless in that context.

    How does a materialist reference (or ‘find’) what is a ‘person’? What’s the scientific evidence for it?

    The normal response is just to express outrage. “You’re saying atheists aren’t persons?!?!”

    No, we’re asking you to think about it and to try to understand. Rosenberg explains it quite well in #96. Nobody has wanted to deal with that yet.

Leave a Reply