Darwinism Education News

Musta missed this one last year, from a NON-ID supporter:

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So why are we still funding conceptually empty Darwinism?

Oh yes, because of all the [horses] on the payroll. And the (no kidding) “superheroes” of the Darwin in the schools lobby, fuelled by out of date court decisions.

The physical science of Darwin’s time, which provided a backdrop to his thinking, was dominated by Newton’s concept that material bodies only change course in proportion to external forces that act on them. It also included the often more pertinent notion (e.g., for the molding of pliable materials) from Aristotle of matter changing position or shape only to the extent that it continues to be pushed. These ideas, however, did not pretend to account for the sudden reorganizational changes (freezing, melting, phase separation, compositional change) seen in complex chemically and mechanically active materials. We now recognize that the tissues of a developing embryo are indeed such non-Newtonian, non-Aristotelian materials. By the end of Darwin’s life new physical theories were being put forward to explain abrupt and large-scale changes in such materials, and by extension, the character and transformations of organisms and their organs.

So why are taxpayers still funding Darwin’s profs? Kairosfocus has been talking about the Texas school board hearings (which are really about forcing the public to fund an obviously exploded model of science).

14 Replies to “Musta missed this one last year, from a NON-ID supporter:

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    I liked this part:

    Where Do Complex Organisms Come From? – 12/04/2012 – Stuart A. Newman – Professor of cell biology and anatomy, New York Medical College
    Excerpt: First, let’s look at some of the expectations of the natural selection-based modern synthesis (of Darwinism): (i) the largest differences within given categories of multicellular organisms, the animals or plants, for example, should have appeared gradually, only after exceptionally long periods of evolution; (ii) the extensive genetic changes required to generate such large differences over such vast times would have virtually erased any similarity between the sets of genes coordinating development in the different types of organism; and (iii) evolution of body types and organs should continue indefinitely. Since genetic mutation never ceases, novel organismal forms should constantly be appearing.
    All these predictions of the standard model have proved to be incorrect.,,,
    With a 19th century notion of incremental material transformations no longer relevant to comprehending the range of organismal variation that has appeared throughout the history of life on Earth, the other pillar of the standard model can be discarded along with it. Specifically,,, there is no need for cycles of selection for marginal adaptive advantage to be the default explanation for macroevolutionary change.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....40232.html

    As well, that Maverick of molecular biology, James Shapiro, makes several comments in the comment section of the article.

  2. 2
    jstanley01 says:

    In fact, adaptationist gradualism, though still popular in some scientific circles, is increasingly questioned and found wanting by evolutionary biologists working in an expanded set of disciplines.

    Hmm… Exactly the way one would predict the research to lead if ID is true.

  3. 3
    selvaRajan says:

    As of today ID is just a set of arguments against Evolution. The Intelligent agent is yet to be identified and there is no move to do so. Unless ID proponents show some progress and research in determining the intelligent agent, how can you expect universities and schools to accept the theory?

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    As of today ID is just a set of arguments against Evolution

    You use the term Evolution. It is capitalized. Perhaps you should define the term so all can comment on a level playing field

    Most scientific theories will criticize the weakness of alternative explanations as they put forth their explanation. That is a traditionally common practice. But ID is more than this. It is an examination of the level of complexity of certain entities and their possible origins. As such it is a very scientific approach as it examines just what processes produce various things found in nature.

  5. 5
    andyjones says:

    @selvaRajan

    In some sense we all know the Intelligent agent is God. Identifying the intelligent agent is not the problem. But even if it had been an alien, would you really have to put one in a bottle before you will believe that *something* designed life?

    But if it was God, then that is like asking for him to identify him is like someone in The Matrix to identify the original programmer of The Matrix. Not going to happen, at least not unless the original programmer inserts a representation of himself… When you insist that we identify the designer, I presume you would exclude revelation as evidence, so you are limiting yourself to discovering material beings. You are hobbling your reasoning process! There could be a whole outer reality and you would never know!

    While it would be nice to identify the designer, it is sufficient to know that there *might* be one. We start from a position of formal agnosticism, and then we find evidence that adds strong support to the hypothesis that such an intelligence exists.

    Also, ID is not merely anti-evolution. It would never have been an issue at all except that biology is full of stuff that looks like it was designed at every level. If you want to analyse that, there is an implicit comparison or analogy to human design in there. Evolution explains some things well, but it sucks at explaining other things: like the origin of new protein folds, the origin of phyla (and probably many lower taxonomic groups) and it certainly doesnt explain the origin of life. But ID does!

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    Stuart A. Newman is one of the key authors that Meyer cites in his new book.

    Here is a page on one of the books that Meyer references:

    http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/.....ismal-form

    A short description of the book:

    Drawing on work from developmental biology, paleontology, developmental and population genetics, cancer research, physics, and theoretical biology, this book explores the multiple factors responsible for the origination of biological form. It examines the essential problems of morphological evolution—why, for example, the basic body plans of nearly all metazoans arose within a relatively short time span, why similar morphological design motifs appear in phylogenetically independent lineages, and how new structural elements are added to the body plan of a given phylogenetic lineage. It also examines discordances between genetic and phenotypic change, the physical determinants of morphogenesis, and the role of epigenetic processes in evolution. The book discusses these and other topics within the framework of evolutionary developmental biology, a new research agenda that concerns the interaction of development and evolution in the generation of biological form. By placing epigenetic processes, rather than gene sequence and gene expression changes, at the center of morphological origination, this book points the way to a more comprehensive theory of evolution.

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    This volume challenges the primacy of both neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory and developmental genetics as complete explanations for the phenomena of evolutionary developmental biology.

    But epigenetics poses no challenge to neo-Darwinian theory.

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    Newman has a chapter in a new book on Genetics published this year

    http://www.amazon.com/Genetic-.....0674064461

    A description of the book

    Can genes determine which fifty-year-old will succumb to Alzheimer’s, which citizen will turn out on voting day, and which child will be marked for a life of crime? Yes, according to the Internet, a few scientific studies, and some in the biotechnology industry who should know better. Sheldon Krimsky and Jeremy Gruber gather a team of genetic experts to argue that treating genes as the holy grail of our physical being is a patently unscientific endeavor. Genetic Explanations urges us to replace our faith in genetic determinism with scientific knowledge about how DNA actually contributes to human development.

    The concept of the gene has been steadily revised since Watson and Crick discovered the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953. No longer viewed by scientists as the cell’s fixed set of master molecules, genes and DNA are seen as a dynamic script that is ad-libbed at each stage of development. Rather than an autonomous predictor of disease, the DNA we inherit interacts continuously with the environment and functions differently as we age. What our parents hand down to us is just the beginning. Emphasizing relatively new understandings of genetic plasticity and epigenetic inheritance, the authors put into a broad developmental context the role genes are known to play in disease, behavior, evolution, and cognition.

    Rather than dismissing genetic reductionism out of hand, Krimsky and Gruber ask why it persists despite opposing scientific evidence, how it influences attitudes about human behavior, and how it figures in the politics of research funding.

    The title of Newman’s chapter:

    Evolution is not Mainly a Matter of Genes

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    selvaRajan:

    The fundamental design inference is that we see functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated info [FSCO/I] or its near synonyms. It is observable and measurable e.g. document file sizes. Once we are beyond 500 – 1,000 bits, it is implausible that blind chance and/or blind necessity could give rise to it on needle in haystack grounds and for billions of cases, we reliably see it formed through design.

    On induction backed up by the analysis, we see that FSCO/I is a reliable sign of design.

    Thus, confidently we infer from its presence, design as the most credible — only and reliably known — cause. In general this is not even controversial, it is only that something that many are determined to explain on blind chance and necessity is chock full of design that we see much storm and fury, strawman mischaracterisation and the like to which the proper answer is simple: simply show us on observation how blind chance and necessity gives rise to FSCO/I.

    Has not been done for random documents, has not been done by genetic algors etc, has not been done by OOL research, has not been done by studies on origin of complex body plans, etc.

    The analysis tells why, as to search out the space of configs for 500 bits, the capacity of the solar system’s 10^57 atoms for its lifespan on usual timelines would at most sample the equivalent to 1 straw to a cubical haystack 1,000 light years across. Not materially different from no search. Time to put the strawman caricatures aside and address the FSCO/I orignation challenge.

    KF

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Oh boy: is chock full of a feature that reliably points to design

  11. 11
    Upright BiPed says:

    selvaRajan at #3,

    I suppose you’ll want everyone to operate under the same standard you’ve set for ID, even as flawed as your standard may be?

    So, as of today, Materialism is just a set of arguments against theism. The mechanism of abiogenesis is yet to be identified. Unless Materialists can demonstrate that process, they cannot expect universities and schools to accept it as a scientific theory, and indeed it cannot be made a part of any legitimate science education.

  12. 12
    Brent says:

    BiPed, now that’s hitting a materialist firmly below the belt, ya know?

    Interestingly, selvaRajan wants “us” to posit a material explanation for our non-material empirical and necessary deductive conclusions. One might be excused for thinking he has tilted the table ever so slightly.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    selvaRajan, besides ‘a set of arguments’ we also have some pretty cool poetry! 🙂

    “Darwin’s Doubt” || Spoken Word – Phil Long
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywPJmFqrqhM

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    Since Newman was brought up and I made a couple references to him, here is the article from the book edited by Gruber

    http://www.councilforresponsib.....0ZKXGA.pdf

    The rest of the book is here in the form of pdf files

    http://www.councilforresponsib.....rojectId=9

    Newman certainly does not support ID though one never knows because of the need to keep something quiet. I found this analysis of the Darwinian process to be very good. He rejects number 8 which is what ID rejects.

    1) Organisms present themselves as “types,” perpetuating themselves (in the words of the Bible) “each according to their kind.”

    2) Each organismal type, however, is represented by actual individuals that are all somewhat different from one another.

    3) Part of this variability is also passed on from one generation to the next; offspring are not only recognizable members of their type but also carry on some of their parents’ particularities.

    4) As external circumstances change, for example by a rise in the ambient temperature or depletion of a certain foodstuff, subpopulations of the group with particular quirks, or differences from the norm, will survive or thrive to a better extent than average, contributing disproportionately higher numbers of descendents to succeeding populations.

    5) Later generations in these subpopulations will thus have different average properties from earlier ones.

    6) After enough generations have passed the original type may no longer be recognizable in the selected subpopulations: a new type of organism will have emerged.

    7) If no individuals of the new type can productively interbreed with any individuals of the originating population, speciation, the smallest step of evolutionary significance, will have taken place.

    8) The conditions and processes described in propositions 1-7 constitute the mechanism by which new biological forms arise over time; all large-scale differences, e.g., between plants and animals or between insects and mammals, were generated by a series of many small species-level diversification events.

    He goes on to say

    The observations contained in propositions 1-5 were uncontroversial in the 19th century European context in which Darwin (and his contemporary co-formulator of the hypothesis, Alfred Russel Wallace) presented the idea, and are accepted even among present-day creationists. Only with items 6 and 7 does the mechanism of natural selection emerge, and even then there are few who would disagree with its implications. Proposition 8, without which natural selection cannot explain large scale-, or macro-, evolution, is the one that has engendered the most opposition. The most prominent opponents are denialists who reject the idea that macroevolution has even occurred. But there are also a growing number of evolutionary biologists who believe that macroevolution was the result of mechanisms other than natural selection. This disagreement with the standard model revolves to a great extent around the purported role of genes in evolutionary change.

    He then like others looks for another mechanism that essentially works on the body plan of the organism and is located in the zygote somewhere but not in the genome.

    This is an essential part of Meyer’s book.

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