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Teaching evolution as an act of faith in Darwinism: Why that ol’ “gut feeling” matters so much

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credit Laszlo Bencze

A number of friends have sent us various media notices regarding a recent study to the effect that “When It Comes to Accepting Evolution, Gut Feelings Trump Facts” (Ohio State University, 1/19/2012). We covered it here,and the finding doesn’t surprise us:

For students to accept the theory of evolution, an intuitive “gut feeling” may be just as important as understanding the facts, according to a new study.

Essentially, as forced on students in school, “evolution” has about the same teaching value as hip hop, Star Trek,, self-esteem courses, The Lord of the Rings, or teen vampire films. The thing either grabs your gut or it doesn’t. If it does, it can shape your values. If it doesn’t, harangue, legislation, persecution, or punishment may fail to give you that gut grab.

Of course, there is the in-between crowd – the people who don’t have that gut feeling about the Darwin story, but realize they had better pretend, in order to get ahead.

Today, they’re the lucky ones. Pity the poor student who is taught that some minor, possibly reversible variation in a life form over a few generations is equivalent to the acquisition of vast, intricate mechanisms “given enough time” … and is a serious enough student to question that assumption …

Enough time, he asks? What is “enough time”, exactly, in scientific terms?

When that student goes to the chem lab, he learns about time as a science concept: “Enough time”for a reaction under certain specified circumstances = 8.5 seconds in his flask, class average 8.4 seconds. It is not some vague concept about how something might have happened, by no exactly explained process, “given enough time.” That isn’t a scientific term at all, it is an act of faith in Darwinism.

But Darwinism is law for many school systems and the chem lab can’t undo all the damage.

Which tells you a lot about the state of education today. Reduced to grabbing the gut. Let’s hope it doesn’t get any lower …

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Hat tip: Stephanie West Allan at Brains on Purpose

4 Replies to “Teaching evolution as an act of faith in Darwinism: Why that ol’ “gut feeling” matters so much

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to ‘not enough time’:

    The Evolutionary Accessibility of New Enzyme Functions: A Case Study from the Biotin Pathway – Ann K. Gauger and Douglas D. Axe – April 2011
    Excerpt: We infer from the mutants examined that successful functional conversion would in this case require seven or more nucleotide substitutions. But evolutionary innovations requiring that many changes would be extraordinarily rare, becoming probable only on timescales much longer than the age of life on earth.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2011.1

    When Theory and Experiment Collide — April 16th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model [3], we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied.
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....t-collide/

    Book Review – Meyer, Stephen C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
    Excerpt: As early as the 1960s, those who approached the problem of the origin of life from the standpoint of information theory and combinatorics observed that something was terribly amiss. Even if you grant the most generous assumptions: that every elementary particle in the observable universe is a chemical laboratory randomly splicing amino acids into proteins every Planck time for the entire history of the universe, there is a vanishingly small probability that even a single functionally folded protein of 150 amino acids would have been created. Now of course, elementary particles aren’t chemical laboratories, nor does peptide synthesis take place where most of the baryonic mass of the universe resides: in stars or interstellar and intergalactic clouds. If you look at the chemistry, it gets even worse—almost indescribably so: the precursor molecules of many of these macromolecular structures cannot form under the same prebiotic conditions—they must be catalysed by enzymes created only by preexisting living cells, and the reactions required to assemble them into the molecules of biology will only go when mediated by other enzymes, assembled in the cell by precisely specified information in the genome.
    So, it comes down to this: Where did that information come from? The simplest known free living organism (although you may quibble about this, given that it’s a parasite) has a genome of 582,970 base pairs, or about one megabit (assuming two bits of information for each nucleotide, of which there are four possibilities). Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search. Yet here we have a minimal information string which is (if you understand combinatorics) so indescribably improbable to have originated by chance that adjectives fail.
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/docume.....k_726.html

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    Dr. Stephen Meyer comments at the end of the preceding video,,,

    ‘Now one more problem as far as the generation of information. It turns out that you don’t only need information to build genes and proteins, it turns out to build Body-Plans you need higher levels of information; Higher order assembly instructions. DNA codes for the building of proteins, but proteins must be arranged into distinctive circuitry to form distinctive cell types. Cell types have to be arranged into tissues. Tissues have to be arranged into organs. Organs and tissues must be specifically arranged to generate whole new Body-Plans, distinctive arrangements of those body parts. We now know that DNA alone is not responsible for those higher orders of organization. DNA codes for proteins, but by itself it does insure that proteins, cell types, tissues, organs, will all be arranged in the body. And what that means is that the Body-Plan morphogenesis, as it is called, depends upon information that is not encoded on DNA. Which means you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan. So what we can conclude from that is that the neo-Darwinian mechanism is grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information necessary to build new genes and proteins, and it is also grossly inadequate to explain the origination of novel biological form.’ – Stephen Meyer – (excerpt taken from Meyer/Sternberg vs. Shermer/Prothero debate – 2009)

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Further notes:

    Dr. Hugh Ross – Origin Of Life Paradox – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4012696

    Archaean Microfossils and the Implications for Intelligent Design – August 2011
    Excerpt: This dramatically limits the amount of time, and thus the probablistic resources, available to those who wish to invoke purely unguided and purposeless material processes to explain the origin of life.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....49921.html

    Without enzyme, biological reaction essential to life takes 2.3 billion years: UNC study:
    In 1995, Wolfenden reported that without a particular enzyme, a biological transformation he deemed “absolutely essential” in creating the building blocks of DNA and RNA would take 78 million years.“Now we’ve found a reaction that – again, in the absence of an enzyme – is almost 30 times slower than that,” Wolfenden said. “Its half-life – the time it takes for half the substance to be consumed – is 2.3 billion years, about half the age of the Earth. Enzymes can make that reaction happen in milliseconds.”
    http://www.med.unc.edu/www/new.....=Wolfenden

    “Phosphatase speeds up reactions vital for cell signalling by 10^21 times. Allows essential reactions to take place in a hundreth of a second; without it, it would take a trillion years!” Jonathan Sarfati
    http://www.pnas.org/content/100/10/5607.abstract

    Programming of Life – Proteins & Enzymes – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Pr.....OxR23EdG3s

    In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God.
    William Lane Craig

    Waiting Longer for Two Mutations – Michael J. Behe
    Excerpt: Citing malaria literature sources (White 2004) I had noted that the de novo appearance of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum was an event of probability of 1 in 10^20. I then wrote that ‘for humans to achieve a mutation like this by chance, we would have to wait 100 million times 10 million years’ (1 quadrillion years)(Behe 2007) (because that is the extrapolated time that it would take to produce 10^20 humans). Durrett and Schmidt (2008, p. 1507) retort that my number ‘is 5 million times larger than the calculation we have just given’ using their model (which nonetheless “using their model” gives a prohibitively long waiting time of 216 million years). Their criticism compares apples to oranges. My figure of 10^20 is an empirical statistic from the literature; it is not, as their calculation is, a theoretical estimate from a population genetics model.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9461

    not only do we not have enough time, we don’t, as massive as it is, even have a big enough universe:

    Abiogenic Origin of Life: A Theory in Crisis – Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: The synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids from small molecule precursors represents one of the most difficult challenges to the model of prebiological evolution. There are many different problems confronted by any proposal. Polymerization is a reaction in which water is a product. Thus it will only be favored in the absence of water. The presence of precursors in an ocean of water favors depolymerization of any molecules that might be formed. Careful experiments done in an aqueous solution with very high concentrations of amino acids demonstrate the impossibility of significant polymerization in this environment. A thermodynamic analysis of a mixture of protein and amino acids in an ocean containing a 1 molar solution of each amino acid (100,000,000 times higher concentration than we inferred to be present in the prebiological ocean) indicates the concentration of a protein containing just 100 peptide bonds (101 amino acids) at equilibrium would be 10^-338 molar. Just to make this number meaningful, our universe may have a volume somewhere in the neighborhood of 10^85 liters. At 10^-338 molar, we would need an ocean with a volume equal to 10^229 universes (100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000) just to find a single molecule of any protein with 100 peptide bonds. So we must look elsewhere for a mechanism to produce polymers. It will not happen in the ocean.
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers.....fault.html

  3. 3
    Blue_Savannah says:

    It’s sad that students are being force-fed evolution as ‘fact’ and are too intimidated to question or challenge the ‘educators’ on this fallacy.

    This is why it’s important for students learn about scientists who dissent or reject darwinism and the evidence against it.

    It’s also why darwinists fight so hard against academic freedom, lest the curtain be pulled back and the charade be exposed.

  4. 4
    leebowman says:

    Some will feel intimidated and relent, while others will accept what presented as factual. But there is a third group, one of which I used to belong, who will question and even deny tenets of evolutionary theory that defy rationality.

    For those who might not have reached this level via their own cognitive sagacity, they are free to peek behind the curtain. Why wait to learn science when we essentially have the Library of Congress within our bedroom or study?

    Actually it’s much better than that. No ladders, no librarians needed, just a search algorithm. Unfortunately however, is the fact that negativisms and misrepresentations of ID will pervade. As an example, Google ‘behe’ and ‘astrology’ to see what I mean. Lies fifty to one.

    But for those who want to seek evolutionary data outside the classroom, and who figure out how to glean not just consensus based and biased studies, but the more objective ones that are emerging, they will likely enter the science classroom with an axe to grind with the prof, and may cite work by Axe himself to assist in that regard.

    So let’s work to publish more, to make efforts to educate Wiki with regard to ID’s actual work and tenets, and to oppose any governmental efforts to regulate the Internet, given the current examples of intellectual regulation and suppression by science organizations that should know better.

    If maintained as the primary source of information and knowledge, even though there are falsehoods intertwined, the Internet will help us through the maze.

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