Darwinism Evolution Intelligent Design

J. Scott Turner in the Chronicle of Higher Education — ID is asking the right questions!

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The ‘POINT OF VIEW’ article on p. B20 of the 19Jan07 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education is entitled, “Why Can’t We Discuss Intelligent Design?” The author is J. Scott Turner, Associate Professor of Biology at SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The by-line states, “His latest book, The Tinkerer’s Accomplice: How Design Emerges From Life Itself, was published by Harvard University Press this month.” (Go here for the Amazon.com listing.)

Turner’s thesis is that academics should stop trying to silence those who broach the subject of intelligent design, but rather be willing to discuss what Turner feels is “a wrongheaded idea.” His reasoning is straightforward: calling intelligent design “the latest eruption of a longstanding strain of anti-Darwinist thought,” he warns his colleagues: “In our readiness to proscribe intelligent design, we Darwinists are telling the world not only that we are unwilling to ask such questions ourselves, but that we don’t want others to ask them either. No wonder the war on Darwin won’t go away.”

Like many secular thinkers who make a show of being broad-minded and willing to “give the devil his due,” Turner tips his hat in our direction: “Here is where I have to give the proponents of intelligent design their (limited) due. Their intellectual pedigree might be suspect, their thinking might be wrong, but at least they are asking an interesting question: What is the meaning of design of the living world?”

Do I hear the sound of a gauntlet being thrown down?

48 Replies to “J. Scott Turner in the Chronicle of Higher Education — ID is asking the right questions!

  1. 1
    apollo230 says:

    I hear a Darwinist asking for free and open discussion of ID in the universities. Great!

    We should return the favor and invite Dr. Turner and his fellow Darwinists to Uncommon Descent for a free and unfettered discussion of Darwinism vs. Design.

    I personally am all for uncensored discussion provided the opposition (and ourselves) are civil, serious and well-mannered.

    Best regards,
    apollo230

  2. 2
    deric davidson says:

    an opportunity not to be missed. These opportunities raise the profile and legitimacy of ID. It is a chance to define and expand the theory/concept and show clearly its scientific basis. Go for it.

  3. 3
    idnet.com.au says:

    I would be interested in reading where Dr Turner thinks the design comes from and what evidence he has for his ideas.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    Did Turnter actually use the forbidden word “Darwinists” to describe those who believe in naturalistic evolution.

    It wasn’t in the Amazon review.

    I still think it would be worthwhile for one of the posters to periodically sponsor threads that review books such as this and encourage those who comment to have read the book. We would all learn from what is said.

  5. 5
    apollo230 says:

    On the other hand, we would be vulnerable in any debate if ID merely asserts design. If ID actually accelerates scientists’ understanding of the genetic code’s specifics above and beyond what current science can do, then we would have an unassailable position in any discourse with the opposition.

  6. 6
    apollo230 says:

    ID’s assertion of design may inspire geneticists and molecular biologists to look for (and find) new and unexpected examples of “rhyme and reason” within the genetic mechanism, but once such inspiration triggers research endeavor, old-fashioned science would take over with its testing/reverse-engineering, and it would be these methods that would actually shed light on new and specific discoveries in the venerable tradition of Watson and Crick.

    ID would only be vulnerable in a debate if we over-inflated its substance. As research inspiration, it would be great. But until it develops to the point where it actually proposes specific and testable mechanisms by which novel CSI is generated, ID will remain a spur, a call for further research-rather than a full-blown research enterprise in its own right. For the foreseeable future, science will have to fall back on the good old scientific method to accomplish the bulk of genetic discovery.

    Best regards,
    apollo230

  7. 7
    russ says:

    “But until it develops to the point where it actually proposes specific and testable mechanisms by which novel CSI is generated, ID will remain a spur, a call for further research-rather than a full-blown research enterprise in its own right.”

    But what if God designed and created the complex specified information we observe? If He used an evolutionary process, your goal might be achievable. But don’t your ground rules eliminate the possibility of special creation, since the designer’s methods may be beyond our ability to research?

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    Apparently Turner’s book is about homeostasis but why would Darwin predict this. It seemed more designed. There is a difference between homeostasis within an organism and within an ecology but each seemed to be designed.

    One thing that may be testable is the limits of change predicted by both theories. Darwinism does not postulate anything that would restrict change; in fact blind processes should eventually push each organism to excel at finding new ways to reproduce its genes.

    I maintain that such a predisposition would be harmful to ecologies as various organisms within an ecology blindly develop superior ways to win the gene reproduction game. This is the fundamental prediction of Darwin based on Malthus’ ideas of restricted resources. Each organism does not know it must be in some form of equilibrium in the ecology even though in the long run this equilibrium is essential for survival. In the short run an organism according to Darwin’s ideas wants to dominate.

    However, ID would predict that there would be limitations on biological variation within a species in order to foster the equilibrium of the ecology. This seems to be what we find in nature and it would be an hypothesis of ID that there are parts of the genome that limit biological development.

    For example, age seems to be a variable that is essentially immutable within small ranges. Darwinism would predict a continuing move to older organisms as those who live longer reproduce more. But we do not see changes such as these. ID might postulate that there are mechanism that govern life duration directed from the genome.

    There are several other attributes that might lead to better reproduction that we do not see changes in such as improvement in the senses, higher intelligence, agility etc. Why do we not see a movement towards these within individual species? The answer might be they were designed limitations and there may be parts of the genome that are candidates for this design.

    As I look out my window I see an ecology within which according to Darwin there is a struggle for survival. This scenario is repeated a zillion times all over the world but we do not see this struggle for survival producing new ways to dominate in the gene reproducing game. ID would say there are mechanism preventing such changes while Darwin would forbid such mechanism to develop.

    Turner’s homeostasis hypothesis may be a candidate for the further undoing of Darwinism and fertile ground for ID.

  9. 9
    apollo230 says:

    Hello, Russ!

    Frankly, ID only makes sense in an evolutionary context. In my opinion, descent with modification best accounts for all the relationships between living things. Genomes underwent periodic modification, and these changes passed on to descendants through existing reproductive machinery. Special creation appears (generally) unnecessary when genetic change and existing reproductive apparati appear sufficient to drive innovation.

    Some act of special creation may have been needed to get the first living systems made, however. Additionally, I suspect that the periodic injection of novel CSI into existing genomes was necessary to drive innovation. Such CSI would have probably have required intelligence, or a template derived from intelligence, to “take shape”. These periodic injections would have been acts of creation-if not Genesis-style act of special synthesis.

    Best regards,
    apollo230

  10. 10
    JGuy says:

    “… but at least they are asking an interesting question: What is the meaning of design of the living world?”

    I wonder if he intend to support a teleological question. … Whence in nature comes “meaning”?

  11. 11
    Mats says:

    This is the kind of thing that scares the Darwinists: free and open scientific debate about opposing theories in academic circles. It’s not enough that the masses overwhelmingly reject unguided evolution, but now we have top scientists bringing the design hypothesis into universities for scientific discussions! Oh, can’t you just hear the sky falling ?!!!

  12. 12
    apollo230 says:

    RE: #10: I think that a number of Darwinists suspect that design, meaning and purpose are embedded in nature’s fabric, JGuy, but they cannot voice their suspicions out loud-if they did they would surely be fried in hogfat! 🙂

  13. 13
    russ says:

    “Frankly, ID only makes sense in an evolutionary context. In my opinion, descent with modification best accounts for all the relationships between living things.”

    I think a lot of ID supporters will disagree with you, which is of course fine, as long as no one represents your position as the “official position” of the ID movement.

  14. 14
    idnet.com.au says:

    This is a great piece of writing and I predict that Dr Turner will get into a lot of trouble for writing it. Some quotes follow.

    “Aren’t universities supposed to be a place for dangerous ideas?

    You might believe (as I do) that ID is a wrongheaded idea, but it’s hard to see how that alone should disqualify it from academic discourse.

    Even bad ideas can contain kernels of truth, and it is academe’s role to find them.

    If Darwin settled the issue once and for all, why does it keep coming back? Perhaps the fault lies with Darwin’s supporters. Rather than debate the strain on its merits, we scramble to the courts or the political ramparts to expel it from our classrooms and our students’ minds.

    The banishment of purpose from evolution is Darwinism’s sine qua non, which Darwin himself fought hard to establish, and which his descendants have defended stoutly ever since.

    It remains an open question how other forms of purposefulness might inform our thinking about evolution. What might purposeful evolution look like? Is design its signature? Can it be reconciled with Darwinism? If so, how? If not, why not?”

  15. 15
    Jason Rennie says:

    Thanks for the mention Dr Dembski. I invited Dr Turner to participate in the second edition of The ID Files and it seems he is up for it. I would never have found out about this without your link, so thanks again.

  16. 16
    j says:

    apollo230 (6):

    But until it develops to the point where it actually proposes specific and testable mechanisms by which novel CSI is generated, ID will remain a spur, a call for further research-rather than a full-blown research enterprise in its own right.

    ID:

    But until it develops to the point where it actually proposes specific and testable mechanisms by which novel CSI is generated, NDE will remain a spur, a call for further research-rather than a full-blown research enterprise in its own right.

  17. 17
    DAISHI says:

    Rewards have already been posted on both ends to anyone who can prove ID or Evolution.

  18. 18
    mike1962 says:

    “Additionally, I suspect that the periodic injection of novel CSI into existing genomes was necessary to drive innovation.”

    Like a well timed virus.

  19. 19
    shaner74 says:

    Amadan wrote:
    “Would some ID-supportive body (e.g.the Discovery Institute?) be prepared to put up a substantial rewards ($250K, what the heck, $1m!) to anyone who can PROVE the Darwinian hypothesis?”

    I love that idea! Can’t really expect DI (or anyone else) to do that, but it would be something to see the reaction to it, and would give ID more publicity than it could shake a stick at. In any event, it’s good to see some are willing to at least discuss ID, even if they don’t agree with it.

  20. 20
    idnet.com.au says:

    I love the idea of a reward of $1,000,000 to “prove” the Darwinian hypothesis.

    In it’s most basic form the Darwinian hypothesis is just that “given variations with in populations, differential reproduction will result”. This is a self evident truth and easy to prove. It is not worth a cent.

    If on the other hand we mean getting from a single simple cell to a complicated multicellular organism without the addition of genetic information, now that is the real hypothesis we need proved.

    I will happily “risk” thousands towards the reward money for that challenge! (I know it will never be called in)

  21. 21
    shaner74 says:

    “I will happily “risk” thousands towards the reward money for that challenge! (I know it will never be called in)”

    We should start a collection to be put toward the “challenge”.

  22. 22
    Jason Rennie says:

    “I will happily “risk” thousands towards the reward money for that challenge! (I know it will never be called in)”

    I think it would be important to carefully set out the criteria of such a challenge. Of course any challenge would immediately be called unreasonable by the naturalists and “biased”

  23. 23
    darth314 says:

    you could also “challenge” the therory of gravity and it would not do any good either. we do not know exactly what gravity is but we have a pretty god theory that allows us to predict what happes when we drop a stone.
    in the same way you could “challenge” many other naturalist theories (e.g. electricity).
    the point is that these theories are useful because they make reliable predictions. same is true for evolution.

  24. 24
    jb says:

    This “reward” thing sounds too much like a stunt pulled by Kent Hovind.

    (If you don’t know who Hovind is, he’s a crack-pot with no scientific cedentials going around calling himself “Dr. Dino”–he is an ebarrassment to the YEC community; most of the serious YEC’s with actual scientific cedentials have gone to pains to distance themselves from him. I think AiG and ICR probably wish Hovind would shut up and go away, because he gives YEC a black eye. Hovind some time ago offered some sort of $250k reward for anyone who could “prove” evolution. If ID did the same, you can be sure that the opposition would pull this bit of history out to parade around and reinforce the “ID = Creationism” canard.)

  25. 25
    jb says:

    I’m glad to see this discussion take place. I’d been wondering about the Turner work since it was posted on the sidebar.

  26. 26
    Michaels7 says:

    Guys,

    I think the challenges is already made in the Origin of Life Prize, here:
    http://us.net/life/

    Please read thru the site. Note that they mention both Dr. Dembski and Dr. Behe in the Discussion Link on the left.

    It is the serious challenge put forth by both Dr. Dembski and Dr. Behe, plus the challenge of Null Hypotheses from Trevor and Abel that I believe is responsible for spurring these scientist to offer prize money.

    They realize the difficulty of life coming from non-life.

    I think the Origin of Life Prize is the very same challenge against Darwin. Please also take note of the scientist involved, like Paul Davies who speculates Panspermia is the answer.

  27. 27
    DaveScot says:

    darth

    What reliable and useful predictions are made by “evolution” that other theories do not predict or are not simply predictions based on observation absent any theory?

  28. 28
    Michaels7 says:

    Moderators, maybe this deserves a post? Maybe not? To me, this is throwing down the Gauntlet…

    Under Discussion, Item 7. Genetic Code

    “…prespecification of extremely unlikely and complex future events (see Dembski in suggested readings below) suggesting “apparent intent,” “apparent planning,” or “apparent purpose.” (as Richard Dawkins describes it, “apparent design”),”

    and,

    ” …the seemingly “irreducible complexity” argued by Michael Behe (see suggested readings below)”

    So, there are your antagonist to NDE. Dembski and Behe. For two people that the Darwinist have insulted for so long with unfounded and unmerited attacks, it appears that many scientist understand what is at stake.

    They’re not making rude comments at this site, but are looking for answers which can provide rebuttals. And they have recognized the boundaries over which this battle is drawn I think scientifically based upon Trevors and Abel’s paper.

    The challenge? Prove Dembski and Behe’s challenges wrong. Show all the scientist involved in the Review Process, the answer heretofor unknown regarding molecules to man evolutionary steps.

    That inorganic material can eventually result in animated life thru mechanisms based upon a materialist only philosophy. Telic guidance is not required. That thru a series of chance events, mechamisms can emerge that eventually leads to life.

    This is really interesting.

    Please see the discussion link for more info:
    http://us.net/life/rul_disc.htm

    Please note that they are “not” going to the Media with this prize, nor seeking publicity.

    This is a Million dollar prize spread over 20 years @ 50K/yr.

  29. 29
    Joseph says:

    Is there a theory of Intelligent Design? (“I love it so!”)

    Many people ask if there is a theory of Intelligent Design. To which I respond, “Is there a theory of Archaeology?”

    Intelligent Design, also called the design inference, is just that, a reasoned inference from the data.

    IOW ID is an observation, which can be used as an underlying assumption from which to start the research. And as we all (should) know, it does make a difference to an investigation whether or not the object(s) in question arose via an intelligent cause or via nature, operating freely.

    “Thus, Behe concludes on the basis of our knowledge of present cause-and-effect relationships (in accord with the standard uniformitarian method employed in the historical sciences) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.
    In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed” Pg. 72 of “Dawinism, Design and Public Education”

    We already have processes in place that we use to detect design:

    Del Ratzsch in his book Nature, Design and Science discusses “counterflow as referring to things running contrary to what, in the relevant sense, would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely.”

    Anthropologists use this type of process when detecting artifacts. Markings (marking does not pertain to the sound made by dogs with a harelip) on a rock that are contrary to what scientists deem nature acting alone could/ would not do, as compared to what we know intelligent agencies have done and can do is what determines the categorization of an object- artifact or just another rock.
    Archaeologists checking for inscriptions would employ similar methodology- as Del puts it “an artifact is anything embodying counterflow.”

    (Paraphrasing Del)If you come upon a group of trees in exact rows, each row the same distance from the next and each tree in the row the same distance from the next tree in the row, although nature acting alone could have produced such a pattern, our minds would instinctively infer the pattern was the result of intentional design.

    Sometimes design is mind correlative. That is when what we observe fits some identifiable/ recognizable pattern- Nasca, Peru. (Or in organisms, the presence of the insulin protein in bacteria.)

    Using the Explanatory Filter is also a good tool for a starting inference. (We know science is not about proof. The DEF is not about proving design. The DEF is about the design inference. As with any inference the design inference can be falsified. Pulsars were once thought to be signals from ETs. Further research falsified that inference. The properly applied DEF would have not allowed design to be the initial inference.) The DEF can give initial false negatives. IOW something that is designed can fall into the categories of chance and/ or law. That is why design theorists don’t say just give up once design is or isn’t the initial inference. And with all inferences future research can either confirm it or refute it.

    The ONE alleged false positive I have read was from Del’s aforementioned book pertaining to a tumbleweed getting blown across the road directly through a hole in a fence. Wind currents explain that phenomenon. IOW the DEF was not properly applied.

    So the question is what is it that prevents tried-n-true design detection techniques from being applied to biological organisms?

  30. 30
    idnet.com.au says:

    To win the $1,000,000 you need to publish in “a reputable, well-known, naturalistic, peer-reviewed scientific journal”.

    What is a naturalistic journal? I thought naturalism was a philosssophical religious position separate from scince.

    Why should the truth or plausability of a theory be influenced by where it is published?

  31. 31
    darth314 says:

    DaveScot: an simple example for a prediction based on evolutionary theory. In the lab, I can incubate bateria on agar plates with antibiotica. most will die, but it is absolutely predictable that a few will evolve resistance to the antibiotic (exactly how many depends on the antibitica and the bacteria strain).
    this happens through random mutations and subsequent selection.
    it is predictable and reproducable.
    ID, in contast, would have to explain that with a designer watching over the whole thing and, over and over again, designs some resistant bacteria. doing so, the designer obviously follows the exatct rules of evolution.
    there are other, more complicated examples. but fisrt, i would like to hear your take on this one.

  32. 32
    DaveScot says:

    darth

    Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is adaptation within species. For our purposes here we’re talking about the formation of new species when we speak of evolution and, for the sake of argument, preferably new species that have some novel cell type, tissue type, organ, or body plan.

    You’re also wrong about some bacteria “absolutely” surviving. I routinely add 1mg of ampicillin per 20ml PDA (agar) intended for fungi cultures and at that concentration I’ve never seen any bacterial contamination.

    Furthermore, this isn’t a prediction of evolution. All you outlined was repetition of experiments and predicting the result based on the result of past experiments. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics was first observed then RM+NS (which is a mechanism of evolution, not evolution itself) explained it after the observation. I want an example of a reliable, useful prediction not a post hoc explanation or an extrapolation based on past experiment or past observations.

  33. 33
    idnet.com.au says:

    The Origin of Life Prize is an amazing admission of our almost total ignorance of any natural mechanisms that may lead to the origin of life.

    A look at the list of self eveluation questions that must be addressed satisfactorily by submissions shows just how little substance there is to the bluff that the origin of life is not insurmountable.

    http://us.net/life/rul_requ.htm

    Notice particularly the necessary refuting of the ?scientific ?religious notions of “irreducible complexity” and “design inference”

    “N. submission silences arguments of all-or-none “irreducible complexity” in evolving molecular machines and larger biosystems

    O. submission demonstrates that the “appearance or inference of design” in biosystems is only apparent rather than real”

    These Foundation folk need not start collecting the $1,000000 as they will never need to pay a cent of it, except perhaps to the reviewers!

  34. 34
    Joseph says:

    Darth314:
    ID, in contast, would have to explain that with a designer watching over the whole thing and, over and over again, designs some resistant bacteria. doing so, the designer obviously follows the exatct rules of evolution.

    Umm ID doesn’t say anything about a designer watching over anything.

    The debate is about the mechanisms- stochastic vs design. IOW bacteria, as with all populations, have the built-in ability to respond to environmental cues. They “evolve” because they were designed to do so.

    Also the following is an article you should read:

    Is Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?

  35. 35
    darth314 says:

    Joseph: if they evolve because they were designed to do so, they still evolve.

  36. 36
    darth314 says:

    DaveScot: adaption is eveolution.
    you seem to make the famous distinction between micro and macro-evolution. that distinction is as arbitrary as the distinction between a hill and a mountain or a creek and a river.

    if you want to see within your lifetime people growing additional arms and legs, that is probably not goint to happen, because our life span is too short.
    but in a baterium that adapts, some random genetic rearrangement can (for example) combine two gene fragments and create a novel gene with a new function (i.e. resistance). Therefore, a completely new protein can be formed from pre-existing ones.

  37. 37
    pk4_paul says:

    “Their intellectual pedigree might be suspect, their thinking might be wrong, but at least they are asking an interesting question: What is the meaning of design of the living world?”

    I keep having to remind myself that it takes intellectual pedigree beyond reproach to believe in a theory of origins that like alchemy lacks causal specificity (sound familiar WD?). And of course only an Untermensch would doubt that unguided natural forces are capable of generating sequentially ordered and functional nucleic acids on prebiotic earth. Don’t even bother to ask if any genetic information, fortuitously acquired, would survive environmental damage occassioned by natural forces in the absence of genomic repair mechanisms. If you start taking such issues seriously your intellectual pedigree will be challenged. Keep the faith.

  38. 38
    DaveScot says:

    darth

    You failed to use evolutionary theory to make a useful, reliable prediction. Antibiotic resistance fails for the reasons mentioned in comment #33.

    If you have further examples please feel free to present them but these will also fail because evolution makes no useful, reliable predictions. All it does is explains observations after the fact. The theory of evolution has no practical predictive power.

  39. 39
    DaveScot says:

    Joseph

    Good link on antibiotic resistance you provided.

    Is Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics an Appropriate Example of Evolutionary Change?

    I added it to the sidebar under recent links for future reference.

    As I was reading it the level of detail was incredible compared to the pap on talk.origins and it made me wonder who the heck the author was. Turns out it’s a well qualified microbiologist specializing in genetics and molecular biology of bacteria who’d been a researcher at the National Institute of Health and the United States Dept. of Agriculture. No wonder it was so good!

    Darth

    You need to address this article if you wish to continue using antibiotic resistance as an example of “evolution”.

  40. 40
    Joseph says:

    Darth314:
    if they evolve because they were designed to do so, they still evolve.

    This debate is about the mechanisms involved. IOW did the population evolve by design or culled willy-nilly?

    Bacteria “evolving” into bacteria in no way indicates that bacteria can ever “evolve” into something other than bacteria.

    Just throwing time at minor variations, variations that oscillate at that, is not a scientific approach as it is not testable and it goes against everything we do know.

    As far as micro vs macro, that all depends on how one defines those terms. As far as I can tell from the standard definitions even YECs accept macro.

    In evolutionary biology today, macroevolution is used to refer to any evolutionary change at or above the level of species. It means at least the splitting of a species into two (speciation, or cladogenesis, from the Greek meaning “the origin of a branch”, see Fig. 1) or the change of a species over time into another (anagenetic speciation, not nowadays generally accepted [note 1]). Any changes that occur at higher levels, such as the evolution of new families, phyla or genera, are also therefore macroevolution, but the term is not restricted to those higher levels. It often also means long-term trends or biases in evolution of higher taxonomic levels.

    Microevolution refers to any evolutionary change below the level of species, and refers to changes in the frequency within a population or a species of its alleles (alternative genes) and their effects on the form, or phenotype, of organisms that make up that population or species. It can also apply to changes within species that are not genetic.

    The way the YECs define the terms makes it easier to see the difference:

    evolution, biological n.
    1) “microevolution”—the name used by many evolutionists to describe genetic variation, the empirically observed phenomenon in which exisiting potential variations within the gene pool of a population of organisms are manifested or suppressed among members of that population over a series of generations. Often simplistically (and erroneously) invoked as “proof” of “macro evolution”; 2) macroevolution—the theory/belief that biological population changes take (and have taken) place (typically via mutations and natural selection) on a large enough scale to produce entirely new structural features and organs, resulting in entirely new species, genera, families, orders, classes, and phyla within the biological world, by generating the requisite (new) genetic information. Many evolutionists have used “macro-evolution” and “Neo-Darwinism” as synonymous for the past 150 years.

    Questions for Darth314-

    Do you realize that ID is OK with Common Descent?

    Do you realize that ID does not require intervention by a designer once the design is set in motion?

  41. 41
    Joseph says:

    Dave,

    You must be mistaken. I linked to nothing but “ignorant creation diatribe”. 😉

    That is what I am told everytime I bring it up…

    (and now you put it on the sidebar- what does that say about you? you people never give up. lol)

  42. 42
    DaveScot says:

    Joseph

    Just throwing time at minor variations, variations that oscillate at that, is not a scientific approach as it is not testable and it goes against everything we do know.

    It’s not an engineering approach either. This is a gross, absurd extrapolation. It’s like demonstrating that rocks can be piled 100 meters high and using this as proof of concept that one can make a pile that reaches the moon. Sometimes things like that work and sometimes they don’t.

  43. 43
    Joseph says:

    Just throwing time at minor variations, variations that oscillate at that, is not a scientific approach as it is not testable and it goes against everything we do know.

    DaveScot:
    It’s not an engineering approach either. This is a gross, absurd extrapolation.

    Welcome to the world of evolutionism.

    Mike Gene’s article Extrapolating From Small Changes

    He sums it up as follows:

    If one desires to extrapolate small changes into large changes by simply adding time, one requires independent evidence to justify this move. The problem is that we really don’t know how evolution occurs. And when talking about the evolution of the mammalian middle ear bones, we should not forget that we are still basically in the dark in trying to explain how both a mammalian and reptilian zygote actually develops the middle ear and jaw bones, respectively. Without this knowledge, attempts to explain such a transition as a function of a series of small, incremental changes stretched across time are rooted in ignorance. That is, we don’t truly understand neither the process of development nor the process of evolution and without such knowledge, there is no reason to think we are on safe ground when employing (1).

    Attempts to justify this move by appealing to the use of (1) in astronomy and geology fail because biotic complexity differs in both structure and formation.

    One may assume (1) to explain evolutionary change as a working hypothesis, but we should keep in mind that large changes in evolution are basically a “black box” and a series of small incremental changes may play only a trivial, fine-tuning role in any transition (there is no evidence to think otherwise). What’s more, bacteria, as the predominant life forms on this planet, which have experience the most evolution of all life forms, tell us clearly that (1) need not apply to biological evolution.

    In the end, appeals to small change + deep time are embraced merely as a matter of convenience, as it happens to be the primary way we can think about evolution at a time when we are just starting to come to grips with it. As we begin to better understand the process of evolution, I predict (1) will one day be viewed as a quaint understanding that served mostly to highlight just how much we didn’t understand evolution.

    However in a world in which science isn’t interested in reality all that is moot.

  44. 44
    darth314 says:

    ok, here’s another one:
    In plants, you often have a phenomenon called “polyploidisation”. that means that during normal sexual replication, the genomes of the two parents are not reduced (as would be required to maintain the same chromsosome number) but simply added, resulting in doubling of the chromosome number.
    such hybrids are not fertile with its parent plants anymore but among themselves they are.
    Bang! new species from one day to the next.
    This happend several times during the evolution of plant (ample evidence for that was found in the genomes of rice, Arabidopsis and maize). the most famous event ocurred in historical times about 10,000 years ago, it created the species that we all know now as “bread wheat”.

  45. 45
    darth314 says:

    Hi DaveScot and Josef.
    just another note, then I need to go to work:
    the former example is an exception, because usually evolution takes a LONG time. if you would see new sepcies emerging with new body plans all the time, that would indeed speak for a designer. but we do not see that. what we see is slow variation of existing things that eventually become distinc new features.

    and one on predictive power. if you compare some species (e.g. Cat, Tiger, Dog), evoultion predicts that (based on their visible similarities and differences) all genes in the cat genome will be more similar to the Tiger genes than to the dog genes. if these three genomes are ever sequenced, we can make the test. i will be happy to help you with it.
    we could also do that with the genomes of rice, arabidopsis and maize. they are in large parts already available. there, evolution predicts that all maize and rice genes are more similar to each other than to arabidopsis. indeed that is what people have found already.

  46. 46
    DaveScot says:

    darth

    such hybrids are not fertile with its parent plants

    Incorrect. Fertility is often reduced but not to zero.

    Polyploidy has been discussed here many times before. In fact at

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/archives/1937

    in comment 15 I point out that polyploids don’t exhibit hybrid sterility so they aren’t really new species. Moreover, a polyploid has no unique genetic information, it just has duplicate copies of chromosomes, and while those duplicates cause some phenotype differences there’s really nothing new there.

    If all you’re going to do here is rehash tired arguments we’ve heard too many times already I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to leave. Read the moderation policy on the sidebar.

    what we see is slow variation of existing things that eventually become distinc new features.

    No, you SPECULATE if you waited long enough you’d see novel cell types, tissue types, organs, and body plans emerge from blind evolutionary processes. The fact of the matter is no one has seen blind evolutionary processes create these things.

    all genes in the cat genome will be more similar to the Tiger genes than to the dog genes

    That’s a prediction that failed because comparative genomics is turning up all kinds of oddities so it isn’t a reliable prediction. Moreover, the theory of common descent as well as common design (neither of which ID disputes) accounts for genetic similarities so you don’t need blind evolutionary processes to predict this as other theories predict it too. And finally, I asked for useful predictions and this is a pretty useless prediction. A useful prediction gives some practical benefit which gives the theory behind it some practical value. Blind evolutionary theory has no practical value. It informs nothing of any real merit.

  47. 47
    Joseph says:

    “Evolution” does NOT get a free pass on objective testing just because it takes a “long time”.

    from comment 44:

    If one desires to extrapolate small changes into large changes by simply adding time, one requires independent evidence to justify this move.

    And did Darth know that Creationists say that most likely all cats, large and small, “evolved” from some population of originally Created “Cat Kind”?

    IOW in a YEC scenario we would expect all cats to have some range of similarities, both morphological and genetic.

    And explaining how plants reproduce does not explain how plants came to be in the first place.

  48. 48
    j says:

    Phillip Johnson, Darwin on Trial, p. 117:

    Natural selection exists, to be sure, but no one has evidence that it can accomplish anything remotely resembling the creative acts that Darwinists attribute to it. The fossil record on the whole testifies that whatever “evolution” might have been, it was not the process of gradual change in lineages that Darwinism implies. As an explanation for modifications in populations, Darwinism is an empirical doctrine. As an explanation for how complex organisms came into existence in the first place, it is pure philosophy.

    If empiricism were the primary value at stake, Darwinism would long ago have been limited to microevolution, where it would have no important theological or philosophical implications. Such a limitation would not imply acceptance of creationism, even in the least restrictive definition of that term. What it would imply is that the scientific establishment after 1859 was carried away by enthusiasm, and thought that it had proved an entire creation story when it had only filled in some minor details. If Darwinists accepted the primacy of empiricism, they could still hope eventually to find a naturalistic explanation for everything, but for now they would have to admit that they have made a big mistake.

    That admission has not come, because empiricism is not the primary value at stake. The important priority is to maintain the naturalistic worldview and with it the prestige of “science” as the source of all important knowledge…

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