Intelligent Design

Barr Gets it Wrong Again

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Over at FT Stephen Barr discusses the history of science since the 1500’s and gives a brief synopsis of Darwin in which he writes:

As with heliocentrism, though, the data was at first inadequate or even misleading. Certain transitional forms were not seen in the fossil record till long after Darwin.

Charity compels one to conclude that this is simply an unfortunate turn of phrase.  A literal reading is certainly misleading.

16 Replies to “Barr Gets it Wrong Again

  1. 1
    Silver Asiatic says:

    That is misleading – as is his affirmation that Mendelian genetics made Darwinism “a consistent and coherent system”.

    At the same time, I’m surprised Mr. Barr actually started to realize that he’s going to have to distance himself from outright Darwinolotry; he’s backing away a bit …

    One cannot discuss human origins without dealing with the question of what it is to be human, which empirical ­science alone cannot answer.

    Ok, simple statement: science cannot answer what it is to be human.

    Darwinism, however, claims to offer a scientific explanation on the origin of human beings. If, however, science cannot answer what it is to be human, then the Darwinian claim is necessarily false.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Gingerich, and apparently Barr, need to update their notes. So called transitional fossils are much more problematic now than in Darwin’s time since we have a much richer fossil record now, of millions of fossils, than they did then,,, and the same pattern of sudden appearance and stasis is repeated over and over again throughout the fossil record. Of the few dozen or so supposed transitional fossils claimed as intermediate, none are uncontested as to being truly transitional. Here are a few quotes/notes to help them along in that regards:

    “With the benefit of hindsight, it is amazing that paleontologists could have accepted gradual evolution as a universal pattern on the basis of a handful of supposedly well-documented lineages (e.g. Gryphaea, Micraster, Zaphrentis) none of which actually withstands close scrutiny.”
    Christopher R.C. Paul, “Patterns of Evolution and Extinction in Invertebrates,” K.C. Allen and D.E.G. Briggs, eds., Evolution and the Fossil Record (Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), 105.

    “It must be significant that nearly all the evolutionary stories I learned as a student from Trueman’s Ostrea/Gryphaea to Carruthers’ Zaphrentis delanouei, have now been ‘debunked’. Similarly, my own experience of more than twenty years looking for evolutionary lineages among the Mesozoic Brachiopoda has proved them equally elusive.’
    Dr. Derek V. Ager (Department of Geology & Oceonography, University College, Swansea, UK), ‘The nature of the fossil record’. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, vol.87(2), 1976,p.132.

    “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”
    Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager, “The Nature of the Fossil Record,” 87 Proceedings of the British Geological Association 87 (1976): 133. (Department of Geology & Oceanography, University College, Swansea, UK)

    “It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptibly changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution…This phenomenon becomes more universal and more intense as the hierarchy of categories is ascended. Gaps among known species are sporadic and often small. Gaps among known orders, classes and phyla are systematic and almost always large.”
    G.G.Simpson – one of the most influential American Paleontologist of the 20th century

    “A major problem in proving the theory has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth’s geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin’s hypothetical intermediate variants – instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God.”
    Paleontologist, Mark Czarnecki

    “There is no need to apologize any longer for the poverty of the fossil record. In some ways, it has become almost unmanageably rich and discovery is outpacing integration. The fossil record nevertheless continues to be composed mainly of gaps.”
    T. Neville George – Professor of paleontology – Glasgow University,

    “Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.”
    David Kitts – Paleontologist – D.B. Kitts, Paleontology and Evolutionary Theory (1974), p. 467.

    “The long-term stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists” –
    Stephen Jay Gould – Harvard

    “The sweep of anatomical diversity reached a maximum right after the initial diversification of multicellular animals. The later history of life proceeded by elimination not expansion.”
    Stephen J. Gould, Harvard, Wonderful Life, 1989, p.46

    Given the fact of evolution, one would expect the fossils to document gradual steady change from ancestral forms to the descendants. But this is not what the paleontologist finds. Instead, he or she finds gaps in just about every phyletic series. New types often appear quite suddenly, and their intermediate ancestors are absent in the earlier geologic strata. The discovery of unbroken series of species changing gradually into descending species is very rare. Indeed the fossil record is one of discontinuities, seemingly documenting jumps (saltations) from one type of organism to a different type. This raises a puzzling question: Why does the fossil record fail to reflect the gradual change one would expect from evolution?
    Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is (New York: Basic Books, 2001), 14 – Professor Emeritus, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University

    “What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.”
    Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians

    “Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? … The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wider and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record.”
    Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma 1988, Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition, Master Books, p. 9

    “The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be …. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time … so Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated”.
    David Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History

    “Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life, what geologists of Darwin’s time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record. and it is not always clear, in fact it’s rarely clear, that the descendants were actually better adapted than their predecessors. In other words, biological improvement is hard to find.”
    David M. Raup, “Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology,” Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, 50 (January 1979): 23, 22-29.

    “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.”
    Tom S. Kemp, Fossils and Evolution (New York; Oxford University Press, 1999), 246. – Curator of Zoological Collections

    “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.”
    George Gaylord Simpson (evolutionist), The Major Features of Evolution, New York, Columbia University Press, 1953 p. 360.

    “The record certainly did not reveal gradual transformations of structure in the course of time. On the contrary, it showed that species generally remained constant throughout their history and were replaced quite suddenly by significantly different forms. New types or classes seemed to appear fully formed, with no sign of an evolutionary trend by which they could have emerged from an earlier type.”
    Peter Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1984), 187.

    “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change over millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.” –
    Niles Eldredge , “Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate,” 1996, p.95

    “Enthusiastic paleontologists in several countries have claimed pieces of this missing record, but the claims have all been disputed and in any case do not provide real connections. That brings me to the second most surprising feature of the fossil record…the abruptness of some of the major changes in the history of life.”
    Ager, D. – Author of “The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record”-1981

    “The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.”
    Stephen Jay Gould

    “The lack of ancestral or intermediate forms between fossil species is not a bizarre peculiarity of early metazoan history. Gaps are general and prevalent throughout the fossil record.”
    R.A. Raff and T.C. Kaufman, Embryos, Genes, and Evolution: The Developmental-Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1991), 34.

    “Species [in the strata of the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming] that were once thought to have turned into others have been found to overlap in time with these alleged descendants. In fact, the fossil record does not convincingly document a single transition from one species to another.”
    Steven M. Stanley, The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species (New York: Basic Books, 1981), 95.

    “The fossil record itself provided no documentation of continuity – of gradual transition from one animal or plant to another of quite different form.”
    Steven M. Stanley, The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes, and the Origin of Species (New York: Basic Books, 1981), 40.

    “No one has found any such in-between creatures. This was long chalked up to ‘gaps’ in the fossil records, gaps that proponents of gradualism confidently expected to fill in someday when rock strata of the proper antiquity were eventually located. But all the fossil evidence to date has failed to turn up any such missing links . . . There is a growing conviction among many scientists that these transitional forms never existed.”
    Niles Eldredge, quoted in George Alexander, “Alternate Theory of Evolution Considered,” Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1978.

    “Gradualism, the idea that all change must be smooth, slow, and steady, was never read from the rocks.”
    Stephen Jay Gould, “An Early Start,” Natural History 87, February 1978): 24.

    “Gradualism is a concept I believe in, not just because of Darwin’s authority, but because my understanding of genetics seems to demand it. Yet Gould and the American Museum people [i.e., Eldredge] are hard to contradict when they say there are no transitional fossils. As a paleontologist myself, I am much occupied with the philosophical problems of identifying ancestral forms in the fossil record. You say that I should at least ‘show a photo of the fossil from which each type of organism was derived.’ I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil for which one could make a watertight argument.”
    Colin Patterson to Luther Sunderland, April 10, 1979, quoted in Luther .D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems, 4th ed. (El Cajon, CA: Master Book Publishers, 1988), 89.

    “Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”
    Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myth of Human Evolution (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 45-46.

    “A number of hominid crania are known from sites in eastern and southern Africa in the 400- to 200-thousand-year range, but none of them looks like a close antecedent of the anatomically distinctive Homo sapiens…Even allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented…there is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
    Dr. Ian Tattersall: – paleoanthropologist – emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History – (Masters of the Planet, 2012)

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Since most of the blowback from Darwinists on the fossil record comes from challenging the supposed transitional fossils for human evolution, here is a fairly recent talk that reveals that the fossil record for human evolution is far less compelling than the Darwinists have misled people to believe:

    In the following podcasts, Casey Luskin, speaking at the 2014 Science and Human Origins conference, discusses why the fossil evidence doesn’t support the claim that humans evolved from some ape-like precursor.
    2014 – podcast – Casey Luskin – On Human Origins: What the Fossils Tell Us, part 1
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....s-tell-us/
    podcast – Casey Luskin – On Human Origins: What the Fossils Tell Us, part 2
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....l-us-pt-2/
    podcast – Casey Luskin – On Human Origins: What the Fossils Tell Us, part 3
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....l-us-pt-3/
    podcast – Casey Luskin – On Human Origins: What the Fossils Tell Us, part 4
    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....l-us-pt-4/

    of particular interest:

    Human/Ape Common Ancestry: Following the Evidence – Casey Luskin – June 2011
    Excerpt: So the researchers constructed an evolutionary tree based on 129 skull and tooth measurements for living hominoids, including gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and humans, and did the same with 62 measurements recorded on Old World monkeys, including baboons, mangabeys and macaques. They also drew upon published molecular phylogenies. At the outset, Wood and Collard assumed the molecular evidence was correct. “There were so many different lines of genetic evidence pointing in one direction,” Collard explains. But no matter how the computer analysis was run, the molecular and morphological trees could not be made to match15 (see figure, below). Collard says this casts grave doubt on the reliability of using morphological evidence to determine the fine details of evolutionary trees for higher primates. “It is saying it is positively misleading,” he says. The abstract of the pair’s paper stated provocatively that “existing phylogenetic hypotheses about human evolution are unlikely to be reliable”.[10]
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-9266481

    Also of interest, where the fossil record is richest, and does not rely primarily on bone fragments and such as that in older fossils, we find a interesting trend in human evolution that contradicts Darwinian presuppositions:

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking? – January 20, 2011
    Excerpt: John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”
    “Shrinking?” I ask. “I thought it was getting larger.” The whole ascent-of-man thing.,,,
    He rattles off some dismaying numbers: Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.”
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-shrinking

    Scientists Discover Proof That Humanity Is Getting Dumber, Smaller And Weaker By Michael Snyder, on April 29th, 2014
    Excerpt: An earlier study by Cambridge University found that mankind is shrinking in size significantly.
    Experts say humans are past their peak and that modern-day people are 10 percent smaller and shorter than their hunter-gatherer ancestors.
    And if that’s not depressing enough, our brains are also smaller.
    The findings reverse perceived wisdom that humans have grown taller and larger, a belief which has grown from data on more recent physical development.
    The decline, said scientists, has happened over the past 10,000 years.
    http://thetruthwins.com/archiv.....and-weaker

    also of note:

    “Neanderthals are known for their large cranial capacity, which at 1600cc is larger on average than modern humans.”
    per wikipedia

    Skull “Rewrites” Story of Human Evolution — Again – Casey Luskin – October 22, 2013
    Excerpt: “There is a big gap in the fossil record,” Zollikofer told NBC News. “I would put a question mark there. Of course it would be nice to say this was the last common ancestor of Neanderthals and us, but we simply don’t know.” –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....78221.html

    “A number of hominid crania are known from sites in eastern and southern Africa in the 400- to 200-thousand-year range, but none of them looks like a close antecedent of the anatomically distinctive Homo sapiens…Even allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented…there is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
    Dr. Ian Tattersall: – paleoanthropologist – emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History – (Masters of the Planet, 2012)

    Moreover, genetically, like the fossil record, we are also found to be degenerating, not evolving into some type of super-human race as was, and is, presupposed in Darwinian thought

    Human Genetic Variation Recent, Varies Among Populations – (Nov. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: Nearly three-quarters of mutations in genes that code for proteins — the workhorses of the cell — occurred within the past 5,000 to 10,000 years,,,
    “One of the most interesting points is that Europeans have more new deleterious (potentially disease-causing) mutations than Africans,”,,,
    “Having so many of these new variants can be partially explained by the population explosion in the European population. However, variation that occur in genes that are involved in Mendelian traits and in those that affect genes essential to the proper functioning of the cell tend to be much older.” (A Mendelian trait is controlled by a single gene. Mutations in that gene can have devastating effects.) The amount variation or mutation identified in protein-coding genes (the exome) in this study is very different from what would have been seen 5,000 years ago,,,
    The report shows that “recent” events have a potent effect on the human genome. Eighty-six percent of the genetic variation or mutations that are expected to be harmful arose in European-Americans in the last five thousand years, said the researchers.
    The researchers used established bioinformatics techniques to calculate the age of more than a million changes in single base pairs (the A-T, C-G of the genetic code) that are part of the exome or protein-coding portion of the genomes (human genetic blueprint) of 6,515 people of both European-American and African-American decent.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132259.htm

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    As to their claim ““the transition to a spiritual being . . . does not fossilize.”

    Actually, since they left a hole wide enough to drive a truck thru with that statement,,,,

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Ian Tattersall, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”
    http://www.annualreviews.org/d.....208.100202

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    More interesting still, the three Rs, reading, writing, and arithmetic, i.e. the unique ability to process information inherent to man, are the very first things to be taught to children when they enter elementary school. And yet it is this information processing, i.e. reading, writing, and arithmetic that is found to be foundational to life:

    Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer – video clip
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVkdQhNdzHU

    As well, as if that was not ‘spooky enough’, information, not material, is found to be foundational to physical reality:

    “it from bit” Every “it”— every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. “It from bit” symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”
    – Princeton University physicist John Wheeler (1911–2008) (Wheeler, John A. (1990), “Information, physics, quantum: The search for links”, in W. Zurek, Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information (Redwood City, California: Addison-Wesley))

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    Quantum physics just got less complicated – Dec. 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner,,, found that ‘wave-particle duality’ is simply the quantum ‘uncertainty principle’ in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.,,,
    “The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information,”,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2014-12-q.....cated.html

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information.
    I guess a more convincing evidence could be that God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.
    But who has ever heard of such overwhelming evidence as that?

    Verse and Music:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9itgOBAxSc

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    of note to ‘anthropic’ fine tuning:

    Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    Greer Heard Forum: Robin Collins – “God and the Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Discovery” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBWmMU7BXGE

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: Examples of fine – tuning for discoverability.
    ,,A small increase in ? (fine structure constant) would have resulted in all open wood fires going out; yet harnessing fire was essential to the development of civilization, technology, and science – e.g., the forging of metals.,,,
    Going in the other direction, if ? (fine structure constant) were decreased, light microscopes would have proportionality less resolving power without the size of living cells or other microscopic objects changing.,,,
    Thus, it is quite amazing that the resolving power of light microscopes goes down to that of the smallest cell (0.2 microns), but no further. If it had less resolving power, some cells could not be observed alive. The fine – structure constant, therefore, is just small enough to allow for open wood fires and just large enough for the light microscope to be able to see all living cells.
    Predictive and Explanatory Power of Discoverability – Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    Prediction: DLO: Within the range of values of a given parameter p that yield near – optimal livability, p will fall into that subrange of values that maximize discoverability (given constraints of elegance are not violated).
    In every case that I was able to make calculations regarding whether the fundamental parameters of physics are optimized in this way, they appear to pass the test.[iv] This alone is significant since this hypothesis is falsifiable in the sense that one could find data that potentially disconfirms it – namely, cases in which as best as we can determining, such as a case in which changing the value of a fundamental parameter – such as the fine – structure constant – increases discoverability while not negatively affecting livability.[v] Below, I will look at a case from cosmology where this thesis could have been disconfirmed but was not.,,,
    The most dramatic confirmation of the discoverability/livability optimality thesis (DLO) is the dependence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) on the baryon to photon ratio.,,,
    …the intensity of CMB depends on the photon to baryon ratio, (??b), which is the ratio of the average number of photons per unit volume of space to the average number of baryons (protons plus neutrons) per unit volume. At present this ratio is approximately a billion to one (10^9) , but it could be anywhere from one to infinity; it traces back to the degree of asymmetry in matter and anti – matter right after the beginning of the universe – for approximately every billion particles of antimatter, there was a billion and one particles of matter.,,,
    The only livability effect this ratio has is on whether or not galaxies can form that have near – optimally livability zones. As long as this condition is met, the value of this ratio has no further effects on livability. Hence, the DLO predicts that within this range, the value of this ratio will be such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.
    According to my calculations – which have been verified by three other physicists — to within the margin of error of the experimentally determined parameters (~20%), the value of the photon to baryon ratio is such that it maximizes the CMB. This is shown in Figure 1 below. (pg. 13)
    It is easy to see that this prediction could have been disconfirmed. In fact, when I first made the calculations in the fall of 2011, I made a mistake and thought I had refuted this thesis since those calculations showed the intensity of the CMB maximizes at a value different than the photon – baryon ratio in our universe. So, not only does the DLO lead us to expect this ratio, but it provides an ultimate explanation for why it has this value,,, This is a case of a teleological thesis serving both a predictive and an ultimate explanatory role.,,,
    http://home.messiah.edu/~rcoll.....osting.pdf

    Michael Denton’s Privileged Species Premieres in Seattle to a Packed House – November 14, 2014
    Excerpt: If life exists elsewhere (in the universe), its home would remind us of Earth and the aliens would reminds us of ourselves. The periodic table, so wonderfully concise, is a recipe for us. Oh, and for our way of life too. While focusing on the unique properties of water, carbon, and oxygen, Denton shows that the chemical elements appear beautifully structured to allow the development of technology, from our use of fire to the rise of computers.
    He emphasizes that this “stunning series of coincidences” is not a matter of scientific controversy, and in fact represents the great scientific discovery of the past century. It’s a matter of fact, not interpretation.
    Denton observed that properties of nature uniquely fit for life continue to be discovered regularly and he offered the prediction that in the upcoming century scientists will uncover more and more.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91241.html

    Privileged Species – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoI2ms5UHWg

    also of interest:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the eclipticcite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropiescite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sourcescite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.4134.pdf

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....uterer.pdf

    Of note: The preceding article was written before the Planck data (with WMPA & COBE data), but the multipoles were actually verified by Planck.

    A Large Scale Pattern from Optical Quasar Polarization Vectors – 2013
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1311.6118.pdf

    Testing the Dipole Modulation Model in CMBR – 2013
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1308.0924.pdf

  6. 6
    eigenstate says:

    Ok, simple statement: science cannot answer what it is to be human.

    Why?

    Is this just one of those “naked assertion things” that get offered up so often, here?

    If science cannot provide insight on the question, why would we think… theology (?) or something else would?

    Darwinism, however, claims to offer a scientific explanation on the origin of human beings. If, however, science cannot answer what it is to be human, then the Darwinian claim is necessarily false.

    Well, if that’s how we roll, two can play at that kind of game:

    Science *can* deliver knowledge on what it is to be human!

    Whew, that’s easy and fast, just leaving it like that! QED.

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    The above quotes are obviously from overworked and demoralized paleontologists who not fully aware of the vast body of scientifically proven facts and rock-solid speculations published in refereed journals accessible to evolutionary biologists, and who may not fully understand the latest directions in the evolutionary narrative, all of which means they are not truly representative of the scientific consensus on the settled fact of evolution.

    😉

    -Q

  8. 8
    ppolish says:

    BA77’s links & comments make it abundantly clear that Universal Design preceded Terrestrial Evolution. And that TE is emergent from UD.

    The deep question = is the Universal Design natural or unnatural?

  9. 9
    Andre says:

    Eigenstate

    Science *can* deliver knowledge on what it is to be human!

    One thing saying it but an entire different thing showing it, give us your best shot.

  10. 10
    eigenstate says:

    @Andre,

    I was just helping myself to a spoonful of the buckets of argument-by-naked-assertion that get dumped into this channel by the ID crowd. See Silver Asiatic’s “simple statement” whcih I was responding to:

    “Ok, simple statement: science cannot answer what it is to be human.”

    Can you see the parallel with my “simple statement” in response?:

    “Science *can* deliver knowledge on what it is to be human!”

    What is asserted without argument or evidence can just as trivially be negated without argument or evidence.

    Just a passing note on the argument-by-fiat ID culture that gets incubated on this blog.

  11. 11
    Silver Asiatic says:

    eigenstate

    My simple statement was just quoting Stephen Barr (followed by what Gingerich said about ““the transition to a spiritual being . . . does not fossilize.” It came from the article quoted in the OP. Did you read that article?

    Just a passing note on the argument-by-fiat ID culture that gets incubated on this blog.

    BA77 offered some arguments you might consider. See specifically the first two links @ #4.

    As for your reply:

    SA (paraphrasing Barr): science cannot answer what it is to be human

    E: “Science *can* deliver knowledge on what it is to be human!”

    There’s a big difference between “answering what it is to be human” and “delivering knowledge on what it is to be human”.

    So, even your little quip didn’t deal with the issue. But at least it was honest enough. You could have lied and asserted:

    “Science does answer what it is to be human”.

    But we all know that is false. There’s no need for a little game like that.

    Again, you can take a look at the anti-IDists Barr and Gingerich. Even they have to admit that evolution does not have the answer.

    Again, read the article. It speaks of an ‘ontological leap’. It’s something that cannot be bridged by gradualism. Evolution has no answer for that, but you could try to provide one if you want.

  12. 12
    Silver Asiatic says:

    ppolish

    Interesting point and question. It depends on how far back you can trace Universal Design.

  13. 13
    EugeneS says:

    “If science cannot provide insight on the question, why would we think… theology (?) or something else would?”

    Because reality is much larger than our understanding of it. And it will always be so. One of the great mortal minds, by the way, admitted that he knew only that he knew nothing. It is too arrogant and silly of us, humans, to think that we can rationally explain everything. What is such a belief based on? The success story of modern technology? Really?

    Science is just a ‘cross-section’ of reality. It is coherent in itself. But that’s not enough to qualify as a world view, which necessarily implies the existence of values (what is good and evil? why am I here? what is the purpose of my life? what can I do to be good? etc.). Science cannot in principle answer these questions because it is different in nature, it is neutral to values and was not designed to answer such questions. Science cannot make people happy.

  14. 14
    eigenstate says:

    @Silver Asiatic,

    BA77 offered some arguments you might consider. See specifically the first two links @ #4.

    As a rule, I just scroll past the BA77 spam, so if anyone thinks there’s something in the spam folder to read, as it were, it will need to be pointed out by someone else for me.

    As for your reply:

    SA (paraphrasing Barr): science cannot answer what it is to be human

    E: “Science *can* deliver knowledge on what it is to be human!”

    There’s a big difference between “answering what it is to be human” and “delivering knowledge on what it is to be human”.

    Well, if so, I’m happy to rephrase using your exact words, negated:

    “Science *can* answer what it is to be human”.

    Boom.

    So, even your little quip didn’t deal with the issue. But at least it was honest enough. You could have lied and asserted:

    “Science does answer what it is to be human”.

    But we all know that is false. There’s no need for a little game like that.

    Oy. The “we all know” mantra, again. We don’t all know that, not nearly, and this is trivially demonstrated — just ask around. Saying this over and over is not likely to compel reality to transform into some other new reality in which this would be true.

    Again, you can take a look at the anti-IDists Barr and Gingerich. Even they have to admit that evolution does not have the answer.

    Evolution doesn’t purport to be exhaustive or holistic in terms of answers. It doesn’t even address how evolution even got off the ground (abiogenesis). It doesn’t tell us how the first living cells got here, but it does tell us how the diversity in life forms we observe came about from that. That’s just a slice of the pie, but it’s something, something substantial.

    And just that, the slice that evolution represents, is knowledge and information that by itself, eclipses the knowledge millenia of theology has contributed to the answer, which is to say, it’s more than nothing.

    The fullest answer we might get about what is to be human will implicate a lot more than evolutionary theory, but it will include that knowledge as well.

    Again, read the article. It speaks of an ‘ontological leap’. It’s something that cannot be bridged by gradualism. Evolution has no answer for that, but you could try to provide one if you want.

    I don’t see that any ontological leap is needed, or even conceptually coherent as a prospect. All that’s needed, so far as I can see, is some insight into the vacuousness of concepts we pull out of our intuitional arse, so to speak, that make the idea of an “ontological leap” conceptually broken, a kind of inchoate superstition.

  15. 15
    eigenstate says:

    @Eugene,

    Because reality is much larger than our understanding of it. And it will always be so. One of the great mortal minds, by the way, admitted that he knew only that he knew nothing. It is too arrogant and silly of us, humans, to think that we can rationally explain everything. What is such a belief based on? The success story of modern technology? Really?

    You’ve refuted your claim, with your own claim, here. To rephrase it so that it’s apparent:

    “My understanding of reality is that reality is much larger than my understanding of it.” Literally, if your claim is true, it is false. I suspect that what you mean (that isn’t self-contradictory) is that you suspect there’s more knowledge and answers out there than our current capabilities enable, or that science might attain, even in principle. And perhaps that is the case. But if, it seems quite peculiar to expect that other disciplines, whether its theology in the Catholic tradition, or Buddhist mysticism, or Barry Arrington’s amazing “everything true is obvious to me” oracle that he’s been blessed with in his head, would success would science cannot.

    That is, I fully accept, and agree with the idea that scientific knowledge is limited in its scope of available (even in principle) knowledge. But that does not provide any grounds for thinking that “spirituality” or peyote, or meditation or Thomistic metaphysics have any prospects whatsoever beyond that perimeter. That haven’t even been able to produce mundane knowledge, and worse — they aren’t able to even furnish practical models for distinguishing knowledge from non-knowledge in the first place.

    Science is just a ‘cross-section’ of reality. It is coherent in itself. But that’s not enough to qualify as a world view, which necessarily implies the existence of values (what is good and evil? why am I here? what is the purpose of my life? what can I do to be good? etc.). Science cannot in principle answer these questions because it is different in nature, it is neutral to values and was not designed to answer such questions. Science cannot make people happy.

    Again, this is deliciously self-refuting. It’s actually a little tricky to come up with novel examples of this (beyond the common chestnuts like Epimenides’ “this statement is false”), but you’ve produce a couple very nice examples here, apparently with ease and alacrity.

    You’ve just given me a scientific analysis of reality, in which you’ve scientifically constrained “science” into a subset (a “cross-section”). Once again, if I were to accept your statement as true, I would have to immediately deny it as false, for your observation of reality — the evidence in view — supports a model that says models and evidence are just part of what you are modeling, and assessing as evidence.

    Again, trying to focus on what you meant to say, rather than the self-contradictory way you offered it, I see no reason why any of the questions you offer should be outside of the domain of science, even in practical terms, never mind in principle. I’ve been around the block here enough times to know the retort is “It just isn’t”, but the salient point to add here to that kind of attempt at stalemate is to point out that while we must allow that some knowledge may never be practically or even in principle available to us, we don’t have anything better than science as a prospect for getting at any of it. Why would we think that theology, for example, can produce any knowledge at all, on any subject, let alone the questions you pose, never mind better than a scientific research project.

    It’s sort of a trick question, lest you get lured into offering more self-contradictions in response. Think about how you’d gainsay the above. I suppose in times past, ‘argument by naked assertion’ might have carried more weight, but science and empiricism and epistemic developments like the importance of liability to falsification have insidiously crept into modern culture, such that the reasons you might offer for theology being your ticket to knowledge end up as so many exercises in ipse dixit, or else as scientific cases for why theology is better than science as a knowledge heuristic.

    If the former, well, there’s not much to say or that need be said when confronted with ipse dixit arguments. If the latter, once again, it’s offering claims that must be false if they are to be accepted as true.

  16. 16
    Silver Asiatic says:

    E

    The fullest answer we might get about what is to be human will implicate a lot more than evolutionary theory …

    Like what ‘a lot more’?

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