Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

April 2014: Events that made a difference to ID

arroba Email

Further to March 2014 (and to Barry’s suggestion that readers kindly remember Uncommon Descent in their year end giving – via the Donate button (our Christmas stocking) on the main page):

My sense is that we are making some headway against what Leon Wieseltier has referred to as Darwinist dittoheads, and I’d like to point to some more stories, this time from April 2014, that explain why:

– A frequent story in April was epigenetics (= Lamarck, widely ridiculed by Darwin’s followers, was more or less right. Events occurring in the lifetime of a life form can change its genetics). There were, for example, the case of the rewired ferrets and the effects of trauma passed on in mice’s sperm. First there was epigenetics, now epigenomics. Meanwhile, “GATTACA” (genes rule) turned out to be personal bust—for an Ars Technica editor.

Why does epigenetics matter? Think of the impact on public health and safety issues, if genes can actually be changed by the environment in one’s lifetime. And the changes can be detected. Not exactly Dawkins’s “selfish genes,” are they? More like “Write on me.” No wonder that no one wants to talk about it – and Darwin is compulsory in schools but Lamarck is shunned.

And even less wonder that some are standing athwart epigenetics and yelling “Stop!”

– Was that big gravity wave find just dust? Not a multiverse, as widely touted?

Remember when a signal was detected in the cosmic microwave background’s polarization? It was used for every purpose from bashing Christians to claiming that gravitational waves strengthen the case for a multiverse. Indeed, National Geographic considered the waves evidence of a multiverse. (But when people are determined to believe something, they find evidence everywhere.)

It was just dust. But let’s not lose sight of the importance, for many, of demonstrating that our universe is merely one random agglomeration among many. They are now onto their Next Big Thing, of course, whether it is in fact a big thing or a mite on the lens. See also: Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train and Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name, to get a sense of why this stuff is happening.

– We looked at the impasse created by the fact that naturalists would sooner spend decades on apparently randomly generated origin of life theories than take seriously the challenges posed by high information content (beyond the capacities of randomness in this universe). Saturn’s moon Enceladus is the latest. Also, remember the “undersea volcanic vents” origin of life (retro retro) and “life arose from chemical imbalances” (so life isn’t happening all by itself now because…  oh wait, not supposed to ask). Oh, and life can get started without water, in case you missed that.

But in the real world, even bacteria are more like people than like amino acids. The origin of life is a problem in the origin of information, and cannot usefully be understood otherwise. But information works differently from matter; it follows different laws. Fortunately, we ran into an engineer who offered a novel but useful perspective: Let us look at the engineering specifications to create a life form in detail. Then see how to research it further.

In other words, stop pretending it somehow just happened by chance, and find out what would be needed to create it. That’s the only project worth doing now. But as it stands,  most naturalists would far rather waste funded research time on “maybe it was mica sheets” or something.  At least their “finds” are really easy science news stories for me—because they aren’t really science and aren’t really news…  That’s the part I like least.

– And let’s not forget the ridiculous level of uncertainty in the field of human evolution or the nonsense pop human evolution (what multitudes believe). There is no consensus among experts on when the human race arose, but we are all supposed to believe whatever anyway. Yet we have nonetheless (!) heard signals in the noise that fail to confirm materialist theories. It’s worth keeping in mind that, despite these developments, naturalists would prefer chaos and nonsense to signals that point away from naturalism.

– Also, recalling March—when we went through all the stuff Darwin’s followers have taught us that we now know ain’t so: Information killed the Central Dogma too. And junk DNA? Still not much junk DNA, contrary to claims.

–  Meanwhile, on the up beat, the trailer for Michael Denton’s new documentary, Privileged Species, appeared. In April we also celebrated Wallace Day—honouring the first ID biologist, Alfred Russel Wallace.

Would you know all this stuff was going on if we didn’t tell you?

Next month up is May. Merry Christmas.

See also: January 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  (My sense is that we are making some headway against what Leon Wieseltier has referred to as Darwinist dittoheads.)

February 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  We are definitely past having to care what Christians for Darwin think.

March 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  Old, taken-for-granted “truths” are collapsing; an information theory approach may help us forward.

May 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  BUT then things took a really odd turn: It turned out that everyone who doubts Wade’s race theories is a creationist. Hey, is “creationist” the new “think for yourself”?

June 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  In June we began to think seriously about William Dembski’s then upcoming Being as Communion, a more philosophical look at design in nature

July 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  Among many other events, a UD Post where a famous chemist says no scientist understands “macroevolution” passed 200,000 views.

August 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  Famous Darwin follower, Jerry “Why evolution is true” Coyne, was really mad that information theorist William Dembski is allowed to speak at his fort, Fort Chicago University

September 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  It was becoming obvious that no one who knows the facts need be defensive about doubting the naturalist spin.

October 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  Even establishment science media are now moving to recognize the problems with Darwinian evolution theory.

November 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  Not only has the kill-ID bomb not exploded, but lots of people besides us are beginning to notice that fact.

December 2014: Events that made a difference to ID  Fake Facebook pages started in an attempt to discredit ID theorists. (People fake Rolexes, not Timexes.)

Follow UD News at Twitter!

This doesn't belong in April, but seems hugely important and urgent to me: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/lost-memories-might-be-able-to-be-restored-new-ucla-study-indicates This study is headlined as being related to Alzheimers but it's a lot bigger. Doing clever and thorough experimentation with a simple-brained snail, researchers established that memories are NOT stored in the pattern of synapses that get built after forming a memory. They cut out the sensory and motor section that had been trained, kept it in a Petri dish to avoid influences by the rest of the brain, then broke up the synapses that had been formed. What happened? The same synapses formed again! So the synapses are just a backup, or maybe a side-effect needed for some other purpose. The memory was kept SOMEWHERE ELSE. Switched genes? A self-maintained electric field like a DRAM? In the glia? In a soul? polistra

Leave a Reply