Intelligent Design

Dembski v. Shapiro: Does science point to intelligent design?

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From 2012 (Shapiro is agnostic about teleology, so the debate is worth listening to if you know something about new developments in biology):

What events in the past year might shed light on that question?

* Originally identified as not a follower of Darwin, sources say he is agnostic about teleology. Still worth listening to. Not a parrot.

Hat tip: Daniel Quinones

19 Replies to “Dembski v. Shapiro: Does science point to intelligent design?

  1. 1
    Neil Rickert says:

    I’ll note that it is Robert Shapiro (not James Shapiro) who is featured.

    I mention this, because there are frequent mentions of James Shapiro in post here.

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  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Life What A Concept! – Robert Shapiro – video!

    Professor Robert Shapiro~ quote from preceding video
    “I looked at the papers published on the origin of life and decided that it was absurd that the thought of nature of its own volition putting together a DNA or an RNA molecule was unbelievable.
    I’m always running out of metaphors to try and explain what the difficulty is. But suppose you took Scrabble sets, or any word game sets, blocks with letters, containing every language on Earth, and you heap them together and you then took a scoop and you scooped into that heap, and you flung it out on the lawn there, and the letters fell into a line which contained the words “To be or not to be, that is the question,” that is roughly the odds of an RNA molecule, given no feedback — and there would be no feedback, because it wouldn’t be functional until it attained a certain length and could copy itself — appearing on the Earth.”
    Robert Shapiro was professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University. He is best known for his work on the origin of life, having written two books on the topic: Origins, a Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth and Planetary Dreams.

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    It’s a pity that Professor Shapiro passed away. He was only 76. What a courageous man. It’s a sure bet the atheist/materialist religious community is not enamored with Dr. Shapiro’s work on OOL. He developed a passion for rubbing their collective nose in their own feces. LOL. I love it.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Shocking history:

    Monkeying with the Monkey Trial – Michael Egnor – December 20, 2013
    Excerpt: By the late 1920s there were 376 eugenics courses in leading universities — Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and Johns Hopkins, to name a few — along with enthusiastic support from media and government. Eugenic science was funded lavishly by the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Harriman Railroad foundation, and the wealthy businessman J.H. Kellogg. Many national and international conferences on eugenics and human evolution were hosted at leading research institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History, and eugenic science gained the imprimatur of leading scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the National Research Council. By the 1930s, 31 states in the U.S. had passed compulsory sterilization laws based on mainstream eugenic science and human evolution, and eugenics would receive the explicit endorsement of the Supreme Court in 1926. By the end of the first half of the 20th century, sixty thousand Americans had been sterilized involuntarily on the basis of consensus eugenic science.
    Nazi eugenics was a derivative of American (and to a lesser extent British) eugenics, and German eugenicists were effusive in their praise and acknowledgment of debt to American eugenicists.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Codes Within Codes: How Dual-Use Codons Challenge Statistical Methods for Inferring Natural Selection – Casey Luskin – December 20, 2013
    In fact, one commentator observed that on the same analysis, codons may have more than two uses:
    “By this logic one could coin the term “trion” by pointing out that histone binding is also independently affected by A-C-T-G letter frequencies within protein-coding stretches of DNA.”
    But this isn’t the first time that scientists have discovered multiple codes in biology. Earlier this year I discussed research that found an analog code in the DNA that helps regulate gene expression, in addition to the digital code that encodes primary protein sequence. In other cases, multiple proteins are encoded by the same gene! And then of course there’s the splicing code, which helps control how RNAs transcribed from genes are spliced together in different ways to construct different proteins (see here and here).
    It boggles the mind to think about how such “codes within codes” could evolve by random mutation and natural selection. But now it turns out that evidence of different functions for synonymous codons could threaten many standard methods used to infer selection in the first place,,,

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    bornagain77 says:

    OT: podcast – “David Berlinski: Is Human Nature Improving? Pt. 1”

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    Jaceli123 says:

    Hey guys @bornagain and @mapou I have a question about vestigial organs. For example some human babies are born with a tail and some men have hair covering there entire bodies doesn’t this show common decent?

  9. 9
    Jaceli123 says:

    Also is DNA really information or is it just chemical reactions in the nucleotide bases with RNA to form proteins.

  10. 10
    Jaceli123 says:

    Heres a video I saw that tries to refute that if DNA is really information but that it is just biochemical potential and does not send messages but just reacts with rna chemically! Heres the video

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    Jon Garvey says:

    Also is DNA really information or is it just chemical reactions in the nucleotide bases with RNA to form proteins.

    Are these posts really information or are they just chemical reactions in an LED screen? The point is that information can only ever be instantiated in some physical medium, but that does not suffciently account for its form.

    You really can completely explain blog posts in terms of physical cause and effect, but the message still sits there with meaning the physics cannot explain.

    To cite a recent example by an atheist on my own blog, you could explain “John wants a cup of tea” in a causal chain of interactions back to the big bang, but once you’ve done so, the nost significant thing is that John still wants tea.

    So with DNA – there is no chemical explanation of why it has this sequence rather than that, but there is nothing that contravenes the laws of chemistry. Information is a different order of causation – persoannly I think V J Torley is dead right in suggesting it is the same as Aristotle’s formal causation.

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    Jon Garvey says:

    Drat. forgot to close blockquote

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    Jaceli123 says:

    Thanks John but did you watch the video I linked?

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    johnp says:


    Codons are sets of three base pairs in the DNA/RNA structure that code for a specific amino acid. The three base pairs are in no way chemically related to the amino acid that they code for. So, just as “cat” is a three letter English word for a feline creature that is not NECESSARILY inherent to the creature itself, the three base pair codons are not inherently related to the amino acids they specify. Make sense so far?

    Now, proteins, as we know are sequences of 20 or more (many are sequences of hundreds) amino acids. Each amino acid has to be added to the protein fold in the correct sequence, or the protein will not fold properly and will not be useable in the cell. There are also “start” and “stop” codons in the base pair sequence to tell the ribosome when to begin and when to end the protein construction.

    Also note that the genome (DNA) does not just code for proteins alone. The recent ENCODE project has found that protein coding is just one of many functions performed by the genome. All of these functions are carried out according to the sequence of base pairs acting as instructions, in the same way functions on your computer are performed by the operating system and software installed on it.

    If you want to know more about the similarities between DNA and software, I recommend you look at the work of Dr. Craig Venter, who is involved in designing “synthetic” life.

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    tjguy says:

    Jaceli, here is an article about the vestigial tail claim:


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    Jaceli123 says:

    Thanks tjguy but I already read that article but I have a bigger problem im hearing people say that people with these tails can actually move them heres a video on one guy moving his!!!!!! heres the link.

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    tjguy says:

    Jaceli, here is an article about the vestigial tail claim:

    Vestigial organs are often used as evidence to argue in favor of Darwinian evolution. These organs are allegedly left over from our ancestors but are no longer useful or needed. Evolution proponents typically contend that such structures are best explained as remnants of evolutionary history. Supposedly, the best explanation for these non-functional traits is that they once served a purpose in our ancestor but now no longer do.

    In a recent article for New Scientist, Laura Spinney discusses five vestigial organs in the human body and refers to them as “useless relics of our evolutionary past.”1 Five organs that humans no longer need are provided to counter the claims of creationists who supposedly deny that vestigial organs exist at all.

    Before addressing the specific organs that are covered in her article, it is necessary to clarify how creationists should view vestigial organs. The classic definition of a vestigial organ is an organ or structure in an organism that is not functional, but is derived from an ancestor that had a use for that organ or structure.

    Creationists understand that there has been degeneration and mutation since the Fall. We also expect that there would be a significant loss of information for many genes. The loss of genes for organs that do not significantly impact survival in a negative way could be quite prevalent. Thus, for the creationist, there should be no problem with an organ or structure in man that has lost some functionality. However, another possibility is that we have just not determined or understood the function properly yet.

    Creationists that I know do not deny that there are organs in man that have lost some of their functionality. However, they do reject the notion that those organs were inherited from a common ancestor with apes or other animals. Evolutionists typically point to these presumed non-functioning organs and insist that they are evidence that we evolved from a common ancestor with more primitive organisms. Just because humans have organs with reduced functionality does not really count as evidence of common ancestry. This is perhaps because God created Adam and Eve with those organs, but they have lost some functionality in their descendants.


    The Tailbone
    The tailbone or coccyx has often been presumed to be vestigial and a leftover remnant to our alleged mammal and reptilian ancestors who also had tails. Evidence that is cited includes the variable number of bony segments humans can have (usually 4 but can be 3 or 5) as well as “babies born with tails.” But these so called tails are not really tails at all and instead are a type of fatty tumor. There are no bones or muscles in them at all, and thus, it cannot truly be considered a vestigial organ.5

    Spinney acknowledges that the coccyx now has a “modified function, notably as an anchor point for the muscles that hold the anus in place.” In fact, the coccyx is the anchor point for the muscles that form the entire pelvic diaphragm. Therefore, while the coccyx has a clear function in humans today, the only reason to claim that the function has been modified is because of evolutionary assumptions. If you believe that humans descended from animals that possessed tails, then there must have been a modification of the tailbone. In contrast, if our ancestor Adam was created by God then there was no modification, and our tailbone is just as it always was. Without the evolutionary presupposition, the evidence that the tailbone is vestigial evaporates.

    This is taken from an articsle on the web entitled: Setting the Record Straight on Vestigial Organs
    by Dr. David A. DeWitt, Director, Center for Creation Studies, Liberty UniversityMay 28, 2008

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    tjguy says:


    About information, search for this article on creation dot com: “Is information a ‘false metaphor’ for DNA?”

    I think it will help. The information article is very powerful so it is no wonder evolutionists try to discredit it. It is also easy for people to understand, so it is worth learning well.

  19. 19
    Jaceli123 says:

    Thanks tjguy I appreciate it. Im sorry but that video I linked just freaked me out at the fact that he could move the fatty tail thing!

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