Intelligent Design

Evolution in the light of intelligent design – New entries

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Here are the new entries to the Encyclopedia: Evolution in the light of intelligent design

Acritarchs – oldest known protists (Tyler)

The picture emerging of the Late Archaean is one that includes prokaryotes and eukaryotes, photosynthesis, an oxygenated atmosphere and lots of biological activity. This is a big contrast from the picture even 10 years ago. The significance for our thinking about origins is that the eons of time demanded by Darwinian processes are not available.

Archaea – horizontal gene transfer – review of The Archaea’s Tale (Tyler)

He presents evidence that Darwinian evolution does not go back to the beginning of life. When we compare genomes of ancient lineages of living creatures, we find evidence of numerous transfers of genetic information from one lineage to another. In early times, horizontal gene transfer, the sharing of genes between unrelated species, was prevalent. It becomes more prevalent the further back you go in time. – Freeman Dyson 

(also new Mindful Hack entries linked below)

Butterfly sex ratios in Samoa – and natural selection (Tyler)

Sex ratios are distorted by the presence of a maternally inherited bacterium which has the effect of selectively killing male embryos. The authors report ratios of >99% female to nearly 1:1. These were different on different islands and at different times. The genetics of this shift of sex ratios is summarised in one paragraph with some supporting online data. There is not enough information here for anyone to either confirm or challenge their conclusions.

Cell – molecular recognition – advantages of cellular key-lock not being an exact fit. (Tyler)

So, something that could have been interpreted as evidence for tinkering evolution is discovered to have advantages after all. Furthermore, it has potential for the design of human systems operating in noisy environments. By invoking “evolutionary selection”, the authors suggest an evolutionary context for their work. However, there is no evidence that evolutionary selection was involved, and the link with evolutionary theory is gratuitous.

Central dogma (Tyler)

Casual observers might say they find chaos in the emerging picture of the genome, but systems biology is tracking down extraordinary sophistication at the molecular biology level, indicating that theories (like Darwinism) that are undirected and stochastic have little to offer 21st Century biology.

Exoplanets – atmospheres (Tyler)

Gecko – feet a standard for adhesion (Tyler)

… the gecko does not demonstrate just a single trait with enhanced performance. There are issues of adhesion and delamination, self-cleaning, and achieving a sustained adhesive performance. What we have in the gecko is exquisite design and, for that, biomimetics needs a methodology that can relate well to intelligent engineering design concepts.

Molecular recognition in the cell (Tyler)

Protists – oldest known protists (Tyler)

Sensory perception – advanced perception in Permian amniotes (Tyler)

The discovery of a highly-evolved auditory apparatus in Middle Permian parareptiles even further emphasizes that the entire groundplan for the impressive evolutionary history of amniotes was already largely in place by the end of the Paleozoic; what followed was in fact only a subsequent tinkering of earlier inventions.” Darwinism needs time, but the fossil record no longer provides it.

Stasis – tribolites (Tyler)

Trilobites – variation and stasis as a pattern

The research documented both rapid morphological variation and subsequent stasis. … One hypothesis is that radiations occur because organisms are designed to vary, but the process results in genetic impoverishment that leads to stasis.

Variation – tribolites (Tyler)

Also, at Mindful Hack:

Bird brains, far from us on the “tree of life” spur rethinking of intelligence

A fellow journalist’s thoughts on neuroscientists and God

Scientist apologist John Lennox to debate atheist crusader Richard Dawkins

How powerful is the placebo effect? If you do not take your sugar pill, you are more likely to die.

13 Replies to “Evolution in the light of intelligent design – New entries

  1. 1
    Bob O'H says:

    There is not enough information here for anyone to either confirm or challenge their conclusions.

    From Science’s Conditions of Acceptence:

    Data availability After publication, all data necessary to understand, assess, and extend the conclusions of the manuscript must be available to any reader of Science.

    So, if you have any genuine doubts, take them up with the authors, and if necessary ask for the raw data.


  2. 2
    Patrick says:

    Bob…she’s quoting segments of the articles.

  3. 3
    Bob O'H says:

    Patrick – err, yes. Does that invalidate my point. Ms. O’Leary quotes this sentence, possibly because she thinks it’s important. I wouldn’t want people reading it here to conclude that there is any conspiracy of secrecy, with data being hidden from the public’s eyes.


  4. 4
    O'Leary says:

    Bob, no one was likely concluding that.

    If you think the author of the article is in error, take it up with him. He is British physicist David Tyler.

    He has read the paper (I have not, I only write summaries, as you apparently realize).

    The file drawer problem is endemic in science; there would be nothing unusual about the situation Tyler describes, irrespective of official proclamations.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    I would like to point out that essential purpose has been found for the first life on Earth, thus undermining the Darwinian theory of purposeless trial and error for the first life found on Earth!

    From 3.8 to .6 billion years ago photosynthetic bacteria, and to a lesser degree sulfate-reducing bacteria, ted the geologic and fossil record (that’s over 80% of the entire time life has existed on earth). The geologic and fossil record also reveals that during this time a large portion of these very first bacterial life-forms lived in complex symbiotic (mutually beneficial) colonies called Stromatolites. Stromatolites are rock like structures that the photo-synthetic bacteria built up over many years (much like coral reefs are slowly built up over many years by the tiny creatures called corals). Although Stromatolites are not nearly as widespread as they once were, they are still around today in a few sparse places like Shark’s Bay Australia. Contrary to what naturalistic thought would expect, these very first photosynthetic bacteria scientists find in the geologic and fossil record are shown to have been preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear from the very start of their existence by reducing the greenhouse gases of earth’s early atmosphere and producing the necessary oxygen for higher life-forms to exist. Photosynthetic bacteria slowly built the oxygen up in the earth’s atmosphere by removing the carbon-dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) from the atmosphere; separated the carbon from the oxygen; then released the oxygen back into the atmosphere (and into the earth’s ocean & crust) while they retained the carbon. Interestingly, the gradual removal of greenhouse gases corresponds exactly to the gradual 15% increase of light and heat coming from the sun during that time (Ross; PhD. Astrophysics; Creation as Science 2006). This “lucky” correspondence of the slow increase of heat from the sun with the same perfectly timed slow removal of greenhouse gases from the earth’s atmosphere was absolutely necessary for the bacteria to continue to live to do their work of preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear. Bacteria obviously depended on the temperature of the earth to remain relatively stable during the billions of years they prepared the earth for higher life forms to appear. More interesting still, the byproducts of greenhouse gas removal by these early bacteria are limestone, marble, gypsum, phosphates, sand, and to a lesser extent, coal, oil and natural gas (note; though some coal, oil and natural gas are from this early era of bacterial life, most coal, oil and natural gas deposits originated on earth after the Cambrian explosion of higher life forms some 540 million years ago). These natural resources produced by these early photosynthetic bacteria are very useful to modern civilizations. Interestingly, while the photo-synthetic bacteria were reducing greenhouse gases and producing natural resources that would be of benefit to modern man, the sulfate-reducing bacteria were also producing their own natural resources that would be very useful to modern man. Sulfate-reducing bacteria helped prepare the earth for advanced life by “detoxifying” the primeval earth and oceans of “poisonous” levels of heavy metals while depositing them as relatively inert metal ore deposits (iron, zinc, magnesium, lead etc.. etc..). To this day, sulfate-reducing bacteria maintain an essential minimal level of these metals in the ecosystem that are high enough so as to be available to the biological systems of the higher life forms that need them, yet low enough so as not to be poisonous to those very same higher life forms. Needless to say, the metal ores deposited by these sulfate-reducing bacteria in the early history of the earth’s geologic record are indispensable to man’s rise above the stone age to modern civilization. Yet even more evidence has been found tying other early types of bacterial life to the anthropic hypothesis. Many different types of bacteria in earths early history lived in complex symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships in what are called cryptogamic colonies on the earths primeval continents. These colonies “dramatically” transformed the “primeval land” into “nutrient filled soils” that were receptive for future advanced vegetation to appear. Naturalism has no answers for why all these different bacterial types and colonies found in the geologic and fossil record would start working in precise concert with each other preparing the earth for future life to appear. -// Since oxygen readily reacts and bonds with almost all of the solid elements making up the earth itself, it took photosynthetic bacteria over 3 billion years before the earth’s crust and mantle was saturated with enough oxygen to allow an excess of oxygen to be built up in the atmosphere. Once this was accomplished, higher life forms could finally be introduced on earth. Moreover, scientists find the rise in oxygen percentages in the geologic record to correspond exactly to the sudden appearance of large animals in the fossil record that depended on those particular percentages of oxygen. The geologic record shows a 10% oxygen level at the time of the Cambrian explosion of higher life-forms in the fossil record some 540 million years ago. The geologic record also shows a strange and very quick rise from the 17% oxygen level, of 50 million years ago, to a 23% oxygen level 40 million years ago (Falkowski 2005)). This strange rise in oxygen levels corresponds exactly to the appearance of large mammals in the fossil record who depend on high oxygen levels. Interestingly, for the last 10 million years the oxygen percentage has been holding steady around 21%. 21% happens to be the exact percentage that is of maximum biological utility for humans to exist. If the oxygen level were only a few percentage lower, large mammals would become severely hampered in their ability to metabolize energy; if only three to four percentage higher, there would be uncontrollable outbreaks of fire across the land. Because of this basic chemical requirement of photosynthetic bacterial life establishing and helping maintain the proper oxygen levels for higher life forms on any earth-like planet, this gives us further reason to believe the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support intelligent life in this universe. All these preliminary studies of early life on earth fall right in line with the anthropic hypothesis and have no explanation from any naturalistic theory based on blind chance as to why the very first bacterial life found in the fossil record would suddenly, from the very start of their appearance on earth, start working in precise harmony with each other to prepare the earth for future life to appear. Nor can naturalism explain why, once the bacteria had helped prepare the earth for higher life forms, they continue to work in precise harmony with each other to help maintain the proper balanced conditions that are of primary benefit for the complex life that is above them.

  6. 6
    Bob O'H says:

    The file drawer problem is endemic in science; …

    Huh? The paper was published, so where does the file drawer problem fit in?

    Is this the same David Tyler?


  7. 7
    DaveScot says:

    Credential mining, Bob?

    Good thing for you I don’t restrict questioning of Dembski’s conclusions about probabilities to people with PhD’s in statistics. That would effectively rule out you and, near as I can tell, 100% of your ID bashing cohorts too.

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:


    It’s mind boggling that people actually believe the history of the universe, every detail of it beginning from its birth billions of years ago leading to us being here to talk about it today, is just a lucky happenstance. It’s clearly a setup. Luck like that just doesn’t happen.

  9. 9 says:


    “These very first photosynthetic bacteria are shown to have been preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear

    These bacteria are not capable of doing anything except what they are programmed to do. Your statement seems to be anthropomorphic and philosophically retrospective.

  10. 10
    larrycranston says:

    I don’t see how limiting questioning of Dr. Dembski’s conclusions to those with a PhD in Statistics would be useful. Wouldn’t you also have to limit supportive commentary to the same level of expertise?

  11. 11
    Bob O'H says:

    Dave – not credential mining, just checking that I’ve got the right person before emailing them. It could be a bit embarrassing otherwise.


  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:
    The Anthropic Hypothesis is a major subset of the Theistic philosophy, Whereas ID is a major subset of the Anthropic Hypothesis.
    Likewise The evolutionary hypothesis is a major subset of the Materialistic Philosophy. Most of science can be sub-divided into the two prevailing philosophies of Materialism and Theism.
    It has been found that the Anthropic Hypothesis has extraordinary explanatory power for foundational questions in science, and even promises to bring the problem of Gravity’s missing Dark matter and energy into submission to man’s knowledge and understanding, Whereas it is becoming increasingly obvious that the materialistic philosophy will be left hanging for a rational explanation for Gravity!

  13. 13
    DaveScot says:


    These bacteria are not capable of doing anything except what they are programmed to do.

    Yes, but they were programmed to prepare the environment for the more complex life to follow. If you look at the succession of life in geologic epochs it becomes clear that each epoch was preparing the environment for the next. It’s called terraforming. If we were to use engineering principles to prepare another planet for human habitation that’s how we’d do it.

    The stages of preparation lead right up to an industrial civilization with the last epoch being used to fill previously constructed underground, readily accessable fossil fuel stores to power the first phase of the upcoming industrial civilization.

    Once one understands the extraordinary series of events beginning at the very birth of the observable universe and proceeding in perfect coordinated procession over 14 billion years to produce an industrial civilization on our very unique planet it becomes nonsensical except to the most naive (or agenda-driven intelligence-denying) observer to not think that this was all planned to happen from the very beginning. It’s just too pat to be a series of almost impossibly improbable chance happenings. Almost everywhere we look in the history of the universe, from its birth to the construction and evolution of life, if things had been just a tiny bit different we wouldn’t be here.

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