Human evolution Intelligent Design

Gunter Bechly vs. Joshua Swamidass at Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable show

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Dr Gunter Bechly is a palaeontologist who became convinced that Darwinian evolution cannot explain the fossil record. He debates Intelligent Design with computational biologist Dr Joshua Swamidass who affirms an evolutionary account.

Note: If we’re thinking of Joshua Swamidass anyway, J. R. Miller comments on his book, Genealogical Adam and Eve:

Swamidass’ Theory is a Mathematical Shell Game We have all seen the shell game played out on TV and movies. There is some street hustler who has three shells and one ball. He places the ball under one shell and shuffles them around. If you want to win the game, you have to pick the shell that conceals the ball. But we all know that you can’t really win the game. Why? Because it’s a game of misdirection. In fact, the ball is not really under any of the three shells. It is hidden in the palm of the hustler’s hand ready to be placed anywhere he likes. I don’t mean to call Swamidass a hustler (that takes my analogy too far), but I do think he is playing the shell game.

I think this shell game is a fair analogy to Swamidass’s theory of human origins because Swamidass hides the ball of “ancestry” behind the many shells of population genetics. When the Apostle Paul says that Adam and Eve are the ancestors of of us, he means something very different than does Swamidass. Instead of shells, Swamidass uses a computer model based on population genetics to hide the ball of ancestry. And while this claim that the ball is somewhere under the shells may be statistically meaningful, in practical terms it is meaningless. In his book, Is Science Racist?, Jonathan Marks raises this very point. Not directly about Swamidass, but about how folks play the game of “ancestry” using mathematical models…

J.R. Miller, “Misconceptions about Swamidass’ Genealogical Adam and Eve” at More Than Cake (June 18, 2021)

Maybe another debate?

27 Replies to “Gunter Bechly vs. Joshua Swamidass at Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable show

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Since Darwinists, (and I include Swamidass when I say Darwinists), hold that mutations to DNA are the primary driving force of evolution, (with Natural Selection, thereafter, playing a major role in the modern synthesis, (i.e. Neo-Darwinism), and with Natural Selection, thereafter, playing a negligible role in Neutral theory), one would think that Darwinists would have fairly compelling evidence for mutations to DNA being the primary driving force of evolution as they envision it to be.

    Yet, one would be wrong in that presupposition.

    Darwinists simply have no empirical evidence whatsoever that mutations to DNA can lead to new species and/or major morphological changes.

    In the following paper, Alan H. Linton – emeritus professor of bacteriology, states that ‘Bacteria are ideal for this kind of study, But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another,’

    Scant search for the Maker – 2001
    Excerpt: But where is the experimental evidence? None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of 20 to 30 minutes, and populations achieved after 18 hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another, in spite of the fact that populations have been exposed to potent chemical and physical mutagens and that, uniquely, bacteria possess extrachromosomal, transmissible plasmids. Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms.
    – Alan H. Linton – emeritus professor of bacteriology, University of Bristol.
    http://www.timeshighereducatio.....ode=159282

    And as Jonathan Wells states in the following article, “studies using saturation mutagenesis in the embryos of fruit flies, roundworms, zebrafish and mice also provide evidence against the idea that DNA specifies the basic form of an organism. Biologists can mutate (and indeed have mutated) a fruit fly embryo in every possible way, and they have invariably observed only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly.”

    Jonathan Wells: Far from being all-powerful, DNA does not wholly determine biological form – March 31, 2014
    Excerpt: Studies using saturation mutagenesis in the embryos of fruit flies, roundworms, zebrafish and mice also provide evidence against the idea that DNA specifies the basic form of an organism. Biologists can mutate (and indeed have mutated) a fruit fly embryo in every possible way, and they have invariably observed only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/jonathan-wells-far-from-being-all-powerful-dna-does-not-wholly-determine-biological-form/

    Response to John Wise – October 2010
    Excerpt: But there are solid empirical grounds for arguing that changes in DNA alone cannot produce new organs or body plans. A technique called “saturation mutagenesis”1,2 has been used to produce every possible developmental mutation in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster),3,4,5 roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans),6,7 and zebrafish (Danio rerio),8,9,10 and the same technique is now being applied to mice (Mus musculus).11,12. None of the evidence from these and numerous other studies of developmental mutations supports the neo-Darwinian dogma that DNA mutations can lead to new organs or body plans–,,,
    (As Jonathan Wells states),,, We can modify the DNA of a fruit fly embryo in any way we want, and there are only three possible outcomes:
    A normal fruit fly;
    A defective fruit fly; or
    A dead fruit fly.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38811.html

    And here is an excellent powerpoint presentation by Dr. Jonathan Wells, starting around the 15:00 minute mark, showing that the central dogma of Darwinian evolution, which simply stated is “DNA makes RNA makes protein makes us”, is incorrect at every step.

    Design Beyond DNA: A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Wells – video (14:36 minute mark) – January 2017
    https://youtu.be/ASAaANVBoiE?t=876

    Moreover, as the following fairly recent article pointed out, “biological form, was eventually excluded from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis as irrelevant.,,,”

    On the problem of biological form – Marta Linde-Medina (2020)
    Excerpt: Embryonic development, which inspired the first theories of biological form, was eventually excluded from the conceptual framework of the Modern Synthesis as irrelevant.,,,
    At present, the problem of biological form remains unsolved.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12064-020-00317-3

    Excuse me, “Irrelevant?”

    Really?,, Hmmm.

    Others, (who are not so enamored with the prospect of just taking it on ‘blind faith’ that mutations to DNA can explain major transformations of biological form), might not be so flippant as to disregard this major omission of biological form from the conceptual framework of Neo-Darwinism as irrelevant.

    Indeed, the only thing that this glaring omission of biological form from the modern synthesis truly renders irrelevant is Darwinian evolution itself.

    Darwinists can pretend they are being scientific all day long, but they simply have no mechanism to explain biological form, much less do they have any mechanism to explain major ‘transformations of form’.

    Whereas, on the other hand, as ID advocates, we witness Intelligence infusing ‘positional’ information into material substrates, (i.e. purposely arranging parts), all the time, in a ‘top-down’ manner, in order to create new functional ‘forms’.

    Recognizing Design by a “Purposeful Arrangement of Parts” – Michael Behe – June 10, 2021
    Excerpt: The critical difference between ID and Darwinian evolution (and all other proposals for unintelligent evolutionary processes) is the involvement of a mind in ID. The philosopher Lydia McGrew once wrote that the basic question of ID boils down to the question of “other minds.” One of Alvin Plantinga’s claims to fame is that he argued fifty years ago in God and Other Minds that (I paraphrase) the perception of the existence of God is the same sort of problem as the perception of the existence of other minds.
    Minds and Purpose
    So how do we perceive the work of a mind? As I’ve written in my books (most extensively in Darwin Devolves), minds (and only minds) can have purposes. Thus, to the extent it can manipulate things, a mind can arrange parts to achieve its purposes. Of course, we ourselves have minds. And it is a fundamental power of mind that it can discern purposes. Thus we can recognize that a mind has acted by perceiving a purposeful arrangement of parts. There is no other way that I can think of by which we can recognize another mind.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2021/06/recognizing-design-by-a-purposeful-arrangement-of-parts/

    And if anything ever gave us overwhelming evidence of the “Purposeful Arrangement of Parts”, life certainly is it.

    Although the following was written by Michael Denton in the 1980s, his passage is still very much relevant today in 2021 and indeed, the evidence since the 1980s has only gotten much, much, stronger for his claims since he first wrote this passage.

    “To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometres in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the portholes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings with find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus of itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometer in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell. We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines. We would notice that the simplest of the functional components of the cell, the protein molecules, were astonishingly, complex pieces of molecular machinery, each one consisting of about three thousand atoms arranged in highly organized 3-D spatial conformation. We would wonder even more as we watched the strangely purposeful activities of these weird molecular machines, particularly when we realized that, despite all our accumulated knowledge of physics and chemistry, the task of designing one such molecular machine – that is one single functional protein molecule – would be completely beyond our capacity at present and will probably not be achieved until at least the beginning of the next century. Yet the life of the cell depends on the integrated activities of thousands, certainly tens, and probably hundreds of thousands of different protein molecules.
    We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction. In fact, so deep would be the feeling of deja-vu, so persuasive the analogy, that much of the terminology we would use to describe this fascinating molecular reality would be borrowed from the world of late twentieth-century technology.
    What we would be witnessing would be an object resembling an immense automated factory, a factory larger than a city and carrying out almost as many unique functions as all the manufacturing activities of man on earth. However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours. To witness such an act at a magnification of one thousand million times would be an awe-inspiring spectacle.”
    – Michael Denton PhD., Evolution: A Theory In Crisis, pg.328 (!986)

    “To witness such an act at a magnification of one thousand million times would be an awe-inspiring spectacle.”

    Indeed!

    Verse:

    Psalm 139:13-14
    For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
    I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    Swamidass was outmatched. He seems to think he is some sort of authority on the subject when he is far from it. Joshua couldn’t refute ID’s claims if his life depended on it.

  3. 3
    zweston says:

    Has Dr. Josh ever won a debate with an ID proponent? Definitely not with James Tour or Douglas Axe.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    Joshua “wins” via banning ID proponents or via bald declaration that he won.

  5. 5
    zweston says:

    One of the biggest problems with Josh was when he wanted to deny funding and effectively shut down ID/creation science in universities. The Biologos group always buddying up to Christians but denying some pretty necessary tenets of the scripture. Just like the atheists like Eugenie that says evolution isn’t an enemy to faith, while signing the humanist manifesto

  6. 6
    StephenB says:

    Bornagain 77,

    Every now and then, I feel the need to express my gratitude for your presence on this forum. Your contributions are so relevant, so timely, and so well supported, that I, as an ID supporter, always feel empowered after reading them. I am especially impressed by the depth and range of your knowledge base, which allows you to select just the right excerpts from just the right specialists and subspecialists to solidify your points and expose the errors so common among ID’s critics.

    Like some of the great champions in the sports arena, you score a lot of points, but you also help prepare everyone on the UD team to perform at a higher level. You have influence because, due to your preparation skills, you know the difference between true research and deceptive propaganda and can explain that difference to your audience. I hope that you will continue to give of yourself so generously because, without you, UD would not be what it is.

  7. 7
    zweston says:

    Amen to Stephen’s comment. Couldn’t have said it better

  8. 8
    zweston says:

    I just finished listening.

    I have found Joshua to always be very “squishy.” I affirm his desire to reconcile two sides, but I’m not even sure what his convictions are.

    The important thing to note is how quickly Josh writes off Neo Darwinism as the end all be all that mainstream science still seemingly holds and what children and students are being taught.

    It’s as though we went from “Neo-Darwinism is fact” to “of course other mechanisms are necessary.”

    I don’t like the idea of this transition in thought being effectively swept under the rug.

    I also have mixed feelings about Gunter (due to religious conviction and interpretation of scripture). I love that he is insistent on Darwinism and any other mechanism not being a viable solution for body plan, specific complexity, etc. development but also do wonder like Josh, how do you still hold to UCA especially in light of the fossil record?

    This conversation got derailed often and didn’t get very far, IMO. Josh just seems to swim in a sea of uncertainty (and doesn’t mind at all living in the tension) granting so much of ID’s plausibility but being so hesitant to just call a spade a spade. I guess I find myself frustrated in the dialogue from Josh.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    If DNA does not specify the basic form of an organism then what does?

    If DNA has no bearing on the form of an organism then how do you explain the deformities caused by thalidomide?

    If DNA has no bearing on the form of organisms then how do you explain the deformities caused in laboratory animals by gene knock-out experiments?

    If DNA has no bearing on form the how do you explain the various human disorders that are currently attributed to genetic causes?

  10. 10
    Fasteddious says:

    For a simple explanation of how ID and natural selection can work together to produce the fossil record we actually see, while maintaining a version of common descent, have a look at:
    https://thopid.blogspot.com/2020/03/a-model-for-intelligent-designevolution.html
    If only 1% of the mutations at each generation were intelligently induced or selected for a future purpose, it would, in principle be enough to evolve new genes, functions, features and hence species over time, if done carefully. But, of course, that would still be ID all the way!

  11. 11
    johnnyb says:

    What I found most perplexing about the discussion was this: Swamidass was adamant that we shouldn’t expect any of the mechanisms to be a “total” view of evolution, and, in fact, didn’t even seem to think that they needed empirical support to be proposed. So why, then, is ID the *one* area where scientists are not allowed to suggest contributed to evolution? This seems odd to me.

  12. 12
    Sandy says:

    Seversky
    If DNA does not specify the basic form of an organism then what does?

    If DNA has no bearing on the form of an organism then how do you explain the deformities caused by thalidomide?

    If DNA has no bearing on the form of organisms then how do you explain the deformities caused in laboratory animals by gene knock-out experiments?

    If DNA has no bearing on form the how do you explain the various human disorders that are currently attributed to genetic causes?

    How could DNA organise billions of cells to sing together into a complex organism? There is not enough information in DNA for this task. DNA is not the command point is just an executor of orders coming from elsewhere.

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    If DNA does not specify the basic form of an organism then what does?

    One theory is that there is a code in the cell wall that is mainly responsible. I believe Meyers discusses it in one of his books.

    It’s one of the mysteries of life.

    When I have time, I will search for it.

  14. 14
    ET says:

    DNA just codes for RNAs. mRNA just codes for polypeptide sequences. DNA just codes for the raw materials. It does not have a say in how proteins fold nor how they are assembled. That means that all DNA determines is if the organism will develop normally or will it be deformed.

    DNA controls and influences all aspects of development. But, just like an assembly line, it does not determine the product.

    seversky should read “On the Problem of Biological Form”

  15. 15
    jerry says:

    This seems odd to me.

    It’s all about world-views. ID represents a world view that is unacceptable to the elites.

  16. 16
    jerry says:

    If one is interested in body plan formation, there is a section Meyer’s book, “Darwin’s Doubt” that discusses it. Look for “sugar code” in the chapter on epigenetics.

    There is surprisingly little information on it. So it may all be speculative now. Body plans represent the real Achilles heal of naturalized evolution.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    How body plans are formed is not the same as what determines the body plan.

    To understand the challenge to the “superwatch” model by the erosion of the gene-centric view of nature, it is necessary to recall August Weismann’s seminal insight more than a century ago regarding the need for genetic determinants to specify organic form. As Weismann saw so clearly, in order to account for the unerring transmission through time with precise reduplication, for each generation of “complex contingent assemblages of matter” (superwatches), it is necessary to propose the existence of stable abstract genetic blueprints or programs in the genes- he called them “determinants”- sequestered safely in the germ plasm, away from the ever varying and destabilizing influences of the extra-genetic environment.

    Such carefully isolated determinants would theoretically be capable of reliably transmitting contingent order through time and specifying it reliably each generation. Thus, the modern “gene-centric” view of life was born, and with it the heroic twentieth century effort to identify Weismann’s determinants, supposed to be capable of reliably specifying in precise detail all the contingent order of the phenotype. Weismann was correct in this: the contingent view of form and indeed the entire mechanistic conception of life- the superwatch model- is critically dependent on showing that all or at least the vast majority of organic form is specified in precise detail in the genes.

    Yet by the late 1980s it was becoming obvious to most genetic researchers, including myself, since my own main research interest in the ‘80s and ‘90s was human genetics, that the heroic effort to find information specifying life’s order in the genes had failed. There was no longer the slightest justification for believing there exists anything in the genome remotely resembling a program capable of specifying in detail all the complex order of the phenotype. The emerging picture made it increasingly difficult to see genes as Weismann’s “unambiguous bearers of information” or view them as the sole source of the durability and stability of organic form. It is true that genes influence every aspect of development, but influencing something is not the same as determining it. Only a small fraction of all known genes, such as the developmental fate switching genes, can be imputed to have any sort of directing or controlling influence on form generation. From being “isolated directors” of a one-way game of life, genes are now considered to be interactive players in a dynamic two-way dance of almost unfathomable complexity, as described by Keller in “The Century of The Gene”- Michael Denton “An Anti-Darwinian Intellectual Journey”, Uncommon Dissent (2004), pages 171-2

    What makes a fly a fly? In his book (English title) “Why is a Fly not a Horse?”, the prominent Italian geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti, tells us the following : Chapter VI “Why is a Fly not a horse?” (same as the book’s title)

    ”The scientist enjoys a privilege denied the theologian. To any question, even one central to his theories, he may reply “I’m sorry but I do not know.” This is the only honest answer to the question posed by the title of this chapter. We are fully aware of what makes a flower red rather than white, what it is that prevents a dwarf from growing taller, or what goes wrong in a paraplegic or a thalassemic. But the mystery of species eludes us, and we have made no progress beyond what we already have long known, namely, that a kitty is born because its mother was a she-cat that mated with a tom, and that a fly emerges as a fly larva from a fly egg.”

    If ID is right, and it is, immaterial information determines biological form.

  18. 18
    Sandy says:

    Jerry
    If one is interested in body plan formation, there is a section Meyer’s book, “Darwin’s Doubt” that discusses it. Look for “sugar code” in the chapter on epigenetics.

    I doubt it could be something crumbled and fragmented inside cells . It ‘s probably something unitary , like a command centre , who forms a network of trillions and trillions of connections.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    More often than not, ET has the ability to pack more scientific punch in one sentence than a whole laboratory full of PhDs writing research papers.

    “If ID is right, and it is, immaterial information determines biological form.”
    – ET

    Here are a few (long winded) posts I wrote yesterday establishing that scientific fact that ET put in one succinct sentence
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-behe-on-the-purposeful-arrangement-of-parts/#comment-732995

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    I touched upon the fact that the sequential information in DNA is now found to be a subset of quantum ‘positional’ information yesterday.,, For instance, (among other things), I referenced this.

    “What happens is this classical information (of DNA) is embedded, sandwiched, into the quantum information (of DNA). And most likely this classical information is never accessed because it is inside all the quantum information. You can only access the quantum information or the electron clouds and the protons. So mathematically you can describe that as a quantum/classical state.”
    Elisabeth Rieper – Classical and Quantum Information in DNA – video (Longitudinal Quantum Information resides along the entire length of DNA discussed at the 19:30 minute mark; at 24:00 minute mark Dr Rieper remarks that practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it)
    https://youtu.be/2nqHOnVTxJE?t=1176

    To point out the obvious, the fact that “practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it” fits hand in glove with Bennett and company’s prior claim that “Classical Information is a subset of Quantum (positional) information”

    Classical Information is a subset of Quantum information – illustration
    https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2000/nsf00101/images/figure1.gif

    As well, I touched upon this yesterday,

    The information content that is found to be in a simple one cell bacterium, when working from the thermodynamic perspective, is found to be around 10 to the 12 bits,,,

    Biophysics – Information theory. Relation between information and entropy: – Setlow-Pollard, Ed. Addison Wesley
    Excerpt: Linschitz gave the figure 9.3 x 10^12 cal/deg or 9.3 x 10^12 x 4.2 joules/deg for the entropy of a bacterial cell. Using the relation H = S/(k In 2), we find that the information content is 4 x 10^12 bits. Morowitz’ deduction from the work of Bayne-Jones and Rhees gives the lower value of 5.6 x 10^11 bits, which is still in the neighborhood of 10^12 bits. Thus two quite different approaches give rather concordant figures.
    http://www.astroscu.unam.mx/~a.....ecular.htm

    ,,, Which is the equivalent of about 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. ‘In comparison,,, the largest libraries in the world,, have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.”

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.”
    – R. C. Wysong – The Creation-evolution Controversy

    ‘The information content of a simple cell has been estimated as around 10^12 bits, comparable to about a hundred million pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica.”
    Carl Sagan, “Life” in Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia (1974 ed.), pp. 893-894

    Thus since Bacterial cells are about 10 times smaller than most plant and animal cells.

    Size Comparisons of Bacteria, Amoeba, Animal & Plant Cells
    Excerpt: Bacterial cells are very small – about 10 times smaller than most plant and animal cells.
    https://education.seattlepi.com/size-comparisons-bacteria-amoeba-animal-plant-cells-4966.html

    And since there are conservatively estimated to be around 30 trillion cells within the average human body,

    Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body – 2016
    Abstract: Reported values in the literature on the number of cells in the body differ by orders of magnitude and are very seldom supported by any measurements or calculations. Here, we integrate the most up-to-date information on the number of human and bacterial cells in the body. We estimate the total number of bacteria in the 70 kg “reference man” to be 3.8·10^13. For human cells, we identify the dominant role of the hematopoietic lineage to the total count (?90%) and revise past estimates to 3.0·10^13 human cells. Our analysis also updates the widely-cited 10:1 ratio, showing that the number of bacteria in the body is actually of the same order as the number of human cells, and their total mass is about 0.2 kg.
    https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533

    Then that gives us a rough ballpark estimate of around 300 trillion times 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Or about 300 trillion times the information content contained within the books of all the largest libraries in the world. Needless to say, that is a massive amount of ‘positional’ information, (i.e. the ‘purposeful arrangement of parts’), that is somehow coming into a developing embryo from the outside by some non-material method.

    In the following video, Dr. Jonathan Wells, who specializes in embryology, using a branch of mathematics called category theory, demonstrates that during embryological development ‘positional information’ must somehow be coming into the developing embryo, ‘from the outside’, by some ‘non-material’ method, in order to explain the transdifferentiation of cells into their multiple different states during embryological development.

    Design Beyond DNA: A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Wells – video (41:00 minute mark) – January 2017
    https://youtu.be/ASAaANVBoiE?t=2484

    And as the following article states, the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000.

    In a TED Talk, (the Question You May Not Ask,,, Where did the information come from?) – November 29, 2017
    Excerpt: Sabatini is charming.,,, he deploys some memorable images. He points out that the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000. Later he wheels out the entire genome, in printed form, of a human being,,,,:
    [F]or the first time in history, this is the genome of a specific human, printed page-by-page, letter-by-letter: 262,000 pages of information, 450 kilograms.,,,
    – per Evolution News

    I would like to add a few notes to this notion of ‘positional information.”

    This ‘positional information’ that is somehow coming into the developing embryo, ‘from the outside’, by some ‘non-material’ method, is also now found to be “optimal,”

    As the following article states, “It’s now known that some form of positional information makes genes variously switch on and off throughout the embryo, giving cells distinct identities based on their location.,,, where information is concerned, cells might often find solutions to life’s challenges that are not just good but optimal,”

    The Math That Tells Cells What They Are – March 13, 2019
    Excerpt: It’s now known that some form of positional information makes genes variously switch on and off throughout the embryo, giving cells distinct identities based on their location.,,,
    That mounting evidence is leading some biologists to a bold hypothesis: that where information is concerned, cells might often find solutions to life’s challenges that are not just good but optimal — that cells extract as much useful information from their complex surroundings as is theoretically possible.,,,
    when researchers have been able to appropriately determine what cells are doing, many have been surprised to see clear indications of optimization.,,,
    “I don’t think optimization is an aesthetic or philosophical idea. It’s a very concrete idea,” Bialek said.,,,
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/the-math-that-tells-cells-what-they-are-20190313/

    “Optimal” is not just some word that they are carelessly tossing around. When they describe a biological system as being ‘optimal’, they mean exactly what they are saying. As the following article states, “the system couldn’t get faster, more sensitive or more efficient without first relocating to an alternate universe with alternate physical constants.”

    William Bialek: More Perfect Than We Imagined – March 23, 2013
    Excerpt: photoreceptor cells that carpet the retinal tissue of the eye and respond to light, are not just good or great or phabulous at their job. They are not merely exceptionally impressive by the standards of biology, with whatever slop and wiggle room the animate category implies. Photoreceptors operate at the outermost boundary allowed by the laws of physics, which means they are as good as they can be, period. Each one is designed to detect and respond to single photons of light — the smallest possible packages in which light comes wrapped.
    “Light is quantized, and you can’t count half a photon,” said William Bialek, a professor of physics and integrative genomics at Princeton University. “This is as far as it goes.” …
    Scientists have identified and mathematically anatomized an array of cases where optimization has left its fastidious mark, among them;,, the precision response in a fruit fly embryo to contouring molecules that help distinguish tail from head;,,, In each instance, biophysicists have calculated, the system couldn’t get faster, more sensitive or more efficient without first relocating to an alternate universe with alternate physical constants.
    Per Darwin’s God

    So, just where is this vast amount, (enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000), of ‘optimal’ positional information coming from in a developing embryo?

    Well, I have my own strong suspicion as to exactly where this vast amount of ‘positional’ information is coming from in the developing embryo, but I am sure that Darwinian atheists will not like my answer one bit.

    Psalm 139:13-14
    For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Thank you. I just try to remember who the reading audience is and keep it simple 😎

    That plus the more someone adds the moar “they” pick on the minutiae and the point gets lost.

  22. 22
    jerry says:

    I doubt it could be something crumbled and fragmented inside cells . It ‘s probably something unitary , like a command centre , who forms a network of trillions and trillions of connections.

    Send it to Steve Meyer. He may be interested.

    But read what he wrote first. From his book

    seven simple sugars can be rearranged to form hundreds of thousands of unique words, most of which have no more than five letters.

    These sequence-specific information-rich structures influence the arrangement of different cell types during embryological development. Thus, some cell biologists now refer to the arrangements of sugar molecules as the “sugar code” and compare these sequences to the digitally encoded information stored in DNA.”

    These [sugar] molecules surpass amino acids and nucleotides by far in information-storing capacity.” So the precisely arranged sugar molecules on the surface of cells clearly represent another source of information independent of that stored in DNA base sequences.”

  23. 23

    I did some 20 minutes internet search on what could possibly be the “decision state” of the cell, where the DNA is chosen. I found there was some cell state in which a cell closes off from the environment. I guess that would be the decision state, because I figured that for making decisions there should not be any interactions, so that the DNA could be in a quantum state of possibilities.

    This cell state is related to cancer. I figure cancer is mostly cells going their own way, in disregard of the rest of the body. So maybe in cancer the cell is actively choosing it’s DNA, trying to survive in the body environment, and it’s not actually accidental DNA damage.

    It would be interesting what some actual intelligent design researcher would come up with, if they studied what the most likely cell state would be, for when the DNA is chosen.

  24. 24
    Sandy says:

    Stephen Meyer
    seven simple sugars can be rearranged to form hundreds of thousands of unique words, most of which have no more than five letters.

    These sequence-specific information-rich structures influence the arrangement of different cell types during embryological development. Thus, some cell biologists now refer to the arrangements of sugar molecules as the “sugar code” and compare these sequences to the digitally encoded information stored in DNA.”

    These [sugar] molecules surpass amino acids and nucleotides by far in information-storing capacity.” So the precisely arranged sugar molecules on the surface of cells clearly represent another source of information independent of that stored in DNA base sequences.”

    From fecundation till is formed the central nervous system of embryo of course sugar code is an explanation but after that point is necessary a command point that manage, analyze , verify all information that come from inside body and from outside body. Besides the task of building a body and for that reason making a permanent comparison of body blueprints(what complete body will be) with actual state of body being built.
    Of course that command centre I was talking about is the Central Nervous System(CNS) that is the most complex thing in Universe.

  25. 25

    Germaine to the discussion on body plan information, there’s a 4 part series on the topic at ID the future. Wells mentions the sugar code and electric code
    https://idthefuture.com/1465/
    “On this classic ID the Future, Casey Luskin talks with Jonathan Wells about his article, “Membrane Patterns Carry Ontogenetic Information That Is Specified Independently of DNA.” In this first of a series of interviews, Dr. Wells gives an overview of his article, explaining why DNA information in an embryo can only do its job in the context of spatial information that is specified independently of it.”
    There was also Jonathan McLatchie’s interview with Wells from a while back, “Design beyond DNA”
    https://youtu.be/ASAaANVBoiE

  26. 26
    jerry says:

    there’s a 4 part series on the topic at ID the future.

    Thank you for the link.

    A couple things. The second interview is up.

    https://idthefuture.com/1468/

    This is based on a paper from 2014 so is not new information. It would be interesting to know what is currently being done on this. It seems enormously important and nothing to do with ID per se. So there should be many interested.

  27. 27
    ET says:

    The rubes @ Peaceful Science are actually trying to declare victory for Swamidass. Seriously. The anti-ID mob are just a bunch of desperate, anti-science whiners.

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