Intelligent Design

How Would You Answer These Questions?

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A friend writes to inform me that his son’s high school biology teacher is busily indoctrinating him into Darwinism by writing test questions that force the student to spew back Darwinist party-line answers in order to receive credit. Here are the questions:

1. One argument made against evolution is: evolution is random, so it cannot generate complex, orderly organisms. Explain why this statement is false.

2. Some people argue that evolution cannot be observed today. Explain how natural selection is observable in each of the following professionals (and makes their work more difficult): medical professionals, exterminators, and farmers.

If the student were in college, I would advise him to simply spew back the party line as the teacher expects. At that level the stakes are higher, and the professors are more ideologically driven. We all know that ideologues are reflexively intolerant of the slightest dissent and will abuse their power by punishing the slightest deviation from the officially-approved doctrine. Best to keep your knowledge of the truth well hidden from such as these.

On the other hand, it seems to me that the average high school biology teacher is often not heavily invested in materialist ideology. In my experience they dutifully present the Darwinist agitprop in the officially-sanctioned textbooks even though very often they do not believe it themselves. Therefore, while there is still some risk (who knows whether this one is a true believer), as a general matter they are much more tolerant of diverging viewpoints so long as the student demonstrates mastery of the subject matter.

With that in mind, I am going to throw the questions out for answers from the UD community. I will get us started. How would you answer?

Barry’s answers:

1. Neo-Darwinian theory posits that natural selection acts on random changes such as mutations by preserving those changes that create a survival advantage and deleting those changes that do not. As advantageous changes accumulate over countless generations, simple organisms gradually morph into more complex organisms. While it is true that the theory posits that the changes are random, it is not true that the theory posits that the overall process is random, because natural selection is not random. As the law of gravity “directs” a stone to fall to the earth, the law of “natural selection” directs the evolutionary process in a way that is analogous to a dog breeder developing a new dog breed. Therefore, it is false to say that Neo-Darwinian theory posits a purely random process. That said, natural selection has never been observed to actually direct the creation of large scale evolutionary changes such as new body types, and there are good reasons to believe it cannot do so.

2. It is simply false to say that evolution has never been observed. It most certainly has. Scientists have actually observed microbes develop antibiotic resistance through a strictly Darwinian process. Obviously, the work of medical professionals becomes more difficult when the microbes they are trying to eradicate evolve resistance to antibiotics. Similarly, the work of famers and exterminators becomes harder when bugs evolve resistance to pesticides. Thus, Darwinian evolution at this scale has been observed many times, and it is therefore false to say evolution cannot be observed. That said, it is also true that in contrast to small scale changes within a type (such as the development of antibiotic resistance), large scale evolutionary change that result in complex new organs or new body types has not been directly observed. Rather, since Charles Darwin and his finch beaks, theorists have assumed that the same process that results in small changes can be extrapolated to account for large changes. There are, however, very good reasons to believe that assumption is unwarranted.

66 Replies to “How Would You Answer These Questions?

  1. 1
    jw777 says:

    1.) The reason this statement is false is because it presupposes that evolution is random, when in fact all processes in nature follow a set of driving rules and principles put in place (by an unnamed mover). The appropriate critique would not be that “evolution” is “random”, but that Neo-Darwinian Evolution by definition is unguided; and, not only is an entirely undirected process by definition incapable of Specified Complexity, the study of an entirely undirected process is logically nonsense and scientifically untestable, non-falsifiable, non- verifiable, non-repeatable and therefore non-science and otherwise non-real.

    2.) People who argue evolution cannot be observed today fall into three camps. There are those who think nothing changes (the broadest definition of evolution) over time. This is not necessary to address. There are those who deny that micro-adaptations occur in biology, which is also quite easily refuted by looking at even the epigenetic shifts in an organism during its own lifetime, let alone the genetic drifts that we’ve seen in short lifespan creatures. Then there are those who argue that Macroevolution is not able to be observed. Sadly, though we take Macroevolution to be a given fact based on our desire to be god, it cannot be observed because of the time it takes to occur. No one can observe it; and every step involved along the way contravenes every physical law we do observe.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    1. One argument made against evolution is: evolution is random, so it cannot generate complex, orderly organisms. Explain why this statement is false.

    I would ask the teacher to produce that argument. I think he made it up. One argument is that natural selection is impotent and cannot produce specified or irreducible complexity. I can explain why that statement is true.

    2. Some people argue that evolution cannot be observed today. Explain how natural selection is observable in each of the following professionals (and makes their work more difficult): medical professionals, exterminators, and farmers.

    I bet those people are referring to macroevolution, not just mere evolution. I would tell the teacher that baraminology is OK with what the medical professionals, farmers and exterminators experience.

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    Necessary prerequisite: I wouldn’t like my kids or grandkids to study in a HS where they can’t think out of the box with open mind, or where the teachers won’t answer the students’ questions, or where they don’t discuss (previously in classes) the materials that are going to be in the exam. Let’s assume none of that is in this case.

    First, in a class discussion, before the exam, I would rather ask the teacher to explain the first question. What does he mean exactly by evolution?

    Then I’d ask the teacher to explain the second question too. It’s not clear to my poor child or grandchild.

    Then I’d ask the teacher to watch the two lectures (see link below) from the school I would like to be admitted into, and explain why the lecturer, who most probably has higher scientific credentials than the HS teacher, said the things indicated at various time marks in the given post:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-561160

    Basically, I’d train my kids or grandkids how to put the ball in the teacher’s court. Then just wait for the explanation the teacher will give.

    A humble knowledgeable teacher will get through that easily. But an arrogant teacher will get stuck with the potential barrage of questions that will most certainly follow up.

    If they kick my child out of the school for that, I’d teach them to leave, dust their sandals and quietly go somewhere else.

  4. 4
    Box says:

    1. One argument made against evolution is: evolution is random, so it cannot generate complex, orderly organisms. Explain why this statement is false.

    Indeed, mutation is random and environmental change is random. And then there is also the second law that steers things towards disorder. Besides there is no reason whatsoever for chemicals to organize themselves into larger coherent wholes, which we call organisms.
    However science will one day come up with an explanation.

  5. 5
    Neil Rickert says:

    I’m not the teacher, and I’m not a biologist. But my best guess would be that Barry passes but the first four commenters fail.

    I’m doubting that the teacher wanted to indoctrinate. Rather he (or she) was probably testing whether the concepts are understood. Barry clearly disagreed with evolution, but at least seemed to understand the concepts well enough for a pass.

  6. 6
    Jim Smith says:

    1. One argument made against evolution is: evolution is random, so it cannot generate complex, orderly organisms. Explain why this statement is false.

    The statement is false because macro evolution is not random, macro evolution is guided by an intelligent designer.

    2. Some people argue that evolution cannot be observed today. Explain how natural selection is observable in each of the following professionals (and makes their work more difficult): medical professionals, exterminators, and farmers.

    Medical professionals observe micro evolution when abortions are performed.

    Farmers observe micro evolution when people in Africa starve because they are afraid to eat GMO food.

    Exterminators observe micro evolution when people die of malaria because governments ban DDT based on flawed science.

  7. 7
    unwilling participant says:

    I couldn’t improve on Barry’s answers.

  8. 8
    Robert Byers says:

    Well its not a neutral school. they are fighting creationism. So can creationism fight them in these subjects without getting fired. i bet not.
    At least it shows moderrn creationisms effect despite the blackout.

    Placing their trust in minor selection activity in biology demonstrates its just a line of reasoning without real bio sci evidence.
    Yes selection works. if not nature would not so cling to camouflager.
    nature teaches selection is real but the survival of the escapees.
    Yet that is within KINDS in a fallen world.
    YEC embraces selectionism but not its crossing boundaries because of the jump of complexity.
    in fact creationism believes people change looks but not because of selection nor Darwins evolution.
    Its just lines of reasoning from minor data facts.
    They prove this in these questions.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, If such a slate of loaded and strawman tactic Q’s popped up in a H/W assignment or quiz, that would be reason for a little parent-teacher conference. The response to that would lead to the take it from there. Three strikes rules apply. If there is entrenched institutional indoctrination under false colours of education, it is time for an alternative. KF

    PS: I would slightly adjust your answers:

    1. Neo-Darwinian theory posits that natural selection acts on random changes such as mutations by preserving those changes that create a survival advantage and deleting those changes that do not. It asserts that as advantageous changes accumulate over countless generations, simple organisms gradually morph into more complex organisms. While it is true that the theory posits that the changes are random, it is not true that the theory posits that the overall process is random, because natural selection is held to be not random. As the law of gravity “directs” a stone to fall to the earth, the law of “natural selection” directs the evolutionary process in a way that is analogous to a dog breeder developing a new dog breed. Therefore, it is false to say that Neo-Darwinian theory posits a purely random process, and no informed critic makes that claim. That said, natural selection is actually an information subtracting process that eliminates the less fit varieties by culling out/extinction, leaving the fitter ones in its wake so it explains survival of the fittest not arrival of the fittest, which last is left to incremental chance. However, that there are incrementally improved paths from microbes to Mozart has never been observed on the ground, it is an assumption implicit in the tree of life analogy. And, NS has never been observed to actually direct the creation of large scale evolutionary changes such as new body types, and there are good reasons to believe it cannot do so. That, instead is what the serious critics say, pointing out the issue of the only actually observed adequate known cause of functionally specific complex wiring diagram type organisation and associated information. Namely, intelligently directed configuration. If you disagree with this, kindly provide observationally grounded step by step warrant for claimed OOL models (such as are presented in textbook TTTT on pages ppp), and likewise for origin of major body plan features across the tree of life as presented on page PPP. Failing that, kindly explain to me why I should not conclude that the question presented is not an ideologically driven indoctrination attempt under colours of science education — which is what the ideologues have long pushed for, as you can read in this excerpt from Harvard Biologist Richard Lewontin on the page here . . .

    2. It is simply false to say that evolution has never been observed. It most certainly has, at what many textbooks and experts indicate is microevolutionary level; and not even informed Young Earth Creationists disagree with that. Scientists have actually observed microbes develop antibiotic resistance through a strictly Darwinian process. Obviously, the work of medical professionals becomes more difficult when the microbes they are trying to eradicate evolve resistance to antibiotics. Similarly, the work of farmers and exterminators becomes harder when bugs evolve resistance to pesticides. Thus, Darwinian evolution at this scale has been observed many times, and it is therefore false to say evolution cannot be observed. That said, it is also true that in contrast to small scale changes within a type (such as the development of antibiotic resistance), large scale macro-evolutionary change that result in complex new organs or new body types has not ever been directly observed. Rather, since Charles Darwin and pigeon or dog breeding and his story of a swimming bear catching was it flies becoming a whale in early edns of Origin, theorists have assumed that the same process that results in small changes can be extrapolated to account for large changes. There are, however, very good reasons to believe that assumption is unwarranted, for reasons connected to my answer to your Q1. Now, kindly do me the favour of explaining why you did not make the distinction between micro and macro that I just did, and why the textbook, on pp PPP ff. similarly fails to do so. What do you think this would lead me to conclude concerning curriculum and the underlying implications of such happening in our local education system, especially given the obvious possibility of punishing children who dare to not conform with poor grades? Do you think that I as a responsible parent, do not have a right to then grade the school system that has acted in this way? What will you and the administrators do over the next year to improve your grades and how will you update me and other parents in the PTA from month to month on your probationary progress?

  10. 10
    jw777 says:

    Side note:

    In a lecture hall of over 400 students, I had THE highest grade in the class in my college premed biology and physiology courses. The answer given above is sarcastic. I understand evolution better than 99.99% of science-tracking college educated people.

  11. 11
    Levan says:

    Poor teacher! Why are they mostly so stupid? Indoctrination? Naivety? Faith? Whats wrong with all these “teachers”?

  12. 12

    1. Frist, evolution, taken to be random variation in living organisms and natural selection thereof, doesn’t generate any living organisms whatsoever; whatever produced the first living organism and its capacity to reproduce is what causally generated all living organisms that followed, and whatever produced that first living organism would be by definition non-evolutionary.

    Evolution is claimed to be a process that acts on self-replicating organisms – well, first you must have self-replicating organisms. Evolution doesn’t generate them, it just acts on them.

    Second, as far as evolutionary processes generating new, complex, orderly features, virtually anything that is not logically impossible is at least a bare possibility, so to say that evolutionary forces cannot do so would be erroneous. While perhaps at least possible, the real question is whether or not random mutation and natural selection have been demonstrated as scientifically plausible and sufficient explanations for new, “complex & orderly” biological outcomes.

    2. The “naturalness” of any selection process proposed to be sufficient for evolutionary outcomes is not an observable commodity; it is an ideologically imposed, assumed characterization. If we’re talking about various organisms acquiring resistance which those respective fields encounter, virtually nobody in any of those professions actually observe the selection events of microbes/germs or insects, much less can quantify their “naturalness”.

  13. 13
    tjguy says:

    <blockquote cite=""A friend writes to inform me that his son’s high school biology teacher is busily indoctrinating him into Darwinism by writing test questions that force the student to spew back Darwinist party-line answers in order to receive credit.</blockquote cite=""

    This guy is not only forcing them to spew back party line answers, but also to defend the party line dogma against it's critics.

    So, here is a teacher who is really trying to indoctrinate his students so that if they hear these arguments in the future, they will automatically dismiss them without much thought. Clever!

    I like Barry's response in that he simply says what new-darwinian theory "posits". There is no need to say that you believe it, but simply be able to reproduce the party-line answers. Belief or agreement with the party line answers though cannot legally be demanded. Whether a person goes along with the party-line view, that should have no bearing on a person's grade.

    This is not all bad though because it is important for us all to understand the party-line answers! It is never wrong to learn more about evolution and the currently in vogue party line answers! The more we learn, the more intelligent an answer we can formulate.

    The danger comes when students simply accept these answers as settled science and think the issue has been solved. And, I'm afraid that far too many high school students would fall into this category!

  14. 14
    mahuna says:

    Lo! these many decades ago, when I was at Army Signal School, I was actually TAUGHT as part of the classes that certain answers were true “for TEST PURPOSES”. Since this was Signal School and a high percentage of the student officers had degrees in Electrical Engineering (the Class Leader had already finished his PhD), this covered things such as whether electrons physically move under an electrical current (School Answer: Yes), and most especially, “Nuclear weapons can be ‘released’ by The National Command Authority”. And of course on most days the NCA happens to be The President of the United States…

    “True for Test Purposes” turned out to be a VERY useful concept, which got me through a confusing class in Cost-Benefit Analysis. Argued with the instructor every day. Parroted the book answers for the test.

    Being able to correctly recite your opponent’s position only strengthens your own. It CAN’T explain the details of The Theory of Evolution, you shouldn’t be arguing against it.

  15. 15
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: That said, natural selection has never been observed to actually direct the creation of large scale evolutionary changes such as new body types, and there are good reasons to believe it cannot do so.

    That’s right! “Large scale evolutionary changes” generally occur over much longer periods of time than human observational studies.

    10 pts extra credit for Barry!

  16. 16
    Joe says:

    Z:

    You have illustrated my point! VJ is well informed enough to know that this is by no means obvious.

    By no means testable and therefor not science. Hiding behind father time is a cowardly methodology.

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    1. One argument made against evolution is: evolution is random, so it cannot generate complex, orderly organisms. Explain why this statement is false.

    This was not covered in the class biology textbook. Also, there is nothing in my class notes to indicate this argument was ever covered in class by the teacher.

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    Neil Rickert:

    I’m not the teacher, and I’m not a biologist. But my best guess would be that Barry passes but the first four commenters fail.

    You fail, Neil. I know that you can’t make a case on why my comment fails so you lose.

    I’m doubting that the teacher wanted to indoctrinate. Rather he (or she) was probably testing whether the concepts are understood. Barry clearly disagreed with evolution, but at least seemed to understand the concepts well enough for a pass.

    The teacher is obviously an ignorant equivocator, very similar to you. It looks like the teacher wants the students to be rubes in a pew. 😉

  19. 19
    Mung says:

    Write out an anti-religious diatribe and make it appear like that’s what is being taught in class.

  20. 20
    StephenB says:

    One argument made against evolution is: evolution is random, so it cannot generate complex, orderly organisms. Explain why this statement is false.

    It is false because complex biological organisms can arise from simpler forms and literally organize themselves. This principle of emergence is well established in biology. Sadly, the science deniers among us will not accept this well-known fact. They are throwbacks to medieval times when Creationists claimed that effects cannot occur in the absence of necessary causal conditions, a naive notion based on the idea that a cause cannot give what it does not have to give. We now know that these causal conditions need not be in place for the effect to occur. Accordingly, no organizer, organizing principle, or designer is necessary to organize the parts of a living thing. So it is for any material thing. An explosion in a paint factory can produce the Mona Lisa; Leonardo Da Vinci is not needed. Indeed, any effect can occur without a cause. There is no reason at all why a horse could not simply appear suddenly and spontaneously in your living room.

  21. 21
    tjguy says:

    Jim @6

    1. One argument made against evolution is: evolution is random, so it cannot generate complex, orderly organisms. Explain why this statement is false.

    The statement is false because macro evolution is not random, macro evolution is guided by an intelligent designer.

    Jim, I don’t remember which side of this debate you are on, but your claim that macro evolution is guided by an intelligent designer is nothing more than your interpretation of the data. I’m not sure how you can make such a black and white statement about this.

    For one thing, you are assuming that macro evolution actually took place.

    Secondly, there is really no way to prove that an intelligent designer is guiding the whole process. It might seem like a logical deduction, but that is simply the ID hypothesis. I certainly do not believe that, but then I fall more on the creationist side of things as opposed to the ID side of things. I am not a proponent of/believer in common descent.

    The idea that evolution is random IS an argument that is used by some against the neo-darwinian hypothesis.

    The random parts are the mutations, their timeliness, and in some cases even the geographical location of where they take place. Once that miracle of chance occurs, the argument is that natural selection then takes over and removes the element of chance. However, at it’s foundation, chance is the only possible driver of evolution.

    It sounds like you question whether or not chance random mutations + natural selection is really capable of producing the complexity, beauty, information/software, and efficiency that we see. I too am skeptical of this claim.

    However, there would be two ways to interpret the data. One would be to add an Intelligent Designer to the mix and say that this Designer guided the process. This seems to be your view. Another possible interpretation would be that the process of macro evolution is therefore suspect and probably did not take place.

    Barry’s answer is good in that it only repeats what the standard party-line is. It does not say that one personally ascribes to that interpretation/hypothesis.

  22. 22
    Zachriel says:

    tjguy: Once that miracle of chance occurs, the argument is that natural selection then takes over and removes the element of chance. However, at it’s foundation, chance is the only possible driver of evolution.

    Chance can be a very power force.

    A woman walks into a crowded room. She is wearing the special perfume she knows drives you to distraction. She is confident you will sense her presence even though it is only the chance movement of air molecules in the room that carry her scent towards you.

  23. 23
    Mung says:

    Zachriel:

    Chance can be a very power force.

    ORLY? What is Chance made of? Does Chance follow any known physical laws? How did Chance arise from the primordial big bang?

  24. 24
    Joe says:

    Chance can be a very power force.

    Except chance isn’t a force.

  25. 25
    tjguy says:

    Zachriel @22

    Chance can be a very power force.

    I agree that Chance is neither a “force” or a “power force”, but yes, it can and does effect our lives in both positive and seemingly negative ways at times.

    A woman walks into a crowded room. She is wearing the special perfume she knows drives you to distraction. She is confident you will sense her presence even though it is only the chance movement of air molecules in the room that carry her scent towards you.

    Zachriel, no one will argue with your example here. The science of what happens here is well understood and can be tested, observed, and experienced. If only we could do that with the claims of macro-evolution!!

    We have all experienced chance and have been either blessed by it or experienced suffering as a result of it. However, to make Chance the main driver of evolution all along the way, every step of the way is incredulous in my opinion.

    It cannot be tested. You either believe it happened like that or you don’t. It shows that at the core, evolutionists believe in trillions and trillions of timely miracles of chance – MORE miracles that IDers and creationists believe in!

  26. 26
    computerist says:

    What evolved the evolver, evos?
    Generally speaking.

  27. 27
    computerist says:

    ID should also look at symmetrical vs. asymmetrical relationships in body plan designs/structures.

    Many human designs integrate/incorporate asymmetry but then move towards a certain symmetry/balance (relative to physics/gravity, aesthetics, etc…).

    Case in point the frame/body of an automobile (symmetry) vs. structure of inner parts (asymmetry).

    So the question is another chicken and egg problem.

  28. 28
    Zachriel says:

    tjguy: no one will argue with your example here.

    Notice that “chance” in the story results in a confident result.

    tjguy: If only we could do that with the claims of macro-evolution!!

    There’s substantial evidence supporting macro-evolution, starting with the history of common descent.

  29. 29
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Notice that “chance” in the story results in a confident result.

    Notice that it’s just a story and chance was not the cause of anything in it. Chance was just a word you were using as a replacement for the description that was otherwise available to you that wouldn’t have provided the desired rhetorical effect.

    Zachriel: There’s substantial evidence supporting macro-evolution, starting with the history of common descent.

    And there’s no evidence any of it was caused by chance.

  30. 30
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Notice that it’s just a story …

    If someone wearing perfume comes into a closed space, you do not think the scent will tend to permeate the space?

    Mung: … and chance was not the cause of anything in it.

    The distribution of the volatile aroma compounds is due to the random movement of molecules in the air.

  31. 31
    Joe says:

    Actually aroma, like smoke, follows the wind, even if caused by moving people.

  32. 32
    KevNick says:

    I’ve been over this more than once.
    First, with my older son, then with my younger.

    The older son was and is a keen scientist, so he was able to manage it without much of an issue.

    He was asked to do a presentation (in the front of the class and more) on both sides of the issue and the biology teacher didn’t even flinch. The principal was there and so was I.

    The younger son did even bather to investigate. He is an athlete.

  33. 33
    SteRusJon says:

    Zachriel,

    The permeation of the perfume into the entire space is not a matter of chance. It is a 100% surety. It is guaranteed by the the 2nd law! The words chance and random are words that cover our ignorance of the intimate details of multitudinous collisions that result in the dispersal of some of the perfume’s molecules that are most assured to arrive at the intended proboscis.

    No chance involved whatsoever.

    Stephen

  34. 34
    JimFit says:

    mutation is random

    Mutations are NOT random.

    http://www.the-scientist.com/?.....y-random-/

  35. 35
    Zachriel says:

    SteRusJon: The permeation of the perfume into the entire space is not a matter of chance. It is a 100% surety.

    That’s right. The woman is confident her lover will detect her scent.

    SteRusJon: The words chance and random are words that cover our ignorance of the intimate details of multitudinous collisions that result in the dispersal of some of the perfume’s molecules that are most assured to arrive at the intended proboscis.

    Air molecules are in constant, random motion. They fit a probability distribution. Brownian motion is one test of that randomness. If you prefer, the motion is random with respect to the targeted nostril. It is that motion which guarantees the dispersal of the perfume.

  36. 36
    Barry Arrington says:

    JimFit @ 34, indeed. As I was answering the question it occurred to me that not a single one of the “right” answers is irrevocably settled even among Darwinists themselves. Ironic, no?

  37. 37
    Barry Arrington says:

    Z @ 35. Give up. Stephen is correct. If a woman douses herself in perfume and walks into a room, the 2nd law pretty much demands that everyone in the room with a working nose will smell her.

  38. 38
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: If a woman douses herself in perfume and walks into a room, the 2nd law pretty much demands that everyone in the room with a working nose will smell her.

    That’s right. And the explanation for that effect is due to the random motion of molecules in the air and the law of large numbers. It’s an irreversible process, of course.

  39. 39
    Joe says:

    Human convection plume- that is what gets the aroma flowing.

  40. 40
    Querius says:

    Some great comments! The problem with arguing with a teacher or professor is that it’s a losing proposition:

    1. They are generally well-versed on the arguments;
    2. They are an authority figure, control class grades, and can mock dissenters or even honest questioners by rolling their eyes, shaking their heads, etc.;
    3. They have the final say.

    If the student were in college, I would advise him to simply spew back the party line as the teacher expects. At that level the stakes are higher, and the professors are more ideologically driven. We all know that ideologues are reflexively intolerant of the slightest dissent and will abuse their power by punishing the slightest deviation from the officially-approved doctrine. Best to keep your knowledge of the truth well hidden from such as these.

    This is so true!

    For example, one of my kids was already pretty knowledgeable in computer science before he went to college. He took a class in the subject to get credit for his knowledge and hopefully learn some new things.

    Unfortunately, he found the class far more difficult than he anticipated, because he often found himself more up-to-date than his professor. He wanted to avoid embarrassing him in class, and on tests he had to submit incorrect or outdated answers for the course.

    Yes, he talked with his professor after class, but my son found that he had to be very diplomatic. And CS of course is not nearly as controversial as some of the untestable ideas that they teach about evolution!

    On the positive side, one will learn current evolutionary theory (hopefully). The drawback is that evolution is usually taught as incontrovertible FACT, despite that the theory seems to be morphing quite a bit.

    This type of teaching misleads students into thinking that all science is settled as a series of fossilized facts and traditional terms rather than a structured method of dynamically challenging, adjusting, or overthrowing current knowledge.

    -Q

  41. 41
    tjguy says:

    Zachriel @38

    Barry Arrington: If a woman douses herself in perfume and walks into a room, the 2nd law pretty much demands that everyone in the room with a working nose will smell her.

    That’s right. And the explanation for that effect is due to the random motion of molecules in the air and the law of large numbers. It’s an irreversible process, of course.

    Right. We know the explanation for why this is. We can test it, experience it, and verify that explanation so that it is no longer a hypothesis but is supported/confirmed by the scientific method.

    The only part Chance plays in this process is the order in which people smell it or the direction the smell travels first. But we know the end result will be the same each time we try it.

    If only we could say the same thing about evolution! When it comes to biological evolution, there are no such laws of science by which we can claim that we will come up with the same result every time. The claim is made by evolutionists also that we have an explanation for the effect(life and newer, bigger, & better organisms), but, lacking good hard scientific experimental proof it is this claim that remains in contention in many people’s eyes.

  42. 42
    Dionisio says:

    Maybe a little OT? Not sure.

    The title of this OP is:

    “How Would You Answer These Questions?”

    Let’s apply it to this post:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-561599

    Thanks.

  43. 43
    Zachriel says:

    tjguy: Right. We know the explanation for why this is.

    Good. Then we agree that just saying “random” doesn’t mean we can’t make predictions.

    tjguy: When it comes to biological evolution, there are no such laws of science by which we can claim that we will come up with the same result every time.

    The result is diversity, the nested hierarchy, and adaptation.

  44. 44
    55rebel says:

    StephenB…
    Quote:
    “Indeed, any effect can occur without a cause.”

    WOW, Could you please give us just one example of “any effect” manifesting without a cause? …Thanks.

    I have taken physics, and am very familiar with the ‘immutable law’ of “Cause and Effect”. Spelled out in plain English, this means: that for EVERY Cause (Action) there IS an Effect (Reaction), AND for EVERY Effect (Reaction) there IS a Cause (action), period.

    No Cause? ….NO Effect.

    And BTW, what do you think the term “effect” means?!! LOL!

  45. 45
    Mung says:

    55rebel, having taken physics, perhaps you can tell us the cause of a given instance of radioactive decay?

    Radioactive decay is a stochastic (i.e. random) process at the level of single atoms, in that, according to quantum theory, it is impossible to predict when a particular atom will decay.

    Would you say that because it’s impossible to predict when, that it is caused by chance?

    That’s what Zachriel is claiming, though in his particular case he’s talking about diffusion.

  46. 46
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Would you say that because it’s impossible to predict when, that it is caused by chance?

    We used the term “force”, but should have used scare-quotes. We already clarified our remark above.

    Z: Air molecules are in constant, random motion. They fit a probability distribution. Brownian motion is one test of that randomness. If you prefer, the motion is random with respect to the targeted nostril. It is that motion which guarantees the dispersal of the perfume.

    Our point was that waving your hands and exclaiming “chance” doesn’t mean we can’t make valid predictions, sometimes predictions with great precision.

  47. 47
    Mung says:

    Zachriel:

    Our point was that waving your hands and exclaiming “chance” doesn’t mean we can’t make valid predictions, sometimes predictions with great precision.

    You should pay better attention to what you write. You were the ones ascribing to chance the power of causation.

  48. 48
    StephenB says:

    55rebel

    WOW, Could you please give us just one example of “any effect” manifesting without a cause? …Thanks.

    There is a school of thought that warns writers like me to never use tongue-in-cheek humor since some readers will actually think I am being serious. Isn’t it evident that I was laughing at the teacher and his unstated attack on causality. Reread the paragraph with that context in mind and it will become clear to you.

    No Cause? ….NO Effect.

    Yes, that’s the way it works. If you have not yet done so, please pass the word on to the Darwinists

  49. 49
    SteRusJon says:

    Zachriel,

    @35 you counter “Air molecules are in constant, random motion. They fit a probability distribution. ” and, thereby, add “probability distribution” as more words to cover our ignorance of the specific motions of the individual molecules. The individual molecules do not respond to the “probability distribution” any more than they go off in some “random” direction after a collision. Not a single molecule moves randomly. We cannot manage the information at that scale so we must evaluate the situation statistically if we have any hope of handling the situation. But, our short-comings do not make the motions “random” or the outcome of their motions due to “chance.”

    The motions involved are completely the result of lawful behavior. Strict adherence to the conservation of energy and conservation of momentum.

    Typical, non-concession policy behavior. Keep shoveling.

    Stephen

  50. 50
    Zachriel says:

    SteRusJon: The individual molecules do not respond to the “probability distribution” any more than they go off in some “random” direction after a collision.

    Shuffling playing cards randomizes them.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randomization

    As we said, if you prefer, they are random with respect to the targeted nostril.

  51. 51
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    The result is diversity, the nested hierarchy, and adaptation.

    Evolution is too messy to produce a (pristine) nested hierarchy, you ignorant fool.

  52. 52
    Steve says:

    Zachriel liken evolution to a designer. They imagine evolution creating the scent using an oil substrate which will release scent molecules in the air, knowing the randomly jiggling molecules will eventually arrive at the target nose.

    But having said that the Zachriel will tell you that there is no directing of the scent molecules, there is no targeting of the nose, there is no purpose to the object/scent/transport mechanism/receiving mechanism/subject process.

    They will obfuscate using deflecting discriptors like non-random, which of course means directed.

    But you know how they feel about directedness. Its all just too much invisible intelligence.

    That queezy feeling that they are being watched sets in.

    Zachriel: As we said, if you prefer, they are random with respect to the targeted nostril.

  53. 53
    Zachriel says:

    Steve: They imagine evolution creating the scent using an oil substrate which will release scent molecules in the air, knowing the randomly jiggling molecules will eventually arrive at the target nose.

    Actually, the perfume is designed, produced, and deployed by humans. However, the mechanism for moving the scent across the room is diffusion due to the random motions of air molecules (and some incidental convection, of course).

  54. 54
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Shuffling playing cards randomizes them.

    An no intelligent person claims it was caused by chance.

  55. 55
    55rebel says:

    StephenB….
    Quote:
    “There is a school of thought that warns writers like me to never use tongue-in-cheek humor since some readers will actually think I am being serious.”

    Yup, that be me!!! ……My Bad

    You had me going there…DOH! Thought that you were… “one of those” 😛

    “Yes, that’s the way it works. If you have not yet done so, please pass the word on to the Darwinists”

    I could try, but I’m sure it would not register….no one home.

  56. 56
    55rebel says:

    Mung…
    Quote:
    “Would you say that because it’s impossible to predict when, that it is caused by chance?”

    Caused by something we don’t fully understand….yet, that’s all. in any event, still “caused”. 🙂

  57. 57
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: no intelligent person claims it was caused by chance.

    No. Shuffling is usually done by card players. However, pulling a high card is a matter of chance.

  58. 58
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: However, pulling a high card is a matter of chance.

    Yet no intelligent person claims it was caused by chance.

  59. 59
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: Yet no intelligent person claims it was caused by chance.

    You seem to be playing with semantics. Not sure if you have made any substantive point.

  60. 60
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    You seem to be playing with semantics.

    The irony.

    Not sure if you have made any substantive point.

    Followed by more irony.

    Nice own goal, Zachriel.

  61. 61
    Mung says:

    A history lesson for Zachriel:

    Chance can be a very power force.

    That was you, not me. So far you have yet to tell us just what sort of powerful “force” chance can be and where that “power” comes from.

    Zachriel: You seem to be playing with semantics.

    LoL. Not that you would be able to see it with that log in your eye.

  62. 62
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: That was you, not me

    Which we clarified.

    Z (in reply to Mung): We used the term “force”, but should have used scare-quotes.

    Z: Air molecules are in constant, random motion. They fit a probability distribution. Brownian motion is one test of that randomness. If you prefer, the motion is random with respect to the targeted nostril. It is that motion which guarantees the dispersal of the perfume.

  63. 63
    Mung says:

    Zachriel, what was required was a retraction, not a clarification.

  64. 64
    Paleysghost says:

    So, basically — Zachriel is the kind of guy who never gives up even after it’s been explained to him why he is wrong.

    That’s called “A Darwinst”.

  65. 65
    Zachriel says:

    Mung: what was required was a retraction, not a clarification.

    Our restatement was quite clear. That you ignored it repeatedly is on you.

  66. 66
    Querius says:

    Mung, Joe, and Paleysghost:

    I admit that I’m completely baffled by Zachriel referring to himself in terms of “we” and “our.”

    Do any of you know whether there are grounds for the majestic plural or whether he’s hosting a tapeworm?

    He’s never answered this question and everyone wants to know! 😉

    -Q

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