Intelligent Design

Larry Moran Teaches Us Why We Should be Skeptical of Even Longstanding Orthodoxy

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Yesterday UD News reported on Kevin Laland’s comments about the controversies currently roiling in the materialist evolutionist community.  See The Royal Society Meeting: Keeping the lid on for now.  Larry Moran, prominent professor of biochemistry at the University of Toronto and inveterate defender of materialist evolution, dropped by and commented:

The problem with Kevin Laland and his colleagues is not that there’s no debate … it’s that there IS a furious debate and they’ve missed it entirely. The real ongoing debate is between adaptationists and those pluralists who accept Neutral Theory and the importance of random genetic drift.

Dr. Moran is certainly correct.  There is a furious debate between old-school “adaptationists” and those, like Moran, who reject the “gene-centric neo-darwinist paradigm.”  But my purpose in this post is not to take sides in that debate.  Instead, Moran’s observation put me in mind of a post I put up almost exactly two years ago:  Berlinski’s Question Remains Unanswered 

In a preceding post to that one I had asked evolutionists the following question:

I have a question for non-ID proponents only and it is very simple: Is there even one tenet of modern evolutionary theory that is universally agreed upon by the proponents of modern evolutionary theory?

I suspected that evolutionists would not be able to agree on any such tenant and sat back and waited for the responses to come in.  Responses did come in, and my suspicion was confirmed.  I reported on the conclusion of my little experiment as follows:

What I was really trying to get at was this: Is there any “core” proposition on which all proponents of modern evolutionary theory agree.  By “core” proposition, I do not mean basic facts of biology that pretty much everyone from YECs to Richard Dawkins agrees are true.  I mean a proposition upon which the theory stands or falls and [] sets it apart from other theories and accounts for its unique purported explanatory power.

I have in mind a proposition that would answer David Berlinski’s famous question:

“I disagree [with Paul R. Gross’ assertion] that Darwin’s theory is as “solid as any explanation in science.” Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”

Indeed. What does modern evolutionary theory offer in comparison? How can the theory ever hope to be as “solid as any explanation in science” when its proponents cannot seem to agree on a single tenet, the falsification of which would, in Berlinski’s words, shatter the theory?

Dr. Moran’s comments today confirm that Berlinski is still waiting for an answer to his question.

Dr. Moran has also written:

The 1940s version of evolutionary theory (“Modern Synthesis”) is no longer sufficient to explain what we know in the 21st century. For many biologists, the most important extensions to evolutionary theory took place in the 1970s with the incorporation of Neutral Theory (actually Nearly-Neutral Theory) and recognition of the importance of random genetic drift, especially in molecular evolution. Most people also realized that there was more to macroevolution than just lots of microevolution.

This is, of course, a corollary to my conclusion.  When the new school, as represented by Moran, and the old school (which Moran often uses Richard Dawkins to exemplify) cannot even agree on the relative importance of Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution (i.e., natural selection), we can be sure there is no universally agreed upon tenant of materialist evolution.

All of which brings me to a series of questions for Dr. Moran:

  1. Will he admit that Berlinski’s question remains unanswered?

 

  1. For decades Darwinists such as Dawkins got red in the face, stamped their feet, and shouted that their adaptationist theory of evolution was not just a theory but a fact fact fact!  Will Moran admit that they were wrong wrong wrong?

 

  1. And if the adapationist view – which was a rigid monolithic orthodoxy for decades – turned out to be wrong, shouldn’t we be skeptical when someone else comes along with their pet theory, gets red in the face, stamps their feet and shouts that it is fact fact fact?

 

78 Replies to “Larry Moran Teaches Us Why We Should be Skeptical of Even Longstanding Orthodoxy

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    fact fact fact

    This made me chuckle. In two sets of three times.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    bill cole says:

    Can anyone explain why Dr. Moran believes that neutral theory is required?

  3. 3
    Bob O'H says:

    When the new school, as represented by Moran, and the old school (which Moran often uses Richard Dawkins to exemplify) cannot even agree on the relative importance of Darwin’s proposed mechanism for evolution (i.e., natural selection), we can be sure there is no universally agreed upon tenant of materialist evolution.

    Eh? Is there anyone who doesn’t believe that both drift and selection happen? That’s even implicit in what you wrote.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    This website should be honored to have such a distinguished Canadian biochemistry professor as a commenter.
    A couple of years ago he wrote that he won’t have any discussion with me because I don’t ask honest questions, but I still respect his vast knowledge in his academic field and wish he would like to share at least a small part of it here, so that some of us could learn from it. Maybe that could still happen?

  5. 5
    ppolish says:

    Defense. Big D.

    Dr Larry is all Defense. No offense Larry.
    And a crappy defense to boot:

    “Show me evidence that evolution is guided”

    What? Mountains of evidence! I mean c’mon. The good Doctor needs to ask for proof. Proof is a good defense. Tough to break THAT formation.

    But how about some offensive play Larry? Let’s see some evidence that evolution is unguided. Or better yet – some proof.

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob O’H
    “Eh? Is there anyone who doesn’t believe that both drift and selection happen? That’s even implicit in what you wrote.”

    Eh? Did anyone say that either school believes natural selection does not happen? Did anyone say that either school believes that drift does not happen? Read it again Bob. This time for comprehension. Here’s a hint: Focus on the phrase “relative importance.”

  7. 7
    Larry Moran says:

    “1. Will he admit that Berlinski’s question remains unanswered?”

    Yes, of course I’ll admit that. There is no mathematical theory of evolution that’s applies to everything in biology all the time and certainly no aspect of evolutionary theory that’s accurate to thirteen decimal places.

    It’s a really stupid question from someone who doesn’t understand biology.

  8. 8
    Larry Moran says:

    “2. For decades Darwinists such as Dawkins got red in the face, stamped their feet, and shouted that their adaptationist theory of evolution was not just a theory but a fact fact fact! Will Moran admit that they were wrong wrong wrong?”

    No. Adaptation and evolution by natural selection is a proven fact. There’s no evolutionary biologist who disagrees.

  9. 9
    kurx78 says:

    Larry Moran says:

    “Yes, of course I’ll admit that. There is no mathematical theory of evolution that’s applies to everything in biology all the time and certainly no aspect of evolutionary theory that’s accurate to thirteen decimal places.”

    I would be pretty awesome to have someday the computational power to run a simulation of natural selection and mutation (the ones available are too simple and crude for my taste). But as a software engineer I’ve realized how complex it can be the task of emulating chemical and biological processes.

  10. 10
    Larry Moran says:

    “3. And if the adapationist view – which was a rigid monolithic orthodoxy for decades – turned out to be wrong, shouldn’t we be skeptical when someone else comes along with their pet theory, gets red in the face, stamps their feet and shouts that it is fact fact fact?”

    Evolution by natural selection isn’t wrong, it’s just insufficient as a complete description of evolution. There is abundant evidence for evolution by random genetic drift. That’s also a fact.

    A complete modern version of evolutionary theory incorporates all known facts and all known mechanisms. That version has been common for almost 50 years. It’s the one in all the modern evolutionary textbooks.

    You should certainly be skeptical of anyone who tells you in 2017 that natural selection is the only mechanism of evolution. And you should certainly be skeptical of any creationists who get red in their face and stamp their feet shouting that evolution is false. Many creationists will tell you both of these things at the same time.

  11. 11
    Phinehas says:

    Adaptation and evolution by natural selection is a proven fact.

    Did anyone else catch a sudden whiff of equivocation?

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    kurx78 @9:

    No modeling or simulation will prove anything unless they meet the criteria posted @1090 (see also 1091) in the thread “A third way of evolution?”:

    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/a-third-way-of-evolution/#comment-621816

    All what modeling and simulation can do is help to understand how the biological systems work and confirm what many of us already know: that the complex complexity of the biological systems is even more complex than they thought.

  13. 13
    Origenes says:

    Adaptation and evolution by natural selection is a proven fact.

    I think he means the Haeckel drawings …

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    Moran @ 7:

    It’s a really stupid question from someone who doesn’t understand biology.

    You should probably clue your buddy Paul R. Gross in. He’s the one, not Berlinski nor I, who believes that evolutionary theory is as solid as quantum electrodynamics and general relativity.

    I asked the question not because I believe there is any doubt as to the answer, as I hope the post makes clear. I ask the question to see whether you would agree with Gross’ stupid assertion. I am glad to see you do not and that you understand that evolutionary biology is way down on the pecking order of science

  15. 15
    wd400 says:

    For decades Darwinists such as Dawkins got red in the face, stamped their feet, and shouted that their adaptationist theory of evolution was not just a theory but a fact fact fact! Will Moran admit that they were wrong wrong wrong?

    Do you understand what neutralist and adaptationists argue about? No evolutionary biologist* denies that, say, the vast majority of the genome in animals is not under the influence of natural selection. Likewise, there are very few neutralists who would claim natural selection isn’t responsible for the degree to which creatures fit their environment.

    So, evolutionary biologists can quite happily agree that evolution is a fact (modern creatures are related to ancient ones by common descent, and have arrived at their current traits by inheritance of ancient traits and modification over time), and that natural selection is a key driver of the modifications that make creatures fit their environment.

    Adaptationists and neutralists have different opinions about the proportion of organismal traits are the result of selection , but they agree about a great deal.

    (*unfortunately, a large number of molecular biologist do make this mistake)

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    Moran @ 8:

    No. Adaptation and evolution by natural selection is a proven fact. There’s no evolutionary biologist who disagrees.

    Shameless dodge Larry. You have expressed your disagreement with Dawkins many times on your blog. The question, as you well know, is whether adaptation is the primary driver. Adaptationists say yes. You say no. Or have you changed your mind and now admit that Dawkins has been right (and you have been wrong) all along.

  17. 17
    Barry Arrington says:

    Moran @ 10 gives us the flip side of his shameless dodge at 8.

  18. 18
    Barry Arrington says:

    Phinehas

    Did anyone else catch a sudden whiff of equivocation?

    You say “equivocation”; I say “shameless dodge.”

    “to-may-to, to-mah-to”

  19. 19
    Barry Arrington says:

    wd400 @ 15:

    Do you understand what neutralist and adaptationists argue about?

    Do you?

    Moran and Dawkins have a fundamental disagreement. Can you articulate the nature of that disagreement?

    BTW, don’t try to convince us that they are arguing about nuance.

  20. 20
    Axel says:

    Saw a very amusing cartoon the other day : that sequence of primates from hunched and almost knuckle-dragging to homo erectus. Only the fully evolved homo erectus was clearly a homo sapiens in modern clothing… kneeling at a prie-dieu.
    From the ridiculous to the sublime. Very funny.

    Perhaps you have to see the cartoon to fully appreciate how funny it was, though.

  21. 21
    wd400 says:

    Do you?

    Yes. I mean.. I just described it. And I’m an evolutionary biologist, so I might know a little bit about this.

  22. 22
    Origenes says:

    Larry, what is the correct definition of “natural selection”?

  23. 23
    ppolish says:

    Larry, are you worried of an encounter with extra-terrestrials? ET’s who reveal proof the universe was designed for life yikes duh. “Darwin, seriously? Meep”.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Seversky says:

    ppolish @ 23

    Larry, are you worried of an encounter with extra-terrestrials? ET’s who reveal proof the universe was designed for life yikes duh. “Darwin, seriously? Meep”.

    I can’t speak for Professor Moran but if the ETs could provide compelling evidence for a “designer” then I for one would be fascinated. I’ve got nothing against a designer, I’d just like to see some good evidence for one. And I’d rather it was not like that distinctly unpleasant character in the OT.

    Now, would you be worried by ETs who landed and announced that actually it was they who had set the ball rolling for life on Earth a little over 3 billion years ago? They just wanted to see what would happen and no god involved.

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    WD400 @ 21. You claims to understand the clash between Dawkins and Moran and to have even articulated it in t his thread. Nope. Here’s a hint:

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....heory.html

  27. 27
    Barry Arrington says:

    Over at Sandwalk, Larry Moran, good Canadian that he is, slams adaptationists like Darwkins against the boards like he is playing smash mouth hockey.

    But this is what he looks like at UD when he is called out:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Slater_rolled_up_for_wiki.jpg

  28. 28
    PaV says:

    Larry Moran:

    Here’s an item from Phys.Org about a study where they found that over time genetic diversity of “damaging mutations” decreased with time.

    This is not good for neutral theory. It surely indicates that mutations within the genome swirl around some kind of mean. It’s not pure “drift.” Selection is involved.

    So, yes, “selection and neutral theory” work together; however, together they eliminate damaging mutations, decreasing genetic diversity. Hence, the next needed genetic innovation is not just sitting there ‘on the shelf.’

    Another day; another bad day for Darwinism.

  29. 29
    Dionisio says:

    Seversky @25:

    And I’d rather it was not like that distinctly unpleasant character in the OT.

    By “OT” did you mean “Old Testament” of the Christian Bible?

    Who is that “distinctly unpleasant character”?

    Why didn’t you write “And I’d rather it was not like that distinctly unpleasant character in the Bible.”?

  30. 30
    rvb8 says:

    Barry,

    this is a classic tactic by deniars of evolutionary science;

    1) Claim there is descension in the evolutionary biologist’s ranks.
    2) Extrapolate, that said descencion implies disagreement on fundamental concepts in Biology.
    3) Produce psudo-expert (in this case Berlinski), asking oversimplified questions on topics of depth and complexity. In this case, the silly question is; ‘Is there anything in evolutionary biology they can all agree upon?’
    4) After slam dunk silly question, ignore respected evolutionary biologists when they come on the site and say; ‘That’s a really silly question, and has been answered.’

    I can answer the question for Mr Berlinski; ‘Yes! Evolutionary biologists can all agree with Darwin’s definition that evolution is, “Descent with modification!”

    Origenes,

    a debunked one hundred year old observation, (Haeckel got some things wrong), is just that a debunked one hundred year old argument.(Debunked BTW, by other real scientists.)

    Then again for an idea that is still trying to legitimise IC, SC, FSC, and Design Inferrance, I suppose old arguments are your staple

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    BA,

    Over at News’ thread on the Royal Society meeting, I just commented as follows, for cause:

    I have a fundamental problem trying to have a serious discussion with those whose first move is to try to dismiss, disqualify, denigrate, smear and even slander, which unfortunately, we can see all too plainly at the Sandwalk blog. In the above, News is patently right that “[w]hat the fossils told us in their own words is not the official history.” Given the extreme informational requisites of functionally specific, complex organisation as the fossils point to in their oh so many body plan level persistent gaps, we need to focus on the source of the required FSCO/I, and on the associated facts of implied vast configuration spaces and narrow, isolated islands of function in these spaces imposing beyond astronomical blind chance and/or mechanical necessity driven search challenges. Namely, that for cause, we know just one adequate source for such FSCO/I, intelligently directed configuration. AKA, design. Where also, in an information age, readily available facts open up the debate way beyond the closed shops of evolutionary materialist scientism dominated, forcibly taxpayer funded guilds in high positions. The real debate is on the streets, in the pubs and in the nooks and crannies of cyber space beyond where the guilds’ thought police can control. Such gestapo-ists of the mind need to understand that labelling is IDiots does not answer to the merits.

    As Bob Marley used to sing, Who de cap fit, let ‘im wear it.

    KF

  32. 32
    rvb8 says:

    Kairos,

    they say that if you repeat something loud enough, and as many times as possible, then it will eventually be accepted as truth.

    FSCO/I, has a hell of a long way to go.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8, in order to try to sneer at the concept of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, you had to provide a textual s-t-r-i-n-g that exemplifies the matter, and of why its only credible source — on trillions of cases in point all around us — is design. That irony seems lost on you and on those whose hyperskeptical dismissals you follow. I simply challenge you and those you enable to provide a counter-example to the trillions of cases I just adverted to, by giving us a clearly and actually observed case where blind chance and/or mechanical necessity as actually seen, gave rise to FSCO/I without intelligently directed configuration: ______. I predict, you and those you enable, predictably, will not be able to provide such a case in point. KF

    PS: Kindly note as well, this from Orgel all the way back to 1973:

    living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . . .

    [HT, Mung, fr. p. 190 & 196:] These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information
    content
    of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure
    .

    [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant J S Wicken “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here,
    here
    and here
    (with here
    on self-moved agents as designing causes).]

      One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a
    complex structure.
    [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions.  [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes. [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196.]

    PPS: Just as a footnote, your comment has 172 or so ASCII characters, at 7 bits or 128 states per character. Converting to bits, 1,204. This specifies a config space of 2.756 * 10^362 possibilities, well beyond 10^301 at the 1,000 bit upper threshold for FSCO/I. In effect if the atomic resources of our cosmos of about 10^80 atoms working at fast chem rxn rates were used and the scope of search in 10^17 s were viewed as a straw, the config space would be a haystack dwarfing our observed cosmos and the blind needle in haystack search implied would be negligibly different from no search. That is what you and those you follow are ducking and diverting attention from.

  34. 34
    Bob O'H says:

    Bary @ 6 – sorry, i should have been less cryptic. I was responding to your quote, in particular “we can be sure there is no universally agreed upon tenant of materialist evolution.”. We both now agree that all sides agree that both drift and selection occur. This seems to me like this would be a universally agreed up on tenant of evolution.

    Which is good news: we don’t have to shout and snark at each other. We agree!

  35. 35
    Origenes says:

    I have an affiliation with both sides:
    I agree with adaptionists, like Dawkins, that drift is a terrible search engine. And I agree with neutralists, like Larry Moran, that selection elimination is a terrible hindrance to evolution.

  36. 36
    Dionisio says:

    This seems to support the professor’s persuasive point of view, doesn’t it?

    Just out of the oven:

    https://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/05/molecular-machines-reach-perfection/

    🙂

  37. 37
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry: 1. Will he admit that Berlinski’s question remains unanswered?”

    Moran: Yes, of course I’ll admit that.

    rvb8: I can answer the question for Mr Berlinski; ‘Yes!

    rvb8, you and Larry are not on the same page. Funny that.

  38. 38
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bob O’H @ 37. Both sides agree that drift and natural selection occur. Neither side can agree on which is the fundamental driver of evolution. Yes, Bob, the data on the ground is the same for everyone. How that data is explained in a coherent theory is hotly disputed, which is my point. Your crowing leads me to believe you do not understand that point, because it should not cause crowing on your side.

  39. 39
    Origenes says:

    WD400: So, evolutionary biologists can quite happily agree that evolution is a fact (modern creatures are related to ancient ones by common descent, and have arrived at their current traits by inheritance of ancient traits and modification over time)…

    What exactly makes common descent a fact? What evidence elevated the case for common descent beyond any reasonable doubt?

  40. 40
    harry says:

    Recall that cartoon with two groups of equations scrawled on a chalkboard and between them is written “Then a miracle occurs.” Two professorial looking guys are examining this intricate formula. One points at what is written in the middle and says to the other “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.” Remember that?

    “Then a miracle occurs,” in terms of life’s origin and evolution is the instantiation of the necessary biological information to direct the construction of the protein “machines” required for cellular metabolism and reproduction, and for the eventual construction of new tissue types required for visual and auditory systems in multicellular organisms, and much more – too much more to mention here. A massive quantity of functionally complex, digitally stored, extremely precise biological information was required in that first single-celled, reproducing life form, and much, much more new biological information was required in order to get from there to humanity.

    There is simply no plausible explanation for the instantiation of massive quantities of digitally stored, functionally complex, extremely precise information other than intelligent agency. Randomly selected letters of the alphabet occasionally producing two or three letter words does not mean Gone With the Wind could have been composed by randomly selecting letters of the alphabet. How did we end up with much, much more than Gone With the Wind written in the human genome mindlessly and accidentally? We didn’t.

  41. 41
    mike1962 says:

    Origenes @35 😀

    +1000

  42. 42
    Phinehas says:

    Bob OH:

    I was responding to your quote, in particular “we can be sure there is no universally agreed upon tenant of materialist evolution.”. We both now agree that all sides agree that both drift and selection occur. This seems to me like this would be a universally agreed up on tenant of evolution.

    Yes, but you’ve only managed to state biological facts that are so broad and benign that virtually everyone from YECs to Richard Dawkins believes they are uncontroversially true. It may be a universally agreed upon tenant of the kind of evolution that no one objects to, but what does that have to do with the kind of evolution that many (and ID in particular) argue against? That kind of evolution appears to remain with no such core for which there is any kind of broad agreement, which is what Barry asked for.

  43. 43
    Phinehas says:

    Continuing from #42

    Said another way, it appears that in order to find any kind of core tenants on which all evolutionists can agree, you have to go so broad and uncontroversial that nearly everyone in the opposing camps (ID, creationists, etc.) also agree. So it can hardly be said that these are the core tenants of the evolutionists.

  44. 44
    Origenes says:

    The one thing that both sides agree on is that common descent is a “fact”. In post #39 I ask why this is the case. I would like to know.

    Larry, Richard and others, you know that I hate to be the person who throws gloom over social enjoyment, but it has to be said: there are some very very serious problems common descent. One tiny example:

    Evolution expects the species to fall into a common descent pattern. Therefore a particular lineage should not have highly differentiated, unique and complex designs, when compared to neighboring species. But this has been increasingly found to be the case, so much so that this pattern now has its own name—lineage-specific biology.

    For example …. (more at dr. Hunter’s website)

    – – –
    mike1962 🙂

  45. 45
    wd400 says:

    Neither side can agree on which is the fundamental driver of evolution

    You still seem more interested in scoring internet detate points than understanding what this debate actually is. Everyone agrees that, say, most of the DNA changes that occur in animal lineages are not the result of selection. So we can say drift (neutral evolution) is the fundamental driver of molecular evolution. On the other hand, no one disagrees that selection is the reason organisms fit their environment or that a large proportion of the protein coding genes found in all species are being conserved by natural selection. So, people that are only interested in those aspects of evolution will point to selection as a fundamental driver.

    This is really no debate about the importance of both of these forces (hyper-adaptationists are more likely to be popular writers like Dawkins, molecular biologists or evolutionary psychologist than evolutionary biologists these days). So the core evolutionary theory that you are searching for includes these forces of evolutionary change, even if particular evolutionary biologists may think one or the other is responsible for more of the traits we see in modern animals.

    What exactly makes common descent a fact? What evidence elevated the case for common descent beyond any reasonable doubt?

    There are many lines of evidence. Fossils, biogeography, the nested heirchahcy than can be made from morphological and biochemical traits and DNA evidence. It is the consilience of all these lines of evidence that makes common descent a scientific fact.

  46. 46
    EugeneS says:

    Larry Moran is perhaps blithely unaware of the mathematical problems behind a system relying on Darwinian blind search…

    Thankfully, biology today is a cross-disciplinary field. Biology is no longer a property of complacent Victorian scientists theorizing in rocking chairs while holding a glass of wine in one hand and a cigar in the other. So any machination with decimal places orders of magnitude can be clearly seen by specialists across different fields.

    Haeckel drawings.. Spot on, Origenes.

  47. 47
    rvb8 says:

    Barry,

    your word salad is just that, let me be as clear as I can.

    Finding supposed contradictory statements does not prove anything.

    Shall we wander through the Bible and systematically list all the contradictions, counter prophecies, unfulfilled predictions, nonsensical naturalist observations, (the Flood, and Pi spring to mind, not to mention floating persons).

    It is similar to the silly arguments against planet hunting: You know? Your POV, that God made the earth and the universe, and the entire universe is barren, because we’re special.If scientists followed this criteria for investigation, there would be no science, merely self congratulatory religious boobs saying, ‘I told you so!’

    Now, it makes no odds if evolutionary biologists vehemently argue on the details, or even the fundamentals of evolution, (the primacy of NS or not), the simple fact remains that these driven men, and women, simply won’t stop Barry.

    They will go where the evidence drags them, despite your and DI’s, and Religion’s nay saying.

    It’s the most important thing that draws me to these enlightened folk, thier insatiable curiosity, as upposed to your, and DI’s, and Religion’s, ‘head in the sand’ approach.

  48. 48
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8,

    Now, it makes no odds if evolutionary biologists vehemently argue on the details, or even the fundamentals of evolution

    Of course it doesn’t. Because your commitment to the materialist evolutionary account has nothing to do with the details or even the fundamentals. Yours is a faith-based commitment that compels you to believe the materialist creation myth, even if the orthodox myth today is fundamentally different from the orthodox myth on offer yesterday. OK. We get it.

  49. 49
    groovamos says:

    Wd400 Likewise, there are very few neutralists who would claim natural selection isn’t responsible for the degree to which creatures fit their environment.

    I learned calculus. I’m a creature. What environment does calculus “fit” since plenty of other creatures cannot learn it including the ones occupying my property who survive quite well.

  50. 50
    wd400 says:

    I learned calculus. I’m a creature. What environment does calculus “fit”

    None? That selection is the best explanation for some properties of some creatures does not require it to be the only explanation for any part of any creature.

  51. 51
    cmow says:

    Once again rvb8 @ 47, who consistently challenges IDers to bring more science and less religion, can’t take his own advice.

    rvb8 — please, for once, keep your religious beliefs out of it. We have plenty of posts about religion for you to comment on, but this one is about science.

  52. 52

    #51

    RV’s challenges are transparent. He completely refuses to engage in discussions of science.

  53. 53
    rvb8 says:

    cmow,

    Berlinsky; ‘Is there even one tenet of modern evolutionary theory that is universally agreed upon…?’

    1) The fossil record is an accurate representation of ‘descent with modification.’
    2) The discovery of the structure and function of DNA, has bolstered the fact of, ‘descent with modification.
    3) We have 46 chromosomes, great apes 48; there must be a chromosome on the human branch which shows signs of pairing; there is.
    4) Junk DNA is a fact.
    5) ID has no positive evidence, just negative attacks upon the positve evidence of evolutionary biology.
    6) Creation science like its sister ID has no positive evidence for creation, just negative attacks upon evolutionary biology.
    7) Geology, homology, biogeography, anatomy, and paleontology all support evolutionary biology.

    All of these I believe every evolutionary biologist can get on board with.

    Also cmow,

    ‘We have plenty of posts about religion for you to comment on…’

    Really? ‘Plenty’, of posts on religion, at a science site? Hmmm, why? Wouldn’t it be better to remove the religious posts, and get the ‘scientists’ at the Biologic Institute, to increase research output from, non-existant to, one or two papers per annum?

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8,

    I passed by, and see your claimed consensus point:

    5) ID has no positive evidence, just negative attacks upon the positve evidence of evolutionary biology.

    This may well be a widespread opinion among the guild. But that only illustrates that a dominant consensus — especially one led by the domineering — is utterly not in the same category as truth. Where if one institutionalises a crooked and inaccurate yardstick, then the real truth and right will always fail and be rejected or dismissed and trashed, as the real truth already aligns with the plumb-line of reality, so it cannot ever align with what is crooked and inaccurate.

    Unfortunately, too often, this is viewed as a feature not a bug, by the domineering party: it locks in the party-line and locks out the inconvenient truth, especially among those who lack the basis or are unwilling to think for themselves. At least, until things go over the cliff and crash.

    But, how do we know this consensus is founded on wrenching and disregard for evident truth?

    Pretty directly, as 33 above illustrated but was obviously studiously ignored by you:

    in order to try to sneer at the concept of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information, you had to provide a textual s-t-r-i-n-g that exemplifies the matter, and of why its only credible source — on trillions of cases in point all around us — is design. That irony seems lost on you and on those whose hyperskeptical dismissals you follow. I simply challenge you and those you enable to provide a counter-example to the trillions of cases I just adverted to, by giving us a clearly and actually observed case where blind chance and/or mechanical necessity as actually seen, gave rise to FSCO/I without intelligently directed configuration: ______. I predict, you and those you enable, predictably, will not be able to provide such a case in point . . . .

    Just as a footnote, your comment [–> at 32] has 172 or so ASCII characters, at 7 bits or 128 states per character. Converting to bits, 1,204. This specifies a config space of 2.756 * 10^362 possibilities, well beyond 10^301 at the 1,000 bit upper threshold for FSCO/I. In effect if the atomic resources of our cosmos of about 10^80 atoms working at fast chem rxn rates were used and the scope of search in 10^17 s were viewed as a straw, the config space would be a haystack dwarfing our observed cosmos and the blind needle in haystack search implied would be negligibly different from no search. That is what you and those you follow are ducking and diverting attention from.

    And of course, in that same comment, I adverted to this longstanding remark in a 1973 work by OoL researcher Leslie Orgel that is just across from me as I cite . . . i.e. this is not exactly a novelty:

    living organisms are distinguished by theirspecified complexity.
    Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . . .

    [HT, Mung, fr. p. 190 & 196:]

    These vague idea can be made more precise by introducing the idea of information. Roughly speaking, the information
    content
    of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure.

    [–> this is of course equivalent to the string of yes/no questions required to specify the relevant J S Wicken “wiring diagram” for the set of functional states, T, in the much larger space of possible clumped or scattered configurations, W, as Dembski would go on to define in NFL in 2002, also cf here,

    here and

    here

    — (with here
    on self-moved agents as designing causes).]

    One can see intuitively that many instructions are needed to specify a complex structure. [–> so if the q’s to be answered are Y/N, the chain length is an information measure that indicates complexity in bits . . . ] On the other hand a simple repeating structure can be specified in rather few instructions.  [–> do once and repeat over and over in a loop . . . ] Complex but random structures, by definition, need hardly be specified at all . . . . Paley was right to emphasize the need for special explanations of the existence of objects with high information content, for they cannot be formed in nonevolutionary, inorganic processes [–> Orgel had high hopes for what Chem evo and body-plan evo could do by way of info generation beyond the FSCO/I threshold, 500 – 1,000 bits.] [The Origins of Life (John Wiley, 1973), p. 189, p. 190, p. 196.]

    So, directly contrary to your assertions in recent days, there is direct evidence of design that may be quantitatively inferred from metrics of the complexity and linked information content of entities that are based from several well matched components that must be specifically arranged and coupled in particular ways for function to emerge. Text, the PCs or the like we are using, the watches on our wrists, the glasses on our faces, even gear trains and nuts and bolts. Trillions of cases, literally.

    FSCO/I is real, is quantifiable, and on trillions of observed cases in point reliably indicates design as cause.

    This is backed up by a readily estimated configuration space blind search challenge for islands of function.

    And if someone suggests that self-replicating or reproducing entities replicate or reproduce, the issue there — as William Paley long since pointed out in Ch 2 of his 1804 work (try the functional, self replicating watch thought exercise that somehow mysteriously is absent from discussions . . . as in STRAWMAN alert) — is the origin of the FSCO/I to get TO such replication or reproduction.

    So, despite the crooked yardsticks, there is indeed abundant evidence and much good reason to infer to design as best current empirically grounded causal explanation on significant signs such as FSCO/I.

    To overturn this sign, simply provide a counter-instance where an entity with complexity beyond 500-1,000 bits which critically depends on organisation to achieve function, per observation comes about without intelligently directed configuration as key cause: _________

    I predict, confidently, no good case in point will be forthcoming, even as ever so mysteriously, perpetual motion machines refuse to show up and demolish thermodynamics.

    KF

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    CMOW, it is quite obvious that RVB8 is an agit prop operative. If we take him at his cumulative word, he is testing manipulative points for his masters in some faction or other of the Chinese state apparatus who are terrified of the surging rise of the Christian Faith in China, and of wider religion. So, the religious issue is his central concern. He consistently refuses to seriously engage either worldviews analysis or scientific evidence and analysis beyond trotting out talking points, which are often well beyond sell by date. Don’t even bother with the actual central warranting case for the Christian Faith. I think he lacks requisite background to engage the more technical matters, but the issue is to try out agit prop talking points. In an environment where alternatives are actively suppressed, manipulation can work very well indeed. Sad, really. KF

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8:

    2) The discovery of the structure and function of DNA, has bolstered the fact of, ‘descent with modification.

    Really, now!

    Let’s see, to get to origin of cell based life as observed, you have to explain 100k – 1 mn bases of D/RNA, plus the accompanying execution nanotech, as well as the wider metabolic network that provides energy and materials, also getting wastes out of the way.

    Each additional bit beyond 1,000 DOUBLES the config space. Taking just 100 kbits, the space is 9.999*10^30,102 possibilities. This utterly dwarfs cosmological scale potential blind search resources.

    Then, to originate novel body plans here on earth or the wider sol system, in your 10^17 or so seconds, with 10^57 atoms, you are looking at needing to account for dozens of deeply isolated islands of function requiring 10 – 100+ mn bases of info.

    In short, the message of DNA as a key part of cell based life is that we see an information system using huge quantities of coded, alphabetic, textual, algorithmically functional information. The Ribosome is a NC machine assembling proteins per step by step coded textual instructions. Text is LANGUAGE. No wonder Crick wrote as follows to his son on March 19, 1953 — right from the beginning of the DNA era:

    Now we believe that the DNA is a code. That is, the order of bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another)

    And yes, that is the letter that just sold a few years back for US$ 6 mn, and which we sometimes put up as a scan in Crick’s handwriting here at UD.

    Let us hear your reply to Sir Francis Crick, RVB8: __________

    Those are direct indicia of language-using intelligence capable of operating on molecular nanotech BEFORE there was cell based life on earth.

    ‘In the beginning was the WORD . . . ”

    KF

  57. 57
    hammaspeikko says:

    Kairosfocus:

    CMOW, it is quite obvious that RVB8 is an agit prop operative. If we take him at his cumulative word, he is testing manipulative points for his masters in some faction or other of the Chinese state apparatus who are terrified of the surging rise of the Christian Faith in China, and of wider religion.

    I don’t mean to be critical, but accusations pertaining to a person’s motivations is simply a polarization tactic that does not advance any debate. My suggestion would be to ignore rvb8, address his points in a non judgemental fashion, or ban him. But those are just my suggestions.

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    HP, did you monitor the relevant thread and notice what emerged across time? Those are not mere empty accusations, they are fair comment on what is in open evidence, now having reached to a point that reasonably requires such comment. RVB8 is clearly playing the agit prop operative and anti-christian manipulator of those who he knows will have little access to the other side of the story; and in the right context for that phrase to be unfortunately exactly descriptive, with all due respect. Drawing attention to such is a legitimate part of explaining his persistent unresponsiveness to substance. Recall, HP, he has openly boasted of the notches on his rhetorical guns and has openly acknowledged his associations down to pool playing. Have you forgotten how he twisted Judaeo-Christian family ethics and misled people? Or his notorious five challenges? [Notice, he has been unable to cogently reply to the corrections given?] Above, he seems to be expanding on his “lots and lots of evolution” as a way to dress up atheism in the lab coat, using that to again misrepresent the design inference (and even creationism) as well as the import of the FSCO/I in the DNA molecule, etc. That sort of pattern is all too familiar to one who cut his intellectual eyeteeth dealing with Communist agit prop operatives and their dupes against the backdrop of a mini civil war in the context of the closing decade or so of the Cold War. Also, I hardly need to detail the track record of China’s regime since 1949. I wish such matters were not in evidence but they are and are material in cogently explaining the rhetorical behaviour we have seen for weeks and months now. Fair comment on a sustained pattern is needed. I can only hope against expectations that RVB8 will now do better, a lot better. KF

  59. 59
    timothya says:

    KF:

    “CMOW, it is quite obvious that RVB8 is an agit prop operative. If we take him at his cumulative word, he is testing manipulative points for his masters in some faction or other of the Chinese state apparatus who are terrified of the surging rise of the Christian Faith in China, and of wider religion.”

    This is possibly the strangest comment ever made on any public website.

    In any case, I can assure the readers of this website that rvb8 is, in fact, a key operative of the Central Committee of the Andorran Liberation Front, and I am his/her paymaster (I’ve never been sure of his/her gender, but the Andorran Central Comittee is very pleased with his/her work).

    KF may have received a garbled version of our recent broadcast on the matter of the incoherence of materialism, which he interpreted as Chinese. Who could know what goes on in the troposphere.

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    TA, kindly see the above, which I decided to expand to give a little more background to HP. I will take your onward remarks a little more seriously when I see a reckoning with the substance I just pointed to, which can be examined at length in other still active threads. I suggest, you need to better inform yourself about what RVB8 has said about his activities, his students in China, the notches on his rhetorical gun, his associates there, Christians, Christian ethics and foundations, science of origins and more, both before and after he has been corrected. And BTW, another correction on his “lots and lots of evolution” is now in progress, now that he has provided us with a list. Unsurprisingly, it pivots on manipulative strawman fallacy tactics. It would be interesting to see your response to those tactics in respect of his points 2 and 5 just above. KF

  61. 61
    daveS says:

    KF,

    Surely you must admit that the evidence for rvb8 being an actual operative working for the Chinese state is rather scant. Don’t you think it’s more likely that he’s just a guy on the internet (like the rest of us)?

  62. 62
    EugeneS says:

    RVB

    Perhaps you need to start with the notion of scientific fact as opposed to just fact. A scientific fact by definition comes with an associated theoretical framework and is, in its very essence, an interpretation of raw data given a theory.

    E.g. would a statement (even if true) that your uncle knocked on your door this morning to say hello, be classified as a scientific fact? The answer is ‘no’. Not unless you have it in a theoretical framework suitable for handling a class of similar events to arrive at some sensible (verifiable, falsifiable, sound, non-trivial, etc.) statements about them.

    All your list is about is interpretations. Given, a different (better?) hypothesis your data can fit it more accurately. Yes, it can be interpreted as some sort of support (let specialists decide how strong it is) to the hypothesis of common descent with modification. But equally likely, if not to a greater degree, it can serve as support to the hypothesis of common design with modification.

    Now, in what sense is one hypothesis better than another, is an important question as well.

    You seem to conflate science with a philosophical framework. Science has nothing settled. In the focus of scientific research per se there are a number of competing hypotheses. The only framework where all is nicely settled is ideology, not science. Even the problem of the demarcation between science and philosophy is nowhere near resolved.

    Now the real question that we should ask is, what experiment (even a thought experiment would do) could possibly falsify a Darwinian account?

    Would a pre-Cambrian rabbit fossil falsify it? I doubt that…

  63. 63
    hammaspeikko says:

    Kairosfocus:

    HP, did you monitor the relevant thread and notice what emerged across time? Those are not mere empty accusations,

    I didn’t say that your accusations were empty. Just that they were polarizing and add nothing to the debate. You can accept my friendly advice or not. No need to take offence.

    RVB8 is clearly playing the agit prop operative and anti-christian manipulator of those who he knows will have little access to the other side of the story;

    Nonsense. I am in China now. They have as much access to information, if not more, as anyone on earth. Please don’t portray the Chinese people as some backwoods uneducated trailer trash. If you don’t know anything about other people, you would be well advised to hold your own council.

    Recall, HP, he has openly boasted of the notches on his rhetorical guns and has openly acknowledged his associations down to pool playing.

    I enjoy playing pool. Do you have a problem with this? It is a game of skill and physics.

    Notice, he has been unable to cogently reply to the corrections given?

    You preclude an honest discussion when you start the conversation with phrases like “cogently reply to corrections given”. This phrase starts from the premise that you are inarguably correct. I would not respond to such a request either. What would be the point?

    Also, I hardly need to detail the track record of China’s regime since 1949.

    True. The bigger question is what this has to do with rvb8? Was he part of China’s regime in 1949? My understanding, from his comments, is that he is a teacher in China. If that qualifies someone to be some sort of evil communist freedom killing dictator, then he has plenty of company.

    As I suggested before, if you are offended by his comments, ignore him, respond to his comments without judgement, or ban him. But if you prefer to grovel in the mud with the other swine, that is your choice. I choose not to.

  64. 64
    Origenes says:

    EugeneS @62

    EugeneS: Now the real question that we should ask is, what experiment (even a thought experiment would do) could possibly falsify a Darwinian account?

    Would pre-Cambrian rabbit fossil falsify it? I doubt that…

    Surely Darwinians would set the bar unreasonably high. They would demand “extraordinary evidence” and nothing less will do. They would demand undeniable proof of an occurrence that by far exceeds the reach of any feasible Darwinian mechanism.
    So, if it was shown that, let’s say, in the transition from pre-vertebrates to vertebrates, more than 3 million (haha!) bits of functional information was generated, then they would consider the Darwinian account to be falsified. I’m making this up while I write, but this sounds actually feasible. Of course such a number is an unreasonable demand for sure. Remember that Dembski’s Universal Probability Bound is 500 bits, a complexity of 2^500. A number of (2^3000000) is so much bigger that the UPB seems almost a joke, in comparison.

    Oh wait …. 3,7 million bits? https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-amazing-level-of-engineering-in-the-transition-to-the-vertebrate-proteome-a-global-analysis/

  65. 65
    kairosfocus says:

    HP, Sorry, but I do believe the context is unfortunately material. We are here dealing with polities in which an ordinary citizen’s contact with a foreigner is regulated to the point that such is normally to be reported to policing powers. Police with the power of the 4:00 am knock on the door so chillingly described by Solzhenitsyn in Gulag Archipelag. KF

  66. 66
    hammaspeikko says:

    Kairosfocus:

    We are here dealing with polities in which an ordinary citizen’s contact with a foreigner is regulated to the point that such is normally to be reported to policing powers.

    Forgive me if I say that you are completely out of touch with modern Chinese society. You watch too many spy movies. I, as a foreigner in China, am in contact with hundreds of Chinese citizens daily. On a professional and personal basis. As, I assume, rvb8 is. If the risk was as high for them as you suggest. I am sure that we would be avoided at all cost.

    Yes, Chinese citizens lack some freedoms that westerners have. But tell that to an American who is on the no-fly list because they were friends with a Saudi national who is under suspicion.

    Forgive me for saying, but you strike me as someone who judges the world by what they experienced thirty or forty years ago. Times change. Forty years ago I never thought that I would stand in a security line just to get into a ball game. But I also never thought that I could be communicating with you instantaneously from China to wherever you are.

    Rvb8 has clearly explained the conditions under which he intervenes in Christian recruiting. Frankly, if he can make a better argument than the evangelical charlatans, the weakness is with the evangelicals , not him. He has also repeatedly said that he has the deepest respect for those who have grown up in the Christian tradition. How you can equate this to some sort of agit prop nonsense defies logic.

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    HP, This is now pretty much a distraction, but sorry, China is still a totalitarian society. If something is at issue for a powerful enough person, they can and indubitably will follow up with the sort of force that is notorious. Start with, say, Falun Gong. KF

    PS: Also cf here: http://www.newstatesman.com/bl.....ty-chinese

  68. 68
    hammaspeikko says:

    Kairosfocus:

    HP, This is now pretty much a distraction, but sorry, China is still a totalitarian society.

    Nobody is disagreeing with this. But if you can’t distinguish between people and a regime, the problem is yours.

    If something is at issue for a powerful enough person, they can and indubitably will follow up with the sort of force that is notorious.

    What the hell does this have to do with rvb8? Is he Mao? Hitler? Stalin? No. He is a teacher in China with (I assume) very little influence with the power elites in China. Equating his efforts to provide information to those targeted by evangelical charlatans with the worst evils of Chinese communism is _________fill in the blank.

  69. 69
    kairosfocus says:

    HP, we saw enough on the mischaracterisation of the Christian ethics of family, the gospel and its foundations to directly know we are dealing with agit prop. Especially when the connexions to relevant local powers are given. In that context and that of remarks in the thread, we have no confidence in characterisations of people and movements either. Evangelical and charlatan are not near synonyms, FYI and the sort of assertions and invidious associations that are being made come across as bigotry and propaganda appealing to same. An all too familiar pattern. Finally, you tried to minimise the ruthless totalitarian nature of the regime above and it is entirely in order to point out a capital example of what the reality is. Falun Gong, right down to sobering questions on a black market in organ transplants involving prisoners used as utterly unethical sources. KF

  70. 70
    john_a_designer says:

    From the OP:

    What does modern evolutionary theory offer in comparison [to quantum mechanics or general relativity]? How can the theory ever hope to be as “solid as any explanation in science” when its proponents cannot seem to agree on a single tenet, the falsification of which would, in Berlinski’s words, shatter the theory?

    What is a scientific fact? Here’s an example of a scientific fact that was established early in the twentieth century:

    Scientists had always believed that noble gases, also known as inert or rare gases, were chemically unable to react. Helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon (all gases at room temperature) were viewed as the “loners” of the Periodic Table. Their inertness became a basic tenet of chemistry, published in textbooks and taught in classrooms throughout the world.

    In other words, noble gases could not form chemical compounds. Indeed that is what I was taught as fact in my H.S. chemistry course in the 1960’s. And there was good reason to believe that this was irrefutable or “settled science.”

    Conventional scientific wisdom held that the noble gas elements could not form compounds because their electronic structure was extremely stable. For all except helium, the maximum capacity of the outer electron shell of the noble gas atom is eight electrons. For helium, that limit is just two electrons. These electron arrangements are especially stable, leaving the noble gases without a tendency to gain or lose electrons. This led chemists to think of them as totally unreactive.

    Or in other words, this view was the scientific consensus– the OVERWHELMING consensus.

    Except it wasn’t true. In 1962 Neil Bartlett, “who was teaching chemistry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada,” succeeded in creating a compound that used xenon as one of its chemical components.

    He was certain that the orange-yellow solid was the world’s first noble gas compound. But convincing others would prove somewhat difficult. The prevailing attitude was that no scientist could violate one of the basic tenets of chemistry: the inertness of noble gases. Bartlett insisted that he had, to the amusement and disbelief of some of his colleagues! The proof was in the new compound he had made. That orange-yellow solid was subsequently identified in laboratory studies as xenon hexafluoroplatinate (XePtF6), the world’s first noble gas compound.”

    https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/bartlettnoblegases.html

    Since then over 100 noble gas compounds have been discovered.

    Another example, of a well-established settled science being overturned, was a new discovery made by Israeli scientist Dan Shechtman, “who suffered years of ridicule and even lost a research post for claiming to have found an entirely new class of solid material… when he observed atoms in a crystal he had made form a five-sided pattern that did not repeat itself, defying received wisdom that they must create repetitious patterns, like triangles, squares or hexagons.”

    “People just laughed at me,” Shechtman recalled in an interview this year with Israeli newspaper Haaretz, noting how Linus Pauling, a colossus of science and double Nobel laureate, mounted a frightening “crusade” against him, saying: “There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists.”

    After telling Shechtman to go back and read the textbook, the head of his research group asked him to leave for “bringing disgrace” on the team. “I felt rejected,” Shechtman remembered.

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....EP20111006

    In 2011 at age 70, Daniel Shechtman was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of quasicrystals.

    Ironically, Linus Pauling “who mounted… a ‘crusade’” against Shectman is one of the “few chemists [who] questioned the absolute inertness of the noble gases,” before Bartlett’s discovery in 1962.

    Is there such a thing as settled science?

    So in what sense then is the theory of evolution or any of its tenets be considered “a fact” or even well established?

  71. 71
    rvb8 says:

    Kai,

    I do indeed work in China, and my students are indeed a source of pride and joy to me.

    Individual thinkers all, they are well aware of the corruption and poor government in their own country, and yearn for a better future. Hopefully the young in the US, and UK, also see the short commings of their own governments (Theresa May, Trump, Heh:), and also hope for a better future.

    Having said that, they look upon the fundamental Christianity on tap, as espoused by nut job evangelists, as being more than slightly hair brained. Its tales (of floating men, and floods on a Biblical scale, towers to the heavens, and prophecies fulfilled merely to fulfill prophecy), seem to these well rounded individuals as being at best weird, and at worst childish wishing. I do not disabuse them of these well conceived notions.

    Now, scientists view the fossil record as good evidence of design with modification. If you went to any decent university world wide this would be an acceptable idea. DNA proves Darwin’s contention of common ancestry, this would also be uncontrovesial amongst evolutionary biologists worthy of the name.

    There are many areas of evolutionary biology where concepts are accepted by all evolutionary biologists. David Berlinki’s dumb question, is just that, a dumb question!

  72. 72
  73. 73
    rvb8 says:

    Thank you hammaspeikko.

    A little ratioanality to balance the Kairos, is most welcome.

  74. 74
    rvb8 says:

    Thank you hammaspeikko,

    I am indeed no Mao. My own students have a dim realistic view of that individual, the history of their own party, and the leaders they have now.

    The idea of a benevolent saviour, who loves and cares for them, and them alone, is all too familiar to these bright youngsters.

    They look upon evangelicals, in the same way they look upon Mao’s youth wing Red Guard; with wholly just suspicion, bordering upon contempt; I encourage this healthy scepticism.

  75. 75
    Mung says:

    Larry Moran:

    1. Will he admit that Berlinski’s question remains unanswered?

    Yes, of course I’ll admit that. There is no mathematical theory of evolution that’s applies to everything in biology all the time and certainly no aspect of evolutionary theory that’s accurate to thirteen decimal places.

    It’s a really stupid question from someone who doesn’t understand biology.

    Someone who understands biology understands that there are no universal rules. Darwin failed.

    There’s nothing scientific about “it just happened, that’s all.”

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    Rolling the tape, in reply to the effects of cross-threading cross complaints that in effect suppress material context. So, kindly cf. 290 on: https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/fft-charles-unmasks-the-anti-id-trollish-tactic-of-attacking-god-christian-values-and-worldview-themes/#comment-629890 (Just keep going, and there is more above in that thread too. Note point by point replies at 335 – 336: https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/fft-charles-unmasks-the-anti-id-trollish-tactic-of-attacking-god-christian-values-and-worldview-themes/#comment-629890 [observe context of willful distortion of Christian ethics, never acknowledged and corrected] and the list of childish q’s at 337 intended to intimidate very young believers into backing out. Observe point by point rebuttal at 341 https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/fft-charles-unmasks-the-anti-id-trollish-tactic-of-attacking-god-christian-values-and-worldview-themes/#comment-630461 [again, predictably for agit-prop, no cogent response] Notice the exchange at 350 – 351: https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/fft-charles-unmasks-the-anti-id-trollish-tactic-of-attacking-god-christian-values-and-worldview-themes/#comment-630508 Go on to 367, including HP’s intervention and responses. Note in particular the remarks at 357, and their import i/l/o the issues and patterns already highlighted. Observe my response at 358 to the mischaracterisations being projected.) KF

    PS: At 373, there is a beginning to taking up the points above in this thread that seem to be some of the substance of talking points on “lots and lots of evolution” which again turn out to be strawman-laced: https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/fft-charles-unmasks-the-anti-id-trollish-tactic-of-attacking-god-christian-values-and-worldview-themes/#comment-631372 WIP . . .

  77. 77
    john_a_designer says:

    “Darwinists point to evidence of common descent and erroneously assume it to be evidence of the power of random mutation.”

    (Michael J. Behe, The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, p. 95 (Free Press, 2007).)

    In fact, Behe accepts common descent (in that sense he is an “evolutionist.”) What he disputes is the idea that the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection acting on random variation is sufficient, in and of itself, to explain common descent. He is a design advocate because he doubts that any natural mechanism is sufficient to explain common descent. In other words, we must consider the possibility that evolution itself is designed– that is, it is intelligently guided and directed. Of course, he has been vilified and marginalized for daring to think outside the box. That’s how the “religiously” minded naturalists/materialists treat heretics.

    Michael Denton is also someone, associated with the ID movement, who accepts common descent but thinks that Darwinian NS + RV is insufficient to explain it.

  78. 78
    EugeneS says:

    Origenes,

    Thanks for pointing out to me an OP by Gpuccio. It’s a good one.

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