Intelligent Design

Nothing is Beyond the Ability of Random Mutation

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Random mutation is so attractive to chance worshippers because it is easy to demonstrate that unpredictable mutations do happen and that, in principle, any possible outcome can be produced. This is to say that, for instance, a shower of cosmic rays can hit a group of people and change the DNA in their germ cells in any manner whatsoever. It’s just a matter of how probable any given change might be. No change is impossible. Set incredulity aside and the comic book characters “The Fantastic Four” become real possibilities. Hence random mutation can explain ANYTHING and the only argument against it is the argument from incredulity. That’s why it just won’t die. It’s too good at its explanatory ability. Nothing in biology is impossible in light of all powerful random mutation. Even better, because random mutations are by definition unpredictable, there’s nothing to get in the way of it being disproven – no predictions made means no predictions failed. It isn’t science. It’s “Accident of the Gaps” or as I like to call it “Darwin of the Gaps”. Incredible! Literally, incredible.

28 Replies to “Nothing is Beyond the Ability of Random Mutation

  1. 1
    Qualiatative says:

    Set incredulity aside and the comic book characters “The Fantastic Four” become real possibilities.

    hahahaha

    It isn’t science. It’s “Accident of the Gaps” or as I like to call it “Darwin of the Gaps”.

    Exactly! Your comments are a breath of fresh air after dealing with the Darwinian thought police all day.

  2. 2
    Ekstasis says:

    And so what if the random mutations we see today do not add up to anything, or atleast anything positive and beneficial. And so what if scientists spent decades attempting fruitlessly (no pun intended) to move fruit flies up the evolutionary ladder. And so what if, even if it were to happen, all the steps necessary to get life where we are today would take, oh, probably some trillions of years. This should not get in the way of such a brilliant and all-powerful “theory”.

    Wasn’t snake oil that simple chemical composition that was capable of achieving all sorts of medical miracles, the cure to every conceivable malady?

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    “Random mutation is so attractive to chance worshippers…”

    The problem for those of us with a more philosophical bent is that most of these fellows don’t see any problem with relying on this magical “randomness” they speak of, as if it somehow necessarily banishes sentience from the picture.

    “Randomness” or “chance” is simply equivalent to saying “I don’t know.” It is merely a gap and nothing else. And it appears to be a gap to NDE zealots that they have no interest in filling.

  4. 4
    Carlos says:

    Why can’t randomness be real?

  5. 5
    BarryA says:

    Carlos, you’re not trying to start another ontological loop to loop like the one we went through over the last few days are you? OK, I’ll bite. What quality of “randomness” would make it “real” under the “phenomenological tradition?”

  6. 6
    mike1962 says:

    Carlos: “Why can’t randomness be real?”

    It is real. It’s called ignorance.

  7. 7
    Aclan says:

    Hi to all ID suporters…
    Random mutation can only occur easely in ”Marvel Comics” like X Men and Darwanian Scientists, in real world it is almost impossible by sunlight or natural causes to change the helix code of an any organism even flagella or Noctiluca Milliaris.Mutation can ony occur within a disaster like Chernobyl, Ukraine(Construction of an intelligent agent was suddenly destructed by malfunction that could not be controlled) in 1986 by an explosition of a nuclear reactor.(even controlled mutations about Drosofila just formed a fly that can not fly:)To see the famous constructive effects of mutation please check this link;http://www.planetark.com/daily...../story.htm

  8. 8
    Carlos says:

    First of all, the Fantastic Four were normal huamns who were bombarded with cosmic rays. They are not mutants.

    Second of all, I don’t regard my queries in the other thread to have been an “ontological loop.” I was trying to make what seemed to me to be an important distinction that got concealed due to ambiguities in how the term ‘objective’ is used.

    Third of all, I’m not making any claims about randomness with respect to phenomenology. Phenomenology, famously (or infamously), is concerned with structures which make possible significance and intention. Randomness, on the other hand, is part of the naturalistic understanding of the world — what Husserl, and even Heidegger in his way, was trying to undermine or overcome. The neglect of natural science is the Achilles’ heel of phenomenology, and one reason why it tends to lapse into idealism at the crucial moments.

    Fourth of all, my query was a way of sparking a conversation on the question: on what grounds is it maintained that randomness is merely a deficient in knowledge and not a real property?

    I, for my part, am interested in reconciling what’s of value in philosophical naturalism with what’s of value in phenomenology. That might mean “wooden iron,” as Husserl would have put it — but if the phenomenology is the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty, maybe not. Merleau-Ponty’s ontology of the body gives him, I think, resources for resisting the lapse into idealism.

    I don’t yet know how much of the various intellectual pressures I’m under will prove to be compatible, and where I’ll have to make some hard choices — e.g. between phenomenology and historicism, between philosophical naturalism (Quine + Nietzsche) and the “messianicity without messianism” of Benjamin, Levinas, and Derrida. I see it as a problem of holding onto a purely immanent metaphysics together with a non-metaphysical transcendence.

    I don’t expect any help with this; I’m not here to get help with my project. I’m just here for a few interesting conversations, and to provoke people in my meager way to think more carefully about their ontological, ethical, epistemic, and political commitments.

  9. 9
    jerry says:

    Lets raise our steins to natural selection and the survival of the fittest. This just came in as part of one of those infamous emails that travel the internet.

    “”One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin was explaining the “Buffalo Theory” to his buddy Norm. Here’s how it went:

    “Well ya see, Norm, it’s like this… A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”

  10. 10
    Hawks says:

    DaveScot,

    “Set incredulity aside and the comic book characters “The Fantastic Four” become real possibilities.”

    And yet, no one but creationists claim that evolution would do anything remotely similar to this.

    I wish you would apply your personal incredulity towards “normal” evolution towards “designed” evolution as well. It seems to be the creed in “designed evolution” that because intelligent humans can design stuff, some other intelligence can design not only life, but to encode in this, all variation needed for future evolution. Given that humans can’t really even reliably predict how 1 (ONE!) protein folds (and even less so how it would fold in different environments, how it can interact with other proteins and what all this means for its function) you are quite happy to take the leap of faith that some intelligence can do this for thousands of proteins, RNAs, regulatory sequences etc. AND that the creature built will be able to predict how it should change in the future. That other intelligence sure must be intelligent – even godlike, perhaps?

  11. 11
    MikeFNQ says:

    Davescot: Would you be so kind as to tell us what ID cannot explain?

  12. 12
    DaveScot says:

    MikeFNQ

    Sure. ID cannot explain how chance and necessity could form irreducibly complex structures.

  13. 13

    DaveScot wrote (in the OP):

    Random mutation is so attractive to chance worshippers because it is easy to demonstrate that unpredictable mutations do happen and that, in principle, any possible outcome can be produced.

    Ehh, in practice any possible outcome can be produced. If it couldn’t, it wouldn’t be possible, would it. Watch out for them semantics 🙂

    Hence random mutation can explain ANYTHING and the only argument against it is the argument from incredulity. That’s why it just won’t die. It’s too good at its explanatory ability. Nothing in biology is impossible in light of all powerful random mutation.

    Charles Darwin himself thought that small, gradual steps were needed. There are still hard-core gradualists around, though some speculate in the possibility of faster mutations. But I am not aware of anyone seriously claims that random mutation can explain ANYTHING, not a single mutation certainly.

    Can a sufficiently long sequence of mutations explain anything? Maybe it can, maybe it can’t. What would be the proof that it can’t?

    have a nice day!
    – pwe

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    PWE,

    Try the fact that it has never been witnessed nor is there any evidence that it ever happend. In fact the evidence statistically points to it never happening. Now this doesn’t say it couldn’t happen but it certainly should prevent it from being taught in the schools as the basis for things happening.

  15. 15
    Carlos says:

    In fact the evidence statistically points to it never happening.

    The error here is to leap from “the odds of its happening in exactly the way it did” to “the odds of its happening at all.” This leap is justified only if we already know that it couldn’t have happened in any other way than it did. But how could we know that?

  16. 16
    John A. Davison says:

    Natural selection was and still is very real. Its only function always was and still is to prevent change for as long as possible. That is why every chickadee looks and sounds like every other chickadee.

    chick-a-dee-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee-dee

    Chickadees look and sound as they do because they were pre-programmed to be as they are. The environment played no role whatsoever in the production of the chickadee or any other living thing for that matter. Chickadees, like ourselves, are terminal, immutable species on separate hut related branches of an evolutionary tree that stopped growing long ago. Get used to it. Robert Broom did, Julian Huxley did, Pierre Grasse did and I did too. Why can’t everyone? I will tell you why. They don’t like that idea and that is the only reason!

    Hypotheses have to be reasonable – facts don’t.
    anonymous

    How do you like them apples?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”

  17. 17
    Aclan says:

    I chose to believe ‘possibility of an agent in nature ‘ rather than ‘imposibility of the probablity of a mutation’ can function as constructive triger of evolution.Darwinist use semantics much more than Science.It is something like Sofists in Athens who can explain everthing with nothing…

  18. 18
    nullasalus says:

    John A. Davidson,

    “Chickadees look and sound as they do because they were pre-programmed to be as they are. The environment played no role whatsoever in the production of the chickadee or any other living thing for that matter. Chickadees, like ourselves, are terminal, immutable species on separate hut related branches of an evolutionary tree that stopped growing long ago. Get used to it. Robert Broom did, Julian Huxley did, Pierre Grasse did and I did too. Why can’t everyone? I will tell you why. They don’t like that idea and that is the only reason!”

    Forgive me if this question is ignorant – I’m very new to ID, and know little in the way of biology, so the only way I learn anything is by asking questions and reading. But how can we be sure that life has since stopped evolving/no new species are up and coming? From what I’ve read, supposedly nothing new has popped up for millions of years. But isn’t the argument of punctuated equilibrium suggesting that there would be long periods of time where more or less everything stays the same, and new species will appear rather suddenly? So how could a long period of time where nothing new shows up allow you to differentiate between ‘No new species will evolve’ and ‘There will be new species, just not yet’?

  19. 19
    John A. Davison says:

    I choose to believe in what can be demonstrated in the laboratory and what is in agreement with the testimony of the fossil record, neither of which support any aspect of the Darwinian fairy tale. The whole scheme is nothing but a pipe dream conjured up by a pair of Victorian naturalists, one of whom had the good sense to completely reject what he had offered as a younger man. It was primarily because Wallace had proposed the same mechanism that Darwin finally published the Origin. They had both read Malthus’ essay on population. They were both profoundly influenced by Lyell’s Principle of Uniformation so they both believed evolution was going on around them. Well it wasn’t then and it isn’t now!

    The Darwimps, as I affectionately call them, still believe what Darwin believed to his dying day when he wrote as he did –

    “…endless forms, most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

    The geological world indeed does continue to alter the earth’s topography slowly and steadily. There is nothing in evolution that was ever slow or steady. Quite the contrary, every evolutionary step was instantaneous, dramatic and without apparent continuity, the exact opposite of the slow and steady processes that alter the surface of the earth.

    That discontinuity is only apparent however and there is no evidence that any living creature ever appeared except from another living creature, its immediate ancestor. The only thing that is not known for certainty yet is how many times life was initiated or, once initiated, how many times it was programmed.

    My personal preference, and that is all that it is, favors more than one origin and possibly several front-loadings may have taken place along the evolutionary path but that is pure surmise. What is not surmise however, and what I feel can be dispensed with, is any role for chance in either ontogeny or phylogeny.

    Once one rejects chance as Berg, Broom and Grasse have each done, one is left with only one alternative explanation which I have proposed in the form of the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.

    It is interesting that Grasse lists Berg as a reference but never mentions him in the text. I don’t believe Broom ever mentioned him either but I may be wrong about that because I don’t have all his works at my disposal. He makes no mention of him in his book “Finding the Missing Link” where he thoroughly rejected Darwinism.

    It gets even more revealing when one considers the relationship between Julian Huxley and Robert Broom. It was Broom that convinced Huxley that evolution was largely finished. Huxley lists only Broom’s 1933 paper “Evolution – Is There Intelligence Behind It?” in his Bibliography. Huxley’s only mention of Broom in the text is in a foot note on page 568, ten pages from the end of his book.

    “A small minority of biologists, such as Broom (1933) still feel compelled to invoke ‘spiritual agencies’ to account for progressive evolution, but their number is decreasing as the implications of modern selection theories are grasped.”

    I feel that was very unfair of Huxley because Broom had only asked a question and the only word Broom used that suggested any spiritual agency was the capitalized word – Plan. That apparently was enough to set Huxley off. It doesn’t take much to upset an atheist. Every devout Darwinian is an atheist although some don’t seem to realize it and claim to be Christians. It is remarkable.

    This leaves little doubt as to Huxley’s Darwinism even though in the same book he claimed that evolution was finished in even more definite terms than did Broom who had provided him with that evidence. It remains a difficult situation to understand. It seems that when ideology confronts reality that ideology prevails every time. I document that business in the Manifesto.

    It is understandable why the Darwinians never mention either Huxley or Dobzhansky any more as each of them have thoroughly undermined the Darwininan model. So it is not only we nonDarwinian critics of Darwinism that are not allowed to exist, even some of their own are ignored as well. It is a scandal unprecedented in the history of science.

    It is quite unecessary to continue bashing the Darwinian myth as it is dissolving away at an ever increasing rate as nothing in experimental biology can ever be reconciled with it. Nothing ever could in the past either. It should have died before the turn of the twentieth century when the Ether of Physics died and for exactly the same reason. It had repeatedly failed the acid test of experimental verification. It is he biggest and most long lived hoax in the history of science.

    “Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so little to so many.”
    after Winston Churchill

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  20. 20
    jerry says:

    nullasalus,

    Puncturated equilibrium theoretically takes several thousand years and is a process of gradual change but so fast it never shows up in the fossil record. Since it has never shown up, it is at best speculation. Also there is no periodicity to it so there should be always some examples of it in progress. But alas, no examples. Bed time stories are a staple of the Darwinist literature.

  21. 21
    Carlos says:

    Since it has never shown up, it is at best speculation.

    Miller (Finding Darwin’s God) cites a paper by Gould in which punk-eek was documented in a single fossil bed of the snail Cerion. I can post the reference if you’d like.

  22. 22
    jerry says:

    Carlos,

    By all means post it and we can witness the first documentation of Darwinism in history.

  23. 23
    John A. Davison says:

    “Punctuated equilibrium” is nothing but the abuse of two words that used to have meaning until Gould and Eldredge got hold of them. They are supposed to indicate that evolution occurred in spurts which of course it did. They offer no mechanism and were never anything but slick catch words without any significance whatsoever. Punctuation is for sentences and equilibria are for chemical reactions. Who did they think they were kidding? Not this old physiologist.

    It is hard to believe isn’t it?

    I love it so!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  24. 24
    Carlos says:

    Miller gives the following citation:

    G. Goodfriend and S. Gould, “Paleontology and Chronology of Two Evolutionary Transitions by Hybridization in the Bahamian Land Snail Cerion,” Science 274 (1996): 1894-1897.

  25. 25
    Carlos says:

    (23) reminds me of a friend who refuses to talk about “gender” when talking about men and women: “‘Gender’ is something that nouns have!”

  26. 26
    John A. Davison says:

    Carlos

    What is the significance of post #24 or doesn’t it have any? If so, then why was it presented?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  27. 27
    Carlos says:

    In response to John’s (26)

    My (24) is a response to Jerry’s (22), which in turn was his response to my (21), etc. So it fits into the flow of the conversation.

    My (25), on the other hand, was gratuitous and off-topic, and if the hosts were to erase it, I wouldn’t be at all offended.

  28. 28
    John A. Davison says:

    Why do I waste my dwindling time on earth trying to communicate on internet forums?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

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