Intelligent Design

The Appendix Finds A Job. Or Had One All the Time…

Spread the love

Human appendix

“Yeah, so what. So I spend a lot of time at this one Starbucks, sure, when other organ systems are busy working. Venti dark roast, room for cream.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t put in my time on the job.”

“Do you really think natural selection would have kept me on the payroll this long if I wasn’t doing something?”

61 Replies to “The Appendix Finds A Job. Or Had One All the Time…

  1. 1
    professorsmith says:

    I just blogged about this too. My take is that this is a feather in the cap of common design because it would defy explanation for a designer to put in a useless appendix.

  2. 2
    leo says:

    But it would also defy explanation, as is stated above, that natural selection would “kept me on the payroll this long if I wasn’t doing something?” Unless there was some sort of positive selection pressure for it to be there, it wouldn’t be – or it would be disappearing to the point where it is neutral (like the tail bone)and pose a risk, like the appendix.

  3. 3
    Nochange says:

    This major discovery is also a blow to the people who have suggested here that the designer (God) might be imperfect. I maintain that we can know the designer through ID, and He is perfect (as the useful appendix thoroughly demonstrates).

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is the link to the yahoo story:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200.....VVHaSs0NUE

    This evidence is definitely going in my ammunition belt,,,I’ve been hit with this one by Darwinists too many times!!!

  5. 5
    Scott says:

    “I maintain that we can know the designer through ID, and He is perfect ”

    Silliness. Two words – “lower back” …

  6. 6

    As one colleague of mine put it:

    Standard evo reversal: in response to a new theory of why the appendix plays an important role in health (as opposed to being a useless evolutionary remnant), here one commentator says, “It makes evolutionary sense” that the appendix serves as a reservoir of healthy bacteria. So it makes “sense” to be both a useless remnant AND to serve an essential purpose. Evolutionary “sense” is senseless.

  7. 7
    Meltin says:

    Bill,

    Exactly, when ever they are presented with contradictory evidence, they claim it as strong support for their theory. They will just revert to their ‘suboptimal structural design’ definition of ‘vestigial organ’, claiming function is irrelevant. Ironically, they will claim that they are being objective when in fact they are just resorting to a lame subjective “bad design” argument.

    I wish they would make it more clear what facts would in fact falsify or contradict their theory (the ’29 evidences’ paper on TO doesn’t cut it). Their predictions, if you want to call them that, are so vague that I don’t see how their theory can be realistically falsified.

    I hear them repeat the “rabbit in the Cambrian strata” occasionally as a potential way to falsify their theory. But even if we found such a fact, I’m sure they would quickly find a way to incorporate it into their theory.

  8. 8
    bFast says:

    I personally have no difficulty with ID and vestigial organs. After all, computer software, an axample of human design, almost invariably contains vestigial functions. That said, its nice to see a major nail in the coffin of this particular icon of evolution.

  9. 9
    Mats says:

    For generations the appendix has been dismissed as superfluous.

    ….By Darwinists.

    The idea “seems by far the most likely” explanation for the function of the appendix, said Brandeis University biochemistry professor Douglas Theobald. “It makes evolutionary sense.”

    lolll Trying to save the theory from another mistake.

  10. 10
    Mats says:

    oh, by the way, needless to say that, if this paper is confirmed, then Darwinists will spin this around and say that this new found function of the apendix is exacly what “evolution would predict”.

  11. 11
    StephenB says:

    Wait, maybe we have a new theory of “matrix” evolution. You heard it here first.

  12. 12
    idnet.com.au says:

    The appendix finds yet another job.

    “For years, the appendix was credited with very little physiological function. We now know that the appendix serves an important role in the fetus and in young adults. Endocrine cells appear in the appendix of the human fetus at around the 11th week of development. These endocrine cells of the fetal appendix have been shown to produce various biogenic amines and peptide hormones, compounds that assist with various biological control (homeostatic) mechanisms.

    Among adult humans, the appendix is now thought to be involved primarily in immune functions.”

    http://www.sciam.com/askexpert.....9EC588F2D7

  13. 13
    GilDodgen says:

    So it makes “sense” to be both a useless remnant AND to serve an essential purpose.

    Of course! This is how science works, don’t you know. And this the particular beauty of Darwinian evolutionary science: it can explain anything and its opposite too! For example, evolutionary theory explains why men are faithful to their wives, and also why they cheat. What more could one ask for in a scientific theory?

  14. 14
    Michaels7 says:

    Funny, I thought simlar issues regarding tonsils. That it serves as a lightning rod so to speak, even though it hurts, burns, etc., during infection. Much like our skin swells and burns, is sore, the white blood cells, the immune system utilizes the tonsils as a focal point for killing bacteria.

    Nearly lost my appendix once around time I was 9 or 10. Ha, boy did I pray that night. I’ll never forget it, as a kid, scared to death of surgery. Fortunately, my mother insisted they give me some medicine(penicillin or similar) and if it did not work, the next morning surgery. Doctors were ready to operate.

    Fever, pain broke that night. They “figured” later it was flu or some form of pneumonia had infected me. Small townsville(which I still love, but not for surgery).

    I’m so blessed now to have both my “vestigial” organs 🙂

    Can’t remember the last time I had any sore throat, allergy, flu. Only time I was sick recently was after trips to Mexico and Russia. Different bacterial strains… of which I’m assuming may have been assimulated into my immune system. Lord knows they have to others.

  15. 15
    rswood says:

    To be fair, when I read this I also thought, “even when evolution is wrong, it’s right.” However, the Christian has the same problem here: if the appendix has a function, it’s because God designed it. If it doesn’t, it’s a sign of the fall and universal corruption. Same goes with “Junk DNA” it seems.

  16. 16
    IDist says:

    rswood,

    I’m afraid it’s not the same.

    There is a big difference between something being compatible with a theory and being evidence for it.

    Darwinists always claim that Junk DNA and the appendix etc. are EVIDENCE for Darwinisim. In fact some go too far and argue that things like that are the PROOF of unguided evolution. So it makes no sense in claiming that the discovery of functions of these structures are also EVIDENCE (that is: predictions) for the theory.

    This shows what darwinism really is: PURE RUBBISH.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Let’s remember that Darwinism is required to have vestigial organs and genes in its scheme for it to even be considered scientifically plausible in the first place. In fact the main weakness of the hypothesis of evolution at this point is the fact that the Genome is now absolutely proven to have severe epistasis (to be a complex interwoven network) by ENCODE!!!! Whereas, it is commonly taught in evolutionary biology that evolution is absolutely required to have little or no epistasis for it to have the plasticity it needs to accomplish evolutionary novelty seen in life.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistasis

    In fact, in order for evolution to avoid being overturned by Mendelian genetics last century,Haldane, Fisher and Wright had to develop population genetics… (pg. 52-53 Genetic Entropy)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_genetics

    … in which the genome was required to be considered a multiple independent collection of genes which could be selected or discarded as natural selection saw fit…
    This is absolutely the only way that evolution could have been considered scientifically plausible with Mendelian Genetics…

    Put simply…IF genes cannot be selected on an individual basis then no new novelty can arise by RM/NS for natural selection cannot select for a completely novel trait..Thus evolution is scientifically denied the plasticity it needs for novelty!!!

    With the shattering revelation of ENCODE,, Evolutionary biology classes have absolutely no basic mechanism left to teach their students for evolution….All Haldane’s, Wright’s and Fisher’s work in population Genetics is pure and utter Garbage…

    As well I would like to point out that all the evolutionary sequence comparisons of Genomes is also useless…The ONLY way to properly decipher the meaning of the genome is by asking foundational engineering questions,,,
    Any genetic data taking from the false evolutionary perspective will only lead scientists down the wrong paths…again!!!

  18. 18
    bFast says:

    Bornagain77, please give me more details about ENCODE. I tried to find something meaningful about it on google. My initial search failed.

    I know that Gould, one of the few honest darwinists, expressed deep consern when it was first discovered that there was not a simple 1 gene 1 protein relationship. As it is clear that the 1 gene 1 protein model is the exception rather than the rule I think that Gould would have abandoned the theory over this. Alas, he has passed on, and certainly has abandoned the theory.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Leo stated:
    or it would be disappearing to the point where it is neutral (like the tail bone)

    Yet the tailbone has essential purpose!!! The coccyx (tailbone) is the point of insertion of several muscles and ligaments including the one which allows man to walk completely upright. Without a tailbone, people could not walk in a completely upright manner, dance a ballet, perform gymnastics, or stroll down the street with their arm around their spouse. Hardly a useless, leftover, vestigial feature! The human body is designed for maximum versatility. It is far more versatile than the body of any other creature. What other animal can perform the range of movement required for activities as diverse as ice-skating, pearl diving, skiing, and gymnastics. This range of movement would be impossible without the tailbone.

    Or as some once said “If you don’t think the tailbone has purpose,,I will personally pay to have yours removed!!!

    As well,,The vestigial “legs of the whale are actually essential attaching points for muscles that are necessary in the birth of whales…

    It should be remembered that at the time of the scopes trial there was a list of 180 vestigial organs,, now that list is down to practically zero…Unfortunately,,,if man did not know the function of a organ Darwinists automatically assumed it was vestigial…

    As a sidelight to this I want to know where all the halfway useful organs are…Instead of having organs that are in the process of disappearing where are the organs that are in the process of appearing!!!

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Bfast,,,

    This a article on the reaction of scientists to the ENCODE project…

    http://www.boston.com/news/glo.....ed/?page=1

    This is an original release of ENCODE by the national institute of health in June 2007,,

    http://www.genome.gov/25521554

    copy in NATURE if you subscribe;

    http://www.nature.com/nature/f.....index.html

    The precise Finding that completely divorces Darwinian thought from Mendelian Genetics…BETHESDA, Md., Wed., June 13, 2007 – An international research consortium today published a set of papers that promise to reshape our understanding of how the human genome functions. The findings challenge the traditional view of our genetic blueprint as a tidy collection of independent genes, pointing instead to a complex network in which genes, along with regulatory elements and other types of DNA sequences that do not code for proteins, interact in overlapping ways not yet fully understood.

  21. 21
    Janice says:

    bornagain77

    Don’t forget this use of the coccyx; because it is the attachment point of various pelvic muscles it is an important part of the system that stops your insides from falling out when you stand up.

    As for the appendix and the risk possessing one poses:

    It’s relatively easy to count the number of appendicectomies performed but you’d have to go through hospital records carefully to find out how many of the removed organs were not inflamed at all. At the bedside mesenteric adenitis mimics appendicitis and may result in a person being sent to surgery where, once the abdomen has been opened, the appendix is discovered not to be inflamed at all.

    I have no idea what the proportions might be but the fact that there is a term (“lily white”) in common usage to describe these uninflamed appendices should indicate that the finding is not rare. And, of course, once you’ve made the incision you take the organ out whether it’s lily white or not, as a matter of safety, because anyone subsequently seeing that scar will assume that the appendix has already been removed. So when the CDC says that, “two years ago 321,000 Americans were hospitalized with appendicitis,” that does not necessarily mean that two years ago 321,000 Americans actually had appendicitis.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    I’m trying to find the paper that points out that the DNA code is optimal for life.. In other words a paper that proves that DNA did not go through a process to find the optimal code for life…

    I found one tidbit along the lines of the paper I’m looking for..

    “DNA systems have a lot of advantages over the conventional systems. The most obvious one is the speed of computation. Another advantage DNA systems enjoy is their higher storage capacity than normal systems. DNA code can be any of the 4 DNA bases (A, G, T, and C) while binary code can only be 0 or 1. Thus while a binary code of 4 characters can represent 6 discrete things, a DNA code can represent 64 discrete things.”

    Does anyone know where a good source would be????

  23. 23
    Michaels7 says:

    BornAgain77,

    Yep, ENCODE spells disaster as the deeper into relationships of blueprint and building, manager and relay, the more about meta-information, communications, digital on/off switches, and overlapping layers comes into the picture of a complex multi-tiered, cascading system more fine tuned, well run, and complex than any current facility known to science and engineers.

    Scientist are blown away at some of the latest findings.

  24. 24
    Michaels7 says:

    cont…

    What is interesting is that computer scientist, software people recognize this long ago. Oh and EE types, ya know, like the kind Baylor is besmearing of an opportunity to truly break new ground in my opinion.

    I recently found out that one of my ancestors graduated first class Baylor(when it was Waco University). Quite a woman, they started a University with I think less than 50 people. OR at least the first class to graduate was under that. It appears she and her classmates were not worried then about such political correct issues as in our day.

    I think, no, I know she would be disappointed today in Baylor.

    ID could probably start their own university, day of the Internet and all. I’m curious how much funds are needed. I’d focus on reverse-engineering and in building new life without mutations. Say, new fruit for example, more abundant, hearty. Looking over the list of scientist and qualifications, I’d say there is plent of talent and not only that but, then young fiery minds like Sal would have a place to apply doctoral research.

    I say it is worth a try. You’d think there would be enough backers in the Southern Baptist alone to help with such a new venture.

    I didn’t start my own software business back in the day from merely wanting to. I ran into a dead end at holier than thou people above me at the time. So, I started my own business. I ended up going into client sites cleaning up my old companies messes. Charging less to the clients and making more for myself.

    Internet classes in classical micro-biology, for lower rates, but with high quality. Classes that can be easily revamped, maintained, upgraded and no undergraduate campus at first.

    Phoenix and a load of other universities are doing it. And making skoodles of profit. Therefore, a new university forcused upon new life designs, or the benefit from reverse engineering seems the way to go today.

    Call it a step towards a REAL University –

    Time to beeeee Bb-b-b-bad to the bone!

    Start a new university to implement ID research as a method to turn biotech into techbio = bucks. A combo sci-tech entrepreneurial MBA progam.

    Reverse Engineering Advanced Life University. REAL U 😉

  25. 25
    DaveScot says:

    “A rabbit in the Cambrian” offered as an observation that would falsify evolution does nothing more than falsify a branch in the so-called tree of life. It represents a problem for common descent. ID does not address common descent either positively or negatively. ID disputes the mechanism underlying descent with modification – specifically it disputes the belief that random mutation is the ultimate source of all variation. ID is based on statistical probability – it posits that the organization patterns we see in living things, especially at the molecular level, are so improbable that random chance is not a reasonable explanation even given a filter (natural selection) which preserves random changes that increase the reproductive success of the modified organism. RM+NS’s stronghold has heretofore been that it works too slowly to observe it in action creating complex new structures. It requires, on average, millions of generations to make large scale increases in complexity. This is no longer the case as in the last decade we observed RM+NS in action over billions of trillions of generations and no significant new complexity emerged in the observed genome (p.falciparum). That we would observe no change is a prediction of ID and it was confirmed. I have yet to see a reasonable explanation congruent with neo-Darwinian theory explain what we observed in p.falciparum.

    Intelligent agency is the only demonstrated way that such improbable organizations become instantiated in a finite universe. For instance, if statistical probabilities are ignored then a space shuttle or computer could form purely through chance arrangements of matter. Such a supposition would be ludicrous and rightly so because statistical mechanics (which is based on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics) informs us that a chance arrangement of matter into a space shuttle is so improbable that we can state with practical certainty that we will never observe a space shuttle. Yet a whole fleet of them can be observed. Space shuttles are practically possible only because of intelligent agency. When intelligent agency is involved then the otherwise reliable predictions of statistical mechanics become unreliable. In the case of actions of intelligent agency the restrictions imposed by probabilities are lifted and the organization of matter becomes limited only by what is physically possible.

  26. 26
    Charlie says:

    Hi bornagain.
    I don’t know if this American Scientist article is what you are looking for, but it intrigued me when I received my issue:
    http://www.americanscientist.o.....0MiU5xEo_E

    What’s so special about the one code that—with a few minor variations—rules all life on Planet Earth?

    The canonical nonanswer to this question came from Francis Crick, who argued that the code need not be special at all; it could be nothing more than a “frozen accident.”

    In other words, the genetic code is the qwerty keyboard of biology—not necessarily the best solution, but too deeply ingrained to be replaced or improved.

    There has always been resistance to the frozen-accident theory. Who wants to believe that the key to life is so arbitrary and ad hoc? And there is evidence that the accident is not quite frozen. Certain protozoa, bacteria and intracellular organelles employ genetic codes slightly different from the standard one, hinting that changes to codon assignments are not impossible after all. And if the code is subject to change, then it must also be subject to natural selection, which in turn suggests the possibility of ongoing improvement. Perhaps ours is not the very best of all possible codes, but after four billion years of evolution it ought to be a pretty darn good one.

    Returning to studies of random codes, David Haig and Laurence D. Hurst of the University of Oxford generated 10,000 of them in 1991, keeping the same blocks of synonymous codons found in the natural code but permuting the amino acids assigned to them. The result depended strongly on what criterion was chosen to judge the similarity of amino acids. Using a measure called polar requirement, which indicates whether an amino acid is hydrophobic or hydrophilic, the natural code was a stellar performer, better than all but two of the 10,000 random permutations. But in other respects the biological code was only mediocre; 56 percent of the random codes did a better job of matching the electric charge of substituted amino acids.
    Focusing on the encouraging result with polar requirement, Hurst and Stephen J. Freeland (now at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County) later repeated the experiment with a sample size of 1 million random codes. Using the same evaluation rule as in the smaller simulation, they found that 114 of the million codes gave better substitutions than the natural code when evaluated with respect to polar requirement. Then they refined the model. In the earlier work, all mutations and all mistranslations were considered equally likely, but nature is known to have certain biases—some errors are more frequent than others. When the algorithm was adjusted to account for the biases, the natural code emerged superior to every random permutation with a single exception. They published their results under the title “The genetic code is one in a million.”

    Using this bootstrap criterion, Freeland and his colleagues compared the biological code with another set of a million random variations. The natural code emerged as the uncontested champion. They wrote of the biological code: “…it appears at or very close to a global optimum for error minimization: the best of all possible codes.”

    The idea that the genetic code is evolving under pressure to ameliorate errors—or indeed that it is evolving at all—has not won universal assent. Some cogent objections were set forth as early as 1967 by Carl R. Woese of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among other points, he noted that if a trait is actively evolving, you would expect to see some variation. In particular he called attention to the various “extremophiles” that live at high temperature, high salt concentration, and so on. These organisms tend to have unusual proteins and unusual nucleic acids, but they all have the standard genetic code.

    The few variant codes known in protozoa and organelles are thought to be offshoots of the standard code, but there is no evidence that the changes to the codon table offer any adaptive advantage. In fact, Freeland, Knight, Landweber and Hurst found that the variants are inferior or at best equal to the standard code. It seems hard to account for these facts without retreating at least part of the way back to the frozen-accident theory, conceding that the code was subject to change only in a former age of miracles, which we’ll never see again in the modern world.

    Here’s Hayes’ bibliographic info for the above references:
    Freeland, Stephen J., and Laurence D. Hurst. 1998. The genetic code is one in a million. Journal of Molecular Evolution 47:238-248.

    Freeland, Stephen J., Robin D. Knight, Laura F. Landweber and Laurence D. Hurst. 2000. Early fixation of an optimal genetic code. Molecular Biology and Evolution 17(4):511-518.

    Freeland, Stephen J., Tao Wu and Nick Keulmann. 2003. The case for an error minimizing standard genetic code. Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere 33:457-477.

    Golomb, Solomon W. 1980. Cryptographic reflections on the genetic code. Cryptologia 4(1):15-19.

    Haig, David, and Laurence D. Hurst. 1991. A quantitative measure of error minimization in the genetic code. Journal of Molecular Evolution 33:412-417.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks for helping Charlie,
    I found a few other tidbits, but am still looking for a specific paper that “blew my mind” last year, with its revelation of just how optimal the DNA code really is;

    Here are the tidbits I found:

    “The genetic code could well be optimized to a greater extent than anything else in biology and yet is generally regarded as the biological element least capable of evolving.”

    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/28/10696

    and this following one:

    These “parallel codes” include binding sequences for regulatory and structural proteins, signals for splicing, and RNA secondary structure. Here, we show that the universal genetic code can efficiently carry arbitrary parallel codes much better than the vast majority of other possible genetic codes.

    http://www.genome.org/cgi/cont.....t/17/4/405

    Does anyone know the paper I’m looking for??,I believe it was done by an ID proponent..

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    Getting Closer to finding the paper..

    Besides all the evidence we have covered for the intelligent design of DNA information, there is still one amazing fact remaining—the ideal number of genetic letters in the DNA code for storage and translation.

    Moreover, the copying mechanism of DNA, to meet maximum effectiveness, requires the number of letters in each word to be an even number. Of all possible mathematical combinations, the ideal number for storage and transcription has been calculated to be four letters.

    This is exactly what has been found in the genes of every living thing on earth—a four-letter digital code. As Werner Gitt states: “The coding system used for living beings is optimal from an engineering standpoint. This fact strengthens the argument that it was a case of purposeful design rather that a [lucky] chance” (Gitt, p. 95).

    http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn58/tinycode.htm

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks again Charlie,
    I believe combining the empirical evidence you present in post #26 with Gitt’s work in Information Theory, gives solid footing to the fact that the DNA code is indeed the optimal code for life.

    For me, this fact further squeezes Darwinism with constraints they can’t naturally explain, and in fact constraints that should not even exist in the first place if evolution were indeed true!!!!

  30. 30
    jstanley01 says:

    DaveScot,

    You say, “ID does not address common descent either positively or negatively.”

    So is this weblog misnamed?

  31. 31
    bFast says:

    Jstanley01, Some of the most recognized ID theorists, such as Behe and Denton, strongly support a common descent view. ID, therefore, is certainly compatible with common descent.

    That said, the term “uncommon descent” has a certain “play on words” appeal. That said, the ID community generally holds that even if “common descent” is valid, the fact that humanity descended is “uncommon”, that humanity came into existance because humanity was intended to come into existance.

    So, even though common ancestry is compatible with ID, humanity is not a run of the mill “common” accident. I don’t think that the weblog is misnamed.

  32. 32
    bFast says:

    BornAgain77, thanks for the links.

    Michaels7, “What is interesting is that computer scientist, software people recognize this long ago.”

    I think there is a reason why so many of us IDers on this site come out of the software world. What truly baffles me is that I have bumped into a couple of software developers who contend that NDE is correct. So far I haven’t seen any such software developer who has presented a significant work history, however.

  33. 33
    magnan says:

    This topic reminds me of a recent article in that bastion of Darwinian scientism propaganda, New Scientist. It was entitled “Evolution’s Greatest Mistakes” (Aug. 11-17 2007). It lists a number of systems where “things seem to have gone spectacularly wrong”. Notice the phrase “seem to”. They hedge their bets, and admit in some of the cases that the supposed bad design actually may have functional purposes. Just about every item cited in detail in the article is an example of the usual Darwinoid ploy of insisting they can have their cake and eat it too. An example of supposed bad design is described, so how could this be the creation of a Designer? It must be one of the inevitable mistakes of a blind RM & NS process. But look, it may actually have a necessary function in the organism, so of course this also confirms the Darwinian theory (then follows one of the typical “just so” stories to explain its origin). This then is also an example of the huge creative power of the random genetic change driven process. So Darwinism can explain anything and everything – it can’t possibly be falsified.

    The whole article boils down to the argument that some features of life seem to be nonoptimal (mistakes), and this is explained in any of 3 ways:

    1. It really is a mistake, so RM & NS did it
    – the inefficiency of mammalian sac-type lungs compared to the one-way bird lungs that allow some birds to fly as high as 35,000 feet
    – placing genes for 13 mitochondrial proteins inside the mitochondria where they can be damaged by the free radicals generated in oxidation
    – the blind spot, back to front wiring in the vertebrate eye (well debunked in these pages)
    – the appendix (debunked in this thread)
    – vulnerable brain cells and hearts
    – windpipe next to the gullet
    – the female pelvis
    – external testicles
    – feet

    2. It isn’t really a mistake, but actually has a function in allowing evolution itself to work, so RM & NS did it
    – 10 out of 14 DNA polymerases used in DNA copying make a lot of errors (promotes mutation)
    – aging (promotes evolution by killing off the previous generation after reproduction)
    – swapping parts of chromosomes during sexual recombination (generates diversity for evolution)

    3. There is a possibility it isn’t 1 or 2, isn’t really a mistake, and actually has a biological function, so RM & NS did it
    – Supposed failings of RuBisCo, major plant enzyme which fixes CO2, but the protein may still be optimal

  34. 34
    jstanley01 says:

    If ID doesn’t address common descent either positively or negatively, then Behe and Denton must hold their positive views based on something other than ID.

    Which is fine. I’m not trying to be difficult here. Just logical.

    I assume that bacterium and giraffes likewise came into existence because they were “intended to come into existence,” just like humans — which hardly makes human descent uncommon.

    What makes human beings uncommon isn’t the fact that we were intended, but what we were intended for.

    Anyways, I’m sorry I brought this up. Since I hold a negative view of common descent, I love this website’s name. Even though the good-looking and scholarly DaveScott is, of course, correct.

    In fact I’d say that, from a strictly scientific point of view, until time travel is perfected, ¿quien sabe?

  35. 35
    jstanley01 says:

    bornagain77,

    Thank you for headsup on ENCODE. That Boston Globe story is a must-read for general-interest readers, like myself, who like to stay abreast of the cavils of science.

  36. 36
    tribune7 says:

    If ID doesn’t address common descent either positively or negatively, then Behe and Denton must hold their positive views based on something other than ID.

    Obviously.

    ID does not address common descent but proponents of ID can still accept common descent.

    Or not.

    Or just be open minded to its possibility.

    Or just be open minded to common descent not being what happened without taking a strong stand.

    True science is great.

  37. 37
    Bettawrekonize says:

    Bornagain77

    Does this help

    http://www.google.com/search?h.....tnG=Search

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=1502294

    Kalin Vetsigian,* Carl Woese,†‡§ and Nigel Goldenfeld*‡¶

  38. 38
    jstanley01 says:

    True science is great.

    You got that right.

    Trouble is, among those posing as scientists nowadays, true science represents an Uncommon Dissent.

  39. 39
    BarryA says:

    DaveScott, I wonder if your space shuttle example might not be useful in the “bad design equals no design” argument. Here’s my thought: Space shuttles are subject to catastrophic failure at an alarming rate from very small causes (frozen o rings; detached heat tiles). An intelligent agent would not create a space shuttle that could fail because of such trivial defects. Therefore, an intelligent agent did not design the space shuttle. How is this argument different in principle from the “thus and so feature of an organism” does not appear to be what we would expect from an intelligent designer” that we hear so often.

  40. 40
    DaveScot says:

    BarryA

    The “bad design equals no design argument” doesn’t seek to discredit ID as design detection. It seeks to discredit the Judeo-Christian God as the agency behind the design. It’s not a scientific argument but rather a theological one and is quite amusing since it’s coming from the supposed “real scientists”.

    It’s ineffective with me because

    a) even someone as under-informed as me in theology knows the bible explains this with the “fall of man”. Humans screwed up by defying God and God left them to their own devices as a consequence. So from a Judeo-Christian theological standpoint the argument has no merit.

    and

    b) I have no a priori commitment to the Judeo-Christian God as the designer. I think it’s possible but that’s all so even if the argument could sway me in a theological sense it can’t sway me in scientific sense as I’d just presume the designer is not the Judeo-Christian God. As far as I can determine the designer of organic life on earth just needs some advanced but quite material skills in biochemistry. Cosmological ID is a different story but the capability to create whole universes out of nothing is so beyond our current understanding of physics it’s nothing but woolgathering to discuss it. The only scenario I know of that’s possible under our current understanding is that the universe isn’t real but is rather a really advanced computer simulation sort of like the plot in “The Matrix”. So I focus on biological ID because, as far as I can tell, the creation of organic life as we know it on the planet earth doesn’t require technology different in kind from human technology (just further developed).

  41. 41
    leo says:

    DaveScot,

    I realize this doesn’t matter and I assume if anything I am more under-informed in theology than you, but, my initial reaction would be:

    If God was perfect and designed us perfectly, than how could we “fall”?

  42. 42
    bFast says:

    DaveScot, this is a well-put quoteable:

    The “bad design equals no design argument” doesn’t seek to discredit ID as design detection. It seeks to discredit the Judeo-Christian God as the agency behind the design.

    Thank you.

  43. 43
    Patrick says:

    These type of arguments not only fail due to a lack of understanding of basic engineering but they also fail to prove the case that ID somehow invalidates religions. I didn’t take the time to comment earlier but I was scratching my head when ReligionProf made this comment:

    “Would you conclude that the designer was inept for placing the wind and food pipes together? … was sadistic for creating insects that kill one another in the mating process? …The design argument is not only scientifically troubling – it leads to a very troubling view of God.”

    Exactly how is this observation incompatible with any of the major world religions?

    Christianity and Judaism:

    Genesis 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;

    So here we have God creating a defensive mechanism for inflicting pain as a punishment for sin. Even if you view Genesis symbolically the very beginning of the entire Bible provides evidence that God is quite capable of “creating insects that kill one another in the mating process.”

    Islam and Allah via the Qur’an:

    [57.22] No evil befalls on the
    earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy to Allah [14.27]…Allah causes the unjust to go astray,and Allah does what He pleases.[4.78]Yet if a happy thing befalleth them they say: This is from Allah; and if an evil thing befalleth them they say: This is of thy doing (O Muhammad). Say (unto them): All is from Allah.

    Obviously Allah is perfectly capable of doing evil deeds, since he is said to create both good and evil.

    Hindiusim is easy: Shiva the Destroyer.

  44. 44
    Atom says:

    leo,

    If God was perfect and designed us perfectly, than how could we “fall”?

    Can a perfectly designed fuse break?

    Can a creature designed to make its own choices possibly choose what its creator does not want?

    Atom

    PS. I recently got back from my honeymoon, which is why I have been absent for a while. To read about my wedding and honeymoon, with pics, see my blog here.

  45. 45
    StephenB says:

    Leo: “If God was perfect and designed us perfectly, than how could we “fall”?”

    And again

    Atom: Can a creature designed to make its own choices possibly choose what its creator does not want….. If God was perfect and designed us perfectly, than how could we “fall”?”

    According to the Christian ethic, a perfect God decided to take a risk. He would create man with the capacity to make moral choices in an environment that permits both good and bad choices. If man was created to love God by necessity, the same way an animal must follow its instincts, then that love wouldn’t mean anything. As one philosopher put it, “There is no charm in a ‘yes’ unless a ‘no’ is possible.

  46. 46
    Atom says:

    StephenB,

    I was not agreeing with leo’s question, I was posing another question to show there was no contradiction between a “perfect” creator and a “broken” creation (if the capacity to break was intentional and built in.)

    A perfect fuse does break and a creature created perfectly with free volition can indeed choose to “fall”, without it reflecting negatively on the capability of the Designer in question.

  47. 47
    leo says:

    Atom,

    A fuse is designed to “break”, that is its function is to stop an excessive current and it does this by breaking the circuit. So are you saying we were designed to fall?

    If you mean break as in not work as intended, than no, a perfect fuse can’t break. Either way I don’t see this as a good analogy.

    StephenB,

    So according to this, a perfect God thought it was important that his creations love him freely (fair enough) and to reach that end he thought it prudent that they be allowed to suffer (whether they loved him or not if one looks at history). In other words, “he” thinks his free worship is more important than the comfort of his people. That does not sound like a perfect God to me. Would we look to a mortal king with such reverence? would we worship one? would anyone be surprised that we don’t?

    Again, let me stress that theology is certainly not an area I know much about (I’ve just bought my first book about/by Aquinas) so these are just first reactions.

  48. 48
    Atom says:

    A fuse is designed to “break”, that is its function is to stop an excessive current and it does this by breaking the circuit.

    So “perfect” design does not logically entail permanent function.

    So are you saying we were designed to fall?

    No, I am saying we were designed with the capacity to choose. To fall was our choice.

  49. 49
    leo says:

    But would not a perfect fuse be able to absorb the current and not break? I submit that current fuse design is not perfect.

  50. 50
    idnet.com.au says:

    Atom, you and your wife look perfectly designed. Thanks for the link. Congratulations!

  51. 51
    Apollos says:

    leo,

    Since fuses are designed to cease all conductivity when current falls outside of designed tolerances, a “perfect” fuse as you attempt to define it wouldn’t be perfect at all, but completely nonfunctional.

    Rather a perfect fuse would be one that never ever failed as long as current didn’t exceed its designed tolerance. Once current exceeded its tolerance by even the slightest bit, it would cease function every single time.

    Defining perfection with regard to design would have to include the designated purpose, not any arbitrary definition for perfection such as lack of failure. If failure is part of the specification, and the fuse never failed, not only could it be defined as imperfect, it could be designated as completely nonfunctional and hence useless.

  52. 52
    Atom says:

    But would not a perfect fuse be able to absorb the current and not break?

    Not if you’re a fuse manufacturer that wants to continue to sell fuses.

    It all depends on your design goals. When you find out the Designer’s goal and constraint sets, please let me know, so we can analyze the situation objectively.

  53. 53
    StephenB says:

    Leo,

    It may not be possible to create, an unbreakable fuse and, at the same time, give free will to creatures who may want to break it.

  54. 54
    leo says:

    Apollos,
    isn’t it possible to create a fuse that ceases all conductivity during amp spikes yet does not have to be changed each time – like a breaker for instance, it think a better design than a fuse.

    But the fuse stuff doesn’t matter. I guess this is my point:

    if we do not know the designers goal and constraint set than how can we make a claim that it is either perfect or imperfect? It seems presumptuous to make the statement that we know nothing of God but that he is perfect, does it not?

  55. 55
    Apollos says:

    isn’t it possible to create a fuse that ceases all conductivity during amp spikes yet does not have to be changed each time – like a breaker for instance, it think a better design than a fuse.

    A breaker is a great example of an alternate design for a fuse. There are some things to consider however, one being cost. A fuse is considerably cheaper alternative to a breaker, and so factors into the design equation. Fuses are also extremely reliable, as they have no moving parts to wear out. The worst thing that happens to fuses when they wear out is they stop working. Since they’re designed to do exactly that, a faulty fuse has no destructive consequences. It is ideal for certain applications. Automobiles still use fuses for many circuits.

    It seems presumptuous to make the statement that we know nothing of God but that he is perfect, does it not?

    I’m not one who will make the claim that we can know nothing of God. Even in nature there’s evidence of the astounding amount of power and intellect required to create and sustain a universe such as ours. Anything short of a perfect balance of a staggering host of physical parameters would render the universe unfit for life.

  56. 56
    Atom says:

    Atom, you and your wife look perfectly designed. Thanks for the link. Congratulations!

    Thank you. My wife’s smile lit up when she saw that. 🙂

  57. 57
    BarryA says:

    Atom’s comment at 52 reminds me of a construction defect case I tried several years ago. My client was accused of providing a fuse to a hydroelectric generation project that did not meet design specs. We put on a lot of testimony about the difference between published ratings and actual capacity, etc. and won the case. So, to bring it back to our discussion, not only do we need to know the designer’s actual design objectives, but also whether he built in excess capacity beyound those objectives before we can say he/she/it failed.

  58. 58
    mynym says:

    So, to bring it back to our discussion, not only do we need to know the designer’s actual design objectives, but also whether he built in excess capacity beyound those objectives before we can say he/she/it failed.

    The structure of the questions and logic here are peculiar from anything but a human perspective. For example, if God did fail by creating humanity then the real question is why from God’s perspective would God let a bunch of creatures exist that are bound to snivel at or condemn God incessantly. Another example, if God did let the possibility of failure in humans exist then humans can never be sure that they have grounds to sit in judgment on God for that given that they will be prone to failed reasoning with respect to God/Good.

    Or a mix of perspectives, from the perspective of humans if biotech engineers were to design an animal to use for their own purposes most people probably wouldn’t grant that animal as much status as they grant themselves. Given a categorical difference in intelligence and ontological status the evidence shows that most people wouldn’t have much concern if such animals were treated fairly, yet apparently the ontological difference between God and mankind is not viewed in the same way. That view only makes sense assuming a specifically Christian mythos in which God becomes a man and a metaphoric animal/Lamb. If the Christian view in which such links between God and man exist is discarded then on human terms a being like God can do whatever it wants in a more capricious way given that the ontological status between God and man is greater than that between man and animal (and on human terms man does pretty much what he pleases with animals).

  59. 59
    Tina says:

    My take on all this is that biological systems display “Design Intelligence” rather than “Intelligent Design”. Implicit in design intelligence is that the biological system is able to bring about what is necessary (genetic computations)and likewise what the system has is allways necessary..no prehistoric vestiges/by-products! There is some much to explore from this design intelligence perspective. Does anyone out there agree?

  60. 60
    Joseph says:

    (from the back of the classroom the scruffy-looking one raises his hand because he knows the answer to this. upon recognition the scruffy one stands and states)

    Dr Nelson, sir,

    The job the appendix does now is not its original function.

    It was co-opted for its present function by riding the wave of otherwise very healthy individuals who no longer required its original functionality.

    That it now has another function, unrelated to the first, is evidence for evolution’s innovative capability.

    BTW we know what its original function is by studying what the appendix in “lesser evolved” organisms’ does.

    Seeing that we know we evolved from similar types of “lesser evolved” organisms, it follows that our appendix evolved along with us.

    (the scruffy one sits down and removes his tongue from his cheek)

  61. 61
    Patrick says:

    Saw this updated Wikipedia entry and liked it:

    Historical Interpretation: Vestigiality

    The most common explanation is that the appendix is a vestigial structure with no absolute purpose. In The Story of Evolution, Joseph McCabe argued thus:

    The vermiform appendage—in which some recent medical writers have vainly endeavoured to find a utility—is the shrunken remainder of a large and normal intestine of a remote ancestor. This interpretation of it would stand even if it were found to have a certain use in the human body. Vestigial organs are sometimes pressed into a secondary use when their original function has been lost.

    One potential ancestral purpose put forth by Darwin[3]: that the appendix was used for digesting leaves as primates. Over time, we have eaten fewer vegetables and have evolved, over millions of years, for this organ to be smaller to make room for our stomach.
    The appendix is more developed in Old World monkeys.
    The appendix is more developed in Old World monkeys.[4]

    [edit] Recent Interpretation: Immune Use

    Loren G. Martin[5], argues that the appendix has a function in fetuses and adults. Endocrine cells have been found in the appendix of 11 week old fetuses that contribute to “biological control (homeostatic) mechanisms.” In adults, Martin argues that the appendix acts as a lymphatic organ. The appendix is experimentally verified as being rich in infection-fighting lymphoid cells, suggesting that it might play a role in the immune system. A. Zahid[6] suggests that it plays a role in both manufacturing hormones in fetal development as well as functioning to ‘train’ the immune system, exposing the body to antigens in order that it can produce antibodies. He notes that doctors in the last decade have stopped removing the appendix during other surgical procedures as a routine precaution, because it can be successfully transplanted into the urinary tract to rebuild a sphincter muscle and reconstruct a functional bladder.

    Researchers at Duke University are currently being lauded for having solved the mystery, after proposing that the appendix serves as a safe haven for useful bacteria when illness flushes them from the rest of the intestines, a function that would be useful in sparsely populated areas where people would be less likely to pass these germs to one another.[7] This would explain the strong immune activity and the apparent health of those without one in developed countries- potentially in combination with the possibility that strong antibiotics prevent us from using the appendix for the reason it developed.

    I had previously tried to update this entry with our new knowledge of its function but it was quickly deleted in favor of “no known function” and Darwin, evolution, blah, blah, blah… Despite this new entry being very neutral and informative how long do you think it will be before a Darwinist edits that out?

Leave a Reply