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From the C4ID, “A Real Darwinian Eye-opener at Malvern”

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Centre for Intelligent Design UKUK Centre for Intelligent Design director Dr. Alastair Noble has written a report on the recent conference in Malvern featuring Professor John Lennox and Dr. Douglas Axe. He writes,

The 130 or so delegates who attended the Intelligent Design Annual Conference at Malvern, England, on September 28/29, 2012, were treated to a real Darwinian eye-opener from world-class speakers Dr Doug Axe (Biologic Institute, Seattle) and Prof John Lennox (Oxford).  If you think neo-Darwinism is beyond scientific dispute and that the design debate is an irrelevance, you should have heard this.

Particularly telling was Axe’s exposition of the current criticisms of Darwinian evolution in the scientific literature, made all the more powerful because they come from sources that do not apparently endorse Intelligent Design.

And the criticisms are not minor. Deep doubts about the accuracy of the universal tree of life, embarrassing discrepancies in the genetic data for the accepted evolutionary path from early apes to humans, and evidence that mutation and natural selection just cannot provide a mechanism for evolutionary change are among the major areas being elucidated. To support his argument, Doug Axe quoted a number of papers from respected and readily available scientific journals. These references will be made available in due course.

At one point Axe likened Darwinism to a chair which has had all its legs removed, but still manages to support all that rests on it. ‘Scientific levitation’, was the spontaneous reaction of a member of the audience. All very funny if it wasn’t so serious.

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10 Replies to “From the C4ID, “A Real Darwinian Eye-opener at Malvern”

  1. 1
    KRock says:

    I would have loved to have been there….

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    argh! it’s spreading!

    What began in a small backwater town in Tennessee has thrown on a cheap tuxedo and managed to find passage to England, of all places. Next I expect to hear that it changed into a kilt and invaded Scotland.

  3. 3

    Particularly telling was Axe’s exposition of the current criticisms of Darwinian evolution in the scientific literature, made all the more powerful because they come from sources that do not apparently endorse Intelligent Design.

    I wonder if maybe we can pull together enough research in this area (ID or non-ID) to put a probabalistic figure on single amino acid changes. If a two amino acid change that is selectively beneficial enough to dominantly spread throughout a strain’s population takes roughly 10^20 cells (assuming both are needed), then I think it would make sense to keep collecting and doing enough research to potentially establish that a single amino acid change would require ten billion cells (10^10) which might be the case.

    From there all we have to do is find features that require several such mutations and we can reasonably say they are beyond the edge of what natural selection can accomplish. At that’s leaving out the possibility that many changes can start off as negative before others enter the picture.

  4. 4

    “From there all we have to do is find features that require several such mutations . . .”

    There is hardly a single protein or structure in all of biology that doesn’t require more than two specific amino acid changes from some x precursor.

    Apologies for being a little flip. I realize you are advocating a very careful and methodical approach to identifying the edge of evolution, which is something Behe, Axe and others have been working on. It just jumps out at me as being a little backwards, at least in terms of burden of proof. I’m still waiting for the Darwinians to point to a single example of a complex feature (more than a couple of residue changes, as you well point out) that could come about through Darwinian means. The burden of proof is clearly on those pushing the story.

  5. 5
    sagebrush gardener says:

    And from today’s (Oct 23) Science Daily, “Analysis of Dinosaur Bone Cells Confirms Ancient Protein Preservation”.

    Soft tissue confirmed in supposedly “67-million-year-old” dinosaur bones: http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....151333.htm

  6. 6

    @ 4 – Well yeah I can see how the burden of proof could strike both ways in this area.

    Ultimately those who are operating from the so-called “consensus” view (aka normal science as Kuhn put it) will always place the burden of proof on those who question them, rather than present their case.

    For now, it looks like the work of Axe, Behe, and Seelke will have to do in the area of demonstrating where the edge lies based on both original research and the mainstream literature.

    I suspect that for a cell with just over 20 million base pairs (similar to Plasmodium falciparum) it would take about ten billion cells on average before a specific amino acid change is made based on what we see with P. falciparum and chloroquine.

    The estimate from Nick White on this is somewhat speculative, but it’s not something he pulled out of thin air either. In the future maybe the true figure will turn out to be a little higher or lower.

    Yeah it sucks that we don’t have the government grants that the establishment gets so our ability to research and confirm this as much as we should is limited, but I think that’s a pretty reasonable estimate based on what we know from the literature so far.

    But anything requiring over a dozen specific point mutations before selection can take any real effect probably meets Dembski’s UPB.

    Of course, that’s not accounting for the fact that the amino acid changes to go from one protein to another are more than likely to be somewhat deleterious in many cases. So for all we know selective pressures could eliminate the possible intermediate changes from happening at all.

    And on top of that, anything derived from the results of drug resistance is drawing conclusions based on artificial selective pressures and not natural ones.

    The latter would probably be even less conducive to generating new traits since it’s not like the strain in question is actually facing circumstances designed to wipe it out altogether.

  7. 7
    Christian-apologetics.org says:

    I think you mean Lennox, not Lenox.

  8. 8
    News says:

    Thanks for pointing out this typo. It has now been corrected.

  9. 9
    timothya says:

    Will the proceedings of this conference be published?

  10. 10
    Robert Byers says:

    It’s great to see these rebels events going on in England.
    they lag behind north america in questioning evolution but are ahead of Europe.
    The story of civilization.

    As a YEC however a important issue for ID folk is to take on the anatomy of error.
    If evolution is wrong on most/all its great/minor points then will it in retrospect, after the defeat of ToE, be that it never was the result of investigation from scientific methodology??

    Not just wrong on facts and interpretations but wrong that it ever had claim to being a scientific theory? It’s at best a open hypothesis with no testing having occurred!

    Evolution does not have scientists doing science to back it up!

    Otherwise creationists would , in retrospect, have to say evolution was sound science or fair science but still wrong.
    How can science, based on conservative investigative processes and so conclusions, be wrong?!

    Can creationists today already demonstrate evolution is unscientific before demonstrating its a wrong hypothesis/hunch?

    Yes we can! Think harder about evolutions claims of evidence gathering!

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