Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Today at Design of Life: Channel your inner fish?


Tiktaalik, an early fossil fish with sturdy forefins, helps illustrate the difference between the approach of scientists who are convinced Darwinists and that of scientists who view the problems of evolution primarily in terms of information theory (intelligent design).

The Darwinist says, There! – we have found a missing link, so now we KNOW! what happened (because our theory explains everything).

An information theorist I consulted had an entirely different approach to the problem. He said that we do not know what happened, because we do not know how the information that produced this change came to be in the system. We have observed only the change itself, not the arrival of the information (which is the key point).

Go here for more.

Ann Coulter on legacy media obsessions with US presidential candidate Huckabee’s views on evolution.

What’s wrong with science education today. Is it the young earth creationists>?

David Warren on how Darwinism blocks our view of the past, the present, and the future.

Who actually believes in science? The answers may surprise you.

John Davison has a new blog.

Pos-Darwinista aims for 100 000 site visitors by Christmas

And at The Mindful Hack:

Should churches criticize bestselling atheists?

Alzheimer NOT an immediate mental death sentence

Is your brain full of anachronistic junk?

Can people simply decide to die?

It used to be all my mom’s fault, but now it’s all my brain’s fault?

Change your mind, change your brain seminar at Colorado Free University in Denver

Jewish community life takes root again in Germany

well this certainly adds to the nature vs nurture debate (and I always took the side of nurture). In the world of natural selection, it is good genes vs not so good genes. Now the story is much more complicated as it is good genes vs good phenotypes. The good genes don't win but the superior phenotypes aren't inheritable. Here's another story that just came up http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2007/1219/3 In Horse Breeding, Genes Aren't Always a Good Bet ari-freedom
Bob, Thank you for your comment. It is the type of comment I appreciate because it contains data and not speculation. I have a copy of Endless Forms Most Beautiful and have read it. Though I admit some of it was complicated. It is what I call the kindergarten/graduate school presentation approach. He starts out presenting to the common lay person on the street and then goes into material that would take someone with a graduate school degree in developmental biology to understand completely and leaves out the grades in between. I found nothing in it about evolution that I did not "enjoy." I will look for the part that explains what is in the egg and how it affects development. In fact I use Carroll's book as an example of the limited explanation of evolution by naturalistic means. There was nothing in it that was fact that is ID unfriendly. Most of Carroll's thoughts on naturalistic evolution are pure speculation. If you disagree then present some of them to discuss. Carroll drives most of the important systems to back before the Cambrian Explosion which means all this multi-cellular complexity had to develop in a relatively short time geologically and never left any evidence today that it ever existed and then developed further in a non-Darwinian way to produce all the phyla. In one part Carroll says that it would take 10,000 pages of code to lay down what is in the switches of a human. If anything shows the folly of something arising by chance it is that statement. But you are entitled to your faith in you empirical-less theory. jerry
Jerry - The "something outside the DNA" is well known, it's protein and RNA made by the mother:
This [diagram] is a follicle extracted from the ovary of a fly. It consists of several cell types, all of which will eventually be discarded except for one, the egg proper. The egg is going to grow to a relatively immense size, and it needs help to do that. An important contributor to that growth is a set of cells called nurse cells—the nurse cells are busy synthesizing essential proteins, such as yolk proteins, and stuffing them into the egg.
Later development is controlled from the nucleus (i.e. from the DNA in the developing embryo), so the effect of putting DNA from another species is to totally confuse the developmental process, as it tries to switch control. For more, you could try reading "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" by Sean B. Carroll. Although you're not going to enjoy the evolutionary bits. :-) Bob Bob O'H
In the Design of Life, they say that if the DNA of one species replaces the genes in the egg of another species, gestation tries to produce the species of the egg and not the species from which the DNA comes from. Eventually the embryo will die when the right proteins are not available. So something outside the DNA is mainly controlling gestation and is probably the egg itself. This must be Wells writing because he has a background in development. jerry
Denyse, Your "information theorist" should study the picture of a portion of a neural network at the top of your blog and contemplate the fact that almost all of the information required to specify the fine structure of a brain does not come from the genome. Identical twins are born with very different layouts of their neural networks. For any reasonable definition of information, there is much more information in the differences of identical twins at birth than in their genotype. What is the source of all of that information? Does your "information theorist" think much of the notion that supernatural intelligence guides prenatal development, and that it has some mysterious purpose in making monozygotic twins different in myriad small ways? I think most IDists will agree that what accounts for the massive amount of information in the twins' differences is local differences in the prenatal environment. Loosely speaking, the information comes from the environment. Everyone knows that mutation of a single allele can account for a huge difference in phenotype from the central tendency of the population. To say that the mutant's genotype "codes for" the mutant's phenotype is exceedingly simplistic. Given that your "information theorist" seems married to the 20th Century metaphor of the genetic program, I'll say that predictable features of the environment in which the phenotype develops are somewhat like a library of subroutines a genetic program can call upon. The library contains much more information than the genetic program itself, and a small change to the program can "call" on the environment to make a large change in the development of the phenotype. (This is still just a metaphor, you software engineers out there.) For most of us, IDists included, it's not a mystery where most of the information "comes from" in development of a higher organism. Why make a mystery of where the information comes from in evolution? Small genetic changes may "leverage" large amounts of environmental information in producing phenotypes. (This is not a radical claim. Dr. Dembski has argued that a small amount of information entering the natural universe from a non-natural source can have large effects.) Semiotic 007
Off topic, but I might mention a new salvo in the culture battle. A new book from the Darwinists has been announced, "Scientists Confront Creationism: Intelligent Design and Creationism" by Andrew J. Petto (ed.), Laurie R. Godfrey (ed.)., coming out in January. Petto is apparently editor of Reports of the NCSE, so this probably gives us a good indicator of the tone and quality of the book. magnan
yeah your right because evolutionary theorists are constantly putting up evidence that doesn't fit with evolution and admitting it.....oh wait, no they aren't. interested
Gods iPod:
It should be noted that Ron Paul is being slammed for his anti-evolution stance too.
To quote the last lines of Some Like It Hot, "Nobody's perfect." I'm more concerned about Ron Paul being slammed for his stance on foreign policy, the economy, etc. Denyse O'Leary: I read the blog article on Tiktaalik, and I have to say that your information theorist friend is vastly exaggerating the difference between Tiktaalik and modern day amphibians by comparing it to the difference between a pizza box and a laptop. I agree with him when he says that scientists should also be looking at the genetic changes that would be necessary for evolution to occur. Perhaps you could introduce him to the emerging discipline of "evo-devo". I also take issue with your statement that scientists think they KNOW! what happene, or that they believe the theory of evolution "explains everything". There may of course be exceptions, but in general I do not think that any decent scientist would ever claim that we can be absolutely certain about anything except that which can be falsified. Furthermore, only anti-evolution quacks like Kent Hovind believe that the theory of evolution is a "theory of everything". xcdesignproponentsists
It should be noted that Ron Paul is being slammed for his anti-evolution stance too. Gods iPod

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