Mike Dunford posted Entry 3245 on July 16, 2007 11:42 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3234

Back in the middle of last month, I had a few things to say about Casey Luskin (DI flak) and his understanding of so-called junk DNA. It’s now the middle of the month again, and Casey is again talking a lot - and understanding very little - about “junk” DNA. Larry Moran has a post up where he tries to educate Casey about the fact that a hell of a lot of DNA is still, at least as far as we know, junk. I’m going to take a look at something a little bit different - one of the methods scientists use to identify areas of “junk” DNA that have important functions. It’s a pretty cool way of doing things, but it’s not one that Casey likes to talk about - because it’s really one of the finest examples of how our understanding of Darwinian evolution has lead to new discoveries about living things.

Read more (at The Questionable Authority):

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Comment #188141

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on July 16, 2007 12:22 PM (e)

The reference to monthly cycles suggests a hormonal component to this discussion of “junk DNA”. Is it that everyone is a little tired of the “blondeness” of Casey’s arguments or is there something new here? Perhaps everyone is just a little cranky this Monday?

Since comparative genomics is no easy task I suspect everyone is a little cranky.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #188214

Posted by Basement Activist on July 16, 2007 4:49 PM (e)

Casey’s arguments are bogus.

Therefore there is no God.

Isn’t that what this is all about?

Comment #188230

Posted by J. Biggs on July 16, 2007 5:12 PM (e)

Basement Activist or Blair or whoever you are. Why don’t you troll somewhere else. You have not said anything close to intelligent and most of us are aware that you are posting under multiple names. At the very least, choose a name and stick with it, out of common courtesy or just out of the fear that you may be banned from posting.

Comment #188288

Posted by fnxtr on July 16, 2007 6:55 PM (e)

There may be a God.
There may not.

Either way, Casey’s arguments ARE bogus. They’re not even arguments, they’re what we laymen call “bull$#!+”.

Comment #188293

Posted by Tim Fuller on July 16, 2007 6:58 PM (e)

Fighting over the philisophical problems invovled in analyzing DNA is fun to watch from the sidelines. I am not a biology major (nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night) but I’m LUCID enough to know the ID crowd are lunatic Christians (some of you who are fighting the good fight against these loonies might want to check their Christian Reconstructionist credentials).

On the other hand, and this is obviously a lay opinion…I think the ‘junk’ is just stuff scientists haven’t worked out a purpose for. Of course it’s also possible that nature worked out a way for extraneous DNA to be acquired and really have no knowable greater purpose.

In the end, whatever is discovered will be the work of true biology and not the Scooby Doo Dinosaur Team (IDiots).

Enjoy.

Comment #188315

Posted by Bond, James Bond on July 16, 2007 8:35 PM (e)

How is this for a ID prediction.
When scientists “begin” to decipher the remaining 99% of the human genome, not deciphered by ENCODE so far, they will find an increasing amount of interwoven complexity that astounds them. The interwoven complexity will be so thorough that it will clearly demonstrate that the genome is clearly a integrated whole thus ruling out evolution.

Comment #188316

Posted by Mike Dunford on July 16, 2007 8:46 PM (e)

Given that:
(a) “interwoven complexity” is an entirely undefined term and unmeasurable quantity;
(b) “interwoven complexity” is apparently something that has both an “amount” and can be “so thorough”;
© it’s unclear exactly why the genome isn’t already considered to be “a [sic] integrated whole,” and;
(d) no explanation is given for why discovering that the “so thorough” “amount” of “interwoven complexity” that finally reveals the genome to be “a [sic] integrated whole” would “rul[e] out evolution,”

that sounds exactly like an Intelligent Design prediction. Well done.

Comment #188322

Posted by Henry J on July 16, 2007 10:37 PM (e)

Re “not the Scooby Doo Dinosaur Team”

But but… Scooby Doo is smart for one of his kind. ;)

Henry

Comment #188326

Posted by Henry J on July 16, 2007 11:14 PM (e)

Re “that sounds exactly like an Intelligent Design prediction. Well done.”

Also a prediction of a theory has to logically follow from the premise of that theory.

Add that a bioengineer could either (1) exclude all unused stuff or (2) include some for whatever reason, the basic premise doesn’t imply anything either way regarding the question of unused DNA segments. So that so-called prediction follows (if it does) from secondary, unstated premise(s).

Henry

Comment #188338

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on July 17, 2007 3:32 AM (e)

Bond, Blair Bond wrote:

When scientists “begin” to decipher the remaining 99% of the human genome, not deciphered by ENCODE so far,

Here is the prediction of TR Gregory, “an evolutionary biologist specializing in genome size evolution”:

TR Gregory wrote:

What is new about this [ENCODE] study is the fine focus being applied to the search for functional elements. By way of analogy, this study is like a group of 35 treasure hunters with metal detectors and sifters combing the same 35m of a 3.5km long beach.
[…]
But, again, this particular study is based on only 1% of the genome and one should exercise caution in extrapolating it to the entire human genome.
[…]
5% of the genome sequence is conserved across mammals, and for about 60% of this (i.e., 3% of the genome) there is additional evidence of function. This includes the protein-coding exons as well as regulatory elements and other functional sequences. So, at this stage, we have increasingly convincing evidence of function for about 3% of the genome, with another 2% likely to fall into this category as it becomes more thoroughly characterized.
[…]
We are also left with the question of why a pufferfish would require only 10% as much non-coding DNA as a human whereas an average salamander needs 10 times more than we do. The well known patterns of genome size diversity make it difficult to explain the presence of all non-coding DNA in functional terms, even as there is growing evidence that a significant portion of non-coding DNA is indeed functionally important.

So, based on 1 % of the genome in 23 mammals, the ENCODE project implies by way of evolutionary theory that between 3 and 5 % of the typical genome is functional. This is consistent with genomes such as the pufferfish and earlier rough predictions that at most 20 % of the genome is functional. (IIRC, Gregory again.)

Some suggested other (non-preserved sequence) functionality for genome is that its size correlates with cell size, so it may have a quantitative “filler” role in some species tissues.

Hmm. So by way of the contrafactual ID prediction above, it is urgent to figure out what should be lettered on ID’s gravestone.

What about:

Once a stupidity, always an IDiocy.

Comment #188340

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on July 17, 2007 3:39 AM (e)

Right. Except that it should go:

Once an IDiocy. Always a stupidity.

Not that we can get enough of suggestions here - I can’t wait to see it realized.

Comment #188367

Posted by hoary puccoon on July 17, 2007 4:52 AM (e)

Bond, James Bond–
Don’t listen to them, sweetie. You did make an ID prediction, and that’s a good thing. Bravo.
The only thing is, in science, predictions not only have to be made, they have to be tested. So far, your prediction is untested, so all it merits is a shrug.
If your theory is tested and shot down, are you going to acknowledge you were wrong? Or are you going to pretend you meant something else and flip on to another untested theory, which IF it were proven true would shoot down evolution…. And so on.
I seriously doubt that theism is what really bothers most of us about ID. The thing that’s so irritating is your endless refusal to test a hypothesis–any hypothesis– and reject it if it doesn’t fit the data. In other words, your refusal to do science.

Comment #188416

Posted by Bond, James Bond on July 17, 2007 6:24 AM (e)

Thanks for your civility hoary puccoon. This is strange for you to accuse ID of failing to make concrete predictions. Like for instance, Behe always predicted IC (irreducible complexity) and IC has not been refuted with anything more than preposterous “just so” stories from naturalists, thus scientifically the IC prediction stands.
What’s even more problematic for naturalists is that naturalists will say that most of the DNA is now junk. Yet when it is found in the future that most all of the DNA does indeed have function and is indeed an integrated whole the naturalists will severely modify their theory so as to reflect this. So the truth is that naturalists fail to make concrete predictions.
Iam confident I will not be found wrong in the complexity prediction because of the prediction track record so far,

1. Materialism did not predict the big bang. Yet Theism always said the universe was created.

2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.

3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.
4. Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle. Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning unchanging clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.
5 Materialism predicted that complex life in this universe should be fairly common, Yet statistical analysis of the many required parameters that enable complex life to be possible on earth reveals that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support life in this universe. Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe.
6. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.
7. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.
8. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this complexity.
9. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth, Yet we find evidence for photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Sarah Simpson, Scientific American, 2003). Theism would have expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.
10. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth. Yet Theism would have expected such sudden appearance of the many different and completely unique fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

11. Materialism predicted that there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record. Yet fossils are characterized by sudden appearance in the fossil record and stability as long as they are found in the fossil record. There is not one example of transition between major species out of millions of collected fossils. Theism would have expected fossils to suddenly appear in the fossil record with no evidence of transition to dramatically new forms.

Comment #188417

Posted by Pam Singer on July 17, 2007 6:37 AM (e)

I am somewhat confused on part of the evolution process. Please, claify this for me.

As I understand it, random mutations account for part of our evolution. Did these randomly mutated creatures have to find other similarly randomly mutated creatures to mate with in order to carry on the mutated beneficial gene; or were these mutations of the kind that does not require a like-mutation to procreate?

Let me add that mutations that need another like-mutation to procreate have never been proven by any type of inbreeding, have they? Inbreeding has always proven to be very unbeneficial to the survival of the species.

Which leads to my last question . .

I have been reading for the last few years now, that there is a consensus among the majority, that humans have been genetically traced to a two human ancestory: A genetic “Adam and Eve”.

If this is true, how is it possible that these two humans, and their immediate offspring (who had to mate with their parent or siblings at first) came to evolve at all since what inbreeding shows us, the small gene pool would have produced inbreds that may as well have been lead fed, as far as beneficial mutations of any type go.

I welcome your comments, because I don’t understand, and I really want to.

Thank you.

Comment #188418

Posted by Mike Haubrich, FCD on July 17, 2007 6:46 AM (e)

Bond, James Bond, “Predict”

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Comment #188419

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 17, 2007 6:53 AM (e)

On the other hand, and this is obviously a lay opinion…I think the ‘junk’ is just stuff scientists haven’t worked out a purpose for.

Whose purpose? Purposes belong to planners; it is semantically nonsensical to talk about purposes as if they were intrinsic to objects.

Of course it’s also possible that nature worked out a way for extraneous DNA to be acquired and really have no knowable greater purpose.

Do you think nature has a frontal lobe?

Nature is what is and what happens. It doesn’t have purposes, it doesn’t work out ways. You might as well talk about whether mountains acquire erosion in order to let trees grow on them.

Comment #188421

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 17, 2007 7:04 AM (e)

Casey’s arguments are bogus.

Therefore there is no God.

Isn’t that what this is all about?

It’s hard to fathom the lack of intellectual prowess and logical acumen that might lead one to think that “this is all about” an absurd non sequitur, although one can successfully predict that ID will continue to attract such people.

Comment #188426

Posted by Mike Dunford on July 17, 2007 7:57 AM (e)

Pam:

Those are a reasonable set of questions, based around some very common misconceptions about the way evolution works. I’m running out the door to catch a flight right now, and won’t be back home until late this evening, but I’ll try to answer them then. When I do, it won’t be in this thread. The response is going to be long enough that I’ll put it up as a new post on the front page. I’ll send you an email when I do.

Comment #188428

Posted by fusilier on July 17, 2007 8:08 AM (e)

Pam Singer:
For a more complete explanation, be sure to go to talkorigins.org and search on your questions. for instance, there does not exist any sort of scientific concensus such

that humans have been genetically traced to a two human ancestory: A genetic “Adam and Eve”.

Instead, there appears to have been a “mitochondrial Eve” who was the last common female ancestor, and a ““Y-chromosome Adam” who was the last common male ancestor. There is zero evidence that they lived within even 10,000 years of each other, much less than the incorrect notion that they were a mated pair.

For other examples

Did these randomly mutated creatures have to find other similarly randomly mutated creatures to mate with in order to carry on the mutated beneficial gene

The simple answer is “No.” That is a misunderstanding of ordinary biology which is promulgated by any number of antievolutionary outfits and websites. It is simply wrong.

Again, Talk Origins has a very good list of Freqeuntly Asked Questions, and essays which cover this material.

fusilier
James 2:24

Comment #188429

Posted by harold on July 17, 2007 8:08 AM (e)

Basement Activist -

The use of the word “basement” makes me suspect that you may be a parody poster.

Casey’s arguments are bogus.

Therefore there is no God.

Isn’t that what this is all about?

Casey makes an insincere, politically motivated attempt to appease concrete-minded, authoritarian fundamentalists with a logically ludicrous attack on the science that threatens their particular right wing agenda, although it threatens very few peoples’ sincere religious beliefs (not even those of the current hyper-conservative pope, apparently). He is shown to be wrong about science. That’s what this is about. God has nothing to do with it, except to the extent of Casey’s hypocritical claims.

Tim Fuller -

I think the ‘junk’ is just stuff scientists haven’t worked out a purpose for. Of course it’s also possible that nature worked out a way for extraneous DNA to be acquired and really have no knowable greater purpose.

These issues were dealt with in the excellent (and layperson oriented) review by Mike Dunford. Too bad you didn’t read it.

Comment #188436

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 17, 2007 8:36 AM (e)

I am somewhat confused on part of the evolution process. Please, claify this for me.

As I understand it, random mutations account for part of our evolution. Did these randomly mutated creatures

Random mutations happen in every organism, including you and me. It is (basically) genes that are randomly mutated; referring to “randomly mutated creatures” is more than somewhat confused. You really should pick up a basic biology book or take a class, so that you will at least know enough to ask questions that make sense.

have to find other similarly randomly mutated creatures to mate with in order to carry on the mutated beneficial gene; or were these mutations of the kind that does not require a like-mutation to procreate?

This is so very confused, and yet could be cleared up by taking a basic biology class or reading just a few pages in a basic biology book. Half of the genes of a child of yours are duplicates of half of your genes (selected at random, more or less), and half of the genes of a child of yours are duplicates of half of your partner’s genes (selected at random, more or less). Except not quite – some of those genes will be mutated – changed – in the process of producing the egg and sperm, so some of your child’s genes will slightly vary from any that you or your partner has. That’s all mutation is, and talk of “require a like mutation to procreate” doesn’t make sense (I suspect you may be mixing up mutations with fatal recessive genes, which are a quite different matter.) If the changes are radical or to some particularly important gene, the offspring usually won’t survive, often not even beyond the one-cell stage. And any “benefit” that a single mutation provides would usually be minute, and there often won’t be any benefit until numerous other mutations have occurred in later generations, and the benefit may not exist until environmental conditions change … the result of random mutations is that there are many slightly different characteristics spread throughout the population (“hybrid vigor”), so when an environmental threat arises, some are better able to deal with it than others, and the changes that allowed that, and thus are carried by more offspring, are beneficial in hindsight.

I have been reading for the last few years now, that there is a consensus among the majority, that humans have been genetically traced to a two human ancestory: A genetic “Adam and Eve”.

If this is true, how is it possible that these two humans, and their immediate offspring (who had to mate with their parent or siblings at first)

Well, you haven’t been reading carefully, or you haven’t read good material, because these two humans lived tens of thousands of years apart and certainly didn’t mate with each other, and the offspring of each of them had plenty of other potential partners; they no more had to mate with their parents or siblings than anyone else does. These two people are simply the last female that is a common ancestor of all humans (Mitochondrial Eve), and the last male that is a common ancestor of all men (Y-chromosomal Adam). That there were such people isn’t just a matter of consensus, it’s a necessary fact of logic in the absence of virgin birth or spontaneous generation – i.e., on the assumption that each of us had one male and one female parent, and each of them had one male and female parent, and so on back at least to the time of these common ancestors. If one were to take a time machine back to visit them, one would find nothing unusual about them – there would be no way to predict that those particular people would be the last common ancestors. In fact, the identity of Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam can vary from moment to moment, as individual humans die or bear offspring, slightly changing the shape of the genealogical tree. (Note that, even if we’ve misinterpreted all the physical evidence, and the human race is only 6000 years old, descended from the biblical Adam and Eve, the logically neessary fact that there were such individuals still holds, while the assertions that they weren’t unusual and didn’t mate with each other fail.)

Comment #188439

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 17, 2007 8:48 AM (e)

The use of the word “basement” makes me suspect that you may be a parody poster.

Odd; I can’t discern any connotation that would suggest that. Do you know what “church basement” refers to? Sometimes you seem particularly clueless about your co-religionists, or in denial, with your frequent “No true Scotsman” arguments. Google “basement activist” and you will find that this person is a real Christian church basement activist.

Comment #188441

Posted by Flint on July 17, 2007 8:59 AM (e)

Like for instance, Behe always predicted IC (irreducible complexity) and IC has not been refuted with anything more than preposterous “just so” stories from naturalists, thus scientifically the IC prediction stands.

How many times has it now been pointed out that (1) IC is in fact a logical prediction made by the standard ToE; (2) The observation of the inevitable production of IC structures was predicted, and made, by Muller about 60 years before Behe came up with it; and (3) IC has nothing to do with ID, despite Behe’s dishonest claims. It’s normal. The only thing to be refuted is Behe’s claim that IC implies design, which has been done ad nauseum.

I also wonder why apparently intelligent people are incapable of being even remotely honest in these matters. When the Real World is so threatening it can’t be addressed with any integrity, this ought to raise a few red flags.

Comment #188443

Posted by harold on July 17, 2007 9:08 AM (e)

Bond, James Bond -

Since I don’t consider myself a “materialist” and have no problem with “theism”, I’m the perfect one to tell you that, not only are you wrong on every point, but that you are wrong in trivially obvious ways. It’s so tiresome to explain that methodological materialism is a method, essentially a broadly accepted set of common assumptions. I’ll just launch into the specifics.

What’s especially comical is that you fault science for making discoveries. There would be no point in doing science if it “predicted” everything in advance. Hypotheses and theories, once formulated, are tested by predictions.

I strongly suspect you of plagiarizing this list from creationist material, by the way. I also suspect you of hoping to dump so much in one post that no-one would address it, making it seem to go unchallenged. If I am right in either of these suspicions, your honesty is most suspect. Actually, it’s shown to be most suspect several times below.

I also suspect that your true motivations are social and political, and that you make religious arguments to justify a right wing political ideology. Prove me wrong by denying it.

1. Materialism did not predict the big bang. Yet Theism always said the universe was created.

Science, using methodological materialism, if you will, discovered the big bang. Theism made no prediction. Newton was a theist but believed in an eternal universe.

Created by who, Vishnu?

2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.

Again, science made a discovery. Again, many religious figures argued that the pre-quantum perception of the universe as “perfectly deterministic” in a Newtonian way supported the existence of a divine being. Theism works with either, it makes no prediction.

3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

Again, discovery by science, again, theism does not depend on the speed of light. Nor does the specific question of whether “God exists in a timeless eternity”.

4. Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle. Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning unchanging clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.

Since human life exists in the universe, the constants and other physical properties of the universe must be compatible with human life. What does this have to do with anything?

5 Materialism predicted that complex life in this universe should be fairly common, Yet statistical analysis of the many required parameters that enable complex life to be possible on earth reveals that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support life in this universe. Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe.

First of all this is just “god of the gaps”, since neither you nor anyone else knows how much extra-terrestrial life may or may not exist, of even how to define “life”. Second of all, it is a lie if by “materialism” you mean “science”. Some few individual scientists are associated with this view (although what they mean by “common” is not what you mean).

6. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.

More dishonesty. Why would anyone make such a statement? The fundamentals of the molecular biology of DNA and the genetic code were quite well-understood by the mid-seventies. In fact, the genetic code is simpler and more elegant than was predicted by most, not more complex. Again, science made the discovery.

You don’t know anything about molecular biology.

7. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all. Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.

It’s hard to patiently deal with lies presented with such smug arrogance. In the first place, the language here betrays your utter ignorance.

With the caveat that the statement is near meaningless, can you provide a source in which science predicted an “extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA”?

This really is egregious. No-one who has ever actually learned anything about DNA would write such nonsense, regardless of their religious views.

8. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form. Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. Yet Theism would have naturally expected this complexity.

No over-the-top lies here, just illogic, and tiresome misuse of the terms “complexity” and “simplest”. Science actually does not yet know the first form of life on earth. Theism makes no prediction; obviously, showing that the first life on earth was simple would not rule out theism per se.

The level of “complexity” or “simpleness” of current life, which is to some degree a subjective matter, does not necessarily tell us anything about the first life, billions of years ago.

9. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth, Yet we find evidence for photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Sarah Simpson, Scientific American, 2003). Theism would have expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.

Back to lies. Sources, please, and clarification as to what you mean by “long time”, if you wish to prove me wrong.

It’s patently obvious that theism makes no prediction, and can be compatible with any rate of appearance of life.

10. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth. Yet Theism would have expected such sudden appearance of the many different and completely unique fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

Because this is a complex topic, I’ll refer you to a good link. I expect, based on your arrogance, denial, dishonesty, and lack of adequate background in the life sciences, that you will be unable to make use of it. But I want third parties to see this addressed.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC300.html…

11. Materialism predicted that there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record. Yet fossils are characterized by sudden appearance in the fossil record and stability as long as they are found in the fossil record. There is not one example of transition between major species out of millions of collected fossils. Theism would have expected fossils to suddenly appear in the fossil record with no evidence of transition to dramatically new forms.

Because this is a complex topic, I’ll refer you to a good link. I expect, based on your arrogance, denial, dishonesty, and lack of adequate background in the life sciences, that you will be unable to make use of it. But I want third parties to see this addressed.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional…

Comment #188446

Posted by dhogaza on July 17, 2007 9:25 AM (e)

Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants for the universe

A constant is something that doesn’t vary, dude. What’s “stunning” about there being a precise value for something that never changes?

Comment #188447

Posted by raven on July 17, 2007 9:32 AM (e)

raven on June 24, 2007 3:50 PM (e)

Some of the noncoding DNA questions are empirically addressable. In the study below, the authors just deleted big chunks of DNA and made knockout mice from the cells. Nothing much happened even though some of the DNA was conserved from mice to humans.

Reference from “Jerry” previous thread:

1: Nature. 2004 Oct 21;431(7011):988-93.
Megabase deletions of gene deserts result in viable mice.Nóbrega MA, Zhu Y, Plajzer-Frick I, Afzal V, Rubin EM.
DOE Joint Genome Institute Walnut Creek, California 94598, USA.

The functional importance of the roughly 98% of mammalian genomes not corresponding to protein coding sequences remains largely undetermined. Here we show that some large-scale deletions of the non-coding DNA referred to as gene deserts can be well tolerated by an organism. We deleted two large non-coding intervals, 1,511 kilobases and 845 kilobases in length, from the mouse genome. Viable mice homozygous for the deletions were generated and were indistinguishable from wild-type littermates with regard to morphology, reproductive fitness, growth, longevity and a variety of parameters assaying general homeostasis. Further detailed analysis of the expression of multiple genes bracketing the deletions revealed only minor expression differences in homozygous deletion and wild-type mice. Together, the two deleted segments harbour 1,243 non-coding sequences conserved between humans and rodents (more than 100 base pairs, 70% identity). Some of the deleted sequences might encode for functions unidentified in our screen; nonetheless, these studies further support the existence of potentially ‘disposable DNA’ in the genomes of mammals.

Since this subject has come up again and again, just going to repost a relevant experiment. Some have pointed out that subtle effects of these deletions might not be detectable under the conditions of the experiment. Formally that is true, I guess. Always hard to prove a negative. But how do you decide whether an effect is too minor to be readily detectable and an effect that is too minor to make any difference?

Actually there are ways to answer this question. Fitness tests. In these experiments mix 25 breeding pairs of the mutants and otherwise isogenic mice together. Check the deletion frequencies over time as the population reproduces. If the megabase deletions have subtle effects on fitness, those alleles should drop in frequency.

Comment #188449

Posted by raven on July 17, 2007 9:45 AM (e)

The problem with the junk DNA debates is typical of science. There isn’t enough data to answer the question right now except in a provisional and simple minded sense.

When scientists argue endlessly about piecemeal and conflicting data, it means there is not enough data. The solution is to do more experiments and get more data! Been through this many times before and getting more of the required data works very well.

This isn’t done by sitting in a chair either. Someone has to design the experiments, do them, collect the data, analyze it and repeat ad infinitum. Given the complexity and size of the mammalian genome(s), this could take decades.

One way to approach this, would be to do insertion and deletion analysis on mouse populations. The mouse genome seems to be rather plastic with chromosome numbers that even vary between populations by a lot. In addition there are a number of closely related species that are even interfertile. If sequence stretches are lost/gained in wild breeding populations, you can infer that they didn’t have much effect on fitness and weren’t important.

The above is why the DI will always be a fringe group of nonentities. They don’t do science but rather sit on the sidelines and take potshots on real science from a pseudoscientific and ideologically motivated perspective. That isn’t how science is done. All they are is a speedbump and minor nuisance on the road of increasing human knowledge.

Comment #188451

Posted by Tim Fuller on July 17, 2007 9:54 AM (e)

For the record, I believe that ID is total bunk, but I also believe any attempt at finding design at the biological level is foolish. Any attempt at finding design should begin at the level of particle physics.

I wonder if this argument over design (based on DNA or observed lifeforms) is just searching for deeper meanings in shallow water?

There will always be the philisophical question of who designed the designer, but if we let go of that (for the sake of argument) and all agree that there is a designer, then wouldn’t the obvious place to look for design be at a level much lower than a biological one? I can’t help but wonder if the ID crowd focuses on the biology part because it’s easier to make false inferences as people have built-in biological prejudices (what, me a monkey??).

It’s also easier to confuse the layperson with biological homilies than mathematical certanties.

Is there a branch of ID that focuses on trying to confuse the physics as much as they do the biology?

Enjoy.

Comment #188454

Posted by Flint on July 17, 2007 10:14 AM (e)

Is there a branch of ID that focuses on trying to confuse the physics as much as they do the biology?

Probably. Science asks the open-ended question “What’s going on here.” ID, like any religious position, asks “How can the observations science makes be force-fit to doctrinal requirements?” These observations might be from any branch of science; all must be vetted (or shaped) for doctrinal purity.

The goal of ID is to find a way to trick the courts into circumventing the First Amendment position on state-supported religion. The current tactic is to attempt to remove the trappings of religion while keeping the substance, so as to be able to tell the courts it’s science and not religion, while simultaneously being able to tell the funding sources that it’s a way to get Jesus into public schools.

Physics mostly tends to undermine fundamentalist doctrine with respect to time scales, and ID tries not to take a position here. Indeed, ID tries to be as minimal as possible with doctrines to make their tent as large as possible. Apparently the latest ID tactic is to take each scientific discovery and claim ID “predicted” it while science did not.

Comment #188455

Posted by Raging Bee on July 17, 2007 10:16 AM (e)

Bond: your last comment was nothing but a re-paste of points you made before. They were conclusively refuted then; and the fact that you re-pasted them anyway (and had them refuted all over again) prove you’re not interested in any form of actual debate or dialogue.

Comment #188457

Posted by Raging Bee on July 17, 2007 10:23 AM (e)

…Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.

Really? Show us the part of the Bible – or any other “theistic” text – where “Theism” says any such thing. Do you have any clue what any of those books REALLY say?

Comment #188464

Posted by harold on July 17, 2007 10:32 AM (e)

Popper’s Ghost -

The use of the word “basement” makes me suspect that you may be a parody poster.

Odd; I can’t discern any connotation that would suggest that. Do you know what “church basement” refers to?

What I meant is that the stereotypical “internet troll” lives in his mother’s basement, but would never admit this.

It was a lame attempt at humor, and may well have backfired, as lame attempts often do.

Sometimes you seem particularly clueless about your co-religionists,

The poster in question is absolutely not my co-religionist.

Although I have occasionally said that I consider myself to be a “Christian” or “existentialist Christian”, I have also pointed out that I am anything but a traditional Christian. However, I have not really shared with you or anyone else here what I mean by this in any sort of detail. I generally offer them to rebut the false claim that only “atheists” respect mainstream science.

These vague statements alone seem to have angered you.

I am not entirely unsympathetic here, though, because it is commonplace for claims of “Christianity” to represent coded endorsements of authoritarian politics or disrespect for the views of others.

However, you also know, from my posts, that I strongly endorse more or less the same values as secular humanists. There can be no grounds for any suspicion that I have any motivation whatsoever to force others to adopt my private subjective views, nor that I unjustiably feel superior (in this context) to others.

Therefore, well you may choose to dislike or disdain my vague statements on this matter, or may have some justifiable reason for believing that I “cannot possibly be right no matter what the unrevealed details of the (mainly irrelevant) subjective ‘beliefs’ in question”, you can rest assured that any positive or neutral statements I may make with regard to Christianity do not imply support for any agenda that would impinge upon you.

I don’t formally practice a religion with others, but I have noted that Unitarian Universalism would offer an acceptable framework if I chose to do so.

I must add that I, personally, think that other peoples’ religious beliefs are their own business unless they violate my rights in some pragmatic way.

or in denial, with your frequent “No true Scotsman” arguments.

Here I must stick to my guns. What you refer to is my frequent pointing out that self-proclaimed “Christians” tend to violate the tenets of Christianity. Whether I am atheist, the Patriarch of Constantinople, a Satanist, or Fundamentalist Hindu is irrelevant here. They do, and it is well worth mentioning.

“Scotsman” is a condition that results from birthplace or perhaps a few other environmental accidents. A Scotsman is a Scotsman no matter what he puts on his oatmeal. However, a Scotsman who claims to be a secular humanist, but is also a mass murderer, is not a true secular humanist.

Certain ethical restrictions, such as not eggregiously lying for trivial or selfish reasons, are an unequivocal part of the canon of written works that define Christianity (across virtually all sects). It is not “Christian” to lie, to threaten, to behave in an arrogant, easily offended manner. (Interminable historical examples of hypocritical self-proclaimed Christians engaging in these behaviors are irrelevant to this point.) We may have a disagreement here, but I will continue to point out instances where I see claims of “Christianity” conflicting with easily observed behavior.

Google “basement activist” and you will find that this person is a real Christian church basement activist.

Once again, your peevishness and occasional tendency to jump to conclusions is outweighed by your relevant knowledge and the fundamentally rational nature of your posts, at least in my view. Thank you for pointing this out.

Comment #188465

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2007 10:40 AM (e)

How is this for a ID prediction.

Dear buffoon, in science you need to show how expectations follow from a theory. There isn’t even the slightest hint of a genuine prediction below, since you can’t show how ID could begin to predict that.

When scientists “begin” to decipher the remaining 99% of the human genome,

They have begun, ignoramus.

not deciphered by ENCODE so far, they will find an increasing amount of interwoven complexity that astounds them.

You know why you IDiots “predict” that? It’s because scientists have predicted it from experience with organisms and their genomes (and as it happens, not even evolution predicted the complexity that we see, what it predicted and what turned out to be the case is that this integrated complexity would map out to the familiar taxonomic hierarchies, to be derivative (not rationally designed), and to generally involve gradual processes of change). You cretins haven’t predicted anything relevant at all, ever.

What you’d need to do is to show how the IDists through time, from Paley (or earlier), through the Seventh-day Adventists, to bozos like Morton, have always predicted what we actually do see. They’ve predicted none of it, only the latest crop of charlatans “predict” it because they want to claim what science discovered as somehow expected of ID.

Had it been, however, they could have predicted it.

The interwoven complexity will be so thorough that it will clearly demonstrate that the genome is clearly a integrated whole thus ruling out evolution.

Let’s suppose that somehow that were the case, though of course you lack any sort of independent criteria for deciding that evolution was ruled out. What actual evidence would that be for ID? Huh?

Come on, dolt, you guys are constantly asked for evidence for ID, not for incompetent criticisms of evolution. Once again your inability even to begin to address the need for evidence for your claims is implied by such idiotic attempts to void the real issue.

Glen D
http://www.geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188466

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2007 10:44 AM (e)

Casey’s arguments are bogus.

They are, aren’t they? And why is that, and why can’t you come up with anything intelligent?

Therefore there is no God.

That’s extremely bad thinking, making me think that you’re sympathetic to ID.

Isn’t that what this is all about?

Only for you. We’re defending the integrity of science.

Glen D
http://geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188472

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2007 10:58 AM (e)

Don’t listen to them, sweetie. You did make an ID prediction, and that’s a good thing. Bravo.

Sorry, hoary, he didn’t do anything but the usual attempt to try to co-opt what is being found for ID.

A real ID prediction would go along the lines of predicting that the complexity of life will be rational and aimed toward the future. For instance, that life’s “designs” come from mathematics and line drawings(which human designers have used as far back as Egypt. I add that this is an example, not the only method of human design), as well as teleological—not working with whatever material heredity gives an organism and ending up in the frequent dead-ends found in the history of life.

Furthermore, any intelligent IDist (are there any?) would predict the most simple differentiating factor possible in this arena, which is that life would appear not to be evolved, or at least that aspects of life would not. They wouldn’t dare to predict that, because life appears to be evolved through and through. That’s why the line between design and the evolution that they admit is never found nor ever predicted to show up.

They never predict such things because ID has been known for hundreds of year to fail in its expected outcomes (based, of course, on human design, since we have nothing but human and animal “designs” from which to have any expectations for design). They’re hoping to divert people from the real predictions of evolution, and the entailed predictions of ID, because they can never win by comparing the inherent predictions of the two different concepts.

Glen D
http://geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188476

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on July 17, 2007 11:07 AM (e)

I’m finding all these Luskin inspired blonde specious arguments difficult to read. The light blonde text color tends to blend into the background of the screen. Can’t help but make you cranky.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #188479

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2007 11:22 AM (e)

Thanks for your civility hoary puccoon.

Indeed, you should be grateful for unearned civility.

This is strange for you to accuse ID of failing to make concrete predictions.

We don’t accuse ID of failing to make concrete predictions, we accuse it of failing to make the predictions entailed by it, which it does specifically to avoid honest tests of its claims.

Like for instance, Behe always predicted IC (irreducible complexity) and IC has not been refuted with anything more than preposterous “just so” stories from naturalists, thus scientifically the IC prediction stands.

Can one say from the concept of intelligent design that its products will necessarily include IC, however we define that vague concept? Of course not.

And tell me, is turbulence irreducibly complex? I won’t wait for an answer, since I am not confident that you understand IC. Of course turbulence is irreducibly complex. Indeed, as I mentioned in one post, the particular complexity that we see in organisms is not actually a prediction of evolution (although aspects of it is), however irreducible complexity as defined by Behe would be expected, at least at this point (when we know much of evolution’s mechanisms), by the people who study evolution.

So yes, IC of the sort that Behe “predicts” (or rather, claims after it has already been found) is exactly what we’d expect from evolution, given that this complexity is derivative, most “naturally” grouped into “nested hierarchies”, and that it is lacking in identifiable rational design or teleonomy.

It is not at all the IC that we’d expect from design. That’s the only reason why Behe “predicts” IC and nothing that about IC that would be expected from ID, because yes what is often defined as IC does exist, it’s just the sort predicted by evolution, or “Darwinism” in your ignorant parlance.

You can’t just “predict” IC with any given concept, you have to predict that it has the aspects which follow from your pet idea. Behe pointedly avoids that step, and we know very well why.

Glen D
http://www.geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188484

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2007 11:47 AM (e)

What’s even more problematic for naturalists is that naturalists will say that most of the DNA is now junk.

I’m not into saying what proportion is junk (and I don’t mean by “junk” that it lacks function in its length or bulk or some such thing). But the reason why a substantial portion is considered “junk” is that we follow induction, and currently much DNA appears to be without specific function.

And that’s about it. Even you don’t say that evolution predicts junk. Of course it doesn’t, since some organisms evolve just fine without it (or with only miniscule amounts of it). There does seem to be value in having some of that junk around (though some of the repeats apparently do cause problems for people), and it is not surprising that junk DNA fits in fairly well with evolution (especially since we evolved).

Yet when it is found in the future that most all of the DNA does indeed have function and is indeed an integrated whole the naturalists will severely modify their theory so as to reflect this.

What will be the “severe modifications,” should you (unlikely as it seems) happen to be correct? Huh? Tell us, moron. What “severe modifications” were needed to accomodate the junk that was evidently found without having been predicted (at least not by most).

Here’s a clue, dimwit: The changes happen in the so-called “junk DNA” much the same as in the coding DNA. That is, they correlate, with the apparent junk simply changing faster due to lacking the selectional constraints imposed upon the coding sections. It’s not that the “junk” necessarily lacks selectional constraints, but they’re hardly as strong as in the coding sequences.

Here’s another thought for those of you who know only pseudoscience: the investigation into whether or not so-called “junk” really is junk is guided by evolutionary predictions. That is to say, for the most part the evolutionarily constrained sequences of “junk” are found to have at least potential functions, while the many repeats tend not to have the same functions. This is not true in every case, so far, and this leads to further research.

Since ID can make no entailed predictions about “junk DNA”, it leads to no research (I realize that stolen findings from science lead to ID specularions, and possibly to a very little amount of research, but so what?). The “evolutionists” are teasing apart the functions and/or non-functions of “junk DNA,” not the useless apologists at the DI.

So the truth is that naturalists fail to make concrete predictions.

Look, I know that you’re an IDist, creationist, whatever, so the odds were extremely good that you are ignorant even before you began writing such dishonest stupidity. So my prediction about you has come true (since it’s only statistical, I could be wrong, say, once in 10,000 times, giving the benefit of the doubt).

As I noted even before I read what you wrote there I’d already pointed out that evolutionary predictions in fact are what lead the search into the functions of “junk DNA”.

And of course you’re too dumb even to know that “concrete predictions” aren’t the point, it’s predictions that follow from the model. Then again, you have no real model, so what would you know about scientific prediction?

Iam confident I will not be found wrong in the complexity prediction because of the prediction track record so far,

Except that you haven’t shown that a single prediction inheres in modern ID (predictions did flow from Paley’s ID, which is why the latter was abandoned). As usual, ID’s pointed attempts to teach people wrong ideas about science has succeeded in the naive, the ignorant, those who want to believe in magic over the process of honest discovery.

Glen D
http://www.geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188485

Posted by PvM on July 17, 2007 11:49 AM (e)

Casey’s arguments are bogus.

Therefore there is no God.

Isn’t that what this is all about?

Nope, Casey’s arguments are bogus and ID is scientifically vacuous. ID’s follies however have no impact on the existence or non-existence of God(s).

It’s all about teaching the controversy and good science education, something ID seems to be quite intent on subverting.

Comment #188489

Posted by ofro on July 17, 2007 12:35 PM (e)

Tim Fuller:

For the record, I believe that ID is total bunk, but I also believe any attempt at finding design at the biological level is foolish. Any attempt at finding design should begin at the level of particle physics.

Why stop at the level of particle physics? It seems to me that, if you want to be consistent, you need to go all the way to the origin of the physical laws that govern our universe. There are probably a good number of participants in this forum who would agree with the notion that a supreme being created the laws and let the world develop according to these laws, without subsequent interference.

Comment #188492

Posted by harold on July 17, 2007 1:05 PM (e)

Timothy Fuller -

Interesting points.

There will always be the philisophical question of who designed the designer, but if we let go of that (for the sake of argument) and all agree that there is a designer, then wouldn’t the obvious place to look for design be at a level much lower than a biological one?

My problem with this is that no-one has ever shown me a way to identify “design” except with some kind of understanding of a natural, limited potential designer. How can you possibly tell whether a fundamental particle is “designed” or not? How would a “designed” electron differ from an “undesigned” electron?

However, what you wrote may be a good approximation of the attitude of many honest theistic science supporters. Along the lines of “God set off the big bang and then let things unfold”.

I can’t help but wonder if the ID crowd focuses on the biology part because it’s easier to make false inferences as people have built-in biological prejudices (what, me a monkey??).

Exactly. Biology presses peoples’ buttons. A fair number of ID supporters and creationists also embrace extremely ethnic bigotry, unfortunately.

Even the ones who don’t tend to have a lot of hang-ups and obsessions.

I’ve often pointed out that the very reason that some people go insane over the word “ape”, or compare people they don’t like to “apes”, is that apes resemble humans (starfish or lima beans don’t provoke the same reaction), and apes resemble humans because we share a recent common ancestor.

Comment #188495

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2007 1:23 PM (e)

1. Materialism did not predict the big bang.

What’s “materialism”, dull one? Do you mean the concepts of those who accept the methods of science, such as the non-realists and phenomemologists who are included in the work of doing science?

Using that definition (which amounts to methods involving knowledge + honesty), “materialism” doesn’t predict anything at all until observations suggest a model. That’s the difference between honest investigators and people like you, we proceed from observation, not presupposition.

“Materialism” doesn’t predict light, water, metals, or trees, prior to observation. Observations of these lead to models, which then make predictions about these phenomena

Once the “materialists” actually did the work that ignoramuses like “bond” do not do, and noted that by far most of the galaxies were receding from each other, they came up with a model that “predicted” it. We look for fundamental factors that predict what is observed, like any reasonable person does.

Yet Theism always said the universe was created.

Many theists did not say that.

What is more, neither does Genesis. Creation there follows the usual Semitic religious sense of creation and “miracle”, the God of Genesis works within an existent cosmos consisting of water in the middle, land beneath, and the sky above.

Least of all did any theists use their religions to predict the Big Bang, idiot.

2. Materialism did not predict a sub-atomic (quantum) world that blatantly defies our concepts of time and space.

Scientists work from observation, not the faulty assumptions of theists. Thus it was that scientists, not mumbling theists of the kind “bond” is (though some “materialist” theists do contribute to science), worked out QM. Thus science wins again, over the superstitions of the worthless anti-science theists.

Yet Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.

How is this even supposed to follow from what you wrote before it?

3. Materialism did not predict the fact that time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light, as revealed by Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

Huh, did you know that, fellow PTers? Apparently science didn’t predict that (what was it, an empirical observation?), but it was “revealed” by special relativity. You know, special relativity predicts nothing, or it isn’t science (it’s religion?), or something like that.

Indeed, the experiments done to show that time slows down at relativistic speeds followed from Einstein’s scientific predictions.

So you’re lying again, Bond.

Yet Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

Another non-sequitur.

4. Materialism did not predict the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants for the universe, found in the Anthropic Principle.

What’s the stunning precision for the underlying universal constants? I mean, can you possibly learn to write sensibly?

Anyway, scientists, not dishonest apologists like bond, discovered the problem using induction and theories based upon them. Bond and his ignorant fellows could never have done so. And it is still a problem (plenty of possibilities are bandied about to “solve” it, including an extremely large number of “universes”, but they’re only conceptual possibilities so far), one for which theism has no real answers for.

Yet Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning unchanging clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.

Nor can anything be predicated upon something that has no observational confirmation that it exists.

5 Materialism predicted that complex life in this universe should be fairly common,

Some scientists have said this was so, some not, and I believe that most found such predictions to be meaningless in lieu of so much that we don’t know.

That “bond’s” claim is fallacious is expected.

Yet statistical analysis of the many required parameters that enable complex life to be possible on earth reveals that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support life in this universe.

Hardly, or there wouldn’t be ongoing plans to discover if life existed or exists on Mars and Europa.

It could be the case that intelligent life is not common, however. It’s still hard to say, though.

Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe.

Except that if life were extremely common in the universe, you’d say that theism would have expected that, as well.

There is a very strange contradiction in the claims that this universe was made for life. That is, very little of the universe is inhabitable. So while I agree that the parameters that make the universe inhabitable at all remain an interesting observation (not a conclusion as to why), it’s amazing how poorly “designed” for higher life the universe is, and even how destructive of life this solar system and earth are.

Thus we get Gonzalez and this twerp blabbing about how the universe was designed for life because it is universally capable of certain properties and functions needed for life, yet they claim that earth is special because it seems that it is at least rare.

The rareness (“specificity”, in their claims) of earth’s relatively benevolent conditions (and don’t forget that here 95% of fossilizable life went extinct at one point) and the universality of the constants are both “measures of design”. That these two contradict each other according to their interpretations is lost in their incapable minds.

6. Materialism did not predict the fact that the DNA code is, according to Bill Gates, far, far more advanced than any computer code ever written by man.

Neither did theists, dullard. As I said before, we don’t predict where we don’t have evidence, unlike you.

Bill Gates is what, a biologist? A theist? A creationist? What? I mean, why is he an authority, what does his statement even mean, and why doesn’t Gates believe in ID?

Yet Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.

Gates didn’t say anything about it’s complexity in that quote.

And why would theism have expected “this level of complexity”? Is God incapable of making simple life?

Evolution is what predicts a great deal of complexity (yes, I said it didn’t predict the exact complexity found, but it predicts complexity so long as certain facts are known). Complexity is another, if not a particularly grand, prediction of evolution that has been fulfilled.

You can predict nothing which turns out to be correct from theism, from ID.

7. Materialism presumed a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA, which is not the case at all.

I think it interesting that you have absolutely no references for any of your claims. I mean, you actually could quotemine like most IDists and creationists do, find some ignorant scientist who said stupid things. But of course much of what you say is too wrong even to find those kinds of sources, plus you’re clearly a derivative cretin merely aping a bunch of ID/creo morons.

Evolution by Darwinian means demands that there be mutations, and that these be relatively random with respect to need. That is exactly what has been found.

Indeed, DNA turned out to be more or less what evolutionary theory predicts (from observation), a molecule which is quite conservative but which allows for significant incremental changes (larger changes are also possible, though rarely beneficial). The predictions about the material of heredity agree with evolutionary predictions, while ID and creationism are incapable of coherent predictions about heredity.

Yet Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.

Negative mutation rate. Hmm, so you’re predicting that life evolves backward or some such thing?

IOW, you’re going to have to learn how to use words before you can begin to understand science. ID doesn’t care, fealty to a concept is all that’s needed, so your brand of ignorance fits in there.

8. Materialism presumed a very simple first life form.

Science still predicts that the first life form must have been quite simple, much more simple (in its particular characters. That is, the prediction is not for low entropy) than anything we see today. Unfortunately, unlike other biological predictions (such as for evolution per se), this is difficult to find the evidence for—or against.

Yet the simplest life ever found on Earth is, according to Geneticist Michael Denton PhD., far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort.

And it’s an evolved complexity to boot. What do you know, that evolutionary prediction is constantly fulfilled by “tests”.

Anyone who could think rationally about these issues would be cognizant of two facts: 1. The simplest form of life is probably very difficult to find. 2. Organisms with more complexity would likely be the primary survivors in evolutionary competition, since these have more scope for dealing with other organisms (with ecological pressures).

Thus the prediction has never been that simple life would be found by now, or even ever.

Yet Theism would have naturally expected this complexity.

Would have, if it were science instead of a useless concept incapable of prediction.

9. Materialism predicted that it took a very long time for life to develop on earth,

Yeah, right. Science really doesn’t know how long it might take for life to develop on earth. This goes back to speaking of what we know, vs. you speaking out of your incomparable ignorance.

There is more time between the formation of the earth and evidence for first life than early evolutionists were insisting was needed for the earth to exist, based on the speed of evolution. Indeed, evolutionists insisted that the earth was older than theist Lord Kelvin said was possible, another win for evolution (evolutionary theory only roughly predicts minimum age).

Yet we find evidence for photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth (Sarah Simpson, Scientific American, 2003).

A billion years after earth formed, if you accept the evidence as truly pointing to life.

Theism would have expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.

Theism in general expects nothing with respect to that (certain theisms do), which is why old-earth IDists and YECs join together to assault the science that discovers timelines.

And it isn’t a sudden appearance of life on earth, it is a very late appearance by Genesis standards. What is more, evolutionary theory predicts simpler organisms to appear before more complex ones (in general). This is the relevant prediction, and metazoans don’t appear until after around 80% of earth’s history has passed.

Another prediction of creationists down the drain, another prediction of evolution fulfilled.

10. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record.

That is one of the fulfilled predictions.

The Cambrian Explosion, by itself, destroys this myth.

Huh, how come not all organisms appearing in the Cambrian explosion appear at the same time? How come chordates don’t appear until after the “explosion” began?

And how come genetic clocks find no evidence of a sudden change in genetics during that period? There do seem to have been some rather dramatic changes, but nothing that severely changed the basic developmental programs of those organisms.

But let’s just ignore the fact that the “Cambrian Explosion” was gradual by creationist standards. Let’s suppose that God stupidly waited around for 4 billion years and then created metazoans. After that, there is little that doesn’t fit a fairly gradual form of evolution.

Yet Theism would have expected such sudden appearance of the many different and completely unique fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

Really? How does it predict the Cambrian explosion? What leads a theist to predict that life would undergo significant (especially to fossilization) changes ~550 million years ago? I’ve never seen the evidence you claim, and you (sensibly) offer nothing, for you have nothing.

The fact is that the Cambrian explosion fits the succession of evolutionary development predicted by evolutionary theory. The speed at which it happened then was a surprise, but it’s extremely slow by “design standards”.

Tell me, what about ID, creationism, etc., predicts that design will require 4.5 billion years to reach the target design (so many IDists say), which is humans? It’s a very bizarre development program by design standards.

11. Materialism predicted that there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record.

Yup, and many have been found.

Yet fossils are characterized by sudden appearance in the fossil record and stability as long as they are found in the fossil record.

How could “fossils” be “characterized by sudden appearance in the fossil record”? Haven’t they just been there since they fell into wherever they were found?

Meaning, you should learn how to read and write, then tackle science.

But anyhow, numerous changes in organisms are documented in the fossil record, the familiar horse series, invertebrate series (ammonites especially), rhinoceruses. You’re just an incompetent boob repeating ancient lies.

There is not one example of transition between major species out of millions of collected fossils.

Except, you know, archaeopteryx, tiktaalik, ichthyostega, the cynodonts, the whale series, the hominin series, you know, most of the transitions that we’ve been interested enough to dig up (though we’re also interested in ape evolution, but taphonomic effects make this very difficult to do in the case of chimps, for instance).

Theism would have expected fossils to suddenly appear in the fossil record with no evidence of transition to dramatically new forms.

Yes, and every transitional that you stupidly deny shows up theism (practically, Behe’s “designer” tweaking evolution has no basis in either science or in theism, but is only a pathetic apologetic).

Wow, you have almost no understanding of anything, even of the IDists who disagree with much that you claim. Behe, a theist, pointedly contradicts many of your claims, agreeing with the “materialists” to a point (all of you who fault “materialism” do whenever convenient, as you did in your post). Why is that?

I know that you’ll repeat the same moronic list ad nauseum, but I thought it would be interesting to supply all of these answers to all who care about truth. Which leaves you and many of your kind out.

Glen D
http://geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188499

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on July 17, 2007 1:50 PM (e)

If we apply Casey’s arguments to the existence of God, I am afraid God case is in grave danger of been talked out of existence (if you are a believer). Good job Casey!!!!

Comment #188500

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2007 1:58 PM (e)

I haven’t read the responses to Pam Singer (or to most posts, as I’m working down the list), so I’ll just give my answer without regard for what others have written (as before).

I am somewhat confused on part of the evolution process. Please, claify this for me.

As I understand it, random mutations account for part of our evolution.

More exactly, random mutations supply the “material” upon which natural selection operates.

Did these randomly mutated creatures have to find other similarly randomly mutated creatures to mate with in order to carry on the mutated beneficial gene;

If a random mutation is immediately beneficial in an environment, there is no need for a similar (or complementary) mutation to be matched up with it. Then evolution simply selects for it, on average, provided that the beneficial mutation isn’t connected to some deleterious effect (or if the latter is mild compared to the benefit).

In other words, no, a beneficial mutation need not be matched with another beneficial mutation.

But that’s true only sometimes. A mutation might be neutral, slightly deleterious, or slightly beneficial, until it meets its match, or its complement. Something like this appears to happen in malarial evolution of chloroquine resistance.

or were these mutations of the kind that does not require a like-mutation to procreate?

A “like-mutation” would never be needed to procreate. There just are a variety of mutations, some beneficial in context, some deleterious in context (some of these are deleterious simply to functioning, so essentially always), and many fairly neutral in context.

Our mitochondria appear to lack recombination to the degree that little or no evolution would occur by “matching up” beneficial genes. Yet there may well have been beneficial mutations in our mitochondria which helped to adapt them to certain environments (but they don’t have much capacity for adaptation, compared with the nucleus).

Nevertheless, sexual reproduction seems to have little reason to exist except for the sake of evolution. Sometimes a mutation might have to be combined with another in order to confer a beneficial effect. But more importantly, sexual reproduction allows for good genes to be “sorted” into individualsl, while bad genes are “sorted” into others. The latter die (or are unlikely to reproduce), the former thrive. It isn’t so much the need to match up mutations as it is to match up good genes, regardless of any particular mutations.

Let me add that mutations that need another like-mutation to procreate have never been proven by any type of inbreeding, have they?

I don’t know. The problem with inbreeding is that you’re matching up so many recessive traits that any combining of beneficial mutations would be overwhelmed by the losses conferred by combining deleterious mutations.

Inbreeding has always proven to be very unbeneficial to the survival of the species.

That is not an accurate statement. Some believe that humans, who have long tended to live in rather small groups and to inbreed to some extent, have evolved rapidly because inbreeding can sometimes match up excellent traits. Purely inbred lines do very poorly, while some inbreeding is common in many species, and possibly of some evolutionary benefit.

Which leads to my last question . .

Why should a faulty claim (and note, I didn’t say that inbreeding has ever been shown to be beneficial, I’m saying it’s still a question) lead to further questions?

I have been reading for the last few years now, that there is a consensus among the majority, that humans have been genetically traced to a two human ancestory: A genetic “Adam and Eve”.

No, not unless you’ve been reading the pseudoscientists. Real scientists unfortunately use confusing words like “Adam” and “Eve” for our putative common ancestors, but they didn’t live at the same time, didn’t interbreed, and genetic contributions from other males and females continued to affect inheritance and evolution (the complete source of genes is the species, or perhaps the population, not whoever was the sole contributors of mitochondrial genomes and of the y-chromosome).

If this is true, how is it possible that these two humans, and their immediate offspring (who had to mate with their parent or siblings at first) came to evolve at all since what inbreeding shows us, the small gene pool would have produced inbreds that may as well have been lead fed, as far as beneficial mutations of any type go.

Indeed, how would they survive at all, if what you said were true. And how could Noah’s line ever survive, as inbred as they’d have to be?

No, it was populations which were the breeding transitionals from ape to human. The “Eve” you mentioned is sometimes called the “mitochondrial Eve”, because she was “identified” only because it appears that only one female at some point supplied mitochondria to humanity. Likewise with “Adam”, he’s the source of all y-chromosomes in humans. The other genetic material has been traded, swapped, and recombined by many individuals, though there does appear to be a bottleneck of “only a few thousand” individuals within the last 100,000 years or so.

But “a few thousand interbreeding individuals” is the closest we are believed to have come to dedicated inbreeding during our recent evolution.

Glen D
http://www.geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Thank you.

Comment #188506

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2007 2:53 PM (e)

Davidson wrote:

They never predict such things because ID has been known for hundreds of year to fail in its expected outcomes

Couple of typos (probably) there, nothing that would throw any regular PTers.

But for neophytes, ID has been known for over a hundred years to fail in expected outcomes. It’s been suspected to fail earlier, and there were sound pre-evolutionary criticisms of ID (especially the lack of a confirmed “designer”). I wouldn’t call it actually falsified, however, until Darwin.

Glen D
http://www.geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188525

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 17, 2007 4:27 PM (e)

These vague statements alone seem to have angered you.

I’m not privy to the process that produces your seemings, but your statements didn’t anger me.

However, you also know, from my posts, that I strongly endorse more or less the same values as secular humanists.

I do know that and I have admired your passion and … anger at authoritarians and the needless suffering that they cause.

However, you also know, from my posts, that I strongly endorse more or less the same values as secular humanists. There can be no grounds for any suspicion that I have any motivation whatsoever to force others to adopt my private subjective views, nor that I unjustiably feel superior (in this context) to others.

Therefore, well you may choose to dislike or disdain my vague statements on this matter, or may have some justifiable reason for believing that I “cannot possibly be right no matter what the unrevealed details of the (mainly irrelevant) subjective ‘beliefs’ in question”, you can rest assured that any positive or neutral statements I may make with regard to Christianity do not imply support for any agenda that would impinge upon you.

Gee, I seem to recall you once angrily and repeatedly calling for someone to be banned from this board because he didn’t share your views on a number of matters, particularly religion and its relationship to rationality. Your animosity toward him started with a heated debate on that subject among the two of you, Lenny Flank (whose departure from this board has been a blessing), and another “atheist fundamentalist”, as Lenny might put it. Considering the remarkable similarities between myself and the person whose banning you called for, I don’t feel all that assured.

Here I must stick to my guns. What you refer to is my frequent pointing out that self-proclaimed “Christians” tend to violate the tenets of Christianity.

No, I refer to your putting the term in scare quotes, your claims that these aren’t Christians, your claims as to what it takes to be a Christian, etc.; you have even argued that someone who violated the principles of secular humanism couldn’t “really” be a secular humanist. I have no problem with pointing out that Christians violate the tenets of Christianity, some far more often than others, and I likewise claim that humanists, being human, can violate the principles they espouse.

“Scotsman” is a condition that results from birthplace or perhaps a few other environmental accidents. A Scotsman is a Scotsman no matter what he puts on his oatmeal. However, a Scotsman who claims to be a secular humanist, but is also a mass murderer, is not a true secular humanist.

Ah, there, you just did it. That’s reminiscent of the right wing tactic of justifying torture by bringing up the most tortured, hyperbolic possible scenario. Is such intellectual dishonesty a tenet of Christianity? Does yours make you not a Christian? There are lesser crimes than mass murder (what crime isn’t?) that a secular humanist could commit and still be deemed a secular humanist. If someone believes in secular humanist principles and identifies themselves as a secular humanist, then they are a secular humanist by definition (the definition part is the essence of the NtS fallacy; it’s not limited to birthplace or any other “environmental accident”) – no additional conditions, such as committing a crime, even murder, make them not a secular humanist. One could claim that no one who commits murder could possibly believe in secular humanist principles, but the claim is false. And it’s the lack of belief, not the murder, that would make them not a secular humanist.

It’s a lot more straightforward with Christians because, unlike with humanism, one need not believe in any behavioral principles at all to be a Christian – belief in the divinity of Christ will do. And there have been quite a few Christians who were mass murderers.

Once again, your peevishness and occasional tendency to jump to conclusions is outweighed by your relevant knowledge and the fundamentally rational nature of your posts, at least in my view.

So does that mean I don’t need to worry about you banning me, or what? What sort of scale is this that I’m being weighed on, and why should I care? How about just accepting that you have some positive judgments about people and some negative judgments about them, rather than trying to decide whether they are fundamentally good or fundamentally evil, or Christian or non Christian, or whatever.

Comment #188530

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on July 17, 2007 4:41 PM (e)

Popper’s Ghost:

Lenny Flank (whose departure from this board has been a blessing)

Probably not a unique point of view.

From a little closer to Ground Zero (Land O’ Lenny), though, the tips are pretty much the same as they’ve always been.

Sigh.

Comment #188543

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 17, 2007 5:40 PM (e)

the prediction track record so far

Theism always said the universe was created.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting anything specific about the Big Bang before scientists announced it?

Theism always said the universe is the craftsmanship of God who is not limited by time or space.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting anything specific about how time and space don’t fit our intuitions before scientists announced it?

Theism always said that God exists in a timeless eternity.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting anything specific about the speed of light, the behavior of clocks at the speed of light, or any other related fact before scientists announced it?

Theism always said God laid the foundation of the universe, so the stunning unchanging clockwork precision found for the various universal constants is not at all unexpected for Theism.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting the value of any physical constant before scientists announced it, or predicting that it would be found that there were only very narrow ranges that the physical constants could occupy that would be consistent with star formation before scientists announced it, etc.? It does no good to say after the fact that something wasn’t unexpected by people who were mute on the matter beforehand.

Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting any specific way in which Earth is unique before scientists established that it was? “Supports life” doesn’t count because that hasn’t been established.

Theism would have naturally expected this level of complexity in the DNA code.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting anything specific about DNA before scientists announced it?

Theism would have naturally presumed such a high if not, what most likely is, complete negative mutation rate to an organism’s DNA.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting anything specific about mutation rates before scientists announced it? Or even anything not so specific – your presumption is false.

Theism would have naturally expected this complexity.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting anything specific about the complexity of the first forms of life before scientists announced those specifics? Michael Denton’s comments don’t count because a) he’s talking about something already known and b) the simplest life ever found on Earth isn’t nearly the same thing as the first life on Earth.

Theism would have expected this sudden appearance of life on earth.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting anything specific about how long it took for life to appear on Earth before scientists announced it? The oldest sedimentary rocks are far younger than the Earth itself, so finding evidence of photo-synthetic life in them would not indicate sudden appearance.

Theism would have expected such sudden appearance of the many different and completely unique fossils in the Cambrian explosion.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting anything specific about the Cambrian explosion before scientists announced it? It helps to keep in mind that “unique” doesn’t take a qualifier; something either is unique or it isn’t, and none of the fossils from the Cambrian explosion are unique in any useful sense, any more than your skeleton is unique. It also helps to keep in mind that “explosion” is just a metaphor.

Theism would have expected fossils to suddenly appear in the fossil record with no evidence of transition to dramatically new forms.

Can you provide any documentation of theism predicting anything specific about any fossil anywhere before scientists announced it? It helps to keep in mind that nothing you’ve said about fossils is true, to the degree that it’s coherent enough to make any sense at all.

It looks to me like theism has a score of 0. Meanwhile there are numerous specific predictions that scientists have made over the years that you failed to mention, and many of those predictions were later validated by observation.

Comment #188553

Posted by Tim Fuller on July 17, 2007 6:06 PM (e)

But “a few thousand interbreeding individuals” is the closest we are believed to have come to dedicated inbreeding during our recent evolution.
——-

So I’m told, yet I’ve never actually visited Alabama.

Enjoy.

Comment #188564

Posted by harold on July 17, 2007 7:07 PM (e)

So I’m told, yet I’ve never actually visited Alabama.

I grew up far, far north of Alabama, and half my genes were introduced from outside of that vicinity. And I live in a big city now, and have lived in urban areas since I was sixteen.

Still, I grew up in an area that plenty of people in Alabama would consider to be extremely rural and somewhat isolated (and they’d be right). On a comically low income. I spent plenty of time visiting grandparents who didn’t have indoor plumbing. And I’m not very old. (It wasn’t until I met some guys at medical school who could still remember early childhood in an Asian country that I won’t name, that I met anyone else in an urban area who had had similar experiences.)

I won’t deny that there is an association between extremely rural areas and fundamentalist religious attitudes, but seriously, give us a break. The DI doesn’t get its money or its “fellows” from the Appalachians, from the Ozarks, from similar regions of Canada, from “trailer parks”, or from any other such places. (It may get quite a bit from Alabama, but for quite different reasons.)

Comment #188566

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 17, 2007 7:20 PM (e)

That there were such people isn’t just a matter of consensus, it’s a necessary fact of logic in the absence of virgin birth […]

Oops, virgin birth has no relevance to Mitochondrial Eve.

In fact, the identity of Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam can vary from moment to moment, as individual humans die or bear offspring, slightly changing the shape of the genealogical tree.

Oops, births have no relevance to the identity M-E and Y-A. But a death could be the end of the descendants of one of the children of M-E or Y-A, pruning that child and its descendants from the tree. When only one child remains, that child becomes the M-E or Y-A and its parent loses that status.

Comment #188577

Posted by harold on July 17, 2007 9:11 PM (e)

your statements didn’t anger me.

Good.

Gee, I seem to recall you once angrily and repeatedly calling for someone to be banned from this board because he didn’t share your views on a number of matters, particularly religion and its relationship to rationality.

I know what you’re talking about, and my undeniably subjective memory is quite different. My very strong preference is for full freedom of expression in venues of intellectual argument; I even wish we had some better creationists here at times. I recall that particular poster as becoming obsessed with my posts, not the other way around, and filling boards with truly irrelevant nitpicking. This has never happened before or since, and the only other time I’ve ever recommended a ban was for a particularly eggregious and insensitive ethnic slur.

Your animosity toward him started with a heated debate on that subject among the two of you, Lenny Flank (whose departure from this board has been a blessing),

Aesthetic difference here. I loved Flank’s sense of humor and ability to cut to the heart of things. Ironically, your posts are probably the closest in style to his of anyone left. Then again, animals that share the same niche…

and another “atheist fundamentalist”, as Lenny might put it.

Honestly, most of my best friends would describe themselves as “atheists”, but I agree with Lenny that some few atheists seem to exhibit a desire to proseletyze involuntarily, and an inappropriate emotional concern with the private mental lives of others, both of which are reminiscent of other fundamentalists. We may be wrong, but it is a shared impression.

Considering the remarkable similarities between myself and the person whose banning you called for, I don’t feel all that assured.

Again, memories differ. Your posts are usually on topic and relevant, and the “insults” contained therein are usually mild, comical, and deserved. When you have taken me to task, you’ve always had a valid point. That is not my recollection of the other poster you refer. Again, I could be experiencing self-serving bias here, but I don’t think so.

No, I refer to your putting the term in scare quotes, your claims that these aren’t Christians

This is a valid point. It’s a rather subtle point - I’ve described over-the-top creationist hypocrites and mass murdering secular humanist Scotsmen as “not really Christian” and “not really secular humanist”, respectively. Yet as you correctly point out, it might be more fair, especially where the crime is hypocrisy rather than mass murder (but even then…), to allow self-identification to define states such as “Christianity” and “Secular Humanist”, and perceive departures from the ideal as human failings. In my defense, I am genuinely suspicious of the sincerity of right wingers who declare themselves “Christian” at odd times, for example, Ann Coulter. Buy you make a very valid point.

So does that mean I don’t need to worry about you banning me, or what?

You certainly don’t need to worry about that. Despite my eventual exasperation with an intelligent yet, in my admittedly subjective recall, excessively focused poster, and despite my proud and continuing intolerance for certain types of vulgar ethnic slurs, I am not one who is prone to recommending censoring, banning, restricting, or the like. Quite the contrary.

What sort of scale is this that I’m being weighed on, and why should I care?

I don’t know how to answer this except to say that you have no obvious reason to care what I think, and no reason to be especially worried if you did care what I think for some less than obvious reason.

How about just accepting that you have some positive judgments about people and some negative judgments about them, rather than trying to decide whether they are fundamentally good or fundamentally evil, or Christian or non Christian, or whatever.

Actually, this is what I already do. I may be guilty of overjudging some of the creationist posters who appear to me to be mouthing right wing authoritarian propoganda and calling it Christianity, although I suspect I’m not. In general, I am far less judgmental than I may seem in this context.

Comment #188578

Posted by paul fcd on July 17, 2007 9:19 PM (e)

lenny was way better than harold and popper’s ghost.

what was this post about? Politics!

It was about junk dna…

Comment #188579

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2007 9:23 PM (e)

Your animosity toward him started with a heated debate on that subject among the two of you, Lenny Flank (whose departure from this board has been a blessing),

Aesthetic difference here. I loved Flank’s sense of humor and ability to cut to the heart of things. Ironically, your posts are probably the closest in style to his of anyone left. Then again, animals that share the same niche…

Lenny has a few hackneyed phrases that he repeats over and over again. PG skillfully discusses a great many subjects. Even when I agreed with Lenny (I’m not one to bother the God-botherers much (mostly because it seems so boring), for instance, though much of Lenny’s rationale against it was pathetic) it was rather awful to hear the same trite old things repeatedly.

Enough deadwood went over to AtBC, including Lenny (and a few who are not dead wood). PT has been more serious and meaningful since then, if often without much to discuss. But why discuss a bunch of useless fluff anyhow?

What I’m saying is, sheez, how can anyone compare PG to Lenny? It has to be on about the same order as comparing modern evolutionary theory to ID.

Glen D
http://geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188648

Posted by harold on July 18, 2007 8:22 AM (e)

lenny was way better than harold and popper’s ghost.

what was this post about? Politics!

It was about junk dna…

Sorry, buddy, ID is mainly about politics. Nobody just woke up in the morning and spontaneously decided, out of pure love for Jesus, that kids in school have to be lied to about science.

Trying to understand ID/creationism without understanding the politics will lead to a very incomplete view. My guess is that both PG and Lenny would agree with me on that.

I understand that it’s frustrating for the very few (possibly like you), who want economic policy harsher than Reaganomics, plenty of war, and plenty of executions, but who are embarrassed when their fellow travelers on the right deny scientific reality itself.

Maybe those few should ask why those political views are so strongly associated with irrational and dishonest behavior.

Lenny has a few hackneyed phrases that he repeats over and over again. PG skillfully discusses a great many subjects.

I strongly agree with what you said about PG.

Obviously, as can be deduced by my prior posts, I don’t agree that Lenny’s phrases were hackneyed. But enough about that.

Comment #188749

Posted by paul fcd on July 18, 2007 11:17 PM (e)

Well, Glen, I’ve been a bystander here for only 4 years, and actually respect your views, I like your posts, especially as they have become shorter. Lenny was one of my favourites in years gone by for his clarity of view, if not for his repetitiveness. I just finished reading his book, and found it worth the read, and very informative about the politics of ID.

Harold, however has this odd “I’m going to jump on this troll” attitude, that is quite frankly, bizarre. Read 188648 and see his sly insinuations, and assumptions about my (and others) politics. He is both wrong and insulting and it irks me. Hence my opinion, and another reason why Lenny was the superior commentator.

So “Sorry buddy” but I am acutely aware of ID and its politics, it’s your unwarranted assumptions of other posters politics that make me unlurk and vent in the first place.

sincerely, paul

Comment #188801

Posted by Paul Flocken on July 19, 2007 8:11 AM (e)

Harold, Glen, and Popper,
You may have more success addressing Bond’s arguments where they originally appeared, or not, considering the forum. Dignifying him with an answer here, when his crowd will not allow it there, is just beating your head against the bricks. Or perhaps Bond is really unReasonable Kansan, who is banned anyway.

Comment #188813

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 19, 2007 10:37 AM (e)

Harold, Glen, and Popper,
You may have more success addressing Bond’s arguments where they originally appeared, or not, considering the forum. Dignifying him with an answer here, when his crowd will not allow it there, is just beating your head against the bricks. Or perhaps Bond is really unReasonable Kansan, who is banned anyway.

I knew I’d seen it before, probably at UD, even though I don’t read much of UD. But I really couldn’t be sure if it was the same person, since intellectual standards are, shall we say, relaxed on that side.

I suspect (as you also indicate) that it would be impossible to address them there, even though technically I’m not banned from UD (once they refused to post what I had written, I had no desire to run anything through their distorting censorious lenses. Plus, they would have banned me soon anyhow). There’s always a question of how worthwhile it is to respond to anything that rank and ignorant, but I indulged.

It’s nice to see exactly from where he self-plagiarized (or just plain plagiarized), which appears to me to be the main point in your post.

Glen D
http://www.geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188817

Posted by CJO on July 19, 2007 11:23 AM (e)

It’s GilDogen from Dr. Dr. Dr. Dembski’s basemen– er, blog.

Comment #188820

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 19, 2007 12:03 PM (e)

It’s GilDogen from Dr. Dr. Dr. Dembski’s basemen– er, blog.

Oh my God, they let him out of there? And they complain that John Hinckley’s given furloughs.

I don’t think I’ve read through any of Gil’s postings since the first bit of tripe I read from him, if then. Except, of course, when I went through that bit here.

Glen D
http://www.geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188822

Posted by harold on July 19, 2007 12:27 PM (e)

Paul Flocken -

You’ll note that I proactively suggested that he might be plagiarizing, right at the beginning of the thread.

Comment #188823

Posted by Doh! on July 19, 2007 12:37 PM (e)

I apologize if this is not the place to ask this question but this is my first post and although I’ve been following the ID/Evo debate here for quite awhile, I’m not sure of the proper etiquette. Anyway…

I understand on the position of those on the side of Evolution that ID is not a “theory” because it is not falsifiable but I have yet to find what it would take (that is, short of “Made by God” stamped on every lifeform)to falsify the “theory” of Evolution.

So that’s my question. Can someone tell me how the TOE could be proven false? I know that there needs to be an answer; otherwise, this would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black! Thanks.

Comment #188825

Posted by Doh! on July 19, 2007 12:40 PM (e)

Sorry. The start of the second paragraph should read: I understand the position of those on the…

Comment #188827

Posted by David Stanton on July 19, 2007 12:52 PM (e)

Dohl,

There are lots of things that could falsify the theory of evolution. That is why it is science. In fact, many of these things could not possibly have been envisioned by Darwin.

For example, based on morphol;ogical and developmental characters, we are fairly confident that the vertebrates represent a good monophyletic group. Therefore, if some vertebrates were more closely related genetically to butterflies and somewere more closely related to jellyfish, evolution would effectively be falsified. However, that has not been found to be the case.

The order of appearance in the fossil record of major groups could also potentially falsify evolution. If for example, vertebrates appeared before bacteria, that would be difficult to explain if evolution were true. Or, (the classic example), if fossil rabbits were discovered in precambrian strata, that would effectively falsify evolution. Needless to say, nothing like this has ever been observed either.

Of course, since the theory has been tested so many times in so many different ways and has not been falsified in 150 years and since the theory has such tremendous predictive and explanatory power, it will take more that just one anomalous data point to falsify the theory now. But contrast that with the ID approach where anything is possible and no designer is identified.

Comment #188837

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 19, 2007 2:20 PM (e)

I understand on the position of those on the side of Evolution that ID is not a “theory” because it is not falsifiable but I have yet to find what it would take (that is, short of “Made by God” stamped on every lifeform)to falsify the “theory” of Evolution.

Stanton gave good answers. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t add any.

In truth, I don’t think that “falsification” is especially the issue, and it complicates matters for theories like evolution. Even Dembski purportedly said recently that evolution explains much, which seems like a good way of saying that evolution has the value that we claim for it.

One of the problems with evolution and falsification is that much of what would falsify evolution is collective data. So evolution is falsifiable, but often not with anything simple (I have doubts that even rabbits in the precambrian, without any kind of other evidence against evolution, would single-handedly destroy evolution, since evolution explains everything else).

But that’s said. What would falsify evolution is if organisms didn’t show “family characteristics” across the board. Aristotle and Linnaeus came up with taxonomic categories which actually suggest relatedness (“genus” for Aristotle, “family” for Linnaeus).

Basically, we could start with asking if you had human parents. You’d say yes, and then you’d list the reasons, such as having the same characteristics as other humans (there are other ways, but I’m using this one because it leads us to evolutionary inferences). But I might say, you look different from people in the far north. You’d reply that, sure, there are differences, but the similarities are too great to be the result of coincidence or some such thing.

This is what Linnaeus is supposed to have written (I can’t vouch for it, but it’s attributed to him by many web sources):

“I wish that someone would show me one character by which to place humans and the apes in separate genera. I most assuredly know of none. Had I called humans apes or vice versa I would have fallen under the ban of the Ecclesiastics.”

Actually, we think we have reasonable cause to place humans and apes in different genera. But that’s not the point, what matters is that humans and apes do have “family resemblances”, and this was noted even prior to evolutionary theory (also, it helped give rise to it).

If humans and apes did not have these “family resemblances,” evolution would be a non-starter.

Analogous to this are “textual families” and “related languages”, where we say that one text or one language must have given rise to the later texts and languages, because of the relatedness of these languages and texts. The “original Indo-European language” can even be partially constructed out of its “descendant languages”. In a real sense, our languages evolved, though with significant differences from biologic evolution.

We know, however, that English didn’t evolve like humans and apes did, because its vocabulary is a “fusion” of French and English. Biological evolution has different predictions, like that sufficiently different lineages won’t “interbreed” like French and English did, and thus there will be no viable species coming from chimp-human offspring.

What I’m getting to is that all of the organs and systems of humans and chimps share “family resemblances”, just as you do with your siblings. If you had (non-superficial) bird characteristics, the idea that you had only human ancestors would be falsified. Likewise with humans and chimps, if we didn’t have common ancestors, we’d have traits which weren’t similar, like maybe bird traits. And so:

1. Evolution would be immediately falsified in a lineage if the organism in question were a mosaic of characteristics from various animals (don’t confuse this with “mosaic evolution,” which merely refers to different characters changing greatly at a time when others remain fairly static).

2. Evolution would be immediately falsified if organisms showed the marks of rational design, like machines typically do. Find one organic trait, not modified by humans, which shows design (like a rational leap, instead of gradual modification of inherited traits) and/or a teleological purpose, and you’ll falsify evolution in at least that case.

3. Evolution as understood and in its initial premises would be immediately falsified if life could be shown to have some greater purpose, like doing God’s work, preparing for heaven, or perhaps doing the bidding of aliens (I don’t mean that we’d be enslaved, I mean showing that we were designed for serving aliens). Evolution might still have happened in those cases, but it would have to be either discarded or seriously rethought.

4. Evolution would be immediately falsified if novel characters not related to characters in apparently otherwise “related” organisms were to appear. Let’s say that human bones were made out of carbon nanotubes (almost certainly these could improve bone, if incorporated organically and properly) and every other organism had completely different bones. Humans could not have evolved this, not according to probabilities, and thus could not have evolved if they had this characteristic (though it could be that the other animals evolved).

5. Natural selection would be falsified, as Darwin noted, if an organism were found to have traits and characteristics which exist to benefit another organism without any reciprocal benefit to the first organism. Now understand what I’m saying, my point is not that hosts don’t benefit parasites with their traits, but there, the parasites simply take what they can while hosts typically evolve defenses to that (or die out).

Find some trait that exists for the sake of benefiting other organisms, God, or the good of life in general, and evolution is falsified, at least with respect to that trait.

6. Another way to falsify evolution would be to show that prokaryotes and eukaryotes have the same sorts of relationships across the taxonomic categories, while in fact prokaryotes have vastly different processes of recombination (more promiscuous across the categories, but recombining much less genetic material during each “conjugation”) than do eukaryotes. That is to say, we predict from evolution that eukaryotes will fall into neat cladistic branchings (or “nested hierarchies”) in a kind of “tree”. Prokaryotes will, by contrast, be predicted not to form these neat derivations, but to actually have a kind of mosaic evolution that I said was disallowed above (which it is, but not for all life—and I’m not going to change what I wrote above, because faulting it would be too picky).

So that’s my question. Can someone tell me how the TOE could be proven false? I know that there needs to be an answer; otherwise, this would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black! Thanks.

Well, I’ve added most of my points already. I’d not so much say that any “out-of-place fossil” would falsify evolution (some have been found in unexpected strata, which means that we modify the evolutionary picture, so long as they’re not exceedingly out of place), as that if birds were found before reptiles, fish before cyanobacteria, evolution would be put under severe strain.

I’d like to point out that apparently bogus “human remains” or traces are often trotted out by creationists in order to disprove evolution. Finding genuine human tracks beside genuine (non-bird) dinosaur tracks would indeed falsify present evolutionary theory (whether any could be salvaged would depend on the rest of the evidence), just as the creationists believe.

And if you read UD, they frequently try to show that the “nested hierarchies” don’t work for all traits in all lineages. It’s pretty pathetic, because one simply doesn’t find, say, modern fungi genes in modern humans or anything like that, there are just some remaining questions in the details, not unlike most of science.

If you could really show that a characteristic were impossible to evolve, like my carbon nanotubes in human bones example (impossible in context, that is), that would also falsify evolution. I’m not just repeating myself, I’m leading up to the fact that IDists try to do this constantly with their bogus mathematics and inappropriate models of searches for exceedingly difficult-to-find targets. It is easy to imagine essentially impossible-to-evolve characters, like pterosaur wings on bats, or airplane wings and gasoline motors in humans.

The IDists try to “falsify naturalistic evolution” by claiming that organs, traits, and systems that are related across vast numbers of organisms, essentially could not evolve. And yet none of these is without the marks of an evolution indistinguishable from “microevolution” in its essential aspects, nor are there any obvious breaks between what they claim is “designed” from what is “evolved” even in their own minds.

Generally, evolution would be falsified by breaks in evolutionary continuity, whether in the fossil record, in morphology, in the genes, or in the correlations between all of these (the correlations understood according to the difficulties of finding fossils in some cases, of course). Just find anything that breaks the expected patterns of evolution, like novelties underived from anything else, fossils wildly out-of-sync with genetics, or mosaics of separate vertebrate lineages, and you’ll have falsified evolution in at least one area in which it is claimed to work.

I repeat that we wouldn’t have “creation scientists” or “intelligent design advocates” if both of these strains of pseudoscientists didn’t recognize that evolution doesn’t have falsifiable aspects to it. Various creationists, like Lord Kelvin, tried to show that evolution was falsified because there wasn’t enough time for it, but astronomical dating, radiometric dating, and a host of processes which yield indeterminate yet long dates for the earth have borne out the predictions of evolutionists (and of most geologists) that the earth must be at least hundreds of millions of years old.

The problem for these people isn’t that evolution isn’t “falsifiable” in the Popperian sense, it is that it cannot be falsified by the data available. Sometimes these people conflate the fact that the data can’t falsify evolution with the concept that evolution is “unfalsifiable”. But they couldn’t even hope to make their case against evolution if it were unfalsifiable in Popper’s sense, and they may as well not whine when they can’t find anything that isn’t consistent with evolutionary predictions.

Glen D
http://www.geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188850

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 19, 2007 3:10 PM (e)

I’d like to add another four theoretic falsification possibilities for evolution, because they are among the best for anyone who isn’t steeped in biological knowledge.

1. Evolution would be falsified if there were no vestigial organs. This isn’t a favorite “argument” in general any more, partly because some incautious evolutionists “found” lots of vestigial organs, plus we’ve mostly moved beyond those matters in evolutionary research.

But even though vestigials might naively be expected to disappear rather quickly once they really were vestigial, evolution under the constraints of shared developmental processes across organs and traits would continue to predict that at least some vestigial organs would exist. And they do. Juvenile platypus teeth, the coccyx in humans, and the teeth of young baleen whales are some of these. The fact that there might be some function among these does not change the fact that they are essentially useless in the functions that related organisms have for them.

We’re lucky that we have platypus teeth, however, because they are important to show the relationships between platypus ancestors and the modern species. Just another thoughtful aspect of this world from the “designer”;):)

2. Evolutionary relationships would be revealed in the developmental programs of organisms, or evolution (under known constraints) would be falsified. Haeckel’s claims have long been exploded, of course, but we still get claws on the wings of some birds while they’re still in their eggs (and in juvenile hoatzins), humans have many similarities with our ancestors at a certain stage of development, including the tail that turns into our vestigial coccyx, and the testes in most mammals have to descend (before birth in humans, after in some mammals) into the scrotum from the ancestral position in the abdomen.

3. And evolution would be falsified if no transitional fossils could be found. This is a prediction involving the collectivity of data, and the lack of a transitional for, say, gibbons would not be devastating, both because gibbons fossilize poorly (wet forest environments) and because we don’t bother looking much for gibbon fossils.

But among reasonably easy-to-fossilize organisms, transitional fossils would be predicted to have been found by now, and they have been found for all of the “class transitions” of vertebrates. So, for example we have transitional forms for the evolution of birds, amphibians, and mammals. Likewise for hominins, rhinoceruses, whales, horses, and many plant classes.

Again, this brings up one reason why I have issues with falsification as “the standard”, though I often resort to it as shorthand as well in calling for ID to follow normal science standards (I also don’t like it because it takes the emphasis away from induction and positive evidence). It isn’t that a particular observation, or lack thereof, would falsify evolution, but that in the present context we’d expect to have found many transitionals, and we have. It’s a probabilistic version of “falsifiability”, not the direct “deterministic” sort of falsification is all that many know of.

4. The following falsification standard relates to previously-mentioned vestigials, evolutionary constraints, and the marks of design, but I’d also mention that if everything was more or less “optimally” designed, evolution would be immediately falsified. Or even if we didn’t hold the organic world to standards of perfection, at least we could say that if everything was built as well as, say, the latest and best computer chips are, that would falsify evolution.

Instead we have a variety of problems in the biological realm, including the fact that no large leaps to better materials (like synthetic composites) are possible, the eye has its blood vessels on the wrong side of the retina (despite IDist claims to the contrary, it is not fully compensated, or optimal—otherwise birds wouldn’t evolutionarily minimize this defect) due to inherited developmental constraints, and vestigials exist.

5 (okay, I just thought of this one, so it’s not “four” any more). Additionally, transitional forms are quite obviously not as well adapted as “later models” are, so that clearly archaeopteryx labored under difficulties that later birds do not have. Yes, once again the prediction of evolution, in this case that later forms of an inherited trait will generally be better than the earliest-found forms, is borne out by the evidence.

You could falsify evolution, then, by showing (in a line which has many fossil representatives through time) that the first representatives of a complex integrated ability like flying are as good at it as the versions found tens of millions of years later. Where we have clear examples, like flying, or walking in the amphibians, the earlier versions indeed are poorer at it than later organisms are, such as the swift and the cheetah.

Glen D
http://geocities.com/interelectromagnetic

Comment #188852

Posted by Steviepinhead on July 19, 2007 3:15 PM (e)

Well, that latest comment was more like the “old” Glen for length, but was intersting and well-said nonetheless.

As pointed as Stanton’s more succinct reply, just with more point and sub-points.

(If my old eyes yet serve me, however, Stanton meant to reply to “Doh!” and not to “Dohl.” Which leads me to speculate that Stanton may have old eyes as well.)

Comment #188868

Posted by David Stanton on July 19, 2007 4:55 PM (e)

Steviepinhead,

You are correct sir. However an equally plausible hypothesis might be that my right hand knoweth not what my left hand doeth.

Comment #188869

Posted by Steviepinhead on July 19, 2007 5:14 PM (e)

I ruled out the fumbled-finegered-typist hypothesis based on the impeccability of the great bulk of your prose as posted here.

I am, of course, always willing to revise my hypotheses when presented with additional, conflicting data.

Comment #188870

Posted by Steviepinhead on July 19, 2007 5:18 PM (e)

Of course, just to make others feel better, I always include at least one *deliberate* typo in any post that touches, even glancingly, on typing ability.

In the above case, this inclusion was “finegered” for “fingered.”

Note, however, the rule “at least one.”

If you note others, you may be sure that they, too, were *deliberate.*

Comment #188871

Posted by harold on July 19, 2007 5:24 PM (e)

Doh! -

When the theory of evolution first became prominent, almost nothing was known about biochemistry. Genetics was not yet understood at all. The role of DNA was not even understood. It was not completely accepted that microbes could cause infectious disease! Many other very basic things were unknown.

We have been learning more and more about life for 150 years. Each new thing we learned potentially could have caused problems for the theory of evolution, but each new thing we learned - biochemistry, cellular biology, electron microscopy, molecular biology, etc, etc, etc - continued to support the theory of evolution.

ID offers nothing. If life shows signs of common descent it’s “common design”. If common descent is ruled out, it’s “individual design”.

Here’s a helpful link…but before you click it, please answer a question for me.

Do you care? Or were you just mouthing what you hoped would be a creationist “gotcha”? Do you give a damn what the evidence actually shows, or are you dedicated to creationism, the hell with the honest evidence?

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1…

Comment #188874

Posted by David Stanton on July 19, 2007 6:22 PM (e)

I like Glen’s list. And he’s right, if no transitional fossils had ever been found, that would be a huge problem for the theory of evolution and would probably be enough to falsify it. Of course that one has kind of gone by the wayside. We can’t really undiscover the fossils at this point, so ignoring them will have to do for some.

However, we have yet to sequence even a single gene from most known organisms. (That is in fact the goal of the Barcode of Like Database project). Since there is so much work to be done, and since there are so many possible opportunites to disprove evolution, you would think that the ID crowd and creationists in general would be pumping huge sums of money into automated sequencing efforts. I wonder why they don’t seem to be doing that?

As for junk DNA research, why bother when no matter what anyone else discovers you can always claim that you predicted it?

Comment #188938

Posted by hoary puccoon on July 20, 2007 8:53 AM (e)

Doh!– I hope you reply back, because people have put a lot of effort into answering you.
Taking the theory of evolution from an historical perspective, keep in mind;
1. The Genesis story was already in trouble as a scientific theory before Darwin wrote word one of The Origin of Species. The real doubts mostly came from geologists, not biologists, but scientists were flailing around, trying to make sense of layer upon layer of stone that looked like it had been laid down over a long time, not thrown together in 6 days, and then churned up in a flood. If this hadn’t been true, Charles Darwin would be long forgotten.
2. The theory of evolution hasn’t been disproven– but not for want of trying. After OoS came out, practically everybody took a shot at knocking down evolution. The ToE came through each challenge stronger than ever. The “disproofs” of the current creationists are often steals from respected 19th-century scientists. Can you blame modern scientists for ignoring issues that were settled over a century ago?
3. The fact of evolution has become more and more apparent over the years– but Darwin’s actual theory has been proven wrong in many, many particulars. If scientists were interested in replacing God with Darwin, why would they be perfectly happy to throw large chunks of his conclusions out the window? In fact, most evolutionary biologists and geologists working today don’t care one way or the other about what Darwin said. They base their research proposals on the work of their immediate predecessors, who based their work on their immediate predecessors…. And so on. If, at any iteration, solid evidence had come out against evolution, hordes of researchers would have jumped in with glee. It never happened.
So, sure, in principle evolution could be disproven. But in practice no legitimate scientist sees any way to do this. They don’t reject ID or ‘scientific’ creationism because they don’t like its conclusions– they reject it because it’s not science. It may look like science to a naive outsider, but to real scientists trying to run research programs, there’s simply nothing in creationism but misstatements and faulty logic– nothing at all a researcher can use.

Comment #189376

Posted by Popper' Ghost on July 22, 2007 8:10 AM (e)

I know what you’re talking about, and my undeniably subjective memory is quite different.

Unlike you, I don’t conveniently depend on my subjective memory to maintain intellectual dishonesty, I go back and read the posts. You would do so if you had anything like the integrity you pretend to.

Comment #189378

Posted by Popper' Ghost on July 22, 2007 8:15 AM (e)

Again, memories differ. Your posts are usually on topic and relevant, and the “insults” contained therein are usually mild, comical, and deserved. When you have taken me to task, you’ve always had a valid point. That is not my recollection of the other poster you refer. Again, I could be experiencing self-serving bias here, but I don’t think so.

Sheesh, Harold, are you really that dense? Apparently only when it serves your intellectually dishonest purposes. You are trying very hard to draw a distinction between two people who are in fact the same person.

Comment #189379

Posted by Popper' Ghost on July 22, 2007 8:20 AM (e)

What I’m saying is, sheez, how can anyone compare PG to Lenny? It has to be on about the same order as comparing modern evolutionary theory to ID.

Thanks for saying so.

Comment #189380

Posted by Popper' Ghost on July 22, 2007 8:22 AM (e)

Obviously, as can be deduced by my prior posts, I don’t agree that Lenny’s phrases were hackneyed.

You’re just waving your dick around. (shrug)

Comment #189402

Posted by Popper' Ghost on July 22, 2007 9:41 AM (e)

I recall that particular poster as becoming obsessed with my posts, not the other way around

It’s fascinating how people enshrine their own previous self-serving expectations in their memory as if the expectations were the actual facts:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/08/_kan…

But I think there’s more to it than that. Harold, as Lenny did (but not by name) has now called for me to be banned – hey, I might vote for it myself; I obviously spend way too much time here. But it’s interesting that both Lenny and Harold first developed their animostiy toward me in the same conversation, one in which Lenny kept repeating the same challenge over and over, to use the scientific method to answer whether murder is wrong, even after I had agreed that’s not possible but that it wasn’t a refutation of what I and Don P had said, which was that science can address anything in the world. And the dispute with Harold was about science and religion – but this was in an old thread where no one other than Harold, Lenny, Don P, and I were posting, not like these recent threads where the article topic was explicitly about religion. Anyway, Harold got extremely emotional and wrote a long rant about what a horrible human being I am. When I referred to that as “an ad hominem rant”, he insisted that it wasn’t and went into another rant about people like me accusing others of ad hominems and even that we always use that phrase (a weird complaint) and predicting that I would follow him around here and insult him – which of course I didn’t, but he did try a few times to bait me. That seems to me rather pathological.

Comment #189410

Posted by Popper' Ghost on July 22, 2007 10:43 AM (e)

Here is some more grist for the recollection mill. Reading it over, I have the same view of your dishonesty at the time as I did then.