Skip navigation.
Home
The Critic's Resource on AntiEvolution

news aggregator

The CSC Seminar on Intelligent Design in the Natural Sciences

ARN ID Update - Tue, 2014-02-04 03:20

This Discovery Institute seminar will prepare students to make research contributions advancing the growing science of intelligent design (ID). The seminar will explore cutting-edge ID work in fields such as molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, developmental biology, paleontology, computational biology, ID-theoretic mathematics, cosmology, physics, and the history and philosophy of science. This seminar is open to students who intend to pursue graduate studies in the natural sciences or the philosophy of science. Applicants must be college juniors or seniors or already in graduate school.

More information...

Categories: Anti-Science News

Quantum effects confirmed for photosynthesis

ARN ID Update - Wed, 2014-01-15 13:12

Quantum phenomena in biology are receiving the attention of more and more researchers, with photosynthesis being the process getting the most attention. Back in 2007, it was apparent that quantum effects were effective for "explaining the extreme efficiency of photosynthesis". Then, in 2010, the photosynthetic apparatus of cryptophyte algae was the focus of research, because its pigments are farther apart than was expected for efficient functioning. In a News & Views article in Nature, van Grondelle & Novoderezhkin discussed evidence suggesting that a process known as quantum coherence is part of the explanation. They added: "This is the first time that this phenomenon has been observed in photosynthetic proteins at room temperature, rather than at much lower temperatures, bolstering the idea that quantum coherence influences light harvesting in vivo." The most recent study has provided a theoretical argument that quantum effects must be present and that classical physics does not provide an explanation. It is claimed to be "the first unambiguous theoretical evidence of quantum effects in photosynthesis". The Press Release describes the work in this way:

"Often, to observe or exploit quantum mechanical phenomena, systems need to be cooled to very low temperatures. This however does not seem to be the case in some biological systems, which display quantum properties even at ambient temperatures. Now, a team at UCL have attempted to identify features in these biological systems which can only be predicted by quantum physics, and for which no classical analogues exist. "Energy transfer in light-harvesting macromolecules is assisted by specific vibrational motions of the chromophores," said Alexandra Olaya-Castro (UCL Physics & Astronomy), supervisor and co-author of the research. "We found that the properties of some of the chromophore vibrations that assist energy transfer during photosynthesis can never be described with classical laws, and moreover, this non-classical behaviour enhances the efficiency of the energy transfer."" (Source here)


New frontiers for understanding the natural world
(image source here)

Most light-gathering macromolecules are composed of chromophores (the light-absorbing pigments) attached to proteins. These are responsible for the first step of photosynthesis, which is to capture light and transfer its energy to another system that can store it. Earlier work showed that energy is transferred in a wave-like manner (the quantum coherence model). However, theoreticians were of the opinion that classical physics could still find a way of explaining the observations.

"Molecular vibrations are periodic motions of the atoms in a molecule, like the motion of a mass attached to a spring. When the energy of a collective vibration of two chromophores matches the energy difference between the electronic transitions of these chromophores a resonance occurs and efficient energy exchange between electronic and vibrational degrees of freedom takes place. Providing that the energy associated to the vibration is higher than the temperature scale, only a discrete unit or quantum of energy is exchanged. Consequently, as energy is transferred from one chromophore to the other, the collective vibration displays properties that have no classical counterpart. The UCL team found the unambiguous signature of non-classicality is given by a negative joint probability of finding the chromophores with certain relative positions and momenta. In classical physics, probability distributions are always positive." (Source here)

Bear in mind that considerable resources have already been spent on trying to develop a biomimetic system that captures solar energy like plants - only to find that photosynthesis is extraordinarily complex and the research has not yet delivered any commercial outputs. It is a reminder that the Darwinian vision of ultimate simplicity has been repeatedly falsified. Photosynthesising microorganisms are among the earliest to appear in the Precambrian fossil record - and yet these organisms have chemical and physical pathways that are only beginning to be understood within the research community. What is emerging are processes and structures that carry the hallmarks of design, with complex specified information at every level of analysis. We are at the beginning of a journey into quantum effects in biology. It is the design paradigm that is best equipped to guide our thoughts and keep us on the right path.

"Other biomolecular processes such as the transfer of electrons within macromolecules (like in reaction centres in photosynthetic systems), the structural change of a chromophore upon absorption of photons (like in vision processes) or the recognition of a molecule by another (as in olfaction processes), are influenced by specific vibrational motions. The results of this research therefore suggest that a closer examination of the vibrational dynamics involved in these processes could provide other biological prototypes exploiting truly non-classical phenomena." (Source here)

Some would want to add neuroscience to this list (see here and here).

Non-classicality of the molecular vibrations assisting exciton energy transfer at room temperature
Edward J. O'Reilly & Alexandra Olaya-Castro
Nature Communications, 9 January 2014, 5, Article number:3012 | doi:10.1038/ncomms4012

Abstract: Advancing the debate on quantum effects in light-initiated reactions in biology requires clear identification of non-classical features that these processes can exhibit and utilize. Here we show that in prototype dimers present in a variety of photosynthetic antennae, efficient vibration-assisted energy transfer in the sub-picosecond timescale and at room temperature can manifest and benefit from non-classical fluctuations of collective pigment motions. Non-classicality of initially thermalized vibrations is induced via coherent exciton-vibration interactions and is unambiguously indicated by negativities in the phase-space quasi-probability distribution of the effective collective mode coupled to the electronic dynamics. These quantum effects can be prompted upon incoherent input of excitation. Our results therefore suggest that investigation of the non-classical properties of vibrational motions assisting excitation and charge transport, photoreception and chemical sensing processes could be a touchstone for revealing a role for non-trivial quantum phenomena in biology.

See also:

Cartwright, J. Quantized vibrations are essential to photosynthesis, say physicists, physicsworld.com (22 January 2014)

Tyler, D. Explaining the extreme efficiency of photosynthesis. ARN Literature Blog (16 April 2007)

Tyler, D. The latest thinking on how photosynthesis evolved. ARN Literature Blog (11 February 2007)

Categories: Anti-Science News

Why Organized Science Longs for Extraterrestrial Life

ARN ID Update - Thu, 2013-12-19 03:49

A great article by Tom Bethell in ENV...

Read...

Categories: Anti-Science News

From Nature Magazine...If our planet

ARN ID Update - Thu, 2013-12-19 03:44

From Nature Magazine...If our planet were just a little closer to the Sun, a runaway greenhouse effect would render it unliveable, a climate model suggests. The simulation, which helps to define the inner edge of a star system?s 'habitable zone', drastically reduces the fraction of Sun-like stars that might harbour a rocky planet suitable for life, according to some scientists. But others note that the model, although detailed, might be too restrictive because it applies only to Earth-like planets on which water is abundant.

Of course we are also asked to believe that the right planet, just at the right distance from its star, will naturally generate life from non-living chemicals...

More...

Categories: Anti-Science News

This isn't the way - Amarillo

ARN ID Update - Thu, 2013-12-19 03:35

What happened here is that a group of adults can?t have a class taught by a qualified person on a topic that interests them in a suitable public venue because an individual is allowed to shut it down?just by scaring people by making a scene.

More...

Categories: Anti-Science News

Debating Darwin - Christian History magazine

ARN ID Update - Thu, 2013-12-19 03:31

In the 19th century, Christians responded to the challenges of Darwinian evolution in many and diverse ways?from hostility to reconciliation. Read about the reactions of theologians, scientists, pastors, authors, bishops, and politicians?and learn how Darwinism eventually became a symbol of warfare between science and Christianity in this issue of Christian History magazine.

Click HERE to read...

Categories: Anti-Science News

March 2006 Post of the Month: The History of Creationism

TalkOrigins Archive - Sun, 2013-12-08 13:30
Added April 13, 2006:
Categories: Pro-Science News

Mark Perakh dead.

Telic Thoughts - Wed, 2013-05-15 23:08

He was one of the greatest Culture Warriors of our time – a towering intellect who possessed that rare combination of professional credentials and an indefatigable combative spirit. Having grown up in communist Russia and being an outspoken critic of Marxism (he was actually punished in Soviet gulags for his political views), Perakh might have used his considerable writing skills to become the next Alexandr Solzhenitzyn, arguing forcefully and eloquently against the abuses of Stalinism which took the lives of tens of millions. But he knew that there was an even more insidious and treacherous enemy that must be defeated: Intelligent Design.

As Mark wrote in 2006:

"it is ID advocates whose behavior is reminiscent of the oppressive Soviet regime."

Perakh was well aware of the fact that Intelligent Design advocates were eager to become like the Soviet and Nazi regimes which had murdered over 50,000,000 people, so he put all of his energies into defeating them at every turn.

"The ID advocates have no Gestapo or KGB at their disposal, so they can't muzzle their opponents as the Nazis and the Soviet communists did. However, as becomes clear from their publications (see, for example Johnson's Darwin on Trial), putting their opponents on trial (whose outcome — a verdict of guilty – would be easily predictable) is the ID advocates' sweetest dream."

Perakh was quick to note the similarities between ID proponents and totalitarian governments.

"it is the ID advocates who behave in a way similar to the Soviet communists and the Nazis, the two groups sent to the ash heap of history."

Having been a scientist in the Soviet system, Perakh was well aware of the horrific abuses of the notorious Trofim Lysenko, the Soviet scientist who infamously killed or imprisoned anyone who would dare disagree with him. He remembers vividly Lysenko's "bony, sharp-nosed peasant face." Mark became outraged when some Intelligent Design advocates began acting just like Trofim Lysenko! He decided to boldly speak the truth even though their wrath was certain to fall on him:

"My experience shows clearly that behavior and methods of dispute of the ID advocates are much closer to the behavior of Lysenkoists, Soviet authorities, or Nazis, than is the behavior of their opponents."

Key to identifying the Nazi-like tendencies of ID proponents, Perakh said, is their tendency to praise one another without ceasing – something which critics of Intelligent Design have never been known to do.

"The German nation was officially proclaimed to be the most authentic incarnation of these mythical Aryans, and everything German was acclaimed in superlative terms very much like the ID advocates incessantly praise themselves and their colleagues. Their opponents never do so."

This led to Perakh's book "Unintelligent Design" – a direct refutation of William Dembski's book "Intelligent Design" along with many other leading Intelligent Design proponents. It is speculated but not known whether Dembski made an attempt to jail or kill Perakh at that time.

In 1941 Mark Perakh fought against the Nazis for his Motherland and later was part of the Russian occupying force in Germany. Being fluent in German, Mark was able to read much of the Nazi propaganda that was left behind and noticed the precise similarities between ID proponent Jonathan Wells' propaganda and the anti-Jewish propaganda of Joseph Goebbels which led to the extermination of 6 million Jews.

"When Wells writes that after meeting [Anti-IDists Kenneth] Miller and [Lawrence] Krauss he needs to take shower, it is an equivalent of those Nazi and Soviet cartoons except that this time the picture is in words rather than in graphics."

Perakh was well known for being civil yet firm in his discourse. As he wrote:

"I admit that calling a person an ignoramus is not very polite, and I do not enjoy at all the situations in which I have reason to resort to such epithets…it is always hard to argue with ignoramuses"

-Signature of an Ignoramus, by Mark Perakh

But in a war like the Culture War it is sometimes necessary to fight with every weapon at your disposal.

As a working scientist who published over 300 papers, and as an eyewitness to the tragedy of Lysenkoism, Parakh was in a unique position to offer a scathing critique of the corruption within the scientific establishment. In an era defined by rampant scientific fraud, over $100,000,000 per year wasted on misconduct, and over 50% of research findings turning out to be false, Mark decided to confront one of the world's greatest threats to science: The Bible Code. His in-depth, exhaustive investigation into The Bible Code resulted in an exposé of bible numerology that was completely devastating to the Intelligent Design claim that there are lots of secret hidden messages in the bible.

“Finally, I came to the conclusion that 'The Bible Code' is a fiction. There is no code.”

The Culture War owes a debt of gratitude to this great warrior. Telic Thoughts would like to express our condolences to his friends and family. He will certainly be missed.

Categories: Anti-Science News

Thomas Nagel

Telic Thoughts - Fri, 2013-02-22 22:22

Teleology means that in addition to physical law of the familiar kind, there are other laws of nature "biased toward the marvelous."

-Thomas Nagel

I find Nagel's primary appeal to be his patent honesty. For all his inability to see divine purpose he still recognizes the need for a purposeful view of nature.

Strangely, he seems oblivious to the fact that biology research has already headed down the teleological road.

Categories: Anti-Science News

Teleology means that in addition to

Telic Thoughts - Fri, 2013-02-22 22:22

Teleology means that in addition to physical law of the familiar kind, there are other laws of nature "biased toward the marvelous."

-Thomas Nagel

I find Nagel's primary appeal to be his patent honesty. For all his inability to see divine purpose he still recognizes the need for a purposeful view of nature.

Strangely, he seems oblivious to the fact that biology research has already headed down the teleological road.

Categories: Anti-Science News

The Great Engineer in the Sky

Telic Thoughts - Thu, 2013-02-14 00:04

Interview with George Church in Der Spiegel.

"Yes, biology is complicated, but it's actually simpler than most other technologies we are dealing with. The reason is that we have received a great gift that biology has given to us. We can just take a little bit of DNA and stick it into a human stem cell, and all the rest of it is self-assembled. It just happens. It's as if a master engineer parked a spacecraft in our back yard with not so many manuals, but lots of goodies in it that are kind of self-explanatory. You pick up something and you pretty much know what it does after a little study."

Complicated in design, yet simple to use. A hallmark of great design.

Just like a master engineer from outer space…lol!

Categories: Anti-Science News

The Great Engineer in the Sky

Telic Thoughts - Thu, 2013-02-14 00:04

Interview with George Church in Der Spiegel.

"Yes, biology is complicated, but it's actually simpler than most other technologies we are dealing with. The reason is that we have received a great gift that biology has given to us. We can just take a little bit of DNA and stick it into a human stem cell, and all the rest of it is self-assembled. It just happens. It's as if a master engineer parked a spacecraft in our back yard with not so many manuals, but lots of goodies in it that are kind of self-explanatory. You pick up something and you pretty much know what it does after a little study."

Complicated in design, yet simple to use. A hallmark of great design.

Just like a master engineer from outer space…lol!

Categories: Anti-Science News

Dawkins Loses Debate 324 v 136 Against Rowan Williams

Telic Thoughts - Tue, 2013-02-05 23:23

Here's the news and the video link.

Plus 85 abstentions. This took place at Cambridge with the votes coming from Cambridge students, who I imagine don't exactly comprise a population of devoted Christian belief. What's really interesting is that the topic was whether religion had a place in the 21st century – and defending "religion" strikes me as dicier than defending, say, the reasonableness of believing in God's existence, at least from a popular standpoint. As the 'nones' in the US show, plenty of people believe in God while apparently having a damn low view of religion.

More than that… c'mon. Dawkins and company got rolled by a group led up by Rowan Williams of all people? This wasn't exactly a presentation of the heavy guns of Christian thought, philosophy or apologetics.

Categories: Anti-Science News
Syndicate content